Intersex Awareness Day
Intersex Awareness Day is observed on October 26, 2014. Intersex Awareness Day (also spelled as Inter Sex Awareness Day or abbreviated as IAD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight the challenges faced by intersex individuals. IAD is an international day of grass-roots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children.
On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America and allies from Transexual Menace held the first public intersex demonstration in Boston, where American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. Intersex is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, and/or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.
“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.
Though we speak of intersex as an inborn condition, intersex anatomy doesn't always show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn't found to have intersex anatomy until she or he reaches the age of puberty, or finds himself an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is autopsied. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.
Which variations of sexual anatomy count as intersex? In practice, different people have different answers to that question. That’s not surprising, because intersex isn't a discreet or natural category.
What does this mean? Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum. There’s no question that in nature there are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow. But the decision to distinguish, say, between orange and red-orange is made only when we need it—like when we’re asking for a particular paint color. Sometimes social necessity leads us to make color distinctions that otherwise would seem incorrect or irrational, as, for instance, when we call certain people “black” or “white” when they’re not especially black or white as we would otherwise use the terms.
In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape and morphology. So-called “sex” chromosomes can vary quite a bit, too. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order.
So nature doesn't decide where the category of “male” ends and the category of “intersex” begins, or where the category of “intersex” ends and the category of “female” begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.
In our work, we find that doctors’ opinions about what should count as “intersex” vary substantially. Some think you have to have “ambiguous genitalia” to count as intersex, even if your inside is mostly of one sex and your outside is mostly of another. Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex—so that even if you’re born with atypical genitalia, you’re not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development. And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.
Rather than trying to play a semantic game that never ends, we at ISNA take a pragmatic approach to the question of who counts as intersex. We work to build a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for anyone born with what someone believes to be non-standard sexual anatomy.
By the way, because some forms of intersex signal underlying metabolic concerns, a person who thinks she or he might be intersex should seek a diagnosis and find out if she or he needs professional healthcare.
Mother-In-Law Day is celebrated on October 26th. It is celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday in October. A mother-in-law is the mother of a person's spouse. Two women who are mothers-in-law to each other's children may be called co-mothers-in-law.
In comedies, the mother-in-law is sometimes shown as the bane of the husband, who is married to the mother-in-law's daughter. Mothers-in-law are often stereotyped in mother-in-law jokes.
A parent-in-law is a person who has a legal affinity with another by being the parent of the other's spouse. Many cultures and legal systems impose duties and responsibilities on persons connected by this relationship.
How to Celebrate National Mother in Law Day:
- Keep in mind that this day of celebration was invented to give you a chance to honor the person who gave birth to your spouse. Even if you have a contentious relationship with your mother-in-law, showing a little bit of appreciation to her can do wonders for your marriage.
- Think about her interests and hobbies. Everyone loves a gift that shows some thoughtfulness. If your mother-in-law has a favorite hobby or has expressed an interest or desire for a new blender, think about surprising her with that blender she’s been pining for.
- Give her some flowers. If your mother-in-law has everything she needs and wants, you can always give her a nice bouquet of her favorite flowers. If she is an avid gardener, choose a potted plant or some special gardening tools.
- Take her out to dinner. Take her out to her favorite restaurant or invite her over for a family dinner. Be sure to prepare her favorite foods.
- Give her a gift certificate. If time is a problem, think about giving her a gift certificate to her favorite spa or to a play she’s been wanting to see. If you opt for a gift certificate, make sure it is for something she will enjoy.
- Consider a joint celebration. If possible, think about honoring both mother-in-laws with a big family dinner or outing. Get the kids involved in planning a special day for both their grandmothers.
National Day of the Deployed
National Day of the Deployed is a day to honor the many selfless actions demanded of military members and their loved ones across the globe serves as a tangible reminder of the sacrifice being made in homes across America every day. Every deployment reflects the deep commitment of not only the deploying member, but of the many friends and loved ones who are left behind to aid in answering our nations call. Selfless men, women and children who are called upon to set aside their personal comfort and convenience to support the heroes they call mom, dad, father, mother, brother, sister or friend.
