Category Archives: Clips

The High Price of Looking Like a Woman

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Published by the New York Times on August 19, 2011

It is a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, practice. Most plastic surgeons say silicone is safest when used as enclosed implants, but pumpers use loose silicone, which can migrate and cause disfigurement or significant scarring. Because medical-grade silicone can be hard to come by without hospital connections, some pumpers even inject cooking oil or industrial-grade silicone intended for cars and airplanes…

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The Vanguard Foundation’s Great Con

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Published by SF Weekly on July 18th, 2012.

Samuel “Mouli” Cohen was found guilty of defrauding the Vanguard Foundation’s major donors of millions over the course of six years. Cohen’s biggest aide in stealing the money was the foundation’s 15-year president, Hari Dillon, a charismatic hero of the left, who understood the power of loyalty to the “movement.”

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It’s Like a Set-Up to Get Rid of Indians


Published by Medium on September 8th, 2016.

Currently, the numbers of native children removed from their families and tribes are still disproportionate in some states compared to their non-native peers. Although they only make up two percent of the population, they are staggeringly overrepresented in state foster care placements across the country. According to the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, as of 2014, those figure are nearly 37 percent in Montana, 47 percent in Alaska and 48 percent in South Dakota. The majority of native children continue to be placed in non-native foster homes.

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India’s Trans Community Loth to Embrace Third-Gender Status


Published by the Guardian on June 2nd, 2016.

For 4,000 years, Indians have recognised people who don’t identify as either male or female as hijras. According to 2011 census data, almost half a million Indians identified as hijra. Advocates say the numbers are likely to be much higher. Establishing third-gender identity is a significant step for the community, allowing access to employment opportunities and social benefits.

Third-gender IDs do not address basic rights like marriage, transferring property or adopting children, which are governed by statutes based strictly on a man-woman binary.

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Philly’s Invisible Youth

Of tearing up napkins, the young man said, "It helps stop me from screaming and throwing and breaking shit." He had been at Covenant House for five days.

Published by Al Jazeera America on December 17th, 2015.

In 2011, 3,834 Philadelphia teens ran away or were kicked out of their homes, more than double the number from two years prior. From 2009 to 2013, the percentage of Philadelphia’s public school students who had ever experienced homelessness increased by 73 percent.

There are many reasons youth end up homeless. Some run away from their families, as I did. Some are kicked out of placements, as Darion was. Most are trying to escape violent homes. And unlike homeless adults and families, unaccompanied youths have no place to go: There’s a severe shortage of shelter beds and almost none are earmarked for them. Meanwhile, the Department of Human Services, the city’s child welfare agency, too often fails to intervene in cases of alleged abuse or neglect, leaving young people with the impossible choice of staying in violent homes or living on the streets. 

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The Standing Rock Sioux Fight to Get Their Children Back


Published by Al Jazeera America on November 4th, 2014.

Last year the ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the Oglala Sioux and the Rosebud Sioux tribes. They are suing South Dakota officials for systematically placing Indian children in state custody, violating the ICWA and denying their families and tribes due process.

The lawsuit alleges that parents weren’t allowed to hear the allegations against them, testify or present evidence in their own defense during the hearings. One of the plaintiffs, also a member of Standing Rock, had a custody hearing that lasted just 60 seconds, according to the ACLU.

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Vemma’s Army of Young Recruits


Published by Al Jazeera America on October 14th, 2014.

In September 2013, under pressure from angry parents and concerned schoolteachers, the company raised the age of enrollment to 18. (Previously, it had allowed kids as young as 14 to sign up as affiliates with parental consent.) But any minor who had joined prior to the policy change would be grandfathered in. 

Although numerous complaints have been filed against Vemma through consumer-protection agencies like the FTC and the Better Business Bureau, former affiliates rarely take their grievances to court. In order to become an affiliate, kids must sign an agreement promising to never speak out against the company or anyone involved in the company and agreeing not to bring a class-action lawsuit.

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Behind Boreyko’s Millions: Following the Money Trail

Vemma headquarters, 1621 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ.

Published by Al Jazeera America on October 14th, 2014.

Since the 1990s, Boreyko and his family have incorporated dozens of interlocking companies that share the same addresses and list only BK and his siblings as the principal shareholders, directors and officers. The Boreykos have a family foundation that says it donates a portion of Vemma’s sales to “support more than 170 children’s hospitals around the world” as well as giving to two major charities. In fact, according to its tax return, the foundation uses more than half of its funds to pay for operating and administrative expenses and paid exactly $0 for grants in 2012, a year of tremendous growth for Vemma. The Boreyko family also operates a limited-liability corporation to secure millions in loans and purchase commercial real estate which is then leased to companies such as New Vision and Vemma, producing hundreds of thousands in rent, much of it tax-deductible.

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In Ebola Response, Big Pharma and Public Sector Strive to Make Up for Lost Time


Published by GlobalPost on January 29, 2015.

The science and technology to produce an Ebola vaccine have existed for decades, experts say, but private companies never invested much in the effort because there was no profit to be made.

The new legislation passed in December adds Ebola to an 8-year-old Food and Drug Administration program that incentivizes companies to develop drugs for neglected tropical diseases.

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The Troubling Reality We Ignore About Queer Twentysomethings


Published by Fusion on February 26th, 2016.

In reality, most young queers don’t look like Cox or Jenner or Hughes or Delevingne. They’re not all privileged, clean-cut and buttoned-up. Their genders and orientations don’t always fit into neat categories. As awareness and acceptance has grown, the youngest generation increasingly dares to look more queer than their predecessors, who often desired nothing more than to blend in and be deemed “normal.” Passing as straight or cis-gender doesn’t feel as necessary as it used to be, and young queers don’t want to conform to conventional notions of “respectability.”

Queer millennials across the United States live in extreme poverty at much higher rates than their straight peers.

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