The Phantom Penance

August 28, 2011

We are approaching the tenth anniversary of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision in Goins v. West Group (one of the trans judicial cases that neither Cathy Brennan nor Elizabeth Hungerford nor any of their apologists will tell those who would be affected by the Brennan-Hungerford exterminationism manifesto should it be implemented with force of law how they feel should have been decided.)

In the immediate aftermath of the ahistorical nonsense that the court foisted on the state in its decision, there was a community debriefing/decompression session held in Minneapolis on a cold December evening.

Not all that many people could be bothered to show up for it.

I recall a visibly dismayed Juli Goins opining, when she spoke at the gathering, that apparently people felt as though staying home to watch The West Wing was more important than discussing what the Minnesota Supreme Court had done to her, to all trans people in the state and to the Minnesota Human Rights Act itself.

Several people addressed the attendees from the ersatz stage.  Some of the attendees spoke from their positions in the audience.

One of those who spoke from the audience was affiliated with the National Gay-Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF.)

That person said that one way to prevent such travesties as the Goins decision in the future was more education about trans issues.

After the gathering was officially over, I went up to speak to the person.  I said that the suggestion was nice (because, contextually at least, it really was not quivalent to the perpetual HRC-St. Barney ENDA lie of ‘more education is necessary’) – and then kindly and tastefully suggested that perhaps one way for that professed goal to be attained was for NGLTF to hire some trans people to do the educating.

Anyone who has ever made any attempt whatsoever to discuss the obscene underrepresentation of trans people (particularly trans women) among the ranks of those who are permitted to earn a living with gay rights organizations, you know what came next: the person looked at me as if I had just clubbed a bunch of baby seals, puppies and kittens to death in the person’s presence.

It would be charitable to describe the person’s words thereafter as ‘defensive.’

It would be accurate to summarize those words as ‘How dare you question us??!??!’

And, no, the person affiliated with NGLTF to whom I refer above was not Sue Hyde

It also was not Matt Foreman.  Keep geography and the timeline in mind: This was late 2001 in Minnesota.  It would still be a year before New York’s Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), under Foreman’s stewardship, signed off on legislation giving that state’s gays and lesbians the right to discriminate against trans people

We would love to have transgender inclusion, but not at the expense of SONDA.

Then, four months later, Foreman moved on to NGLTF whilst crowing:

that NGLTF employs an attorney full time to advise local efforts aimed at protecting transgender rights.

A non-trans attorney…

in 2001, 2003 and now.

Yes, Matt Foreman received a de facto promotion from head of a state group that was – and still is – willing to bulldoze trans needs to get gays’ wants to a national organization that had a reputation for being trans-inclusive (despite, curiously, not having any trans people gainfully employed to do the inclusiv-ing.)  The result of this, of course, was not to convert Foreman in any substantive sense (even though he has professed regret about what happened in New York in 2002), but instead to neuter what was left of NGLTF’s credibility on the trans-inclusion argument. 

Recall one of the few instances of Chris Crain saying something that was remotely reality-based?

Foreman and his allies regularly engaged it such ridiculousness regularly during the ENDA debate, accusing anyone who agreed with Barney on tactics of being a transphobe. Ironic given that Foreman himself used Barney’s tactics to get New York’s state gay rights law passed.

Yes, Foreman signs off on civil rights apartheid for trans people in 2002 and he gets a promotion and, presumably, a raise.  (It is reasonable to assume that while with NGLTF he pulled down somewhere between the the $80K that The Quisling is paid to subvert trans rights from inside the trans movement and the $330K that Joe Solmonese was paid to subvert them from all other vantage points; it is also reasonable to assume that in his current position as a program director at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund he is in no danger needing the aid of a homeless shelter.)  And then when the ENDA hit the fan in 2007, a notorious gay male transphobe like Crain is able to accurately call out the head of the national gay rights group that claims to be trans-friendly as being a hypocrite for opposing the lie of ‘incremental progress.’

Sue Hyde signs off on a call for discrimination against transsexuals in 1977 and…

well, you know…

In 1974, Hyde cofounded Red Tomato, a production company that for eight years produced cultural events for women and lesbians in St. Louis, Missouri. Hyde relocated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1983 and became the editor of the Gay Community News, a position which she held for the next two years. In 1985, Hyde and others founded the Gay and Lesbian Defense Committee in response to Governor Michael Dukakis’ policy on foster care placements that banned same-sex couples from consideration. Hyde was hired by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 1986, and has worked for the organization since that time.

and you really know…

For two decades, Sue Hyde has inspired and nurtured organizers and led community members to participate in democracy with the goal of securing freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and their families.

She is a seasoned community organizer and advocate whose issue portfolio at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has included repeal of sodomy laws, rescission of the military’s ban on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers, passage of local and state civil rights laws, training leaders to effectively oppose right-wing incursions in their communities, directing the annual Creating Change Conference, and securing marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Hyde is an accomplished public speaker, teacher and writer whose wit, wisdom and wry observations of politics in these United States frame a tireless dedication to community building and an inexhaustible faith in our movement and its people. She was the recipient of the 2002 Stonewall Award in recognition of lifetime service to the LGBT political movement.

She also serves as the Task Force New England field organizer and lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her partner and their two children

Yes, an oral history interview and an NGLTF website bio that doesn’t mention that in 1977 she openly advocated for discrimination against transsexuals.

