International Women’s Day

In the wake of International Women’s Day, I am left with a flood of emotions.  I want to laugh.  I want to cry.  I want to scream.  I am completely beside myself trying to make sense of all that I have seen and heard.  It’s taken me a bit to calm my emotions and organize my thoughts, but I think I am finally ready to put them into words.

I am shocked to hear that women in the United States are not equal to men!  How can this be true?  Well, the short answer is – it’s NOT true.  The notion is absurd.  I don’t understand how people can make such accusations with a straight face.  There is no country in the world where women have more rights and opportunities.  The examples offered up to prove this “inequality” range from misguided to comical.

One such example that shattered my soul – is having to pay sales tax on tampons.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Apparently, this is somehow an egregious assault against women – though for the life of me, I don’t understand how.  In most states, sales tax is only exempt on essential items; such as unprepared food (that you would starve to death without) – Or clothing that protects you from the elements (helping to keep you from becoming ill or even dying from exposure).

In order to give credence to the theory that this is a form of inequality and sexism, many 3rd generation “feminists” have started to claim that tampons are “essential” to women.  I must have missed the course in biology that explains how a lack of tampons could cause physical harm or even death.  The vital truth that is being glossed over is that tampons are a HYGIENE product!  And hygiene products are NOT essential, just highly desired and recommended – particularly in first world countries like ours.

What would the outcome be if a woman was deprived of tampons or sanitary napkins?  Well, once a month she would stain her clothing and linens with menstrual blood.  Would these stains cause her clothing or bedding to stop functioning?  Of course not.  It would simply be embarrassing.  Is that not the same outcome as failing to use most hygiene products?

Lack of deodorant would leave you smelling of B.O.  Embarrassing.  Lack of toothpaste would leave you with stained teeth and bad breath.  Embarrassing.  Lack of shampoo would leave you with greasy, limp hair.  Embarrassing.  Are you noticing a trend here?  Because I could go on…

There are some states that do grant exemption for the sales tax on tampons – but it is NOT because those states consider tampons essential.  Those states simply grant exceptions for many personal hygiene products.  And as tampons are included in that list, there are no injustices being done to the female population.

Tragically, the logic gets stretched even thinner from there.  I came across a very informative “article” on the subject that I would like to examine.

32 Everyday Things Women Do That Men Don’t Have To Worry About – Tell us again how women are equal?” (find the article here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/everyday-things-women-do-that-men-dont-have-to-worry-about?utm_term=.tmRvxaw2J#.mkqrKQeRd  )

The prevailing theme is almost exclusively fears and insecurities.  It attempts to prove that women are not equal to men by citing specific examples of things that “women do” out of fear and insecurity, that supposedly “men don’t have to worry about”.  I hate to break it to you, but women do NOT have a monopoly on fears and insecurities.  It’s incredibly sexist and self-absorbed to assume that these are problems faced exclusively by women.

Perhaps the specific methods of dealing with their fears and insecurities take a slightly different form – but do you really think that a man walking through the city by himself doesn’t subtly look over his shoulder to see if he’s being followed?  Do you really think that his stomach doesn’t tense up if he notices someone intimidating walking behind him?  Do you really think he doesn’t start trying to prepare himself in case something bad happens?  Maybe the reason you don’t think that men do these things is because you think men are “supposed to be tough”.  It’s not socially acceptable for a man to show his fears and insecurities.  And HIDING those fears and insecurities is something that men do that women don’t have to worry about.

Granted, he is probably not nearly as worried about getting raped as most women (although not as often, men DO get raped) – but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t fear for his safety or his life.  Often times he also fears for the safety of his loved ones.  Society tells him that he is supposed to “be the man” and protect his significant other and family members; and he worries constantly that he may not be strong enough to do so (another thing that men do that women don’t have to worry about).  Brutal crimes happen every day and ALL people, regardless of gender, are potential victims.

Many of the other examples in that “article” are fears about things like speaking up at work or not being taken seriously.  Again, this is not exclusive to women.  This is a problem faced by all people who suffer from insecurity.  There are many confident, strong-willed women out there – and there are many insecure and timid men.  Anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t paying very close attention.

There is also talk about the wage gap – which on the surface seems like a very legitimate concern. But if you dig a little deeper, you will discover that it is a complete misrepresentation of statistics.  It’s not comparing apples to apples.  It does not directly compare how much women are being paid for the same job/position as men.  It is the overall average that women in general make compared to the overall average that men in general make – and it leaves out a lot of relevant factors.  (If you do a google search for “wage gap myth”, you will get hits from many reputable news sources explaining these factors.  Personally, I think that Christina Hoff Sommers explains it best in this video: https://youtu.be/1oqyrflOQFc )

One thing that this “article” gets right is the societal pressure women feel to shave their legs and their armpits, to wear makeup and do their hair, to be beautiful and put together to be seen as a worthwhile person.  Although, to be fair, a lot of that pressure actually comes from other women. I’m really not sure why, but as a whole, women have the tendency to be harder on other women than men are on other men.  I believe it’s mostly born out of jealously and the misguided belief that tearing down someone else will make you feel better about yourself.  But men DO experience these problems as well.  Mostly over how “manly” and sexually prolific they are.

