The False Consciousness of “Identity”

Over the last 10-15 years of talking with transsexual and transgender people I have witness a surreal clinging to a chimera called “identity”

I say chimera because way to often I am called upon to relate to and give credence to an “identity” claimed that is devoid of the action that would give that claim of identity substance.

In what seems like a lifetime ago on a stage at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood I saw Tim Curry and cast sing “Don’t Dream It, Be It”.  a song that capture a multitude of different imagined realities in 1974.

A very existential message of of being through doing.  In those days it often meant if you were gay or lesbian live it out and proudly.

It was a show that made me a tad uncomfortable on one level yet on another level I had stopped dreaming about being and had become through doing.

Now some 35 years later, we have endured the crushing of the freedom of those days under the jack boots of Reaganism, Thatcherism and Taliban like religious thugs who would love nothing more than to shove LGBT/T folks back into the closet or worse with persecution and deny women the right to have agency and control of their own bodies when it comes to reproductive rights.

Lately because I have declared a personal end to calling people with transgenderism nasty names and have declared support for their civil rights many assume I also buy their ideology of gender and identity.

Honestly I don’t.  I won’t and trying to sell it to me will only piss me off.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about your identity.  It is your choosing to deal with your transgenderism or transsexualism that I care about and that I am willing to defend.  Not your right to claim it as an “identity” but rather your right to live it.

You see I’m not real big on thought crimes.  I’m an atheist so the idea of  “thinking about a sin is the same as committing the sin” is a concept I find entirely alien.

From my point of view if you say you are transsexual you take steps to change your sex.  Now I realize the hard fact of economics creating gaps in the bridge from one place to the other but you proceed in that direction to the best of your ability.  If you claim to be transgender you live 24/7365 and you also take the steps that would make revoking that commitment difficult.  Including most of the same steps people who get SRS take.

The idea that you are because you claim that as an identity comes off as a sort of weird post-modern idea tied in with Gender Studies and Queer Studies, an identity divorced from the concreteness of reality.  An extension perhaps of Judy Butler by someone who is overly enchanted with Judy’s fractured syntax and gibberish of coined words.

One of the main aspects of the fighting over these last few years has been regarding the primacy of “identity” over the reality of actions and real physical changes of sex under taken by people with transsexualism

Post-SRS people have an investment in the irreversibility of their actions.  It is the sort of investment one finds in people who have done acts of courage or great cost and the resentment that is felt towards others who claim to have done the same or be the same while not having paid the same price.

None of this has to do with calling names or human rights.  Indeed we would all be better off is such discussions were to retreat to the coffehouses, the bars, the pot smoke filled rooms best suited to discussions of philosophy.

After all it’s about humanity not ideology.

Anti-Abortion Provocateur Takes Aim at Obama

From Women’s E-News

By Frederick Clarkson – WeNews commentator

Editor’s Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women’s Enews.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Rev. Steven L. Anderson is the pastor of the man who made national news for carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at an August protest outside a hall where President Barack Obama was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix.

Anderson made news himself when it turned out during what is termed an “imprecatory prayer,” he had, the night before, repeatedly called on God to kill the president because, he believes that among other things, Obama is leading the nation away from God’s laws; has “wrought lewdness in America” and especially, because by virtue of being prochoice, Obama is a “murderer.”

Nationally known anti-abortion militant Neal Horsley, of Carrollton, Georgia, thinks Anderson has the right idea — except that he thinks Christians shouldn’t wait for God to do the job.

On a new Web site called, apparently launched last week, he links to the audio of the inflammatory sermon on Anderson’s Web site, encourages readers to click on it. “Listen here, to Pastor Steven Anderson,” Horsley writes, “as he tells people what God wants His people to do about Barack O’Bama (sic).”

“Don’t Listen To This,” Horsley warns, “Unless You Want To Do the Will of God.”

Anderson doesn’t actually exhort people to assassinate the president, although he may come close. But no matter.

Horsley is busy updating the tactics of threat and intimidation he has used for more than a decade against abortion providers, pro-choice activists, presidents and judges.

This time he’s featuring Obama, and possibly, in his sense of timing, exploiting the political hailstorm over health care reform.

Horsley is nothing if not a showman and he knows an opportunity when he sees one. Thanks in part (but not only) to Anderson, imprecatory prayer, calling on God to smite his enemies, as King David did in the Bible, has become fashionable on the far religious right–and the national media is suddenly paying attention.

Horsley is requesting people to send him video or audio imprecations against the president, or other of God’s enemies that he will place on his new Web site. “All you need to do,” he writes, “is speak the prayers into a microphone, or better yet, into a videocam recorder, and then send them to me…

“Be as specific as possible” he urges, “in defining who you believe God must destroy and as specific as possible in the means God should use in implementing that destruction.”

