Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“Primetime Nightline” Goes Inside the World of Transgender Kids

Update: I just received word from one of the facilitators I work with at PFLAG that ABC has just contacted him to let him know that they have decided to cut out the segment on the Phoenix family and their child, Nathan. They have decided to dedicate an entire hour to Nathan and his family's story and will air that documentary in 2 weeks. I will post the new date and time when I know it.

I have become increasingly involved with PFLAG Phoenix and one of the things I have noticed is the dramatic increase of individuals and families of individuals who are dealing with transgender issues who are coming in to support meetings. But what has been most striking for me is how young some of these individuals coming in are. Many are young children and the parents are long past the "it's just a stage" phase of the journey.

Well on Wednesday, August 31 at 10:00pm ET (9:00pm AZ time) "Primetime Nightline" will be airing a one-hour long program documenting the remarkable journeys of three families, one of them a family from Arizona, who has been very active with PFLAG Phoenix.. Here is a brief description of each of the three families:

Jackie is a 10 year old from Ohio who was originally born as Jack. As a toddler, Jack was drawn to his sister’s dolls and clothes, and enjoyed dressing up in tutus. At 10 years old, with tears in his eyes, he told his parents “I’m a girl on the inside.” Within months, with his parents help, Jack becomes Jackie. She now attends school as a girl, wearing girl’s clothing, heels, and makeup. We watch as Jackie navigates her transition and meets relatives for the first time as a girl. Soon Jackie will begin taking puberty blockers, a controversial treatment, which will prevent her from going through male puberty.
Nathan is a 15 year old living in Arizona and was originally born Natalie. Always feeling out of place as a girl, he came home from his first day of pre-school to tell his mother, “I’m a boy.” He started dressing in gender neutral clothing in pre-school. As Natalie grew up, her parents became convinced this wasn’t a phase and are now helping him transition. We watch as Natalie changes his name to Nathan in court and prepares to start testosterone treatment, which will give him physical attributes of a boy. Harassed into home schooling, Nathan has no friends his own age. Cynthia McFadden introduces him to his transgender idol Chaz Bono, who offers him and his family a few words of advice and hope.
Vanessa is 19 years old living and working in New York City. Vanessa was born as Pierry. At first, her immigrant family had a difficult time accepting their son as their daughter, but now that she has decided on surgery, they have come to support her. But neither the family nor Vanessa can afford the transition, so she has turned to prostitution to pay for the body she feels she should’ve been born with in the first place. We go along with her to Guadalajara, Mexico, where a wad of $6500 cash will buy her six surgeries in two hours as she struggles to become the woman she’s always wanted to be.
Set your DVR if you have one. I've been aware for quite some time that ABC has been filming this show as there was some filming done at support meetings (with permission from participants of course). It is my understanding there could be some scenes in which PFLAG members are included (depending on editing). I will not be one of them, but I will be watching the finished product though.

This - dealing with our transgender brothers and sisters and helping them through the huge challenges they face - is most definitely our next big battle. And I use the possessive pronoun "our" because I mean anyone who believes in full equality for everyone regardless of whom they love or whether the gender they present to the public matches the biological body they were born in.  So I intend to be right there on the front lines fighting to make life better for our transgender brothers and sisters and their families, just as I have been for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. We are all in this together.

Please watch this program if you care about this issue. It is only an hour long and hopefully well worth the time it takes to watch. Educating ourselves on the very complex challenges facing these people is very important.

Update: Here is a link to an ABC's preview of this show.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh what a difference 7 years can make...

In 2004 George W. Bush made protecting the sanctity of marriage a central platform of his re-election campaign. He endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment, "a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage for all of the states as strictly heterosexual". And he ran on this blatant homophobia knowing full-well that it would appeal to the right-wing evangelical crowd and motivate them to show up and vote. He was right, they did.

Now flash forward to the present and take a gander at the 2012 crop of GOP goofballs presidential hopefuls. It doesn't take much time listening to their spiels before one gets the sense that pretty much every one of them (with maybe the exception of Jon Huntsman) are hoping to use the same playbook Bush used and achieve the same results he did.

But ... this ain't 2004 and the ones getting mocked, demeaned, and laughed at are no longer the members of the glbt community, but the GOP homophobes who think this is still a winning strategy. It's not. And this is not just my humble opinion either, I've got company:

Could this be the biggest gay-bashing election in recent history? Doubtful, since President George W. Bush set such a high bar in 2004. Quite the contrary: Call me an optimist, but I see such highly publicized gay-baiting as a positive development.

