Keffy (kehrli) wrote,

I am a transsexual. (An open letter to the Washington Times)

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.
Tags: enda, trans, trans-bashing, washington time

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