Senator John Hoeven announced today that a resolution he introduced to continue honoring the nation’s deployed service men and women with a Day of the Deployed has unanimously passed in the Senate. Hoeven launched the first Day of the Deployed in 2006 while serving as Governor of North Dakota and spearheaded the effort to bring the initiative to the national level this year. The resolution, passed last night, calls on all Americans to reflect on the service of the nation’s deployed service members and to offer support to their loved ones.
“Our U.S. service men and women currently deployed, along with their loved ones, make untold sacrifices as they serve our nation,” said Hoeven. “A national Day of the Deployed pays tribute to their commitment to our country and their work to protect our freedoms. We want to ensure that our military members and their loved ones know of our appreciation and support before, during and after their service.”
On Oct. 26, 2006, then-Governor Hoeven launched the first Day of the Deployed in support of Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit organization that aids deployed American military personnel and their families. The effort spread, and in 2010, 40 states had proclaimed a Day of the Deployed.
“Working with John Hoeven on Day of the Deployed since 2006 in North Dakota has been an honorable way to extend appreciation to the deployed service members and their families. Day of the Deployed is recognition for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the United States of America. This day is all about them,” said Shelle Michaels, Soldiers’ Angels Deputy Director of Development.
“More than 2 million Americans currently serve in the Unites States Armed Forces. These men and women are making great scarifies to ensure the safety and security of our great nation.
Next Wednesday, October 26, is the Day of the Deployed. I encourage people in North Dakota and across our nation to take a moment to recognize and celebrate America’s heroes — our men and women in uniform. They deserve our support and the thanks of a grateful nation,” said Senator Kent Conrad, a cosponsor of the resolution.
Currently, more than 2.27 million people serve as members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those in the active guard and reserve components, with thousands of members deployed each year to 150 countries around the world. The resolution calls on Americans to reflect on the service of the nation’s soldiers and encourages ceremonies and activities on Oct. 26 to mark the Day of the Deployed.
National Mincemeat Day
National Mincemeat Day takes place on October 26th. Mincemeat developed as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking some 500 years ago in England, where mince pies are still considered an essential accompaniment to holiday dinners just like the traditional plum pudding. This pie is a remnant of a medieval tradition of spiced meat dishes, usually minced mutton, that have survived because of its association with Christmas. This pies have also been known as Christmas Pies. Mince pie as part of the Christmas table had long been an English custom.
Today, we are accustomed to eating mince pie as a dessert, but actually "minced" pie and its follow-up "mincemeat pie" began as a main course dish with with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices). As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly.
Many modern recipes contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening is sometimes used in its place. Variants of mincemeat are found in Australia, Brittany, Canada, northern Europe, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In some countries the term mincemeat refers to minced or ground meat.
Mincemeat is frequently consumed during the Christmas holiday season when mince pies or mincemeat tarts are served. In the northeast United States, mincemeat pies are also a traditional part of the Thanksgiving holiday, sometimes served with a piece of Cheddar cheese.
National Mule Day
One of the lesser-known annual observances that may not have made it on to your calendar is National Mule Day. October 26 is the date designated to celebrate these unique hybrid animals.
Mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse and are more common than hinnies, the offspring of female donkeys and male horses. Because donkeys and horses are actually different species with a different number of chromosomes, their offspring are nearly always sterile.
The size of a mule is largely dependent upon the size of its mother. All kinds of horses are used to breed mules, and draft horses are a popular cross to create heavyweight mules. Today, breeders create designer mules using pinto or Appaloosa horses. Gaited horses often produce gaited mules.
Mules are valued for bringing the best characteristics of horses and donkeys into one animal. They are said to be stronger, smarter and have better endurance than either of their parents and because of these characteristics, they are still valued work animals. In recent years, they have even been used by the United States military to transport equipment in mountainous regions of Afghanistan.
Mule enthusiasts have adapted to a changing equine market, and mules are used as companions and pleasure riding animals. They can be found under saddle and in harness at horse shows and out on the trails.
National Pumpkin Day
Smashing news - October 26 is National Pumpkin Day!
Have you ever wondered why we carve pumpkins for Halloween? Looks as though we have the mythic Irish character "Stingy Jack" to thank for that. Legend has it Jack played not one, but two tricks on the devil and as a result was denied entry to both heaven and hell when he died. The devil gave Jack’s soul some coal to light the way, and Jack, being resourceful, put it in a hollowed-out turnip. This became known as a jack-o’-lantern. Different parts of England starting using turnips, potatoes and beets filled with coal to ward off evil roaming the streets. It wasn’t until America was settled that immigrants learned of the pumpkin, which is native to the U.S.