Why? Not so long ago, the virulently homophobic views offered by some candidates were treated almost as viable alternatives to the positions taken by less anti-gay politicians. It was as if all those views came from the same menu of Reasonable Points of View Worth Debating. Now, the radical ideas espoused by Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and others are held up not for genuine consideration but for scorn (notwithstanding the last GOP debate in Iowa). Perry's and Bachmann's views aren't weighed against President Obama's "evolving" stance on same-sex marriage; rather, they are simply ridiculed. It says as much about our society as it does the candidates.

It gets better indeed.
And then there's this very entertaining video clip highlighting what fools these people are making of themselves. I just can't help believing people with this magnitude of homophobia and hate are a bit off mentally, but again, this is just my humble opinion. Watch and laugh, mock, and demean. It's our turn now:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Slacking again - sorry about that, but I don't have much to say

So a story about a minor incident that occurred today at the gym I go to will have to suffice - and I warn you now - it is not very exciting, but at least it's not about the earthquake that shook the eastern part of this country today.

Let me start by saying that living in Arizona, surrounded by a lot of retired wealthy people who feed on a steady diet of Fox News and CNBC is hard. But it certainly presents a lot of teaching moments as well. These people most definitely lean way to the right side of the political spectrum and fear of losing their hard-earned money to "socialistic" ideas like supporting the "moochers" and "deadbeat lazy leeches" is their main concern, with fears of "illegal aliens" and Obama taking their guns away running a close second.

I confess, it is often really, really tough to maintain my composure when having a conversation with some of these people, but I work damn hard at doing just that. You see, I actually like most of these people. Deep down, they are pretty decent people (other than their odious political views), so I work really hard to keep my cool and not lose it. Listening to them parrot the nonsense drivel they've heard from the likes of Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity gets kind of old, but it's really a small price to pay if I can maintain a friendship and possibly change their minds on an issue or two.

I listen, I engage them in spirited debate, and I remain respectful and calm (which for me can be a real challenge, cuz I can be a hothead). I make damn sure I have my facts down straight. I have no idea if I succeed in moving any of these people to reconsider their stances, but I do know I get them to think of things in a new light. So who knows? I may occasionally be changing some hearts and minds along the way.

But today something happened that really got me ticked. And I almost lost my cool. A gentleman I've known for many years came over to say hi. He had a bunch of band-aids all over his face and arms and when I asked him what had happened he told me he'd just been to the dermatologist and had a bunch of skin cancer excised or frozen. The many years of unprotected sun exposure had finally come back to haunt him.

I asked him who he went to and if he liked him. He scrunched up his face and gave me the doctor's name and told me he wasn't crazy about him. When I asked him why, he told me he was too gay.

Uh boy. I had to take a very deep breath before responding. And upon exhaling I asked him if it was because the doctor was gay that he felt the man was a bad doctor. He got very defensive and very embarrassed and quickly began assuring me he really wasn't homophobic or anything like that. And then he added that he had a hard time talking to this doctor and that is why he thought he wasn't a good doctor, to which I responded that maybe it was him that had the problem and not the doctor. He looked me in the eye and said, "maybe you are right".

Did I give him food for thought? I'm not sure. Will he make a homophobic remark like that to me again? For his sake, I hope not. But one thing about this conversation did give me hope. I don't believe this man is a froth-at-the-mouth homophobe, confronting him on his discomfort being around a gay man embarrassed him. Real homophobes wear their homophobia with pride. This man did not. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is being a skilled liar with convenient short-term and long-term memory loss a prerequisite for "good" right-wing evangelical Christians?

Because if it is, Michele Bachmann is one damn good evangelical Christian. Her latest big, fat lie? She doesn't judge gays and lesbians. What a lying idiot! Has she not heard of "the internets" or "the google"? Just do a google search using the search phrase "michele bachmann gays" to see the scope of her blatant dishonesty. It is literally months' worth of hateful, foam-at-the-mouth homophobic reading. Fer cryin out loud, she based her entire political career on homophobia.

Well all I can say is she better watch out, because a bigger, better buffoon has come along to woo the feeble-minded masses. I can't help but believe her days in the spotlight are coming to an end. And then her days as an out, loud, and proud bigot and homophobe can resume.

If you are a so-called "principled" Republican who is still hanging in there with your beloved party, be afraid, be very afraid.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Bush on steroids?

Seeing this lovely piece of artwork sure made my stomach do some major flip-flops this morning. My thanks to the source of this frightening picture for that (but do go over and give him a look-see - he's got a good sense of humor in spite of the scary subject matter).

