Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sun: "The Entire Community Needs to Stand Together"

When you are born, a doctor holds you up and looks at your bottom, then checks "M" or "F" on a birth certificate. That's it, from that point onward you are treated as a boy or a girl, you are given a name that reflects your assigned gender, dressed in clothing appropriate to the doctor's checkmark, the toys that relatives bring you are appropriate for your assigned sex. And for most of us that's fine, the doctor is right more than ninety-nine percent of the time, they eyeball the kid and define them as male or female on the basis of external genitalia and that usually works.

But for any of dozens of reasons, some people are misidentified at birth. And at some point in their lives they realize that a mistake has been made, that they are not really the sex that the doctor initially thought.

At this point, you have a choice: go along with the program and continue to refer to yourself erroneously, or change your dress, behavior, and perhaps physical characteristics to match the correct sex. Changing is hard, especially if you have developed past puberty with the physical characteristics of the erroneous gender. Then, when you make the transition, the ambiguity may be difficult for people to interpret. Ignorant people confuse a changed gender identity with a kink or perversion or some kind of mental illness, or they confuse gender identity with sexual orientation, and they feel threatened by it -- or worse, they are morally indignant.

In Baltimore a young woman had made the transition, she had been raised as a boy but now, at the age of twenty-two, had fully transitioned to life as a woman. She had been drinking, as some twenty-two year-olds do, and stopped at a McDonalds to use the bathroom. Coming out of the ladies room she was ambushed by some belligerent customers and severely beaten.

This beating was not unusual or unique. Transgender people live with the constant threat of violence whenever they go out in public. What was different this time is that somebody captured the whole thing on video and posted it on the Internet.

The Baltimore Sun wrote:
This is a situation where the entire community needs to stand together and unequivocally condemn bigotry, hatred and violence.

To its credit, McDonald's seems to get this. The restaurant's parent company quickly issued a statement on its Web site condemning the beating, and the owner of the Rosedale franchise fired the person who shot the video. He says he may terminate additional employees if it determines they aided or abetted the attack or failed to take reasonable steps to protect the victim. And the franchise is slated to close during a vigil Monday night in a gesture of respect and support for Ms. Polis.

But Baltimore County officials were slow to understand that their community is now being held up to ridicule all over the world as a hotbed of intolerance. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was silent on the matter until Monday afternoon, when he issued a statement condemning the attack. He did, however, hit the right note: "Although this vicious attack was an isolated incident and in no way reflects upon the Rosedale or greater Baltimore County communities, it does serve as a wake-up call that we all have a role to play in establishing the norms we expect in our county. It is the conversations around our dinner tables and the casual chatter among friends that develop patterns of behavior. Each and every one of us has a responsibility in deciding what kind of a society we expect and what kind of a society we will help create."

Likewise, this incident should prompt the General Assembly to revisit its failure this year to toughen the state's anti-discrimination law to protect transgender individuals. Although Maryland law already makes it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays and bisexuals, transgender people face unique challenges not shared by their LGB peers in finding mainstream acceptance, and too often they are the silent "T" in the LGBT struggle for equal rights. Passage of a measure aimed specifically at protecting the rights of transgender people would bring greater clarity to the law in such situations. Attack at McDonald's -- Our view: Regardless of whether it is classified a hate crime, the vicious beating of a transgender woman demands condemnation from the community

Three hundred people showed up for the rally Monday. That is impressive. McDonalds has issued statements and made some moves that indicate that they get it. A few of our state legislators have acknowledged the problem and issued statements about the importance of resubmitting and passing the bill that failed this year. It's a start. We need to stand together in stark opposition to the kind of violent bigotry we see on that horrible Internet video.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At his press conference on Wednesday, President Obama scolded the media for focusing on his birth certificate instead of more important issues."

that's odd- my recollection is that the media has always sided with Obama on this

"He started the conference by calling out NBC's Chuck Todd directly.

"I can't get the networks to break in on all kinds of other discussions," he said. "I was just back there listening to Chuck—he was saying, it’s amazing that he’s not going to be talking about national security. I would not have the networks breaking in if I was talking about that, Chuck, and you know it.""

