Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Maryanne Arnow Full Text

We posted pieces out of testimony and a letter by Maryanne Arnow recently, just a few paragraphs. You might find it meaningful to take a longer look, to let Maryanne tell you about her experience.

This is long, but it is a unique chance to look inside the head of somebody who is different from you, or maybe .. not different from you.

After her testimony to the County Council, Maryanne sent them a follow-up letter.
November 8th, 2007
#############
Germantown, MD 20874

Dear Council members,

My name is Maryanne Arnow, and i am writing to you at this time to show my support for the passage of the bill 23-07.

I gave personal testimony before the council on this issue back on October 1st. I must sincerely thank you all for the time you gave me, and for the forum provided which allows me to express my views and experiences. Since then, it has come to my understanding that there has been considerable opposition to this issue, and that the council has come under a good deal of fire - both locally and nationally for any continued support of this bill. I am writing this letter to all of you in the hopes that I may garner your undivided support in passing this issue, and making additional non-discrimination protections a reality in the county in which i live and call my home.

This is an issue which deeply and personally affects me directly in every aspect of my life. As an openly transgender female that is fully living and working in the public eye as such, this issue is one of such critical importance to me that it is difficult to put into words that suffice.

I am not a gay male, nor any other sort of male in womens' clothes seeking any sort of sexual gratification via use of public facilities as such. I never was and never will be. I'm not a drag queen or female impersonator and was neither of those things for a single day in my life. I am not a sexual predator of any kind whatsoever, nor pose any threat to the safety or sanctity of public facilities for any other women or their children, as was recently implied in articles published nationally which claim that such legislation would open the door to fear of anyone that expresses his or herself outside of considered "normal" gender roles.

This is, at least for me, an utter fallacy, and hypothetical situation based on lack of real facts. This must be exposed as such for effective and intelligent decisions to be made as regards this legislation. This issue carries real consequences which directly affect my life, should no further protections be made available to me as a fellow resident of this state and county.

In the course of my normal daily life, i regularly have to use public facilities such as toilets and locker rooms. I am an active person and use my community pool, gym, and locker room facilities as i wish and need to, and fairly often. As a legitimately transgendered woman, considered very well-adjusted, and following a "clinically correct" and clinically guided course of transition, I would never even consider the possibility of placing myself or others in any situation where any kind of inappropriate exposure would, or could, ever possibly occur.

When using public facilities, all of which always have closed stalls and/or private changing areas which also lock or have full curtains, it would never cross my mind to be less than dignified or reckless, much less openly invite or consider any sort of exposure which might place my life and the sensilbilites of others in danger or question whatsoever. I am there to do one thing and one thing only. Use the facilities as every other woman does, in as normal, relaxed, and inconspicous a manner as possible, and leave.

Should i have to be forced to consider endangering my own self by using male locker and restroom facilities when i live as 'normal' a life as possible, as any other woman in this country does ? That is unreasonable at best, and puts me personally at severe and very real risk for hate crimes such as assault or rape, conflicts, humiliation, and further ridicule, as well as completely compromising any validity that I've gained by openly and successfully living as an intelligent, well-adjusted, and professional woman in public society for several years now.

I have every right and legitimate reason to use the same facilities as every other woman does. I do so in a discreet and quiet manner without exception, and present a threat to no one, in any way, shape, or form whatsoever.

Because some in opposition wish to state hypotheticals as evidence, and judge other's experiences which they cannot possibly validate from any form of direct personal experience, i am forced to write this letter to you. I must strongly enjoin you to please not bend or break under the pressure. Please do not invalidate my struggle to simply exist as a fellow resident, and enjoy the same rights and comforts that every other citizen in this entire country should be entitled to enjoy without question, fear of reprisal or hatred, discrimination, or humiliation.

In my life, gender identity and sexuality are distinctly different facets of my life as a human being. Supporters agree with the right of any individual to express gender and/or sexuality in any way that an individual sees fit for themselves, as long as it does not involve being a harmful, or detrimental person to themselves or society at large. Opponents continue to claim that sexuality and gender identity are individual and "life"style" "choices", that there is no difference between the two, and may sometimes be based on certain "moral" and "ethical" precepts, possibly originating from certain "religious" viewpoints. If one wishes to be a good person of true conscience, then taking the ultimate risk to live true to onself is not a "choice" at all, per se.

I've read by opponents that anything that falls outside of the range of "normal" and human heterosexuality is aberrrant, abhorrent, abominable, and should be admonished and discouraged at all cost if possible, as to not endanger any percieved view of what "normal" society should be like for all peoples.

