Transgender people face discrimination every time they go to restrooms marked men or women; as the NSA destroys our sense of privacy, perhaps rather than looking to Orwell’s “1984,” we should brush up on our Kafka; meanwhile, journalist Phyllis Richman responds decades later to a misogynistic letter from a Harvard professor regarding married women pursuing graduate studies. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Bathrooms Are Not Separate-But-Equal Where should a transgender schoolgirl be allowed to pee?

Do Psychiatrists Create the Very Mental Problems They Claim to Treat? Imagine for a moment that the American Psychiatric Association was about to compile a new edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Why Should We Even Care If the Government Is Collecting Our Data? As people have tried to make sense of the recent revelations about the government’s mass data-collection efforts, one classic text is experiencing a spike in popularity: George Orwell’s 1984 has seen a 7,000 percent increase in sales.

Humanist: Heal Thyself With a recently released report, Harvard University has weighed in on the crisis of the humanities, offering some surprising diagnoses.

Our Reflection in the N.S.A.’s Prism You almost have to feel sorry for Senator Feinstein.

If the NSA Trusted Edward Snowden With Our Data, Why Should We Trust the NSA? Edward Snowden sounds like a thoughtful, patriotic young man, and thank goodness he blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance programs.

The Campus Climate for Gay Faculty At a time when momentum for gay rights is growing, several academics were asked to comment on how, and whether, the campus climate has changed for lesbian and gay scholars.

Responding to Sexist Letter From Harvard Prof in 1961 Phyllis Richman has had a successful career in journalism, and she recently came across a letter she received from a Harvard University professor in 1961, when she was applying to a graduate program there.

Cheap Batteries for Backup Renewable Energy A battery made of cheap materials could store power when it’s windy for use when it’s not.

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