Tuesday, September 11, 2012
In your September 7, 2012 column, Judge goes too far in sex change ruling which I read at:
you described the judge's decision to mandate that the government provide GRS to imprisoned felon Kosilek as "enraging."
I have to disagree - I think of it as an encouraging sign of the change in the societal perception of trans people that has been taking place in the past decade or so.
What enrages me is the fact that medical insurance, medicare, medicaid, etc. don't all cover trans medical needs in the same way that they treat diabetes, atherosclerosis or any other medical issue. GRS is far from experimental - it is the standard method of treatment for transsexual people.
You describe inadequate treatment as being "more moderate" - it's not "more moderate," it's cruel and unusual. or should be unusual.
It is not that Kosilek should be denied treatment, it's that everyone else who needs it should have it available - whether they are privately insured or on a government medical program.
Societal understanding has been improving over the years. In the 1960's the best medical experts considered trans people to be delusional members of their initiallya ssigned sex, for whom any treatment would be merely "palliative."
Today we know that trans people have brains that develop physiologically along the gendered lines associated with the sex not associated with their genital duct development. Scientists have found at least two kinds of genetic predisposition for embryological development along these lines, where the developing body "zigs" along one path for the developigng brain, and "zags" along the other path for the development of the reproductive system.
At one time, people thought the earth was flat and the sun traveled around the earth. Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition for advancing the Copernican theory - but we now know the earth is round and the earth orbits the sun.
In 1818, a New York court ignored the testimony of the leading natural scientist of the day, in favor of the testimony of sea captains and clergymembers, to hold that whales are fish. But whales are still mammals - and the state legislature recognized that shortly thereafter.
I'd recommend you read a little of Umberto Eco's works on semiotics. What our society is experiencing in connection with the understanding of the trans phenomena is much like the way society has experienced changes in the understanding of other things.
Your column represents the resistance of ignorance - perhaps out of ignorance, but I'd think you, as a journalist, should be educable, or I wouldn;t have bothered with this message to you.
I'd suggest you do some research on your own. Perhaps you might read my occasional blog. (And I think I am going to take this message and post it there . . . at www.trans-cendence.blogspot.com )
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
|Professor Randolph McLaughlin gives me a "teaching moment."|
The evening's principal speaker was Randolph McLaughlin, Esq., who is a civil rights lawyer, a professor at Pace Law School, and who is currently a member of the legal team representing the Chamberlain family's interests in connection with the shooting death of retired corrections officer and Marine veteran, 68 year old Kenneth Chamberlain, killed by a White Plains police officer in his own home for no reason except for the fact that he was an African American male who did not shuffle and say "yassuh" when the police came to his door, ostensibly to help him because his life alert pendant had triggered an alarm.
Professor McLaughlin's speech was inspiring and outstanding. He even cited one of my favorite quotes about the law, from the play A Man for All Seasons.
His speech was marred by a different reference, one I realized was rooted in an innocent ignorance.
In a portion of his speech, he compared the police refusal to allow Mr. Chamberlain's niece, who had arrived in the hallway, an opportunity to speak to him to try to get him calmed down, to the situation police offered to the character played by Al Pacino in the movie Dog Day Afternoon, when he was allowed to speak to his pre-op transsexual girlfriend (in the real-life bank robbery the movie was loosely based on, this character's inspiration was Elizabeth Eden). . .
. . . except Professor McLaughlin referred to the person on the other end of the phone, as the bank robber's boyfriend.
I realized that the factual inaccuracy was secondary to the point that was being made, but I did find it disturbing enough that I had to broach it to Professor McLaughlin afterward. And I did.
It was an opportunity for education, and I took it.
I explained the inaccuracy in the reference to him - and I pointed out the fact that the purpose of the bank robbery in both the film and in the real life situation, was to obtain the funds for Elizabeth's surgery (or surgery for the character based on Elizabeth).
When I finished explaining, Professor McLaughlin asked me to repeat the phrase "pre-operative transsexual woman." I realize that he was trying to commit the phrase to memory - and I am sure that the next time he gives a speech on the subject, and makes that reference, that he will be more respectful of the identity of the character based on Elizabeth's life.
My suspicion that the gaffe was based on an innocent ignorance that led to the initial reference was conformed by the respectfulness and attentiveness that Professor McLaughlin gave me when I spoke to him after his speech.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
"We cannot pick and choose the books of the Bible, we cannot tear out pages, or cross out lines. Orthodoxy is to accept the whole of the Sacred Text, and to consider its claims with reference to the whole of Scripture and in keeping with its trajectory."
"In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God.[ Rom 1:24-27 ] This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of."
"For a Catholic, of course this is done in union with the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition."
"Many supporters of homosexual behavior adopt this heresy by saying, 'Jesus never said a word about or against Homosexuality.'"
"True, but he also never said a word about a lot of things: drinking to excess, beating one’s wife, he never forbade ethnic humor, or said people should wear clothes, He never declared how big and how much money should be spent on the military etc, whether Government should provide welfare etc. Since Jesus did not say out of his own mouth we cannot beat our wives then it must be okay to beat them? Of course not. An argument from silence is very poor and unhelpful."
