Friday, 23 April 2010

Today's Battles

A special Massachusetts edition, for a state that has had equal rights for gays for some time, and even for trans people in some major cities... but has yet to pass statewide legislation that would protect trans people.

Background, from the Patriot Ledger:
Gay rights are emerging once again as a wedge issue in a Massachusetts governor’s race.

Since Saturday’s GOP convention, two gubernatorial candidates – Republican Charlie Baker and independent Timothy Cahill – have announced that if elected, they would veto a transgender equal rights bill pending in the state legislature.
“We’re not even low-hanging fruit to kick around,” Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coaliton and a Plymouth native, said Tuesday. “We’re on the ground, so I don’t see what they gain from kicking the trans community.”

The proposed legislation would change the state’s hate crime laws to include transgender people as a protected category, and it would make sure employers can’t fire or overlook job applicants who are transgender.

Opponents have criticized the bill as unsafe and an attack on privacy.

They have focused on a section that they argue would allow, for example, a transgender woman who was once a man to use a women’s public bathroom.

Both Baker and Christy Mihos delivered speeches at the Republican state convention in Worcester on Saturday saying they oppose the “bathroom bill.”
The same old same old. Okay, so after quoting the usual list - one that grows longer every time I use it - of medical and scientific journal articles in support of my position, this is what I wrote:
Bottom line: Boy brain, girl body, or the reverse.Nothing to do with psychology, or morality, just anatomy. Neuro-anatomy.

For reasons we don't fully understand, those with feminised lymbic nuclei end up with a feminine gender identity. We have a good theory as to why this is so, one that works on experimental animals - we can reliably induce transsexuality in them by appropriate hormonal manipulation in the womb - but obviously we can't experiment on humans, so it must remain a theory only. All we can do is make the observation that it's from birth, and show that no amount of shock therapy, torture using electrodes on eyeballs, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, psychotropic drugs, or even lobotomy can change that. They've all been tried over the last 60 years.

The problem is that the only medical intervention that works to relieve the terrible distress, distress the usual anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are useless against, is to align the endocrine system, the hormones, with the brain's anatomy. In severe cases, for the amount of cross-gendering can vary, they need surgery too, but we try to have minimal intervention. No surgery is without risk. The problem is that the hormones change the body, so genitalia becomes inconsistent with appearance in the more common, less severe cases.

And that causes problems with 'gender confusion'. Not as far as the patient goes - they're not confused - but society at large, many of whom think 'XX is girl, XY is boy, the rest is Librul BS'

It's not that simple.
'PATIENTS: A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.' -- J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9.

So what does this have to do with laws? Well, in MA, 40% of Trans people are unemployed. 60% are below the poverty line. Because of bigotry, and because of ignorance. Because of people who say 'I'm OK with gays, but...' or describe results of autopsies, MRI scans, and gene tests as 'Mental mast(u)rbation' and can't even spell it correctly. The kind who *know* the Earth is Flat, it's just common sense.

The kind who get stampeded into panic by tales of drinking the blood of Christian Children, or Perverts in Bathrooms, or Paedophilia being made compulsory, or any of the other standard scare campaigns, completely divorced from the facts. And because of the unprincipled politicians on both Left and Right who pander to them.

MA already has some of its largest cities covered by such legislation. If there was a genuine problem, I think *someone* would have noticed in the last 35 years since such laws were first passed. They would have found at least *one* case, in the 40% of the US population covered by such laws.

It's long past time this situation was corrected.
And on to Boston Globe.
Charles D. Baker, who came to last Saturday’s state Republican convention hoping to focus squarely on the economy, taxes, and jobs, has sparked a heated debate over a divisive social issue by deriding a transgender-rights bill cosponsored by his running mate, state Senate minority leader Richard R. Tisei.

At issue is a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of “gender identity or expression.’’ Social conservatives have dubbed it the “bathroom bill,’’ contending it would sanction unisex bathrooms and locker rooms.

On Saturday, after critics of the bill highlighted Tisei’s support for the legislation in phone calls to delegates and in petitions at the convention, Baker quickly issued a flier calling it the “bathroom bill’’ and saying he would veto it if elected.

Yesterday, gay rights activists accused Baker of a “flip-flop on transgender employment protections’’ because Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, which he led from 1999 until last year, has a stated policy “to hire, train, and promote our employees without regard to race, religion, gender, [and] gender identity,’’ the legal term for transgender people.

“It appears Charlie Baker was for transgender civil rights before he was against them,’’ DeeDee Edmondson, political director of MassEquality, a gay rights group, said in a statement. “Given Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s history of protecting employees from discrimination based on gender identity, which happened under Charlie Baker’s watch, we were surprised to hear of his opposition to the Transgender Civil Rights Bill.’’

A spokesman for Baker, Rick Gorka, said yesterday, “Saturday’s comments stand, and that’s Charlie’s position on the issue.’’
My comment -
Frj256 wrote: "Do we have to wait until a woman is sexually attacked in a restroom to realize that this is a stupid bill. "

Well, we've been waiting for 35 years in some places which have had legislation like this. Oh there's been attacks - but not by perverts "pretending to be transgendered". Let alone the transgendered themselves.

Not once.

Not in 35 years.

And since 40% of the US population is already covered by legislation like this - including Cambridge and Boston for goodness' sake - I think *someone* would have noticed the Dire Consequences(tm) that have been predicted. Since, you know, large parts of the state are already affected. And have been for a decade, Or two.

Can we please not have such traditional scare campaigns any more, no tales of drinking Christian Children's blood, no Perverts in Bathrooms, no Compulsory Paedophilia or any of the other classics? They're getting old.
OK, so I'm repeating myself. But so are they, they deserve no better. And again, at the Boston Globe :
This should be a simple matter of medical fact, and human rights. Most people aren't ignorant - they just lack knowledge about this medical area. There's a difference.

But having said that, there's so much genuine ignorance as well, so much superstition, and it has to be said, so much pandering by opportunistic politicians to the ignorant and superstitious, that it's anything but simple.

Whether you call this a "birth-defect", or the PC term "natural variation", it's still the same thing: a group of people who have been dealt a bad hand at birth. Then they get persecuted on top of that by those who are ignorant and fearful of the unknown and unusual. Let's not do that any more, OK?

And please - no talk about drinking Christian children's blood, or perverts in restrooms, or making paedophilia compulsory, or any of the other scare campaigns.
On to the Boston Herald, where a comment read :
Transgender and Transsexuals are all equally mentally deficient, we need to outlaw sick and twisted doctors who perform surgeries on these poor mentally disturbed people.
I just cut, pasted, changed a few words, added a dose of snark as seasoning. They give McDonalds arguments, I give McDonalds replies - with a dash of Habenero. Sometimes it seems like it's over 1,000,000 sold too.

But I have a bottomless well of electrons. I'm not about to run short any time soon.

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