Queer Channel Media: Trans-Washing the ADA

July 28, 2011

Kathi Wolfe, writing for Queer Channel Media:

Fighting for marriage equality is one of many things that the LGBT and disability communities historically (and today) have in common.

This month is Disability Pride Month, observed to celebrate the history of people with disabilities and passage 21 years ago of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA prohibits disability-based discrimination.

Unless, of course, the ADA brands you as having an impairment but explicitly tells America that you can be discriminated against anyway.

Are LGBs and Ts together in that boat?

Of course not.

Sec. 12211. Definitions

(a) Homosexuality and bisexuality

For purposes of the definition of “disability” in section 12102(2) of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.

(b) Certain conditions

Under this chapter, the term “disability” shall not include

(1) transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders….

Right up front, gays and lesbians are told that they’re not covered – but specifically because homosexuality is not an impairment.

Transsexuals, cross-dressers and any non-intersex person who might be T-something also are told that they’re not covered.  However, (1) there is the implied declaration that everything connected to such folx is an “impairment” generally, and (2) there’s also the shot at the end which brands all of the above as a behavioral disorder.

We queer crips are of all races, classes, genders, orientations and occupations. Our disabilities include HIV, diabetes, cancer and depression (all covered under the ADA).

If you’re LGBT and a recovering alcoholic, you, too are protected by the ADA.

But if you’re out(ed) about being trans-anything?

 Then you’re fucked.

Oh…

And who was cool with that setup back when the ADA bill was being crafted?

Following the amendments to the ADA bill in 1989, which yielded those exclusions, Steve Smith, a lobbyist for HRC (then the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRCF)), actually offered praise for them: “By and large were quite pleased with it,” Smith remarked. Cliff O’Neill, “Senate Passes Disabilities Anti-Discrimination Bill – Measure Includes Protection for HIV Infected,” Bay Windows, Sept. 14-20, 1989 at 17. “Homosexuality and transvestism and bisexuality are not disabilities and we are very happy to hear that Sen. [Jesse] Helms has taken this position and we agree with him 100 percent.” Id. Peri Jude Radecic was a bit more realistic, agreeing with Smith about homosexuality and bisexuality, but noting, “as far as the other categories are concerned, I think that anytime that people are removed from protections, I don’t necessarily think that’s a good situation. I’m not happy anyone is excluded from the bill.” Id. Smith and Bay Windows neglected to point out not only that one of those “other categories” Radecic alluded to was transsexualism – something about which there is no consensus, even among transsexuals, as to whether it should be classified as a disability – and that some of the few LGBT successes under the pre-ADA, Nixon-era Rehabilitation Act were cases brought by trans people, one who identified as a transsexual and another who was denoted as a “homosexual and transvestite.” See Doe v. U.S. Postal Serv., No. 84-3296, 1985 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18959 (D.D.C. June 12, 1985) (allowing transsexual woman to bring constitutional claims against post office for rescinding an offer of employment after learning that plaintiff was a transsexual planning a gender reassignment surgery); Blackwell v. U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury, 639 F. Supp. 289 (D.D.C. 1986) (alleging that Treasury Department discriminated against plaintiff when it failed to rehire plaintiff because he was transvestite). It is difficult not to wonder whether someone who had, at the time of the pertinent facts of the case, apparently been living full-time as a female since the early 1970s was, in fact, neither a homosexual nor a transvestite but a pre-operative or non-operative transsexual. Moreover, despite initial success, Blackwell’s claim ultimately failed. Blackwell v. U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury, 830 F.2d 1183 (D.C. Cir. 1987).

That is the text to a footnote in a law review article of mine – as transcribed over at Pam’s House Blah, where voices who claim to speak for us (but who actually don’t) predictably took HRC’s side.

[Y]our evidence does not show that HRC “praised the trans exclusions.” Smith apparently praised the entire bill, and not the exclusions. As noted, homosexuality and bisexuality were also excluded….

Except, of course, that (1) if you are praising the whole bill with full knowledge of exclusions therein then you, whether you like it or not, are indeed praising the exclusions (you know, like praise for 2007’s ENDA 3685 is, whether you like it or not, is praise for its trans-exclusion), (2) the words “very happy” connote praise and that praise included at least the transvestism exclusion, and (3) as I noted above, the social mechanics of the exclusion of the trans-stuff are infinitely more harsh than the exclusion of homosexuality.

Years of prejudice won’t be easily swept away. Yet, let’s make a beginning during this season of Pride. I invite you to get know us queer crips.

I would invite Queer Channel Media to get to know real trans legal history, but….


Assholes

August 31, 2010

The title of this post is a (dis)honorific for certain commenters to the following piece:

Red, the Pomeranian puppy born with both male and female reproductive organs, has a permanent home.

