Tag: Friday Philosophy

Friday Philosophy: An Unsustainable Life

Twelve days ago, I encountered the following comment by a well-known member of Daily Kos.

What exactly is the medical condition that is treated by transgender surgery? Is it vanity? Something is not right about drastic alteration of a healthy body. I feel the same way about plastic surgery, by the way.

Transgender is an acquired condition, a choice, unlike homosexuality, and I don’t think it deserves the same protections.

I’ve let it steep and marinate, trying to come up with a way to address the comment.  And during that time, I’ve wondered how many people of like mind inhabit DK.  Given the number of anti-trans bigots that respond to general news story blogs in regards to stories about people who are trans, I’m willing to bet the commenter who made that comment is not flying solo.

So how should I approach it?  I decided that a trip back in time might fit the bill.

Friday Philosophy: Protections we don’t have

Have you ever worried that you might be fired if you gave any inclination that you might be straight?  You can be…with impunity…in any state which does not give equal employment protection based on sexual orientation.

It’s true that it rarely happens that someone would be fired for being straight, but it has happened.

To my knowledge, nobody has every been fired for being cisgender (i.e non-transgender).  But there is no reason, in most states, why it couldn’t happen.

The examples of people being fired for being transgender are too numerous to include.

That’s the thing about laws protecting gender-identity or sexual orientation.  They are for the protection of everybody, not just GLBT people.

Friday Philosophy: Why? How?

What causes transsexuality?  How do people know they are transsexual?  These are two very different questions…and quite difficult to answer, but I am willing to take them on today.

We humans seem to want either a scientific or religious answer to everything.  Especially when it comes to anything involving sex or gender-related behavior, if their is no known scientific cause, then there must be something morally wrong.

Why is that?  Scientific curiosity I can understand.  But it certainly should be disentangled from moral essentialism.

Do people really think that if there is no known scientific cause to a phenomenon, then it must be the work of…or evidence of…dark forces?

Friday Philosophy: Back to Basics

I’ve been observing some of the commentary, not just in the blogs, but also in the world at large, and have been debating with myself about whether it is time to start over, with a brand new education campaign, rather than just continuing the old one.

Some people just aren’t up to speed…like the right-wingers who keep referring to us transpeople as being “gender confused”.  Nobody here is confused, except the people who can’t grasp the concept of the separation between sex and gender…or the fact that DNA is not a life sentence, but rather a suggestion.

The thing is that we transpeople have done the deep digging into who we are and have come up with an answer that some people don’t like.  And those people think we deserve to be punished for acting on what we discovered about ourselves.

Sprinkled amongst the words in my essay is music supplied by some talented transfolk.  I apologize in advance for finding nothing actually by Wendy Carlos at Youtube (but a lot of stuff “in the style of”).

Friday Philosophy: Health care, employment, and housing (or lack of same)

Dr. Jennifer Potter, Director of the Women’s Health Program at Fenway Health announced a health fair for LBT women on May 11 in  this morning’s edition of Bay Windows.  That will be in the midst of National Women’s Health Week.

She acknowledges that LGBT people all experience health disparities because of continued discrimination and ignorance on the part of of health professionals.  But she also notes that the majority of research and funding for LGBT people is directed at gay men’s health, primarily at gay men infected with HIV.  LBT people are often left out in the cold.

Aside:  I’ve had a lot of personal experience with that, having had to train my own medical practitioners how to treat me.  Too often, medical schools don’t provide training in how to interact with transpeople, let alone how to treat us.  Back in the early 90s I participated in a video interview with a doctor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Karen Young:  her son was a student at the university where I taught) to be used in its ethics courses, hoping to address the issue.  I do not know if it is still being used…and I never received a copy.

Friday Philosophy: Trans-Dimensional News

Every month or so, I like to do a summary of the recent news of interest to the trans-community.  Welcome to our world.

My continuing readers may be interested in hearing that we had some success since last week.  Israel Luna has decided to withdraw the offensive trailer for Ticked-off Trannies with Knives.

“After listening to some of the voices in the trans community,” Mr. Luna said, “I’ve decided to remove those references from the trailer.”

