Thursday, May 20, 2010

WashTimes Over the Line

Last month the Washington Times published an editorial titled "Discrimination Is Necessary" that argued in favor of anti-LGBT discrimination. Here it is (have your barf-bag handy):
First-graders should not be forced into the classrooms of teachers undergoing sex changes. Religious broadcasters and faith-based summer camps should not be forced to hire cross-dressers. Women should not be forced to share bathrooms with people with male body parts who say they want to be females. Yet those are some of the likely results if Congress passes H.R. 3017, the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is due for a vote this week by the House Education and Labor Committee.

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. On some matters, it is good to be discriminating. It is right to discriminate between honesty and dishonesty, between politeness and impoliteness, between right and wrong. And it assuredly is right to be discriminating in choosing who teaches our children. 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.

This is no idle threat. ENDA would supersede the laws of 38 states that do not have laws treatingthose with an unusual "gender identity" as a legally protected "class" of citizens. Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition wrote in the April 20 edition of Roll Call about several examples of cross-dressing or sex-changing teachers who claimed protections under state disability laws (in the 12 states that do indeed protect "gender identity") and were able to remain in the classroom despite parents' protests. Perhaps the worst was at California's Foxboro Elementary School, where a music teacher underwent surgery to become a man, but parents originally were not even notified because administrators feared running afoul of medical privacy laws.

Even if California wants to be so foolish, the residents of the 38 states without such absurd legal strictures shouldn't be forced to do the same. States have a sovereign right to set standards governing behavioral - as opposed to immutable - personal characteristics.

ENDA does provide supposed exemptions for churches and church-based schools to refuse to employ sex-changers and cross-dressers. But the exemption is far less than meets the eye. Even religious organizations, under the standards cited, are prohibited from making employment decisions based on the worker's sex. ENDA opponents rightly cite last year's 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals note in Prowel v. Wise Business Forms that "the line between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination 'because of sex' can be difficult to draw." In short, courts easily could decide that even parochial schools must hire she-males to teach their kindergartners.

Similar problems abound in this bill, which treats a conscious decision to choose a new or different sexual identity as if it were an inherent, unavoidable condition. But it's not. It's actually a psychological disorder, officially listed as such by the current American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 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. EDITORIAL: Discrimination is necessary: Subjecting kids to weirdos undermines standards of decency

Well, whatever it is we stand for, the Times is against it. The language in this editorial is not acceptable in a business meeting or social gathering, you thought this was a thing of the past but here it is, on the editorial page. "She-male" is a term from porn, it is not a technical or legal term, it is disrespectful and rude, I'm not easily shocked but it is shocking to think that any person, never mind a big-city editorial staff, would find this acceptable for public consumption.

The HRC Backstory blog reports that the American Psychiatric Association wrote a rebuttal to the Times editorial, but the Washington Times refuses to publish it. Let's hear it for our rightwing nuts, at least they're consistent.

The APA showed the letter to HRC and agreed to let them publish it. Here it is:
To the Editor,

The American Psychiatric Association disagrees with the Washington Times editorial published on April 23 opposing H.R. 3017, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The editorial cited the fact that gender identity disorder is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM), and concluded that schoolchildren and workers should not be “held hostage” to such disorders and employers should not have “psychologically troubled” employees representing them.

The American Psychiatric Association has long opposed the use of stigma against mental illnesses in political attacks and opposes discrimination against all individuals with mental disorders. The Washington Times and other opponents of ENDA are distorting mental health issues in order to confuse and frighten the public and influence policy-makers to obstruct civil rights legislation.

If the Times’ argument that we should discriminate against individuals with conditions listed in the DSM is extended, then equal employment rights would be stripped from all individuals who suffer from a mental illness, including depression and many other common conditions. There are undoubtedly thousands of teachers treated for depression, anxiety and other conditions who are doing a fine job of educating America’s schoolchildren. The APA vigorously opposes any discrimination based on a mental disorder or a history of psychiatric treatment.

Alan F. Schatzberg
American Psychiatric Association Washington Times Refuses APA Letter Rebutting Gender Identity Lies

The Washington Times is currently for sale. You wonder if this isn't a "Springtime For Hitler" type ploy to make the paper as unlikeable and horrible as they can in order to ... I don't know, I can't think why they'd do that.

The Unification Church no longer supports the paper, several editors have drifted through in recent years, it seems rather rudderless. I thought the APA's response was tepid, though I guess they spoke for their constituency, they discussed the misrepresentation of psychiatric diagnoses and discrimination on the basis of psychological conditions. I hope every decent person will speak out against this terrible editorial.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has happened to our "Anonymous" friend(s)? They have been strangely missing from the Vigilence comments in the past few weeks.

This article focuses on one of their favorite topics and like others posted here earlier, they have been eerily mute.

I am not lamenting this turn of events, of course. I wholeheartedly let out a HOORAY! But, it really has been spooky.

I am gambling by posting this might result in the onslaught of rude, vacuous, bigoted, and psycho comments to which we have all been subjected over the past year or so. :-(

May 22, 2010 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Merle said...

Citizen, I had the feeling Anon embarrassed himself by trying to score ideological points off a personal tragedy. Who knows, maybe he's done some thinking and turned himself around. You can only hope.

May 22, 2010 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Too bad the editorial department of the Washington Times hasn't kept itself clean since the house cleaning it did a few years ago when they hired the non-partisan long-time AP reporter John Soloman to become Executive Editor over one of their worst Managing Editors of all time IMHO, Francis Booth Coombs. Coombs quit when he was passed over for the Executive Manager position. In that same house cleaning, WaTimes let go Robert Stacy McCain, another editor. Both former WaTimes editors, Coombs and McCain, have been tracked and reported on by the SPLC for their racist leanings and activities.

Now the WaTimes has turned around and rehired Robert Stacy McCain the "former key Washington Times editor who has suggested that “perfectly rational people” react with “altogether natural revulsion” to interracial marriage."

Really? In 2010 there are still people with opinions like that in America?

I bet he loves LGBT folks just about as much as he loves mixed race couples!

No one on the WaTimes staff claimed credit for writing this abominable smear but it makes clear that the WaTimes' prior house cleaning has been fouled with idealogues once again. The reformers gave up and now the remaining staff are all too willing to spew smears like this.

But now there's good news. Just this month "...following the loss of its principal funding source", the WaTimes is for sale.

What principal funding source? Why the Reverend Sun Myun Moon, of course! Since it was founded, Moon has funneled Unification Church money to WaTimes every week to keep this rag that loses millions of dollars every year afloat to the tune of about $40 million a year.

The money train is over and if it is to survive, the WaTimes will either need another $40 million per year donor or to actually find enough people willing to pay for subscriptions to read such trash.

May 23, 2010 12:41 PM  

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