Red was born with a condition called pseudo male hermaphrodite and was found wandering the streets of San Bernardino.

His condition was so rare that published data do not include an estimated percentage of the pet population that has it. Veterinarians might see it once in a 30-year career, if at all, said San Bernardino veterinarian Marc DiCarlo. In humans, it occurs in three out of 100,000 people.

I too have never seen any numbers on occurrences in dogs.

However…

Our neighbors have an intersexed dog.

And I’m not kidding.

They told us about it in casual conversation – specifically while lamenting that they found out about the condition when they took the dog in to be ‘fixed’ and, because of the at-that-point-undiscovered condition, the procedure ended up costing twice as much as they had expected it to.

And oh by the way…

The conversation in question occurred before I outed myself as being transsexual.  (And, yes, the neighbors having knowledge of their dog’s situation did indeed make it a bit easier for them to comprehend having a transsexual neighbor.)

Now…

Why “Assholes”?

Well, here’s a bit of commentary to the piece:

  • “I heard the dog barks with a lisp.”
  • “pupiesth arwe couute”

Fortunately, most of the commentary is civilized (and I count among the civilized those who are pondering whether, had there been no surgery, Red could have reproduced by parthenogenesis; yes, I presume that most who read this blog know that that’s not possible, but a good number of non-assholes might not.) 

And, also fortunately, Red found a home.

Now…

if I can just get my non-intersex, Pomeranian-Yorkie (Porkie) mix to shut up!


Get Ready For a Heapin’ Helpin’ Of Anti-Objectivity: The Washington Times Dives Into The Nikki Araguz Case

August 10, 2010

Oh, let us see where Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’ goes with the story, shall we?

The case, which transgender advocates hope will result in the overturning of a Texas law that says a person’s sex is defined at birth, immediately concerns about $600,000 in survivor benefits, with Nikki Araguz on one side and Simona Longoria, the mother of Capt. Araguz, on the other.

Depending on whether the union is recognized as legal, Nikki Araguz could be denied any benefits or could receive up to $300,000, said Chad Ellis, the attorney for Mrs. Longoria. The rest would go to the 6- and 9-year-old children whom Capt. Araguz had with his first wife, Heather Delgado.

The case has prompted charges and countercharges about deception and about whether Capt. Araguz knew that his wife was born a boy, and has the potential to break new legal ground in the definitions of “marriage” and “sex/gender.”

But Mr. Ellis is not interested in that.

Of course not.  Because the ‘new’ ground that has already been broken – you know, by the Texas Legislature in 2009 – pretty much negates his case. 

“I’m not blazing new legal ground,” Mr. Ellis said. “This issue has already been decided. This is not a new concept. … They’re trying to push an agenda that’s bigger than the death benefits of Tommy Araguz and whether or not his children get this money.”

Yep.  Those conservative judicial activism-mongers are at it again – trying to get judges to make up law which erases the will of the people as expressed through the Legislature.  The 2009 law which recognizes change of sex in the context of marriage should just be wadded up and tossed out because, well, because Chad Ellis sez so!

A hearing Aug. 16 will determine whether Mrs. Longoria will win her bid to be declared the executor of her son’s estate. The common-law rule is that, in the absence of a will, a married man’s widow oversees it. This dispute centers on whether Nikki Araguz is a widow.

The current precedent in Texas is a 1991 state court case, Littleton v. Prange, which says three factors determine a person’s gender at birth: gonads, genitalia and chromosomes. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines transgender as a person “who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.”

I guess I shouldn’t fault Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’ on the year given that, if I heard it accurately, Phyllis Frye actually attributed the wrong year to Littleton v. Prange in one of the Araguz press conferences.  Of course, I thought I heard her say 1990.  In reality, that 2-1 split panel decision from one of Texas’ fourteen intermediate courts of appeal – which, unlike what christianists would have you believe, is not and never was the law of Texas (and, as such, is only “current precedent” in that single appellate district) – occurred in 1999.

More problematic is the quick move to a dictionaty definition – typically the last bastion of ‘reasoning’ from courts that disregard current scientific concepts of sex in favor of moldy old definitions of “sex” from dictionaries produced by corporations which ultimately have a vested interest in maintaining societal ‘control’ through corporate control of said courts.

 Nicole Haagenson, a spokeswoman for Nikki Araguz, said the union between the two was clearly a valid marriage.

“They had a marriage license,” she said. “They have pictures and documents.”

Well, to be fair, if that was all that Nikki had, she kinda sorts would be SOL.  Remember, though: she kinda sorta actually has the law on her side.

At the time of Capt. Araguz’s death, however, the couple had been separated for months, and Nikki Araguz was interested in obtaining a divorce.

