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Dear editorial staff of the Washington Times,

You unconscionable cowards.

I believe in freedom of speech, but with that freedom comes, yes, responsibility, since we would not care about such freedoms if words had no meaning. It is reprehensible that what you choose to do with your semi-anonymous platform is to fan the fires of irrational fear and hatred by spewing hate-speech against a small minority.

"First-graders should not be forced into the classrooms of teachers undergoing sex changes."

I should not be forced to pay taxes for schools in which discrimination in hiring practices contributes to the unemployment rate of transsexuals. I should not be forced to pay taxes for schools in which children are taught to be hateful of anyone who does not live exactly as they do. If you truly feel it is your right to teach your children to be bigots, do it on your own dime, in your own home.

But yes. Let’s talk about the children.

Let’s talk about Larry King, shot to death by an eighth grade classmate who thought that was an acceptable response to “gender-variant” behavior.

Let’s talk about children beaten to death by their parents for gender-variant behavior. Or beaten to death out of fear of future gender-variant behavior.

Worse, let’s talk about the states in which it is fully legal to attempt to beat the gay out of your child, as long as you only leave bruises in the appropriate locations.

Let’s talk about Cameron McWilliams, the ten year-old transgendered child who saw no other option but suicide. At ten.

There is a common thread to arguments such as yours – that we transsexuals should stay in our place, which is, presumably, away from children. Actually, judging by your frequent use of the word “she-male” in a desperate attempt to strip us of our humanity, you watch a great deal of pornography. It is extremely telling and sad that you cannot imagine us in any situation that is not hyper-sexualized.

Let’s talk about the consequences of teaching children that cruelty is acceptable as long as the victim is “not normal.” Let’s talk about the consequences of teaching children that the only acceptable lifestyle for transsexuals is starring in your pornography. Children grow up, but they do not grow out of the violence they are taught to perpetrate and condone in childhood.

I don’t expect you to care, but I’m including this just in the off-chance that even a single member of your editorial staff has a shred of basic human decency.

In a recent study, 70% of transsexuals surveyed reported having experienced harassment in the workplace. This harassment regularly included physical violence. From that report, “A gay employee of the Connecticut State Maintenance Department was tied up by his hands and feet; a firefighter in California had urine put in her mouthwash; a transgender corrections officer in New Hampshire was slammed into a concrete wall; and a transgender librarian at a college in Oklahoma had a flyer circulated about her that said God wanted her to die. When employees complain about this kind of harassment, they are often told that it is of their own making, and no action is taken.”

Your editorial directly justifies such behavior. Your words seek to incite assault, rape, and murder.

That is no idle threat. Your transphobia is based on lies, idle speculation, and rampant bigotry. There is no threat to you or your own. The only threat here is the one that we face every day as, yes, a class of citizens whose sole day of solidarity is one during which we remember our dead.

Your right to your unfounded opinions does not trump my right to live.

"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."

Unnatural? Unnatural like birth control? Like blood pressure medication, concrete floors and brick walls? Unnatural like electric lights and indoor plumbing? Unnatural like prosthetic limbs, penicillin, and pacemakers? You don’t give half a crap about “natural” versus “unnatural.”

Nevermind that if the transphobic assholes in the world didn’t have a fetish for prying into personal medical histories, the children would most certainly not know. Would you like to take a guess at who I’ve heard give the most graphic description of gay sex in a classroom? Would you like to guess? She was not a lesbian or a transsexual, she was a straight, cissexual woman who thought it was appropriate to give her students a graphic description of gay sex acts in order to share her horrified fascination.

"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."

Okay, let’s talk about psychological disorders. Your words seem to indicate some fear of those who suffer from mental illnesses, with the certainty that this is a reasonable response. It is not. I refuse to duck the stigma that comes from remaining in the DSM-IV (and being shoe-horned into the DSM-V). People. Have. Mental. Illnesses, the severity of which can range from short-term issues (similar to catching a cold, most likely fine in a few days) to the mental equivalent of a long-term physical illness.

Long term mental illnesses can in many cases be managed, and even people with severe mental illness can live full lives, work jobs, and are no threat to anybody. People who suffer from mental illness are far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator.

Shame on you, too, for not doing the slightest bit of research on this subject. You work at a newspaper, and you couldn’t be arsed to do a five second Google search? If you had, it would have turned up the information that, yes, mental disorders are included in the disability protected class. It is already illegal under federal law to discriminate based on mental disorders.

Your words also feed into the stigma that mental illnesses are personality flaws, rather than illnesses, a stigma that keeps people from getting the treatment they need.

For you, this may be idle, disgusted speculation. For us, this is quite literally life and death.

Your words are unacceptable.

Keffy R. M. Kehrli





Edited to add: While the newspaper in question is of extremely dubious quality, it was more of a "straw that broke the camel" than anything else. It was certainly not the first time I had seen statements like these, and I rather doubt it will be the last. WT might be the "mouthpiece of a cult" but there are enough other people who feel this way (as evidenced by violence statistics alone) that I felt this post needed to be written.

