No More David Letterman in this House

Most male comedians aren’t all that funny and most spend an inordinate amount of time disparaging both women and gays in an orgy of misogyny and homophobia.

When they turn their sights on transsexual and transgender people they manage a two-fer that tends towards the even more vicious since both women and gays have spent nearly the last 40 years gradually raising awareness that such naked abuse is actually wrong.

Obama’s appointment of of Amanda Simpson to a senior level government post is a first.  For transsexual and transgender people it is a first on the order of the first woman to occupy such a position, the first African American or the first gay or lesbian person.  If we do not feel a little twinge of pride then perhaps we should.

As expected all the Christo-Fascists with their coded language of bigotry attacked her.  The neo-Nazi pundits were rolling in the aisles.

But we did not expect the snickering and nasty jokes coming from liberal comedians.  Although perhaps we should have.  Particularly in light of all the hardy, har, har about Ann Coulter.  I don’t like Ann Coulter even though she is totally outrageous and taught me the wording I should use to get away with saying shit I think but can not prove, without getting sued.  If Ann is transsexual or transgender it is wrong to attack her for that.  If she is perceived as possibly transsexual or transgender it is equally wrong to attack her for it.  It is irrelevant and there are plenty of things said and written by Ann that are far more worthy of attack.

Letterman has crossed the line into pathetic dickwaddery on numerous occasion over the past few months.  Again like with Ann Coulter I am certainly no fan of Sarah Palin, yet even I have to acknowledge that his joke about Alex Rodriguez impregnating the Palin girl was both crass and misogynistic as well as seriously offensive and not funny.  Nor are the charges of sexual harassment funny.

Put together they add up to Letterman being no more than a pathetic, over the hill misogynistic loser.

Perhaps it is time for him to retire.

The Incident

HRC’s Response

Human Rights Campaign Sends Letter Condemning CBS Late Show with David Letterman Skit, Asks for Apology

Late Show sketch includes “incendiary remarks” over Obama Administration’s first transgender appointment

1/6/2010

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, sent the following letter today to David Letterman and CBS Corp. in response to a Late Show sketch mocking the appointment of Amanda Simpson to a senior position at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Simpson, who until recently was Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems and was a test pilot for 20 years, was appointed to be Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce, where she will work directly with the Under Secretary of Commerce on international trade and national security issues.

In a skit during Letterman’s opening monologue, the host announced Simpson’s historic appointment and revealed that she is transgender, displaying a photograph of her.  The show’s announcer, Alan Kalter, then feigned “trans panic,” implying he had some prior relationship with Simpson but was not aware of her gender history, and ran yelling from the stage.

Letter from Human Rights Campaign Associate Director of Diversity for Transgender Issues Allyson Robinson:

January 6, 2010

David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman
1697 Broadway
New York, NY 10001

CC:      Nina Tassler
President, CBS Entertainment
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Letterman,

I am writing on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, to express my disappointment over the inappropriate and incendiary remarks made on The Late Show with David Letterman last night on the appointment of Amanda Simpson to a senior position in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The decision to ignore the fact that Ms. Simpson is incredibly well-qualified for this vital national security position and focus instead on her gender identity reflects transphobia.  Ms. Simpson’s appointment represents meaningful progress for the LGBT community and in particular transgender Americans who have faced significant and well-documented discrimination in the workplace and their communities.

You may not be aware that the punch line in your skit has been used as a defense in nearly every hate crime perpetrated against transgender people that has come to trial.  For example, the “trans panic” defense was infamously used by Allen Ray Andrade, who was convicted in 2009 of beating 19-year-old Angie Zapata to death with a fire extinguisher after learning of her gender history.  According to media reports, it has also been the main defense employed by Juan A. Martinez for the killing of Jorge Steven López Mercado, 19, in Puerto Rico last November.

Your skit affirmed and encouraged a prejudice against transgender Americans that keeps many from finding jobs, housing, and enjoying freedoms you and your writers take for granted every day.  We ask that you apologize publicly to Ms. Simpson and the transgender community for this unfortunate episode.

