Friday, 17 July 2009

Today's Battles

More on "Bathroom Bills" again. This time, Massachussets House Bill 1728.

From the Boston Herald:
Transgender bathrooms coming soon???

Today at the State House there will be a hearing on House Bill 1728–An Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

If this bill is passed public bathrooms across the Commonwealth will no longer be separated based on gender — male and female. Men will be able to use the lady’s room and women will be able to visit the men’s room. I suppose putting urinals in lady’s rooms is next....
This has led to the desired hysteria in the comments section, of course:
I wonder how all these bleeding heart liberal scumbags are going to feel when their young daughter is molested in a bathroom and the piece of dirt says he’s a trangender woman and he has the right to be in the woman’s room.This opens up so many bad doors.
Comment by disappointed again in Ma. - July 14, 2009 @ 8:00 am
It's also led to some voices of sanity and reason having a debate:
#

There are already laws such as this one in many other states and also in Cambridge, Boston, Amherst, and Northampton & there have been no complaints of men trying to use the ladies’ room in order to prey upon women. No one is trying to legalize criminal behavior in bathrooms with this bill. Yes, some people may be uncomfortable with the idea, but being uncomfortable has never been sufficient justification to deny other people their civil rights and equal protection under the law.
Comment by christie - July 14, 2009 @ 9:06 am

Wow…the bathroom argument still brings out the lunatics. The public bathroom argument gets dusted off every few years and has been used to defeat all kinds of legislation; Equal Rights Ammendment being the most notable.
The host continues to show that she will go to the bottom of the political gutter to find a wedge issue. I knew she was a tough politico, but not literally a gutter fighter.
Comment by rufuswithchakakhan - July 14, 2009 @ 10:02 am

You’re an idiot. Have you actually read the bill? Do you have any comprehension of what it actually does? Of course not. You’re “the lone Republican” and that apparently prevents you from anything resembling meaningful policy analysis. Easier to phone it in and inflate bogus arguments that rile up your fan base.
Comment by Andy - July 14, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

Well, Andy, you seem to have read it so why don’t you enlighten us.
Comment by LibsWreckedMA - July 14, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

#

@LibsWreckedMA - the bill adds the words “gender identity or expression” to existing legislation, along with the existing categories of race, sex, sexual orientation and religion.

That’s it.

Not a word about bathrooms in it.

The full text is available online for anyone to read at http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/186/ht01/ht01728.htm

But those opposing it rely on people not reading it, and believing their, er, counter-factual, claims.
Comment by Zoe Brain - July 15, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

On to In My Arrogant Opinion - IMAO, a conservative blog that's usually quite good, even if it delights in being in-your-face. And this post:
Just Checking
Posted by Frank J. on July 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm

In Massachusetts, east coast land of useless idiots, they’re passing a transgender right bill to make sure people can use the bathroom of whatever gender they personally identify with. Some people are protesting it (how could anyone find anything wrong with it?), and this passage jumped out at me:
Timothy Tracey, a lawyer with the conservative Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, told members of the Committee on the Judiciary that the bill infringes on the religious rights of those who believe that men and women are different.
It’s been a little while since my last biology class, but there is actually a scientific distinction of men and women too, right? Or am I the one who is confused
Not too bad, a bit of snark, but inviting a rational response. Unfortunately, some of the commenters are less rational. Some are merely snarky, some extremely funny, others... well, I'll let them speak for themselves.
BigRichardSmall says:
July 15th, 2009 at 4:12 pm
They tried this at the local University, calling them “Family Bathrooms”. When did we as a society start deciding the whole needs to accomadate the retarded few. This is the place that gave us the Kennedys, John Kerry, and was so liberal it made Mitt Romnney Pro-Choice, I predict it’ll pass.
...
Son of Bob says:
July 15th, 2009 at 4:23 pm
That’ll be great for the little girls in Massachusetts to have grown men hanging out in their restrooms, simply claiming they identify themselves as females. Sounds to me like they’ve got some real intelligent, responsible representatives in Massachusetts.
...
Live Free Or Die says:
July 15th, 2009 at 5:13 pm
As a Hater-of-all-things-Massachusetts, they deserve this to become law. “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!” “I blow my nose at you!” “I fart in your general direction!”>>>Teddy Kennedy,John Kerry,Bawny Fwank,Gerry Studds,Duvall Patrick,RedSux Fans,Bill Bellicheat,The Big Dig…..Nuking them is too merciful.
...
# Kat says:
July 15th, 2009 at 11:27 pm
This attitude is something that seriously bothers me about fellow conservatives.