And the reverse side if this coin is quite an interesting phenomenon.  Men are expected NOT to “primp” and take care of themselves the way that women do.  Just think about it – what do people think and say about a man who shaves his legs or armpits?  Who spends too much time doing his hair or who wears makeup?  Who gets a manicure or who goes to a spa?  These are things that a heterosexual man simply cannot do in our society. It becomes a lot trickier to place blame on men over the societal pressures women face once you take into account the societal pressures that men also face.

The thing that we all need to understand is that while there are many problems and situations that women typically face that men typically don’t (and we SHOULD be talking about those things and trying to fix them) – there are just as many problems and situations that men typically face that women typically don’t (and we should be talking about and trying to fix THOSE things as well).  It’s called being DIFFERENT.  And different is NOT the same as unequal.

This attitude being cultivated, that these differences are proof that women in this country are still so oppressed, has led to outright misandry.  Men are being viewed as the ENEMY of women.  People are even calling for stripping men of rights and privileges in the interest of making things “equal”.  But if you push someone else down, you will be pulled down right along with them.  Then you’ll both end up drowning.  No good can ever come out of it.

There is a level of willful ignorance at work here.  Many people don’t seem to understand that you will never convince someone to take your side by insulting them.  You will never earn someone else’s respect by disrespecting them.  You will never come across as strong by whining and complaining.  You will never feel like someone’s equal if you treat them like they are inferior to you or owe you something.  But those are the tactics being employed by this so-called “women’s movement” – and it has backfired horribly.

Instead of helping women, it is hurting them.  Keep in mind, it’s not going to make men who already respect women start respecting them more.  But it is going to make men who don’t respect women, respect them less.  It has made women appear fragile, weak, and irrational.  It has turned women against other women who disagree with the sentiments and/or tactics.  And it has seriously contributed to the polarization of our country.

So, what exactly IS the intended goal of this “movement”? Are you hoping that the government will step in and dictate the thoughts and opinions of everyone?  The government does not have the power to FORCE someone to respect you or consider you their equal. That is NOT something any of us are entitled to.  A person’s OPINION of you has NOTHING to do with equal RIGHTS under the law.  (A government trying to force peoples’ thoughts and opinions is fascism, BTW.)

If you want to change someone’s opinion about you for the better, you need to find a different tactic.  You need to SHOW people you are strong.  You need to have confidence in yourself and treat others with kindness and respect.  As we all learned in kindergarten, you need to treat others as you want to be treated.  You can only get what you give.  And you also only deserve what you give.

Don’t get me wrong, there most assuredly are men in this country who do not view or treat women as their equals.  They dismiss women.  They disrespect them.  They sexualize them.  They demoralize them.  It’s repugnant.  These men do not deserve a women’s respect and a woman will probably never be able to gain theirs.  Some people are just assholes who will disrespect you no matter what you do or say – and this applies to BOTH genders.  This is not a matter of inequality, but rather a matter of human nature.

So, what can we do about all these problems that BOTH men and women face?  The only things we can do is lead by example and try to teach the next generation to do better.  And we can use International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day to help us do that.  But it only works if we are all on the same team.

 

 

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There was SO MUCH more I was going to say in this post.  I was going to talk about the inequality and oppression of women all over the world as well as everyday circumstances that could be negative influences on young girls and what we can do about it… but this was so long already and I would have doubled it.  Perhaps another post for another day.

A Lesson in Tolerance

I’ve spent some time hating.  I’ve spent some time complaining.  And I’ve spent some time questioning.  I’ve searched my soul… and something unexpected occurred to me.  Something I would like to share with the world.  Or at least as much of it as I have the power to reach.

I’m going to break down some seemingly common misconceptions about what it means to be tolerant… and what it means to be intolerant.  I’m going to do this because I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe… there are people who genuinely don’t understand the difference.  That at least some of this swirling hatred might be coming out of a simple misunderstanding.

I’d like to paint a picture for you in a way that I hope will be easy to understand and follow.  To accomplish this, I’m going to use an example of a situation that is widely considered a “hot button” subject – a situation that I expect everyone to have some level of familiarity with.

Imagine a religious person who believes that homosexuality is morally wrong.  We’ve probably all known someone who feels this way.  You might even be one of them.  But your personal views on the matter aren’t what’s important in this analogy.  What I have to say applies to all sides of the fence.

First I’d like to ask you: What opinion have you formed of our example religious person?  Do you think they are intolerant?  Closed-minded?  Homophobic?  Hateful?

Would it surprise you if I were to say that it’s not intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong?  Because, despite popular opinion – it’s NOT intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong.  I’m going to repeat that.  It’s not intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong.  It truly isn’t.  At least not on the face of it.

Please understand that I am not saying I personally believe that homosexuality is morally wrong – because nothing could be further from the truth.  I am merely saying that a person having that belief alone is not sufficient to label them as intolerant.  So, before you write me off as being intolerant and homophobic – please allow me to explain WHY.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, tolerance is defined as “willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, even if you disagree or disapprove of them.”

What that basically means is, you can disagree with and even DISAPPROVE of a person’s behavior or beliefs and still be tolerant.  Because it’s not one’s personal feelings on the matter that determines their tolerance; but rather their ACTIONS towards the person they disagree with.