Barry, I read all kinds of stuff about you all the time.

Do you really think there's been a lack of coverage on the budget and national security?

Maybe Obama doesn't read the paper.

"He then said that part of the reason that he wanted to release the birth certificate was because he was seeing coverage of the issue dominate the media, rather than discussion of the federal budget or other issues."

if you want us to discuss the budget, Barry, could you make a serious proposal

we're not going to borrow money from China to finance your liberal socialist agenda

"While the issue has certainly been heavily covered, the Pew Research Center pointed out that discussion of the birther issue made up for just 4 percent of the news coverage during the period Obama cited in his address."


"However, Donald Trump was the second most covered newsmaker last week."


""I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press," Obama said. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do.""

uh, Barry, you could have ended the silliness long ago

what's your problem anyway?

April 27, 2011 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Indiana state legislature is on the verge of becoming the first state to block Medicaid reimbursements for low-income patients seeking basic health services at Planned Parenthood clinics.

House Bill 1210, introduced by state Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) in January, takes a number of swipes at abortion rights and includes a provision that would prohibit the state of Indiana from contracting with "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed." While the provision does not name a specific health provider, it effectively singles out Planned Parenthood, which receives $3 million dollars a year from the state.

April 27, 2011 11:18 PM  
Anonymous sorry, Bea, but old people like Ryan said...

A new Gallup/USA Today poll contains a counterintuitive finding: the age group most receptive to House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's plan to deal with the budget - seniors.

The poll finds 48 percent of seniors (those 65 and over) support Ryan's plan over President Obama's plan, while 42 percent back the president.

That's the highest total among the age groups tested - a 47 percent plurality between the ages of 50 and 64 backed Ryan, and a 45 percent plurality of those between 30-49 backed Ryan. But young voters overwhelmingly sided with Obama by a 23-point margin, 53 to 30 percent.

Republicans hold a double-digit lead over Democrats in public perception of which party would do a better job dealing with the federal budget, according to the survey. 48 percent prefer Republicans, while 36 percent prefer Democrats in Congress.

The poll, conducted between April 20-23, surveyed 1,013 adults and has a four percent margin of error.

April 28, 2011 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Obama released his long form birth certificate Wednesday after years of speculation about the issue metastasized into a major political phenomenon he could no longer ignore.

But the question remains: Why did Obama, who has proudly vowed his administration would be the “most open and transparent in history,” wait so long?

The document itself is unremarkable. It includes details not on the short form birth certificate released by Obama’s campaign in 2008 – the age of his mother (18) and father (25) on the day he was born, for instance – but nothing scandalous or even unusual.

Only on April 22 did Obama initiate, through outside legal council, a request to the Hawaii Department of Health to waive normal policy and send him a copy of the long form document.

After all the explanations given by Hawaii officials, including from the attorney general – that it was against the law to release a copy of the document — Director of Health Loretta Fuddy approved the request three days later.

“I have the legal authority to approve the process by which copies of such records are made … I am making an exception to current departmental policy,” Fuddy wrote.

Two main factors elevated the issue such that Obama could no longer ignore requests for a simple, unremarkable document.

First, likely GOP presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump pushed the issue as no one else could. His knack for publicity and skill on television allowed him to bypass a culture in polite political society in which the issue was taboo. The move was part of a political strategy – one that has worked – of appealing to GOP primary voters.

Second, Matt Drudge, one of the most powerful drivers of the news cycle, followed the story relentlessly on the Drudge Report.

As Obama noted in a press conference Wednesday, when Republicans announced their budget, and Obama later gave a speech announcing a vague new plan separate from the budget he had already released, “during that entire week, the dominant news story wasn’t about the monumental choices we’re gonna have to make as a nation, it was about my birth certificate.”

Certainly, conspiracy theorists who peddled lies and half-truths on the issue – and there were many – are at fault for the explosion of the issue.