Often this continued lack of personal awareness may also unfortunately take the forms of fear, hatred, violence, discrimination, bigotry, humiliation, ridicule, gossip, and frankly, outright distortion and continued misperception - from a total lack of personal or clinical experience whatsoever than what has been taught or learned as the "only" "correct" way to live this life as a human being.

How any such qualities can be equated with morality, ethics, fairness, unconditional love, understanding, or forgiveness, is beyond my ability to comprehend. I strongly disagree with such views. If any person of color, race, religion, sex, or differing gender expression, is deprived of any single human comfort or right as a result of another's view, this then inherently deprives all people of the gift of freewill, which as i understand is one of the cornerstones of many spiritual teachings, and part of the basis of the relationship between God and Mankind as a whole.

Angry, often violent, and pervasive judgementalism, which flies in the very face of all such "spiritual" teachings of fairness, freewill, forgiveness and understanding, and the very basis of an equal and free democratic society for all peoples, must not continue to stand as acceptable behaviors by any standard of true kindness or decency that i am aware of.

Separation of church and state was a founding principle of this country for good reason. The Founders and Framers had already once experienced the "fairness" of a state ruled by the church, and rejected and opposed it with their own lives to make this nation possible.

I must openly oppose such unfairness, ignorance, and hatefully misguided hypocrisy. Change must occur through intelligent and non-violent dialogue. I must excercise the expression of my own God-given freewill, and with the help of any person that also has a willingness and any ability to help enact any form of positive change and expanded awareness for others.

Please do not bend under pressure of any that wish to make such decisions without having ever met or talked with someone like myself that can lend true validity of actual personal experience, as opposed to percieved experience of others that cannot and will not see any view but that which encourages the continued deprivation of equal rights for anyone, for any reason whatsoever.

I will do my best to give personal experiences as valid referential material, so that others may have a better understanding of the issue from the people like myself, that are affected most by this issue. I struggle daily with continued misperceptions and stereotypical views which plague me and hurt me deeply, every day of my life in open society.

Between the ages of 4 and 5, i became acutely aware of an overwhelming and soul-searing level of real and very conscious mental and emotional anguish due to apparent lack of percieved congruence between my physical self and my mental and emotional self. This would be considered as years before any such "lifestyle choice" or "sexuality" could possibly apply. I had no sisters and was not encouraged in this nor was i ever forced to do anything which would have placed this compulsion so deep within me.

I do not personally believe that this is a mistake or an aberration of nature. I do not believe that God makes mistakes and that this was, at least for me, one of the great blessings of my life, even for all of the pain and hardship involved in dealing with such an issue for all of my life. I was given this unique perspective and the innate ability to deeply understand both sexes, although one - actually being female - is and always was much more naturally predominant for me. I now think of this as one of the potentially great gifts in my life, as i am now able to express my real internal nature as much more female in "gender identity", than i was ever any sort of "real" male at all, in so many ways.

As an adult, i was finally overwhelmed with the weight of what i had carried for so long that it literally broke me down. As a result, I had to decide to risk giving up my marriage, my home, my entire family on both sides of my marriage, professional standing, and almost any social capital that i had gained thus far as a male person. I was entirely willing to give up any sense of "male privilege" in this society altogether. I was never truly happy in my entire life in the male gender. As an open, loving, highly intelligent, and expressive child i suffered severe physical, mental, and emotional abuse for many years growing up, for simply being "different", and never able to fit into any "typical" "male" mold whatsoever.

I essentially learned to repress truthfulness in every form of my natural self-expression, never rewarded for real honesty with nothing but fear and ridicule, harm and humiliation. Every day of my life i consciously and methodically hid all of my natural self-expressions so that no one would ever detect i was actually a girl always, somewhere deep inside where they could never really see me. I managed to become a more functional "male" persona by my twenties, but still deeply struggled my whole life thus far, and barely ever felt a true sense of happiness within or about myself.

Why would i now, give up everything in my life ? My marriage of more than 10 years to my best friend and soulmate - a home and profession which i deeply love. Why would i consciously re-invite all of the ridicule and scorn of my childhood again as an adult - and all for nothing more than "sexual kicks" of some kind ? I think not. People ask me why i would want to be something i am not, nor was really meant to be. I am not being someone that i am not. I simply stopped editing everything i do and say, and finally for once, am being true to my self, everyone else in my life, and my own conscience of self.