So the question is this, will a Rick Perry presidency be another 4 to 8 year nightmare similar to or worse than what we endured with Bush? Well after watching Rick Perry finally throw his hat into the GOP presidential candidate ring and then act like a hayseed country bumpkin in Iowa, I got a real bad case of deja vu just thinking about another all-hat-no-cattle Texan in the White House. Can you even imagine the round-table discussions a President Rick Perry would have with right-wing religious extremists like James Dobson, Tony Perkins,  and Maggie Gallagher? They'd have a field day with public policy, social issues, and delving into our private lives (for our own good - of course).

Good gawd, I don't think I could handle another delusional Christian-right extremist boob of a president who rails about the evils of "big government" and how we don't need it ---- but can't wait to mandate abstinence-only education, anything that will deny the glbt community rights and dignity, and anything that will keep women from having control of their own bodies.

And I don't know about you, but I watched this clip of an old interview with Rick Perry and I could not help but think of Bush. Watch it and see what you think:

Watch live video from texastribune on Justin.tv
Between all the preening and mugging on hay bales in Iowa these past few days and the video above, I really can't help drawing comparisons between Bush and Perry. And it really gives me the heeby jeebies. They both have that obnoxious aw-shucks Texas twang that makes me gag,  They both sport that same smug look of certitude - even when they are dead wrong.  They both have that same blind faith in failed ideology. They both seem to have a tremendous capacity to completely ignore any facts that contradict what they believe in. Oh, and they both have that same cocky, I'm-right-cuz-I-got-God-on-my-side smirk that makes me want to jump through the tv screen and smack em silly.

Ugh, I just cannot allow myself to even think of the possibility of a Perry presidency. It's just too much to process. I won't let myself go there. I simply can't!




Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Lazy, depressed, disgusted, and completely without motivation. Oh and seething too...

Which is why I am not posting much lately. So here is this lazy blogger's solution to posting until I pull myself out of this slump:


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Today's the big day: Texas Gov. Rick Perry holds his big "prayer rally” in Houston

Since rumors are flying fast and furiously that Gov. Rick Perry is going to throw his 10 gallon hat into the clown car 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders' ring any day now, I think we should take a look at who the good guv has invited to his "prayer rally".

Now I happen to think that anyone considering a run for President of the United States deserves extra scrutiny. And who that person associates with becomes quite relevant to me.

Here is Right Wing Watch's description of today's rally:

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.
In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."
Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

Right Wing Watch also does a thorough job documenting the radicalism of the extremists who have received invitations from Gov. Perry to play lead roles in this rally.  It is well worth the time to click over and read about the people Gov. Perry chooses to rub elbows with, especially now that he is thinking about running for our President.

Chris Mathews does a piece on this as well:


Friday, August 05, 2011

My kinder, gentler evangelical "friend" responds ...

I received an email yesterday. It was a response to an ongoing thread of comments to one of my earlier posts. But I did not read the email until late in the evening. And I confess, it upset me to my core and made going to sleep almost impossible.

So now I have to ask, was I just a naive fool to have believed that this guy was sincere, have I been had? Is this guy for real?  I simply cannot believe he could present himself as someone who does not hate gays and apologize for those evangelicals who are so hateful and then proceed to use words like pedophilia and hebephilia to discuss my gay son and his "disorders".

So if you'd like to see this guy's version of a "loving", non-hateful, evangelical, go here. Word of warning, proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Mitt Romney signs NOM's anti-gay campaign pledge joining homophobic nutcases Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum

I sure hope you gave your decision to jump on NOM's crazy bus a lot of thought Mitt. Cuz looking at the whack-jobs you join on that bus, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, or Crazy Eyes and Frothy Mix, as Joe My God refers to them, certainly seals your fate in the eyes of many as just another right-wing, anti-gay lunatic and complete joke. I guess we shall know you by your Magic Underpants since that will be the only thing that sets you apart from Michele and Ricky.

What a pathetic idiot you are Mittster, joining the ranks of those who simply cannot keep their noses out of everyone else's private lives ... I thought you were just a teensy, weensy bit better than that. Guess I was wrong.

For a better view of the pledge, click over to NOM's site if you can stomach it, or just click on the image above to embiggen. Then you can skip the pepto bismal to staunch the stomach acid. 

UPDATE: If you can stand it, here is Maggie Gallagher on NOM's Hate Pledge and why all the good little GOP Presidential contenders must sign it, and that is of course, to prove they are hateful and anti-gay enough to win the love of the so-called "good" Christian crowd: