Michelle Rodriguez and Walter Hill know nothing of trans people

Straight (no pun intended) from the “Holy Shit!” department comes a comment from one of the stars of the movie (re)Assignment. Michelle Rodriguez, one of the stars of the movie, stated the following in an article on The Daily Mail (yeah, I know… The Daily Mail?)

Rodriguez, who starred in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ series, took issue with criticism, asking: ‘Are they mad that somebody decided to take their branded transgender operation and use it on heterosexual people?’

She also noted the film was a ‘B-movie noir genre comic book take on something’ and that she herself was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

So, “She, herself, was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community”? That can only serve the purpose of putting a point on the fact that not every member of the LGBT has a clue.

I find it difficult to believe that she has given the transgender community any thought at all other than to assume that trans women must, in fact, be gay men. While that is the trope that is put out there by the Religious Right and some of the more clueless politicians, no one in the trans community would describe themselves in this way for the simple reason trans women are not gay men, and trans men are not gay women.

Continue reading Michelle Rodriguez and Walter Hill know nothing of trans people

Clinton Campaign position: transgender rights

I must admit that I am getting frustrated with all the talk of Donald Trump while ignoring the positions of Hillary Clinton. It has been coming out recently that people would claim to know what Donald Trump’s position was on a subject, but they had no idea where Hillary Clinton stood on the issues. Sadly, the truth is that Hillary Clinton has a plethora of positions covering all types of policy while the few positions that Donald Trump has are trivial, ill-conceived, and ever-changing.

All a person has to do to find out where Hillary Clinton stands on various positions is to visit HillaryClinton.com and read the “issues” section. There are also other websites like Procon.org that have the major positions of all the candidates listed. Finally, if searching through the different websites for information isn’t your cup of tea, all you have to do is go to Google and type in Hillary Clinton Issues in the search field.

I know that there isn’t anything that I can do to help get these positions out there. The people who are interested in the positions will find them. The people who only want to use their lack of information as an excuse wouldn’t be satisfied if Hillary Clinton showed up personally a their house with a position paper. In light of that, I am going to focus on some of the issues that matter to me.

The first issue that I want to focus on is the rights of transgender people. Now that the United States has made such great strides with respect to gay rights, the religious right has picked a smaller, more vulnerable group at which to vent their spleen. It isn’t like transgender people are new to the scene. We have been here from the very beginning. We have been working, marrying, loving, raising children, shopping, and going to the bathroom as long as there have been people. It is only now that the religious right needs a new target that they seek to pass laws trying to limit our freedom.

North Carolina has recently passed a law that is still the talk of the transgender town. They have tried to make it illegal for us to use the bathroom without putting us in great danger. While the final outcome of the law has yet to be decided, we do know where Hillary Clinton stands on the issue.

On March 24, 2016 Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:

LGBT people should be protected from discrimination under the law—period. https://t.co/IMOyRZe5Gh -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2016

The “-H” in the tweet indicates that Hillary Clinton sent the tweet herself. It also seems to be a pretty unambiguous statement about support for LGBT rights. As for the link in her tweet, it directs to an Advocate article titled “North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections”.

The Advocate also has an article titled “Clinton, Sanders Slam North Carolina’s Transphobic Law” that covers the issue.

Knowing this information, I feel pretty secure in my belief that Hillary Clinton supports the LGBT and that I don’t have to worry about her as an ally.

How about you? Are there any Clinton positions that you are concerned with? Is there positions that she hasn’t made clear? What are your top priorities for the next President?

I will be anxiously watching Trans rights at SCOTUS

The Supreme Court of the United States has placed a hold on “the Gloucester County School Board to allow “G.G.” to use the boys’ bathroom at Gloucester High School”. The case about whether a trans student can be seen as their gender or whether there should be some special restriction on how they participate in public life.

There is hope that the Supreme Court will allow the district court’s order — which allowed this particular trans student to enjoy all the benefits and disadvantages of his gender — to stand since Stephen Breyer seemed to be maintaining the “status quo” instead of indicating his own judicial opinion.

From Scotus Blog:

… Three of the Court’s more liberal Justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – would have denied the board’s request.  But Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that he had voted to grant the board’s application “as a courtesy” – a practice most commonly seen (at least in the past) in last-minute death penalty proceedings.  Breyer noted that four of his colleagues – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito – had voted to block the district court’s order temporarily, and he added that doing so would simply “preserve the status quo” until the Court can rule on the board’s petition for review.

With that decision by Stephen Breyer, it will be at least August 29, 2016 before any further information will be known about a possible outcome.

I, along with many trans people, will be watching this case closely. There are so many questions waiting to be answered by this case:

  • Will trans people be treated as equal members in society?
  • Can damage be inflicted on trans people for the (possible) comfort of cis people?
  • Will equal access for trans people remain limited?
  • Will the progress made for trans people over the last several years be undone?

While we know that it shouldn’t be that difficult to accept trans people for whom they are, history tells us that it is always a difficult struggle for most minority groups to be treated as equal. People of color, while having made great strides, are still suffering from mostly covert, but occasionally overt, discrimination; and that is even after a Constitutional amendment was passed in an attempt at equality. Women still suffer from a system of sexism that can be statistically identified. Non-dominant religious groups — atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and others — still struggle to have access to the workings of society without being ostracised for their religious practices.

Because of my privileges the trans question will come closer to affecting me than many of the other questions, but this is just the latest line in a long string of questions that essentially ask whether we can all be treated as human or whether some lives are considered more disposable than others.