‘Destroying God’s Enemies’

He calls this a way of bringing “the power of God to bear on this present abomination of desolation, restoring God’s law by utterly destroying God’s enemies in our midst.”

Horsley has a long history of issuing threats that straddle the line of the law, in collaboration with the most militant elements of anti-abortionism, and generating enormous media attention, using the Internet as his soap box.

In the 1990s, Horsley launched his Web site “The Nuremberg Files,” in which he listed the names of abortion providers and others he deemed culpable in what he called the abortion holocaust. The names of those killed were crossed out; those wounded were grayed out.

Doctors who had been the subject of “UnWanted” posters in their areas, and who had been targeted by Horsley, sued to stop the threats and won a judgment of $107 million.

Horsley was ultimately required to take down the threatening material

Horsley next launched what he called the Live Web Cam Project, which received considerable national news coverage. This site featured thousands of photographs and some videos of patients, clinic workers and clinic defenders.

Apology for a Murder

In August, Horsley published an essay on his Web site that he describes as an “apology,” for Scott Roeder, the man accused of assassinating abortion provider George Tiller on May 31.

Horsley argues that “the pro-life movement incites people to kill abortionists because the pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement–all together–have been so utterly ineffectual as to leave no alternative to any person aroused by the specter of legalized abortion like Scott Roeder was aroused.” He calls the failure to stop abortion “the most powerful, driving force in the urge to assassinate abortionists today.” Horsley’s essay was promoted on Covenant News, which caters to militant antiabortion activism.

Horsley has long been involved in the antiabortion Army of God, and was featured in the 2001 HBO documentary “Soldiers in the Army of God.” In the film, Horsley recalled his reaction to the assassination of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian in Amherst, N.Y. Pointing to Slepian’s crossed-out name on his computer screen, he said, “When I drew a line through his name, I said ‘See, I told ya. There’s another one. How many more is it gonna take?'”

“The evidence is at hand,” Horsley declared. “There are people out there who [will] go out and blow their brains out.”

Horsley’s new site seems to be in an early stage of development. If past is prologue, there is likely to be much more.

Frederick Clarkson has written about politics and religion for 25 years. He is the author of “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy;” and most recently, editor of “Dispatches from the Religious Left: the Future of Faith and Politics in America.”

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Anti-Choice Floridians Peddling Constitutional Amendment to Criminalize Birth Control Pill

From Alternet

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Posted on September 14, 2009, Printed on September 17, 2009

This post originally appeared in PEEK.

Florida has done it again, folks.

Yes, the state that brought you Bush v. Gore, the sex offender colony under the bridge, and the shoot-first-ask-questions-later legislation known as the “Stand Your Ground Law” has another idea up its sleeve. And this one’s for the ladies.

Tampa Bay Online reports:

TALLAHASSEE – Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime to take birth control pills in Florida.

The “Personhood Amendment” that conservative activists are filing today in Tallahassee would add language to the state constitution that defines someone as a “person,” regardless of age or health status, “from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”

This, of course, is just another twist on the conventional argument by anti-choice groups that birth control pills are basically murder weapons. “The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the newly formed human being cannot attach to his/her mother’s womb and dies,” reads an explanation on the website of the American Life League, which is supporting similar efforts in other states. “This is called a chemical abortion.”

This is the same group that runs, a site that “focuses on blood clots and other health risks that birth control pills pose to women.”

Even if these people manage to collect the 676,811 signatures they need to get by Feb. 1 in order for this idea to be considered by Florida residents, even anti-choice politicians seem to be a bit ambivalent about the idea of criminalizing birth control.

“Even candidates who call themselves ‘pro-life’ stopped short of fully embracing the ‘Personhood’ proposal,” according to Tampa Bay Online.

Attorney General Bill McCollum, presumptive Republican candidate for governor in 2010, said through spokeswoman Shannon Gravitte that he is firmly “pro-life” but would not comment “on hypothetical issues.” If the proposal wins enough petition signatures, she said, “voters will certainly know where General McCollum stands.”

In the U.S. Senate GOP primary, Gov. Charlie Crist said “no and no” when asked whether he knew of the proposal or would comment on it.

One person who did share her thoughts is Pat McEwen, a Palm Bay resident who is described as “one of two leaders of the loose collection of activists, collectively known as Personhood Florida.”

“In the original Florida Constitution in 1885, they gave Floridians the right to enjoy and defend life,” she said. “This amendment defends the unborn, and it also gives older people like me – a retired college professor – the right to make my own decisions and not have someone override it.”

Which is sort of funny, because that’s exactly the opposite of what this amendment would do for younger women who, you know, might actually get pregnant.

Read more about this here.

(H/T Jessica Valenti via Twitter.)

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties and World Special Coverage.

© 2009 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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