Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Chill on transgender issues, but not too chill (The Funny Side)
This columnist's teenage daughter explained the latest politically correct views on "gender identity" to her mother and me.
 
I learned that many young people in Asia are adopting the position promoted by two terrifying extremist groups in the West, a scary US tribe called "Californians" and the UK's even more frightening "Guardian Readers".
 
These groups say you must legally recognise people as whatever they claim to be -- or risk being sued for discrimination.
 
I'm pretty chill on all this. If a man feels he is a woman or a dodgy real estate salesman thinks he is President of the United States, let them.
 
Furthermore, I like the idea that everyone should be legally forced to recognise, for example, that this writer is a handsome, intelligent, good man trapped in the body of a lazy, evil dwarf.
 
But my chill attitude was challenged when a US reporter friend told me about Pablo Gomez Jr, a man recently charged with the murder of a young woman. After his arrest, Gomez announced that he was a girl "inside" and thus needed to be sent to a women's prison. In most countries, police would have slapped him around and told him not to be silly. But this happened in California so law enforcement officers are now legally required to hold doors open for him, comment on his hair and the like.
 
Obama spread the California policy across the country. In most states now, police must ask arrested people "How do you identify" and accept the answer given.
 
"A person with a full beard and complete male 'plumbing' who claims to identify as female will be put in the female cell block," Deputy Sheriff Paul Harding confirmed. "Complaints from female prisoners about the person who looks exactly like a man sleeping and showering with them in their cell block are not valid."
 
A UK reporter told me that British murderer Peter Laing also told cops that he felt like a girl inside. They duly sent him to a women's prison under his chosen name (Ms Paris Green) where he kept having sex with the other inmates. They told him to behave and transferred him to a second women's jail -- where the same thing happened. "He's just trying to manipulate the system," complained a family member of his victim. Police have now risked the wrath of Guardian Readers by putting him in a male jail.
 
A police friend tells me cops in Asia assign arrestees to male or female prisons after a simple visual check of their "undercarriage". In Thailand, this means that many "ladyboys" end up in male prisons and some are delighted, according to a 2013 study by Phuketwan, a Thai news service: "Ladyboys commit crimes, most often petty theft, just so they can return to the jail."
 
I told my kids that laws which force police officers and teachers to let male tricksters into females' safe spaces were a bad thing, but the most important thing was to be kind to everyone, including people of non-standard gender.
 
I also told them that I myself started life as a man trapped in a woman's body. And then, after nine months, I was born.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

6 months ago

You have supplied information which I was unaware. It is always worthwhile to be knowledgeable.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

6 months ago

You have supplied information which I was unaware. It is always worthwhile to be knowledgeable.

Nitin Karani

6 months ago

Surprised you published this piece of crap.

Nitin Karani

6 months ago

Surprised you published this piece of crap.

Nitin Karani

6 months ago

Surprised you published this piece of crap.

Nitin Karani

6 months ago

Surprised you published this piece of crap.

Parthasarathy Murugesan

6 months ago

Already I lost 2300 rupees by transacting through Bhim. Nearly 3 months gone, amount was not refunded. I am not going to use this forever. Goodbye.

When righting news reports, get it write (The Funny Side)
I just spelled a word so badly that even autocorrect was like, "Sorry, man, I got nothin'".
 
But at least it wasn't as bad as my friend who went on a business trip with a staff member and misspelled a postcard to his wife: "Having a lovely time, wish you were her."
 
The high court in Delhi a few days ago blamed "a typo" after they let a convicted murderer loose. Their judgment sentenced him to "time served" instead of the long stretch of time he should be serving. Police are looking for him, hoping no one will end up with "killed by a typo" as an epitaph.
 
Luckily, in most cases typos (short for "typographical errors") usually just embarrass reporters and amuse readers.
 