I have many friends who are intersexed - they have a congenital condition that means they are not entirely male, and not entirely female. In one case, the person is a true hermaphrodite. In another, the person has a hormonal condition, combined with a dichotomy between brain and body. In a third, the person has Harry Benjamin Syndrome, where the brain is female, and the body male.

All of them are treated as second class citizens because of something they cannot control. It is legal to fire them from jobs because they are transgender. It is legal to keep them from renting or buying a home. Protections we take for granted are denied an entire group of people because of a medical problem.

And yet conservatives, the heralds of “personal responsibility” and “freedom,” sit back and make fun of them, call them “shim” or “shemale.” Accuse them of being paedophiles or sexual offenders.

I’m not going to quote studies or give stats. I’ll leave that to Zoe Brain. She’s much better at it than I. But I will say that this sort of intolerance is what gives Republicans and conservatives a bad name, and makes me rethink my political associations.

[Great idea. You now be for higher taxes and less freedom. -Ed.]
...
Kat says:
July 16th, 2009 at 10:36 am

Thank you so much for the Editor’s note! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know that just because I question something on the Right, I’m now automatically a Lefty, rather than simply a disgruntled conservative.

Yes, I do run with an odd crowd. They’re called humans. Some might be a bit weirder than others, but then, I’ve never claimed to be normal.

Zoe happens to be one of those humans. So her posts encompass more than just her biological oddities. She likes to post about pop culture every once in a while, and frequently has a different perspective on current events because of her background in science. So she uses big words. I understand them, do you?

A quote from her site: “It’s legal to persecute the transgendered in 37 states, but in 13 it isn’t. Yet in those 13 states, there have never been these mythical “bathroom issues”. Not once. Oh, perverts have used womens (sic) facilities as places to attack, rarely, but they’ve never tried to use the human rights legislation, either mentioning “sex” or “gender identity” as a defence. Not once in 33 years.”

All of you are assuming that it is a choice for trangendered men and women to be outcasts. That they want to be reviled, end up homeless (est. 40%) or murdered (est. 1 in 7). Stop and think for a moment what kind of hell they must be going through, to be trapped in the wrong body and want so badly to get out. Imagine if YOU were in that position, where your brain was telling you “I’m a guy” and your body looked female. Or, worse, that your body didn’t quite look one or the other, and your genes were a bit too messed up to be able to use that. Kleinfelter’s syndrome is where the chromosomes are XXY rather than XX or XY. Mosaicism is where some parts of the body are XX, others are XY. In both cases, there’s no clear answer. And this isn’t as rare as we’d like to think. Gender and Sex aren’t quite as cut-and-dry as we’re taught in high school biology.

I understand, this is a humour site, and most of you are cracking jokes because it’s funny. But it’s not funny to a lot of people. It’s a serious situation, and this sort of reaction does quite a bit of harm, because it encourages ignorance, rather than compassion and understanding for a weird and vilified medical condition. Would you make fun of someone with heart disease who needed a bypass? How about a woman who needed a hysterectomy because of a chronic condition? Why is being intersexed any different?

Sorry. This ended up a lot longer than I intended. It’s a topic I feel particularly passionate about.
...
DesertElephant says:
July 16th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Woman trapped in man’s body, and vice versa, is Bullshit. Pure and unadulterated Bullshit. Man up, girly boy. Get a bit more feminine, uber-butch chicks.

Anyone that thinks they are trapped in the body of the opposite gender can go ahead and go to the place the DSM IV used to put them until the mental health community stopped practicing medicine and started excusing every sexual sickness and perversion as beyond the control of the person: a Loony Bin. They even have nice jackets that force you to hug yourself. Should make the super girly men and uber-butch chicks feel better about themselves.

I could give a rat’s ass about what you feel inside. Restroom assignment is an issue of human plumbing. Full Stop. Those with external fixtures go to the Boy’s room, those with internal to the Girl’s. If you can’t handle the ridicule coming from the other restroom occupants because you were born with a human spigot, but like dresses, buck up and deal with it. Screw the Tyranny of the Few and Aberrant.