“Thus orthodoxy, which holds to the whole and does not pick and choose Scripture, must in every way accept and announce that these are sinful acts, sinful enough to exclude one from the Kingdom if they are not repented of (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9)”
I grant that it is a Catholic perspective, and thus doesn't speak to those of different traditions - but if only, when it comes to LGBT people and the theologies that relate to is, Monsignor Pope, and the Pope, could just consider opening up their minds to a better-grounded theological approach to those of us who are not intolerant and wicked Men of Sodom like them. Our natures, even acting on them, come from the same God who created them - and God does not create junk. Neither their natures, nor ours, are intrinsically wrong - cis, het, trans and gay, we are all loved (even though Isaiah 56 makes trans people really special, as we get a special place in God's House, but don;t ask the Pope about that, he thinks that we're more dangerous than the destruction of the rain forest.)
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Pastor Rondell Lance of the Center Pigeon Baptist Church of Canton, North Carolina (or whomever the church chose for the purpose of setting up their church sign), appears to have admitted the wickedness that was the basis for the church's blatant open support of North Carolina's anti-marriage Amendment One effort, which enshrines anti-gay bigotry into that state's constitution, making N.C. the last state in a now solidly wicked South to do so by a "popular" vote.
For anyone who has actually read the Genesis story about the actions and punishment of the Men of Sodom, the story is not a condemnation of homosexuality (a lying misinterpretation that is taught by Christianists ranging from this backwoods independent Baptist preacher Rondell Lance from his pulpit in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a few miles south of I-40 and not terribly far east of the possibly even more backwards State of Tennessee, all the way up to Pope Benedict XVI,spiritual leader of over a billion Roman Catholics (many of whom thankfully ignore him) from the papal throne at the Vatican in Rome). It is about inhospitable intolerance for strangers and people who are different, by macho misogynistic people. It's all pretty much clear from a reading of Genesis 19, unless it's a bizarro reading.
The right-wing conservative Christianist base of the Republican Party is truly inspired by the macho misogynistic wickedness and intolerance of their heroes, the Men of Sodom. Pastor Rondell Lance is perhaps the rare one who is willing to actually admit it on a church sign.
So, thanks to Pastor Rondell Lance and his church sign, we can understand that the exceedingly wicked Men of Sodom are the inspiration for the Republican War on LGBT people, because we are strangers in their midst, different from their cissexist and heterosexist selves. Because we are different from them, they hate, fear and despise us.
Bit it isn't just us - and it appears that this deep spiritual evil root of this right-wing conservative Christianist Republican politics - the inspiration of the exceeding wickedness of the Men of Sodom - is also responsible for so many of the deeply-held positions of the Republican Party, such as:
The Republican War on Women. Needless to say, the Men of Sodom were macho misogynists. Their whole rationale for wanting to show their disrespect for Lot's visitors had nothing to do with sexual orientation, and everything to do with the fact that they believed women were lesser creatures than men. By extension, their intent to rape the strangers in their midst would, in their way of thinking, prove that the Men of Sodom were the real "he-men," and that the strangers, who would have been "used" in the same way that the Men of Sodom "used" their women, were debased and "less than women." It almost goes without saying that the attitude of the womb-controllers in the Republican Party is modeled on the misogyny of the exceedingly wicked Men of Sodom.
The Republican War on Immigrants. Like Lot's visitors, immigrants come from somewhere else. They are strangers in our midst. Republicans want to treat them disrespectfully. That is just like their spiritual ancestors, the exceedingly wicked Men of Sodom.
The Republican War on Islam. They're different, they worship what seems to Republicans to be a different god (A classic example of this is that of the thankfully now-retired U.S. Army general, William G. Boykin, a Christianist who ridiculed the faith of Muslims, in a 2003 NBC interview, stating about an Islamic terrorist he hunted down in Mogadishu, "He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, 'They'll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.' Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." For that matter, during the Republican primaries, one of the reasons many Christianist GOPers were looking to "Anyone But Romney" was because his LDS faith marks him as being different, a stranger in our midst (and they were even willing to flock to Rick Santorum, A Roman Catholic who, just a few decades ago, would have been viewed as a stranger as well). Again, the Republican position is just like that of their spiritual inspiration, the exceedingly wicked Men of Sodom.
The Republican War on Racial Minorities. People who are not white are different, strangers in the midst of the community. This also passes the "inspired by the Men of Sodom" sniff test.
I could go on.
The thing is, that church sign in Canton, North Carolina says in truth what the inspiration of the Republican Christianist forces of Darkness really is - a deeply held distrust, revulsion and hatred for people who are different from themselves.
The exceedingly wicked Pastor Rondell Lance, with his bizarro Orwellian-Newspeaky brand of Christianist theology, likely does not realize the truth of the admission of wickedness on his church sign. After all, he mistakenly believes that gay men are the ones who are like the Men of Sodom, rather than being more like Lot's visitors, the strangers in the midst of the community because they are different from the heterosexist majority of voters.
But I know what the true meaning of the sign is. And now, if you've actually read this whole blog post, so do you, if you didn't know it already.
Spread the word.