TV & Radio
［ニューヨーク １７日 ロイター］ 米人気テレビ司会者のオプラ・ウィンフリーさん（５２）が、雑誌「O, The Oprah Magazine」の８月号で、自分は同性愛者ではないと語っている。
Gay marriage amendment faces uphill battle
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages is expected to fail again in the House, frustrating conservatives who have made it a legislative priority but also giving them an issue they can put before voters in November.
The House vote scheduled for Tuesday has little legislative significance because the Senate has already effectively killed the proposal for this waning session of Congress. But President Bush has asked, and social conservatives demanded, that gay marriage be on the agenda in the run-up to the election.
Democratic opponents criticized the timing of the vote, which Rep. John Conyers (news, bio, voting record) of Michigan, top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said was "an obvious ploy by the majority to play on the worst fears" of voters before an election.
The same-sex marriage debate mirrors that of the 2004 election year, when both the House and Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed to send a constitutional amendment to the states. But the issue, in the form of state referendums, helped bring conservative voters to the polls.
One result has been that, while Congress stayed on the sidelines, state legislatures moved aggressively to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Forty-five states have either state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage or state statutes outlawing same-sex weddings. Even in Massachusetts, the only state that allows gay marriage, the state's high court recently ruled that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban future gay marriages can be placed on the ballot.
"Our momentum in the states is extremely strong and Washington is playing catch-up," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage.
Daniels, who was involved in drafting the amendment's language, said it was essential that Congress eventually set a national standard. Members of Congress are "the only hope for seeing marriage protected in this country and they should be on record."
But Rep. Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record), an openly gay Democrat from Massachusetts, said the amendment would prevent states such as his own, where thousands of same-sex couples have married over the past 2 1/2 years, from making decisions on what constitutes marriage.
"I do not understand what motivates you," Frank said Monday, addressing Republicans on the Rules Committee. "I don't tell you who to love."
The proposed amendment says that "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither the Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
One conservative group, the Traditional Values Coalition, said it was a "good thing for traditional marriage" that the measure was unlikely to pass because it wasn't clear enough in ruling out civil unions between gays.
"We have just won several important court decisions in the past few weeks," said the coalition's executive director, Andrea Lafferty, but the amendment's proponents "are still playing 'Let's make a deal' with the liberals and the homosexual lobby."
The Senate took up the measure last month but fell 11 short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation to a final vote. The last House vote on the issue, just a month before the 2004 election, was 227-186 in favor of the amendment, 39 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment.
The U.S. Constitution has been amended only 27 times, including the 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights. In addition to two-thirds congressional approval, a proposed amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
The amendment is HJ Res 88.
On the Net:
Alliance for Marriage: http://www.allianceformarriage.org/
Traditional Values Coalition: http://traditionalvalues.org/
The New York Times
Dismissing ‘Sexist Opinions’ About Women’s Place in Science
By CORNELIA DEAN
Published: July 18, 2006
Perhaps it is inevitable that Ben A. Barres would have strong opinions on the debate over the place of women in science. Dr. Barres has a degree in biology from M.I.T., a medical degree from Dartmouth and a doctorate in neurobiology from Harvard. He is a professor of neurobiology at Stanford. And until his surgery a decade ago, his name was Barbara, and he was a woman.
Ben A. Barres recently.
Courtesy of Ben A. Barres
NOW AND THEN Ben A. Barres as Barbara, age 34; and as Ben at 42.
Now he has taken his unusual perspective to the current issue of the journal Nature, in a commentary titled “Does Gender Matter?”
Dr. Barres (pronounced BARE-ess), 51, who grew up in West Orange, N.J., said he had been thinking about the gender issue for over a year, since Lawrence H. Summers, then the president of Harvard, gave a talk in which he suggested that one explanation for women’s relative absence at the upper ranks of science might be innate intellectual deficiencies. Assertions of innate differences by other researchers — “sexist opinions,” Dr. Barres calls them — fueled his anger, especially because they came from scientists.
Dr. Barres discussed his commentary, his career and sexism in science in a telephone interview from his home in Stanford, Calif.
Q. What’s your response to people who say you rely too much on your own experience and should take scientific hypotheses less personally?
A. They should learn that scientific hypotheses require evidence. The bulk of my commentary discusses the actual peer-reviewed data.
Q. Why do some people attribute differences in professional achievement to innate ability?
A. One of the reasons is the belief by highly successful people that they are successful because of their own innate abilities. I think as a professor at Stanford I am lucky to be here. But I think Larry Summers thinks he is successful because of his innate inner stuff.
Q. What about the idea that men and women differ in ways that give men an advantage in science?
A. People are still arguing over whether there are cognitive differences between men and women. If they exist, it’s not clear they are innate, and if they are innate, it’s not clear they are relevant. They are subtle, and they may even benefit women.