I am the same person i always was, except now more openly visible and completely vulnerable to the entire world, than ever before in this life except as a very young child. Once again, targeted for constant misunderstanding, and probably more "at-risk" than all of the other groups of opposition put together. I must take my life in my hands every time i step foot out of my own front door, for the reality that people hate, ridicule, talk and gossip about, and denigrate me in every way possible - and for no other good reason than being "different". I am now openly straightforward, and truer in total self-expression than i have ever been before. This simply should no longer stand as any form of acceptable ethical or "moral" behavioral standard, no matter what belief system, science, theology, or philosophy it may be rooted in.

Your continued support for this issue is greatly appreciated. Thank you once again for your time and most gracious consideration. If you have supported such legislation which encourages tolerance, and extends equal rights protections to all citizens, i deeply thank you and tell that this is more sincerely appreciated than you might possibly know. If you have not supported such legislations, I can only ask and encourage you to please take the time to objectively study the issue from all sides.

Most Sincerely and Respectfully Yours,

I am,

Maryanne A. Arnow

There's a lot to read there, a lot to think about. I'm not going to try to add anything.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a lot to think about"

Yes, like the fact that the letter provides no justification for any legislation. This person claims to use women's restrooms and locker rooms now. Why then, assuming that this is a wonderful thing, is any legislation needed?

Of course the same person earlier claimed to be unable to secure a cooking job because of their transgender status but, regardless of being pretty impossible to prove, it will now be very easy to litigate. Employers will now have new burdens of proof to demonstrate why they simply don't feel an individual is right for a job if that individual says they feel like another gender. They won't have that burden for other people so the legislation amounts to special rights for transgenders. A smart business person might decide to locate in a more reasonable jurisdiction.

One more chance for the county, Leggett can veto.

November 14, 2007 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you delusional? Mr. Leggett will NOT veto this legislation; he is a person, unlike you, who believes in fair, equitable treatment and opportunities for all of our residents.

November 14, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Wow, Anon, you actually noticed. We've been using women's restrooms for decades, and there has never been a police report of any kind of harassment by us. Yet we still get thrown out on occasion, because of people like you, so this legislation is necessary to protect US from harassment from YOU.

You also know full well that there has never been a reported case of a trans woman exhibiting herself in the women's locker room, either.

You might want to ask your lady friends how they would like it if persons with female genitalia were forced to use the ladies' room, and they came face-to-face with trans men? A little bit of reality no one from your side ever stopped to consider, because it would blow your crusade to smithereens.

November 14, 2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

They won't have that burden for other people so the legislation amounts to special rights for transgenders.”

Except for the "special rights" also given to anyone who has an age, or belongs to a religion, or whose skin has a color, and everyone with a gender, or a sexual orientation, as well as people who are handicapped, and citizens who have come from a different country, and everyone who is married or not married.

Or were you saying that none of those “other people” are people?

November 14, 2007 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

BTW, Maryanne A. Arno, you’re a genius.

(That was so eloquent, I’ve lost all ability to feel nauseous about anything.)

Enjoyably diplomatic, yet appropriately pungent.

Thank you.

November 14, 2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Emproph, it's fine to temporary appreciate an honest person's expression, but I do hope you recover your sense of existential nausea soon. We'd hate to lose you here.

JimK

November 14, 2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are you delusional? Mr. Leggett will NOT veto this legislation"

Oh, I'm sure you're right. And come next election he just may find that he has read the wrong tea leaves.

November 14, 2007 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see you have a sense of humor, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Anonymous. "come next election he just may find that he [Mr. Leggett} has read the wrong tea leaves." That is really funny!! You have no grasp on reality; if you think the citizens of Montgomery County will buy your claptrap, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

November 14, 2007 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, those "citizens" were jamming the phone lines and e-mail in-boxes. They scared the council into dropping their restroom amendment and got positive press. The council thinks they will get away with this. We'll see how they hold up in the next election. They shouldn't expect to do well.

And the biggest question of all:

If the citizens of Montgomery County are so pro-choice about gender, why is it reportedly so hard for those of uncertain determination to find positions here?

Something's not adding up!

November 14, 2007 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yet we still get thrown out on occasion, because of people like you, so this legislation is necessary to protect US from harassment from YOU."

Protect you from what? The denial of the privilege of using someone else's bathroom on the rare "occasion"?

So what? Happens to everyone on "occasion." Doesn't really sound like much of a hardship.

November 14, 2007 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "let those that are without sin cast the first stone".

If you do say that you can cast the first stone, you are both a liar and a hypocrite.

Judge not lest you be judged.

Obviously few that posted opposition letters on this site read all of Ms. Arno's letter in clear detail or objective heart.

