Friday Philosophy: A Better World

The Dog wrote this morning about the people who want their nation back.  I added the following comment, about what I saw in that sort of thinking:

The lady wants to go back to a time when she feels that things were better for her…and presumably people like her….as in identical.  She doesn’t care a whit about people whose lives have improved since that time.  Indeed, she thinks such people should be stomped on and put in their place…because they are undoubtedly the cause of her distress.

Meanwhile, I’m one of those people for whom life has gotten much better…and the lady the dog wrote about it…and people like her…just can’t stand that.

That’s not to say that life has gotten totally better for me…or that the improvements I’ve seen in our world have been totally sufficient or have been happening fast enough.  It will be quite a journey to get the world to where I think it should be.  And those people trying to tug it in the opposite direction certainly don’t help.

Pedro Jones certainly didn’t help, when he decided to grab 17-month-old Roy Antonio Jones III (no relation) by the throat and proceed to punch the child to death…for the crime of acting not enough like a boy.  This didn’t happen in some third-world country…unless this is one.  It all happened on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in South Hampton, Long Island, NY.  Pedro Jones was not a tribal member.

A tribe spokeswoman said the whole tribe is in mourning, but the child’s grandfather said, “He infiltrated my family through our trust, through the heart of my daughter and then stole the life of her child. I hope the justice system turns around and steals his.

I am not in favor of the death penalty, but I understand his grief.

My first response upon reading that story was to ask myself what a 17-month old boy is “supposed to” act like…as opposed to a 17-month-old girl.  And then I asked myself if not conforming to someone else’s conceptions of gender should be punishable by death.  Unfortunately, I have too much experience with this sort of thing to not know the answer.  Of course it is a death-penalty offense, for too many people.  Apparently.

There is more on the story, and discussion, at Deeply Problematic.

Last week I wrote about Trans Kids…and shared some good stories.  Clearly there is more than enough bad to go with the good.

This is not a week which should be a downer, however, what with the news out of California which may, in some far future date, stop people from challenging the marriages of transwomen to men by their virtue of their being same gender unions…which they clearly are not.

Gender and sex are not the same thing.  That can’t be stated too often.

One would think that what is on our official public documents would have some bearing on how we are treated.  If the state declares me a woman and declares a marriage to be a union of a man and a woman, ‘nough said, right?

Wrong…in too many places.  Including hospitals, where apparently the distinction can be vital.  Erin Vaught went to the emergency room of Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN when she began coughing up blood.  She did not receive treatment.  What she did receive is being called a transvestite, “it”, a he/she and being told the hospital didn’t treat “her kind”.

we don’t know how to go about treating someone with your condition

She was coughing up blood.  I would hope a hospital would know how to treat that.  But they couldn’t see past the transgender thing.

After the Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition. Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance and Indiana Equality all filed complaints with Ball Memorial…as well as Ms. Vaught, the hospital claims it will work with the two Indiana advocacy groups to improve the treatment of transpeople who are patients or become employees there.  Heck, even the HRC got into the act.

An excerpt from Wikipedia:

Medical treatment for transsexual and transgender people is available in most Western countries. However, transsexual and transgender people challenge the “normative” gender roles of many cultures and often face considerable hatred and prejudice.


No joke?

You mean like Seth MacFarlane, producer of Family Guy showing Brian…the damn dog, for fuck’s sake…throwing up for 40 seconds after he learned he had sex with a transsexual woman.  What a positive portrayal!

Maybe it would do some good for some of these people to read some of the words of this father of a transgender child.

I learned real change means acceptance-not tolerance-and an acceptance that includes equal rights and freedoms for my daughter as I’d want for her friends. With time my wife would also begin to forgive me for the time when I denied the truth to try to protect my fragile dream. As I changed, I learned a lot from others too. People who were not on board with the needs of our transgender child taught me that changing people’s perception of “normal” was essential, not just for my daughter’s safety, but for the safety of all children that are perceived as different.

More about his daughter is provided here.

In a world where everything is divvied up according to gender, there’s little room for a kid who falls somewhere in the middle.

Things are getting better, Sylvia.  Slowly.  Oh, so slowly.  But consider that when I was your age, 50 years ago, there was no possibility of me living the life which you are living now.

It is better.  In my day, we were just told to “straighten up and fly right”.  Dr. Spock’s manual did not include the words it now does.

When individuals feel obliged to conform to a conventional male or female sex stereotype, they are all cramped to a degree, depending on how much each has to deny and suppress their natural inclinations.  Thus, valuable traits are lost to the society.  And they are all made to feel inadequate to the degree that they fail to conform to the supposed ideal.

–Spock, Benjamin, and Steven J. Parker. Dr. Spock’s baby and child care. 7th ed., Pocket Books, 1998.

Why even in Utah, Taylorsville became the seventh Utah governmental entity to adopt an ordinance that forbids making decisions in housing and employment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Park City, Logan, West Valley City and Summit County also protect gay and transgender residents from housing and employment discrimination.

But the f’ing feds still can’t get anything together.


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  1. Robyn

    …would have turned 21 yesterday, had she not been murdered.  A party will be held to raise funds for a scholarship fund.

    Photos of Angie from Alan Dominguez on Vimeo.
  2. Edger

    in Dog’s story seems to be simply incapable of comprehending how or that her life could be any better by improving everyone’s life, and probably would also fall into even deeper denial at any suggestion that she views life in terms that include the conviction (or fear, rather) somewhere deep inside her that for anyone else to gain anything at all means she must lose something.

    What a small pathetic way to live.

  3. Robyn

    …available in Orange.

  4. melvin

    NOM and AFA and the whole conservative alphabet soup keep screaming. Think of the imaginary families.

    Where are they when real children die and real families are destroyed? Not a peep. The real don’t count.

  5. AndyS In Colorado

    I will not be denied my gender, and I will not also be denied my sex or my sexuality, my sexual desires, my sexual orientation or my sexual pecadillos and habits, by you or anybody else.

    You are right, sex and gender are two entirely different things.

    The one, though, does not deprecate the other.

    I have slightly different motivations from you inasmuch as we are natural allies.  That does not mean, rserven, I deny you, but I also will not place myself on a moral platter subordinate to yours.  You err if you suggest so even in passing.  Gender is innate, but so is sexuality.  

    I am a gay man.  My manliness and maleness is actually quite important to me, a part of the reason for my sexual orientation, and I am tired of having it questioned by weak silly straight boys who think that their desire for a woman makes them men.  Perhaps it makes them more female — perhaps it makes them women.

    I am stronger than they are.  And my sexuality, my gender, is just as important to me as yours is to you.

    I will and do accept you.  And yet, there is some part of me that associates maleness with strength, if nothing else.  It’s not that women are weak.  Or that people who want to be women are weak or inferior.  

    It’s very hard for me to explain.  I do not deny yours.  However I do insist on mine.  For me, manliness IS strength of a certain kind, but not cross-pollinated with associating women with weakness.

    And, I like myself.  I’m tired of being associated with girliness.  I’m no girl, just because I’m gay.

  6. banger

    We forget how important sexual roles are in our society. They effect our attitudes towards war and peace as well as compassion. In America it is considered unmanly to be compassionate and peaceful. How do we move beyond this?

  7. Robyn


    I think I need some music:

  8. Robyn

    It’s in a house somewhere.

  9. Edger

    Perfect song!

    This one’s not too bad, too…. 😉

  10. AndyS In Colorado

    I am a Spartan.

    Or a Klingon.

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