Meanwhile, for a better portrayal of transwomen, I hear James Rasin’s Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar is worthwhile.  Here’s a preview by Jillian Weiss, which includes the trailer.  Candy apparently dreamed of being Kim Novak.  Personally, I dreamed of being Shirley MacLaine.

Friday Philosophy: Say “No” to transploitation

Back in the early 1970s, there was a new genre of film, called Blaxploitation.  Remember it?  The movie would be set in the ghetto and all the characters would be hit men, drug dealers, pimps or narcs.  One may recall the films Foxy Brown and Blacula.  And who could forget Blackenstein?  Try as we might.

In the late 70s, there was a film called I spit on Your Grave, in the Rape and Revenge genre, trying to situate women’s rights the same way Blaxploitation did for African-American rights.  I Spit on your Grave is apparently being remade, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised about Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.

Synopsis of I Spit on your Grave 2010:

The story of a woman who is brutally attacked, raped, and left for dead in the wilderness.  She survives to hunt down her assailants and methodically, graphically takes her vengeance.  Based on the 1978 film.

Friday Philosophy: the difference between rights and luck

I spent the morning reading a 97-page pdf so that you don’t have to. It’s a Motion in Aid of Litigants’ Rights.

Yesterday, Lambda Legal went back to court here in New Jersey, filing a motion seeking marriage equality.  The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered equality on October 25, 2006, in a case referred to as Lewis v Harris, but made the mistake of telling the legislature to implement that equality, which it has failed to do.’

Civil unions are a failed legislative experiment in providing equality in New Jersey–marriage equality is the only solution.

–Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director

Friday Philosophy: Trans News

Every once in a while, I try to share news of interest to the trans community with people from outside our community, in the hopes that people will get a better idea about what goes on in our lives.  It’s all part of that teaching effort that we have been told we must do before we can ever hope to be accorded equal rights.

What else is new? department:  

Item:  Transwoman killed in the East Hollywood portion of Los Angeles.  This was actually last summer.  What is really new is that the office of Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti is offering a $50K reward for information as to the whereabouts of Jose Catalan, who has been labeled a “person of interest” in the case.  Catalan may turn out to be a suspect or may be just a witness.  But currently he is a missing parolee and is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Friday Philosophy: Sex

I got into a discussion the other day of the kind I really don’t enjoy.  I felt required to defend transsexual women against a stereotype of us.

There are many such stereotypes.  We are liars and deceivers, according to some.  But in the case in point, the accusation was that we are sexually aggressive.  And that brings up a difficult topic to discuss for many transfolk:  sex.

The instance in question occurred in a DADT diary and was referring to gays in the military already:

I never saw overt, mincing, steriotypical “NOLA Fat Tuesday transsexual type” of behavior, but then there are strict codes of conduct for heteralsexual relationships while in Uniform also.

I still am unsure as to what exactly constitutes “NOLA Fat Tuesday transsexual behavior”, but that may be that, while I am indeed transsexual and have been to NOLA many times, it was never during Mardi Gras.

Friday Philosophy: Inside the walls

I was asked by someone to recount some of my experiences working as a correctional specialist (aka prison guard) when I was in the US Army (1971-73).  I decided to try to write about that for this evening, although those are not the easiest memories I have to work through, so there will probably be fewer stories than maybe I should have.

I’ve written a little bit about the experience before.  One of the pieces was Ever, which was about prison rape and other mistreatment of our prisoner population.  The other, Bummer of a week, mostly, was written near last Memorial Day.

I’ve also recounted some odds and ends in comments over the years.

Friday Philosophy: Lack of Respect

I’ve become disgusted the past few days.  Actually it has been coming on for several weeks, but the last couple of days have brought things to a head.

My basic thought?

It is difficult enough to fight the conservatives who wish to deny us equal rights, strip away the few freedoms and liberties which we do have, and even deny us the basic necessities of life, like even the freedom to use a public restroom without having to choose between being arrested or being physically and/or sexually assaulted.

We should not have to battle the slings and arrows hurled at us by those who one would think we should be able to rely on as our friends.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

It all comes down to a matter of respect.  Who deserves some and who has some to give?

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