Friday, March 17, 2017

Here we go again: The radical religious right claiming that LGBs are at odds with the Ts

Michael Cook
The ultra-orthodox Catholic conspiracy theorists at have a new prediction: “LGB vs. T: A crackup is looming in the LGBT community.” This bit of wishful thinking comes from Australian crackpot, Michael Cook. I will get back to Mr. Cook but first I must express my pride in the LGBT community. Gay people vastly outnumber transgender people but our community strives for fairness and equality for all sexual minorities. It is a place that you get to quickly if you think about the plight of trans kids in public school. We are unified and we are committed.

Getting back to Michael Cook, he writes:
You can already hear the distant boom-boom of breaking ice. The latest absurd episode of LGB versus T took place in the American state of Maine earlier this week at Kennebunk High School. As a feature of its diversity week the school was to be the first in the state to fly the gay pride rainbow flag. But it was hauled down after a trans student complained that it might embarrass other trans students.
I left Cook's link in place. A Maine ABC affiliate writes:
The gay pride flag at Kennebunk High School has been removed after a transgender student said they did not want to attract media attention.
That reflects fear in contrast to discord or embarrassment. I cannot imagine where that fear could possibly come from.

Cook continues to stew:
Something similar happened last year at the University of British Columbia. A trans woman incinerated a gay pride flag hoisted to celebrate LGBT OutWeek festivities. She later explained that she felt diminished when the university applauded the LGBT community. "Transsexual people do struggle with being marginalized within the LGBT community," said the chair of Vancouver's Trans Alliance Society.
I left that link in place too. There is no similarity between the two events. If that trans woman feels marginalized it means that, at that locale, gays might not be doing enough to coalesce with trans people. There is probably a failure to communicate somewhere.

This actually accomplishes just the opposite of Cook's hypothesis. If the gay majority within the LGBT community is not doing enough or is not doing what is right for transgender people then those folks should, and will, make their concerns known. We are not fixated on dogma or ideology. Our reaction to grievances is far more likely to bring us closer together than to split us apart.
This is not a new idea, either. A couple of years ago, a gay activist wrote a much-criticised column in USA Today which argued that LGBs and Ts should go their separate ways.
That was written by Joseph R. Murray II. Murray is not, and never has been, a gay activist. Mr. Murray claims to be a gay man. He is a small-town lawyer in rural Mississippi who craves attention. He succeeds in garnering attention by writing anti-gay polemics for newspapers as op-eds. The only reason they are published is their uniqueness of being anti-gay from a gay man. Joseph R. Murray II doesn't speak for the LGBT community. He has opted not to be a part of the LGBT community.

Then we get to the good stuff:
Homosexuality represents a mistake about the purpose of sexuality; it is not a mistake about biology. Gays and lesbians affirm and even exaggerate their masculinity and femininity. The claim of transgenders is far more radical. They deny that the sex with which they were born with has any inherent meaning; it is just a matter of choice. So it’s just a matter of time before this marriage of convenience dissolves. The various groups will recognise that they have little in common other than feeling aggrieved by conventional sexual mores.
A mistake according to whom exactly? Ancient chronicles of dubious provenance written by people who knew very little about the natural world? Perhaps Mr. Cook learned this from one of the indulged eunuchs in the Church hierarchy.  Cook is trying to fit non-binary constructs into his binary world of convenience; one that has to conform to scripture. Expressions of masculinity and femininity involve both sex and gender and have nothing to do with sexual orientation. There are infinite combinations of variables.

Contrary to Cook's assertion, there is nothing “radical” about being transgender which is an expression of gender dysphoria. It is a condition that is well known in science. Nor, for that matter, is there any “choice” involved. Cook probably believes that his god created everyone heterosexual and cisgender and that any variance from that is due to the choices that people make. That is just baseless superstition.

Being transgender is about sexual identity. Being gay is about sexual orientation. Those are different things. However, we are joined together, as sexual minorities, by many things including a common oppressor. Mr. Cook offers us a reminder in that regard.

