Thursday, 28 May 2009

Today's Battles

They're never ending.

Over at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, we have this prime example.
Commissioner Henri Brooks, before voting for the ordinance, told gay rights supporters to disentangle their cause from anything related to black people and their civil rights movement.

She would be disloyal to the shoulders upon which she stands if she didn't insist that the issues be decoupled, she said.
This after a number of Black Baptist ministers thundered against giving equal rights regarding employment to Gays and Trans people.

My reply:
In order for Black Americans of the Religious Right to admit the legitimacy of Gay Rights, they'd have to do some serious soul-searching.

They'd have to realise that their genuine, strongly-held amd fervent religious beliefs that homosexuality is an Abomination condemned by Biblical teaching, and all that is Good, Right, and Holy is *exactly* the same as the genuine, strongly-held and fervent religious belief of many who supported slavery, as also being in accordance with Biblical teaching, and all that is Good, Right and Holy.

They'd have to realise that the arguments against slavery, arguments that directly contradict many scriptural passages, and based upon common decency and humanity, the "Love Thy Neighbour" at the heart of Christianity, are the same arguments that their opponents use when calling for Gay rights.

Now that would be a pretty big ask for anyone who isn't still being subject to discrimination and oppression every day, in matters great and small.

To a group that still suffers it though, I think it's too big an ask of them. It's unreasonable and even inhuman to expect the descendants of slaves, who still suffer the aftershocks of that terrible injustice, to realise that they're behaving exactly and in all respects like those who supported the slaveowners. For many of them, it's only the belief that they are better people than that that enables them to endure their daily persecution. They will never, they *can* never, give up that belief
Or they'd be as saintly as Dr Martin Luther King. Some things are too much to expect from anyone, however much we might hope for them.

Another comment though shows a very special problem only trans people face.
Posted by ummechengr on May 28, 2009 at 10:07 a.m.

The only issue I have with this, is the provision that covers trans gender. If you're gay, that's fine...I don't agree with your lifestyle, but I'll still work with you, and hang out with you, and give you my honest opinion about your lifestyle. With just being gay, or lesbian, or haven't "changed" sex. If one day I decide that I want to go from being a man, to being a woman, and start walking straight into the women's would other women feel....even if it was "post-op"? Last week...I was Mr....and now, I'm Ms.? I tend to beleive that would make for an uncomfortable work environment...
I gave an appropriate reply to that one too, of course.

At Psyhology Today, there's something even more worrisome. An account by a Prison Psychologist :
Confused I'd turned to a nearby colleague for answers, "I didn't know we accepted female inmates," I half stated and half asked.

"We don't," she replied matter-of-factly and then paused to look up at me questioningly. Her furrowed brow showed bewilderment but her eyes gave away her amusement.

"What about her?" I countered, motioning to the inmate.

Her eyes followed my gaze. She spotted the inmate and chuckled to herself. "That's not a woman," she managed, shaking her head with disapproval, "that's a he-she. To be here, he must be a man from the waist down."

She scanned my face for understanding. Finding only confusion she continued, "They go to the men's prison if they have male genitalia and the women's prison if they have women's. It doesn't matter what's going on from the waist up or what gender they think they are."

I finally understood what she was telling me. I began to berate myself in my mind: He is transgendered! I can't believe you didn't immediately identify that - how ignorant. And embarrassed by my own lack of understanding, I silently vowed not to be so unperceptive in the future.
To date, I have had many inmate-patients who self-identify as transgendered. Their gender identity does not match their assigned sex. They self-identify as female, yet were born males and have been assigned a male sex-role by society. This group of incarcerated individuals work to preserve their gender identity through the manipulation of their physical appearance, body language, speech, interests and interpersonal relationships behind bars.

Many transgendered inmates wear long hair, makeup and groomed eyebrows. They pay close attention to the appearance of facial hair and may shave off much their body hair. Some have taken more permanent steps towards a feminine identity by taking estrogen or having breast augmentation. Many have a strong distaste for the state issued prison uniforms- boxers, tee shirts and scrubs, so they often attempt to alter them. This, of coarse, is not allowed.

The rules do not prevent transgendered inmates from taking on more feminine body language, mannerisims, speech and hobbies. Many portray a more characteristically feminine posture and walk, some choosing to exaggerate these mannerisms with a strong swinging of their hips as they move about the prison grounds. Others soften their speech or control the tone of their voice. Their hobbies, interests and interpersonal skills also lean towards those traditionally assigned to women. They are more likely than their peers who self-identify as male to show an interest in clothing, nurturing and mediating relationships.

Perhaps most challenging for me is that most transgendered inmates prefer to be addressed by their ‘female' names and referred to using the feminine pronouns, ‘she' and ‘her'.
"Challenging". I see. "he-she".... "He is transgendered..."


