The Phyllabuster ponders on why even bother to vote this Tuesday – Phyllis Randolph Frye

The Phyllabuster ponders on why even bother to vote this Tuesday

I feel certain that this may make some folks angry and that I will get some REMOVEs to my list.   Well, I feel this needs to be said.  And if you are one of my Republican friends (and I have many Republican friends), please consider the entirety of this message.

I have watched with interest as a kid or as a volunteer for and as a voter in elections since IKE ran in 1956.  I have never seen anything as ugly and violent as this election.  I remember the anti-catholic fervor during the Kennedy election.  And, I apologize for voting for Nixon in 1972.  I remember locally in the mid-1980’s in Houston when a so-called “Straight Slate” ran a field of anti-gay candidates for City Council.  As you might suspect,  almost every house within a hundred yards of our front yard had a “Straight Slate” sign in their front yard.  I remember the flak we got with our “Jesse Jackson for President” signs both times that he ran.  I remember when a leading candidate for mayor said “Kill the Queers” into an open microphone.  And I have represented in the criminal courts various citizens who were arrested and charged for no reason other that the bigotry and hatred from a particular rouge cop or two.

My parents were kids in the 1920’s and grew up in the Great Depression in the 1930’s and were young adults after World War II and watched with fear the entire Joe McCarthy witch-hunts.  They are both dead now, so I have a tad bit of forgiveness in my heart for their rejecting me.  I know that they were afraid of what other people might say or do to them as a result of being related to the “super-out-tranny,” ME.

And I have always wondered at how the Brown-shirted thugs took power as a minority in 1930’s Germany.  So many historians and documentaries have commented that the majority parties thought that they could keep the minority extremists in check.  People were angry with the economic situation.  The corporate barons felt that the order brought by this minority was good for business.  And so slowing things began to change for the worst.
The thuggery that is coming out in this election cycle is frightening to me.  Candidates are having their private security “arrest and cuff?” the media.  (and not being arrested themselves for false imprisonment!)  Candidate supporters are stomping on women’s heads.  (and not being arrested themselves for assault?)  We had a violent incident just yesterday in Houston.

The Tea-Party candidates who have co-opted the once moderation in the Republican Party will not talk to the media (Fox News is not media).  And their ideas are extreme.  Give social security to the stock market.  End medicare.  End separation of church and state.  No abortion for kids raped by fathers.  And on.

So, as I ponder to why even bother to vote this Tuesday, I hear from my friends on the left and in the center that they feel let down.  So do I.  I wanted a lot more out of this President and out of this Congress.

But consider this:

in all but a few cases, the House and Senate Republicans refused to do anything but block legislation and nominations. they did all they could to block everything.
they are embracing candidates who are EXTREME!
they are trying to buy this election with untraceable corporate money.

Okay, be angry or be disappointed, but don’t give the keys to power back to the folks who screwed up the economy so badly it is still on life support and who will block everything for another two years.  If the Tea Party co-opted Republicans take over, they do NOT have your interests in mind

The end of our Democracy could begin on November 2 unless you vote to say NO to filibusters and blockage, NO to the extremists who do not have your interests at heart, and NO to the big money buying this election.
Even if you have to hold-your-nose, please get up off your seat and vote on Tuesday.
And insist that someone goes with you.

Sitting this one out because you are disappointed is NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST.
Phyllis Randolph Frye

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Archdiocese opposes legalizing gay marriage in District of Columbia

The Catholic Taliban opposes the equality of LGBT/TQ people…  Why am I not surprised?  I think they are afraid that if LGBT/TQ people had full equality the repressed gay men they turn in to child molesters would find an alternative to the miserable lives of the priesthood.

Catholic News Service:
By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Washington Archdiocese said in written testimony Oct. 26 that it opposes legislation to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the District of Columbia and is concerned the bill “would restrict the free exercise of religious beliefs if it is passed as drafted.”

The archdiocese said it “opposes this legislation and any effort to redefine marriage as other than that between a man and a woman.”

“Besides overturning the definition of marriage,” it said, the bill has no exemptions for churches and faith-based organizations that oppose gay marriage for religious reasons but provide services to the general public or rent space to individuals or groups outside their faith.

Citing the Knights of Columbus and religiously-owned nonprofits such as Catholic Charities as examples, it said that under the measure they would be forced to offer their facilities and services to same-sex couples or face a lawsuit.

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Why should politics be polite?

I’ve been bothered by the Rally this weekend for a number of reasons.  I like Stewart and Colbert.  But they are satirists on The Comedy Channel and like the Fox Network comedian Beck’s rally this to feels like a performance piece with people spending time and effort on Spectacle as diversion rather than working toward something with meaningful political content that might actually improve their lives.