Going around the Internet this month was an apology from the Morning Sentinel, an Illinois newspaper which printed an article on a church musician: "We reported that Henninger's band mate Eric Lyday was on drugs. The story should have read that Lyday was on drums." What a difference a letter makes.
 
So does a comma. One of my favourite authors, Ann Patchett, wrote to the editor of the New York Times after it reviewed her book: "The review mentions topics ranging from 'her stabilising second marriage to her beloved dog' without benefit of comma, thus giving the impression that Sparky and I are hitched. While my love for my dog is deep, he married a dog named Maggie at Parnassus Books last summer."
 
Sometimes we journalists mess up so badly that corrections need corrections. In May, 2015, the US broadcast news station NPR printed this: "In a previous correction on this post, we corrected something that was actually correct. So we have corrected that correction."
 
Canada's Toronto Sun once misspelled the word "correction" in a one-word headline over a correction: "CORRERCTION".
 
One type of correction journalists actually like is when complainants demand changes that make them (the complainant) look worse. The Irish Times described a man named Ed Miliano as "a designer and illustrator", but he demanded a correction: "Mr Miliano is an artist."
 
The best errors conjure up interesting images. Like this one from New Yorker magazine which makes a writer seem like an ageless wizard: "Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the number of years E.B. White wrote for The New Yorker. It was five decades, not centuries."
 
Or this startling word-picture from the Canberra Standard: "They travelled via the Cape on the Queen Mary, with 10,000 troops and 16 officers sharing a two-berth cabin."
 
Asian names often puzzle English-speaking reporters, as shown by this correction in the Auckland Star: "Mai Thai Finn is one of the students in the programme and was in the centre of the photo. We incorrectly listed her name as one of the items on the menu."
 
In our defence, journalists work so fast that errors are inevitable. In December last year, someone at the AP newswire sent out a report on French politics that clearly wasn't ready. "Hollande will/won't seek re-election," the news flash told puzzled readers.
 
Meanwhile, one of my condescending colleagues always points out everyone else's spelling mistakes. And probably wouldn't like me revealing that he checks his own spelling on Google first. Heh heh heh.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Sanjeev B

6 months ago

The Auckland Star goof up was spectacular! Thanks for the writeup.

Why 12.1 mn 'divyaang' Indians are illiterate
At the launch of the government's Accessible India Campaign in December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the term "divyaang" -- which translates into "divine body" -- for persons with disability, instead of the usual "viklaang", or handicapped. He said persons with disability are divinely blessed with "extra gifts".
 
Many disabled rights groups later wrote to the Prime Minister arguing that changing terminology alone would not end the discrimination persons with disability face, and asking him to address the barriers that hinder their participation in the country's economic, social and political life.
 
What does living with disability in India mean, particularly with regard to access to education and employment, 22 years after the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act was passed?
 
As things stand, 45 per cent of India's disabled population is illiterate, according to Census 2011, compared to 26 per cent of all Indians. Of persons with disability who are educated, 59 per cent complete Class X, compared to 67 per cent of the general population.
 
Despite the promise of universal access to education through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which promotes free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of six and 14, children with special needs form the largest out-of-school group in India. Some 28 per cent special-needs children between six and 13 years of age are out of school, according to the 2014 National Survey of Out of School Children report, at a time when India has almost universal primary school enrolment. 
 
Among children with special needs, as many as 44 per cent with more than one disability are out of school, and children with mental (36 per cent) and speech (35 per cent) disabilities are more likely to be out of school than those with other disabilities.
 
Clearly, policies have to be more finely tailored to serve children across the disability spectrum. Experts also emphasise the need to go beyond providing just physical access.
 
For instance, the Accessible India Campaign aims to make 50 per cent of all government buildings in the national capital and state capitals accessible by July 2018; the larger goal is a move towards creating universal access, equal opportunity for development and independent living and participation in all aspects of life for people with disabilities. However, those with experience on the ground talk of a different reality.
 
