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Gender Neutral Facebook!

obscenepromqueen:

freesamuel:

fionafix-it:

nepeta:

If you use this you can change your gender on facebook to be undisclosed/other, a friend sent it to me the other day and asked me to post it as it may be of benefit to someone! c:

Works and takes all of three minutes.

done and done

This was so easy! Thanks guise.

(Source: princess-fukawa)

Odofemi: "Crazy Trans Woman" Syndrome

odofemi:

My doctor, who is a trans woman, and I had a conversation today about the guy who raped me earlier this year. At first she was like “did you charge him?” When I explained that he’s a trans man of colour, she immediately got why I hadn’t. Not because I couldn’t bare to put a trans person, especially a trans person of colour, in jail (which I can’t), but also because it would cause me to be completely ostracized by the queer/trans community in Toronto. I’d be “just another crazy trans woman.” It was an uncomfortable realization for both of us to sit there, as trans women, knowing that we have literally no recourse when violence is enacted on us within the community (though if the same violence conveniently came from a white cis straight man, we would be celebrated as heroes for standing up to such an easy target, at least within the queer/trans community).

She and I both, as professionals in the community, are well aware of the fine line we have to walk in order to be taken seriously in the queer/trans community. We not only have to look a certain way (both in terms of passing and in terms of conforming to queer normative acceptable standards of appearance), we also have to make sure not to rock the boat too much. We have to appear as sane and calm as possible, no matter the circumstances. If we show too much emotion at any time (read: any inconvenient emotion), we get hit with a double-whammy of misogyny and transphobia, quickly written off as hysterical “crazy trans women.” Accuse the wrong person of something, anyone too close to queer-home, and that’s the end of our credibility and the revoking of our entrance passes to Queerlandia.

It’s exhausting having to walk such a fine line. I’ve found that there are so many “danger zones” to watch out for. Trans women have to not only be queer-literate (knowing queer social justice language), we have to be exceptionally good at using it. Any minor slip of language or politics and we’re labeled “crazy trans women” by cis people while trans men nod knowingly in agreement — rarely standing up for us, and just as often perpetuating the ‘crazy trans woman’ stereotype themselves.

I became aware of this initially through cryptic warnings from an older queer trans woman friend of mine, years before I became involved in the queer community, but I didn’t realize the extent of it at first. That is, until I was invited to participate in it. When I first became involved heavily, I befriended two trans men whom I looked up to a great deal, and one of the first conversations we had in private was a gossip session in which they “warned” me about various trans women and got me to agree that they were “crazy.” I’ve found similar conversations throughout the community, often used in a way that it makes me wonder if what’s really happening is that they’re subconsciously testing my loyalty to the queer zeitgeist. Am I good tranny or a bad tranny? Am I willing to be part of their clique, giving them the ability to deflect any and all criticism of transmisogyny, or am I a “problem?”

Before I realized that this was a system, that trans women were being systematically tested and written off, I engaged in it myself. You get a self-esteem boost, knowing that the cool kids don’t count you among those trans women. Those trans women who stepped on the wrong toes, who take up “too much space,” who don’t have the right guilt-producing identity complex to be worthy of space (disabled young trans sex workers of colour who vogue are considered highly prized friend-accessories, to be seen but not really heard beyond the occasional “gurl” for comedic effect, but only if they have the right haircut and the right clothes and are working towards a bachelors of gender studies or similarly useless degree).

Who are these “crazy trans women?” Often they are incredibly sincere activists who haven’t had the privilege of being taught all of the ins and outs of anti-oppression social justice practice that is a prerequisite to membership in this queer community. Often they are labeled “too emotional” and “too angry,” “loose cannons” who are out of control when speaking about our experiences of sex work that don’t fit into the easily digestible “I do queer feminist porn on weekends to pay for my fluevogs while I’m in grad school” vision of sex work that the queer community has deemed acceptable. Often they are trans women who are said to take up “too much space,” while everyone whispers about how “you know, I know it’s wrong to say, but she just seems like she has male privilege, you know? Like you can just feel it. Not that I’m saying she’s a man, but, you know, you never know.”