Here, I’ll reiterate what I said in response to Lisa Falkenberg of the one-step-away-from-Washington-Times-credibility Houston Chronk:

Which, even if true, would cause a marriage involving a woman with no sex-status question and a now-deceased man to be invalidated post-morterm….how?

Now, back to Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’:

Nikki Araguz’s legal representative did not return requests for comment to The Washington Times. But Phyllis Randolph Frye, a transgendered lawyer who is representing Nikki Araguz, told the Houston Chronicle that she hopes this dispute will overturn Texas’ definition of gender as fixed at birth.

Now, if nothing else, this should tell you just how little credibility the Washington Times has.  Phyllis has never passed up – and never will pass up – an opportunity to talk about her view of trans law – doubly so when she has a case like this.  (I make no comment as to whether that’s always a good thing; I’m just saying that I know Phyllis.)  So, if she didn’t break her neck in making sure that she got her say in for a piece like this, then she’s probably made the same determination that millions of others who possess at least one brain cell have made: The Washington Times is on the outside of journalism and making no attempt even to look in.

Mr. Ellis, however, contends that Capt. Araguz didn’t know about Nikki Araguz’s former identity as a male until an April 28 deposition set up by Mrs. Delgado, the mother of their children.

Hmmmm…

Are we going to see anything from Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’ about how the alleged violation of attorney-client privilege by Frank Mann, III, might have factored into this?

Nikki Araguz’s past was brought to light during an unsuccessful run for mayor of Wharton, Texas, and Mrs. Delgado then brought it to the court’s attention in a dispute with her ex-husband over custody of their children. Nikki Araguz was on probation at the time for drug possession, a fact also mentioned in the custody dispute.

In court, Capt. Araguz clearly stated multiple times that he had no knowledge of his wife’s previous identity as a male. At that time, Nikki Araguz’s birth certificate also became public.

Nothing about Mann yet…

Nikki Araguz has “a rap sheet about half a mile long,” Mr. Ellis said. “We’re dealing with someone who has conned people all of her life.”

Still nothing about Mann, though I do think its time for me to repeat my Falkenberg mantra:

Which, even if true, would cause a marriage involving a woman with no sex-status question and a now-deceased man to be invalidated post-morterm….how?

Now, back to Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’:

Ms. Haagenson said court testimony was unreliable.

“They both lied in the deposition, and they felt like that was the thing to do to protect his having custody of the children,” she said, adding that the e-mails clearly demonstrate that Mr. Araguz not only knew about his wife’s gender identification, but went to doctor consultations with her.

I wonder if, while gathering info for that passage, the author of this Moonie Mouthpiece ‘News’ piece, Kathryn Watson, “an intern on the Continuous News Desk” and a – wait for it – “senior journalism major at Biola University just outside of Los Angeles, where she serves as the editor-in-chief of her school’s student newspaper, The Chimes,” bothered to look into those allegations against Frank Mann, III, and how that may have factored into what happened during that deposition? 

Journalism?

Investigative?

Anyone home?

Oh…

Never heard of Biola University

Biola?

Named after a realative of Johnny Ola, Dominic Chianese‘s character from The Godfather, Part II

Probably not. 

In fact, here’s a bit of info on BS, er…, BU:

Biola University is a private Christian university located in Southern California. For over 100 years, Biola — a community where all faculty, staff and students are professing Christians — has been committed to biblically centered education, intentional spiritual development and vocational preparation.With more than 145 academic programs through its seven schools, Biola offers degrees ranging from B.A. to Ph.D.

Oh yeh…

No chance whatsoever of a “senior journalism major” from a place like that slanting a story about a transsexual, eh?

According to court documents, Nikki Araguz was born Justin Graham Purdue and changed names to Nikki Purdue in February 1996.

In the documentation presented in 1996 when Justin Graham Purdue became Nikki Purdue, she said, “I, Justin Purdue, am a woman with male anatomy, working toward a sex change. I have been living and working as a woman for over one year and seek to make my new name legal and permanent.”

Wow…

Two whole paragraphs – in succession – that appear to be accurate.

Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, expressed sympathy for Nikki Araguz.

“It is our hope that Nikki’s relationship is recognized, and our heart goes out to her for the loss of her husband,” he said.

Shannon Price Minter, legal director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the national push for gay marriage has unintentionally hurt transgendered people and resulted in cases like this.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that, perhaps because of the visibility of lesbian and gay couples seeking marriage, that transgendered people have been caught up in that frame and have been hurt by that and have actually, in some respects, are more vulnerable now than they have been in the past,” he said. “I think it’s really only in the past few years that we see pretty ugly cases like this coming up because people are, I think, exploiting homophobia.”

Wow…

Here, we have a couple of paragraphs that I presume to be accurate (I can’t be certain, but they seem like reasonable quotes) but which are also highly relevant – particularly the one from Shannon.

