Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hate Crimes bill?

Well, it will be a short entry tonight due to a long day at work. Any overtime that comes down the pike will be taken in times like these ... make hay while the sun shines, ya know?

We got word late last night about introduction in the Senate of a Hate Crimes bill that will, for the first time, be transgender-inclusive. It sounds very promising, but we need to refrain from celebrations until we know for certain that it's trans-inclusive and get a chance to see the language. While the person who broke the news is a prominent trans activist, truth be told she's not known for the truth being told. She comes from a sales and marketing background where making the sale is paramount, regardless of how little the marketing lives up to the advertised product.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the ponies are getting restless in anticipation of heading up to DC to round up support from our Congress-critters. Surely the critters are getting restless as well, trying to figure out how to duck, dodge and weave and trying to decipher whether voting or not voting for hate crime protections for all will keep them from being unseated from their Congressional seat. And if the critters get skittish around the trannies, will the gay and lez-peradoes work in the dark to bushwhack or bolt on us, grab the herded critters and try to make a break with the entire kit and caboodle, leaving us behind to choke in the dust? Again?

Time will tell. One thing that is well-known is that DC is the treacherous Badlands, and we must go to their inhospitable environs to get this done once and for all. It is worth the fight though, if for no one other than Gwen Araujo and the Guerrero family ... for Stephanie Thomas and her mom Queen Washington ... for NTAC Chair Ethan St. Pierre and his mom Ellen, and for Ellen's sibling, Debra Forte. For all the loved ones gone due to bias violence, and their families that remain involved in the fight to live without fear of hate.

While it wasn't necessarily a hate crime, Don Imus got canned today for his bias -- albeit of the verbal variety. To be sure, his attempt at humor was both cheap and astonishingly boneheaded. However, the press surrounding this story is rivaling Anna Nicole Smith in over-importance and overkill. Note how an idiot toadie like Michael Savage can savage (what a wonderfully appropriate surname he has!) the transgender community after what is apparently another hate crime. And note the hue and cry -- or rather the lack thereof -- in response! Oh well, it's not like we're human, right?

Trans people are still viewed as objects of humor, a freebie for portraying the butt of sick or debasing jokes or comments. And it's PC -- even in a Gay Comedy Showcase I saw on cable a couple years back! To paraphrase Danielle Rosengarten, a legislative aide in Rep. Christopher Shays' (R-CT) office, "you would think they, of all people, would know better!" God's got a wonderful sense of irony. Sadly, trans people haven't progressed beyond "object" in the eyes of most of America -- even a sizable portion of Gay & Lesbian America.

Yet any attempt by us to point this up is beaten back with criticisms of "being too shrill, having no sense of humor," etc. And how free are other groups able to engage in similar shows of unified outrage? Beyond the Don Imus incident, note the public outcry over the Snickers Bar commercial series during the Super Bowl, where two mean nibbled on the same candy bar until (horror!) their lips touched. Admittedly the ad execs' concept wasn't in good taste, but it was relatively innocuous compared to Savage's savages (sorry, couldn't help it). Note that it bought gay and lesbian leadership a lot of cheap national press for the talking heads to natter about. But note how the transgender leaders who point out objectification, subjugation, or outright hateful speech are, at best, benignly ignored if not targets of whisper campaigns and malignant isolation. I suppose it's our fault for noticing.

Perhaps someday we'll all be considered equally. But for now Don Imus is out and inexplicably Michael Savage is still in. And transgenders are still "lesser than --fill in the blank" Perhaps someday we'll be equals ... Or maybe I have completely lost touch with reality.

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