So, let’s take this information back to our example.  If the religious person in question accepts and respects a person who is homosexual, even though it goes against their personal morals and beliefs (e.g. “love the sinner, hate the sin”), then that person IS tolerant.  They are THE VERY DEFINITION of tolerant.

Now, if our example religious person refuses to accept and respect people solely for their sexuality, that is an entirely different scenario.  In that instance, they ARE intolerant.  Possibly even hateful.

But here’s where it REALLY gets interesting.  Did you judge our example religious person without taking the time to get to know them?  Did you write them off solely for their beliefs about homosexuality?  Do you refuse to accept and respect them because of those beliefs?  Maybe even hate them over it?

Would it surprise you if I were to say that anyone who answered “yes” to those questions is intolerant?  Because, anyone who answered yes to those questions IS intolerant.  I’m going to repeat that.  Anyone who hates a person, solely because they believe homosexuality is wrong, is intolerant. They are THE VERY DEFINITION of intolerant.  (Which, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is defined as “refusing to accept ideas, beliefs, or behavior that are different from our own.”)

If you alienate or treat a person disrespectfully because you disagree with their views and opinions, there is no “pass” that will magically make your behavior become tolerant.  Claiming that your actions aren’t intolerant because “they” are intolerant is NOT a valid argument.  Trying to excuse your behavior will likely only make you MORE intolerant.  It can turn into a vicious cycle if you let it.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to alienate or treat a person disrespectfully when you disagree with their views and opinions.  You have a right to your opinion even when it is intolerant, hateful, or disrespectful..  As does everyone else, no matter how much you disagree with them!  As long as you do not HARM the person you hate, then you have the right to hate them for any reason.  But keep in mind, they have just as much right to hate YOU!

So, ask yourself what kind of person you want to be.  Do you want to be tolerant?  Or do you want to be intolerant?  Do you want to be accepting of people with different backgrounds and beliefs?  Or do you want to be closed-minded?

If you think it’s ok to hate and lash out at people whose views you have deemed intolerant, you may want to give yourself a hard look in the mirror.

Hatred.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such blind hatred.  Never in my lifetime have I seen hatred so freely and openly expressed.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed hatred shared by SO MANY people.  Never in my lifetime have I seen hatred so widely considered socially acceptable.

My only experience with hatred of this magnitude comes from history books and news reports on countries that lack our freedoms and comforts.  I never thought I would personally experience it.  I never thought it would be in my own backyard.  I never thought I would feel so powerless to stand up to it.  I never thought I would feel so frightened for my future…  For OUR future.

Hatred disguised as tolerance.  Except I am not seeing or hearing any tolerance.  All I see and hear are people with differing viewpoints being verbally assaulted and labeled with the word “intolerant” before they have even had the opportunity to speak.  To explain their point of view.  To even HAVE their own point of view.

Because why should you be given that opportunity when merely knowing it slightly deviates from their own is enough to know that it is WRONG?  That YOU are wrong.  Because if you DARE to question or disagree it means that you are racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic, etc.  It’s just your “privilege” talking.  Apparently, this “privilege” makes it socially acceptable to degrade and oppress you.  Makes it ok to judge you before a word even leaves your mouth.

Whatever happened to the free exchange of ideas?  Whatever happened to trying to see things from someone else’s perspective?  Whatever happened to getting to know a person before judging them?  Whatever happened to agree to disagree?  Whatever happened to live and let live?  Whatever happened to LISTENING to each other?

I keep seeing the phrase “social justice warrior” thrown around… but as far as I can tell, it’s just a fancy new term for a bully.  A “politically correct” way of justifying intolerance.  A badge to render anyone they disagree with as “the enemy”.  A way to always be “right” even when they are completely in the wrong.

I wish I could fix the world, but it doesn’t work like that.  All I can do is live true to my ideals and morals and hope the idea catches on.

 

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Tolerance – “The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Intolerance –
“Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.”

Transgender Policies and Practices “Guidance” Letter to Schools

Obama has really outdone himself this time.  I think this just might be the single worst act in his reign of terror against our country.  Even *I* didn’t expect him to be capable of this level great wrong.  No matter what side of the transgendered bathroom debate you are on, you SHOULD be outraged by this.

To take it upon himself to ORDER every school in this country to grant their under-age students access to the restroom AND locker room/shower of their choice… or else he will STEAL their federal funding –  right out of the hands of all the CHIDLREN that money was allotted for.  To use OUR children as PAWNS in his real life game of chess.  To threaten to steal our children’s EDUCATION and FUTURE from them as a method of strong-arming the adults to conform to HIS morality.  He may as well have ordered the ENTIRE WORLD for all the right he has to make his demands.  And then he has the gall to mock us by calling his demands “guidance”.

It’s wrong on so many different levels that I scarcely know how to begin expressing it.  I feel like my insides could explode just thinking about it.  And ANYONE who feels good about this “guidance” letter… either hasn’t taken the time to actually THINK about its implications or has something SEVERERLY wrong with them.

I suppose point number one is simply that there is NO cause so noble that it is justified in being achieved through totalitarian means.  Threatening to steal one person’s rights to gain rights for another does wrong to BOTH.  We have a system of government that is designed to speak for THE PEOPLE – safeguarded by using MANY DIFFERENT elected representatives and tiers of representatives, who speak for us by deciding all laws with a MAJORITY ruling.  They answer to us, not the other way around.  It’s what keeps change moving at the speed fitting with society’s evolution.  And it’s what keeps this country from becoming a dictatorship. 

