gender identity

A Memo to Pat McCrory: Deplorability and Expectation (#bullyblubbering)

#bullyblubbering | #pooreffingyou

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the Wake County Republican Party 2016 Convention at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, 8 March 2016. (Photo: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty)

MEMORANDUM

To: Pat McCrory

re: Deplorability and expectation

Over at Salon, we learn:

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican best known for his controversial bill banning transgender people from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, is now complaining that the association with anti-transgender prejudice is hurting his post-gubernatorial career.

“People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’—which is the last thing I am,” McCrory complained on a podcast for an Asheville-based evangelical Christian website known as WORLD on Friday, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

During a previous interview he told WORLD that “if you disagree with the politically correct thought police on this new definition of gender, you’re a bigot, you’re the worst of evil. It’s almost as if I broke a law.”

It is worth noting, sir, yeah, that’s going to happen: When you go out of your way to do something deplorable, other people regard you accordingly. It is, in point of fact, rather quite difficult to countenance the proposition that you are so incapable of comprehending this point.

To the other, apparently you’ve accepted several opportunities—your phrasing, remember: “I’ve accepted several opportunities”—so it would seem you’re not hurting for work.

Furthermore, you forfeit a good deal of general human sympathy when lamenting of having been “purged due to political thought”: You do recognize, sir, do you not, that you went out of your way to harm other people? You signed a law. You advocated against human rights. You created danger and harm for other people in doing so. If you wish society to commiserate with you as others react to your deplorable behavior, at least have the decency to describe circumstances honestly.

And what the hell do you have against veterans, sir?

Yeah, I know, it gets me, too, that nobody talks about this part, but you also went after veterans.

So, anyway, you were in fear for your safety because you were faced with protesters? And you were “sitting there”? Really, you can flee protesters while sitting?

Seriously, sir, if you would like to start rebuilding your reputation, perhaps you might start with not behaving deplorably.

Honesty would be a start.

Be warned, though: At some point you must face the fact that general human decency is a constant requirement of being viewed as a decent human being. I know, I know, some days it’s tough. I mean, you did sign that bill into law, and all. And you did go out and advocate for it. And you still don’t seem to have a clue what you did wrong.

Seriously, though, the times being what they were, yes, potty police and other assorted urogenital obsessions were going to try; and yes, an intelligent, decent public servant is expected to know better; and no, you don’t get to pretend you are any sort of victim.

And maybe you can stop with the bullyblubbering long enough to tell us what the hell you have against veterans?

____________________

Image note: Photo by Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty.

Rozsa, Matthew. “Pat McCrory, who signed North Carolina’s HB2 bill, can’t find work because people think he’s a ‘bigot'”. Salon. 14 March 2017.

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The Similarity ‘Twixt Sinister and Stupid (McCrory Molestation Mix)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the Wake County Republican Part6y 2016 Convention at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, 8 March 2016. (Photo: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty)

“One could write off Pence’s surprise at the RFRA-inspired boycott of his state as the natural result of a person who lives in a right-wing bubble. After all, even though he must have known about Indiana’s struggles, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory seemed similarly shocked by the national outcry over the infamous anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’ he signed into law earlier this year. A religious conservative like Pence, even one who worked in D.C. for better than a decade, could easily have been trapped in a bubble of epistemic closure.”

Gary Legum

It seems a place to start. Gary Legum’s analysis of why Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would be a poor pick to run alongside Donald Trump certainly had its merits, though in truth we can speculate with reasonable confidence that selecting the Hoosier dullard will not, ultimately, be what sinks Republican presidential hopes. To the other, Gov. McCrory’s infamy has taken an even more compelling turn of late; Steve Benen offers three of the most uncomfortable paragraphs you might read this season:

The point is not to diminish the pain of the woman featured in the ad, who was the victim of a horrible crime. Rather, the point is the disconnect between what happened to Gina Little and the purpose of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.

Let’s not forget how we reached this point: city officials in Charlotte approved a broad anti-discrimination measure, which included protections for transgender North Carolinians, allowing people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. The Republican governor and state legislature took action soon after, undoing what Charlotte had done.

Five months later, McCrory’s re-election campaign is defending the policy by pointing to a woman who was molested as a child in her home by members of her own family.

(more…)

Our American President (Bathroom Bigot Brawl)

Obama Administration Warns Schools to Allow Transgender Access To Bathrooms (Huffington Post, 14 May 2016)

It really is a nifty headline from HuffPo’s Queer Voices.