I think it makes it quite clear how angry judgementalism and lack of understanding or acceptance by many in the mainstream public places people like her at much greater risk than anyone else that is crying wolf about this.

Amazing to me that so many use such threats, insults, and harsh language about people that they have never met, know nothing about personally, and frankly, likely have just as many secret skeletons in their own closets, and then talk about how Godly they are.

God forbid that someone else openly proclaim, much less live their own truth about themself - Oh no - that's just not right - not "spiritual", not "moral", not decent - all the while priests and conservative lawmakers are in backrooms and bathrooms doing exactly what they lash out at all the so called "deviants" for doing..

Double standards much ? None of you have the guts to actually live love, lack of judgement, and true fairness to all fellow man
- i believe Jesus himself tried to teach that - dont see it happening much though - gossip and lies as soon as you leave the chuch pews) - by the truth of the very religion that you espouse -
and so you hate anyone that actually does have the guts to be themselves and embrace themselves fearlessly - because you fear it, and your own humanity so much that you must first deny it within your own self, and then persecute others to justify your beliefs and actions, and purge yourselves of your own guilt for your own secrets.

Same stuff that has cost uncountable innocent lives in the name of God for centuries.

November 15, 2007 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the immediately previous post have to do with the bathroom issue?

Hypocritical religious people there are and always have been. Still, is it really some harsh judgment to say that people should be free to segregate their bathrooms by gender rather than feeling if that's what they think is appropriate? Is that what we have dumbed down the "casting the first stone" term to- disagreement over bathroom segregation?

November 15, 2007 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You also know full well that there has never been a reported case of a trans woman exhibiting herself in the women's locker room, either."

And where is the evidence of any violence toward a guy dressed as a girl in a men's room in MC?

November 15, 2007 7:07 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I'll say it once to Inane Anon -- bathrooms are and will remain segregated by gender. Period. That you don't understand what gender is, is the problem. It's not what people happen to be thinking; it's about who they are.

November 15, 2007 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dr. You've revealed what you were really after in creating this legislation. The endorsement by government of the idea that gender is a club you join rather than a biological fact is simply a game piece to be used in furthering the gay agenda, a mission that will proceed further no matter what any council passes.

It won't be long until society wakes up to the truth that passing this kind of stuff will never appease the gay radicals. The agenda will keep pushing on until civil society pushes back.

Until then, you and Duchy enjoy the party while you can.

November 15, 2007 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

"And where is the evidence of any violence toward a guy dressed as a girl in a men's room in MC?"

Unnecessary. People like you beat us up online as it is – in the name of Christ's love itself no less. Which is ample evidence of the potential for physical violence – which the law is meant to prevent.

Were you suggesting that preventative measures are foolish in and of themselves, or just in this case?

According to your logic, there would be little need for the insurance industry, the alarm system industry, consumer products safety, the FDA, flu shots, or immunization of any kind, etc.

Do you honestly believe that no measures should be taken to prevent a dangerous situation until it has already occurred?

Do you have children? Because again, according to your logic, there would be no reason to require that they look both ways before crossing the street, unless there was “evidence” that a child had ALREADY been hit by a car on it.

I can’t think of a life philosophy that is more irresponsible.

Is this your argument, or was there something I missed?

November 15, 2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unnecessary. People like you beat us up online as it is – in the name of Christ's love itself no less. Which is ample evidence of the potential for physical violence – which the law is meant to prevent."

Beat you up online?

Gee, and since "beating someone up online" is now proof of a potential for violence that must be circumvented by government action, I suppose we should have seperate bathrooms for Democrats and Republicans now.

That low rumble you hear is the sound of snickers and chuckles. Everyone who reads your comments is highly entertained.

Thanks for the memories!

November 15, 2007 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

You didn't answer my question.

"Do you honestly believe that no measures should be taken to prevent a dangerous situation until it has already occurred?

Is this your argument?

November 15, 2007 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why woud anyone answer a question like that, Improv? If you have the nerve to ask it, that pretty much speaks for itself.

Keeping improvising though. Who knows, maybe you'll eventually say something that makes sense!

November 15, 2007 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

Emproph said...

"You didn't answer my question."

November 15, 2007 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why woud anyone answer a question like that, Improv? If you have the nerve to ask it, that pretty much speaks for itself.

November 15, 2007 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

"Why woud anyone answer a question like that, Improv? If you have the nerve to ask it, that pretty much speaks for itself."

Ergo the idiocy of asking the question:

"And where is the evidence of any violence"

November 15, 2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

You never answered this question either:
---
Inanamouse said...
“They won't have that burden for other people so the legislation amounts to special rights for transgenders.”