I don’t advocate physically harming the mentally ill, but if they press the issue, forcing their will on a large number of folks, then I’ll laugh my ass off at the news report of the dude in the dress with the black eyes and fat lip.
My rebuttal was at length. As you can imagine. With just a soupcon of snark.
I may be aberrant - heck, “freakish” is closer. But at least I’m not a piece of ambulatory offal, a miserable failure at being human, who gets their jollies by seeing others beaten up because they “look funny”. As some do.
Not mentioning any names of course.
...the results are not just arrogant opinions, but ignorant ones like some expressed here. Arrogance is excusable when it’s informed. Ignorance is curable by education. But bigotry, that’s invincible ignorance married to implacable arrogance. Pride in stupidity, with more than a hint of cruelty, something more often found on the Left than the Right.
And anyone who wishes to argue that last point, I point to the misogynistic hatred directed by all too many on the Left at Sarah Palin for having the temerity not to abort a child with Downes syndrome. It's a matter of degree though, bigotry is egalitarian and equal-opportunity.

17 comments:

Anonymous T-Girl said...

i don't know what to say.

Laserlight said...

"[B]igotry is egalitarian and equal-opportunity".

All too true. Even some people who have been oppressed themselves are all too eager to sling dirt at someone else. Bizarre.

Of course, it may be a case of "I'm insecure about my status and need to trash others to maintain my self esteem." Since I'm a well-built righthanded Aspie geek of Scottish descent and good luck with dice, naturally I could feel no such need.

gopmom said...

I testified as a concerned parent at the hearing on the 14th. For purposes of prejudging me, I'm a white, middle class, stay-home, Catholic, conservative, Republican wife.

My position has always been that this is a badly written law, vague, with no specifics or definitions of what "gender identity or expression" is. While I am concerned that the law could be abused by criminals I never indicated transgender people are criminals or that I am afraid of them. I said that I am afraid of the law being abused and expanded, to force businesses, business owners, property owners, churches and private schools to accommodate at will transgender people with little or no regard for privacy or modesty. I stated to the Committee that I commend their efforts, that no one should suffer any kind of discrimination or harassment, threat of violence or violence. But this is a bad bill, most likely unconstitutional.

My testimony is available on my blog, as are my additional thoughts and a whole slew of intolerant, hateful and false accusations in the comment section. I cannot tell you how amazed I am at the unreasonable attitudes and the absolute lies that are being spread about what was said at the hearing and what has been assumed about me based on my comments. But, as a diehard conservative, I am used to being crucified by those on the Left for my opinions, opinions the Constitution of the United States says I am entitled to but the transgender community claims I am not.

I'm curious as to how readers here will interpret my position (again, the law is bad, it needs to be rewritten) and the exchanges in the comments section.

http://www.gopmom.com/2009/07/transgender-bathrooms-and-other-such-nonsense/

Zoe Brain said...

gopmom - I'm going to your site now. But even before I do, may I thank you for the welcome breath of rationality you bring to the issue.

I believe you're wrong - but if so, it's up to me to answer your criticisms, because on the face of it, you make some excellent points that deserve to be answered in the same rational way.

Now I better go read your post. You see, you may be right and I be wrong. I'd appreciate a dialogue about this, because we need to learn from each other. Well, I need to learn from you anyway, you may feel differently.

Oh yes, welcome to the blog. Feel free to traipse through the archives, I think you'll find some things of value.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi GOPmom - and greetings to Wrench, and especially your daughter.

Comments are closed on your blog entry, so here's my initial response.

We are only responsible for our own actions, not all those of groups we by-and-large support. I'm conservative, but I feel no need to justify some of the hatred and bigotry shown by some such, such as Michael Savage. I vowed to bring up my child in the Catholic Faith, and even though I'm not a Catholic myself, nor even Christian, I take vows very seriously. But I do not consider myself bound to defend some of the Holy Father's utterances, and certainly not the evil of aiding and abetting Pedophilia within the Church. Neither will I hold some of the less savoury and idiotic actions by some on the Left against people who identify as liberals and progressives. I'd rather not go into details there for fear of being guilty of what I'm trying to prevent. OK, Ward Churchill is a waste of Oxygen, and Bill Ayers even worse. Sorry, couldn't help it :)

Next, more light, less heat. Please no personal attacks. And while we're at it, no slurs about religious belief. I'm no believer, but I find talk about "some wacky 2000 year old , fake , invisible god" and the like to be designed more to hurt than elucidate. It's counter-productive too.