Edited again to add:
Yes, please do repost, link, retweet, facebook, etc. I have no bandwidth limitation, as this is hosted on LiveJournal.

Thank you, all those of you who already have, and those of you who will in the future.


( 205 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 28th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Beautifully eloquent. Thank you.

But I'm sorry it was necessary to write it.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Excellent--and wow how it grieves me that any of this must be said.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Damn. That's a wonderful letter. It's horrible that you had to write this in the first place, but I'm glad you did.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
I hate that this type of rebuttal must still be written, but am glad that you're here to write it so well.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I just looked up the article in question, and wow. It's infuriating. Bravo on maintaining composure in your response.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
This was absolutely beautiful in every sense of the word (though heartbreaking at the same time), but even this small testament of truth is still hope. Combating an ignorant world that refuses to do anything but grow uglier each day is hard, but I am happy to see voices still making themselves known that not everyone is going to let it happen and merely stay quiet.
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
Keffy --

Thank you.
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
Keffy, I salute you.
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
And it's not the first time they've been anti-trans. This one's not even an editorial
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
Dear god, if Wikipedia's right, they were founded by Moonies.
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, yes, Wikipedia is right.
But Not For Long - doctorpsycho60 - May. 3rd, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Well spoken, well written, bravo! Would that it wasn't necessary to say at all! May I post this on my own lj and maybe facebook for my other friends to read (with due credit given)? They should be aware of this outrage too!
Apr. 28th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
I'd prefer links to outright re-posting, but either is okay.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
I got here via Jonathan's link on Facebook - when will people figure out that they do NOT have the right never to have to see something that doesn't fit within their world view?
Apr. 28th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
It is extremely telling and sad that you cannot imagine us in any situation that is not hyper-sexualized.

Good calls. That is something I have noticed about anti-gay bigotry, is that it seems to come from perverts who are too wretched to even own up to their prurient fascinations and feel the need to project them out onto other people.

They can't see homosexual romantic relationships as being about love and they can't see gender identity as being about identity. So they turn everything into a trashy freak show* in their minds because they're too degraded to consider it any other way. And then they have the nerve to point the finger at others.

Self-appointed guardians of public morality are inevitably liars, with minds both filthy and small.

Also, as a side note? Children's fantasy literature and fairy tales have transgender themes, in the form of people who are enchanted to be the wrong sex. So obviously if you need to explain the concept to kids you can look there.

*Nothing against trashy freak shows.
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
...Because God only knows that if it's not about reproduction, it's about trashy freak shows.

(no subject) - skellington1 - Apr. 28th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drgnsyr - Apr. 30th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 28th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
*hugs* Well said.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
*Applauds* Thanks for having the courage to be yourself, and to say what needs to be said! I pray for the day when things like things don't need to be said, because they are so obvious/unnecessary!
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:19 am (UTC)
I hope you don't mind that I'm linking this from my original journal~ The people who wrote that original article (and those who agree with it) make me lose hope in humanity more and more each day.
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
Here here! You're amazing.
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
very, very eloquent. It's not a paper I've ever admired, but that doesn't change your right to respond to their editorial with a passionate letter of your own that sets the facts straight and points out their prejudicial position.

Thank you for posting it.
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
That's a pretty damn cool letter there.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hell yes. Very well said.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
*Slow clap*

Especially for pointing out the fear that's tied into hyper-sexualization.

Personally, I think one of the strong arguments FOR public schools is exposing children to different cultures/ideas/lifestyles. Lack of that exposure is why home and private schooling scares me. HELL YES, I want kids to understand that the world is complex! That's the freaking POINT!
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Heavens... I'm so sorry that you had to write this letter. But I appreciate your words.

Would a hug across the miles help any?
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
May I link to this, please?
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Yes, of course you may. :)
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
Well said. I especially like the bit about mental illness. It's amazing that they raised that point, as if it were valid even if the implication (that there's something wrong with trans people in the head) were true. I'd love to look at the numbers on teachers who suffer from mental disorders. I'll bet it's astronomical.
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
I, and my many trans friends, salute you. :D I recently posted on the matter, as well, but was not quite as well-spoken as you. ( http://plinko.livejournal.com/566174.html ) This whole "issue" just sickens me. I mean, really, I've gotten to the point where I think about it, and I feel like I want to throw up. I can't even speak lucidly about it anymore, because the topic invariably brings me to foaming-mouth fury, (and I'm so not a irrational fury sort of person) and that's no good for anyone.
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Wow. The source article is horrifying! But I expect no less from the Washington Times. Their editorial page isn't even fit to wrap fish in, as there is so much vitriol on that paper you wouldn't want it to contaminate your food. They have less journalistic integrity than the National Enquirer.
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Discovering how really not-a-newspaper they are has made me feel a little silly getting as angry as I did. On the other hand, words are words, and the views they espouse are really far more common than they should be.
(no subject) - sheepykins - Apr. 28th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - raishi_fox - Apr. 28th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - criada - Apr. 29th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jwordsmith - Apr. 29th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 205 comments — Leave a comment )

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