And she doesn’t appear to have ever been in need of the aid of a homeless shelter either.

Hyde responded to Marti Abernathey’s revelation that Hyde was one of the 22 lesbians who demanded that Olivia Records engage in anti-transsexual employment discrimination.

I understand and appreciate the anger that is generated by the outrageous letter to the women of Olivia Records.  It’s a personal humiliation to me that I signed such a letter, driven by ignorance and the identity politics of the time.  I am deeply regretful and sorry for my participation in the 1977 defaming of Sandy Stone and all trans people.  Nothing can make up for that kind of discrimination. But I hope that the work I have done since that time expresses my commitment to social justice and legal equality for trans sisters and brothers. I work to transform the world so that no one’s life will be diminished by gender-based and/or sexual orientation discrimination.

What about the personal suffering and misery that trans people who have been on the short end of the transphobia that metasticized throughout the gay rights industry that was in the process of professionalizing in the late 1970s?  What about the personal suffering and misery that trans people who have been denied employment inside and outside of that gay rights industry during the quarter-century that Hyde has been employed by NGLTF? What about the personal suffering of those who gave up on attempting to secure LGBT advocacy-related work when it became clear that even ‘the good organization’ had no intention of ever hiring a trans woman (and, yes, in 2001 I had a resume in at NGLTF – a resume that was given about as much consideration as a meth addict gives dental floss – but I know that even at least one trans woman attorney with far more experience than myself was given a similar mental gloss while seeking employment there at that time.)

To the readers of this post: How many people do you know (gay, trans or otherwise) who have not had to look for a job since the year that Bill Buckner let the ball go through his legs?  (Does the Massachusetts reference seem like a low blow?  Well, I could have said ‘since three years before Massachusetts gays and lesbians engineered a gay-only rights law for themselves,’ right?)

To Sue Hyde: Its not as simple as whether or not your 2011 apology for your actions in 1977 is 1000% genuine.  That is between you and your conscience – and I can think of no non-blunt way to say this: I suspect that you sleep as well every night as Joe Solmonese does, and as well as Barney Frank does, and as well as Elizabeth Birch does, and as well as Winnie Stachelberg does, and as well as Cathy Brennan does, and as well as Norah Vincent does, and as well as Victoria Brownworth does, and as well as Janice Raymond does.

Its not as simple as whether or not what you’ve done over the last quarter-century stands in opposition to what you were a signatory to in 1977.  What price have you ever paid for what you did in 1977?  What price has any of the signatories to that 1977 demand for discrimination against transsexuals – yourself, D.A. “Ollie” Oliveira, Evan Paxton, Sally Piano,  Gael Sapiro, Leni Schwendinger, Ruth Scovill, Pat Tinkler, Karla Tornella, Fran Tornabee, Lisa Vogel, Shebar Windstone, Martha Pelman, JoAnne Barry, Bobbie Birleffi, Alix Dobkin, Susan Elizabeth, Maxine Feldman, Bonnie Lockhart, Margot McFederie, Joan Medlin and Copa Mountain[looks like Copa lucked out; the scan obscures the last few letters] - ever paid for making that demand?  So far as I can tell none of you have ever paid any price – and at the very least you all were made out to be heroes (albeit not by name) by Janice Raymond in The Transsexual Empire for standing up to the howwibil, howwibul Frankensteinian transsexual horde that was demanding to be as equal in law and society as you non-transsexual lesbians were.  (Vogel’s transphobic business entity was recently defended by one of the new  generation of trans-exterminationists; is the circle ever really broken?)

You want to know what price trans people have paid for what you now profess to feel personally humiliated by after having collected a paycheck from the same employer for the last twenty-five years?

Look at the employment rolls of the various arms of Gay, Inc.

Shit, just look at the employment rolls of your own employer.

And, because there is now a new generation of trans-exterminationists polluting civil rights discourse and wallowing in fake victimhood when their targets get angry enough about what the new generation of trans-exterminationists actually have in store for transsexuals (as opposed to what they portray themselves as intending) that they say things that perhaps even the intended targets of exterminationism shouldn’t say, I need to make this crystal clear: I am neither advocating violence nor winkedly-and-noddingly saying that I’d smile if it occurred.

To the contrary…

I want all of the signatories to that 1977 demand, all of the people who capitalized on that era of transphobia and are unapolagetic, and all of the people who who hide in the plain sight of 21st Century faux-trans-inclusivity while nevertheless working to infuse trans-exterminationism into LGB(t) policy to live for a thousand years – and to never sleep a wink, tortured every minute of every night by the hopes, dreams, careers and lives that the philosophy that you signed onto in 1977 undermined, diminished, subverted and/or ended.

But I know that you, at most, will be Judah Rosenthal, who…

after the awful deed is done, he finds that he’s plagued by deep-rooted guilt. Little sparks of his religious background which he’d rejected are suddenly stirred up. He hears his father’s voice. He imagines that God is watching his every move. Suddenly, it’s not an empty universe at all, but a just and moral one, and he’s violated it. Now, he’s panic-stricken. He’s on the verge of a mental collapse-an inch away from confessing the whole thing to the police. And then one morning, he awakens. The sun is shining, his family is around him and mysteriously, the crisis has lifted. He takes his family on a vacation to Europe and as the months pass, he finds he’s not punished. In fact, he prospers. The killing gets attributed to another person-a drifter who has a number of other murders to his credit, so I mean, what the hell? One more doesn’t even matter. Now he’s scott-free. His life is completely back to normal. Back to his protected world of wealth and privilege.