Sincerely,

Allyson Robinson,
Associate Director of Diversity for Transgender Issues
Human Rights Campaign

Both the You Tube Video and the HRC response were taken from Pam’s House Blend

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/14730/hrcs-response-to-david-lettermans-skit-about-transgender-obama-nominee-amanda-simpson

Posted in Male Privilege, Misogyny, Social Justice, Transgender, Transsexualism, Uncategorized. Comments Off on No More David Letterman in this House

Why I like the Term, “Transsexual” Better Than the Alternatives

Too often those espousing the identity politics of “Transgender as Umbrella”, in order to enlarge their numbers from being  a small minority group within world of L/G communities, set such broad factors for inclusion in the transgender label that it appears that only a small minority of people aren’t transgender.

This of course erases transsexuals to the point where GLAAD’s style book and folks like Autumn Sandeen appear to think that it is appropriate to change transsexual to transgender when ever the word appears in print. The same goes for pre-op, post-op and sex change operation which enter the Orwell New Speak Morphing Machine and emerge as the nicely euphemistic and neutered “transition”.

Since when did “transsexual” acquire the same sort of stigma as a word like “nigger” that requires its being euphemized?

For me transsexual means changing sex or physical sex characteristics.   Not to mention living 24/7/365 in a manner consistent with the sex you are becoming.

At its core transsexualism is about the deep seated need to change sex from that assigned at birth.  Arguments as to why change with the seasons and are almost matters of faith.  Reasons are all legitimate to those doing the changing.  No matter the strength of evidence as to a physical nature there is no argument that will ever convince the bigots.

People with transsexualism have struggled to put words to what they feel ever since we started putting pen to paper and trying to relate our stories in the 1950s (I am currently rereading Roberta Cowell’s autobiography) The language lacks the words to relate what we feel inside and so we are forced to use metaphors.

At its core transsexualism is about having an operation to change one’s assigned at birth sex, that is why it is sex reassignment surgery.

Transsexualism has several common narratives.  Those narratives distinguish us from others who appear similar but who do not have the same desperate drive to actually have an operation to change their sex.

To placate the bigots we have desexed transsexualism to the point where it seems that wanting to be able to have sex as female or male bodied people (depending on the direction of change) no longer plays a part in our wanting SRS.

We have desexed transsexualism under the rubric of transgender to the point where wanting our bodies to look consistent with our gender of presentation when we are naked is looked upon as elitist rather than consistent with our changing sex to have our bodies match our core sex identity.

I view gender as suspect. Over thousands of years gender roles have been used to keep women as second class humans.  Substituting gender for sex reifies gender roles that keep women as second class humans deemed inferior to men.

What is gender identity if gender itself is an abstract construct that shifts over time and location?  Gender identity makes sense in the claims of transgender people as they are claiming that acting the role makes them real.  Indeed they denounce the “body essentialism” of those of us who point out that women are adult females and that men are adult males irrespective of their  presentation.

But I am a woman born transsexual and not a woman born transgender so I do not have to stake claim to womanhood based on my ability to adhere to an abstract gender role that I claim such an intensity of identity to, that it allows me to deny my actual body.

My femaleness in all its mix of masculine and feminine hippie anarchist feminist elements is confirmed every time I squat to pee, shower, make love or masturbate.

Now there are some who feel the need to add “Classic” to their transsexual.  I generally find these people to be conservative and heterosexist if not down right homophobic.  It especially sends them into a tizzy when two sisters form a lesbian bond.  It also seems as though “classic transsexual” is the latest incarnation of BBLZ etc’s AGP/AP model.

I am vaguely amused when lesbian sisters who initially embraced the term discover that it doesn’t mean those of us who have had SRS .  That it isn’t a substitute for post-op the way WBT was initially envisioned and instead it requires the embrace of a heterosexist stance that says post-SRS women who are lesbian should work for the protection of heterosexual marriage for post-SRS women. While lesbian sisters are expected to  settle for civil unions for themselves because same sex marriage would denigrate the heterosexual marriages entered into by “classic transsexuals”  At the same time “classic transsexuals” refuse to recognize the validity of lesbian relationships within the post-op transsexual community.