And, of course, faux ‘balance’ must ensue:

But Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, called the whole dispute ridiculous, but unsurprising, given the culture’s confusion about sex, as also shown in debates over gay marriage and homosexuality.

You remember the AFA, don’t you?

American Family Association (AFA) a non-profit 501(c3) organization was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon, who was pastoring First United Methodist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, at the time. Click here for an article entitled “Special AFA Anniversary Extra”.  For 32 years, Wildmon has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war.  See article “Courageous crusader, single-minded servant, humble hero”.  The original name of the ministry was National Federation for Decency but was changed to American Family Association (AFA) in 1988.

Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with over two million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio (AFR) banner.

Other divisions of AFA include OneNewsNow.com, an online news provider that is syndicated around the world.

 and referred to by the reality-based world as ‘OneNewsNot’.

The American Family Association represents and stands for traditional family values and exists to motivate and equip citizens to reform our culture to reflect Biblical truth on which it was founded.

In other words, they are christianist, anti-America theocrats.

But, of course, there must always be faux ‘balance.’ 

And also, of course, there must be fact-free christianist anti-science which goes unchallenged by the faux ‘journalist’, er…, “senior journalism major.”

 “We think that our public policy ought to be guided by science and biology, and not by political correctness,” he said, noting that gender is a biological reality and not a choice or a role one plays, as contemporary gender theorists maintain.”This case just certainly indicates how complicated and bizarre things get when you simply ignore the biological reality that this individual is a man,” he said. “He’s a male in every cell of his body. His DNA has been male from the moment he was conceived and will be until the day he dies.”

So…

Lets put aside the gut-laugh worthy notion that a cadre of anti-government thugs who believe a book of fairy tales literally actually also believes in science….

And lets put aside the (so far as I am aware) fact that Nikki Araguz’s chromosome pattern has not been ascetained (you know, the same little factoid that that 2-1 judicial legislature panel in San Antonio back in 1999 didn’t think needed to be ascertained regarding Christie Lee Littleon, against whom they had legislated ‘chromosomes = sex’ on the fly?)

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson had electron microscopes? 

And that 1789 dictionary that Antonin Scalia masturbates into while figuring out ways to re-establish substantive nobility (albeit sans titles) has a definition of “DNA”?

So the AFA wants courts to write certain things into the constitution – namely the things that they want written into the constitution from the bench (after being spun into pure golden evangelist shit by the Wildmon Wackadoos)?

Mr. Ellis said his client is distressed that the case’s focus has veered away from her grandchildren and her son’s heroic death. He died fighting a massive fire at an egg farm near Boling that took 150 firefighters to extinguish.

“Simona Longoria is not asking for a dime,” Mr. Ellis said. “She’s only doing this for the children.”

Oh yeh…

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

“She had to make a very difficult decision. … She knew if she did this what would happen; that instead of Tommy being a hero in newspapers throughout Texas, it would be Tommy that was married to Nikki Araguz.”

Biola University ‘journalism’ at your service, folks!

Now, go talk amongst yourselves.


Transphobia Still Kills: Murder Victim is 17 MONTHS Old

August 3, 2010

Yes, MONTHS.

And, yes, it is TRANSphobia.  From WPIX (via Pam’s House Blend):

A man is accused of fatally striking a 17-month-old infant he was babysitting Sunday night on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Long Island, according to New York State police.

The suspect has been identified as Pedro Jones, 20, of South Hampton. He has been charged with first-degree manslaughter after allegedly hitting the boy “several times throughout his body with close fists” and grabbed him by the neck, according to the felony complaint filed by police.

Authorities say Jones also told them, “I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl. I never struck that kid that hard before.”

Jones pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Monday at Southampton Town Justice Court. He is currently being held without bail at Suffolk County jail.

Additional charges or the current charge could be upgraded pending the completion of the investigation, police said.

Could be?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Something a weeeeeee bit more serious than manslaughter.
  • Hate crime.

And, with that, I await the arrival of the Alliance Defense Fund to defend Pedro’s ‘right’ to inflict (allegedly) biblically-mandated sex roles upon the child.  However, I do need to point out that the child that Pedro killed is not the youngest victim of a transphobia-induced murder.  That distinction belongs to a victim in – no surprise, no surprise – Texas:

Ambiguous Genitalia Leads To Infant’s DeathIn an evolving case in Dallas, Texas, a mother has been charged with killing her own child on December 8, 1999, simply because the child was born with ambiguous genitalia.

The baby was three days old, and died of blunt force trauma to the head, as well as strangulation.

A Collin County Medical Examiner also found shards of glass in the baby’s esophagus and small intestine, possibily indicating that someone initally tried to kill the child by forcing them to eat glass, in an effort to cause internal bleeding.