The detail:

The Obama administration on Friday told schools and colleges nationwide they must allow transgender students access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Transgender signThe Justice Department and the Education Department, in guidance directed at every American public school district, admonished educators to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity, regardless of what sex is listed on student records.

The guidance, which cites the gender equity law Title IX, further injects the federal government into a heated debate over controversial anti-LGBT state legislation, including a North Carolina law that bars transgender students from bathrooms that don’t match their birth gender. The Justice Department on Monday filed a civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina.

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” Education Secretary John King Jr. said in a statement.

(Kingkade)

Meanwhile, apparently something goes here about Disney freaking out zealots, and, you know, it must absolutely suck to be a bigot these days. To swallow their prude pride and just carry on with life is a bitter load to face. Still, there are times when it is worth pointing out that some people spend too much effort worrying about other people’s intimate lives; and then there are such occasions we might point out that some people spend too much effort paying attention to Disney. What sort of cruel God―? Oh, sorry, wrong monologue.

Anyway, Disney aside, everyone say thank you.

Thank you, President Obama. Thank you, Secretary King.

____________________

Kingkade, Tyler. “Obama Administration Warns Schools To Allow Transgender Access To Bathrooms”. The Huffington Post. 13 May 2016.

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Religious Right Is Losing Its Mind About ‘Frozen’s’ Elsa Possibly Being Gay”. The Huffington Post. 12 May 2016.

The Pervert from Ward Four

City Council member John La Tour, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, in detail undated, uncredited image via Planet Transgender.

At some point the question arises why it is that the outburst of perversity we’ve seen in recent years, resulting as such from the advancement of gay rights, actually comes in the form of the conservative, family-values crowd (ahem!) letting it all hang out?

Fayetteville Councilman John La Tour, a tea party member and recipient of Josh Duggars campaign funding, is being accused of threatening to expose himself to a female employee of a city restaurant. People who witnessed the incident say he approached the woman assuming she was transgender and told her that he was man and that could prove it by dropping his pants

(Busey)

Naturally, it’s everyone else’s fault; the Planet Transgender report notes he was in a restaurant where, “The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said”. And why does it always start with some version of, “There I was, minding my own business, being oppressed for no reason, so I decided to just go along with it, and hey …”?

No, really.

La Tour said the incident began during his regular Friday morning stop at Arsaga’s to meet a group of acquaintances. The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said. He intended to ask the employee to dance with him but wanted to confirm she was a woman first, La Tour said, citing the ordinance.

“You can declare you’re a man or you’re a woman, whatever you want to,” La Tour said. “I’m not going to ask a man to dance with me.”

(more…)

A Frightening Vista

Shagasyia Diamond, 37, who is transgender, was arrested in 2014 during a domestic dispute in the Bronx. She said she was put in a cell with men and was subjected to slurs by police officers. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

“I felt totally voiceless. Like I wasn’t even human. Like my safety didn’t even matter.”

Shagasyia Diamond

Well, to the one, this is your New York Police Department. To the other, that doesn’t really help. Noah Remnick of the New York Times explains:

Although the New York Police Department amended its patrol guide in 2012 to require respectful treatment of transgender people, Ms. Diamond, who is a transgender woman, said she was subjected to a strip search by a male officer. Two other officers watched from a few feet away, gawking as she spread her legs. Officers then placed Ms. Diamond in a cell for men, she said, where she cowered in the corner as other inmates heckled her and used the exposed toilet in her presence. When she expressed her discomfort to an officer, he replied, “You know you like it in there with all the men.”

Officers snickered at Ms. Diamond throughout the process, she said, calling her a “he-she,” “tranny” and “it.”

“I felt totally voiceless,” Ms. Diamond, who is 37 and now divorced, said recently through tears. “Like I wasn’t even human. Like my safety didn’t even matter.”

When the patrol guide reforms were issued, advocates for transgender people lauded the changes as groundbreaking, if overdue. Officers now were required, among other provisions, to refer to people by their preferred names and gender pronouns, to allow people to be searched by an officer of their requested gender, and to refrain from “discourteous or disrespectful remarks” regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.