But did Obama provide them cover in failing to fully address a simple document request for over two years?

The political world in Washington was rife with speculation from Democrats and Republicans about whether Obama trying to use the “birther” issue for political advantage, as a way to make his conservative critics appear fringe.

It wasn't working and, recently, it was really not working.

Hence, the Obama flip-flop.

April 28, 2011 12:25 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

The fact that Obama had to go through all the trouble of getting his long form BC released even after all of the other evidence (short form BC, newspaper announcements, reviewers, etc.) had proven he was already a citizen, is testament both to the tenacity of the conservative’s propaganda machine, and the gullibility of a large portion of the conservative base.

The ability of so many people to believe what was obviously a contrived conspiracy theory is evidence that a sizable portion of the electorate is:

A: Stupid

B: Capable of clinging to a contrived fiction in the face of overwhelming facts, or

C: All of the above.

It is evidence that we seriously need to consider implementing an IQ test as part of the eligibility requirements for voting. We can’t afford to let morons like these have any serious influence on politics when we have so many important issues to resolve.

There are still people who don’t believe Obama was born in the US, saying things like, “well, if he’d done it sooner it would have been believable, but after 2 and a half years, you KNOW it’s fake.”

So my question is:

Do people who STILL believe Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen even AFTER the release of the long form birth certificate prefer to be called “Afterbirthers” or “Placentae?”

Have a nice day,


April 29, 2011 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why, on Obama's birth certificate released this week, his father's race is listed as "African"?

At the time Obama was born, his father would have been referred to as a "Negro." "African" was not considered a term desrcibing a race.

"The word "Negro" is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not, prior to the shift in the lexicon of American and worldwide classification of race and ethnicity in the late 1960s

The usage was accepted as normal, even by people classified as "Negroes", until the Civil Rights movement. One well-known example is the identification by Martin Luther King, Jr. of his own race as "Negro" in his famous speech I Have a Dream.

During the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, some African-American leaders in the United States objected to the word, preferring "Black", because they associated the word "Negro" with the long history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination that treated African Americans as second class citizens, or worse.

The term "Negro" is now widely considered to be obsolete, and it is not commonly used. It is still used in some historical contexts, such as in the name of the United Negro College Fund and the Negro league in sports.

Modern language uses: Black; additionally, Black African for people native to the African continent, and African American for people in U.S.A..

"Negro" superseded "colored" as the most polite terminology, at a time when "black" was more offensive.

The United States Census Bureau announced that Negro would be included on the 2010 United States Census, alongside "Black" and "African-American," because some older Black Americans nevertheless self-identify with the term."

April 29, 2011 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gee, it almost sounds like someone today photoshopped the document and made a mistake

April 29, 2011 10:44 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Can someone please explain to me why some people call carbonated beverages "pop" while others call it "soda," and still others, in an attempt to cover all bases call it "soda pop?"

Thank you for making my point Anon.

Have a bubbly day.


April 29, 2011 10:44 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...


Imagine yourself a Kenyan student studying in the United States in 1961. Your are aware of how Negroes (the term then generally used) are treated in the United States. You see yourself as a proud African. You may have even heard of the twists and turns that diplomats from the newly-independent African nations go through to avoid indignities by noting that they are, in fact, Africans not American Negroes. (Are you old enough to remember the incidents involving these diplomats traveling between New York and Washington on Route 40, before I-95 opened up, connecting Baltimore and Delaware? I am.)

Given all this, is it at all surprising that Barack Obama, Sr., would list his race as African? Now if the listing for race was "African American," then maybe you would have a point. Incidentally, if the listing had been "Afro-American," then it likely would have been from a hospital official sensitive to some of the linguistic variations of the time.

Here is a very interesting and, sadly, I think, accurate assessment of why so many people responded the way they did to the birther nonsense:

April 29, 2011 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't read the link, David, but your comment otherwise your point may be well taken

I wasn't thinking that the father probably gave them the term and he was actually a radical activist ahead of his time

April 29, 2011 11:57 AM  
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January 21, 2016 10:52 AM  

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