Improv said...
Except for the "special rights" also given to anyone who has an age, or belongs to a religion, or whose skin has a color, and everyone with a gender, or a sexual orientation, as well as people who are handicapped, and citizens who have come from a different country, and everyone who is married or not married.

Or were you saying that none of those “other people” are people?
---
Ok yes, obviously I was being flippant with that last line. But how do you make the "special rights" claim, given that, what appears to be your definition of "special rights," is already afforded to many other demographics?

Enlighten my ignorant little heart.

November 15, 2007 12:59 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

I was born with my gender identity, just as you were. You can bloviate all you want about joining a club, but it won't change reality one iota.

November 15, 2007 1:06 PM  
Anonymous blt said...

...The endorsement by government of the idea that gender is a club you join rather than a biological fact...

Sure, just like religion is a club you join rather than a biological fact.

November 15, 2007 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you recognize, then, BLT, that this is what they are saying:

Gender is voluntary. Right?

Religion, BTW, is indeed voluntary.

November 15, 2007 4:13 PM  
Anonymous blt said...

...this is what they are saying...

This is what WHO is saying?

November 15, 2007 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

So, you recognize, then, Anonymous, that this is what you are saying:

Gender is mandatory. Right?

November 15, 2007 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Maryanne Arnow said...

Hi all - Since i posted the original letter, i thought it best to give some additional feedback on this issue.

There seems to be so much misunderstanding and misperception, and often now what seems more and more hatefully misguided and outright distortions.

It therefore seems necessary to continue to share what i can, in the hopes that it will help anyone to think better about how and why such judgements are formed and expressed, as well as how such blanket judgements actually affect the lives of your fellow citizens such as myself.

People that have neither clinical experience nor personal experience with the gender identity issue, seem to wish to continue to misdirect and change the focus.

Based on what i have seen and read from opponents, it is essential that people like myself that DO have direct and very personal experience with these issues, be able to respond, and provide as much additional perspective from that very direct, and therefore very valid personal experience, as possible.

This is going to be long. First, i will post my initial letter to the council which was used as testimony back on October 1st.

This focuses primarily on my concerns regarding the potential for workplace and hiring discrimination, both of which have, and still do directly affect my life as a fellow citizen and member of the human family.

-----------------------------------
October 1st, 2007

Maryanne A. Arnow
Germantown, MD 20874

Good afternoon,
My name is Maryanne Arnow.
I am here today to help expand awareness of a very serious issue affecting the lives of residents of Montgomery County today. I am here to discuss the need for obtaining your support in passing legislation which prohibits any form of discrimination in either hiring, or in the workplace, for all transgender citizens.

I wished last night, that having to even come here to discuss this matter with you, shouldn’t be necessary, but that is the whole point. It is, at least for this moment, very necessary to me to discuss this with you. I am personally compelled to try to make any difference that I as a fellow resident, and fellow citizen can, to ensure that equal human rights for every person should never be a deniable option in the country that we live in.

I believe that it should be a given standard of decency no matter of what race, religion, culture, or background we all come from. I believe that some of you may also still believe that too. That is the vision of America that I understood, and grew up loving in my heart because it inspired me for a hope being given to all people, no matter where we came from.

I am a native resident of the State of Maryland, and have lived in Montgomery County for the last 37 years. I consider this State and this County to be my home, and I deeply love my home. I have been working as a professional Chef for more than 15 years. I have had considerable formal and professional training. By my peers, and all of my clients that have ever known me, I am considered to possess much skill, creativity, and genuine passion for my work.

Since beginning change of gender identity almost 4 years ago, things have been much more challenging in the professional world. Even with considerable background, skills, expertise, and superior qualifications, I’ve had a great deal more difficulty in finding work, obtaining new clientele, and staying connected with foodservice industry segments which were previously open to me without question or problem.

I have found it difficult to obtain work in more than a dozen different establishments, some located right here in Montgomery County, that I have applied for various positions within the just the last 2 to 3 years.

I have been told repeatedly by managers, and principals of companies that were obviously in position to hire at times I have been applied, that I had a great resume, and very good qualifications. I have always been pleasant, very professional, well-spoken and well-mannered, and very comfortable with myself.

All that being said as of this time, I’ve been unable to obtain employment from a single one of them that I had spoken with previously. Some wouldn’t take or return my calls or be available upon choosing to follow up. I’ve been told positions were filled, yet told by other staffers that positions were available, and yet I have not been called. I have been turned down by several potential personal Chef clients as well, upon learning that I have changed my gender identity. This is very painful and difficult, especially in light of my talents and my great desire to share those talents with others.