Finally - and this requires some faith (kind of ironic since I lack it) - assume the best in people until proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt. Forgive them the occasional outburst too, we're all human. Do this for not just those who support your views, but especially for those who oppose them. While there are some mean-spirited and frankly evil people in the world, those with malefic intent and who are not bona fide, the most implacable of your opponents are ones who believe that they're doing the right thing, and trying to live up to some very worthy ideals. "Love thy neighbour as thyself" is something we're all trying to do. (OK, maybe not Fred Phelps, but nearly everyone).

We're all concerned about protecting children too. The fact that we end up on opposite sides of an issue does not mean the other side is evil. Neither does it mean there is some "moral relativity", with no good and no evil. We are working towards the same aims, but our methods differ, and some of those methods will be counter-productive and just plain wrong.

Often we have no good choices - just iffy ones and worse ones. Sometimes we have to choose between what is good in one way, and what is better in others - and those arguments can get very heated.

Before I go any further, are those rules acceptable? And if I don't always live up to my high ideals - please tell me. I'm human too.

Zoe Brain said...

Some points to ponder:

Is there any such thing as well-crafted legislation, or is the best we can hope for some ramshackle mess that works in practice?

If a bill is poorly-crafted, do we need to propose alternatives rather than just pointing out flaws - as all legislation has flaws and it's the degree that's important - or do we live with real problems while requiring unattainable perfection?

Is it acceptable to have a bill that while in theory is fatally flawed, as long as it has a good track record (covering 10% or more of the population for 10 or more years say) with zero actual problems recorded?

One example - the laws protecting freedom of religion. "Religion" isn't defined anywhere. Is Scientology a religion? What about the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The Mennonites? The Exclusive Brethren? And as for religious practice - what about the use of hallucinagenic drugs in some rites? Human sacrifice? Surely such a vague law is, in theory, an open door to all sorts of abominations? Or do we rely upon a judiciary to interpret vague and messy laws in a reasonable way every day, as an integral part if the system, only tweaking the laws with amendments when things go awry?

Very often, the problem with defining a legal code is that there is a tension between being specific enough so that everyone knows what's what, and yet being general enough to cover a wide variety of different circumstances. Often when laws are too specific, absurdities result. Zero-tolerance policies in schools which deny any role of common sense have resulted in children drawing (on paper) pictures of guns being treated exactly as others were who drew guns from a shoulder-holster. Laws that are too specific are also often unenforcible, the more specifics, the more (rather than less) loopholes. See the US Tax code for example.

I'm not at all certain the law as written is unconstitutional, though IANAL. It's certainly on far firmer constuitutional grounds than other some other existing laws. But we can argue about that, adducing evidence either way.

Is it poorly-drafted, vague, and ambiguous? YES! Absolutely. I can't see how anyone could say it isn't. HOWEVER... that's not the important question. Is it any worse than other, similar pieces of legislation? Or the MA legal code in general? I don't think so, in fact, it's rather better than most in the penal code. Above average - though that's a matter we could and should debate.

That's not enough to save it though. Because we need to look at the effect of similar laws. A very badly drafted law with no actual ill-effects is better than the most perfect piece of legislation that leads to undesirable, unforeseen and deleterious consequences.

But even that's not enough. It's important that the legislation actually and materially improves things, that it meets a real need, and doesn't just re-distribute injustice without diminishing it in total.

If anyone has cavils about what I say - that *all* laws are vague to some extent, and civil rights laws more vague than most - that's what's important is the effect, not some hypothetical misuse that's never actually happened - that there is a real problem that needs addressing - let's get those out of the way. Then we can debate whether the bill is *so* poorly worded and ambiguous that it needs mending with a new one.

I believe gopmom is unquestionably right - just that she's not right enough. And that we can have a rational debate on, giving evidence for and against. That will be an easy task for me, it's always easier debating with someone you like and respect.

gopmom said...