Skipping that process robs you of the most precious thing you have as an American – your VOICE.  Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, your opinion was never even considered.  Your vote was worthless… thrown into the trash without even being looked at.  The OPPOSITE of Democracy.

You could try to throw (the wildly unconstitutional) “Executive Order” clause at me… but what you may not realize is that this is NOT an Executive Order.  It’s just “guidance” –  merely a suggestion.  A suggestion with a BIG threat behind not being taken.  And it’s NOT a threat of proper legal action through our judicial system for breaking a law… noooo, that would be justifiable.  It’s a threat of the GOVERNMENT breaking the law to victimize YOU if you don’t comply.  Sounds a bit like the Mafia extorting money out of you for “protection” don’t ya think? 

But you might not care about any of that.  You might just be thrilled that you got what you wanted… THIS time.  But how would you feel if those same methods of “leadership” were applied to causes you DON’T agree with?

There is a VERY good chance that after the next election President TRUMP will be our Commander-in-chief.  If you are happy about this “guidance” letter, I suspect you DETESTE Donald Trump and everything he stands for.  So tell me… how would you feel if HE forced his morality upon you and your children under threat for disobedience?  Would it still be ok then?  Because you can’t pick and choose.  If you think it would be wrong for Trump to do it in the future, then you must acknowledge that it IS wrong for Obama to do it now.

Many people are trying to justify this “guidance” letter as merely enforcing Title VII.  I’m seeing “Title VII” get tossed around the internet like a catchphrase that means “I’m right and you’re a bigot”.  Obviously, those people have NO IDEA what Title VII entails (they probably don’t even know what document it’s from).

Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by covered EMPLOYERS on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

Derf! *FACEPALM*

So anyway, I suspect what they WOULD have said (if they had bothered to educate themselves before speaking so authoritatively on the subject) is Title IX – which says that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

But let’s be clear on this – it says NOTHING about schoolchildren with penises having the protected legal right to GET NAKED and SHOWER WITH schoolchildren with vaginas (or vice versa). 

So long as transgendered students are not being denied their right to get an education or participate in school activities, simply because they are transgendered, Title IX is NOT being violated.

And if Title IX is not being violated, then that makes this “guidance” letter ENTIRELY NEW GROUND!  Which means that ENTIRELY NEW LEGISLATURE must be passed through the PROPER CHANNELS before anything can be ENFORCED.

Now that’s we’ve established that no government entity has the right to make such a demand without voting on new legislature… How we talk about why we SHOULDN’T pass this sort of legislature, ok?

YES, transgendered people should be able to use whichever RESTROOM they are the most comfortable using – I honestly don’t understand how that doesn’t go without saying.  It’s still PRIVATE.  You have no idea what genitals someone has beneath their clothing unless YOU behave in an inappropriate and unlawful manner and PEAK over/under the stall at them.  No one is getting hurt by them using the facilities for their intended purpose.  But THEY just might get SEVERLY hurt (by bigoted people) if forced to use what is OBVIOUSLY not the appropriate restroom for them.  Debate won, get over it.

But this “guidance” letter isn’t just about restrooms, it’s also about shared locker rooms and showers.  What’s wrong with that (only and idiot would ask)?

If someone exposes their genitals to you without solicitation, it’s known as “indecent exposure” and it’s a FEDERAL CRIME that will land them on the sex offenders registry.  Even though that person didn’t lay a hand on anyone, they victimized the person/people they exposed themselves to.  They made that person or group of people feel uncomfortable, powerless, and VIOLATED.  Because in our society, genitalia are considered “private parts” – only to be seen/shown when it is EXPECTED and WANTED.  So anytime it is UN-expected or UN-wanted, it is psychologically damaging. 

So… if it’s wrong when someone who is NOT transgendered forces you to see their genitalia… why on earth would it be ok for people who ARE transgendered to do it?

Before you even THINK about saying there’s no “force” in this scenario, let me remind you that you are REQUIRED BY LAW to attend school and GOVERNMENTAL education standards REQUIRE you to take gym class as part of the curriculum.  Which means, since the issuance of that letter – the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS REQUIRING YOUR UNDER-AGE CHILDREN TO GET NAKED IN FRONT OF, AND SEE NAKED, OTHER CHILDREN WITH THE OPPOSITE GENDER’S GENITALIA (or else no education for ANYONE – INCLUDING the transgendered students).

If you are the sort of hypocritical asshole who thinks that ONLY minorities have rights, you probably want to argue with me right now by telling me that in a locker room/shower setting, exposing your genitalia IS expected.  Everyone else there is getting naked, why are you singling out the transgendered people – you transphobic monster?!

Well, if locker rooms and showers weren’t segregated by gender – you might have a point.  But they ARE segregated by gender.  Which means you EXPECT everyone else around you to have the SAME genitalia as yourself.  And you are depending on that for comfort in the extremely uncomfortable position of shared nudity in these settings.  Otherwise, there’s no point to segregate them AT ALL.  There should just be ONE locker room and ONE shower that ALL students share, regardless of gender OR gender identity.  (Would you be ok with that?  Keep in mind that would involve transgendered students suffering the discomfort of changing and showering with people who are their BIRTH gender!)