I believe the time for change is now, and have taken time away from work to be here today. I am here because it is important to me as a fellow citizen and a human being.
I am not trying to be anything but the best person I can be. I’m still legally married more than 10 years now to a woman that I love very deeply - my best friend in the world, and one that has chosen thus far to stay with me, during the most difficult times in our lives. I risked everything to be true to myself and everyone else – marriage, professional standing, and constant exposure to more ridicule and misunderstanding than I have ever seen before in my life.

I have no interest in ill or harm towards another person, nor have any real political agenda, other than trying to understand how it may be possible to establish that equal human rights for all people no matter what skin color, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other fellow citizen and human being, is simply the right, proper, morally, and ethically correct thing to do.

To intentionally deprive or deny any person, any citizen, of access to any equality of rights, calls into question the entire basis for maintaining any “truly” democratic society, and as well, the entire “standard” of morality, ethics, and behaviors by which we live in such a country.

This dialogue must exist in a straightforward, good natured, and intelligent manner as possible, in the hopes that better understanding between people of differing viewpoints, can and will lead to more positive outcomes for all of us.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this most urgent matter. It is greatly appreciated.

Most Sincerely and Respectfully yours,


Maryanne A. Arnow

-----------------------------------

Anonymous said...
"a lot to think about"

Yes, like the fact that the letter provides no justification for any legislation. This person claims to use women's restrooms and locker rooms now. Why then, assuming that this is a wonderful thing, is any legislation needed?

Of course the same person earlier claimed to be unable to secure a cooking job because of their transgender status but, regardless of being pretty impossible to prove, it will now be very easy to litigate. Employers will now have new burdens of proof to demonstrate why they simply don't feel an individual is right for a job if that individual says they feel like another gender. They won't have that burden for other people so the legislation amounts to special rights for transgenders. A smart business person might decide to locate in a more reasonable jurisdiction.

One more chance for the county, Leggett can veto.

November 14, 2007 7:19 AM

MY RESPONSE TO THIS COMMENT:

In my initial letter, i made it quite clear that since i personally have suffered a great deal of abuse in my life as directly pertains to being well outside of percieved "norms", that this in itself should point out the potential for more such harm to myself or anyone that may exhibit any sort of traits that are judged by others as "different", such as in this case, my actual gender identity of myself being different than my birth biology. The overwhelming preponderance of cases of violence and discrimination against people like myself in this country cannot be refuted. If you would like to, that is fine - but since you personally do not and probably have never likely had to face constant ridicule and denigration and every form of discrimination imaginable on a daily basis, you have no leg to stand on for such statements.

Such cases are well documented and continue to be a real survival issue for many people like myself that fall outside of "acceptable" "norms" of gender indentity or sexual orientation in this and many other societies.

You said i "claimed" to be unable to secure jobs due to this issue. Either back up your thinly veiled implication that i am lying or fabricating such a claim, or then please refrain from such assumptions which are both unfair and rude.

You said that " regardless of being impossible to prove, it will now be easy to litigate". That does go both ways you know, and certainly NOT in my favor - as who or what employer in their right mind would ever willingly step up to the plate and admit that they are gulity of such discriminatory practices or behaviors.

Until now, we have had NO recourse for such unfair attitudes - at least there is now the idea in people's minds that we may have a better leg to stand on should it ever come to such a litigation.

An employer SHOULD ALWAYS have a burden of proof to show why highly qualified applicants or existing employees may not be "qualified" if such a distinction is made.

If you were passed over due to race, color, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or other immutable fact of your very existence, wouldn't you feel as though you should be entitled to know why and If that decision was based solely on your professional skills and qualifications, or some other discriminatory issue.

If these things cannot be differentiated, then who is to say that anyone is safe from such unfair discriminations in any segment of industry or government? What if you personally had a child that was adopted from another culture, or admitted to having a different sexual orientation than what you would be comfportable with - or even a close friend or associate that suffered such unfair treatment baseed solely on such an issue - wouldnt you wish that equal justice be served for them ?

Come on - where is your common sense and common decency - surely you were never taught that such unfairness is actually any sort of valid moral or ethical precept, were you ? If so, i deeply question that system of thinking as having any moral or ethical validity whatsoever in mature and reasonable-minded thinking.

You then said " a smart business person (i assume you meant Me) might decide to locate in a more "reasonable" jurisdiction. Well lets see - what if i said that to YOU personally - just simply run from the problem, uproot yourself, and double or triple your commute time and expense, move your home, increase your stress levels, your time away from home and family, and find a "more "reasonable" jurisdiction ?" -

That is inane - insanely unrealistic, unintelligent, and unfair at best - especially since almost no matter where i might decide to go in today's sociologic climate, i will have to face people like yourself, and often even worse that will exhibit the same callousness and insentivitity.