Pumpkin-flavored everything is popular this time of year since pumpkins ripen when the weather starts to turn. The cold weather means pumpkin-flavored coffee, cheesecake, even beer. Speaking of which, turning a pumpkin into a keg for pumpkin-flavored beer is much easier than you think, and sure to be a fantastic party trick.
One of the earliest pumpkin-flavored concoctions was the pie. Resourceful colonists would apparently cut the top off a pumpkin, remove the pulp and seeds and then fill the gourd with milk, spices and honey and bake it over hot ashes.
When you pick up your pumpkins for carving, grab an extra so you can actually cook it! Pumpkins are very nutritious and their sweet flesh means kids won’t know you’re feeding them something healthy. Spices like cumin, turmeric, paprika or chipotle powder can turn your pumpkin into a trip around the world.
If there’s a pumpkin shortage in your part of the country this year, you might want to reach out to Ron Wallace. A couple of weeks ago he won a $15,000 prize for growing not only the largest pumpkin ever , but also the largest fruit grown anywhere in the world. Ron’s pumpkin weighed in at 2,009 pounds, beating the previous record of 1,843 pounds.
Visit A Cemetery Day
October 28, is Visit A Cemetery Day: Cemeteries are much more than just a peaceful and tranquil resting place for the departed.
Cemeteries are a fascinating snapshot of a community’s historical timeline, a proud and permanent museum for those who came before and helped shape the identity and personality of every community across North America.
From the unique names, interesting symbols, dates and thoughtful epitaphs engraved into each unique headstone or mausoleum, each and every marker in a cemetery has its own interesting story that should be shared. Awareness of the value and historical importance of cemeteries and funeral traditions and encouraging people to think about their life celebration options are our goals, and we hope you will join us in this very special event that you can help organize in your own community.
October 28 is the fourth annual “Visit A Cemetery Day” and as a funeral service professional or cemeterian, we would like you to join the International Memorialization Supply Association (IMSA), mysendoff.com and Kates-Boylston Publications by inviting your community to experience the historical significance of your local cemeteries by sharing the enclosed news release with partners in your local media. Of course, you will want your media partners to also mention that you are a local partner in “Visit A Cemetery Day.”
Add the name of your funeral home or cemetery to the media release (as shown in the link below) and forward to your local media partners. We would also encourage you to share the information on your facebook page to help spread the word about Visit A Cemetery Day amongst your Facebook friends.
By encouraging people in your community to visit a cemetery, whether to visit their family and distant ancestors or just to enjoy an interesting autumn afternoon before the cooler winter temperatures arrive, you will be helping to initiate the discussion of funeral life celebration planning, the value of traditional interment and also position yourself as a participant in the preservation and celebration of your community’s history.
Worldwide Howl at the Moon Night
Wolves have been connected with howling at the moon for centuries. Images of wolves and moons have been traced back to the Stone Age, while Roman and Greek goddesses of the moon were also known for keeping dogs and wolves in their company. There were even some Native American cultures that believed wolves summoned the moon to rise every night.
Are wolves really howling at the moon though? Experts say this popular belief is not actually true. Wolves are nocturnal creatures, and because they travel in packs, they often howl to communicate with other members of their pack. While the way they hold their heads toward the sky makes it look as though these nighttime creatures are communicating with the moon, they do this because it helps their howls carry a further distance. The incredibly vocal wolf howl can carry up to 6 miles in wooded areas, and up to 10 miles in areas where there are no trees.
This connection between wolves and the moon helped to contribute to the popular mythical creature of the werewolf. Werewolves or “lycanthropes” are humans who have the ability to transform into a wolf or wolf-like being. In most werewolf mythology, this transformation takes place whenever there is a full moon. Werewolves usually have a bad reputation, with several people believing that lycanthropes come to be as some sort of punishment to the person whom the condition is effecting. Werewolf legends were often used to explain the grotesque acts of serial killers. More recent werewolf stories and movies link lycanthropy with puberty because of the onset of hair growth, mood swings, and aggressive impulses. Find more werewolf trivia here.
After you’ve given a proper nighttime howl tonight, you can continue your celebration by watching any of the various werewolf movies or television shows listed here!