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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.


( 195 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 29th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
thank you for being a voice for those of us who get so upset at the world constantly shitting on glb-and-the-often-silent-t people that all we want to do is curl up and cry.
Apr. 29th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
I don't have anything terribly important to add to this very important, very right-on piece except fuck yeah. Its seriously way past time that the world catch up, its fucking 2010, there is no excuse for this barbaric behaviour rooted in puritannical pseudo-judeo-christian values in a supposedly free country.

I am proud to be a transwoman, and I refuse to hide who and what I am just to avoid offending someone's frail sensibilities, that is simply not how the world should be. I am who and what I am.
Apr. 29th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
(here through a friends' list/link)

Thank you for writing this. It's utterly wonderful and far more eloquently put than I could ever hope to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Apr. 29th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I don't have much to add. Thanks for posting this.
Apr. 29th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
I am linking to this on twitter and facebook. Thank you for being so eloquent, though I'm sorry it had to be done.
Apr. 29th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
Oh thank goodness. I was waiting for a proper response to that ridiculous bullshit.
Apr. 29th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you
I did not want to create an account, but I do not want to be anonymouse. My name is Erin, and I am a MTF trans woman, and I thank you for this. It is a shame that it has to be written, but you have worded this very well, and hopefully, this will open at least ONE persons eyes. If it does, then I will have hope....Much love

Erin Vaught
Apr. 29th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
A spectacularly to the point, sharp and heartening rebuttal. I'm always without words when people say the cruellest, stupidest things, and I can tell I'll find myself paraphrasing you in public. I will invite people to this page whenever I can.

I was wondering though, can you or someone tell me what's referred to by 'the states in which it is fully legal to...'? Is it a case history? I'm not from the US so if it's headlines obvious I wouldn't know.
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
Although I am not a transsexual and do not know any personally, I have sadly witnessed mistreatment of strangers who are transsexuals. I regret being unable to help such strangers then. I myself suffer from a physical disability and honestly feared my own safety if I chose to be bold enough to assist the victim. It is truly saddening that such prejudices exist and the concept of "humanity" is lost with such opinions.

I feel as if I am rereading a history book about the Salem Witch Trials where men and women were persecuted and sentenced to death for ridiculous reasons simply because they had looked at someone in the wrong way or were a bit more eccentric. They too believed such killings and acts of torture were appropriate.

I cannot say I understand and I will most likely never understand the difficulties transsexuals people affected by this, deal with everyday but I wish you the best in your fight for equality.

Even if I cannot physically be of assistance, I will do my very best to spread word of this instance of mistreatment.

Stay strong and keep fighting forward.
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say I'd linked to your excellent rebuttal in my Shakesville post about the topic, and to apologize for having initially misgendered you when I did so (I've since been multiply and properly corrected/called out for it). Very well said, sir. Very well said.
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
Gurh. Forgot to include the link.
Apr. 29th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
Fucking beautiful. I salute you, your courage, and the courage of all the transgendered people out there doing their damndest to live full lives in the face of such horrific bigotry.
Apr. 30th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Absolutely. This should be mandatory reading.
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)

Thank you for taking the time to speak up and be heard, well and truly, with a righteous anger that hopefully will be looked at with a rueful and sad shaking of the head by the average person someday.

That day ain't today, and it might not be tomorrow. But you have armed us with the tools to fight intelligently and disarm the hatred and bigotry arrayed against us, and for this I thank you.
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
very well said
well, I am so happy to see that there are so many wonderful comments posted on here... as the wife of a trans women I am very well educated on this matter...You did a wonderful job of speaking out the truth..you are amazing! Thankyou for being the voice of millions of people..including my wife...major props to you...Good luck and Bash Back!

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( 195 comments — Leave a comment )

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