You, Sue Hyde, may now, 34 years after the fact, initially be suffering from pangs of guilt (after being reminded of it by Marti Abernathey), and you may even lapse into a few fits of attempts to inflict amnesia on yourself (alcohol? whatever?).  Eventually, though, you’ll get over it and you’ll be completely back to normal, back to your protected world of Gay, Inc. privilege, just as unpunished as you have been since 1977 - while the history books place the blame for all of the 1970s lesbian-centered transphobia on Jean O’Leary, Mary Daly and Janice Raymond.

They too, though, are in reality also unpunished – even the two of the three who, in the Barry Lyndon sense, are now equal to all of the trans people who have died because of legitimized political trans-exterminationism over the last forty years.  The other?

How many people have the 22 signatories of 1977 – and those influenced by them – prevented, directly or indirectly, from ever coming close to being in a position to be anything emerita?

I hope that the work I have done since that time expresses my commitment to social justice and legal equality for trans sisters and brothers.

It expresses to me your commitment to feathering your professional nest for a quarter-century while your employer has generated a track record of non-employment of trans people that, were the issue race instead of transsexuality, would never pass disparate impact muster (while your employer’s main rhetorical competitor has employed two openly trans tokens – something that I can never decide makes it better or worse than NGLTF.)

You, the 21 other sigantories, their defenders, their apologists and those who may genuinely harbor no evil toward my people but whose civil rights psyches have been polluted indirectly by trans-exterminationism-influenced policy, created the morass of gay-led transphobic shit that trans people since the 1970s have had to fight first before ever thinking about the LGBT community as a whole – a fight which, via our mere participation in, conveniently allows you and all of those in the privileged permanent gay rights employment class to brand any trans person with any record of questioning overt institutional gay transphobia or making any suggestion that there might possibly be some gay transphobia even in the absence of anything as obvious as a 1977-style, Sister-ish manifesto as a ‘screaming tranny,’ which, of course, allows you and all of those in the privileged permanent gay rights employment class to remain in your protected world of activism wealth and permanent employment privilege.

I’ll repeat what I said above: Whether or not your 2011 apology for your actions in 1977 is 1000% genuine is between you and your conscience. 

I work to transform the world so that no one’s life will be diminished by gender-based and/or sexual orientation discrimination.

Would you like a list of all of the trans people who do so without receiving a paycheck (many bankrupting themselves in the process) but who have tried to receive a paycheck for doing so?

Or are you already at the party, fearlessly sitting next to the inebriated, heart-eviscerated Woody Allen?

The catholic church tried forgiving itself for the Inquisition.

Take a hint.


Facts? Don’t Worry About Those – We Have Something Better

August 28, 2011

Hint: its purple.  From Think Progress:

On Fox & Friends Sunday, anchor Clayton Morris admitted that Fox News factcheckers have confirmed that man-made global warming is “certainly” real, but argued that it “doesn’t matter” because climate denial is popular among Fox News-watching conservatives. Morris contrasted Jon Huntsman’s defense of the National Academy of Sciences with Rick Perry’s claims that scientists have “manipulated data” to concoct manmade global warming:

MORRIS: If you dive into the weeds a little bit on this global warming thing, you see that it seems that facts are certainly on Huntsman’s side on all of this and fact checkers have come out, we’re actually having our own brain room look look at this right now that any of Perry’s comments don’t seem to hold a lot of water. It doesn’t matter. What’s resonating right now in South Carolina is helping Governor Perry tremendously and he fired back at Huntsman on global warming and gaining traction, facts or not.

The only reason, of course, that the facts of global warming don’t “matter” for conservatives is the constant bombardment of anti-science propaganda by Fox News and other right-wing media.

Ya think?


Texas: The Wal-Mart of States (and, no, that’s not a Compliment.)

August 25, 2011

From HuffPo:

Two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2003, top officials from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office pitched an unusual offer to the state’s retired teachers: Let’s get into the death business.

Perry’s budget director, Mike Morrissey, laid out a pitch that was both ambitious and risky, according to notes summarizing the meeting provided to The Huffington Post.

According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.

Wal-Mart and other economic parasites do this all the time with their slaves employees.

When the deal eventually leaked, teacher groups balked at the entire arrangement.

“It was just pretty morbid and I don’t think it convinced anybody it was gonna enrich anybody except Phil Gramm and UBS,” Texas State Teachers Association Spokesman Clay Robison told HuffPost. “Our members were pretty much appalled by it.”

You had to know that Phuckwad Phil was in there somewhere.

During the November 2003 meeting, Gramm and the Perry administration were well aware of the potential for a media debacle. “The ‘liability’ is really on the PR side for AIG … and possibly TRS,” the meeting notes read. “They want to avoid a ‘Wal-Mart’ problem.”

And now, the money shot:

The deal collapsed. But ultimately, none of its top architects paid a serious political price for the debacle. Perry did not abandon his close relationship with Gramm. A few years later, Perry’s 23-year-old son went to work for UBS, and Gramm began urging Perry to let UBS privatize the Texas state lottery. Perry named Guthrie executive director of the teacher pension fund. Morrissey is now a senior adviser to Perry. And Perry himself, of course, is now a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

Texas = Wal-Mart.