You know there was a time when those of us who had sex change operations were rare, indeed. When I got mine there were maybe a few thousand people who had the same surgery I had.  But now there are hundreds of thousands of us and the only thing that unites us is having had sex reassignment surgery.

Now I’ve know post-ops who have been perfectly flawless in every way and others who can’t live outside the ghetto.  But the vast majority of them who didn’t flat out lie and deceive the screeners had elements of that basic set of early established narratives as part of their life experiences and that makes all of them “classic transsexuals” in my book, which means I can dispense with the classic modifier.

If you want to say transsexuals who actually get sex change surgery then say it.  Don’t beat around around the bush.  When you start using “classic transsexual” in any other context than post-op then you are as much as saying there are many different kinds of transsexuals.  With many comes validation of the claims of transgender people to being “non-op transsexuals”.

I am also not a fan of HBS.  I liked Dr. Benjamin.  He was nice in an old school liberal, paternalistic sort of way but like most of those who study us he leaped to many many erroneous conclusions.  But even more so syndrome isn’t much of an improvement on disorder if any.  It is as though we are making Dr. Benjamin into some sort of definer of us rather than a facilitator who learned from what we told him.

We existed in ancient times and in every culture.  I perfer the term transsexual.

Now the argument can be made that it is tainted by association with sex workers.  Yet long before the emergence of IFGE, NTAC and other Transactivist groups, sex work was often the only means of survival we had.  It still is for way too many people.

By the same token isn’t the transgender argument for the use of transgender instead of transsexual based upon transsexual being the term of choice for so many trans* sex workers?

To me WBT, transsexual, post-op, woman of a transsexual history, classic transsexual all pretty much mean the same thing.  They all mean that the person to whom those various terms are applied had an operation that changed their genital from those of one sex to another.  All the other stuff is just window dressing that tries to hide the fact that having sex reassignment surgery is what defines us as transsexual.

Not having it and talking about gender as though it is more than clothing and mannerisms is a transgender thing, not transsexual.  We don’t transition, we get sex change operations hence the term transsexual.

Posted in Classism, Culture, Gay, Innateness, Lesbian, LGBT/T, Questioning Authority, Same Sex Marriage, Transgender, Transsexualism, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why I like the Term, “Transsexual” Better Than the Alternatives

Irish Government pursuing trans birth certificate law

From Andrea Brown

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/irish-government-pursuing-trans-birth-certificate-law/

Monday, 7 December 2009

Work is set to get under way on an Irish law to allow transsexuals to change their sex on their birth certificate.  The news comes despite warnings from critics that measures to change
sex physically would not help resolve psychological turmoil.

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin said she would “progress this matter in the immediate future”.

She added: “The means by which legal recognition will be affected may include legislation and, in any event, will require careful consideration and consultation.”

Cat McIlroy of Transgender Equality Network Ireland, an activist group, said: “There are under 100 people accessing hormones in the Loughlinstown clinic, but many more people identify as cross-dressers or transvestites and their family or work experiences can dictate if they go further.

“We believe there are potentially hundreds of people who could benefit from new laws in the area.”

The Green Party in Ireland pushed for the change but the Fianna Fáil Party has expressed concern that people would seek to change their sex for reasons other than psychological or medical, such as welfare or other entitlements.

In the UK, the Gender Recognition Act was passed in 2004.

It allows a biologically normal man to become a woman in law and vice versa. This means a man can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate and then obtain a new birth certificate stating he was born a woman.

Under the Act a man can become a woman “for all purposes” in law. He could then legally marry another man, because in law the couple would be of opposite sexes.

Critics point to evidence of transsexuals who later change their minds.

According to a Home Office report on transsexualism: “Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex”.

Doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic, an internationally acclaimed centre for ’sex change’ treatment, have stated, “what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body, but the internal conflicts remain”.

I Will not Mourn Mary Daly

I am disgusted with some of the blog posts I have read regarding the death of that vile bigot, Mary Daly.

I consider myself a feminist of the left.  Not a cultural feminist of the nature espoused by Daly.  She started out a Catholic theologian.  She was full of crap and mythology when she was a Catholic. She was full of crap and mythology as a feminist.