At the end of the day, this whole complex of issues is simply misogyny, ableism, and transphobia dressed up as “community accountability.” It holds trans women to impossible standards, opening us up to vulnerability to all forms of in-community violence (physical, sexual, social), and creating a fear within the minds of so many queer trans women that our second-class position within the queer community could be ripped from our hands at any time for any minor infraction.

I’m tired of trying not to be a crazy trans woman in the voyeuristic eyes of queer community.

Morgan M Page/Odofemi, 2013.

Election 2012 resources for American voters

‘Tis the season to head to the polls, but voting isn’t as easy as just showing up. So, if you are casting a ballot, check out these resources:

Verify your voter registration status, where to vote and what sort of identification is required to cast a ballot at CanIVote.org.

Many states allow early voting. Check with your local elections office for requirements, times and locations. You can also apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot. Military service members and other U.S. citizens living abroad may also vote this way.

Congress.org lists important deadlines, dates and election information by state.

The American Civil Liberties Union lists voting rights by state.

Many states have recently passed voter fraud protection laws that disproportionally suppress the vote of people of color, students, people in poverty and senior citizens. The Congressional Black Caucus lists resources and strategies for overcoming these restrictions.

For voters with disabilities, the Brennan Center for Justice created an in-depth guide to potential voting accessibility issues and Nonprofit Vote lists information on voting with disabilities by state.

All states except Maine and Vermont somehow restrict the voting rights of prisoners, ex-cons, felons, and/or misdemeanor offenders. Check your state’s restrictions at ProCon.org.

Brush up on the basics of America’s election process by reading Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government. The guide is meant for younger audiences, but it’s chock full of easy to understand information for people of all ages.

Ballot.org compiles voting guides by state from different organizations, including unions, political parties and nonprofits. Also check with your favorite nonprofits, political organizations and publications for the issues and candidates they support.

Voters can type in their address on SmartVoter.org to easily find information on candidates and ballot initiatives. The website, created by League of Women Voters, generates a virtual copy of your ballot with candidate information, including endorsements, biography, opinions on issues and the candidate’s website.

Check a politician’s voting history while in office at OnTheIssues.org.

The National Center for Transgender Equality created an intersectional guide to overcoming voting obstacles that addresses identification issues for transgender people, as well as other possible problems that could arise on election day.

The Veteran’s Party of America breaks down homeless voting registration policies for each state, and the National Coalition for the Homeless created a comprehensive homeless voter’s rights guide.

If your right to vote is refused or if any other issue arises while voting, contact Election Protection, a nonpartisan organization devoted to providing access to voters.

View election results on your state’s secretary of state website, your local board of elections website, or your favorite local news outlet.

Source: Stuff Queer People Need To Know 

I’m so sick of hearing about suicide prevention and rallies to stop suicide.

glitterfarm:

If you want to stop suicide, then stop oppression.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop stigmatization of mental illness.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop bullying.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop capitalism.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop treating people with hatred and disrespect.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop shaming people with suicidal thoughts.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop creating a world people can’t live in.

Resurrecting this because it’s still relevant. And it’s in my new zine. Guess I’ll post that later.

I’m so sick of hearing about suicide prevention and rallies to stop suicide.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop oppression.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop stigmatization of mental illness.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop bullying.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop capitalism.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop treating people with hatred and disrespect.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop shaming people with suicidal thoughts.

If you want to stop suicide, then stop creating a world people can’t live in.

(Source: glitterfarm)

Queer Is Community (Please reblog and share)

[Chicago] We’re creating a space to open a dialogue around racism, transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, sexism, ableism, violence and any other limitations to community-building and to inspire positive change.

Queer is Community is an upcoming event at the Center on Halsted. On Sunday, May 27, Queer is Community will bring together performers, activists, students, nonprofits and folks from across Chicago to dialogue about community building in Chicago and the need for building inclusive, affirming spaces in our community. That evening we will create a space for a discussion on racism, sexism, transphobia and other pitfalls of our community that divide us, rather than unite us. 

