I Hate the Smell of Sophistry in the Morning

Reposted with author’s permission from ENDABLOG: http://endablog.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/i-hate-the-smell-of-sophistry-in-the-morning/

By Katrina Rose

[Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend]

Very early morning (at least in the CDT.)

This post is another update regarding the goings-on in the Texas case of Nikki Araguz, the trans widow of firefighter Thomas Araguz.  Her marriage and identity are under attack by her deceased husband’s ex-wife (purportedly representing the interests of the children of Thomas and the ex.)

Even if you’re not otherwise following the case – or even if you from some reason are disinclined to sympathize with Nikki – you should, at some point in the next few minutes, be picking your jaw up off of the floor.  Legal arguments don’t get much more twisted than the one that the lawyers representing the ex-wife of Nikki’s late husband pulled out today.

A key element of Nikki Araguz’s case to validate her marriage to her late husband Thomas is going to be a change to Texas law that happened pretty much under the radar last year:






Sec. 2.005.  PROOF OF IDENTITY AND AGE.  (a)  The county clerk shall require proof of the identity and age of each applicant.

(b)  The proof must be established by:

(8)  an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant’s name change or sex change

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 978, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.

Essentially, it implicitly recognizes change of sex – and, in turn, that implicit recognition statutorily overturns whatever degree of legal authority that was embodied by the 1999 anti-transsexual decision in Littleton v. Prange, often – though wrongly – referred to as ‘the law in Texas’ regarding change of sex; in fact, it was a decision of but one of Texas’ fourteen intermediate appellate courts and no higher court ever made a substantive ruling in the case.

Again: Clearly, the law implicitly recognizes change of sex.

Here, however, is the spin that attorney Chad Ellis puts on that:

An attorney for the firefighter’s family, Chad Ellis, says the law mentions nothing about allowing someone to legally change gender.

It just acknowledges that such changes occur.  But wait – it gets weirder.

Instead Ellis says it was designed for someone like Nikki who was born a man to apply for a marriage license to marry a female.

Uh huh.  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Brain, meet hurt.

But this is typical of the anti-transsexual arguments made against laws recognizing change of sex.  Even where the legislature in question is much more specific than Texas’ was in 2009, the argument will invariably be made: ‘Well, the legislature didn’t really mean it.’  Those are never the exact words, but that’s the argument – like that made by the dissenting judge in 2004 in Louisiana’s Pierre v. Pierre:

I am not convinced that because Louisiana law provides for a detailed procedure allowing a person’s name and gender to be changed on a birth certificate after a sexual reassignment surgery has been undertaken, see La. R.S. 40-62, the legislature has expressed its intent to confer an accompanying change in the legal status of a person who has chosen to alter his or her appearance.


The statute in play there?


§62.  Issuance of new birth certificate after anatomical change of sex by surgery

A.  Any person born in Louisiana who has sustained sex reassignment or corrective surgery which has changed the anatomical structure of the sex of the individual to that of a sex other than that which appears on the original birth certificate of the individual, may petition a court of competent jurisdiction as provided in this Section to obtain a new certificate of birth.

B.  Suits authorized by this Section shall be filed contradictorily against the state registrar in the judicial district court having jurisdiction over the parish in which the petitioner resides or over the parish in which the petitioner was born.  A nonresident born in Louisiana shall file the petition in the parish of birth.  The suit of any petitioner born in Louisiana shall be filed contradictorily against the state registrar.  In the event the petitioner is married, the spouse shall also be a necessary party to the suit.  To the extent that the petitioner’s name is to be changed, the district attorney shall also be a necessary party.  In all cases the petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the petitioner’s original birth record, in which case the short-form birth certificate card shall not be sufficient.

C.  The court shall require such proof as it deems necessary to be convinced that the petitioner was properly diagnosed as a transsexual or pseudo-hermaphrodite, that sex reassignment or corrective surgery has been properly performed upon the petitioner, and that as a result of such surgery and subsequent medical treatment the anatomical structure of the sex of the petitioner has been changed to a sex other than that which is stated on the original birth certificate of the petitioner.

If the court shall find that the evidence sustains the required proof, the court shall render a judgment ordering the issuance of a new birth certificate changing the sex designated thereon from that shown upon the petitioner’s original certificate of birth.  The petitioner may in the same suit seek to have the name of the petitioner changed, and the court may render judgment in accordance with law upon this additional petition at the same time.


The legislature really didn’t mean it.

Any bets out there as to how far a similar argument would fly against an anti-trans statute?