But in interviews with more than 20 transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers who have been arrested or had other contact with the police, as well as activists and lawyers representing them, they charge that three years since the regulations were adopted, police officers regularly flout them. Even as transgender visibility surges in the news media and in popular culture, and government agencies develop more sensitive policies, many transgender people continue to report that they are mocked in the most degrading terms by officers, searched roughly and inappropriately and placed in holding cells that do not correspond with their gender identity, all violations of the reforms enacted to address those very indignities.

There are at least a couple of ways to look at the situation. But here is the problem: Congratulations, my transgendered neighbors, you are regarded by NYPD as worthy of personally-tailored bigotry. You’re now equal to every other mistreated class out there.

And, no, that sarcasm doesn’t help. It’s kind of like the old joke about feminists. All they wanted, went the complaint, was everything. And what they got, said the complainers, though we know our sisters haven’t even received this basic respect of indignity, is the right to be treated like excrement just the same as anyone else.

In the first place, NYPD is determined to establish itself as a scourge to humanity.

To the second, though, we might take the moment to wonder if this is like the bit they go through with black people, where they go through a reform process every few years because the situation comes to an impassable conflict, and then go right back to being the sleaze the NYPD has worked so hard to make its distinctive quality.

And let’s throw in a ski-boxer’s third: Dearest friends and neighbors, no, you do not get to write this one off as just another bit of noise. We’re losing people right now because they are afraid to go to the police. This is a disaster.

Look, I’ve watched politics closely for decades, and I have never seen anyone in my quarter as frightened and verging on panic as the veteran hands in transgender advocacy and services in Middle America and the South.

Never.

My sisters are dying. And they’re scared. And, goddamnit, we know this is NYPD we’re talking about here, but come on.

This is what Hell looks like.

____________________

Image note: Shagasyia Diamond, 37, who is transgender, was arrested in 2014 during a domestic dispute in the Bronx. She said she was put in a cell with men and was subjected to slurs by police officers. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Remnick, Noah. “Activists Say Police Abuse of Transgender People Persists Despite Reforms”. The New York Times. 7 September 2015.

Mey. “Amber Monroe Becomes the 12th TWOC Murdered in the US This Year, We Must #SayHerName”. AutoStraddle. 8 August 2015.

Something

India Clarke, murdered 21 July 2015, in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Clarke's death is recorded as the tenth murder of a transgendered person in 2015. On 29 July 2015 the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff's Office arrested a suspect, Keith Lamayne Gaillard, and charged him with First Degree Murder with a Firearm.

It’s … something.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is launching a new transgender sensitivity training program.

The training comes two months after a Tampa transgender woman’s murder, and law enforcement’s handling of it, captured national attention.

After 25-year-old India Clarke’s body was found in a Tampa park July 21, law enforcement identified her by the name and gender she was born with even though she had identified as female for years. Backlash from across the country followed, surfacing a discussion about how law enforcement handle the identities of transgender people.

(Associated Press)

We can’t have our friends and neighbors back. But, at the very least, we can have this little shard of decency, that we might wish the true selves of those we leave behind some manner of dignity in rest.

And we’ll take it, because that’s all we have left.

Her name was India Clarke. Please say it. Please, say her name.

____________________

Image note: India Clarke, murdered 21 July 2015, in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Clarke’s death is recorded as the tenth murder of a transgendered person in 2015. On 29 July 2015 the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect, Keith Lamayne Gaillard, and charged him with First Degree Murder with a Firearm.

Associated Press. “St. Pete Officers to be Trained on Transgender Issues”. WTVJ. 7 September 2015.

Holden, Dominic. “Transgender Woman Of Color Killed In Tampa, Florida”. BuzzFeed. 22 July 2015.

Today

President Barack Obama

So, here we are:

For the first time, companies that have contracts with the federal government are now prohibited from firing or discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, thanks to an executive order that takes effect Wednesday.

(Bendery)

I might have mentioned something about this in passing.

Thank you, Mr. President.

____________________

Bendery, Jennifer. “It Is Now Illegal For A Federal Contractor To Fire Someone For Being LGBT”. The Huffington Post. 8 April 2015.

For Stella, and All Her Brothers and Sisters

Transgender pride

Lisa Keating needs your attention, and she needs it right now:

Six months ago, our 10-year-old began to identify as transgender. This after spending years trying to explain it and find a way to fit in at school and society at large. I’ve written extensively on this process and our experiences, as a family with the intention to give a voice to other families and children like ours.

It is fair, even in the most progressive of families, to pause and take in the Holy shit! moment; this isn’t going to be easy, you know?