Offering transgendered students a PRIVATE changing and shower facility is the OBVIOUS solution to this situation – yet it has REPEATEDLY been rejected and turned into high powered legal battles.  Why?  Because it MIGHT make some of the 0.03% of students that are transgendered FEEL bad.  Fuck how the rest of the students feel, only the feelings of minorities matter… at least that is what Obama, his administration, and most of the Democrat Party seem to think.

In the locker room/shower setting, if someone takes off their clothing and they DON’T have the same genitalia as what’s marked on the door – it is EVERY BIT as unexpected and unwanted as some stranger flashing you in the park.  And now they just saw YOU naked too, but you didn’t consent to that!  Everyone who saw you was SUPPOSED to have all the same parts!  It’s a double-whammy to your psyche.  Their lack of malicious intent does nothing to prevent you from FEELING violated.  In fact, you may feel even MORE violated since if you express your feelings, instead of being treated with sympathy, people act like there is something wrong with you.  (I imagine that it’s a little bit like a less extreme version of how any woman who was raped by her husband, before the law recognized that a woman CAN be raped by her husband, must have felt…)

But a penis or vagina don’t look any less like a penis or vagina just because of how the person it’s connected to feels on the inside.  As long as you keep it COVERED, it’s NOBODY else’s business which you have.  But if you’re going to EXPOSE it, you’ve just MADE it the business of everyone around you.  So unless EVERYONE in the room FREELY gives their permission otherwise, exposed genitals need to match the sign on the door.  Pretty simple and easy to follow.  And most importantly, FAIR.  For EVERYONE. 

Fair… for… everyone?  I know, what a novel concept?  One that is apparently far too evolved and progressive for our society to wrap its head around.

Honestly, I have SO MANY more points still to make on this topic, but writing this is EXHAUSTING.  If I haven’t successfully made my case to you from what I have already said… quite frankly, you are too stupid and closed-minded to EVER see this rationally.  Talking to you would be a waste of everyone’s time & energy – you should just go fuck yourself.

Which Restroom Should I Use? (the transgendered debate)

There has been A LOT of controversy lately over which restroom a transgendered person should be using.  As with most of these kind of social debates, I feel like BOTH sides of the argument are getting it wrong (which is usually a good sign that I am on the right track).

I want to start by pointing out how interesting it is that until a few years ago, this issue was barely a blip on people’s radar and now it’s one of the most hot button topics in the country.  What makes it so interesting is the fact that being transgendered is NOT a new phenomenon.  Nor is it new for a transgendered person to use the restroom assigned for the gender they identify as.  The only thing that’s really changed is the general public’s awareness about it – and THAT is extremely telling.

It tells me that most people don’t have any problem using the restroom next to a transgendered person whose genitals don’t match the sign on the door – they have a problem with KNOWING about it.  (Let that really sink in.)

The honest truth in this situation is that it doesn’t matter what genitals you have OR what gender you identify as; because the rest of society can’t SEE either.  The only thing that matters is what others can see: your OUTWARD APPEARANCE.

I feel like this is a vital point that all of the people who are opposed to sharing the restrooms are completely overlooking.

If you are someone who feels uncomfortable with sharing the restroom with a person whose genitals are different from your own, are you REALLY going to feel comfortable with sharing the restroom with a person who in EVERY way that you can SEE looks and acts like the opposite gender?

What if that person was someone you found extremely attractive?  Maybe earlier that evening you were even checking them out and having a couple naughty fantasies?  Maybe you were even hoping to get their phone number… Until they walked into the same restroom as you and suddenly reality hit home.

Now I bet you are so disgusted you feel physically ill and you are furious with that person because they made you question your sexuality.  And now you have to SHARE the restroom with that person?!  GROSS!  (Never thought about that, did you?  Think that could never happen?  That’s probably because every time it would have, the person used the restroom assigned for the gender you thought they were born as.  Do you really want to open that can of worms?)

If you look like and are living as a woman, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the women’s room.  If you look like and are living as a man, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the men’s room.  Most of the time the average person won’t even think about it to question it… unless you TALK ABOUT IT!  Because despite what some people think, most trans people AREN’T “obvious”.

It would kind of defeat the point for most of them if they couldn’t fit in and successfully pass as the other gender.  A lot of money, effort, hormone therapy, and expensive surgeries go into transitioning – do you really think so many people would bother if it didn’t work?

Even if the trans person in question is one of the “obvious” ones, you have absolutely no way of knowing if they have surgically changed their genitals WITHOUT invading their privacy by peeking at them – i.e.  BEING A CRIMINAL!!  The VERY same kind of criminal that you are supposedly so worried that this trans person might be.

Not to mention that this so-called “obvious” trans person might not even be trans at all.  There are some naturally very masculine women and feminine men out there who you might really embarrass and hurt if you make an assumption like that.  (You’re that bad guy in that scenario too.)

So it’s obvious that I am PRO trans people using the restroom of the gender they identify with.  So what on Earth was I talking about when I said BOTH sides are getting it wrong?

