Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Today's Battles

An ongoing discussion at A Christian Voice :
News from MASSResistance about a new Hate Crimes Law that if passed here will be one of the most oppressive hate crimes law ever placed in America.
Despite the fact that he quotes one of the most notoriously mendacious hate groups on the web, the author is a decent man. He just needs a little more information, to widen his sources a bit. I and a few others are attempting to do that.

Bad - or at best, Mixed - News from the Kiplinger Business Resource Centre :
Odds are good that Congress will pass a bill to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation. It will expand current federal employment law, which bars bias on the basis of a worker’s race, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability.

The legislation will not apply to small businesses with fewer than 15 employees, the military or religious organizations. The House is likely to act by fall and the Senate by the end of the year. President Obama is sure to sign it.

Less certain is whether the final legislation will also include a ban on discrimination of transgendered persons, which is more controversial. The antidiscrimination bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), does include such gender identity protections, but employer groups are concerned about that provision. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management says that while it will support sexual orientation discrimination protection, it will not support gender identity protections.
*SIGH* And from the comments:
POSTED BY: Joe (July 15, 2009 06:02 PM)
This falls into the category of who cares. Seems to be a law to protect something that is not a problem. I am not gay but have relatives and friends who are and they have no issues with it at work. Waste of time.
So I quoted from the Willaims Institute report, which I've blogged about before.
A survey in the NE states showed 35% [of trans people] were unemployed, 25% part-time employed, and for those in fulltime employment, average salary was $15,000. Figures for gays and lesbians are nowhere near as bad, but perhaps double the usual unemployment rate. For trans people, it's 12 times.
I think any minority group with such figures shows that a real problem exists.

On to CNS News, and a story that on the face of it, seems like bureaucracy gone mad.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care legislation will give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop “standards of measuring gender” -- as opposed to using the traditional "male" and "female" categories -- in a database of all who apply or participate in government-run or government-supported health care plans.
Plus a lot more data besides - which I view with some considerable distrust. Never mind, on to the comments:
Panama City Tom
How To Measure Gender (Gender and Gender Identity May Only Be Male or Female and Dreaming or Wishful Thinking Does Not Count): Determine whether or not the sexual organ (penis/clitoris) contains urethra. Classify those who naturally have urethra inside sexual organ as male. Classify those who do not naturally have urethra inside sexual organ as female. Other measurements of gender are prohibited;
I was a bit snarky there:
Panama City Tom - your suggestion, while original, wouldn't work for those with the worst cases of one of the more common Intersex conditions - Hypospadias. Some of the boys born with this can still father children (with technical help), but you'd classify them as female. Even if they looked as male as Arnie the Gubernator, which some do. I must give you 10/10 for original thinking though, defining sex depending on the position of the last few centimeters of the urinary tract. Opening a millimeter one way, male, the other way, female, despite all other somatic characteristics.
One commenter wrote:
Since when is determining the sex of one person so bloody hard.
Reasonable question. So I told them, in the 1000 characters allowed.

Jason of Theosophical Musings attempts to deal charitably with the issue of Transsexuality from a Theological perspective. Poor guy, he's so far out of his depth he must feel like he's been run over by a bus. One driven by Sophia Seidelberg of OII, and with one Zoe Brain as conductress. And Prof Italiano along to give commentary.
First, this blog post was about people who have perfectly normal biology, but feel that they are the opposite gender and thus undergo a sex change so that their body conforms to their sexual self-image....
My reply:
Such people may exist. I think they probably do. But we have no evidence of it.

Every transsexual person ever tested has been found to be partly male, partly female in their bodies. Every single one. None have normal biology.

The trouble is that it’s not obvious. It’s the brain that is affected – though other parts may be too – not the external genitalia or chromosomes.
And considerably more.

Finally, from the Boston Globe :
Opponents of transgender rights bill employ scare tactics
July 21, 2009

I AM writing in response to the hearing on An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes, also known as the transgender civil rights bill, that the state’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary heard on July 14. I attended the hearing, and I was shocked and saddened at how often opponents to the bill brought up sexual assault in bathrooms. I am offended that they prey upon my experience as a woman to try to engender fear and hatred for transgender people instead of presenting any reasoned and rational opposition to protecting our citizens’ civil rights.
And the comments:
JadedBarbie wrote:
The comments here [with the exception of a couple of intelligent ones] are worth the entertainment their ignorance or bigotry sometimes brings....

Dand66 wrote:
While I think the "transgendered" person is mentally ill, you lot are the ones that are sick for encouraging them to scar themselves rather than get treatment...

Dand66 wrote:
I never meant to imply that I thought you should be denied a job, a home or the ability to use the bathroom unimpeded. No one has any right to discriminate against you for any reason, regardless of how they feel about you....

Frj256 wrote:
Gender is "cut and dried." The true gender of a person is define is his/her chromosomes and he/she is not able to change it. This so-called rights bill is a fraud and these people are in need of medical attention.....
And my replies:
Except they do, from a legal standpoint. It's currently illegal to deny someone a job, or a home, or a loan, or the right to use a drinking fountain just because they're gay, or catholic, or black.

But it's just jim-dandy to do that to a trans person. To deny them a job, or a home, or a loan, or the right to use a drinking fountain just because they are trans. It's perfectly legal, and a substantial minority think that it always should be. Hence the hard core of the opposition to this bill, the people who know that in 33 years there has never been a "bathroom issue" for the 38% of the US population already covered by these laws. They continue manufacturing a classic "scare campaign" as they know their real agenda is unacceptable to people like yourself. And many people, reasonable people of goodwill, believe them, because they're unaware of the evidence.....

Male is 46xy, and Female 46xx, right? Except for those who have Kleinfelter syndrome, 47xxy. Most of whom are male, some of whom have fathered children, but some are female and have given birth.

Or there's the chimeras and mosaics, with either 46xx or 46xy chromosomes, depending on which part of their body you look at.

Then there's the xy females, with Swyer syndrome (who can give birth), and CAI syndrome (who can't). And the xx males, with CAH syndrome or De La Chapelle syndrome....
The process of education, of calmly presenting facts never ends. And sometime, some of those that are the most vocal in their initial opposition come around quite quickly when you just show them the evidence. Even the fact that a letter to the editor like this one can be written, and then published, is a sign of progress.

Moving the mountain one teaspoonful at a time.


Unknown said...

Keep up the good work! :-)

Carolyn Ann

Anonymous said...

I was just finishing a book by Richard Feynmann, wherein he tells the story of helping to choose the textbooks for the State of California. He said that of the 700lbs of textbooks he reviewed, NOT ONE had things entirely correct, and his conclusion is that the people who write the textbooks don't understand what they're trying to teach. So when you have 9th grade biology, they get the "XX or XY" thing and no one ever mentions that any other options are possible. And therefore "you must be lying, because I learned in biology class..."

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, this is one of the few benefits of having a biology professor for a father; after I told him he pointed out how common variations like this are in the natural world. Some plant species apparently depend on trisomies for survival.

Jessica Elle said...

Hi Zoe,

I came on your blog to research your stance on the military, since I work for a military based website.

I found much more. Thank you for continuing the fight for information, as I think the area surrounding the LGBT community is so screwed up right now with people that point and condemn. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing your part. I am personally grateful for your help in our struggle against il-informed people!

Anyways, I was wondering if you'd be up to the idea of having a link exchange over at We're currently building a widget to showcase the bloggers we like, and I'd really like to have your unique voice present.

You can email us over at, if you'd like to set something up, which I hope you would!!!