"The whole problem with Accessible India Campaign is that we are only looking at physical access and not attitudinal access. If you want inclusion to take place, you need both," said Srilatha Juvva, Professor, Centre for Disability Studies and Action, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
 
Getting special-needs children into school is only the beginning. Once in school, these children need user-friendly instruction and teaching equipment. However, Juvva said, policymakers perceive this as an additional investment.
 
Within special-needs children who are enrolled in school, the number drops steadily in higher grades, with a drop after Grades VIII (48 per cent, compared to 2.6 for all children) and IX (21 per cent, compared to 6.8 for all children), according to the 2015-16 District Information System for Education data. As a result, 89 per cent of school-going children with special needs are in elementary school, only 8.5 per cent are in secondary school and a mere 2.3 per cent in higher secondary.
 
Should there be special schools for children with special needs, or should they be integrated into regular classrooms? India's policies are unclear.
 
While the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) runs separate schools for children with special needs, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) promotes an inclusive-education model where such children study in regular classrooms.
 
Children with disability who are able to beat all the odds stacked against them to complete education up to Grade X face another hurdle: What course to choose for higher studies, given the widespread bias about what a person with disability can or cannot do?
 
As a result, students with disability have often had to fight to assert their right to study courses of their choice. At least two visually-challenged students have been in the news recently for approaching the courts -- Kritika Purohit filed a case in the Bombay High Court to be allowed to study physiotherapy, and Reshma Dileep approached the Kerala High Court to be allowed to study science beyond secondary school.
 
"Primarily because education is a state and a central subject, there is no central body that can frame guidelines for everybody," Neha Trivedi, project consultant with Xavier's Resource Centre for Visually Challenged, which has assisted visually-challenged students in their legal battles, said. Even if the MHRD issues a circular asking all universities to allow visually-challenged students to study science, each university and college has to accept the directive and enable it through its operational guidelines, she said.
 
One instrument that can make a significant difference in the life of a person with disability is the disability certificate. Awarded to those considered to have more than 40 per cent disability, the certificate makes its holder eligible for various state and central government schemes, scholarships, free travel, loans, prosthetic aids and appliances, and even an unemployment allowance.
 
Medical boards of district civil hospitals are responsible for issuing disability certificates. However, over half the people with disability -- 51 per cent -- did not have disability certificates by July 2015, according to figures submitted by the MSJE in Lok Sabha.
 
The MSJE claims to have simplified the procedure for issuing disability certificates -- it can be issued by any doctor at a primary health centre for disabilities such as amputations, blindness and complete paralysis, and must be issued within a month of receiving an application.
 
In practice, however, it takes up to three to six times longer. 
 
There are only three centres which issue disability certificates that are recognised for government schemes in Mumbai -- JJ Group of Hospitals, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities, and All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sunil Bhadane, Special Educator, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, told IndiaSpend. "It takes anywhere between 3-6 months to receive the certificates because of the long wait to get an appointment," he said.
 
For people residing in rural areas, disability certificates are mandatory to avail reservation in jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. There is a shortage of specialists in rural areas to issue certificates for disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome, Rajive Raturi, Director, Disability Rights, Human Rights Law Network, Delhi, told IndiaSpend. "This makes it difficult for those with these disabilities to get their certificates and avail benefits," he said.
 
In December 2016, the Parliament approved the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The new Act is an improvement on the Persons with Disabilities Act, which it replaces, as it recognises 21 types of disability (up from seven earlier) including those caused by an acid attack, haemophilia, sickle cell disease and dwarfism. There is also a provision for making national and state funds available for financial support to persons with disability.
 
However, the budget for 2016-17 makes no mention of this fund. Even though there were increments in the budget for central sector schemes and a 3.4 per cent increase in the budget for autonomous bodies, the overall allocation to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities follows a decreasing trend. The share of allocation for persons with disability fell from 1.08 per cent of the allocation for the department in 2016-17 to 0.98 per cent in 2017-18.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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