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.

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.

International Day of Transgender Visibility and Cake

The International Day of Transgender Visibility took me by surprise for several reasons. The first reason is that I had never heard of it. Being transgender myself, I thought I was aware of most of the LGBT days of recognition and all of the trans* specific days. Needless to say, obviously I wasn’t. The second reason that it took me by surprise was that despite being trans myself, it left me feeling like an outsider.

It must be a generational thing. The trans people that were visible all seemed to be young, beautiful, and accomplished. They had published books, drawn beautiful cartoons, edited national magazines, and starred in television shows. While I, on the other hand, am not young, beautiful, or accomplished. The totality of my life seems to have been spent in almost complete isolation, trying to be presentable enough that I am not mortified to see myself in a mirror, and surviving from day.

I don’t seem to be what you would call a poster child for transgender advancement.

The second thing that absolutely destroyed my self image on March 31st was that I decided to get my taxes done that day. So that was the day that I was laughed at by a tax preparatory professional. I was informed that my income was substantially below average and that my knowledge of finances was abysmal. In addition to the financial flogging, I had to listen to an overly curious cis person asking me what my name was before and why I picked the name that I ultimately chose.

So what is an overweight, middle aged, transgender hermit to do when faced with a day like this? Go home and bake something, of course.

I decided to try something new. I wanted to bake a cake, but not any of the usual cakes that I bake. Instead of my usual cakes, I decided to bake a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I have heard people rave about red velvet cakes. Many of the people I know seem to think that they are the greatest cake that has ever been baked.

Baking the cake from scratch was a possibility, but I have also heard that they are ridiculously difficult to make, so I decided to make one using a cake mix.

I chose a Duncan Hines mix and only did minimal substitutions to the recipe. Instead of the oil that the recipe calls for, I substituted butter. This is a customary substitution for me. Butter can be substituted for oil at a one to one ratio making the substitution easy. It also makes the cake richer and more moist. I have never found a downside to making this substitution.

The batter mixed up beautifully! It was a deep, rich red that was smooth and creamy. It went into my prepared cake pan and looked like a masterpiece even before I put it in the oven.

I won’t bore you with the details of the baking. Simply put, the cake baked as expected, was cooled, iced, and ready for consumption.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on my first bite; but regardless of expectations, I wasn’t overwhelmed with awe and bliss. Sure, the texture was good. The color was still the same beautiful red. The flavor was decent and it blended well with the cream cheese icing. It was moist and rich. Regardless, it didn’t seem to be anything special to me.

My usual types of cake are made with gelatin or pudding, with cocoa and vanilla, or whipped cream and strawberries, maybe lemons or pineapple. They are simple and plain, yet moist and delicious. They may not sit on a plate as beautiful as a picture, but they are almost impossible for me to resist.

I guess this could all be turned into a metaphor for the life of the other trans people. We can all be valuable for who we are instead of for how we look. The splendid people aren’t necessarily superior to the ordinary. We can all be who we are without the need to fit into what other people deem beautiful. A life less rich is still worth having.

But the truth is: as difficult as the world can be, sometimes you just need cake.