Left In Lowell

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April 20, 2010

Bibbidi Flippiti Flop!

by at 6:06 pm.

Via an email from the Patrick administration, I hit a link on Boston.com regarding a fascinating hard-brake-right from Baker on the transgender antidiscrimination bill.

Despite the nondiscrimination policy put into place under his tenure at Harvard Pilgrim, which includes “gender identity,” Baker (despite the fact his own Lt. Gov. sponsored the bill) pushed against the bill at his (apparently boring) convention:

On Saturday, after critics of the bill highlighted Tisei’s support for the legislation in phone calls to delegates and in petitions at the convention, Baker quickly issued a flier calling it the “bathroom bill and saying he would veto it if elected.

Now, I’m not under the impression that this bill is all that damned draconian. At best (or worst, if you’re afraid of equal rights for people you don’t understand), it makes it clear you can’t discriminate against someone who identifies, say, female, from using the women’s bathroom, nor could you fire someone who has nontraditional gender identity.

Conservatives want to claim that this bill will force unisex bathrooms and locker rooms. Oh noes! First, unisex bathrooms are no big deal (for gawd’s sake people). But that’s not what this bill does anyway, and to state otherwise is to grossly misrepresent the legislation for a political reason.

And as a political move, it’s pretty dumb. Since knocking off Mihos from the primary ballot, Baker should be spending the rest of the race tacking into the middle, instead of pandering to the far right. In fact, Cahill seems to be sewing the social conservatives up anyway, so, Baker’d be better served trying to wedge moderate voters away from Patrick instead of making them disgusted. Maybe he thinks tacking to the far right on trans issues won’t piss off moderates, who maybe don’t feel strongly (for or against, I imagine) on this issue, but the general tactic of shifting social-right in a state like MA - where, if people are conservative at all, it’s fiscally and anti-incumbent - when he is, essentially, already running in a general election, and he already has someone trying to run from his right, just seems suicidal. It sure looks like Baker has the embarrassing potential to come in third, doesn’t it?

Not that I want to give Baker any good advice, but I’m not impressed with his campaign brain trust.

In other news, Baker and Cahill are going after the same conservative voters. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

39 Responses to “Bibbidi Flippiti Flop!”

  1. JC Says:

    Sorry to be off topic, Lynn, but I cannot figure out how to email you since the link/instructions on the blog home page are incoherent (replace spaces, [’s symbols) - WTF?

    Wanted to be sure you were aware of amazing comments made by Mr. Hayden concerning you, employment of his family by GLTECH, Cassen et al. Ref: http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_14904355

  2. Mary Says:

    For parents with young children the idea that “unisex bathrooms are no big deal” is grossly niave. Singular bathrooms commonly referred to as “family bathrooms” with one door, one toilet, one sink, and a singular lock on the door that are open to use by both males and females are no big deal. However, “unisex bathrooms” with multiple stalls where anyone can enter are a big deal.

    As children get into their early teens they search for more independence. Going to the mall and probably using the bathroom alone is a natural progression. I have to ask Lynne, do you have children? Have you been through this age with your child yet? Sure, you take your young children by the hand into the bathroom but at some point you do let them go it alone. I personally don’t want to have to add another worry to the growing list of worries that I have to consider when deciding if my child can go somewhere.

    To assume that a man couldn’t dress in women’s clothing under the pretense of being transgendered and attack a young girl alone in a bathroom is not only niave it’s dangerous. “Real” transgendered individuals are most likely not going to do this. However, how do you propose we discern who is transgenered, in the proces of transgendering, or who isn’t really transgendered and just exploiting a weakness in the system?

    Personally, even as an adult, I would be uncomfortable with someone who was born male but dresses as a female in the bathroom with me. Not because I have prejudice against transgendered individuals but because I could not be sure who I was really in the bathroom with. Is it a guy that used a disguise to get in the ladies room and is going to attack me or or is it truly a transgendered individual?

    As is suggested in many defense training sessions, I don’t even get on an elevator if it’s just a guy and me. I walk with my keys in my hand available for use etc etc. But I have to throw caution to the wind because someone might get offended? I don’t think so.

    I don’t want my young children put at risk because of someone else’s idea of what they think is correct.

  3. Tim Little Says:

    “To assume that a man couldn’t dress in women’s clothing under the pretense of being transgendered and attack a young girl alone in a bathroom is not only niave it’s dangerous. “Real” transgendered individuals are most likely not going to do this. However, how do you propose we discern who is transgenered, in the proces of transgendering, or who isn’t really transgendered and just exploiting a weakness in the system?”

    What’s stopping any predator from doing this now?
    Bogus argument; try again.

    “Not because I have prejudice against transgendered individuals but because I could not be sure who I was really in the bathroom with.”

    Actually, yes you do or you wouldn’t be making this argument. See above.

  4. Lynne Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, JC. BTW the way the email is listed that way for discouraging spam - just posting your email on a website will cause spammers to be able to gleam your email from the code and put you on more spam lists. It’s pretty simple - replace the ” [nospamat] ” with an @.

    RE coed bathrooms, oh Mary, you’ll have to get over it. First, it’s MOOT. That is not what this bill does anyway. For heaven’s sake.

    Second, guess what? People are different from you. Someone who was born male but thinks of themselves as female have it pretty tough in life, trying to figure out who they are and why do they have to be so different? I think a little uncomfortableness on your part is pretty tiny compared to the way they have to feel EVERY day of their life, trying to explain to people why, for instance, they dress female but go into the men’s room.

    You’ll get over it.