We will begin with a small rally/speakout from 6:00 to 6:45 outside of the Center, followed by a 15-minute period to allow our vigil attendees and general attendees to file into the center. We will request a $5 suggest donation at the door, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The donations will be split with the Center on Halsted, to cover the cost of the space, and The Crib (For more on The Crib: http://www.thenightministry.org/001_programs/040_youth_services/030_youth_housing/040_the_crib).

Hosted by Adam Guerino, the moderator of last year’s We Are Halsted event, Queer is Community will begin with an hour of performances, from personalities across the spectrum of the community. These performers will speak to their own experiences with these issues, and they include:

Jamie Royce of Stuff Queer People Need to Know, joined by members of Queer Choir
Tony Soto of The Qu
ellie navidson of Genderqueer Chicago and No Boys Allowed
Precious Davis, youth outreach coordinator at the Center on Halsted
Yasmin Nair of Gender JUST and Against Equality
Brian Turner, outreach coordinator at TaskForce Prevention & Community Services
Zachary Stafford of the Huffington Post
Trans educator Rebecca Kling
Queer performer Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero (aka. Vajaqueque Brown)

Afterward, we will break for a 15-minute intermission, and conclude the evening with an hour-long discussion by this diverse panel of community members on including intersecting identities and inspiring change.

Accessibility notes: The Center on Halsted is physically accessible, as well as the restrooms. The event is all ages. Restrooms closest to the event space on the third floor will be gender neutral.

WHEN/WHERE:

Rally and Speakout:
Sunday May 27th, 2012
6:00 PM
Halsted and Waveland
Chicago, IL 60613

Performance:
Sunday May 27th, 2012
7:00 P.M.
Center on Halsted, 3rd floor
3656 N. Halsted Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

$5 suggested donation

MEDIA PARTNERS:

In Our Words: 
www.inourwordsblog.com // http://www.facebook.com/InOurWords

Stuff Queer People Need to Know: http://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/ // http://www.facebook.com/SQPNTK

The L Stop:
http://thelstop.org/ // http://www.facebook.com/TheLStop

The Qu: 
www.thequ.co // http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Qu/117528248334579

SocialScope:
www.50faggots.com

The Civil Rights Agenda:
www.jointcra.org // http://www.facebook.com/jointcra
Those who subvert social norms are, ostensibly, people who have forgotten that they can be seen, publicly, at any time. Therefore, when they transgress social norms—by expressing physical affection for a person not visibly coded as the opposite sex, for example, or by being fat and rejecting social and bodily invisibility—they need to be reminded of this omniscient social gaze, and in the absence of institutional discipline, must be punished so they do not transgress again. This is the mechanism by which a dude who sees me in a vividly-colored dress, walking alone as though I either don’t know or don’t care that I am defying bodily norms, feels compelled to scream “UGLY FAT BITCH” at me. He is applying social discipline and teaching me a lesson: Everyone can see you, and your body and/or behavior are unacceptable.
So Michel Foucault and Jeremy Bentham walk into an elementary school cafeteria* via the Two Whole Cakes blog by Lesley Kinzel (via transformfeminism)

Art of Transliness: Trans* People and US Marriage Laws: Updated

artoftransliness:

Being transgender leads to all types of tricky situations, particularly when it comes to legal situations. In short, the laws are not written with us in mind. So what’s a trans* guy (or trans* person in general) to do when he realizes he wants to marry his partner? The answer is a little complicated and depends on the laws where you live/where you want to get married, your legal sex and the legal sex of your partner. Here’s a breakdown:

-Marriage laws, as well as laws pertaining to one’s legal sex, vary by state. The rule generally is that if you want to marry a person who is by legal definition a woman (has female documentation), you’re safest if you are male on your birth certificate as well as your drivers license. If this is the case, you should be able to get married anywhere in the world and have your marriage recognized in whatever state you live in. Here’s the difficult thing, though, you can’t change your gender marker on your birth certificate in every state (while others allow you to, but require surgery). To know if you’ll be able to change your birth certificate you should research the laws of the state in which you were born. 