As for the liberal politeness.  That is reason enough for me to take the Phil Ochs position regarding liberals.

I’m not a liberal.  I’m a radical.  When some one calls me a name or hits me I don’t whimper off and pout about them calling me a name.  I hurl an insult right back.  If someone hits me I hit them back.

I don’t believe in god and Jesus is a common Latino name as far as I am concerned.  Gandhi’s game owes as much to the Nazis and Japanese destruction of the British military and Britain’s ability to rule an Empire as it does to some sort of moral imperative.

Dr Martin Luther King’s non-violence wouldn’t have made half the civil rights gains had there not been the huge riots scaring people into passing civil rights legislation.

From Socialist Worker:

Scott McLemee

October 28, 2010

TO RESIDE in Washington, D.C., means occupying a front-row seat on life’s rich pageant.

We get regular visits from the Tea Partiers, with their outrage, their guns and their imaginatively spelled signs. Earlier this month, amidst the many thousands of people attending the One Nation rally, a few hundred people in the Socialist Contingent marched with signs demanding higher taxes for the rich and an end to the wars. (Full disclosure: I was part of this, and joined in chanting, “We’re gonna make Glenn Beck cry!”) And each year, shortly before Halloween, the drag queens turn out in force to strut their stuff on 17th Street–as if to show that Monica Lewinsky is alive and well, albeit with a hint of stubble.

The Klan comes to town every so often. Then the police get a lot of overtime. Other than that, these gatherings tend to be peaceable enough. And so one would expect with this coming weekend’s gathering, convened by Comedy Central’s faux news anchors Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert–particularly since it’s being promoted as a rally for the militantly moderate.

Blaming the left and the right equally for the shabby state of American political discourse, its goal is, in the words of Stewart, to “take it down a notch for America.” The default response a longtime DCer will be, if anything, even more non-ideological: “Thank you for your tourism dollars. Now please go home.”

But while bracing for the influx of visitors (this is a city, after all, where the mass transit system occasionally doesn’t break down), I’ve been trying to think about the strangeness of this event. It is not so much a political protest as a parody of a political protest. Yet it will nonetheless serve partisan ends. The Democratic slogan for this election season might as well have been, “Don’t blame us, we’ve never actually done anything!” which has not exactly galvanized the youth vote.

The Democrats are, of course, a predominantly centrist party (delirious fantasies about Obama as follower of Franz Fanon notwithstanding). So it’s not hard to tell which electoral base will be mobilized by the opportunity to consume well-produced comic infotainment in the nation’s capitol.

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SRLP Publication


    DOWNLOAD FACT SHEET (BLACK/WHITE) (COLOR)What is “gender identity”?

    •    “Gender identity” refers to how people see and identify themselves; for example, some people identify as female; some people identify as male; some people as a combination of genders; as a gender other than male or female; or as no gender. For example, transgender girls identify as girls but were classified as males when they were born. Transgender boys identify as boys but were classified female when they were born.  Everyone has a gender identity.
    •    “Gender Expression” refers to how people express their gender identity. Everyone expresses their gender identity in different ways: for example, in the way they dress, the length of their hair, the way they act or speak and in their choice of whether or not to wear make-up.

    What does “transgender” and “gender nonconforming” mean?

    •    “Transgender” is a general term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
    •    “Gender nonconforming” refers to people who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth.
    •    “Transgender” and “Gender nonconforming” are umbrella terms that often encompass other terms such as transsexual, cross dresser, gender queer, femme queen, A.G., Two Spirit, and many more. It is important to refer to people with the term they prefer.
    •    “Gender Questioning” People who are questioning their gender identity might be wondering whether they identify as a boy, a girl or another gender.  They might also be experimenting with different genders.

    Did you know that it is illegal to discriminate against transgender or gender nonconforming students in New York City?

    New York City and State law protects students’ right to be free from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or because some aspect of their appearance or behavior does not match stereotypes associated with their gender identity or their sex assigned at birth.

    o    A school may not refuse to admit a student because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
    o    A school may not suspend or expel a student because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
    o    A school may not force a student to receive psychiatric treatment before admitting them or once they are enrolled simply because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
    o    A school may not prevent a transgender student from using the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.
    o    A school may not ask a student to disenroll or transfer to another school because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
    o    A school may not deny a student participation on a sports team because they are transgender or gender nonconforming

    New York City and State law protects students’ rights to wear clothing that corresponds to their gender identity and expression.