The Eyes of (the State Bar of) Texas Are Upon the Lawyer Who is Trying to Nullify Nikki Araguz’s Marriage and Life

July 31, 2010

Lack of ethics, much?  From the Houston Press:

Frank Mann, the lawyer representing Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, is facing investigation by the State Bar of Texas’s disciplinary office for a possible ethics violation related to an e-mail he sent “outing” the widow, Nikki Araguz, during her mayoral campaign.

Mann represented Araguz and her first husband in a 2002 bankruptcy case. Earlier this year, he represented Heather Delgado, Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, in a bitter custody dispute, and is now representing her in a motion to void Nikki’s and Thomas’ 2008 marriage.

In an April deposition of Nikki Araguz, Mann got her to admit that she was born Justin Graham Purdue; he also asked about her medical history. Mann then used the information in a May 6 e-mail titled “Public Information on Nikki Araguz who is running for Mayor of Wharton, Texas.”

Possible ethics violation?

And – since this blog isn’t a court of law, Frank Mann’s past can be brought in to convict him in the court of public opinion…

you know, the way he disclosed information about Nikki in order to sabotage her campaign?  And now to sabotage her legal interests?  The difference is, of course, evn though I am a lawyer, this clown wasn’t my client – and I definitely didn’t learn this info via attorney-client confidentiality:

It’s not Mann’s first dance with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel: in 1990, Mann agreed to a fully probated 36-month suspension for “misrepresentations of fact concerning the dates of his hospitalization for alcohol and substance abuse in an affidavit offered in support of a motion to retain.” (The suspension was stayed; he was allowed to actively practice, but was placed on probation.) The Office of Disciplinary Counsel also ruled that, in one case, Mann “assigned away 100 percent of any attorney’s fees” and then “intervened in the pending lawsuit, claiming an interest in attorney’s fees.”

In 1997, Mann was suspended for five and a half years and was not eligible to practice for the first 36 months. In that case, among other things, the Counsel found that Mann’s paralegal “affixed [a] client’s signature from a prior document to a proposed modification, without the client’s consent.” Mann wasn’t in the office at the time, but he was “responsible supervision and instruction of his staff and for ensuring that his staff follows the law and the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.”

Okay – the paralegal thing doesn’t necessarily call into question his honesty, just his competence at overseeing his employees.

According to Mann:

all of the information in his May 6 e-mail was gleaned from the deposition, and not from his earlier representation of Araguz and her first husband.

He also said that, when he represented Nikki Araguz in the 2002 bankruptcy, he did not know anything about her sexual identity and only focused on financial matters.

To be absolutely fair: Yes, its is possible that that is accurate.

Really.

If I can find a bookie who’ll give me odds, however, I’ll put $20 down against it.  Sadly, I suspect the ‘official’ paper trail will not yield the type of dot-connecting that will force the State Bar to disbar the guy.  Nevertheless, I have trouble believing that in 2002 the subject of any and all former names of a bankruptcy petitioner was never discussed during either the proceedings themselves or at some point during representation of that petitioner.


‘Gender Sanity’ on the Right: Aravosisism’s Endgame?

June 2, 2010

A new post of note:

Why the T in GLBT?

From The John?  A re-post of his warm-n-fuzzy (in the cold-cuts-left-inside-a-refrigerator-that’s-been-unplugged-for-two-years-sense) 2007 screed?

How did the T get in LGBT?

It would be an easy assumption to make.  Still…no! 

Then who?  Right-wing psycho-talker Dennis Prager, shilling in the christianism-pandering National Review (all while, of course, wearing his Jewishness as an amulet, apparently expecting such to prevent criticism from those who live in reality), that’s who!

A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals….

Hah! Fooled ya!

Or maybe not.

That quote was actually from The John.  Now, this is from Prager:

Interestingly, few people ever ask about the “T.” What do the transgendered have to do with gays?

Not cut-n-paste by the letter – but certainly in spirit.

And why should anyone be surprised?

Well, perhaps one should be surprised upon looking closer:

I fully recognize there have always been individuals who are no more capable of sexual attraction to the opposite sex than men like me are capable of being sexually aroused by the same sex. They should not be ridiculed, let alone persecuted, for their sexual orientation.

And few people, conservative or liberal, have any trouble accepting a transsexual, i.e., someone who has surgically changed his or her sex.

But what does any of this have to do with the transgendered, i.e., people who do not psychologically identify with their biological sex, who act as if they were a member of the opposite sex, and who have not changed their biology? Why does the Left include the transgendered in its activism on behalf of gays?

Prager?

Aravosis?

Or Ticked-off HBS-ers With Blogs?