There was a lot of anxiety leading up to the first day of school for all of us. Earlier that month Morgan was creating dance videos wearing a sarong. Bouncing over to me to say, “Mama, when I’m wearing this [sarong] I want you to call me Stella and when I’m wearing regular clothes call me Morgan.” I didn’t think much of it naturally saying yes. When my husband came home from work he got the same request. With a slightly, curious raised eyebrow Dmitri agreed. Little did we know that was the beginning of the end for the name Morgan.

You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t Morgan a unisex name?” We tried that argument and were met with complete resistance followed with the proclamation, “Stella would have been what you called me if I were born a girl.” Along with a “take that” type of attitude with a dash of Tweener.

On the first day of school Stella was very nervous and didn’t know which name she wanted to go by. It was a new class, new teacher and none of her good friends were there. She was friendly with many of them just not friends. As we drove to school, I told her to follow her heart, it’s her compass and trust herself.

No, really. Just read.

And then raise a glass: Thank you, Ms. Keating. It means everything in the world to all of us. And even from states away, you have more than either of us can guess at your back.

And we will stand. We will speak. We will fight. And we will win.

For Stella, and all her brothers and sisters.

And for those who did not, or will not, make it through.

This isn’t over, but we are so … almost … there.

Hang on, everyone. Just a little longer.

Thank you, madam.

____________________

Keating, Lisa. “The Mother Of A 10-Year-Old Transgender Daughter Sounds Off On The Significance Of Her Child’s Journey”. The Huffington Post.

A Midnight Thought

Detail of '8 Queens' by Sasha Velour, 24 February 2015, via The Nib.

Some hours ago I noted the time in relation to a specific event and told myself, “Well, I’m not getting any more work done.”

That wasn’t exactly true, but close enough.

Also, blogging at this valence isn’t really work.

Nonetheless, as midnight creeps nigh, I’m actually surprised I’ve typed these several sentences without being interrupted.

So I really have lost the plot of whatever I was going to say about Sasha Velour’s “8 Queens”.

Sorry about that. Something about coincidence and nexus. And fun. And learning.

Really, I had about fifteen minutes in which I managed a brief discussion, checked a social media alert tone that wrecked the playback of Madness’ self-titled 1983 Lp, clicked the link, and delighted in the moment.

Ruminating on eight drag queens waxing philosophical on gender and identity is a fine way to wander dreamlike through the distractions. Give it a whirl, sometime.

____________________

(h/t to Matt Bors; thank ye, sir.)

Velour, Sasha. “8 Queens”. The Nib. 24 February 2015.

A Reminder: Funerals Are for the Living

Transgender pride

“I am disgusted. A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as Geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”

Stacy Dee Hudson

Sometimes it bears reminding that funerals are rituals performed for the sake of the living.

James Nichols reports:

In a depressing reminder of the times in which we live and how far we still have to go to reach equality for everyone in the LGBT community, a Twin Falls, Idaho, transgender woman was presented as male in an open-casket funeral service this week.

Jennifer Gable, 32, reportedly died suddenly of a brain aneurysm while working at Wells Fargo Bank on Oct. 9. At her funeral, Gable, who legally changed her name in 2007, was reportedly not referred to as Jennifer once.

Additionally, the late Gable’s family cut her hair short and presented her wearing a suit and her obituary reportedly skipped the decade of her life she spent transitioning to live authentically as Jennifer.

There is no question, even from afar, that the proposition of refusing one’s own child’s identity in order to present them after death as something and someone other than who they really were is cruel beyond measure. It is selfish and hateful and ultimately stupid.

But it is also, such as things are, what funerals are for.

Not hatred and stupid, selfish cruelty per se, but the dead are either with God and thus otherwise preoccupied, suffering eternal punishment and thus otherwise preoccupied, or simply dead in a fucking box in the ground, in which case how their families abuse them at the memorial service just flat doesn’t matter to them.

Funerals and memorials are for the living.

That Jennifer Gable’s family apparently chose to celebrate their own desperate hatred? That is what it is. Call it what you want. But it is what they chose to celebrate, and such rituals and ceremonies are not for the dead. They are for the living.

In which case the best advice is to simply remember your friends for who they were, so that at least someone in this world still loves them.

____________________

Nichols, James. “Jennifer Gable, Transgender Woman, Presented As Man At Her Funeral”. The Huffington Post. 24 November 2014.