Yes, your honor, we know what the ADA says about excluding transsexuals and we know what the senators said on the record in the Congressional Record about excluding transsexuals, but that’s not really what they really meant.


Yes, your honor, we know what the 1977 Tennessee anti-transsexual birth certificate amendment says about not allowing transsexuals to change their birth certificates and we know what the legislators said back in 1977 about not allowing transsexuals to change their birth certificates, but that’s not really what they meant.

Bar? Meet Dis.

Now, this isn’t to say that Nikki has a slam dunk now, even if – somehow – she gets in front of a judge (and eventually judges) who aren’t Rick Perry worshippers or who are otherwise into legal pretzel logic:

Nikki’s attorneys say at the very least she had what amounts to a common law marriage….

“She has a legal and informal marriage since September 2, 2009 up until the day her husband was taken,” said Phyllis Frye, Nikki’s attorney

It sounds as though the argument is that Texas law prior to 9/1/09 – whatever it was – would have prevented Nikki and Thomas from being married in Texas but that, due to the fact that Texas still allows for common law (informal) marriage, the 2009 change in the law created (for lack of a better phrase) a springing exectutory heterosexual relationship which, due to operation of Texas’ common law marriage requirements, became a marriage immediately thereafter.

Brain, meet more hurt – only this is the headache that should prevail.


Posted in Equal Treatment, Social Justice. Comments Off on I Hate the Smell of Sophistry in the Morning

Bitchy Observations Regarding the Tattered Umbrella of Transgender

You can bitch at me for these observations, but if you are honest you admit they have crossed your mind too…

Some things have just gotta be said:

Is any one else as sick as I am of the so called “transman” Thomas Beatie’s  parlor trick of baby dropping?  WTF?  Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you have to join the freaking quiver full movement.

It is tired and just makes transsexuals who want to be taken seriously look foolish.  It has turned into a “Stupid Trannie Trick”.

Like those who use birth certificate games to enter “same sex marriages”.  Hint it isn’t a same sex marriage if the state views it as a heterosexual one.  If you want to marry a same sex partner and your state doesn’t recognize same sex marriage then a road trip is in order.

Going on Jerry Springer or any other “Reality TV Show” and outing yourself is always a bad idea.  Especially if you aren’t into exploiting the exposure.

Acting like you have real heterosexual privilege and not getting wills as well as certified documents saying your partner was aware of your medical history is both stupid and asking for grief.  For what it is worth…  Even though it is a heterosexual marriage get married someplace that recognizes marriage equality.  That is what inter-racial couples used to do and for now so should you.

Then there is a survey being circulated by Mona Rae Mason…

It claims to be studying attraction to transsexual/transgender people by other transsexual /transgender people.  It is located at:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X9BBY3R. Now why has this survey set me off even more than most of them?  For one thing I have a WBT life partner.  For another thing I have had several extended intimate relationships with either WBTs or with transgender women.

The study does the same sort of fetishizing of TS/TG women that one finds in she/male or transvestite literature.  It never looks beyond the sexually objectifying.

When it got to the type appearances/clothing that turned me on I said jeans and slogan t-shirts with piercings and tats, “Lisbeth Salander.”  I was kidding but mostly I am drawn to people who like art and literature and are more at home on a picket line/concert/museum/used book store/funky restaurant than in some sort of glamorous erotic setting.

Why do people doing these sorts of studies try to treat us like transvestites or she/male hookers?  One expects more from someone in the transgender community.

When will I ever learn to not expect more?

God Crashes the Tea Party

From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/god-crashes-the-tea-party_b_668922.html

Naomi Wolf

Bestselling Author, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Posted: August 3, 2010 12:17 PM

OXFORD — Where does America put God? Historically, there has always been tension between the separation of church and state that the United States has enshrined in its Constitution and regular upsurges of religious faith, even religious extremism, that seek an outlet in the political process — or even seek to dominate it.

Nowhere is this tension more visible today than in the struggle for the political soul of the Tea Party. For, as the coalition on the religious right that dominated American conservatism since the 1980’s has begun to fall apart, some of the same Christian fundamentalist elements are seeking to absorb — some would say take over — the originally non-sectarian Tea Party.

The Tea Party emerged from a laudably grassroots base: libertarians, fervent Constitutionalists, and ordinary people alarmed at the suppression of liberties, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Libertarians, of course, tend to understand church-state separation: if you don’t want government intruding in your life, you definitely don’t want it telling you how to worship.

