Poised for Perfection: Sgt. Shane Ortega Puts a Face to the Transgender Military Ban

I’m more into ordinary trans-folks like Shane who are quietly fighting the good fight for full equality than I am into Kardashian Tabloid Queens and Reality TV Superstars.

One presents us as I hope we are seen, the other continues making us spectacles to be featured on the sleazy publications featured at super market check out stands.

From The Advocate:   http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2015/05/28/poised-perfection-sgt-shane-ortega-puts-face-transgender-military-ba?page=full

Sgt. Shane Ortega tells The Advocate how he’s been able to serve for years in the U.S. Army as an openly transgender man and about the pressure he faces now that the world knows who he is.

BY  Mitch Kellaway
May 28 2015

Sgt. Shane Ortega wakes up and shuts off his alarm clock at the same time every workday morning. The right time.

He showers, stops in front of the mirror, carefully scrapes away the faintest hint of stubble from his cheeks. He moves to his bedroom, donning his crisp office clothes just so. He’s out the door, right on time, headed to the Oahu military office where he’s been doing human resources work ever since he was grounded — temporarily, he intends — from flight last summer.

Sgt. Ortega is never late. He is never rumpled. He never has an “off” day. And he makes sure of it, because he’s one of the first openly transgender people in the U.S. military, and he knows the world is scrutinizing him.

“Honestly, I have to be perfect right now,” the 28-year-old Army helicopter crew chief tells The Advocate over the phone from Wheeler Army Air Field. He follows his words with a light laugh that will be repeated many times over the next 40 minutes, one that seems to dissolve clouds of self-pity before they can gather. “Like, I couldn’t get a speeding ticket. I can’t be late. I can’t forget to shave one day of the week. I have to be absolutely perfect.”

And then, instead of resting, Ortega spends most of his lunch break talking about living a life that has become more than his own.

“I don’t think anyone really understands the level of perfection that I have to have right now that I stepped forward,” he admits. “But I understood the weight of the matter. It was part of what I juggled in my judgment before I decided to do that. And it’s really uncomfortable, to be honest. But if I don’t do it, it doesn’t help anyone else.”

He’s referring to people like the field grade officer who, he shares, privately sought him out after over a decade of service to tell him that they were transgender and had not felt able to come out. “It’s like, what can I do?” Ortega wonders aloud. “I can stick my neck out further.”

Last month Ortega stuck his neck out when he stepped into the national spotlight in a Washington Post article on the U.S. military’s continued policy against service by transgender people, becoming the institution’s most publicly visible active-duty trans soldier.

It was a decision he tells The Advocate he weighed carefully, though not necessarily because it would jeopardize his status with the military. Ortega had already more quietly let the U.S. Army know, through the American Civil Liberties Union in September, that he would not passively accept being “separated” — released from active duty — for being transgender, if his unexpected grounding ultimately led there.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2015/05/28/poised-perfection-sgt-shane-ortega-puts-face-transgender-military-ba?page=full

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Poised for Perfection: Sgt. Shane Ortega Puts a Face to the Transgender Military Ban

Simone de Beauvoir: 1975 Interview (English Subs)

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Simone de Beauvoir: 1975 Interview (English Subs)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. Jon Stewart: Islam, liberals, and the media’s dangerous double standard

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/no_one_exposes_western_liberals_faulty_thinking_on_islam_better_than_self_professed_%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D_ayaan_hirsi_ali/

Progressives entangle themselves in “thickets of idiocy” trying not to judge Islam. Jon Stewart was no exception


Sunday, Jun 7, 2015

Progressive critics enamored of the semantically fraudulent junk label “Islamophobe” are de facto aiding the assassins of free-thinkers, abetting the oppressors of women, and shielding razor-happy butchers slicing off the clitorises of little girls.  And at no time do they betray the ideals for which they supposedly stand more than when they call ex-Muslims living in the West “Islamophobe.”

 To understand why, let’s examine the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  No one exposes the faulty thinking, moral incoherence and double standards pervading the Western liberal reaction to Islam better than this Somali-born, self-professed “infidel” and “heretic.”  Herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, civil war and forced marriage, and, for more than a decade now, the object of Islamist death threats, Hirsi Ali deserves the respect of all who cherish free speech, equality between the sexes, and the right to profess the religion (or no religion) of one’s choosing.

Brought up a Muslim and once so devout she joined the Muslim Brotherhood, Hirsi Ali deserves, to say the least, a fair hearing when speaking of Islam.  Yet in the constitutionally secular United States, Hirsi Ali often finds her views about her former faith treated with suspicion, even contempt.  Her media appearances and publications occasion slews of sanctimoniously ignorant commentary from liberal “Islamophobia” scolds.  The publicity tour she has been making for her recent book “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now” is no exception.

Before I proceed, a statement of what should be obvious: Islam is not a race, but a religion, one with universalist pretensions and followers of all skin colors. Understanding this, one easily sees through the linguistic sham that is the essence of “Islamophobia” and “Islamophobe,” terms that inveigle well-meaning progressives to conflate skin color with religion and impute racism to critics of a belief system.  The terms are inherently political, and serve one purpose: to squelch honest debate about Islam.  Islam, though, like all religions, is nothing but a hallowed ideology falling within the purview of free speech. People deserve respect, whatever their ideology.  The ideologies themselves?  Not necessarily.

Back to Hirsi Ali and “Heretic.”  Hirsi Ali summed up her book’s theses in an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal.  Radical Islam now motivates terrorism and warfare across the globe, but “by far,” she writes, “the most numerous victims of Muslim violence . . . are Muslims themselves.”  She considers it “foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself.”  Her conclusion: “Islam is not a religion of peace.”  (Italics hers.)

Hirsi Ali does not, however, contend that most Muslims are violent.  On the contrary, peaceful followers of Islam “are the clear majority throughout the Muslim world.”  But the jihadi-minded account for, by her conservative estimate, at least 3 percent of the religion’s 1.6 billion votaries, or 48 million people.  The problem, for her, lies in “the call to violence and the justification for it . . . explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam.”  To counter this, she proposes an Islamic reformation, one that would lead Muslims to reject their canon’s calls for violence, as do, by and large, Jews and Christians today.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/no_one_exposes_western_liberals_faulty_thinking_on_islam_better_than_self_professed_%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D_ayaan_hirsi_ali/

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. Jon Stewart: Islam, liberals, and the media’s dangerous double standard

Saudi Arabia upholds 10-year, 1,000-lash punishment for blogger who insulted Islam

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/saudi-arabia-upholds-10-year-1000-lash-punishment-for-blogger-who-insulted-islam/


07 Jun 2015

Saudi Arabia has decided to uphold its decision to sentence Raif Badawi, a 31-year-old blogger who was imprisoned in 2012 after being charged for insulting Islam through his website, to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in public, Badawi’s wife said Sunday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/saudi-arabia-upholds-10-year-1000-lash-punishment-for-blogger-who-insulted-islam/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Saudi Arabia upholds 10-year, 1,000-lash punishment for blogger who insulted Islam