Bathroom Bills and Your Right to Wee, According to Your Gender Identity(ee)

Bathroom bills are on the march across the United States.  Most of the states pursuing these “bathroom bills” are based in the South or Midwest of the country.  However, they may not be exclusive to these areas.  Either way, it is very disconcerting.

The gist of the “bathroom bills” is a ploy to allow discrimination against LGBTIQ based upon an exercise of “religious freedom”, “privacy issues”, and imaginary “safety issues”.  Most are sponsored by organizations that are virulently intolerant of anyone who is perceived as “not straight.”  Religion might be in their name, but it is historical patriarchal mechanisms which they are really supporting.  Thus, it is a structure that cannot tolerate any threat to loss of power or influence at it’s core.  This structure must constantly renew itself through immersion of people (aka students) into its values.  One way to do that is to engender fear and suspicion in the community (aka school) of anyone who is different.

This brings us to the issue of lawsuits and bathroom use for transfolk who are school-aged students, especially for middle and high school.  It brings up issues of support, rights, and safety, not only for the trans student, but for all students of every stripe, color, creed, race, gender, and orientation by restricting a student due to a trait or feature about said student(s).  Hence, it can be the beginning of a long and winding road of discrimination of class(es) of people.

One particular lawsuit in Virginia is winding its way to a possible Supreme Court showdown.  It is one in which there is a strong likelihood that the suit will be returned to the states due to the new Trump administration and their penchant for “traditional values”.

I don’t want to be a wet-noodle or a Debby Downer, but the efforts to secure a right to use the bathroom matching one’s gender identity is about to go on pause for a while in some states, and that would likely include Virginia.

I’m an old transwoman of over 20 years. I also counsel as an MFT those who are closeted or keeping secrets, or in an inquiry into their identity. These are not easy things to address.

Suing in federal court to identify a “right” to not be discriminated due to gender identity has moved forward by linking such suits to Title IX clauses prohibiting sex discrimination.  This linkage is thanks to the Obama administration creating rules with executive orders which altered the interpretation of sex to include gender identity.  A very logical and appropriate development, in my view.   But, forgive the pun, this area of law is still quite fluid. 

However, with this new Trump administration I believe it is extremely likely that these rules will be removed. In that case, pursuing nondiscrimination based upon gender identity does not necessarily have federal backing. And that means these battles against discrimination will return to the state level.

A law professor of mine once said, regarding suing for discrimination, that if you file suit, you better win. Because if you don’t win, you’ll not only be hurting yourself, but the entire class of people just like you.

Tread carefully. Work with the school districts to avoid going to court unless it is absolutely necessary. Consider accepting a compromise that does not demean, shame, or invoke suffering, especially if the motive of the school district is really about doing their best to protect and respect the trans student, as well as deal with other parents who act out of fears, not facts. Most of all stay safe.

Or as my father used to tell me, “It might be YOUR right. But don’t be DEAD right.” Good advice.

20 years ago when I came out, facing myself, and facing others, I made compromises in order to survive. There were no laws protecting Transfolk from any kind of discrimination.  In order to allay others’ fears. In order to keep my job. In order to have a place to live.  And in time people came around and wondered what all the fuss was about. I don’t want any of us to go back in time. But I don’t want anyone hurt, injured or killed either.

Lastly, do not take this as surrender or appeasement.  One must pick their battles while also maintaining their ability to function in the greater society.  It is sometimes a long and slow trudging process.  Moving forward is often done in small steps, through being real and allowing people to know you, and you getting your message out there in how you live your life, and how you speak about your life.

It’s Been a While…

I’ve not been updating the blog for a while.  I became bored with myself and the need to incessantly post to promote the “brand”; that brand being my website and my services as a licensed psychotherapist.  I find it a bit distasteful to self-promote.  I want to help people, not market a “brand.”  So I let the blog go for a while.

But like Freddy Krueger from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies would say, “I’m back!”

Too much has happened for me to keep my mouth shut.  And I can no longer assume that other good people will pick up the mantle to continue the work of promoting purpose, health, tolerance, and economic well-being for all who desire it and are willing to work, and sometimes, work very hard to have and maintain these simple yet critical components of life.

So yes, I’m back.  And I’ll be around for a while.

Not promoting a brand.  Just a voice in the wilderness saying, “Look over here at what I found!  What do you think it means?”

Peace.

h.

Quote of the Day: Clothing Humanity

london251rz_pe2

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s Still Not Okay for Ladies to Get Angry [jezebel.com]

by Erin Gloria Ryan / jezebel.com

Every lady who has ever cried in the middle of an argument or been told to “calm down” after raising her voice knows that the best way to get other people to dismiss you as irrational is to get visibly upset. I’d say that the pervasive universal brush-off of female anger is fucking bullshit, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m crazy.

The Washington Post‘s Anna Holmes tackles this frustrating phenomenon as it’s affected three women currently in the public eye— Michelle Obama, Marianne Gingrich, and Elizabeth Warren.

Holmes first points to the public’s reaction to the interview that ABC News conducted with Marianne Gingrich, Newt’s second wife. The segment aired on the night of the final South Carolina debate and failed to either garner her any sympathy or drum up any voter derision for her adulterous family values-touting ex husband. Instead, public opinion turned against Marianne, and the Gingrich campaign dismissed her as a “bitter” woman. No one called Newt a “bitter” man when he spent the first 5 minutes of the GOP debate shouting like a drunk uncle whose favorite team just lost the Super Bowl at the moderator who dared ask him a question about his marital history.

Michelle Obama has faced similar public scrutiny about her anger, or perception of her anger, when she told CBS’s Gayle King that she was tired of being portrayed as “some angry black woman” after a book came out that characterized her as such. And Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren even had to battle similar lady anger side-eye from Jon Stewart during her recent interview on The Daily Show.

Holmes argues that these three are just part of the next generation of women affected by a harmful stereotype that’s spanned much of human history. Lady anger is bad. An angry woman is a crazy woman. Negative feelings from women who are being treated unfairly is irrational. Ad nauseam. She writes,

Females learn to curb their hostilities from a young age, and when female aggression is deployed, it has to be tiptoed around, gussied up with a shiny coat of lip gloss, an updo and a wink or, as evidenced in many a junior high school hallway, communicated passively, along back channels and in whispers.

In fact, women’s anger is often mocked in an attempt to dismiss the legitimacy of their feelings.

Michelle Obama, Marianna Gingrich, and Elizabeth Warren are famous for very different reasons, but they’re in the same boat with the rest of us when it comes to attitudes toward female anger— no matter who is expressing it, and no matter why they’re expressing it, it’s wrong. But hey, take it easy, baby. You’re being silly.

Even today, an angry female arouses fear and is dismissed [WaPo]

http://jezebel.com/5880065/its-still-not-okay-for-ladies-to-get-angry

Treasury Makes A Mistake – Claiming They Are Not Blocking Elizabeth Warren (via The Baseline Scenario)

This article says a lot about the good ‘ol boy politics of Washington DC. Elizabeth Warren is the best friend taxpayers and consumers have to speak for them. Don’t let this cabal of standpat-ness prevent the best chance yet of a brighter future for American consumers.

By Simon Johnson It’s one thing to block Elizabeth Warren from heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s quite another thing to deny in public, for the record, that any such blocking is going on (e.g., see this report; Michael Barr apparently said something quite similar today). There is a strong groundswell of opinion on this issue from the left – see the BoldProgressives petition.  But the center also feels strongly that, given … Read More

via The Baseline Scenario