Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Little Controversy Over Intolerance--Stop Acting like Idiots Please

Author's note--if you are strongly anti-gay, anti-cursing, or anti-common sense, stop reading now.

You know--I try and try to keep politics off this blog. I really do. I talk about writing and my books and football and old legends about paranormal events and asshattery (lately at least). Got into a bit of a discussion last week on the uses of the First Amendment and the doctrine of free speech. 

But today, I'm throwing caution to the wind. It's time to speak out frankly about prejudice and bigotry in America and how that's negatively impacting our political system which is, frankly, broken. This presidential election is a good example of how broken it is. 

Over the past few years, I've noticed a disturbing trend. There's a growing surge of intolerance in our country--bigotry is being fueled by political opportunists and boy, have they found a surprisingly fertile ground to operate upon. I never thought that the issues of race, gender, and orientation would still be such pressing problems in the 21st century. But I think this election has proved my expectations wholly off-base. 

For example--this whole specious debate about transgendered persons using the bathroom. Are you kidding me? Here's what bigots want you to believe--transgendered individuals are now stalking public restrooms so they can attack and rape other people in the bathroom. 

Let's break that down logically. A transgendered male who self-identifies as a WOMAN is hanging out in the WOMEN'S bathroom to attack/assault/rape a WOMAN even though that transgendered male is attracted to MEN.

So a transgendered person went through all the bother of reassigning as a female so that she could rape women even though she physically cannot.

Okay. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. 

Now to me the logical issue for a homophobic idiot to obsess over would be the opposite--meaning that transgendered people who identify as FEMALE are using the MALE bathrooms because of a stupid law in North Carolina, and now are urinating in the same space as the gender they are physically attracted to. But no--and this proves how ignorant these idiots really are. These homophobic men don't seem to be smart enough to put THAT together--no. 

Let's get something straight here. There have been exactly ZERO cases of transgendered people perpetrating assaults in bathrooms. Don't believe me? Let's go through a couple of definitions first. 

A transgendered person is someone whose gender identity doesn't correlate with their gender assignment at birth. 

A transvestite is a person whose gender identity correlates with their gender assignment at birth but who assumes the dress and manner of the opposite sex.  Transvestites are usually male, since women already wear pants, cut their hair short, etc. 

A faux transvestite is a person who assumes the dress of the opposite sex for the purpose of gaining access to potential victims. And that's who the legislators claim the law is really about--in order to catch sexual predators who pretend to be transgendered, they're going to discriminate against ALL the transgendered people.

That's like saying that in order to prevent a white male from becoming a serial killer--which most serial killers ARE white males--all white males will be forbidden to purchase, own, or carry firearms of any kind.

Yeah, that law will pass. It's a safety measure, right? Whatever. 

Transgendered males who identify as women aren't going to head into the women's bathroom to find someone to rape. To put it crudely--women don't turn them on. They literally can't get it up for a chick. Need I be plainer? I worked as a singer in multiple gay venues for years, and dressed in the same dressing room with drag queens--some were transgendered, some were just gay males entertainers. Trust me--they weren't interested in anything about me aside from borrowing my shoes. All the female impersonators were gay men--interested only in other gay men.They aren't wired to get it up for a girl. In fact, I think most straight men would be surprised at how few gay men are attracted to them.

Gaydar isn't a myth, girl. *snap*

And someone who is truly transgendered and can afford to go through the hormonal and physical upheaval involved in a sex change operation absolutely isn't going to risk all that trying to grope some random woman in a bathroom. In fact, the opposite is more likely, as you can see in this from ABC:

The lawmakers’ justification does not take into account that men can also be victims of sexual assault and harassment in public bathrooms and changing rooms. Transgender men who have had to use female restrooms due to such laws “experience a ton of violence in women’s restroom and are told they don’t belong there,” Strangio said. “It usually leads to people not using the bathroom.” 
Palumbo said she believes people “must understand the facts about sexual assault,” adding that in 8 out of 10 cases the victim already knows the person who sexually assaulted them, citing Justice Department statistics. However, 64 percent of transgender people will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, she said, citing a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality.

And this from USA Today:

 A study published in the Journal of Homosexuality found that when people are denied access to a school bathroom for being trans, they are more likely to attempt suicide. A paper by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that in Washington, D.C., 70% of trans survey respondents reported being denied access, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted in public restrooms. 

The sad fact of the matter is that transgender bathroom laws are designed not only to create a fear that's wholly unjustified, but is forcing the actual victims of bathroom assaults into situation where they will be more easily targeted, harassed, assaulted, and injured. A national survey by GLSEN determined that "75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, and those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education. 