Kinky Boots: Just Pee

This is absolutely awesome! Cyndi Lauper has been a hero (heroine?) to me for as long as I have known her music. She became even more of a hero when I learned how much she cared about the LGBT community.

I’ve had a crush on Harvey Fierstein since I saw him in the movie “Independence Day”, and became a true fan of his after I saw him in a documentary talking about how he loved effeminate men. And truthfully, what’s not to love about effeminate men?

And Kinky Boots? Besides being absolutely fabulous, their music is as stunning as they are. Put all of them together in a video for trans rights, and you have a winner.

States’ rights my ass

I wasn’t going to post anything about politics for a while. Since there isn’t any political data to discuss for a couple of months, I am in more of a waiting mode until June or July. But then trans issues hit the front page.

The Obama administration issued guidelines on the simple fact that trans people are people too and should be treated with respect. That was when the shit hit the fan. I was expecting the Republicans to go crazy over the guidelines that essentially reaffirm what has been happening in bathrooms for as long as there have been bathrooms. And while I expected a fight, what I tolerate without comment is the complete idiocy of “states’ rights” brought into the discussion.

The Hill reported that Donald Trump said:

[Donald Trump] declined to criticize the administration’s directive on Friday, saying the states should decide on the issue.

“I believe it should be states’ rights and I think the states should make the decision, they’re more capable of making the decision,” Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

He said on NBC’s “Today” show in April that North Carolina should allow people to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate” but he later walked back that statement.

That is a complete load of horse shit. While – potentially – an argument could be made that the use of firearms is different in New York than in Oklahoma and should be decided at the state level, trans people use the restroom the same way all over the world. There is no difference between the way that I pee in Oklahoma than some other trans person pees in New York.

While the argument of “state’s rights” might have its place in a few discussions, more and more it seems to be used by the side with bad arguments as a way to maintain those bad arguments without having to answer for them. And as the case with many bad arguments, all too often they are nothing more than a breeding ground for bigots to exploit.

Want to help? Vote for Democrats

The Democrats are trying to renew the push to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This, of course, would be an easy way to provide relief for members of the LGBT community as they face discrimination in various locations around the United States.

From the Huffington Post:

House Democrats held a press conference Thursday reminding everyone that there’s an easy way to end these problems: Pass the Equality Act, which would extend federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people and make the state-level fights into non-issues.

The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of already protected classes (race, color, sex, religion and national origin).

In other words, it would protect LGBT people from discrimination in credit, education, employment, housing, federal financial assistance, jury service and public accommodations.

It’s a wonderful idea. It is also a need that will continue as long as there are people waiting for any excuse to discriminate against minorities – regardless of whether that minority is a person of color, a member of the LGBT, a woman, or some other characteristic that makes up the tapestry of America.

But that has to be done at the federal level. Something that we can all do is vote for Democrats. The Democratic party, for the most part, supports the rights of minorities. The more Democrats, the better chance of limiting the discrimination that can be written into law.

Keep the B in the LGBT

One of the things that I really enjoy is perusing through my list of blogs of a morning. I have quite a collection: science, entertainment, comics, writing, reading, and LGBT blogs just to name a few. The blog categories are fuzzy to say the least. Many blogs talk about various issues. The atheism blogs I follow often discuss LGBT issues. The science blogs discuss atheism issues. The LGBT blogs discuss science issues. It makes for pleasant as well as serendipitous reading.

While reading a nominally atheist blog, I stumbled upon a video about taking the “B” out of the LGBT. I’ll admit that he did have valid arguments, but I think that the lesson that he drew from those arguments was wrong.

Here is a link to the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6rHus8x2GWE

In case you didn’t watch the video, his argument is essentially that when bisexual people are sent to “LGBT” community centers we are increasing the risk of suicide that the bisexual people face. He explains that there is an expectation that the bisexual people will find a community where they can feel included, but because many gay men and lesbians are prejudice against bisexual people, the bisexual people are actually hurt worse than if they didn’t have a group that they considered safe.

Of course his point was more nuanced, better explained, and provided additional details; but that is the essence of his argument.

Being in the “T” section of the LGBT acronym, I am also in a subsection of the community that isn’t always greeted with open arms. Never-the-less, this is still the group where I feel most at home. Granted, I like to use the term “queer” as an umbrella term to include the LGBT as well as other sections such as queer, questioning, asexual, intersex, and allied people. I would even happily expand the acronym as far as necessary to include other minorities that I might not be aware of.

But having a big group like the LGBT doesn’t completely take the place of sister organizations. There is a transsexual sister organization that I also feel connected to that deals with issues that are more narrowly focused on transsexual and transgender issues. And just like the blogs that I read, there is plenty of crossover between all the different groups. LGBT groups stand behind the trans groups, trans groups stand with the LGBT groups, lesbian groups stand with both the gay and trans groups. There are also groups that focus on young, school age kids that need help; other groups work with LGBT senior citizens.

That brings me to what I believe is the best solution to this particular situation. Instead of removing the “B” from the LGBT, there should be a different group (at least one) that assists with problems specific to the bisexual community. When issues arise where there is common cause between the various groups, the bisexual group can stand with the other groups to present a united front much as the trans groups do now.

As a member of more than one group (both “T” and “B” in the very least), I can understand that there are needs that might not be getting met completely by the LGBT groups. But I can’t believe that division and separation is the solution. If there are needs that aren’t being met, we need to address those problems both within the LGBT as well as creating groups to provide additional resources until the needs of all people are being met.