But when you tell people about the studies documenting bias, if they are prejudiced, they just discount the evidence.
Q. How does this bias manifest itself?
A. It is very much harder for women to be successful, to get jobs, to get grants, especially big grants. And then, and this is a huge part of the problem, they don’t get the resources they need to be successful. Right now, what’s fundamentally missing and absolutely vital is that women get better child care support. This is such an obvious no-brainer. If you just do this with a small amount of resources, you could explode the number of women scientists.
Q. Why isn’t there more support for scientists who have children?
A. The male leadership is not doing it, but women are not demanding it. I think if women would just start demanding fairness, they might get it. But they might buy in a little bit to all this brainwashing. They are less self-confident. And when women speak out, men just see them as asking for undeserved benefits.
Q. Why are you a scientist?
A. I knew from a very young age — 5 or 6 — that I wanted to be a scientist, that there was something fun about it and I would enjoy doing it. I decided I would go to M.I.T. when I was 12 or 13.
Q. As a girl, were you pressured not to try for M.I.T.?
A. Of course. I was a very good math and science student, maybe the best in my high school. And despite all that, when it came time to talk to my guidance counselor, he did not encourage me. But I said, I want to go to M.I.T.; I don’t want to go anywhere else. So I just ignored him. Fortunately, my parents did not try to dissuade me.
Q. Were there girls at M.I.T. then?
A. Very few, but M.I.T. from its very start took women. I loved it. I am not saying it is perfect, but it was a great place to go to school.
Q. Why did you decide to specialize in neuroscience? Did the fact that you were a transgendered person spark your interest in the brain?
A. I think all transgendered people and gay people are aware from childhood that something is going on. But I thought I would be a chemist or an engineer. It was when I took a course from a fabulous neuroscientist that I just got interested in understanding the brain and how disease affected the brain.
Q. When you were a woman did you experience bias?
A. An M.I.T. professor accused me of cheating on this test. I was the only one in the class who solved a particular problem, and he said my boyfriend must have solved it for me. One, I did not have a boyfriend. And two, I solved it myself, goddamn it! But it did not occur to me to think of sexism. I was just indignant that I would be accused of cheating.
Then later I was in a prestigious competition. I was doing my Ph.D. at Harvard, which would nominate one person. It came down to me and one other graduate student, and a dean pulled me aside and said, “I have read both applications, and it’s going to be you; your application is so much better.” Not only did I not win, the guy got it, but he dropped out of science a year later.
But even then I did not think of sexism.
Q. Why didn’t you see these episodes as sexism?
A. Women who are really highly successful, they are just as bad as the men. They think if they can do it, anyone can do it. They don’t see that for every woman who makes it to the top there are 10 more who are passed over. And I am not making this up, that’s what the data show.
And it may be that some women — and African-Americans, too — identify less strongly with their particular group. From the time I was a child, from the littlest, littlest age, I did not identify as a girl. It never occurred to me that I could not be a scientist because I was a woman. It just rolled off my back.
Now I wonder, maybe I just didn’t take these stereotypes so seriously because I did not identify myself as a woman.
Q. As a transgendered person, are you viewed as having an unusually valuable perspective?
A. I think because I am transgendered some people view anything I say with suspicion. I am very different from the average person. But I have experienced life both as a woman and as a man. I have some experience of how both sexes are treated.
Q. What about the idea that male scientists are more competitive?
A. I think that’s just utter nonsense. Men just make this stuff up. But when women are made to feel less confident, they are less likely to enter the competition. I think a lot of this is just the way men and women are treated from the time they are very young.
Take my experience with M.I.T. If I had been a guy who had been the only one in the class to solve that problem, I am sure I would have been pointed out and given a pat on the back. I was not only not given positive feedback, I was given negative feedback. This is the kind of thing that undermines women’s self-confidence.
Q. What about the idea that women are too emotional to be hard-headed scientists?
A. It is just patently absurd to say women are more emotional than men. Men commit 25 times the murders; it’s shocking what the numbers are. And if anyone ever sees a woman with road rage, they should write it up and send it to a medical journal.
Q. Are men more careerist?
A. I think people do what they are rewarded for doing, and I think women realize, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, they are not going to get the rewards. So they put the hours into their families or whatever. That’s just a guess.
Science is like art, it’s just something you have to do. It’s a passion. When I go into a lab, I’ll go without sleep, I’ll go hours and hours, day after day. And I think women would do that if they weren’t given so much negative feedback.
Q. You write that as a man, you can complete a sentence without being interrupted. Are you treated differently in other ways?