    •    For example, it is against the law to refuse to allow a student to attend school and related events and activities because that student is wearing clothes that are too “girlish” or “boyish.”  This is true regardless of the gender identity or the assigned birth sex of the student.
    •    A school may not compel a student to shave or groom their hair to look more “feminine” or “masculine.”
    New York City and State law protects its students’ right to be free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.
    •    Examples of harassment include:

    o    repeated, deliberate use of pronouns and names that are inconsistent with a student’s gender identity;
    o    Denying appropriate academic support to a student because of their gender identity
    o    Inappropriate touching;
    o    Insults or remarks about a student’s body parts or about a student’s behavior being too “masculine” or “feminine”;
    o    Asking people inappropriate, unnecessary questions about their gender identity, anatomy, and / or any medical treatment that is related to their gender identity;
    o    Verbal, sexual, or physical assault because of one’s gender identity.

    School faculty, administrators and staff also have an obligation to protect students from harassment and discrimination from other students.

    But, did you know that transgender, gender nonconforming and gender questioning youth still encounter pervasive discrimination at schools?

    For example, transgender youth have reported being:
    •    called derogatory names at school, such as “dyke”, “faggot,”“it” and “he-she” by both other students and faculty;
    •    prevented from using the restroom or locker room that corresponds to their gender identity and sometimes even being unable to use any restroom at school because of their gender identity;
    •    beaten up because of their gender identity;
    •    sexually assaulted because of their gender identity;
    •    forced to fight to defend themselves resulting in suspension and/or expulsion;
    •    forced to miss school because of suspensions or skip school because of fear resulting in missed learning opportunities;
    •    forced to quit school because of their gender identity;
    •    forced to attend psychiatric programs because of their gender identity;
    •    ridiculed and / or punished by teachers for dressing and / or acting too “feminine” or “masculine”;
    •    left with little or no academic support at school by faculty and administration
    •    left with little or no emotional support at school by faculty and administration;
    •    given no one they can reach out to for support about their gender identity at school;
    •    made deathly afraid of being “outed” and skipping school as a result.

    These are some ways you can make school a safer and gender affirming place for transgender youth:

    •    Arrange for transgender awareness training for faculty, staff, and administrators from a qualified community-based trainer. Most people do not receive training or support in transgender awareness throughout their education or professional careers; it is not fair to assume that educators will arrive at their work already having learned the skills they need to work respectfully and effectively with youth from these communities.  Transgender awareness trainings are most effective when they are mandatory and regular.
    •    Incorporate positive information about transgender issues into curricula. The existence of transgender people is often erased or only included in a highly stigmatized way in the teaching of any subject, as well as in media and popular culture.  The lack of any positive acknowledgment of transgender issues or history makes it difficult for transgender, gender nonconforming, or questioning young people to feel that they have a place in the world and supports a worldview among other students that transgender people do not exist or are an appropriate object of scorn.
    •    Create gender neutral restrooms. Eliminating sex segregation of facilities can significantly decrease violence and harassment against transgender and gender nonconforming youth. While sex-segregated restrooms or locker rooms exist, however, transgender and gender nonconforming youth should be supported in using whichever facilities they identify as most appropriate for themselves in terms of their gender identity and safety needs.
    •    If a student talks to you about their gender identity, listen in a respectful and non-judgmental way. Do not brush them off, react with skepticism or disapproval, or pressure them to put themselves in any particular category. Support them in developing their own understanding of their gender and direct them to resources for transgender, gender nonconforming and questioning youth. Do not “out” a young person or disclose their gender identity to another without permission.
    •    Avoid perpetuating gender stereotypes. Many of us enforce gender norms without even realizing it, but these stereotypes hurt everyone, especially transgender young people, gender nonconforming young people, and young women. Think carefully about the messages in everything you say, do, teach, or communicate about gender. Are you complimenting girls more often on their appearance but boys more often on their athleticism?  Do you ever imply there is something wrong with men who behave in stereotypically feminine ways?  Do you discipline girls more harshly than you would otherwise if they seem “masculine” or “butch” to you? Does your language ever equate gender (the way people view themselves and express their genders) with genitals (a persons birth sex and anatomical designation) or otherwise imply that the gender identities of transgender people are not “real”?
    •    Intervene and take action when students use gender-specific terminology to make fun of each other. When students make fun of each other with terms like “sissy,” “pussy,” “faggot,” “dyke,” “homo,” “freak,” “it,” “he-she,” “bitch,” or “gay” and faculty fail to intervene, these words are perceived as acceptable. The use of such language further alienates transgender and gender nonconforming in schools and perpetuates discriminatory stereotypes about gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.
    •     Create gender-neutral and / or mixed gender spaces. Be mindful about the ways in which single-gender teams and/ or groups (like girls-only groups and boys-only groups) can alienate transgender and gender nonconforming students. Proactively create spaces for transgender and gender nonconforming students within these groups and/or create additional spaces for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
    •    Always refer to transgender and gender nonconforming students appropriately. Always use students’ preferred names, even if they are different from their legal names, and always use the pronouns that students identify as appropriate for themselves.  Correct yourself and others if you or they make a mistake.
    •    Ensure that employment opportunities at your school are open to transgender and gender nonconforming people. Recruit at transgender focused events, job fairs, locations, and web sites.  Ensure that current and prospective employees are not discriminated against or harassed on the basis of gender identity or any other non-job related characteristic.
    •    Listen to criticism from transgender, gender nonconforming, and questioning students. Take such criticism seriously without becoming defensive; such feedback is an important opportunity to learn and grow.