I appreciate you coming over to weed through the issue. We had to end the thread because the comments coming in from a reader were extremely offensive to me and to my family and the issue of the law itself was no longer the subject but rather my "obvious inefficiencies" as a human being. (That would be the family-appropriate way of explaining.)

I did offer constructive criticism - be specific, provide a threshold for determining "gender variance", offer specific protections or exemptions for private enterprises.

My position against this bill is based on this bill but also on how the judicial decision to legalize gay marriage in MA was used to infringe on the rights of others, namely the Catholic church. I foresee, based on what was said in testimony - "this will pave the way for additional rights to be afforded to TG people. Did you know they are banned from some churches?" Now, I call this a strategic mistake but I'm thankful it happened. The legislators physically recoiled at this as I assume they too understand what this attorney was saying - we are going to use this law to go after whoever we want. So, I ask you, is the intention of this law merely an attempt to "legalize" rights for TG people in the public sphere (rights that they already have, BTW) or is it the equivalent to a "gateway drug"?

I moved to MA five years ago from the mid-west and it is sometimes like living on another planet. I'm no hick, I've travelled quite a bit here and abroad (Aussies are always my favorite traveling companions - so much fun) but living in MA is unique. First of all, there is a lot of money here and it shows. Everything moves very quickly, except traffic. And people are anonymous yet aggressive. And they're mostly Liberals.

Quick story - Within a few months of moving here, I joined a mom's Bible study group at my daughter's school at the invitation of a new friend. Silly me, I actually had to go buy a Bible. At the B&N check-out, I present my Bible while wearing a "I stand with President Bush" button - it was November 2004. The clerk looked at me like I was gutting a small child right there in front of her. I said to her, as I flipped my hair - "Look, no horns." She looked me in the eye and said, somewhat in jest "I don't think I've ever seen a Republican before." I answered "We're everywhere." Well, to me it's funny.

But that's the point. There is an attitude here that there is no dissent, no opposition, no need for it. And they are visibly shocked when they are confronted by an opposing opinion.

After (sort of) debating this bill with a few people over the last few days, I can tell you that I have never been more determined to see a bill die. Again, a strategic error, sending your most belligerent and foul defenders out to do your PR but I'm thankful it happened. I think we all need to see exactly what we are dealing with.

Am I rabidly angry about my tax dollars paying for abortion in America and all over the world? Hell yeah! Do I resort to distortion of fact, personal attacks equivalent to a hate crime (you're a catholic) and obscenity? Of course not, I'm trying to win someone over. Duh.

Anyway, it looks like this specific bill is dead. The interesting thing is that this bill was proposed and debated a year ago and sent back for modification. They changed nothing just simply resubmitted it. Is this good faith legislation? Hopefully, the sponsors will get it right next time because as I said, after witnessing all the testimony and hearing all the stories of discrimination, harassment and violence, I do see the need for some sort of legislation. Not, however, at the expense of the other 95.5% of the population.

Anonymous said...

I thought the legislation was merely an amendment to previous legislation - namely to add "gender identity or expression" to the list of people that would have recourse through that law if they were discriminated against. If so, it seems somewhat disingenuous to argue against the law on the basis of it being 'poorly written'.

A. Non

Boo said...

gopmom- This is an interesting paragraph:

My testimony is available on my blog, as are my additional thoughts and a whole slew of intolerant, hateful and false accusations in the comment section. I cannot tell you how amazed I am at the unreasonable attitudes and the absolute lies that are being spread about what was said at the hearing and what has been assumed about me based on my comments. But, as a diehard conservative, I am used to being crucified by those on the Left for my opinions, opinions the Constitution of the United States says I am entitled to but the transgender community claims I am not.

The reason I find it interesting is because I went to the page and read the comment thread.

The word "disengenuous" definitely came to mind.

There was a lot of nasty name calling in that comment thread. And almost all of it came from you. In fact, I got about 2/3 of the way down before encountering the first name calling from someone who wasn't you.

I also failed to see the part or parts where people said you weren't entitled to your own opinion. Perhaps you could quote them for me? What I did see were many people expressing disagreement with your opinion. Said disagreement became rather heated, but only after you had dished out multiple personal insults in comment after comment.

You baited for a fight, and eventually, after much more personal baiting, you got exactly what you wanted. That you wanted the nasty personal fight you eventually managed to stir up was fairly obvious from the beginning, titling the post "'Transgender Bathrooms' and other such nonsense" People's lives are not nonsense, gopmom.