Part of my replies, quoting another article:
Regardless of where the trans population in California is placed, the outcome is not good. One study, completed in 2007 by the University of California Irvine's Dr. Valeria Jenness, concluded that 59% of California's transgender prisoners reported being sexually assaulted, compared with 4% of the general prison population. The California Department of Corrections, which funded the study, has not refuted its findings."
With ignorance like this amongst the professionals who should know better, no wonder. I'm sure she means well, just is clueless about her cluelessness. As are many, perhaps even most, in the mental health profession.

Now onto a completely unrelated issue... or is it? Unrelated I mean? A comment on a political blog - because I don't just comment on Trans issues, but politics in general. I have a life, basically.

On the CNS news report about General Collin Powell's remarks:
Gen. Colin Powell, who was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush and secretary of State by the President George W. Bush, said yesterday the Republican Party needs to stop being controlled by the “right wing” if it is going to expand and becoming a viable national party again.
Powell said he believes it is time for the Republican Party to stop listening to “diktats that come down from the right wing of the party.

“You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base,” said Powell. “And I believe we should build on the base because the nation needs two parties, two parties debating each other. But what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to diktats that come down from the right wing of the party."

Powell said the Republican Party has been losing people in all parts of the country, and that he is concerned the party is moving too far “to the right” and thus may be surrendering even the “right-of-center” to independents and Democrats.”
Well now that you mention it... yes.

The comments section were full of such gems as this:
NTCDMD at 03:03 PM - May 25, 2009
colin powell is a rino that should be run out of the republican party

PLAINMAN at 10:25 AM - May 25, 2009
Powells had too much kool-aid, were HE to leave the party, the base would probably triple!
Definition : RINO -
1) Republican In Name Only.
2) Anyone not well to the right of Genghis Khan.

My reply:
ZoeB at 04:52 AM - May 27, 2009
The comments on this thread prove Gen. Powell's point. It's quite clear that the GOP is becoming a place where there is room for all three "true" philosophies - the Far Right, the Extreme Right, and the Ultra Right.

They're fine with big government spending - as are the Dems. They're OK with earmarks and corruption- as are the Dems. Not much to choose there.

The GOP is becoming the exact opposite of what many conservative Americans want. They want a party that is fiscally conservative, but believes in Liberty and want neither nanny-state socialist nor theocratic control.

But instead of the GOP, they're becoming the POG - the Party of God. In Arabic, they call that Hezbolah.

A healthy Democracy requires a choice. What choice has the middle when one party is growing more shrill, extremist and irrelevant to the majority of the electorate?
The same thing happened to a lesser extent here in Australia, which is why John Howard got the boot. But at least we didn't have senior members of the Liberal party espousing Creationism, as many senior Republicans do. (Yes, I know, the Liberals are the Conservatives here, but that's because it's Australia, remember?)

I can't help but feel that the issues aren't unrelated after all. As for the Democrats, Obama's said "God is in the Mix", and they have left every stone unturned as regards rights for GLBTs, a group I've been conscripted into. He has to keep his base, amongst which are many very conservative Southern Black Baptist preachers, happy, you see. And who are the Gays going to vote for if not him? A mob that wants to stone them to death?


Anonymous T said...

In political/social theory, the Libertarian Party would hold more appeal if they could find a more mainstream, popular candidate.

i'd settle for *anyone* in that party who didn't come off as someone whose primary election focus would be preventing u.f.o. attacks.

Laserlight said...

Too long a post, Zoe, I need multiple threads! :-)

Some things are too much to expect from anyone, however much we might hope for them.Nonethless, Our Lord does expect it. "Be ye therefore perfect" is the command, not "be ye therefore reasonably good". The problem with this, of course, is that He doesn't just expect it of them, he also expects it of

Laserlight said...

As for politics, from my pointy view, Gen Powell has it exactly wrong. If the problem with the GOP is that it's too corrupt, too big government, too spend-spend-spend, then the problem is that it's too indistinguishable from the Democrats, which doesn't sound to me like "too far right". I know a lot of former party faithful who felt our choice last election was between Democrats and Dem-Lite.
Of course, I have dedicated Leftist friends who feel the current administration is acting just like the previous on did, only more so.

I'd love to have a viable party which stood up for individual liberty, reduced government spending, a rational drug policy, a rational foreign policy, a rational agricultural policy... well, a rational policy on anything would be a nice change.

However, I don't expect that to come about until we have a major disaster -- on the order of losing WWIII. And I expect that to last, oh, several weeks before the new administration says "You know how we said the previous administration had way too much power? Well, now that WE have that power, you know, it's kind of cool." In fact, that's what I predicted Mr Hopey Changey would say.

Laserlight said...

And who are the Gays going to vote for if not him? A mob that wants to stone them to death?You're not exactly playing fair here. If you claim that any move to the right inevitably ends up with Hizbullah stoning people, then you also have to agree that any move to the left inevitably ends up with Maoist reeducation camps.

Anonymous T said...

Laserlight, do you have an email address for the general public?

Laserlight said...

Not for the general public, but I've emailed you at your blog-at-gmail address.