I am not a robot. I am a thinking feeling human being just like you no matter what i have been through or have decided is truly necessary for myself. Not only that, what if i dont have the resources to relocate ? What is your answer then ? What you have suggested in that single statement is truly a Catch-22 - a total oxymoron, and is entirely ridiculous.

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Next response:

"Anonymous said...
Well, those "citizens" were jamming the phone lines and e-mail in-boxes. They scared the council into dropping their restroom amendment and got positive press. The council thinks they will get away with this. We'll see how they hold up in the next election. They shouldn't expect to do well.

And the biggest question of all:

If the citizens of Montgomery County are so pro-choice about gender, why is it reportedly so hard for those of uncertain determination to find positions here?

Something's not adding up!

November 14, 2007 11:38 PM

OK - please explain in detail what you mean by "something's not adding up" based on what was shared previously. That statement in light of the irrefutable reality of my and others' real-life experiences does not add up.

Also, please xplain in exact detail your accusation that "the council thinks it can get away with this" as you so eloquently put it. You have made a serious acuusation there - one that you cannot possibly back up based on one very simple fact - This accusation is a blanket judgement that implies you inherently know what this group of people are thinking and feeling as individuals. Unless you are posessed of an amazing ability to read their minds and hearts, actually witnessed their conversations and debates about this issue behind close doors, know them all personally, and can therefore accurately judge all of their motivations as individual people - you should think twice about what you have said. You also seem to wish to use your voting power as a threat "we'll see how they hold up in the next election" (essentially blackmail) and furthermore not as a valid point of dialogue about any truly specific issues. What they have done as a single body is stand up for the rights of those most vulnerable in the current climate of htred and misunderstanding - that is a truly democartic, very ethical, and deeply moral thing to have done, nothing more, nothing less.
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Next Response:

Anonymous said...

"What does the immediately previous post have to do with the bathroom issue?

Hypocritical religious people there are and always have been. Still, is it really some harsh judgment to say that people should be free to segregate their bathrooms by gender rather than feeling if that's what they think is appropriate? Is that what we have dumbed down the "casting the first stone" term to- disagreement over bathroom segregation?

November 15, 2007 7:05 AM

My response: I liked the previous anon post and think it is highly relevant. Most of the hate-based and discriminatory issues that we face come from hypocritical and what seems at best, hatefully misguided "religious" and s-called "spiritual" viewpoints that judge people like ourselves as aberrant and abhorrent, and a threat to what should be percieved as "normal" human expression.

This is not objective. It is entirely subjective. Many of the same kinds of prevalent "beliefs" justified decades of racial discrimination, as if people of different race and color were not worthy of the same human rights simply because of skin color and culture, and they had been judged by other HUMAN BEINGS as unworthy of such.

There are many hypocritical people that throw stones. Taking notice of this and pointing it out may help people to look at themselves and the horrendous unfairness of continuing to do so for any reason whatsoever.

If you have personally known Jesus himself and have also spoken with the rest of the prophets and sages, and you were there at the actual time that such judgements were recorded as biblical fact, and can verify without a single doublt that any form of discrimination, based on views that state someone like myself is "an abomination" and "aberration", and has no place or right to equal treatment based on the freewill of honest and fearless self-expression, then please make this claim.

It has nothing to do with dumbing down of anything. the fact that i face daily ridicule, rudeness, gossip, misperception, denigration, hatred, and discrimination based solely on outward appearance should tell you all that anyone needs to know about that.

The saddest part is that many of the people that behave in this manner towards me in open society consider themselves "godly" people and base their justification of such atrociously hateful and completely immature behaviors on such "biblical" priciciples of supposed fairness and ethics and morality.

Not a one has the common decency, good old-fashioned manners, or courage to face me directly and discuss the issue, or ask direct questions instead of making unfair assumptions based on entirely incomplete infornmation.

This also calls into light the entire question of "choice" as regards gender identity and sexual orientation as applies to humanity as a whole.

Other HUMAN beings, religiously, theologically, scientifically, or philosophically motivated have made such "irrefutable judgements based on what "evidence" that they have been taught to believe whether is is accurate or not.

Sexual orientation, is in most cases, NOT a choice hat i am aware of. Most fellow humans that i know naturally arrived within their own selves at an INNATE knowledge (in other words, naturally occurring) of who and what they were attracted to, as we grew up and rahced that age - whether that be males or females or both. That is "sexual orientation", and the only "choice" that people have made - such as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or others, have made was to be true to their INNATE programming.