-You still may be able to enter into a marriage with a legal female if your drivers license bears a male gender marker but you haven’t been able to change your birth certificate. More states allow you to change the gender marker on your drivers license than you birth certificate, and some states only require that (and perhaps another form of id like a passport) for a marriage license. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown on what is required for a marriage license

-Keep in mind that the state in which you were born determines how you change your gender on your birth certificate, the state in which you reside determines how you change the gender on your drivers license, and the state in which you want to get married determines what types of identification are required for you to wed. If you’re able to change your birth certificate in the state where you were born, you will likely be able to change your drivers license. Whether or not you’re considered legally male depends on your gender marker on your birth certificate and your drivers license (if you only have your drivers id changed and not your birth certificate, that is when things get complicated and you enter into a sort of legal grey area). 

-If you still are legally female and want to marry a legal female (or if you’re legally male and want to marry a legal male), marriage for “same sex” individuals is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington D.C., New York, and Washington state. Keep in mind that these marriages are only recognized by those states as well as Rhode Island and Maryland, they are NOT recognized by the federal government and so cannot be used for immigration purposes (unfortunately). If you get married in Iowa you cannot go home to Missouri and have your marriage recognized by the state. Civil Unions or domestic partnerships are legal in Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine, and Hawaii, *edit* and California. For more information on the marriage laws in different states, check out this website

-If you are legally female and want to marry a legal male, congratulations because you have found a loophole in the gay marriage debate! Feel free to shock and awe your friends with your legal gay wedding in Texas, Arkansas, or any other state where it will be sure to piss off your neighbors. 

Here’s more information on changing your gender marker on your birth certificatedrivers license, or passport

Navigating updated TSA policies for transgender people and sexual assault survivors

While the Transportation Security Administration has implemented new policies revolving body scanner and patdown airport security screenings, many people weary of traveling, especially transgender people and survivors of sexual assault

The advanced imaging technology scanners—used to detect prohibited items including weapons, explosives and other metallic and non-metallic threat items concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact—previously created a detailed image like this one:

Photo: Screen capture of the TSA body scans, which is a nearly nude person with weapons concealed on their clothing. Photo source: Google Images

The scanner image leave little to the imagination. While the TSA maintains the images do not show faces and are deleted, there have been reports of scanner images leaked online. And blurring faces does not mean the photos are anonymous, as scars, tattoos and other body modifications can identify a photo.

Newly implemented software would create an image like the one below, with a generic outline of a person, locating on the body potential threat items, weapons or anomalies:

Photo: A screen capture of the TSA's body image software, with a  generic body outline, front and back. Photo source: Google Images

But the new scanners require screeners to select a male or female gender for the passenger based on the passenger’s gender presentation, which is potentially problematic for transgender passengers. When asked if a transgender woman with a penis was scanned as female, “the reality is, an anomaly will come up if the individual appears to be female–is female–and has parts that may not be expected, additional screening will be necessary,” said Stephanie Stoltzfus, a representative of the TSA Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, External Compliance and Public Outreach Division, while unveiling the new software.

“Let’s say [a TSA agent] hits the blue button, [indicating male],” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, to TruthOut.org. ”There’s three kinds of people for whom they might hit the blue button, all of whom the TSA agent perceives to be male. And the person might be the person who has stereotypical genitalia, a normal-sized penis and testicles. But the person might be somebody who has disproportionate, or unexpectedly large genitalia; or unexpectedly small, or no genitalia.”

Passengers whose bodies don’t conform to a TSA agent’s expectations of their perceived or stated gender—whether those expectations are encoded in a device or the human mind—become targets of suspicion, and can be targeted for further security screenings and patdowns.

If a person opts out of the body scan, they will be subject to pat-downs in which TSA agents touch a passengers inner thighs, as well as between and below breasts.