A. It’s when people don’t know that I was a woman that I can really see the difference. Even in just stupid things. You go into a department store and people are more likely to wait on you.
Q. As a woman and then as a man, you have been a scientist for about three decades. Do you see things improving for women in science?
A. Slowly, but not nearly at the rate one would expect. In biology, something like 50 percent of the best postdocs are women. It’s still very bad in physics and engineering and chemistry, but even in biology you don’t see women making the leap to tenure. And this disturbs me greatly. These women have worked very hard. They have fulfilled their side of the social contract. I think what we’ve got is just a lot more highly trained, frustrated women.
A New View of the Boys Club
Before and After: Barres as a bridesmaid in 1988 (left) and today, as professor of neurobiology at Stanford
A New View of the Boys Club
A transgendered Stanford professor speaks out against discrimination in the sciences.
By Claudia Kalb
July 24, 2006 issue - Ben Barres knows how it feels to be treated like a girl. Back in high school, Ben—who at that point was a girl named Barbara—was desperate to ditch sewing and cooking class for the "boy" stuff: woodworking, mechanical engineering, auto mechanics. Every year, Barres asked to join the guys; every year, the answer was "No." Same thing when it was time for college. A top science student and captain of the math team, Barres dreamed of going to MIT, but her guidance counselor winced. " 'Oh no'," Barres recalls him saying, " 'you'll never get in there'."
Barres did get in there and today, with a B.S. from MIT, an M.D. from Dartmouth and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Barres, 51, is a leading neuroscientist and tenured professor at Stanford. He's also a female-to-male transgendered person (Barbara became Ben in 1997) who is speaking out about discrimination against women in science—on behalf of his former female self and the young female scientists he mentors. Last week, in a commentary published in the journal Nature, Barres took aim at the gender-gap-in-science debate sparked in 2005 by the then Harvard president Lawrence Summers. Summers suggested that differences in "intrinsic aptitude" between men and women might explain why fewer women rise to the top. Barres says the problem isn't brain power, it's discrimination. The "Larry Summers Hypothesis" has no data to support it, Barres writes, and "amounts to nothing more than blaming the victim."
Barres's unique perspective began in childhood. Young Barbara wanted to join the Boy Scouts and hang out with her brother's friends, not her sisters'. For Halloween, she dressed as a football player. Dresses and jewelry? Not interested. Early on, says Barres, "I knew that there was something very different about my gender." The feeling persisted into adulthood. Dr. Martin Raff, Barres's postdoc adviser at University College London, remembers his student feeling "remarkable discomfort as a woman." Much about her seemed male, says Raff. The way she dressed (T shirts and jeans), the way she walked. If she had to put a dress on, says Raff, "it would bother her for days beforehand."
Gender, however, had always taken a back seat to science, as Barres excelled in the study of glial cells in the brain. It was his student's sharp intellect and boundless passion for science, says Barres's graduate adviser at Harvard, David Corey, that stood out from the start. Barres spent days and nights in the lab. Not infrequently, Raff remembers, Barres slept on the floor in his office. Romance never held much appeal. OK, Barres has always loved Tom Cruise ("He's cute"). But he's never been strongly attracted to either sex. "I used to try to go out on dates," says Barres, "but I'd always think, 'Gee, I wish I was in the lab'."
The scientist's physical transformation began at the age of 40, when Barres was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. When doctors recommended a mastectomy, Barres made a startling request: take the healthy one, too. With his cancer cured, Barres sought testosterone treatments to change his sex from female to male. He says he's lost the ability to cry (or at least cry a flood of tears), which he believes is purely biological. But the "psychic relief" of finally feeling comfortable in his own skin is huge: "I'm so much happier now."
Barres is speaking out because of his deep commitment to science and because he believes he and other senior faculty have a responsibility to help women rise through the ranks. Yes, there are clearly physical differences between the sexes, says Barres, but there's no evidence that those differences are relevant to academic achievement. At Barres's alma mater, half of the undergrad science majors are women, says MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, but women account for only 13 percent of the faculty. The disparity exists nationwide. "It's leakage along the pipeline all the way," says Stanford president John Hennessy. In his commentary, Barres says selection committees need to be diversified, women need help in balancing family with career (Barres wants to start a foundation to fund child care) and academic leadership needs to break the silence about sexism.
Given his accomplishments, Barres says it would be hard to argue that he suffered severe discrimination himself. But he experienced enough bias as Barbara to know how it feels. And he hears enough to know it hasn't gone away. After his article came out, Barres's in box was flooded with e-mails from female scientists sharing stories about the barriers they face. "It's time for women to stand up in one strong voice and demand their rights," he says. With a man named Ben Barres cheering them on.
SEEING THE WORLD FROM BOTH SIDES