The problem is OVER-response to “fixing” the situation.  Laws and policies excessively in favor of catering to the transgendered at the expense of the rest of the public.  Instead of making things fair for everyone, we are just changing WHO it’s unfair to.

First of all, in an effort to “avoid offending the transgendered community”, some of the new laws are written to be dangerously vague.  They don’t require that a person being LIVING as the gender of the restroom they wish to use, or even have to dress as that gender.  Whatever gender you feel like that day is the restroom you are welcome to use (as if gender identity was something that flip-flops from day to day – how insulting).

This creates a flawed system that makes it EXTREMELY easy for an individual who is NOT transgendered to have unrestricted access to the opposite gender’s restroom for any number of illicit purposes.  A temptation that some deviant individuals just won’t be able to pass up.  (Not that this is justification to deny law-abiding transgendered people the right to the bathroom they are most comfortable with, only the criminals should be held responsible for their criminal actions – but a lot of this could easily be avoided simply by using more deliberate word choices when writing these laws.)

But even more significant than these deviant individuals taking advantage of the poorly worded laws to invade people’s privacy (or worse) is the FEAR that people have of it happening.  This is a legitimate fear that is deserving of respect and consideration – yet anyone who expresses that fear is subject to being labeled as “transphobic” and becomes a target of ridicule and hate.  How is that fair?  It’s as if people who don’t belong to a minority group are suddenly be treated like they matter less, instead of everyone being treated as equals.

I wish I could say that was the worst of it and the debate ends here, with the adults.  But unfortunately this entire situation has been taken to a level that is downright obscene because children are being dragged into the middle of it – and this is where I start to get extremely heated.

I need to be clear that I do not believe there is ANYTHING morally wrong with being transgendered and I am 100% pro ADULTS who are LIVING as the opposite gender having the right to use the public restroom they are most comfortable with.  A person’s life choices and what is or isn’t inside of their pants isn’t anyone else’s business unless that person chooses to make it someone else’s business.

This is very important to distinguish because I am reading increasingly more disturbing articles involving UNDER AGE CHILDREN where PUBLIC SCHOOLS are taking grossly unfair measures to supposedly protect the rights of their transgendered students, that are really just obliterating the rights of everyone else and are even at times tantamount to sexual assault.  The obvious backlash from this is that it is INCREASING the controversy and hatred many people have towards the transgendered; which isn’t fair to ANYBODY.

Recently, I have read a lot of REAL news stories involving transgendered elementary school students wanting to use the restroom of the gender they identify with… and they all seem to go the same way. The school offers a very reasonable solution – in fact the very same solution I would have offered if I were in their position – the use of an individual gender neutral restroom.

But this is not considered acceptable, as it makes the student “feel like an outcast”. Then the lawyers and the protesters get involved and next thing you know – the child is granted the right to use the shared restroom of the gender they identify with.  Everyone else just has to deal with it or be labeled as some intolerant monster.

But what about all those other kids who are sharing that restroom?  What about how it makes them feel?  What about the lasting effects it has on them to be forced to deal with a situation that is far beyond their capacity to understand?  These are LITTLE KIDS we are talking about, they are having a hard enough time just learning how to share their TOYS!

And just like the laws I mentioned earlier in this blog, in an effort to “avoid offending” anybody, some of the schools have written their policies on the matter to be so open-ended that they are actually harmful.  It’s not just the transgendered student in question being granted these bathroom privileges, ALL of the students are be given the freedom to use the restroom they identify with that day.  With complete freedom to change their mind on any and all subsequent days. Because no little kid would EVER take advantage of that situation just to see what the other gender looks like under their clothes, right?  This is not “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”, because the other students aren’t being given a choice.

How could ANYONE think this was ok? How could anyone think this was the same situation as an adult living as the opposite gender? Why does your elementary school kid even KNOW what a transgendered person is when they haven’t even learned where babies come from yet?!

Any parent who would encourage their prepubescent child to come out as transgendered is doing that child HARM. It’s a form of child abuse.  Both because you are encouraging them to be an outcast and endure ridicule and because you might very well be encouraging them to be something that they AREN’T – which can create a lot of confusion and pain for them later in life when they figure out what they REALLY are.

Don’t get me wrong, when someone is transgendered it is NOT a decision that they make and they very well may have known when they were six that they were different and they almost certainly exhibited outward signs to suggest it or even directly say they want to be the other gender – but that is NOT the same as your six-year-old KNOWING that they are transgendered… because kids who AREN’T transgendered can feel different and show the exact same signs. Kids like to mimic things they see and dress up and play pretend – sometimes it means something, but USUALLY they grow out of it.

Just because your child says they want to be a firefighter when they grow up, doesn’t mean they will still feel that way when they ACTUALLY grow up.  You tell your child they can be anything they want to be when they grow up (and they very well might become a firefighter), but you don’t let them go fight fires now!  Just like you don’t let your young child drive cars or get tattoos or anything else they aren’t mature enough to decide for themselves, so why would you let them decide something as serious as this?!  BE THE ADULT!  (It’s not being closed-minded, it’s being responsible.)

Sadly, this still isn’t the worst of it.  How, right?  How can it possibly get worse?  With the true story about the transgendered teen who doesn’t simply want to use the restroom of the gender they identify with, they want to use the GYM CHANGING ROOM!