America = Weimar.


File Under: (Almost) Irrelevant

August 25, 2011

Twelve years ago (or so; give or take a month) I wasted the better part of a day at the Mall of America:

The mere fact that I spent Saturday night at a mall says more about me than I’d like. But it happened. And it was completely surreal.

Up first? Dinner for one at a – dare I say – authentic Texas eatery: the Alamo Grill. Yes, there is a Texas eatery in Bloomington, Minn. Trust me: Albeit only to kill time, I was there.

The whole place was faux Texan. The French fries were, well, not French. They were faux Texan-shaped like lil’ boots and hats. After waiting about five minutes for a table, I heard over the speaker: “Now seating Katrina, posse of one!” I have to assume that I was the most Texan thing in the place. I was wearing a Bastrop Bears T-shirt and no one recognized the reference to a Texas town on my chest.

I chronicled this in a column for the Texas Triangle entitled “Trans of America.”

But the restaurant that was more faux than Rick Perry’s brain (Gov. Hairball was only Lt. Governor then; the elevation, of course, occurring thanks to a coke-snorting, draft-dodging rich brat who was even more faux) was not the weirdest aspect of the evening.  I at the Alamo Grill because I was killing time waiting for a show at Knuckleheads, the comedy club within the confines of the Mall of America.

The comedian?

No, not Mitch Hedberg.

Who then?

Jackie Mason: the guy who did the voice of Krusty the Clown’s father; the guy who – to hear him tell it – was blacklisted for over 20 years because he allegedly flipped off Ed Sullivan on the air (the videotape of the incident is inconclusive); the guy who, to hear other people tell it, found out the hard way that when Frank Sinatra said not to make jokes about Frank, you had better not make jokes about Frank.

Seriously.

I sat through Mason’s entire act and I really couldn’t decide whether or not to be pissed off. It seems as though homosexuals made up at least a third of his act.

Even a bit that could easily have been unquestionably hilarious, was tinged by a questionable use of what I can only assume is yiddish for “fag.” The word sounded like “faggaluh,” but through Mason’s accent, it was hard to tell. [Kat's 2011 note: I was later reminded that the word Mason was saying was "feygelah" - the first syllable sounding like "fay" (long a) insteaf of "fuh" (short u) - which I actually had heard on occasion, perhaps most memorably from Harold Gould to Billy Crystal on Soap while Crystal's Jody is in the hospital not having SRS, but simply could not recognize due to Mason's speech pattern.]

In the bit, Mason mused about how some of the biggest hits in Vegas seem to be two things thrown together that no one would ever pay to see separately. One example went like this:

“Siegfried and Roy: two ‘faggaluhs’ and a tiger. Two ‘faggaluhs’? Nothing special. A tiger? Nothing special. But two ‘faggaluhs’ and a tiger? A hit!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not pitching a PC bitch for non-heterosexuals or for tigers. Any overly-glitzy Las Vegas act is fair game when it comes to humor – even humor of a questionably-phobic nature. Shit happens. Moreover, there are ways for heterosexuals to deal with sexual orientation in humor without being offensive and bigoted (Steve Martin’s now-ancient “Are there any fags in the audience tonight?” bit comes to mind.)

But it seemed as though Mason was constantly mentioning homosexuals. Usually it was something to the effect of: “I see gay pride everywhere. I have nothing against homosexuals. They should be proud.” Then he’d point at someone in the front row and say, “You! Stand up and be proud.” And laughter would ensue.

I think that even that could have passed the legit-ness test, once. But constantly? He pulled the same sexuality-challenge bit repeatedly – far too many times to count.

Think about it. He did that bit apparently not caring that there actually might be some homosexuals there. I’m sure there were some; there was at least one transsexual.

For purposes of this article, I’ll take the guy at his word that he doesn’t have anything against homosexuals. The fact that he could continually get laugh with it, though, says that society – even a society such as Minnesota, a state that has the best human-rights law in the country – does have a problem with homosexuals. And that’s a problem for all of us.

I wonder if Marcus Bachmann was in the audience that night?

The reason I’m recounting that night at the Mall of America – and the column I wrote about it – is that I’d forgotten that I’d snuck my camera into the club.  I just ran across the pix (and the negatives.)  The above shots are two of the better ones (sorry, but if I’d had any idea that I’d have been going clubbing in the evening when I left home down in greater Minnesota that day I’d have loaded the camera with something better than 400 speed film.)

But again…

I wonder if Marcus Bachmann was in the audience that night?  Michele?


And Speaking of Iowa – Specifically Waterloo (Hometown of John Wayne Gacy and Michele Bachmann)….

August 23, 2011

From the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

A brutal fight that claimed the life of a Waterloo teen started with taunting, witnesses said.

Police confirmed that 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews was officially pronounced dead at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Relatives and acquaintances said he died after being removed from life support at an Iowa City hospital.

“It’s just not fair,” said friend Nakita Wright. “I don’t wish that to happen to my worst enemy.”

Officers and paramedics said they found Andrews unconscious with severe head injuries in the early morning hours Friday.

What sort of taunts?

[Nakita Wight] and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said.