I for one never believed in ancient matriarchal cultures usurped by a later patriarchy.  I always put her writings regarding the non-supported by archeological finding ancient matriarchies  in the same garbage pail where I put Von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” and the Atlantis myths.

But women born transsexual have a particular reason for not mourning Daly.  The woman was a hateful bigot, the only difference between her and  a KKK Grand Dragon is that she wore academic robe instead of Klan robes.

Daly helped create the language that is used by all anti-transsexual bigots.  In Daly’s book Gyn/Ecology she labeled us as “Frankensteinian”, preaching that transsexualism was a “male problem” (conveniently erasing our T to M brothers).  She is the one who started the bullshit about our existing in a contrived and artificial condition.”

Many of the worst enemies of transsexuals both female and male have been highly respected academics.  Just as often we forget that Universities are factories that serve the same corporate masters as well as governments by generating “facts” (often of dubious nature) and prostituting their reputations to further forces of bigotry and oppression.

Just as highly respected academics in the past have generated research showing people of color to be inferior so to have people like Daly contributed to the oppression and worsening of the lives of people born with transsexualism.

However, Daly’s worst offense, one reported by numerous sources, is in the role she played in furthering the academic career of Janice Raymond.  It is alleged that Daly was conducting a sexual relationship with Raymond at the same time she was serving as adviser to Raymond on her Ph.D. thesis that eventually became “The Transsexual Empire.”  If these charges are true they would call into question the legitimacy of both parties.

Such a challenge to the credibility would call into question the academic standing of both party.

I have read both Daly and Raymond in the past and consider Daly to be at best a minor intellect and her work to belong more in the mythology section than in the feminst section.

Do not expect me to mourn.  In fact I am glad we are rid of the old bigot.

Avatar

It’s official…  The holiday season is over.  The Christmas crunch and post-Christmas crash retail season of selling cheap crap from China is over for at least seven and a half months.

Now is the time for us peons who work the retail sales floor to get some hard earned R & R.

Tina, my honey, love of my life and I have been committed to see Avatar at the local IMax 3D  theater since it opened some two weeks back.

Well…  This afternoon we took the plunge.

This is perhaps the most visually stunning film I have ever seen.  The glasses for the viewing were magenta and green rather than the red and blue of yesteryear suggesting  a refinement in the process for producing the 3D imagery.  It is gorgeously real instead of cheesy.

The story like many of the better works of science fiction and fantasy uses an alien setting to explore themes of current political and social import.

Corporate greed, imperialism, the genocide of native peoples, environmental destruction for the sake of financial reward obtained by the mining of a rare mineral, referred to as “unobtainium”.

It is reminiscent of “Dances with Wolves” The badly wounded soldier rediscovers life from the very people he was sent to control and oppress.  In the process he comes to see his own people as the oppressors and like John Brown commits totally to the struggle of the people he was sent to oppress.  Like the character portrayed by Kevin Costner in “Dances with Wolves” he joins the native people in their fight against the genocide being committed against them by his people of birth.

Some right wing critics have slammed this movie for numerous reasons.  I suspect showing the military as genocidal maniacs in support of corporate greed is but one reason.  The painful analogy to the US losing wars to people with vastly inferior military forces tweeks them.

I loved it because the John Wayne type brutal white guy gets killed by a Na-vi woman.  The same Na-vi woman who has become the mate of the hero who has become one of the Na-vi.

I suppose that if I weren’t so tired I could add that I enjoyed the manner in which the hero assimilated and became one with the Na-vi.

It has been years since I went back to see a film a day or two later but Avatar is so visually rich (I compared it to tripping on acid) and so multi textural that I really want to see it again while it is still 3D and at the IMax.

I am an atheist yet I relate to the Gaia concept of oneness with the universe and an interconnectedness. Of how we are a part of nature and how by destroying nature with over population and the destruction of the oceans and rain forests we are committing the supreme sin against ourselves.  The Na-vi have that same sort of godless spirituality that places them in relationship to all their world both plant and other animals that live in their world.

There war is against the invaders who have come to destroy their world and with it their Gaia.  It requires us to ask of ourselves if profits are worth the destruction of our world.