You know… I get it. I do. Imagine being that teen. High school is hard enough… and to be transgendered in high school… to be forced to change in front of your genetic gender…. I mean… beyond feeling uncomfortable and enduring teasing, you could even risk being ASSAULTED by the students who don’t want to change with a “freak” (one of the many reasons I would recommend waiting until graduation to come out – but that’s not excusing the violent behavior and a transgendered high school student should still have the RIGHT to come out if they want to – we are no longer talking about little kids).

So the school actually does construction to BUILD the teen their own private changing area and shower. This seems like an amazingly enlightened and fair course of action by the school… but just like in the last story, it wasn’t good enough. It went to court, and they found in favor of the transgendered student and are now FORCING the rest of the students to OPENLY CHANGE CLOTHING AND SHOWER with a person who has the OPPOSITE GENDERS GENITALS.

Ok… just like I got that transgendered student’s plight… I understand the plight of all the other UNDER AGE TEENAGERS who are being FORCED to get naked in front of someone of the opposite biological gender… because you are required by law to go to school and take gym… and it’s a school rule that you have to change your clothing for gym class. This is awkward and uncomfortable enough on its own (such a form of stress than many kids have a tendency to “get sick” on the days that have to take gym just to avoid the experience) – what this school is now requiring of them sounds to me like a form of SEXUAL ASSAULT!  I could honestly see kids dropping out of school or even killing themselves to avoid this horror!

If one person’s “rights” come at the expense of someone else’s rights…. Then THEY AREN’T RIGHTS! EVERYONE disserves EQUAL protection under the law. WHY is this so hard for people to understand?!

It’s an outrage! And if someone like me who is FOR transgendered equality is this upset about it… How the fuck is the person who thinks the transgendered are “immoral freaks” supposed to react?  It only serves to make the divide WORSE.  But then again… that’s the real point, isn’t it?

Is the World Black and White? Or are there Shades of Gray?

Recently I did something I thought I would never do… I allowed the cruel words of a complete stranger to get under my skin.  I allowed them to wound me.  To cause me to question myself (for a minute or two).

Normally, I only concern myself with the opinions of people who matter to me – those who I love and/or respect.  All other opinions just roll off my back…. Normally.

Something was different the night this happened.  Something about this opinion just wouldn’t be ignored.

Perhaps I have just been more sensitive lately, with some of the recent events in my life (that I won’t go into now).  Or perhaps so much time separating myself from harmful people caused my emotional calluses to soften.  Or perhaps it was just meant to be that I have this experience.  That I learn from it.

The words weren’t really about me, you must understand.  The person who wrote them never met me and did not have me in mind.  She was merely expressing her thoughts about a group of people that I am included within.  You see, in this woman’s world – because I can check a certain box off next to my name, I have no empathy and am not capable of feeling love – oh, and I am an INSECT.  (There are only two kinds of people empaths and insects, didn’t you know that?  Yeah, it was news to me as well.)

This person believes “the world really is black and white” so therefore I am EXACTLY the same as a PSYCHOPATH.  To her, just by existing, I am as harmful as a serial killer.  Just by existing, I may as well be skinning people in my basement. (A touch of hyperbole here, but most deserving of it, I assure you.)

Why?  Because: “Call it by a name; narcissist, sociopath, psychopath, bipolar, even autistic. All disorders lacking empathy. Cluster “B” personalities. They can not love. On the other end there is depression, anxiety, stress… All disorders felt by those who have empathy and usually as a result of dealing with a non-empathetic person.” [I will NOT link to the original source, as this person does not deserve your attention.]

(Should I mention the irony that she thinks people with Cluster “B” Personality Disorders are insects when one of those disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, is identified as having “extreme black and white thinking”?  Of course, this same person ALSO went on to say that spreading hate about someone different than themselves makes them an insect – so there seems to be A LOT of projection at work here.)

To be perfectly honest, as I was first reading her blog I didn’t think she was just the worthless human being she clearly is (perhaps I suffered a head wound).  I innocently thought she was just miseducated.  After all, some of the disorders on her list CAN present with a lack of empathy or difficultly recognizing emotions in others.  Perhaps she just misunderstood what that meant.  Most people who haven’t dealt with mental illness first hand are completely clueless about it.

For a bit there, I foolishly thought I could actually educate her and make the world a slightly better place.  (Maybe that has a lot to do with why I allowed her words to have such a strong effect on me.)  I mean, not EVERYTHING she said was so off-base.  Such as the following:

“Wars should not be about religion, politics nor race. None of those things really matter. What does matter, is being human and helping one another.”

But then I started to read some of the upset comments people had left her…. And her responses back.  The things she said to the parents of autistic children were just plain DERANGED.  She told them their children didn’t really love them, that they were just convincing themselves that they did to make themselves feel better, and that the PARENTS were SPREADING HATE by ENABLING their children!

Logically I knew nothing I had to say would make any difference either, so don’t know why I bothered.  But I couldn’t live with myself if I said nothing.  So I left a comment of my own.

“The only way to see the world in black and white, is to lack empathy yourself. Those who possess empathy have the ability to see the shades of gray created by trying to understand another human being’s perspective. Not everyone feels things the same or reacts to things the same, and you can never know what goes on inside them. But if you have empathy, you try to. If you don’t try to, you don’t have empathy.

