Tuesday, January 15, 2008
If you have recently learned of a transgender person in your life, you might not understand their identity and you may be unsure of how to act around them without offending or hurting their feelings. The term "transgender person" in this article means a person who does not fully identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth. There are transgender people all over the world (e.g. US, Mexico, India) and in a wide variety of cultures (e.g. Native American, Thai). For such people, it is not always easy to explain their gender situation in today's society. Here's how to understand and respect someone who challenges your ideas about gender, and who does not easily fall within the category of "male" or "female". . .
Why we are not civil
Notes from a Cultural Madhouse
By Christopher Zehnder
13 January 2008
I am often a little amused, and more often bemused, by some of the comments California Catholic Daily receives on its stories. Having engaged in Internet discourse on a few sites, I have long come to expect little from it; for it mostly seems a screaming match across an abyss. It’s not that Internet discussions are vehement (I do not object to vehemence), or that they are uncivil or downright rude, but that they are so cliché. One feels, at times, that he is being assailed by hurled bumper-sticker slogans. And then there are the inapt responses, made without regard to the obvious opinions of the other party in the discussion.
We received one such response to an article we published about a man who claims he is a woman, has received treatments to become a woman, and is suing a Catholic hospital because it wouldn’t accommodate him in his continuing transformation. (See “God made you a man,” Jan. 8, 2008.) In response to the article’s insistence on using male pronouns when referring to the “transsexual” Charlene Hastings, one commentator wrote the following: “Regardless of your religious beliefs, Ms. Hastings deserves the simple courtesy of referring to her as the woman she is, legally, emotionally and psychologically, not as ‘he’ and ‘him.’ I am appalled at such blatant disrespect by this supposedly Christian publication.”
I fully understand why the commentator might be offended by what she deems our discourtesy. I fail to understand, however, why she would think it discourtesy – at least, why she would think that we intended any discourtesy by referring to the putative female Hastings as a he. It would certainly be discourteous if we thought that Hastings had a claim to a female identity and refused to grant it to him. But the fact is, we don’t think Hastings can justly make that claim. What’s more, we think calling Hastings a she would be tantamount to a lie; and no one should expect someone to speak what he thinks is a lie. . . .
By Erin Ailworth Globe Staff / January 13, 2008
Ethan Santiago, a physical education major in his first semester at Northern Essex Community College, had been using the men's locker room for weeks when he decided he needed a spot to stash his gym bag. So, he applied for a locker.
He said a school administrator denied his request, citing safety reasons. Santiago, a transgendered student, still has some female anatomy.
The rejection spurred the 20-year-old to file an affirmative action grievance against the school in October, alleging that he was discriminated against because of his gender identity.
Santiago said he just wants to be treated like other male students on campus. Instead, he said, the college offered him the use of a locker room generally reserved for athletes from visiting schools, as well as use of a handicap-accessible bathroom near the NECC men's locker room. He said both options made him feel like a second-class citizen.
"Let's put you where people won't see you, where people won't find out . . . like I'm some kind of dirty little secret," Santiago said, describing administrators' reaction to his gender identity. "I'm not in the closet. I'm not afraid." . . .
I watched during my teen and young adult years the meteoric rise of East Germany into an international sports powerhouse. It began after the then two Germanys split into separate Olympic teams starting in 1968.
On the surface it was an amazing story. Here was a nation of 17 million people that from 1972-1988 not only challenged the Soviet Union and the United States for Olympic medal supremacy, but dominated in the international competition arenas in summer and winter sports championships as well.
In the 1976, 1980 and 1988 Summer Games the East Germans were second in the gold medal count only to the Soviet Union (the US was third and boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). The 1976 Montreal Games were even more galling for the United States because the East Germans took 11 out of 13 gold medals in women's swimming events, led by Kornelia Ender's four gold medals.
In the 1976, 1980 and 1988 Winter Games they finished second to the Soviet Union and led all nations at the 1984 Sarajevo Games.
I'm reminiscing about this in the wake of the news that Marion Jones is headed to Club Fed for six months and has had her Sydney medals taken away from her.
Ben Johnson's gold medal and 100 meter world record was snatched in 1988 and handed to Carl Lewis after he failed a post race drug test in Seoul. Kelli White had 100 and 200 meter international track championship gold medals taken away in 2003 and lost a chance to compete in the 2004 Athens Games when she was banned for two years after testing positive.
I'm not saying this just because these peeps share my ethnic heritage. They failed tests, admitted to it and will now (or have in Ben Johnson's and Kelli White's cases) face the music. It's simply a question of fairness to me. I'm more pissed at both Marion and Kelli because they not only let us down as a people, they saw the drama that Florence Griffith-Joyner went through after she won her medals during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
FloJo won her medals in times that STILL haven't been matched to this day, never failed a post race drug test, busted her glamorous behind to get to that point in her sport, but was dogged to her grave by allegations of cheating. . . .
January 11, 2008
The name “Uncle Tom” has come to describe any African American whose actions are counterproductive to the welfare of the African-American community. It has become so descriptive that Native Americans use the name “Uncle Tomahawk,” and the Latino community use the Spanish name, “Tia Taco.” Tia is Spanish for uncle.
IN 1852, HARRIET Beecher Stowe wrote her famous novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which had a major effect on the attitudes toward slavery and African Americans. The main character was a dutiful servant by the name of Uncle Tom, who remained faithful to his masters, regardless of what they did to him.
In the new “Dark Ages” for the transgender community, we are quickly discovering our own Uncle Toms, but in order to distinguish them from the African-American Uncle Toms, I have coined the name, “Aunt Trannies.” The transgender community’s Aunt Trannies are those transgender people who are still working for “The Man,” in spite of the vicious manner in which we were stripped from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in October of 2007. “The Man,” in this case, is HRC and Barney Frank.
The reason for going with the word “Aunt” instead of “Uncle” is that the majority of those working with HRC and Frank are male-to-female transsexuals. The most visible of these Aunt Trannies is Susan Stanton, the trans woman fired last year from her job as the city manager of Largo, Fla. . . .
SALT LAKE CITY --
By BROCK VERGAKIS
A woman who said she suffered discrimination at work because she is transgender has been fired as a nursing assistant.
Ariana Losco, a man before a sex-change operation in 1994, was quoted in a recent Associated Press story about a Utah lawmaker's effort to ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Losco said her transgender status led to verbal abuse and fewer work hours at Rocky Mountain Care, a nursing home in Tooele.
"I spoke out about my treatment and got fired because of it," she said Friday. "Management is the one who should be embarrassed."
Personnel manager Don Huntley denied Losco's accusation that her sexual identity is the reason her hours were cut while she worked there. He said she was fired Thursday because she had disparaged the company, although Rocky Mountain Care was not named in the AP story. . . .