In its body scanner FAQs, NCTE offers these travel tips:

  • Travelers should make sure the gender provided when they book their flight matches the gender designation on the government-issued ID they bring to the airport. TSA travel document checkers will check to ensure that information on your ID matches your boarding pass; it does not matter whether your current gender presentation matches the gender marker on your ID or your presentation in your ID photo, and TSA officers should not comment on this.
  • Both travelers and TSA personnel have the right to be treated with dignity, discretion and respect. If you encounter any issues, politely ask to speak to a supervisor immediately. Remain polite. Do not raise your voice or threaten TSA staff; this only results in additional delays.
  • You have the right to opt out of a full-body scan in favor of a manual pat-down. It is your choice.
  • You have the right to choose whether a pat-down is conducted in the public screening area or in a private area, and, if in a private area, whether to be accompanied by a travel companion.
  • You have the right to have manual search procedures performed by an officer who is of the same gender as the gender you are currently presenting. This does not depend on the gender listed on your ID, or on any other factor. If TSA officials are unsure who should pat you down, ask to speak to a supervisor and calmly insist on the appropriate officer.
  • Transgender people should never be required to lift, remove or raise an article of clothing to reveal a prosthetic item and should not be asked to remove it. This applies to items such as breast forms and packers.
  • You should not be subjected to additional screening or inquiry because of any discrepancy between a gender marker on an ID and your appearance. As long as your ID has a recognizable picture of you on it, with your legal name and birth date, it should not cause any problem.
  • Foreign objects under clothing, such as binding, packing or prosthetic devices, may show up as unknown or unusual images on a body scan or patdown, which may lead TSA personnel to do additional screening.  This does not mean that you cannot fly with these items, but you may be forced to undergo further screening. Be prepared to explain what these items are or check them in your luggage so that you can minimize scrutiny and delays.
  • Items containing liquid, gel or powder substances will trigger additional security screenings; therefore, we strongly recommend you pack these items in your checked luggage or leave them at home.
  • Wigs or hairpieces may require additional screening if they are bulky or not form-fitting. If you have gone through a metal detector or body scanner and TSA personnel want to do additional screening of a wig or hairpiece, you may request that a patdown be limited to your hairpiece or that you be permitted to pat the area down yourself and have your hands swiped for chemical residue.
  • If you are carrying medically prescribed items, such as syringes for hormone injections or vaginal dilators, it is very helpful to have proof of the medical necessity of the item. Ask your doctor for a letter stating that he or she has prescribed the item, or keep medical devices in their pharmacy packaging that includes a prescription label. Be prepared to briefly explain the purpose of the item if asked.

Additionally, many aspects of airport security can further traumatize a sexual assault survivor. According to Newsweek:

“After a sexual assault, it seems that many survivors have difficulty having their bodies touched by other people,” says Shannon Lambert, founder of the Pandora Project, a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. This fear of contact even extends to partners and, often, medical professionals. “A lot of survivors do not want to be in positions where they’re vulnerable. They put up defenses so that they can be in control of their body. In cases like this, it seems like some of that control is going away.”

If that sense of control is violated, it can lead to more than hurt feelings. There’s a physical reaction associated with a triggering incident, and the response can vary from person to person.

“We’ve had a number of survivors who have had their pictures taken and put online,” as part of a sexual assault, says Lambert. “So for them, even though [the TSA photo is] deleted, even if the person is in the other room, the idea that the photo’s being taken can be difficult to handle.”

If taking to the skies is the only travel option, Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Servicesrecommends survivors familiarize themselves with TSA security procedures to help avoid a potentially triggering incident.

Passengers may opt to communicate sensitive personal or medical matters on a standardized notification card created by the TSA. While this card does not exempt anyone from security screenings, it serves as a means to discretely inform agents about a passenger’s situation. The Pandora Project has created cards like these specifically for survivors of sexual assault to use in potentially triggering situations.

The TSA policies regarding body scanners and pat-downs leave travelers with few options. Unfortunately, if there is no travel alternative to flying, passengers must weigh the options and decide what makes them feel least uncomfortable and unsafe.

If you dislike the new security policies or a TSA agent acts inappropriately while screening you, contact the TSA and/or the American Civil Liberties Union to file a complaint.

UPDATE: Need to report harassment by a TSA agent? There’s even app for that.

Originally posted on Stuff Queer People Need To Know.

(Source: glitterfarm)

10 Common Myths About Medically Transitioning

ohhaimonster:

10 Common Myths About Medically Transitioning

1) Only an endocrinologist can write you a prescription for testosterone.