A study by the Journal of Homosexuality determined that in a study of 2,325 transgendered persons that 46.5% had attempted suicide. Almost half.

Those who had been denied access to gender appropriate campus housing due to being trans* are 1.54 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who had not been denied housing, controlling for the “not applicable” respondents. Interpersonal victimization by students in college or graduate school is a statistically significant predictor of suicide attempt: those who had experienced harassment, bullying, physical attack, or sexual assault from other students are 1.36 times as likely to have attempted suicide at some point in time compared to those who had not experienced such victimization in college.
 On top of that, the US Department of Education has determined that these types of laws are, in fact, in violation of the law themselves. 

With such evidence mounting, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has increasingly found that refusing trans students access to their gender's facilities is an instance of "sex discrimination." In December 2014, the DOE announced that gender identity is protected under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
Here's the thing--the National Center for Gender Equality estimates that less than 1% of American citizens are transgender.  And absolutely not one single rape or assault was committed by a transgendered perpetrator in the US in the last thirty-five years and only one in Canada. For some perspective, take a look at 2014 statistics.

For sake of context, the FBI reports that over 84,000 rapes were reported in 2014 alone, none of which exploited gender identity inclusive NDOs to commit sexual assault. To put the relative risk of people misusing NDOs in perspective another way statistically, five Americans have been shot by dogs in the past five years. Similarly, 450 people per year in the US are killed by falling out of bed.

So here's the deal, because the facts don't lie. The transgendered laws that multiple states are attempting to pass are the result of an extremist faction on the far right creating an imaginary threat--not as a preventative measure against violent crimes--since there's not one single incident in 35 years that falls under the criteria of this bill--but to drive people to the polls this November to vote for their party. The entire hysteria is nothing but smoke and mirrors, some glitter and pink spray paint added to disguise a big pile of horseshit. The laws are unenforceable unless you have a government official posted in every public restroom to conduct a genitalia check. The laws will drive the actual victims of violent crimes and assaults in bathrooms into a situations designed to victimize them more.

And at its core, this is an effort to deny 1% of American citizens the protection of the law which should apply to all of us equally.

Wasn't too long ago when we had segregated bathrooms--one set for the whites and one for the blacks. (Their lingo, not mine, and I cannot bring myself to use the word 'colored')  And segregated schools, restaurants, sections of buses or other public transportation. The justification for those laws was much the same as what we're seeing here--fear-mongering so that bigotry could be reinforced by the ballot box, and a legislative dehumanization of a portion of our citizenry that leads to hate crimes, increased harassment, suicides, and violence. At the root is a tiny fragment of the far right who don't have the ability to interpret the Bible they purport to be following and are using their absolute ignorance to force this nation to revert to a prejudicial environment that should have died in the 1960's.

It doesn't matter if you don't like the LGBT community or disapprove of homosexuality and all its designations. In the end, this is a civil rights issue, perpetrated by politicians who instead of trying to ensure our laws are applied equally to all American citizens are instead using government at the state or local level to circumvent the Constitution and the ideology that states "all men are created equal".

It's disgustingly transparent for anyone who cares to actually look, but the people who really NEED to look are refusing to do so. Instead they're hopping on the bigotry train without stopping to think about how quickly that train will be going so fast it derails.

And it will.

I am of the generation that grew up after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I am of the generation that first attended desegregated schools--and never realized how new and dangerous our elders might have thought that to be. I am of the generation the first came to adulthood without seeing any difference in people whose skin was a different color, who drank out of the same water fountains, sat in the same classes or the front of the bus or the same restaurants with friends of all races, all religions, all creeds, all political affiliations, all genders, all orientations--and laughed in the faces of old people who looked disapproving. I am of the generation that came face to face with the horror of AIDS, who protested for governmental assistance to its victims, who fought against the surge of fear created by ignorance, who spoke up against the idea that the 'gay cancer' was some kind of moral judgement, who held the hands of the dying and comforted the sick and educated the healthy. I am of the generation that saw the glass ceiling for women begin to shatter--in all professions.

I am of the generation that should have been the absolution of American's bigoted history. I am of the generation that saw straight, white, educated, vocal men and women stand up for not only their rights, but the rights of others as well. I am of the generation that should have stomped this prejudice into the dust. I am of the generation that when our families said "it's us or them" chose them and never looked back. I am of the generation that watched as African-American and gay culture gained status and popularity among the 'majority'--the straight, white, well-to-do kids who listened to rap and danced at gay bars.

I am of the generation that must band together now to protect the rights, dignity, and lives of our brothers and sisters--and it doesn't matter a tinker's damn what gender they were on their birth certificates.

I am of the generation that will stand up and protest egregious violations of American civil rights especially when generated by our own government.

The real question is--are you?