Like most anti-T christanists (But he’s Jewish!  Well, remember, christianists believe that Jews can be ‘completed’ – and there will be as much room in America under a Palin Administration for Jews as there will be for Muslims, Wiccans, and gays and lesbians: none) Prager comes off as little more than a well-professed heterosexual male who, decades ago, masturbated to photos of Chrysis and has been Fergus-ing himself ever since after finding out that her measurements were, as someone in the documentary Split remarked, 36-24-9. 

Or, being Jewish, maybe he gets off to Dana International and can’t handle that she once had a…you know.  Who knows?  Who cares?

Well, he pecks in the National Review – you know, the publication that allowed professional homophobe John Derbyshire to give a handjob to his own publisher in the form of a allegedly-principled glorification of the fraudulent ‘science’ of J. Michael Bailey.

Bailey cared enough about policing the sexes to get the Joseph Henry Press to discredit itself by publishing a book claiming to be ‘science’ while being as devoid of science as a Sarah Palin wink.

Derbyshire cared enough about policing the sexes to give JHP that literary handjob.

NR cared enough about policing the sexes to let Derbyshire do it.

And NR cares enough about policing the sexes to let Prager…

Well, you judge for yourself what Prager is doing with the T.

But, wait…

Prager seems to ‘get’ transsexuals

But that’s part of the scam.  Its difficult now to find anyone on the christianist right – well, anyone who is allowed to speak in proper media – who will claim that government has any business telling gays and lesbians what they should be able to do in their bedrooms, yet how many of them ever lifted a finger to legislatively get rid of sodomy laws?

Yes, Prager seems to be okay with gays and lesbians per se.

Yes, Prager seems to be okay with transsexuals per se.

But he also seems to be a typical right-wing nut:

For those of us who believe that the male-female distinction is vital to civilization….

How?  Its damn sure vital to what the Taliban wants world civilization be, but to actual, reality-based civilization?  Where reality – not religion – matters?

Not so much.

For those of us who believe that the male-female distinction is vital to civilization….

Now we’re back to Lewis Black’s analysis of the anti-gay-marriage charade under the Bush junta. 

How is gay marriage a threat to…

anything?  At least, to anything other than the dwindling contents of the Republican corporatists’ bag-of-scary-tricks-to-get-the-working-class-to-vote-against-their-economic-interests?  Little Ricky Santorum could never articulate a rational reason why it was a threat.  Neither could Newt ‘Three Marriages For Me, But DOMA For Thee’ Gingrich.

And neither can Prager (or anyone else.)

But forget about marriage – for the moment.

How is the male-female distinction (at least as defined by Dennis Prager; again remember: he seems to ‘get’ transsexualism – so, will that, if not his Jewishness, get him onto Robert Knight‘s shit list?) more vital to civilization than the ability to earn a living?  Or to stop the Gulf of Mexico from becoming the backdrop if the Matt Smith-era Doctor Who wants to do an updated version of “Inferno“? 

Stahlman’s gas?  Oil? What’s the distinction?

Well – for forty years the distinction was that one was a fictional plot device in the final episode of Jon Pertwee’s first season as The Doctor and one was, well, oil.

Now…?

You see, there’s that problem again – the problem of the publication that is giving Prager the platform from which to peck, a publication that, if it ever gave a damn about the ability of working-class people to earn a living (for argument’s sake, I’ll presume that it actually did at some point during William F. Buckley’s ownership of it), long ago ceased doing so with its promotion of economic treasonists and the party that they control.

There’s a distinction between officeholders/seekers who respect this nation, its citizens and their ability to exist – and officeholders/seekers who eagerly destroy all three by shipping America’s economy to Central America and the Indian subcontinent, all in the name of stock dividends.

That’s a distinction.

Now…as between males and females?

There are males and females (and, not surprisingly absent from the Prager prance through the tulip patch of nonsense, intersexuality) and there are differences – but they are internal and interpersonal differences that neither the law nor any of its pimps-of-convenience such as Prager (any calls from Prager for impeaching any of the Bush junta for any of its patently illegal activity?  any calls from Prager for using the law to wipe BP out of existence and to use its assets to make the true small businesses of the Gulf Coast whole?  I didn’t think so) have any more business taking note of than they ever had the moral right to regarding race and religion.

Interpersonal?

No legitimate government has the right to tell people of different races that they can’t be together (or have to be together; ever been fired or not promoted because you were single?) any more than it has the right to tell people of the same sex that they can’t be together or any more than it has the right to tell any individual that he or she cannot engage in certain activity solely because proscriptions against said activity happen to appear in certain tracts of mythology.

Internal?

No legitimate government has any right to stand in the way when a sovereign, autonomous human being says that said sovereign, autonomous human being’s brain has always caused said sovereign, autonomous human being to feel different than people like Prager society expect said sovereign, autonomous human being based on what said sovereign, autonomous human being’s genitals look like.