In 1970 (47 years ago) Major Frank Burns was a punchline. Today he is Tony Perkins and he helped to shape the Republican Party's repressive anti-LGBT platform. Hate group leaders like Perkins and polemicists like Michael Cook are unifying forces.

Cook makes a radical change in direction:
The view of radical feminists is that trans women are living in a world of Barbie doll femininity; they have not suffered under the oppression of the patriarchy and do not deserve to masquerade as women. They were outraged when Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner told Buzzfeed “The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear” -- not bearing children, raising children, coping with sexism or making ends meet. 
What does this have to do with the claimed discord between gay and trans people? Some people, including feminists, do not understand trans people. So what? We try — I try — to educate them. Caitlyn Jenner doesn't speak for the trans community. She has not suffered the oppression that most trans people experience and she does not have the economic stress that most trans people experience. Personally I think that Caitlyn is a bit of a jerk but I will fight for her right to be treated fairly. We all fight so that ignoramuses like Tony Perkins and Pope Francis have no influence on public policy when it comes to sexual minorities.
Take, for instance, the eminent BBC presenter Jenni Murray. She was under fire earlier this month over an article she wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine about trans women. She denied being “transphobic”, but said that sex changes cannot turn men into “real women”. (The BBC chastised her for her incendiary remarks – so much for free speech!)
I do not know who Jenni Murray is. Nor do I care. Some people think and say some spectacularly stupid things about trans people. They opine moronically about gay people too, particularly if they are religious conservatives. Ms. Murray was idiotic. Now I do not know what free speech means in Australia but in this country it means speech free from government interference. Employers have every right to control the speech of their employees in the performance of their jobs, and sometimes beyond.
The issue has also split feminist theoreticians. Some scholars feel that trans women are just men colonising femininity. …
I honestly do not know enough about feminism (nor does Mr. Cook it seems) to assess this. However, it is irrelevant to the cohesion of gays and trans people in the LGBT community which is what this piece was supposed to be about.
If the New York Times is an accurate barometer of cultural trends, then feminism is in danger of being eclipsed by transgender issues, even though 49.6 percent of the world population are women, and only 0.3 percent (if that) are transgender. Wednesday March 8 was International Women’s Day (even Donald Trump tweeted about it), but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the editorial pages of the Times. What did catch the eye was a powerful op-ed column published the day before by Gavin Grimm, the trans boy at the centre of a legal fight in Virginia.
Let's get the facts correct. On March 8, the opinion section of the New York Times included a relevant piece about IWD by Gail Collins. I haven't the slightest idea what argument Cook is making. Yes, Gavin Grimm wrote an op-ed on March 7. According to Cook that “did catch the eye.” Whose eye and what did that have to do with events the following day? On March 6, the Supreme Court of the United States remanded Grimm's case back to the Fourth Circuit. It was one of the most closely watched cases at the Court. Grimm's op-ed the following day did get my attention. So what? And, again, what the fuck does any of this have to do with Cook's claim of discord within the LGBT community?
Conservatives are fond of quoting the prophetic words of the poet W.B. Yeats: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” But the first things to fall apart will be the ragtag alliance of opponents of traditional sexual mores and traditional marriage.
Yeats wrote that in 1919. Very briefly, if one understands the poem, he was saying that the second coming (the return of Jesus Christ) is at hand because of the turmoil created by the World War. I will leave it at that. For Mr. Cook those “traditional sexual mores” are the rules of the Catholic Church.

Religion's purpose is to provide a path to an afterlife. Follow the rules and when you croak you are off to heaven or nirvana or wherever depending upon whose rules you follow. The rules of the Catholic Church mean no masturbation, no recreational sex, no contraceptives, no gay sex and very little fun. Far more straight people break those silly rules than all the gay people in the world.

Michael Cook is just regurgitating the talking point of the Church that we oppose so-called traditional marriage. To suggest that proponents of same-sex marriage oppose opposite-sex marriage is a rhetorical absurdity which pretty much sums up this entire misadventure on Cook's part.

Related content:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil and do NOT link to anti-gay sites!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.