The two women hadn’t made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him “faggot” and “Mercedes,” a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.

Towleroad has this:

 Aksarbent notes that up until yesterday, police had maintained it was unclear why Andrews was targeted, and the first reports of the anti-gay slurs were published in the WCF Courier report today.

There’s also a link to a KCRG-TV news item about the murder.


A Memo to Anyone – T or LGB – Who Has Recently Filed a Complaint With the Iowa Civil Rights Commission

August 23, 2011

Specifically, if you’ve filed a state civil rihgts complaint based on sexual orientation or gender identity and the complaint was rejected, contact an attorney immediately and seek to have the investigation re-opened based on…

Three Iowa civil rights investigators have been fired after sending hundreds of gossipy emails calling co-workers derogatory nicknames like “Psycho,” “Monster,” and “Roid Rage,” and forwarding pictures that made fun of fat people, Wal-Mart customers and others, according to public records and interviews.

Who were some of the “others”?

“While employed by an agency whose purpose is to confront, remedy and eliminate discrimination, Ms. [Michele] Howard engaged in a remarkably broad, persistent campaign of discrimination and otherwise offensive conduct through her abuse of the employer’s electronic communication system,” Administrative Law Judge James Timberland wrote Aug. 15. “What is even more remarkable is Ms. Howard’s effort to minimize, or excuse away, the discrimination and offensive conduct she directed at various individuals and groups.”

Timberland said Howard traded and received emails “that made fun of and/or ridiculed obese people, gay, transgendered and/or transvestite people, elderly people, Walmart customers, African-American men, white high school students, white men, and white people generally.”

Hmmmm…

Wal-Mart customers?

Hmmmm…

I wonder if any of the e-mails sent around included links to the Sandeenista’s legendary Pam’s House Blah post “Ode to the People of Walmart”?

But I digress…

In all seriousness, if you have had an ICHR complaint rejected recently (and I’m not sure how far back “recently” goes; the Mason City Globe-Gazette news item indicated that the investigation which led to these firings began after Gov. Terry Branstad took back over in January and the item mentioned groups of e-mails monitored from March to June, but I have trouble believing that the attitudes involved weren’t in play long before that), take appropriate legal action to ensure that your complaint wasn’t being handled by someone who was even more anti-LGBT than who/whatever you might have filed the complaint against.  The people involved with this insanity were not the ICHR’s only investigators, so even if you get your case re-examined its possible that Howard and the others might not have had a hand in its outcome and the rejection might have been valid (I know many of you don’t like to hear this, but not anti-discrimination complaint actually is valid), but you have to be suspicious wherever there is this sort of taint (kinda like what you would have to suspect if yoru gender identity-centered complaint was rejected and you learned that the investigator was involved with the radfemshlub.)

From the time the Commission receives the complaint to the time the investigation is completed and a finding by the administrative law judge has been made, the Commission is a neutral fact-finder and represents neither party.

Does it matter if you’re not literally representing a defendant employer/landlord if you clearly are biased against the sort of people who might be filing the complaint?  (Refer back to my comment about the radfemshlub.)  That doesn’t sound “neutral” to me.

What’s truly disturbing is that the dateline of the story is Iowa City, suggesting that the fired investigators were either based there – ostensibly the most liberal city in Iowa – or dealt with complaints in that part of the state.  if that’s the case, one can only imagine what’s going on up in Steve King land.


“Is anything more predictable in our current political culture than liberals being charged with religious bigotry?”

August 22, 2011

Well, anything other than neo-Raymondists lying not only about what their intentions are but what they’ve actually said in furtherance of their intentions….

Corporatist Beltway shlockmeister rag, the Washington Post – believe it or not, the paper that 40 years ago not only was  ‘paranoid’ enough to believe that a Republican president was running a criminal operation out of the White House but was uppity enough to demonstrate it for Howdy Doody America – allowed one of its columnists, Lisa Miller, to lie through her teeth recently to claim that stories about the dominionism philosophy of the right-wing republican presidential wannabes are nothing but left-wing paranoia.

Miller links to recent in-depth articles from the Texas Observer, The New Yorker, and The Daily Beast, but doesn’t really engage substantively with any of their reporting. Instead, Miller gives a pro forma acknowledgment that the stories “raise real concerns” about candidates’ worldviews while portraying the articles broadly as evidence of unfair attacks on evangelicals from a hysterical anti-Christian “left.” She calls dominionism “the paranoid mot du jour.”

That’s from Peter Montgomery’s response in Religion Dispatches.

It may be the “word of the day,” as journalists continue to educate themselves and their readers on this particular strand of thinking, but that doesn’t mean an investigation of the role of “dominionism” in religious right rhetoric and strategy is a paranoid project. (The urge to investigate, or to interpret, can be too easily dismissed as paranoid. But if not for such “paranoia,” what exactly would the role of journalists be?)

So, as background: dominionism refers to a theological tenet at the core of the religious right movement—that Christians are meant to exercise dominion over the earth. As RD readers know, dominionist thought is not a new phenomenon. It may be true, as evangelical leader Mark DeMoss says in Miller’s story, that “you would be hard-pressed to find one in 1,000 Christians in America would could even wager a guess at what dominionism is.” But it’s certainly not true of the leaders of the religious right political movement. Their followers are hearing dominionist teaching whether they know it or not.