    For more information:

    Contact the Sylvia Rivera Law Project at (212) 337-8550 or for additional resources and information.

    Selected Sources

    United States Education Act Amendments of 1972, Title IX 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681

    N.Y. Executive Law § 291 (2)

    N.Y. Executive Law § 290 (3)

    N.Y.C. Admin. Code, §  8-107(4)

    N.Y.C. Admin. Code, §  8-602
    Doe v. Bell, 194 Misc. 2d774, 754 N.Y.S.2d 846 N.Y., Sup., 2003 [it is illegal discrimination to force a transgender girl to wear boys clothing in the foster care system]

    Doe v. Yunits, Superior Court of Massachusetts, 2000 [a school could not force a transgender girl to wear boys clothing]

    Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992) [re: Title IX, establishing that victims of sexual h arassment and other forms of sex discrimination in schools may sue for monetary damages]

    Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School Dist., 118 S.Ct. 1989 (1998) [re: Title IX, school district liability for the sexually harassing behavior of a high school teacher toward a student ]

    Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989) [re: Title VII, employment action based on female employee’s failure to comport with female sex stereotype in appearance and behavior is illegal sex discrimination]

    Scott v. Board of Ed., Union Free School Dist. No. 17, Hicksville, 61 Misc. 2d 333, 305     N.Y.S.2d 601 (Sup. Ct. 1969)

    Advocates for Youth. “Trans Living: Youth Resources” available at

    Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. “Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in our Nation’s Schools.” Available at

    Trans Youth Family Allies: Serving Youth Family Allies – Understanding through Education.

    Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Fact Sheet: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Youth Issues (April/May 2001) available at

    Transgender Law Center. “transgender and gender nonconforming youth: recommendations for schools.”Available at



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    The Death of Sonia Burgess

    This story or actually stories  is so full of different information I’ve hesitated to comment on it.

    More questions than answers.

    Was it an accident?  Was it deliberate? Did the person being accused of pushing her know her or were they strangers?  Was it in anger or were they just drunk or high and fooling around?

    I’m going to let those questions wait for investigators to sort out.

    What bothers me is how the UK press seems to use some of the grossest most abusive and transphobic language I’ve seen.  Not only in this story but in every story that involves a transsexual or transgender person.

    I’ve listened to so much America bashing from Brits about the short coming of the treatment of TS/TG folks in the US that I kind expect better.

    Who set the language standards, the style guides for the press in the UK?  Benny Hill, a scandal tabloid or Monty Python?

    I’m far less up tight than many who write of the oppression of people whose lives have been impacted by trans prefixed words.  I don’t think transvestite is a bad word and don’t associate it with some sort of pathology.  I use trannie as a term that came from the streets where it was our word.

    In the US we have GLAAD.  They help us mediate respectful language.  We don’t always achieve it but by calling them on it we can gradually improve the language used.

    In cases of someone with an uncertain status transwoman or transman and using the pronoun of presentation unless told different is a reasonable standard to shoot for.

    As far as I am concerned gender variant is as bad as “she-male” in that both create an impression of perversion as well as making it sound as though the victim deserved it.

    If some one says they are transvestite, cross-dresser, drag-queen, transgender, transsexual, post-op transsexual transwoman, transman, woman of transsexual history…  The words one chooses to describe their relationship to a trans prefixed word are the words people writing about them should use.

    We are fighting abusive language that frames our lives and separates us from the rest of humanity.

    At the same time there is an element of being members of a minority culture and so dividing up and using abusive language to members of different groups that  are different from us but that the majority culture lumps together with us is sort of counter productive while pressing for respectful language is beneficial to all.