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

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.

A pro-lgbtq Republican party?

I’m just catching up on the news from the final night of the Republican National Convention. As a liberal, there wasn’t much for me to like, but there was one thing that really stood out to me even if it was overshadowed by other issues: the LGBTQ wasn’t used as a boogeyman.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the Republican party has turned over a new leaf with respect to the LGBTQ. The Republican platform is still the most anti-LGBTQ platform in Republican history. Donald Trump — while seeming to change opinions over time — last said that he would appoint judges to the Supreme Court of the United States that would overturn the marriage equality ruling.

Despite all that, the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, said he was ‘proud to be gay’ from the in a speech at the RNC. This was the first time in history that someone from the LGBTQ actually talked about LGBTQ issues at the RNC.

The Verge also reports:

In his speech pledging support for Donald Trump, Thiel also referred to North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law, asking the audience, “Who cares?”

Further, Donald Trump also made an overature to the LGBTQ in his speech. While it wasn’t about domestic policy, he said that he would defend the LGBTQ from the hostilities from foreign countries. When there was cheering from the floor of the convention, Donald Trump said that, as a Republican, it was good to hear them cheering that point.

Do I believe that the Republican party has turned the corner and is now supporting LGBTQ people? No. But I do hope that it is the first step in the death of the culture war that many Republicans still continue to fight.

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.

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.

LGB careful what you wish for

I am extremely pleased to see that the “Drop the T” movement is not only failing to gain traction, it is also experiencing a backlash from the LGBT community. It is my firm hope that we have learned our lesson from taking a divided stand in the past. No one wins if we stand divided. Not only does no one win, but after one divided faction is defeated, the other factions are weaker and more vulnerable to attack.

The sexual imagination of the majority seems to be running amok. It appears that their frenzied imagination has decided that everyone is having sex everywhere, and they weren’t invited. No longer do they have to take a part time job as a pizza delivery person and hope to get lucky. Now they are sure that there is sex in every office, subway, janitor’s closet, and stock room on the planet.

It probably started innocently enough for them. They were standing at the urinal, peeing, when someone took the urinal beside them. Their eyes seemed to have a mind of their own. They glanced over and saw someone else’s penis and they realized – had they been in the ladies room – they would have had an instant reaction, causing themselves to pee all over the wall and ceiling. “My God!” they realized. The women’s bathroom must be a veritable urine stained orgy of sexual promiscuity. No one could withstand the siren call of the vagina.

Let’s imagine for a moment how the “bathroom bill” promoter’s strategy might play out over time. Currently they are pushing the idea that trans women aren’t really women, and trans men aren’t really men. They are insisting that trans women are actually men that have some kind of sexual interest in the people they find themselves in the restroom with. The same is true, of course, for trans men, but few men worry about the siren call of the penis in their bathroom. After all, no matter how often they have waggled their penises around, no one has ever climbed inside their bathroom stall and attacked them. Instead, their fears play on stereotypes of trans men and trans women that are not only inaccurate, but insulting and hateful as well.

Do you know what group has a larger percentage of people more interested in having sex with women that trans women? Lesbians.

And along those same lines, do you know what group has a larger percentage of people more interested in having sex with men than trans men? Gay men.

Link: Transgender Sexuality. Link: Trans people and sexual orientation.

So the idea that someone might be sexually attracted to a different person in the same bathroom should be incredibly problematic to any subcategory of the LGBTQ community. If trans men and trans women can be seen as sexual predators interested in peeking at people while they poop (gross, I know), then those same arguments are even more powerful against the people that forthrightly admit that they are sexually attracted to people that use the same restroom as themselves.

Eventually, if the “bathroom bill” fear mongers are allowed to have their way, no one will be allowed to use the bathroom except cissexual, full binary, heterosexual people with opposite sex attractions only. And I imagine, in an attempt to make the bathroom monitor’s job easier, we’ll have to describe our favorite porn so the monitor can guarantee that we won’t see anything like that inside the bathroom. Heaven help you if you’re a man that likes something other than lesbian porn or a woman that likes something other than gay male porn. Although I guess they might allow you in if you were only interested in Animal Planet or Wild Kingdom.

If the people that would like to deny all of us our rights are allowed to fracture our community into its constituent parts then we all become more vulnerable to the tyranny of those that would deny our existence as human beings. That is a basic truth whether we are fighting for racial equality, gender equality, bodily autonomy, marriage equality, or any other right that needs protected from the majority’s disapproval.

Please help the trans community stand up against the people mislabeling equal rights as “bathroom bills”. We should all ask that they will keep their personal pornographic peccadilloes in their own minds and out of our lives.

The black and white gender spectrum explodes with colors

Read a discussion of gender, male, female, queer, identity, and fluidity with people from all parts of the gender spectrum.

Trans men, masculine-of-center women, and gender-nonconforming people perform masculinity in ways that subvert the gendered expectations of their bodies. What do they all have in common, and what sets them apart? I wanted to know what these smart humans had to say about gender panic, sexuality, and the future of the masculine versus feminine gender dynamic, from their own particular positions and perspectives. Here’s what they had to say.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonkeating/queer-and-trans-masculinity?utm_term=4ldqpia#.ceJPYxvJ80