You acted in an extraordinarily nasty way on your blog. Ok, fine. It's the internet. It's your blog. But please don't insult everyone's intelligence by coming here and pretending to be the victim, acting now as if you're above the very things you were doing so enthusiastically on your home turf. We can read. We won't buy it.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

gopmom,

I was reading this fascinating exchange between you and Bruce:

http://www.gopmom.com/2009/07/transgender-bathrooms-and-other-such-nonsense/comment-page-1/#comment-19622

I can see that Bruce's statement went way over your head. It's like playing chess and your opponent offers his queen as a sacrifice and you run up and grab it, and then he checkmates you next move.

Basically, is point was that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a very similar comment to yours with regard to Iran, but it was an ironic comment: Iran has strict laws against homosexuality where a homosexual will be beheaded, so all homosexuals have to keep it deep down inside and suffer. That's how it appears, on the surface, that homosexuality is not a problem in Iran.

When you made that similar comment, that suggests that perhaps it wasn't that there aren't LGBT people in your school, family, etc., but that due to the local atmosphere they keep it deep down inside them, suffering in silence.

You went up and grabbed that queen with reckless abandoned.

Anonymous said...

So, I ask you, is the intention of this law merely an attempt to "legalize" rights for TG people in the public sphere (rights that they already have, BTW) or is it the equivalent to a "gateway drug"?"

This is a little disengenuous as well. Everyone has 'rights', but (at the moment) not everyone has recourse through the legal system to defend those rights if they are infringed. Adding "gender identity or expression" would have given gender diverse people legal recourse to defend their rights.

-qwerky

Zoe Brain said...

Finally - and this requires some faith (kind of ironic since I lack it) - assume the best in people until proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt. Forgive them the occasional outburst too, we're all human.

So please, less heat, more light. Realise that those on both sides are human, and may react in an intemperate way - a way which can easily snowball. I don't see any great fault on either side, though I don't think either side is entirely fault-free either. Please don't sweat the small stuff, and follow 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

"4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;"

Think no evil and don't be easily provoked, OK? Please?

The New International Version puts it this way:
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

This bill really does just add "gender expression and identity" as an additional class to existing legislation. To the extent that the existing legislation is poorly worded, it is too.

This formulaic phrase, or words which are similar, has been found to work with zero problems in the jurisdictions listed here, which cover 38% of the US population. I'll only give the ones 2 years old or older, as it could be said that the others have been tested insufficiently. The laws are in force in places such as Lexington-Fayette County in Kentucky, El Paso in Texas, and the whole of the state of New Mexico - not exactly bastions and hotbeds of Liberalism.

This bill extends to transgendered people the same rights that Gays - and Christians for that matter - have enjoyed in MA for the last 10 years. It was only because so many Gays are Transphobic that it was removed from the original bill ten years ago.

It's really difficult to imagine a bill that would be better crafted. I invite critics to find a better solution, one which would give the minimal change to the existing laws, and make use of existing precedents to limit any silly misinterpretations and judicial activism.

gopmom said...

I really have nothing more to offer. I think I was pretty clear what my position was and why. (I suppose assuming I am just some ignorant, illiterate "hater" makes it easier to accept than the reality that I put thought into this, have an opinion and am willing to defend it.) I just find it completely hypocritical that because my opinion "is the wrong one" I'm free game. I cannot defend myself from what this law is supposed to protect against, because I'm already defined as public enemy #1?

All I will say in my defense is that Bruce comes around every once in awhile to bait me and I've found it easier to reply flippantly that to take him seriously. And I am aware of the treatment of homosexuals under Islamic regimes. There is a very interesting documentary out there about TS people in Iran - seen it? Very sad.

In the end, my family, my husband, my religion and my daughter were all attacked - most of these comments we deleted mainly because they came at the end and were bizarre, incoherent and offensive. This is why we shut it down.

I come away from this very disheartened to learn that no matter what you say or believe, if you disagree with the LGBT community in anyway, you are never given the benefit of the doubt - you are just an intolerant bigot - ironically, what I've always been told by genuine bigots.

Zoe Brain said...

gopmom -

Does that include me?
Do you consider me a bigot?
Have I not given you the benefit of the doubt?