And no right-wing peckster who whines about distinctions between males and females without acknowledging the undeniable biological reality of intersexuality and the increasing likelihood that (depending on what intra-T political position you want to take) transsexuality is part of that or otherwise biologically based is legitimate.

Transsexualism?  Biologically-based?  (Yes, Virginia, er…, Robert Knight, there is ‘science’ other than the fraud being peddled by the Family Research Council and Coral Ridge Ministries):

There is a likely genetic component to transsexualism, and genes involved in sex steroidogenesis are good candidates. We explored the specific hypothesis that male-to-female transsexualism is associated with gene variants responsible for undermasculinization and/or feminization. Specifically, we assessed the role of disease-associated repeat length polymorphisms in the androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor β (ERβ), and aromatase (CYP19) genes.

A significant association was identified between transsexualism and the AR allele, with transsexuals having longer AR repeat lengths than non-transsexual male control subjects (p = .04).

What is the male-female distinction vital to for me?  Well, somone decided to stick an ‘M’ on my birth certificate without ever asking me for my thoughts on the matter.  I never felt like an ‘M’.  I never wanted to be an ‘M’.  And, thanks to people like Prager – and his predecessors in bully-interest – there’s archipelago of legal bullshit and medico-psucho-pharmacological that someone who gets stuck with an ‘M’ against her will has to go through to get an ‘F’ and live as an ‘F’ generally unbothered….

Until, of course, someone with a Prageristic sense of entitlement to know that their personally-defined distinctions (well, if he can be taken at his word about being okay with us transsexuals, then his personal distinctions are vastly different than Coral Ridge con man Robert Knight’s) are being enforced against the masses decides to inquire about my ‘F’ and then subsequently enforce their personally-defined distinctions.

The last time it happened to me was in an interview for a law professorship – when an overly-entitled professor decided to distinguish me from herself and the other female professor conducting the interview by linguistically equating me biologically to the male professor interviewer by referring to me using male pronouns.

Was that professor straight or lesbian?  I don’t know – but I do have my suspicions.

Did that professor’s need for ‘distinction’ emanate from reading Janice Raymond? Or Norah Vincent? Or J. Michael Bailey?

Or Dennis Prager?

Does it matter?

Would one more than the other have changed the end result of the legal academy remaining trans woman-free?

Entitlement…

Bullying…

They converge at the horizon line of insanity.

What is the male-female distinction actually vital to in the Pragerist sense?  The internal manhood of well-professed heterosexual males like Prager and Tim Pawlenty and Nahm Coleman and J. Michael Bailey?  The internal manhood of well-professed homosexual males like Barney Frank and John Aravosis and Chris Crain?  The ‘how dare you say we’re claiming biology is destiny even though, wink wink, that is what we’re saying’ patent claim to womanhood-determination of well-professed lesbians like Janice Raymond and Alix Dobkin and Lisa Vogel and Norah Vincent?

Aren’t ya mixing things up a bit there, Kat?

Not really.

And certainly not any more so than the mixing-up done by reasonable-because-they-say-they’re-reasonable-even-though-they’re-no-different-than-Fred-Phelps right, the gay transphobes and the people who get apoplectic over the conflation of TG and TS, get angry at the notion of anyone with a penis even thinking about asserting any claim to womanhood and who get even angrier when a lawyer (someone who looks, acts and writes a lot like me perhaps?) asks how anyone is ever supposed to approach the attaining of post-op nirvana while shackled with an ‘M’ on her driver’s license and a legal (and apparently a post-op-mindset-superiority) mandate to never go anywhere near a women’s public restroom until after SRS.

And there we have the Aravosisistic rub.

To read Prager’s pecking, you’d believe that he was fine-n-dandy with civil rights stuff – such as ENDA perhaps? – that was LGBT if only that nasty T stood only for transsexual and not transgender.

To read Aravosis’s ahistorical nonsense, you’d never believe that transsexuals or trans-anyone had ever been part of the gay rights movement prior to 2007 (much less prior to the combo platter of purges in 1973: we were too freaky for the assimilationist gay males and too assimilationist – allegedly – for the lesbian separatists who worshipped androgynousness yet nevertheless wanted to police who could and cound not claim to be a woman.)

To read much of the HBS histrionics, you’d think that its possible to put the ‘umbrella term’ aspect of ‘T’ back into the bottle.

To read much of the ‘post-op MTFs are no longer transsexuals, we’re women’ denialism, you’ll still never find much, or anything, about how pre-ops are actually supposed to navigate the legal dichotomy of life up until the scalpel hits the phallus.

To read HRC’s website, you’d believe that it actually gives a damn about whether trans people live or die.

