Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Sometimes, not always, maybe even not often, the Good Guys win.

I posted about the Same Old Lies a few days ago.

Now I'll quote from Trickster108 on the same issue. While I would have used less semantically-loaded words, what she says is true.
5. Florida: This state was the scene of one of the ugliest campaigns aimed at distorting the facts. The Gainesville City Council was to vote on amending their discrimination policy to include transgender protections. The culprit here is the hate based organization called Citizens for Good Public Policy. Their dirtiest trick was the creation of a video featuring an undesirable man in men’s street clothes lurking by a public bathroom in a park frequented by children. After a five or six year old girl goes into the bathroom, he is seen following her in. The footer reads “Your City Commission Made This Legal”. There is nothing to suggest their odious proposition that passing trans protections will legalize this kind of victimizing behavior. In a side note, one of the antagonists in this campaign of hate and lies, a CVS manager, admitted to filming women in his store’s restroom. Talk about perverts…
8. Maryland: As mean-spirited and nasty as Gainesville, FL., Montgomery County Maryland in metro DC was the scene of an equally disturbing battle. Like Gainesville, the dirtiness of the tactics was extreme, but perhaps even more scary was the degree to which bigots will go to defend their intolerance. The hate-spewing group here calls itself Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. In its attempt to undermine the County’s gender identity inclusive law about to take effect, the group and its president Dr. Ruth Jacobs allegedly collected 25,000 signatures to force a referendum. Sadly, they used illegal tactics to bolster that list of names, and Maryland’s highest court ruled against the referendum. One of the sleaziest tactics used by MCRG was to send a hetero male, dressed in drag, into a local health club to incite fear and panic. Their ploy was discovered and this group’s cover was blown.

Here's where they dressed an associate professor of Nursing in a Lab Coat and portrayed her as a "Doctor". Not incorrect, but obviously designed to mislead.

She doesn't actually live in Kalamazoo, but in Texas township nearby. On the other hand, I'm in no position to criticise: I live in Australia!

This explains her reasons for making this commercial:

Mary Ann Stark, a Western Michigan University associate professor of nursing, said she experienced “emotional upheaval” when she learned a man who was transgendered presenting as a woman shared her locker room at a local health club.
Stark said she is “sympathetic to people trapped in a gender they don’t identify with,” but wants to protect privacy rights.

“To me, this is the deal-breaker in this ordinance,” said Stark, who lives in Texas Township and cannot vote on the city ordinance. “I’m empathetic to the few people who don’t identify with their (biological) gender. But the rest of us still have rights to privacy and the sanctity of our rights not being defiled because they’re uncomfortable with their bodies.

This is a case where their rights would step on my rights.”
I think it's more a case of "we're uncomfortable with their bodies". But no matter.

Here's what I wrote to her:
Dear Professor Stark,

As someone who's Intersexed, I no doubt have a very different view to you on the "bathroom issue".

Be that as it may, now that 1856 has passed in Kalamazoo, how can we allay your concerns.

When a woman with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and somewhat masculinised genitalia shares a locker room with you, how should we deal with the problem of your discomfort? You have just as much right to privacy as she does.What about a man - or a woman - with a female birth certificate, but who has 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) or 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3), and masculinises from a mostly female appearance at puberty? As a clinical researcher in obstetrics, I'm sure you're familiar with such cases, and know just how many babies are born with overt disorders of sexual development. Perhaps you're not so familiar withn the many cases where Intersex conditions don't manifest symptoms till long after birth.

We need a comprehensive method of dealing with such problematic issues, ones that have obviously traumatised you in the past. Possibly a third, single-stall room, where people who are discomforted by the presence of those of a different race, or unusual genitalia, or of a different religion, can be assured of privacy. They have rights too.

Meanwhile, my sympathies on you having suffered such a terrible trauma, and my genuine admiration for having the courage to speak up for the rights of all who think as you do.We may differ on many issues, but your dressing in a lab coat in a medical setting, and passing yourself off as a "doctor" will no doubt cause you some issues in your profession. MDs tend to be rather jealous of mere PhDs, even if the PhD is in nursing, a medical profession I personally consider more demanding than theirs. May I hope that the issues are soon forgotten, and that a way can be found that means you feel safe once more.

Best Regards
Zoe E Brain
(who is a PhD candidate herself, so can only admire those who have made it through the other side!)
I meant it too, this was no hypocritical facetious attack. Being on the wrong side of many Human Rights issues has given me a degree of tolerance I didn't have before. To realise that those I see as wrong and even dangerous have human rights too, just as I do. Because I'm seen as wrong and dangerous by so many myself.

Anyway, the Result of the dirty tricks in Kalamazoo?
With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.
They voted nearly 2:1 for trans people's rights. Not against, for. And no 51:49 or even 55:45 margin either. 65:35.


RadarGrrl said...

Perhaps we need a different term for people with PhDs than 'doctor'. Although the term may be correct, the general public will always equate the term 'doctor' with MD, which leads us to having people like Ray Blanchard (not a medical doctor) and Ken Zucker (also not a MD) making medical decisions that affect hundreds of people as if they were. Perhaps use the term 'professor' instead for PhDs? (Just my thoughts...I haven't a hope in hell of getting even a BA.)

Shannon said...


I think this a teachable moment. The reason the ordinance passed in Kalamazoo is not because of the overwhelming inherent good will of the people of Kalamazoo towards the trans community, but rather due to the hard work of organizations like One Kalamzoo. They were on top of the issue from the very start. They were organized. They went out and talked to the community. They made a LOT of phone calls to residents. They actively sought endorsements from as many politicians, businesses, and prominent citizens as they could and publicized those endorsements. They got out and did the work. That is how you win initiatives.

In a similar way, Washington State faced a petition by a minority of voters that would withdraw the rights equivalent to marriage granted by the legislature. That effort was defeated with the same kind of organization by Equal Rights Washington and their Approve R71 campaign using phone banks, events, endorsements, email, social networking sites, and personal contact to get the vote out in an off-year election that usually has poor voter participation. Washington is now the first state to grant by popular vote equal marriage rights regardless of sexual orientation.

But neither of those happens by accident. It happens by getting a huge number of motivated volunteers organized and activated. That is what has to be done anywhere that minority rights has to go to a popular vote; as distasteful as that very idea is. This is the message we need to be spreading about these successes, and the techniques used by these organizations need to be studied closely by other organizations seeking similar results. This is where you come in as disseminator of information to these minority communities. It is important not to just announce the results as if by magic, but rather to emphasize the methods and link to the relevant organizations.

Just sayin' is all.