In recent years, there has been a very visible embrace by traditional religious right leaders of the rhetoric of “Seven Mountains,” a framework created by former Campus Crusade for Christ director Bill Bright. It puts dominionist thinking in clear, user-friendly lay language. The “Seven Mountains” of culture over which the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion. (Some folks rearrange the categories a bit to explicitly include the military.)

C. Peter Wagner is the founder of the New Apostolic Reformation and author of Dominion!: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World. His official bio says “In the 2000s, he began to move strongly in promoting the Dominion Mandate for social transformation, adopting the template of the Seven Mountains or the 7-M Mandate for practical implementation.” Wagner was an endorser of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer-rally-cum-presidential launch and dozens of members of the New Apostolic Reformation were involved in organizing and speaking at the event.

Can you hear the dominionism now?

Miller seems unfamiliar with, or uninterested in, the extent to which dominionist and reconstructionist thinking is reflected in the worldview of Michele Bachmann. (Miller says Pat Robertson, who ran for the presidency in 1988, was a dominionist; implying that that Bachmann and other contemporaries are self-evidently not). It is not some kind of guilt-by-association stretch to ask what it means that Bachmann describes Christian Reconstructionist John Eidsmoe as a mentor and major influence on her thinking. Neither is it surprising that Rick Perry’s political prayer rally would bring greater attention to the extremist nature of the event’s sponsors and speakers, which has been extensively documented.

Dominionist thinking within the religious right has real-world consequences that justify concern. In the online discussion of her article, Miller wrote that she didn’t see much difference between Jerry Falwell creating Liberty University to train evangelical Christians to be active citizens and a Mormon sending her kid to BYU or a Catholic sending her kid to Georgetown.

But there is a difference. Maybe Miller should read Sarah Posner’s recent article for RD on the approach to law that presidential candidate Michele Bachmann studied at the precursor to Robertson’s Regent University law school, or her exposé on the approach currently taught students at Liberty’s law school. For example, students in one recent Liberty class were asked an exam question about a case in which Liberty Counsel lawyers were currently involved regarding a woman had renounced her homosexuality and was refusing to honor courts’ custody orders regarding a child she had with a former partner. The exam asked whether students, as Christian lawyers, would advise the woman to honor the court orders, or defy “man’s law” in order to follow “God’s law.” Students who said they would advise her to obey court orders got bad grades. Also, in the real world, Liberty Counsel’s client fled the country with the child in defiance of multiple court orders and has become a folk hero to many in the religious right.

Liberty’s goal is to fill state and federal judgeships and legislatures with people who embrace this view of the law; people like Michele Bachmann.

How about now?


“The idea that marriage equality is going to help transgender rights is a theory that has no evidence to back it up.”

August 22, 2011

That is a quote from Jill Weiss in her piece at Bilerico wherein she deconstructs pulverizes the LGBT rights universe’s late-night horror movie ghoul “that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried” : ‘incremental progress.’

Please excuse the fact that my quote is from Antonin Scalia (I presume that he’ll be more annoyed at me quoting him that any of you are at reading it), and move on to perusing Jill’s take on Richard ‘Equality Matters (But Only if You’re Gay, not Trans)’ Socarides’ response to Jennifer Boylan’s recent NYTimes piece.  Jill writes:

Richard Socarides, President of Equality Matters, a campaign for full LGBT equality, most famously known for his role as the White House special assistant for gay rights to President Clinton, replied in a Letter to the Editor in today’s New York Times.

Mr. Socarides says in his letter that he shares frustration with the slow pace of progress on civil rights for transgender Americans. “But I think she misses the point,” he adds. He argues that same sex marriage rights will bring transgender rights in its wake.

This sounds like a logical argument, but it is all too wearily familiar to the ears of trans people. As Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, a page of history is worth a volume of logic.

…not to mention a platoon of overpaid, over-privileged, incrementalism-addled late-night horror movie ghouls.

The idea that marriage equality is going to help transgender rights is a theory that has no evidence to back it up. Mr. Socarides’ chiding of Jennifer Boylan when she brings up the question of “whither trans rights now?” demonstrates that he, like many other gay advocacy leaders, really have no understanding of what is happening on the ground. “Be quiet and you’ll get yours” is the message of Mr. Socarides’ letter.

…and we all know where we’ll get it.


What is the Exterminationism Twins’ Position on Where Trans Women Who Have Been Accused of Crimes Should be Housed?

August 22, 2011

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

[Jovanie] Saldana, 23, a transgender woman, spent the last 14 months incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city’s only female prison.

The past tense is not because she’s been released, but because she’s now a sex toy for the occupants of the men’s facility.

Of course, she had already involuntarily become a sex toy for a man – a guard at the women’s facility.  Interestingly, the authorities only discovered Saldana’s lack of SRS:

after launching an investigation into Saldana’s complaint of being forced into oral sex with a corrections officer, sources said. During that probe, investigators recorded Saldana’s phone conversations and overheard the inmate’s mother chiding Saldana into telling authorities the truth about Saldana’s gender, a source said.

Since then, Saldana, of Water Street near Venango, has been transferred to a male prison, prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes said.

Retaliation, much?

Of course not – NOT.