In the trans history class that I teach, my students get to peruse plenty of the transphobic hatred that has been unleashed by gays and lesbians over the years.  One thing that I always send my students away with – particularly in the spring semester – is that there is something in life that is certain other than death and taxes.  Its a certainty that every year, as Pride time approaches, some gay publication somewhere will unleash an op-ed either lamenting the ‘good old days’ of a trans-free gay rights movement or, as Norah Vincent was allowed to do a decade ago in the Shamvocate, double down on Janice Raymond-ism and stop just microns short of calling for the actual extermination of trans people.

Hmmm…

National Review….

We pretty much have gotten to the point where we can presume (even under an English libel law standard) any – and I mean any – ‘family values’-oid Republican to be a closeted homosexual (the ‘pretty much’ has to be tossed in because there are a few that are ‘just’ heterosexual adulterers and prostitute-mongers.)

Can we then declare Dennis Prager’s National Review whinefest, “Why the T in GLBT?,” to be this year’s model?  After all, it was a gay paper’s good job of dissecting him that alerted me to the article’s existence.

No – its only June 2nd.

We’re barely into Pride month.

There are still plenty of Michigan Transphobia Festival-defenders and Luna-ticks out there – and, of course, there’s the re-animated Queer Channel Media.

Plus, there is the substantive timebomb of ENDA.

Rememer the aforementioned ‘rub’?

Is Prager’s piece just another – albeit more cleverly disguised – embodiment of the typical anonymous (wink, wink) Jonathan Capehart editoral attack on an inclusive ENDA? 

Is Prager’s peckfest a sign that the Aravosisism endgame is at hand?  Creation of more gay-pure ‘reality’ that makes the Frankrainvosists’ real goal – a trans-free ENDA – seem more and more and more reasonable?

We’re already dealing with the fake reality of the 2009-10 ENDA’s political petri dish, a fake reality constantly defended by our Chosen-Ones-who-were-chosen-for-us-by-people-whose-interests-are-much-more-aligned-with-the-Aravosisists-than-with-real-trans-people – a fake reality in which a fake compromise which, even if yields an actual erasure of DADT, puts the career-specific desires of an infinitessimal percentage of the LGBT community above the desperate need for meaningful equality by the LGBT community as a whole and is going to be sold to that sold-out community as a victory…

Incremental progress it will be called (though, unless the drunk gay millionaires are already dancing on the posh tables by then, another, more marketable phrase will be substituted.)

Who’s doing the selling out and who’s doing the defending?

Frank or Aravosis? Aravosis Prager?  Prager or Capehart?  Capehart or Tyler?  Tyler or Solmonese?  Solmonese or Keisling?  Keisling or Luna? Luna or Frank?  Frick or frack?  Life or death?

Who knows?

Who cares?

Win or lose,  progress or regress, incrementalism or reality – they all collect their paychecks and live happily and comfortably while those of us in the real world wonder who will actually be the first up against the wall: the transgender people who Prager seems to hate or the transsexual people who openly gay men (as well as well-professed heterosexuals) have constructed the freedom to demonize?


Anything to Erase the T

May 26, 2010

From that paragon of trans authoritativeness, Andrew Sullivan:

Autumn Sandeen notes that Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who was given a 14 year sentence last week under Malawi’s anti-homosexuality law, identifies as a woman. Sandeen believes that “we can safely say that from past coverage by the LGBT press and LGBT blogosphere that this story would not have gained as much traction in LGBT media if this were considered a transgender or intersex story”. But Jim Burroway isn’t sure that either the gay or transgender label fits:

It turns out that in many traditional cultures, it may be more acceptable for women to take on what westerners perceive as “masculine” traits, and for men to take on what westerners would label more “feminine” traits. Which means that many of the external peripheral markers that we use to understand the contours of our masculinity or femininity become less important in many traditional cultures. But in these non-western cultures, gender roles — what men and women do as opposed to who they are — are considered much more important in defining what is a man and what is a woman. Against that realty, our understanding of gay/straight/transgender/whatever has only a passing relevance.

Sounds like a bunch of warmed-over ‘Gay American History’ from Jonathan Katz.  From one of the sources  Autumn cites in her post:

“Advocating for Transgender people’s rights in most African countries is problematic for us” says Robert Hamblin advocacy manager for SA Transgender organization Gender DynamiX. “Gender variant identities are not acknowledged and just about any sexual minority is called gay or homosexual. This is because a person is assigned a gender based on their genitals, despite how they self identify.”

“Gender variant identities are not acknowledged….”

Hell, Forget Africa.

That sounds like plenty of gay organizations – and self-professed scholars – here.

Moreover, if I understand the story as it has developed, Tiwonge Chimbalanga  is intersexed – which of course, where Thomas/Thomasine Hall was concerned, meant ‘perfectly formed male’ for Katz but also does not preclude IDing as trans (or gay) as well. 

Still, its the standard m.o.: Never pass up the opportunity to erase the T.