‘Any person who spreads hate about someone different than them, you can almost automatically assume that person is an insect.’

The people who suffer from the disorders you mentioned are different from you, and rather than try to understand them you have made things easier for yourself by writing them off. You’ve manufactured justification so there is no need to try to understand them by turning them into an “insect”. And in this post, you are telling others to do so as well – and that is most certainly spreading hate.”

I felt good about my comment.  Very good.  But somehow my cloud still lingered.  Her words of hate still clawed at my soul.  This woman is the embodiment of the fears of stigma that every person with a mental illness has in their heart when it comes to people “finding out”.   I thought she was just the bogeyman.  (i.e. I was scared of people feeling the way she does, but never actually BELIEVED that educated people in this day and age really did.)

Thankfully, she responded back to me.  Because her response was enough to finally knock some sense into me and help me to stop caring about her opinion.

Her reply: “Those who see “grey”and feel empathy are enablers. The only thing more dangerous than an insect is an empathy driven person tricked into enabling an insect.”

Sooo… what you’re saying is… the only thing worse than NOT feeling empathy… is actually FEELING empathy???  I was actually foolish enough to allow THIS person’s words upset me?  Shit, now I’m embarrassed as hell.  But like I said earlier, perhaps I was MEANT to have this experience.  Because retrospectively, I feel like it was profoundly important.

Even after I stopped allowing myself to be hurt by it, the experience stayed on my mind all night and all day.  It’s ironic – being told I was not capable of feeling empathy just opened me up to a new level of empathy when it comes to how it feels to be discriminated against.

Here’s the thing – I have been discriminated against plenty of times in my life for various things (as has EVERYONE at some point). For my gender, my age, my appearance, my social status, my sexuality, and of course my mental illness. The list goes on.

Sometimes this discrimination is not even worth discussion, because it’s just the opinion of some asshole on the street. Sometimes it’s more dangerous and has kept me from getting jobs or promotions that I deserved or otherwise impacted my ability to live my life the way I deserve to.

But this… this was the first time I ever experienced discrimination that made me feel SUB-HUMAN. The difference between someone assuming you aren’t as good as they are because of something you cannot control versus someone assuming you aren’t the same SPECIES as they are and are therefore INCAPABLE of feeling the same emotions as they do. That you are completely wiped out as being A PERSON.

I didn’t realize this level of discrimination still existed in the First World.  But it’s just a small sliver of what Black people had to endure during slavery and segregation, or Jews during the Holocaust, and many other groups in different times and cultures.  Except not just from one random asshole – from society as a whole. From the LAW and respected, educated people.

This has always been some of the darkest parts of humanity, and I have always had a very soft spot for the people who endured it and a hatred of the people who enacted it. But I now feel like I can better put myself in their shoes and imagine their pain. It physically hurts. I’ve had to stop myself from publically crying. (Must be a fluke though, since people with Bipolar Disorder can’t feel empathy or love.)

So thank you, random bitch on the internet.  Your hatred just helped to make me a slightly better and more understanding person.

Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter (i.e. why you’re an asshole)

If you feel offended by the words “Black Lives Matter” – then you are missing the point.  This movement was not started with the intention of elevating the value of Black lives above the value of the lives of people of any other race.  It was started because ALL lives matter equally… but unfortunately there are still areas in our country where the lives of Black people are not treated as if they matter as much as the lives of White people.  This slogan was coined as a way to create awareness of this problem and to stand up against it.

If you feel offended by the words “All Lives Matter” – then you are missing the point.  “ALL Lives Matter” MEANS that “BLACK Lives Matter” just as much any other lives.  It does not diminish that, it SUPPORTS it.  While it is possible that the person saying those words missed your initial point – “All Lives Matter” speaks for itself.  The only way you can argue against it, is if you DON’T think that ALL lives matter.  And that attitude is the very problem all of this was supposed to be trying to solve.

Now it does bear re-iterating that “Black Lives Matter” was not STARTED with the intention of elevating the value of Black lives above the value of the lives of people of any other race – it is most unfortunate and reprehensible that the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) has adopted this noble message and perverted it into spreading wild racism and hate against White people (not to mention how it has perverted the message and memory of the ORIGINAL Black Panthers).  There is NOTHING positive about genocide, and that is what the NBPP is rallying for.

“I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the faggots, we kill the lesbians, I say goddammit we kill them all! If they are white, kill ‘em all!”  – Khalid Abdul Muhammad (National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party until his death.  The same message is still being spread regularly by the current heads of the NBPP.)

But this is NOT the opinion of every Black person spreading the “Black Lives Matter” message!!!!!  If we just gave up entirely every time some fanatical group of people perverted something positive with their hate, we’d have nothing positive left.  If we judge all people in any group by the actions of a few, then by that logic there would be no good people at all left in the world.  AND JUDGING ALL THE PEOPLE IN ANY GROUP BY THE ACTIONS OF A FEW IS WHAT MOST OF US ARE TRYING TO END with all these clever slogans!

So to sum things up – whether you’re saying “Black Lives Matter”, “All Lives Matter”, or “ANY OTHER Lives Matter” – YOU’RE RIGHT!  If you’re offended by any of those phrases – YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!