4 Takeaways You Should Know From G20 Summit

4 Takeaways You Should Know From G20 Summit

I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with Trump or Putin.
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The G20 Summit has been surrounded by controversy this year, all dedicated to the idea that all countries disagree with Trump on Climate Change, the Paris Accord, and his relationship with Putin. I've even seen articles that go so far as to criticize body language and Milania Trump, with little to no context on what these actions actually meant. Though most of these issues do deserve discussion from the international community and are important in their own way, this is not what the G20 Summit was created for. As more and more news is published regarding this past weekend's event, take into account this overview of the G20 Summit, so you are better able to understand what was actually discussed at the event and what "news" is just fluff to get you to read it.


1. Overview of the Summit: What is it for?

G20, established in 1999, stands for The Group of 20. It is “the central forum for international cooperation on financial and economic issues." It combines countries that make up "more than four-fifths of gross world product and three-quarters of global trade, and are home to almost two-thirds of the world’s population.” Here is a full list of G20 member states (page 9).

According to the Summit's history page, this event, gathering heads of state instead of finance ministers and central bank governors as before, began in 2008 because of the financial crisis of that year, as "it quickly became apparent that the necessary crisis coordination would only be possible at the highest political level." Since then, the annual Summit "has become the central forum for international economic cooperation.”


2. Historical Success: What have they done anyway?

As previously mentioned, the original purpose of this summit was to figure out how the global community would react to the tragic events of 2008. At this time, "the G20 agreed on immediate economic measures worth over four trillion US dollars. It thus launched almost 90 percent of the global economic measures and calmed the markets."

Since then, the President has determined which issues should be discussed for that particular year, and together the member-states create plans for tackling these issues. Here is a full list of what the Summit has accomplished.

To summarize, the G20 Summits do not have the ability to commit any countries to action. However, they provide a venue for global leaders to collaborate on some of the world’s most pressing issues, beginning with the 2008 financial crisis and continuing to address problems from a macroeconomic perspective. These issues range from tax evasion and global commerce to sustainable development and climate change.

3. This year's summit: What are we discussing?

Contrary to what many news sources suggest, this meeting is not about Putin's alleged election interference, Ivanka sitting in for her father at one of the seminars, or leaders rolling their eyes at each other. Instead, the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the results of several forums that have occurred throughout the year, each focusing on a specific issue. Experts in agriculture, finance, science, business, and several other fields discussed their respective topics as representatives of their nations. They then brought the meeting's results to the summit for their nation's leader(s) to review (page 10 of the G20 brochure). The leaders then take the information from all of the forums to establish an official opinion on all issues discussed. They use this to formulate solutions on topics that typically combine several of the more specific issues at hand (ie, the business forum and finance forum results may both be needed to discuss tax cooperation).

During the event itself, global leaders discussed three major topics, predetermined by the President, who in this case is Germany. Topics focused on building resilience, improving sustainability, and assuming responsibility. The details of these can be found on page 12 of the brochure. To summarize this document, some of the most important topics were global trade, employment, tax cooperation, anti-corruption, fighting terrorism, health, and causes of displacement.

4. So what now?

Now you know what to look for this week when dozens of news sources claim to have the perfect summary of the G20 summit. Instead of reading about how everyone attacked Trump's stance on climate change, read the summary that the G20 website will provide in the coming weeks to actually understand what got accomplished and why it is important.

Cover Image Credit: pexles

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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A Truly Special Election

How I learned to care again.

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As I am writing this, it is August 7th, 2018. I live in Lewis Center, Ohio, where a special election is occurring to replace the seat of Republican Pat Tiberi, who decided to leave his elected position as a form of protest against Trump, Congress, and the failure of the federal government, in his opinion, to accomplish anything. According to the New Yorker, "The 12th District covers all of Delaware, Licking, and Morrow counties, along with parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum, and Richland counties."

I have seen people around me grow angry at this election. Angry at the evil other party, angry at their inability to choose or even care about who to vote for. Because of this, I sat down today to write a scathing piece about all of the problems with politics today. From the media that refers to the place I live like its a foreign nation to the people reeking havoc on social media, spreading lies and hateful speech, villanizing their neighbors, or threatening to damage a high school in my district. However, I no longer want to write about all that is wrong in this situation.

Lately, I have been disinterested in politics. I have grown tired after months of news that promises that every day is the end of the world. As someone who used to be so interested in politics and this country in general, there were so many reasons to grow apathetic. However, watching this story unfold as both a resident and in some ways an objective observer, I found that the disinterest came from the way politics in portrayed. Politics and the government is something that is yelled about in the media. It occurs on a hill very far away from you.

It took this national news story in my town to even realize that this is the beauty of our country. Even in the midst of government officials literally quitting their jobs, it highlights the fact that small places in flyover states can make a difference and have an impact on the nation.

It truly has been interesting, to say the least, to live in the center of national news. As what I would term a Kasich county, or a Republican county that had many write-ins and libertarian and other third party votes in the election, it will be very interesting to see how the vote turns out.

And I'm finally learning to care again about the result.

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