Bear in mind, of course, everyone here is innocent until proven guilty – both the guard and Saldana (contrary to the Rick Perry’s Disease that spurs people who should have enough of an interest in the issue to think the matter further through than to reflexively respond with prattle like “cant do the time, dont do the crime” and “several felonies!!! yeh, good citizen,” Saldana is only currently charged with, not convicted of,  the crimes.)  But, some people in 21st Century Corporatist America are more presumed-innocent than others.

And, some media outlets in 21st Century Corporatist America are more apt to repeat bullshit as unchallengeable fact than others.

Take the Philadelphia Daily News, for example.

Lorenzo North, president of the union representing corrections officers, declined to discuss the officers’ failure to perform the required cavity searches.

I have no problem with that sentence.

“I don’t know how [Saldana] got through,” North said, adding that all inmates should be searched. “If you don’t strip-search somebody thoroughly, then you’re not 100 percent sure of getting whatever [contraband] that inmate has. He may have something up his butt.”

I have no problem with that sentence either.

But North claimed the goof proved that the officer whom Saldana accused of sexual abuse is innocent.

Uhhhhhhhhhhh….

How, exactly?

I guess that at the end of the day one might be able to look back on whatever investigation that occurs and say that one ultimately led to the other – with, hopefully, at least some minimal legitimate investigative steps in between. 

But what exactly is the implication here? 

Is it that while Saldana was presumed by the authorities to be a womyn-born-womyn, the charge against the guard was believable, but now that the authorities know her to be a pre-op transsexual (or – clutch your pearls! – merely ‘transgender’) it isn’t – perhaps, for example, because, hypothetically, the guard in question has a record of coercing oral sex only from people he knows not to possess a pee pee?

Is it shoddy editing on the part of PDN?

Or is it PDN not giving a shit about incarcerated trans women and/or whether someone who has merely been charged with but not convicted of a crime has any rights at all?

You be the judge based on this passage:

A source close to the prison system, who asked not to be identified, complained that the slip-up “jeopardized a lot of women over there [at Riverside],” adding that Saldana tallied at least two infractions for fighting with other inmates during Saldana’s stint in the female jail.

Because no non-trans woman has ever initiated (which, clearly, is what PDN wants the reader to believe is the case with Saldana) or been on the short end of (which, clearly, is what PDN wants the reader to believe could not possibly have been the case with Saldana) a fight, eh?  And because no fight could possibly be non-sexual in nature, eh?

But…

You also be the judge based on the opening paragraphs of the story:

GET NAKED, squat and cough.

That’s what inmates are supposed to do when they enter the Philadelphia prisons, at least those charged with felonies, or who are drunk or acting suspiciously.

The exercise expels whatever contraband they could be concealing up their keisters. In the rare cases in which authorities aren’t sure if they have a John or a Jane, it also would confirm the inmate’s gender.

But Jovanie Saldana, of Kensington, somehow suckered the system.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Get it?

Suckered the system?

Now she’s getting to sucker a guard’s cock!  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

PDN – keepin’ it classy.

Now, the big question….

We support the following definition of “gender identity – a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.” Such a definition would protect the classification of sex, while simultaneously providing a cause of action for discriminatory practices on the basis of a persistent and documented “gender identity.” We welcome people who fit into this definition into space segregated by sex in recognition of their perceived need for access and in the fervent hope that we can achieve such protection for identifiably transgender or transsexual people without harming females.

I personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as women.

Would attorney Brennan and/or attorney Hungerford represent Saldana in an effort to remain in the women’s facility?

Oh, don’t be so quick to answer.

The transphobia – it can run deep.

Lets think back to Crystal Schwenk’s lawsuit against the Washington State Prison system – and, more importantly, the role that guard Robert Mitchell played in it. 

Douglas (Crystal) Schwenk asserts that she is a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual who plans someday to obtain sex reassignment surgery.  Schwenk testified that she realized that she was psychologically female by the age of 12, and that she used illegally-obtained female hormones prior to incarceration, although she never received any medical or psychiatric treatment for gender dysphoria, the technical diagnosis for transsexuality.   According to Schwenk, she considers herself female and has been known as “Crystal Marie” since early adolescence.

Does that fall into: “including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition”?  Now, as for…

Entitlement to sex-segregated spaces on the basis of ‘gender identity’ discrimination refers specifically to civil rights causes of action. This may be a difficult distinction for the non-lawyer to make, however, we do not address criminal searches & seizures, aka ‘panty checks,’ per the Fourth Amendment–which applies to government actors.

Well, we’ve already learned that Hungerford either doesn’t give a shit about how nonsensical that statement is or she’s a dangerously incompetent attorney.  But, even putting aside the Fourth…what about the Eighth, E?

Now, while you’re thinking about those two questions do keep something in mind: Unlike Saldana currently, Schwenk at the time of her case actually had been convicted of a crime (and, there’s no way around the reality that if she actually did what she was convicted of, then she ‘s not a particularly nice person – but, for the time being, lets resist the temptation to snort a big load of Brennan-Hungerford-amine to reinforce your conviction that no trans woman can ever be a nice person and that no non-trans woman can ever not be a nice person, and lets try to imagine an America in which forced sexual enslavement is not an accepted aspect of the penal system) and was in a men’s facility – though that classification was not what she was suing over.  Rather, there are rudimentary similarities to Saldana’s complaint.

