Saturday, September 29, 2007

ET Transgender Series 1

POV, Critique, Opinion: Wait Your Turn?

Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was 'well-timed' according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.

For years now I have heard the words "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never."

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
'Letter From Birmingham City Jail', April 16, 1963.

Ever since I begun fighting in 1998 in conjunction with other transgender people around the country to expand the work of Dr. King, I have heard a late 20th-early 21st century variation of that paragraph uttered from the lips of numerous gay and lesbian people when it comes to transgender civil rights.

Wait your turn.

Wait my turn? Wait my turn for what?

Did you gay and lesbian people 'wait you turn' when you pushed for inclusion in civil rights legislation in the 70's?

Did you gay and lesbian people 'wait your turn' when you demanded that funding for HIV/AIDS research and finding a cure for it get higher priority in the 80's?

Did you 'wait your turn' when you demanded that your rights be acknowledged and respected in the 90's?

Did you gay and lesbian people 'wait your turn' in 2003 when you disastrously pushed for marriage equality one year before a critical presidential election?

How dare you part your lips to even say that to us. We transgender people are the ones who had the cojones to stand up to police harassment in San Francisco in 1967 and during the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 while you gay and lesbian peeps were cowering in your closets. It is transgender blood that is being shed and transgender peeps who are discriminated against, denigrated, and disrespected by our foes and even by you, our so-called allies.

You have repeatedly cut us out of civil rights legislation on every level of government with the soothing words of 'we'll come back for you'. That has been proven over the years to be an odious lie as we wait for you in many jurisdictions across the United States to fulfill your broken promises. . . .

Pas de Deux

Why are there only two sexes?
By Amanda Schaffer
Updated Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007, at 7:29 AM ET

Why is the mating game almost always a dance of two, whether the scene is a swank Manhattan watering hole or the shallows of an average pond? Why not three or four possibilities, or even more?

Binary mating began to evolve way back when, and over time became entrenched, especially in more complex creatures. Biologists inevitably disagree about what, exactly, constitutes a sex, and therefore how "sexes" are to be counted. (They also wonder why sexual reproduction came to exist at all.) But if the working definition focuses on the type of sex cell being produced, we can say that sperm-producers are males and egg-producers are females. And it becomes clear that no third sex cell—and so no third sex—has appeared in multicellular animals. There are oddball critters, like clam shrimp and some harvester ants, in which three- or even four-sex scenarios might be said to exist. But only if we're willing to expand (or finagle) the definition of a sex.

Why do most sexual creatures do binary mating? It's actually a counterintuitive system. Consider the plight of single-celled green algae trying to hook up in a pond. At first glance, the lack of more than one mating choice among these algae seems strange. After all, if there were 10 equally prevalent types of mates, and a cell could fuse with any type other than its own, it would have nine shots in 10 of bumping into a potential partner just floating around blindly. If there were three mating types, its chances would drop to two in three. And with only two, they fall to one in two. In other words, assuming that it takes some effort to find a mate, the two-type system is "the least efficient solution" for this population, says Laurence Hurst, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Bath.

Cut Transgender People Out of ENDA? No Way!

By Pride at Work

Just as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act neared action in Congress, disturbing reports have surfaced that House Democratic leaders are planning to remove the bill’s protections for transgender workers in committee next week. That’s completely unacceptable!

In the labor movement, we’re proud of our history of solidarity across lines of race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. We’ve learned to resist the divisive and dishonest tactics of enemies who would try to divide us along these lines. We cannot and will not leave the least numerous and most vulnerable among us to fend for themselves. We stand together, one for all and all for one!

The passage of the federal hate crimes bill, with full protections for LGBT Americans, by both House and Senate this year shows that politically, it is entirely possible to pass federal legislation that protects transgender people as well as gay men, lesbians and bisexuals. The House hate crimes bill passed by more than 50 votes this spring, and the Senate voted today to invoke cloture, cutting off debate and bringing its hate crimes bill to a voice vote, by 60 to 39.

Please take a moment to call these members of Congress and let them know you want transgender workers protected in ENDA –

Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, 202-225-4965

Representative Barney Frank, chief House sponsor of ENDA, 202-225-5931

Representative George Miller, Chairman, House Education and Labor Committee, 202-225-2095.

If you can take the time to send an e-mail to your Representative, please do that too. But remember, every hour counts and personal phone calls are the most effective way of letting the Congressional leadership know your views.

Remember – An Injury to One Is an Injury to All! . . .