Boo said...

I just find it completely hypocritical that because my opinion "is the wrong one" I'm free game.

So essentially, you prefer ignoring everything anyone says in the actual response to you in favor of this lame "I'm the victim"
schtick? Remember once upon a time when Republicans had this thing about personal responsibility?

See, here's the thing. Freedom of speech and opinion is a two way street. You have the right to an unpopular opinion. And yet, here's the rub, other people have the right to disagree with your opinion. And if you express your unpopular opinion in a forum, say, a blog, where other people have the opportunity to respond to your opinion, then they might actually do so, and express disagreement with you. And that's where you seem to have a problem. It appears that when you encounter any kind of response expressing disagreement with your opinion, your response to that response is to immediately start namecalling and making a big dramatic production about how everyone is calling you a bigot, everyone is saying you don't have a right to an opinion, everyone is being sooooo mean, etc. That is not the response of an adult, that is the response of a child. Or at least, an adult with an extraordinarily fragile ego.

If you make the choice to be nasty, to call people stupid, to try and provoke fights, eventually someone somewhere is going to respond in kind. If you don't want to get into those fights, then just don't start them. It's really that simple. When someone expresses disagreement with what you post, why not try, oh I don't know, responding to that disagreement in an adult manner. Especially since, in the case of your blog thread, all the early responses to your opinion which expressed disagreement did so quite civilly, making many rational points to consider. Yet in pretty much every case, your response to the response was to become a big drama queen.

The reason you're not able to have rational discussions about these issues is because YOU are not willing to discuss them rationally. Any disagreement with your position, any attempt to bring in facts and perspectives you may not have considered, is perceived by you as a personal attack, bringing on personal attacks from you. And then of course your repeated personal attacks eventually drag someone there down to your level, and now you can point to someone saying something nasty back to you as "proof" of how mean all the lefties are, and unwilling to allow expressions of dissenting opinion, when the reality of course is that nothing of the sort occured. I still can't find the part of the comment thread to that post where you claimed people were saying you don't get to have a different opinion. Of course, you'd still need to explain exactly how any commenter could somehow shut down your right to express opinions on your own blog. Not quite getting how that's suppposed to work. Is there some form of witchcraft involved?

Basically, you provoke fights so you can run away screaming from them about how unfair it all is. You're not "free game." You're the hypocrite.

Now, if you'd actually like to discuss the issue like a rational person, what is your response to the point that several states already have these laws for years and there have been no reported problems whatsoever about cisgendered men taking advantage of them to prey on cisgendered women in bathrooms?

Clerk from Kent said...

I really have nothing more to offer. I think I was pretty clear what my position was and why.
Gopmom, I don't deny that you feel you have put significant thought into your position but there have been some serious challenges to your reasoning that you haven't addressed. I certainly understand what your position is, but with given the challenges to your opinion, I'm not sure I understand why you hold it. I could be convinced if you were to offer a reasonable, logical rebuttal of these points:

Many US counties have anti-discrimination legislation that includes 'gender identity or expression' and have had for some time. There has been no observed abuse of these laws by men predating in women's restrooms. Why do you believe that your local area is likely to buck this trend?

Similarly, in localities that outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, there hasn't been a glut of people 'crying wolf'. How do you think people can use this legislation to their advantage if they haven't been genuinely discriminated against?

Without conjuring up 'men' using the legislation as a post-hoc excuse for being in the wrong bathroom (if they were doing anything other than going to the bathroom, they'd still be, rightly, in trouble, with or without this law, see point #1), how is the 'other 95.5% of the population' disadvantaged by giving gender diverse people legal recourse if they are discriminated against on the basis of their gender?

Given that the existing law (without the phrase 'gender identity or expression') has been enacted for some time and seems to have served it's purpose quite well, how does adding one more group make the legislation poorly written?

Sexuality is already covered by the legislation. What caveats are in place for religious exemption to discrimination on this basis? Couldn't the same framework be extended to gender identity or expression (i.e. without rewriting the legislation)?

-CFK

Zimbel said...

"I point to the misogynistic hatred directed by all too many on the Left at Sarah Palin for having the temerity not to abort a child with Downes syndrome"

-I'm curious who on the "Left" has suggested this.