Monday, April 26, 2010

Transphobia, Courtesy of the Washington Times.

Here is the Editorial

"Politically Correct"? Check!

ENDA purports to "prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity." Clever politically correct wording aside, this is a direct attack on common sense.

Not using easy to determine terminology? Check!
ENDA would make it impossible for a non-church-based charter school, for instance, to remove from the classroom a "she-male" who insists on exposing her pupils to her unnatural transformation.
Being transgendered is a "lifestyle"? Check!

States have a sovereign right to set standards governing behavioral - as opposed to immutable - personal characteristics.
Trans people are somehow endangering our children? Check!

In short, courts easily could decide that even parochial schools must hire she-males to teach their kindergartners.
And now with BONUS ABLEISM

Our children and our co-workers should not be forced by law to be held hostage to such disorders, nor should employers be forced to have psychologically troubled persons as the public face of their businesses.

The connection between gender identity and sexual perversion is something that the editorial writer seems to see as strongly correlated, otherwise why would a teacher undergoing gender transition be somehow a danger to kindergarteners? In reality, the gender that somebody chooses to present as - through clothing, makeup, hormones, or surgery - has no bearing on what their sexual practices are, except that it's extremely likely that ze is interested in having sex, as most people are wont to do. Outside of this there is really no other assumption that could be made about hir's sexual interests, and like any responsible teacher would definitely not discuss these sexual interests with hir class.

The only thing I see the author of this editorial really do is state the facts of the ENDA - and lets the reader fill in the fear-mongering blanks themselves. Thanks to its tone, we are all well aware that this is a negative, but we can't be told why.

Not to mention the deliberate use of the really old-school gendered slur "she-male". If you don't know much about trans politics, there are easy things to do! Some of them are:
  • Ask the person you're interacting with their preferred pronoun
  • Use your brain. You probably have the social context necessary to note the gender this person is presenting as. Refer to them by those pronouns.
  • Don't bring up gender if it doesn't matter!
I mean... I don't even know any trans people well, that I know of. Maybe I know a few who haven't identified themselves to me (not that it's my business). So this is not some arcane, hidden knowledge. This is approaching people as people. Who deserve, you know, respect and love. And are doing something which has no impact on your relationship with them (unless you're having sex with them) and has even less impact on their ability to work.

ENDA wants to protect individuals from hiring discrimination based on factors which do not impact their ability to do their jobs. The Washington Times editorial board thinks that they do not deserve such protection - and indeed, they do not deserve to take up the spaces we have created for ourselves in society.

The attitude of the Washington Times editorial board is one of the reasons why this video by Ivan E. Coyote is so moving:

(This video shows me I need a wider CSS style)

You wouldn't want this person teaching, or in your workplace?