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Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff share a touching moment at the U.S. Open, the latest study on genetics and same-sex sexual behavior, and a Q&A with youth activist Naomi Wadler.
Today’s featured news
Many transgender Americans say that the Transportation Security Administration, which screens more than 2 million people per day, is failing them, according to a report published by ProPublica and the Miami Herald. A review of publicly available complaint data and interviews with transgender travelers shows that TSA continues to struggle to ensure the fair treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming people, from shortcomings in technology to insufficient training of staff members.
One of the most commonly recurring issues involves the TSA’s full-body scanners, which require a TSA officer — often within seconds of seeing a traveler — to register that person’s gender. The scanner is programmed to look for male genitalia on passengers deemed “male” by the officer and breasts on passengers deemed “female,” which can cause transgender individuals to be flagged for additional security.
Last month, Planned Parenthood announced it would withdraw from Title X, a federal law that provides funding for birth control services, rather than comply with the Trump administration’s new rule that prohibits clinics from referring a patient to an abortion provider or mentioning abortion at all. And Planned Parenthood isn’t the only reproductive health center to do so: As Lily staff writer Caroline Kitchener reports, many independent organizations are affected by what some call the administration’s “gag rule.”
Maine Family Planning (MFP), for example, which operates 18 of the 20 clinics that perform abortions in the state, has pulled out of the program. More than 27 percent of the organization’s annual budget came from Title X funds, and pulling out of the program may create what experts call a “contraceptive desert” in the state.
Independent networks are much more vulnerable than a large national organization such as Planned Parenthood, and as many as 15 of MFP’s clinics could close as a direct result of losing federal funding, Kitchener reports. Julie Jenkins, a nurse practitioner at an MFP clinic in Belfast, a coastal town with a population of 6,600, explained the issue like this:
Saturday’s U.S. Open match between No. 1 ranked Naomi Osaka and 15-year-old Coco Gauff went viral over the weekend — but not just because of the match itself, which Osaka won 6-3, 6-0. After the game, Osaka asked Gauff to remain alongside her on the court for the interview usually reserved solely for the winner. A visibly crying Gauff demurred at first, but, at Osaka’s urging, spoke and closed her remarks with, “I don’t want to take this moment away from her because she really deserves it.” Osaka, 21, beat Serena Williams in last year’s U.S. Open. “I was thinking it would be nice for her to address the people who watched her play. For me, I just thought about what I wanted her to feel leaving the court. I wanted her to have her head high and not walk off sad,” she said.
A 2018 letter from Manhattan’s top prosecutor, Cyrus Vance Jr., urges Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to push for legislation that would address a loophole in state law that stipulates an assaulter cannot be charged with a sex crime if the victim became voluntarily intoxicated. In the letter, first reported by NBC New York, Vance explains that under current law, someone who is drunk is not considered “mentally incapacitated” for purposes of giving consent. New York isn’t the only state to treat voluntary and involuntary intoxication differently in sexual assault cases; most states only explicitly say that drunkenness implies a lack of consent if the intoxication was involuntary, according to a Brooklyn Law Review article.
A study examining data from more than 470,000 people in the United States and the United Kingdom dispels the myth of the “gay gene.” Instead, it shows that genetics, along with environment, play a role in shaping sexuality. Researchers identified five genetic variants that were statistically associated with same-sex sexual behaviors. Although those variations cannot predict whether a person is gay, they may partly influence sexual behavior, the researchers found. Lead author Andrea Ganna said the research reinforces the understanding that same-sex sexual behavior is “a natural part of our diversity as a species.”
Remembering a history-making woman
Historians estimate that as many 200,000 women — most believed to have been Korean — were used as sex slaves by the Japanese during World World II. Jan Ruff-O’Herne was one of the few Europeans conscripted into sexual servitude during the war and would later advocate for her fellow “comfort women.”She died last week at age 96.
Ruff-O’Herne came forward publicly with her story in 1992. She recognized the importance of speaking out as a white woman, telling the Sydney Morning Herald, “They weren’t taking that much notice before because they were ‘only Asian comfort women.’ It’s terrible to say, but that’s the truth.” Official recognition of and reparations for World War II-era comfort women continue to be controversial, particularly between South Korea and Japan.
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
2. A lawsuit filed this week by 19 states challenges the Department of Homeland Security’s detention centers for migrant children. As Huffpost reports, migrant girls being held in centers were “visibly” bleeding through their underwear and pants while menstruating because of a lack of access to sanitary products, according to court filings.
3. President Trump dismissed his personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, after she said “things about my children” to reporters at an off-the-record dinner, Trump said Friday.
4. In the past, Bangladeshi women were required to choose between three marital status options on marriage forms, one of which used a word meaning “virgin.” Last week, Bangladesh’s high court struck the word, “kumari,” from the forms, replacing it with a word that unambiguously means “an unmarried woman.”
5. In a trial that started last week, 22 young women allege that they responded to Craigslist ads and then were tricked into performing in Internet pornography posted online — a rare look into the opaque world of online pornography, the New York Times reports.
This week, we hear from Naomi Wadler
When Naomi Wadler, then a fifth-grader, took to the stage at the inaugural 2018 gun violence protest March for Our Lives, she was the youngest speaker. Her speech — in which she urged the nation not to forget black girls and women in the conversation about gun violence — propelled her into the national spotlight. The Alexandria, Va., native starts seventh grade this week and continues to speak out against gun violence and other issues. She spent the summer reading, practicing math and preparing for her bat mitzvah.
Wadler is also a youth adviser to the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, which in 2017 published a study showing that adults view black girls as less innocent than their white peers. Wadler will be speaking on that study and more Sept. 8 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. If you have experienced “adultification bias,” you can share your story here.
On how she’s feeling about going back to school: “I really tried to take a break this summer for my mental health, my well-being. I really like doing that. It gave me some time for myself, but I’m also very anxious for school to start. I can’t wait. I love school, I love learning.”
On having a social media presence: “Actually, I don’t manage my social media, my mother does. I’m trying to get her to turn it over to me for my 13th birthday.”
On what she wants the world to know about the problems facing black girls: “I am very lucky to say that I don’t have an overwhelming amount of scenarios where I can say, ‘I was mistreated there.’ … In terms of representation in the media, I really like to talk about how we all have to know that we matter, even if society doesn’t accept us. Because it’s hard to grow up in a society that projects on you.”
Her message to other girls and women: “I’d like to say that success looks like you. People often look to others for a definition of success, and I want girls to know that they are successful, and whatever they do will be successful and they don’t need validation from somebody else.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
Summer is fleeting, but photographs are (mostly) forever. That’s why this is a perennial activity of mine: I’ll sift through my recent photos, then log on to Social Print Studio and order prints of my favorites. The site makes it super easy to import from Instagram, or you can upload photos from your phone or computer; plus, the cardstock they print on is matte and sturdy — very professional-looking. Clip your photos to a string and let them dangle, like my friends used to do in college, or stick them straight to your tiny apartment’s walls, like I do now.
—Lena Felton, Lily multiplatform editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week