None of you went inside of yourself, and threw an internal switch and said - OK - i'm going to be this or that now and gladly face all the horrific denigration, discrimination, lifelong ostracism, and ridicule that goes along with that - it occurred naturally for the vast majority f human population probably since the beginning of human history.

The fact that many do not understand this and are threatened by it or find it abhorrent, based on their philisophy(ies) does not change the fact that many - possibly even yourself, have been taught to deny their own quite real nature - have been forced to deny it - been killed by the masses in history for it having been compelled to not express what could not be helped as it occurred within them.

My gender identity issue is not an issue for me at all, per se - it is something which occurred within me at an age that was far beyond any such possibility of "choice" and it is being so unfairly judged and ruled upon by others that have decided to define me personally by whatever standards serves their own purposes instead of exhibiting the very traits of unconditional love, forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance that are supposed to the very cornerstones of these belief systems and their attendant so called "moral" and "ethical" behavioral standards towards all fellow human beings.

I was never a gay male. I am not now. I have no deisre to be and frankly have no desire to ever be. My "gender identity" is female and has nothing at all to do iwith my sexual orientation, which for mnay people are interconnected but yet entirely separate issues. I never was a member of the "gay community" per se. I have no idea what the "gay agenda" looks like and i think that is nothing more than a tagline to strike fear into the hearts and minds of those being guided to hate further and justify such continued discriminations against any others that fall outside of what societal "norms" should look like.

I have never been to gay clubs, whatever they are. I have never been to drag clubs whatever they look like. I have never been a pedophile, predator, or peeping tom of any kind, as is implied by such blanket publications about all people like myself. I have heard that the incidence of such occurrences is probably the rarest amongst the transgendered community than all the other popoulation segments ever combined. Trangendered does not mean sexual "freak", predator, pedophile, or any of the other hatefully misguided things that so many people are trying to characterize us as.

These are outright bigoted lies and blatant distortions designed to eviscerate us and cast us in the most heinously negative light possible for the sole purpose of engendering more fear, and continuing justifications of hatred and deprivement of equal human rights and comforts, but have no basis in fact whatsoever.

I am a human being. I am a transgendered woman that has faced her fears and made herself completely vulnerable to the hatred so prevalent in this society.

I am an intelligent and warm hearted person, still LEGALLY married to another beautiful and amazing woman that i dearly love and have been with for more than a decade. I am a very talented and passionate artist that loves sharing my skills, and for the simple good and warm enjoyment of others, which includes good nutritional awareness as a Professional Chef that happens to truly care about the health and well-being of others.

I have welcomed people into my own home that treat me with disrespect menaness, and hatred, and yet i have still treated them with love, kindness, and hospitality.

Why cant all of you just stop and think for a moment, do the same, and stop living such double standards and predicating negative behaviors based on half truths and distortions of fear and hatred that have been ingrained into the human psyche for thousands of years. Stop it. Stop being such bullies and such tools for other's misguided beliefs.

Stop it now, and be human beings instead of insanely and hatefully blinded sheep, apparently led by blind and deaf shepherds that have their own agenda that has little to do with actual love and acceptance of all fellow human beings. I deeply enjoin you and entreat you, with all of my heart and mind, to stop and think - as a fellow citizen of this state, this country, and the human race.

I have strong feelings based on being on the recieveing end of years of brutally unfair treatment for nothing more than being "different" than al the other kids. THAT'S how GOD MADE ME. Ive been through it Once as a child and now face it again as an adult.

Tell me it's fair to treat anyone like that, or to teach ANY others that is acceptable, and i will call you a liar and a hyprocite to your face, and tell you your belief sysetem is criminally insane and out of control.

Do not take offense. I inherently understand and respect that even those with the most deep seated beliefs that differ greatly may often believe they are doing the good for God and for mankind.

There are many people that genuinely consider themselves as doing the most important work of God for the better of humanity.
I must respect this, as a baseline spiritual priciple of good, whether i like it or not,and am well aware of that.

When it crosses the line into any form of hatred, bigotry, justification of ignorance, lies and untruth, and any unfairness toewards another, then i must call that into question, no matter the belief system.


Most Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Lovingly always,
LoveForever,

I AM,


Maryanne A. Arnow

November 17, 2007 2:05 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Dear Maryanne,

Thank you for writing. You remain a very beautiful person.

November 17, 2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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February 04, 2008 4:49 PM  

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