In June of 1993, Schwenk was incarcerated in the all-male Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.   In September of 1994, she was transferred to the prison’s medium security Baker Unit, where Robert Mitchell was employed as a guard.   Mitchell recalls that shortly after Schwenk arrived at Baker Unit, other inmates told him that Schwenk was homosexual.   Mitchell admits that soon after that, Schwenk told him that she intended to have a sex change operation after her release from prison, and that she repeated this assertion to him “from time to time.”   Schwenk testified that she also told other prison officials that she was transsexual.   According to Schwenk, Mitchell referred to her as Crystal, not Douglas.

Schwenk alleges that shortly after she arrived in Baker Unit, Mitchell subjected her to an escalating series of unwelcome sexual advances and harassment that culminated in a sexual assault.   This harassment began with “winking, performing explicit actions imitating oral sex, making obscene and threatening comments, watching Plaintiff in the shower while ‘grinding’ his hand on his crotch area, and repeatedly demanding that Plaintiff engage in sexual acts with him.”   Then, in late 1994, Mitchell asked Schwenk to have sex with him in the staff bathroom, offering to bring her make-up and “girl stuff” in exchange for sex.   When she refused and attempted to walk away, Mitchell grabbed her and groped her buttocks.   Schwenk pushed him away and ran back to her cell crying.   Later that day, Mitchell again approached Schwenk and told her that he had had oral sex with a former inmate and planned to have sex with his neighbor’s young son, who he claimed to be “grooming” for the experience.   Schwenk, who testified that she was sexually abused as a child, became terrified of Mitchell and tried to avoid him as much as possible after that.   She testified that:

Once Mitchell told me that I-I freaked.   I just started trying to avoid Mitchell because I knew that-I had a feeling that he might be dangerous ․ that he could be personally dangerous to me.   I live in a unit where this man controls my every day essential life.   That’s why I was afraid to tell anybody, even the lieutenants or anybody that came into the unit because I didn’t know if word was going to get back to Mitchell.

Shortly thereafter, Schwenk says that Mitchell entered her cell, saw that they were alone, and demanded that Schwenk perform oral sex on him.   Schwenk refused and told him to get out.   Mitchell then turned and looked behind him to make sure no one was coming, unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis, and again demanded that Schwenk perform oral sex.   She again rebuffed him and again told him to leave.   Although Mitchell said he would leave, he did not.   Instead, according to Schwenk, Mitchell closed the door to her cell, grabbed her, turned her around forcibly, pushed her against the bars, and began grinding his exposed penis into her buttocks.   Schwenk testified that she told him to “get off me Mitchell, leave me alone, get out of my house.   And he-he didn’t listen to me.”   Schwenk alleges that Mitchell ignored her struggling and continued to forcibly rub his penis against her, saying “oh baby, I knew you’d be good.”   The attack only stopped, according to Schwenk, when Mitchell, apparently fearing detection, abruptly pushed away from Schwenk, zipped up his pants, and left hastily.

Later that week, Mitchell again demanded sex from Schwenk, who again refused.   Mitchell told her that if she did not submit, he would “cross [her] out and send [her] inside to seg, give [her] a new address.”   Schwenk testified that she interpreted Mitchell’s threat to cross her out to mean that he would get her “infracted” and transferred out of the medium security Baker Unit into the main cell house, where she would be at high risk for sexual attack by other inmates.   On January 11, 1995, this in fact happened.   Schwenk’s cell was stripped, and an illegal tattoo gun made out of a ball-point pen was discovered.   As a result, she lost some accumulated good time credit and was sent to segregation for 28 days.   In addition, she was moved to a multi-man cell in the maximum security Unit 6 of the main institution, where she “live[d] in a constant state of fear and anxiety,” wondering whether she would be raped or otherwise assaulted.

The argument put forth as to why Mitchell (read: the prison system) should not even have to suffer the indignity of defending against Schwenk’s charges was that: “Schwenk’s allegations constitute at worst ‘same-sex sexual harassment’ and not sexual assault.”

I can only imagine how eager the Exterminationism Twins would be to jump into the Saldana case – just to emphasize the term “same-sex.”

I leave it to all of you to imagine which side of the case they’d jump in on.

After all, a woman assistant attorney general was listed as representing Mitchell and the other state actors in Schwenk’s case – and there’s no indication that anyone seemed to give a damn that if the rationale put forth in defense of Mitchell, namely that the acts described even if true were not sexual assault but merely sexual harassment, had succeeded then from that point forward anyone charged in the State of Washington with any degree of attempted sexual assault would have been able to make the legal claim that their actions were not covered under sexual assault statutes but, instead, were merely harassment.

The transphobia – it runs deep….

like currents in the Atlantic Ocean running from off the coast of Massachusetts to off the coast of Maryland….

and back again.


So…Taking Photos of Snooki, Most Republican Men, All Preachers and Anything With an HRC Logo is Now Illegal?

August 21, 2011

From the Long Beach Post:

Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department  policy.

In other news, the First Amendment was just declared to be a figment of our imaginations (though if we try  to take a photo of it, it will also be deemed to be of “no apparent esthetic value.”)

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD’s “policy …  to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism.”

Memo to Yakov Smirnov: I hereby declare your Miller Lite commercial punchline to be fair game for re-working by we future refugees from the new American Corporatist Century….

In Russia, you can always find party; in America, party always find you.


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