This anti-establishmentarian impulse is a time-honored tradition in America, where advocacy of separation of church and state — a radical view in the late eighteenth century — was driven by the experiences of religious minorities such as Quakers, Huguenots, and Puritans, all of whom suffered religious persecution in Britain and France.

Unfortunately, religious bigotry also has a long history in America, and there are powerful factions that cannot accept that God did not intend the US to be a Christian nation. Ronald Reagan saw the benefit of tapping these constituencies, introducing a faith-first element into what had been a more secularized, “big tent” conservatism.

Since the 1980’s, “culture wars” (usually staged) about homosexuality, abortion, and sex education, or other coded messaging about religious values, have served to mobilize the religious right. Bush’s early avowal of his conversion experience was given in language poll-tested for acceptance by fundamentalist Christians.

Continue Reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/god-crashes-the-tea-party_b_668922.html

Press Usage Guide

I’m so freaking sick of the crap usage that goes like this:  “So and so was born a man.”  Or  “So and so was born a woman.”

Are these people morons or what?

One is not born a man or a woman.  to paraphrase Simone de Beauvoir, one becomes one.

One is assigned male or female at birth based on the appearance of genitals.

Instead of headlines labeling Nikki as being born a man it would be more appropriate to say she was assigned male at birth based on genital appearances.  Transsexualism is physically invisible intersex condition with its earliest manifestations seen in cross gender behavior.

Use instead: “Assigned male at birth.”  or “Assigned female at birth.”

Professionals Must Recognize and Stop Anti-Gay Bullying

August 2, 2010, Relationships
Anti-Gay Bullying is Wrong and Adults Must Stop It.
Published on August 2, 2010

“You shouldn’t have to be a hero to make it through adolescence.”
(Youth advocate quoted in Drifting Toward Love by Kai Wright.)

All stories have a beginning. Most of the 65 young respondents I interviewed for the book: Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child (www.comingoutcominghome.com), described the realization that they had same-sex attractions as a slow dawning coupled with a nagging realization that something was wrong–very wrong, with the way they felt. They understood that if their peers or their parents discovered their sexual feelings, they risked becoming objects of rejection and abuse.

Unfortunately, for some of these kids, their peers figured out what was up. Adolescents are hawk-eyed guardians of the status quo, harshly punishing those whose behavior falls outside of society’s narrow gender norms–and for some of the unlucky respondents in my study who inadvertently revealed cross-gendered behavior, the consequences were brutal.

Once I hit middle school I think really other kids figured out before I did.
I used to get picked on for being gay all the time and I didn’t know what it
meant. . . .I wasn’t the most masculine kid (Recalled by a twenty-one-year-old gay man).

I got beat up a lot. I didn’t have many friends, they were kind of put off.
A lot of the guys would pick on me. . . . They would call me dyke and beat
me up (Twenty-year-old lesbian).

Continue reading at:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gay-and-lesbian-well-being/201008/professionals-must-recognize-and-stop-anti-gay-bullying

Why Do Red States Have the Worst “Family Values”?

From Alternet:


By Amy DePaul, Bookslut
Posted on August 2, 2010, Printed on August 3, 2010

Are conservative values voters who consider themselves pro-family more likely to divorce than their liberal counterparts?

Law professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone had what they call their “ah-ha moment” when they started looking at how states voted in presidential elections and compared the results to social trends in those states. They found that states voting red — presumably for socially conservative, “pro-family” candidates — also had high divorce rates, higher than in blue states. Building on their research, Cahn and Carbone then developed theories about family formation in the U.S. and its relationship to political affiliation.

In their book Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture, the authors explain that “red families” believe adulthood is forged by the responsibilities of getting married and having children early. Blue families, by contrast, defer marriage and childbirth until after they have reached adulthood, which usually follows economic and educational attainment. The reasons for the sharp divide are rooted in economic changes and personal belief systems, which both authors discussed with me recently. Their comments, culled from conversations via the telephone and e-mail, follow.

How did you get started on this area of research?

Cahn: What started us in looking at this was that as we watched the ’04 election and we saw the moral values commentary unfolding, we looked at the polling and divorce statistics. So our first “ah ha” moment was looking at the correlation between divorce rates and family characteristics and how likely a state was to vote red or blue. As we probed further, we saw an amazing congruence between how a state voted and their divorce rate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/147712/why_do_red_states_have_the_worst_%22family_values%22/#disqus_thread

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why Do Red States Have the Worst “Family Values”?