Why this is wrong: Your family doctor as well as your OB-GYN can also write you prescriptions for testosterone. Remember testosterone is a controlled substance, so nurses cannot give authorization for testosterone, but basically any doctor can.

2) Insurance companies will not cover the costs of your medical transition.

Why this is wrong: While many Insurance companies do not cover the costs of medical transition, SOME do. This is something to ask your insurance company about. Zak’s testosterone is partially covered by insurance, for instance, while his top surgery was not covered at all. Adrian’s testosterone and surgeries (top and hysto) were both covered by insurance and they will also cover bottom surgery. Call your insurance company and ask if they specifically exclude transgender healthcare under your policy.

3) You cannot write off and claim deductions on your medical costs for tax purposes. 

Why this is wrong: Ever since the ruling in favor of O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner on Feb 2, 2010. Transgender individuals could begin claiming transition related medical deductions on their taxes. These transition related medical treatments include mental health therapy, hormones, and surgeries (they may not allow breast augmentations for MTF individuals due to their statement that estrogen allows breast tissue growth so an augmentation would be cosmetic). [From Ryan Sallans]

4) You have to be diagnosed with “GID” to get a prescription for testosterone. 

Why this is wrong: You do not need a formal diagnosis with “informed consent” which is now clinically acceptable across the United States as well as internationally as the Standards of Care have been updated to its most recent version, version 7.

5) You cannot have top surgery without having been on testosterone prior to your surgery date.

Why this is wrong: Many guys that we have known personally have gotten top surgery before being on T or have had top surgery without ever being on T at all. There are surgeons out there who will perform top surgery on guys who have not started or do not plan to start testosterone. It is no longer a requirement as the standards state that physicians should comply with the standards as individualized as possible and according to the patient.

6) Your body fat will not redistribute until you lower it to less than 4%.

Why this is wrong: Only in extreme cases will this prompt the stubborn fat to redistribute. Most guys experience the redistribution within the first 6months-1year on testosterone, and attribute the redistribution to testosterone. This is why many top surgeons performing the keyhole/peri procedure like to have their patients be on testosterone for at least 6mos before the surgery to have the fat redistributed and have the best results. Even so, some guys never lose fat in historically feminine places.

7) Top surgery and other gender-conforming surgeries are cosmetic.

Why this is wrong: It’s pretty plain and simple, both the American Medical Association along with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and many others view transgender healthcare as medically necessary and non-cosmetic.

8) You no longer need gynecological exams once you start testosterone.

Why this is wrong: You need to get these check-ups as long as you have the parts they are checking up on! With these organs/parts you are still prone to all general medical issues concerning them, plus others as a result of long-term testosterone use. Get these exams done every year starting when you’re 20 or when you begin having sex!

9) You can put excess testosterone cream/gel topically on places that you want to masculinize i.e. your face for facial hair growth or your dick for downstairs growth.

Why this is wrong: The gel may be applied topically, but it works systemically so applying it somewhere for extra changes isn’t going to work. Testosterone does not act on local tissues, it is an endocrine hormone that is transported throughout the body via the bloodstream, it is an entire-body drug. 

10) You must go to a gender therapist in order to get surgery or hormones.

Why this is wrong: Gender therapists are actually just regular therapists who call themselves gender therapists either because they have experience with trans* patients or usually work with trans* patients, it is NOT an official title. Any therapist with a proper license (in the U.S. this means a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner L.M.P.H., a Ph.D., an M.D., and a D.O. can write your letters for testosterone and surgery. Most, if not all, surgeons require a therapists letter of some sort, but not all places that prescribe hormones do (ask your doctor or clinic what their requirements are to see). Some physicians will accept letters from people with other degrees.

(Source: theartoftransliness)

TSA and Transgender Travelers

There’s been a lot of buzz around the TSA - patdowns, body scanners, and general airport security concerns among transgender people. Here’s a rundown of stories and information:

I think the general consensus is - this sucks. Make your voice be heard if you’ve had a negative experience. Be informed, be careful, and be as safe as you can. Good luck to all of you travelling this summer.

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