    FYI, a man could credibly dress as a woman NOW and get into the woman’s bathroom, how naive are you? That is a dumb reason to oppose equal rights for those with nontrad gender ID. And if it’s SOMEONE YOU WORK WITH then I hope you know whether or not that person is trustworthy already.

    I think you are covering up another sort of uncomfortableness with your “am I going to be attacked???? OMG OMG” paranoia. Come on, give it up.

    As for unisex bathrooms, I suppose you think that pedophiles lurk everywhere? I dunno, your uncomfortableness seems kinda weird to me. No I don’t have kids, but I know about kids, as I have nieces and spent a lot of time taking care of kids my whole life. If your kids are near their teens I think they can handle it. I bet they can handle it better than you can.

    I went to school where coed dorms meant coed bathrooms (not enough bathrooms to go around on every floor). I got used to it just about three days in. It’s NO BIG DEAL. And yes, those coed bathrooms INCLUDED showers.

    Just because an idea is new or you’re older and aren’t used to it, doesn’t mean your uncomfortableness is reason to deny someone some civil rights not to get fired for their born difference, or allow them to act like the way they are inside without prejudice. I love my mom dearly but I doubt she’d be much comfortable around a GLBT, because as far as she knows, she doesn’t know any, and wouldn’t know how to feel about it. I’ve heard the phrase, “I just don’t want to see it” from her before. However, I don’t want her lack of comfortableness to dictate whether my gay friends can get married or not. Sorry.

  5. Lynne Says:

    Heh, JC, did that article get scrubbed or something? I only see a brief mention of Hayden, and no real quote from him bitching about anything, just a mention of his role in preventing a nation-wide search for a Cassin replacement. Which I am posting on because it’s so, very, exasperating, but I missing the part about bloggers, his family, etc.

  6. Right In Lowell Says:

    Lynne… don’t know if you have kids, but the amount of work that goes into this tells me you don’t. If you have kids, you have a different view on the restroom thing. It is a big deal.

  7. Lynne Says:

    And really, honestly, why is that?

    Predators aren’t going to be limited by who goes into what bathroom, I got news for ya.

    So what’s a real reasoning?

    And I assume you are commenting on the unisex thing, not the transgender thing? Because no one has presented any sane argument to refute that someone id’ing and dressing like a woman/man should be denied the right to use the corresponding restroom.

  8. Tim Little Says:

    Does anyone seriously want bathroom police checking to make sure everyone is using the “gender-appropriate” facility? As Lynne and I each have implied above, that’s pretty much what it would take. (And the Right complains about government intrusion against our personal liberties? Seriously….)

    This “bathroom” argument is an obvious smokescreen for personal prejudice and insecurity, which — last time I checked — are not protected by law. If you’re worried about your kids’ safety, then there are other steps you as a parent or guardian can take to minimize the danger.

  9. Mary Says:

    Since when do we consider the use of the ladies bathroom by a man a “civil right”? You’re cheapening what real civil rights are all about. Seriously, are you dealing with a full deck?

    Certainly you’re right in that a man can dress as a woman regardless and go into a bathroom right now. The difference is that you’d have us legislate that as a civil right where as I would see it as a potential problem to avoid. There are other bathrooms you know. And quite frankly, the mens bathroom always has a shorter line. Half the time I wish I could get in that line and get out quicker. But I respect that it is the MEN’s room and wait my turn in the long long ladies line.

    And as always, throw in the “predators aren’t going to be limited by who goes into the bathroom”. No kidding? Really? I did not know that. But why make it easier for them? Just like the death penalty isn’t a detterent to murder. Correct,it’s a punishment for those that did commit murder. So let’s just not do anything to possibly stop something from happening because it might offend someone.

    If I walk in a ladies room and I see a man dressed as a woman it would be a cause for concern and I would report it to the establishment. If you have your way I can’t do that and if it is a predator he gets free reign on any unsuspecting female. I also don’t want a guy dressed as a guy in the ladies room. They don’t belong there.

  10. Tim Little Says:

    First off, the intent of the bill is to protect transgender people from violence and from discrimination in housing and employment. The “bathroom” spin is simply a red herring; as I said above it’s a smokescreen for those who are would rather pretend either that transgender people don’t exist or that they aren’t discriminated against because of who they are.

    As you say yourself, “let’s not do anything to possibly stop something from happening because it might offend someone.” The funny thing is that the only one’s who seem to be “offended” by this bill are those who have their own insecurities about gender identity (or bathrooms or whatever) and the only thing being “stopped” is treating transgender individuals with the same dignity as any other human being.

    And if the line is shorter for the men’s room, by all means feel free to use it! I doubt anyone would be offended….

  11. Lynne Says:

    Wow, hostile much?

    “Since when do we consider the use of the ladies bathroom by a man a “civil right’?”

    Gee, that’s the point, isn’t it? That person is NOT a man. They may have been born a man, as a physical gender, but they identify a woman. Therefore, denying them the chance to be a woman in the fullest sense they can is cruel and a serious lack of civil rights. This bill would allow them to do so, and it’s NOT all about the bathroom, which you seem to be overwrought over.

    “Seriously, are you dealing with a full deck?”

    Seriously, do you have an ounce of empathy? Do you understand what it would be like to be, essentially, born in the WRONG BODY? To have your physical gender conflict with how your brain works? To be one thing inside your head, and another thing when faced by society? Now picture growing up like this, confused, shunned by peers, and under actual THREAT of bodily harm. Step into that person’s shoes for two seconds. Do you think people CHOOSE that? Don’t you think they want very much to be normal? Well, THEY CAN BE - if they are allowed to live their lives unmolested as the gender they ID with.

    Because imagine that same person, growing up in a society which doesn’t think it’s any big deal. No one shuns them in the work place, they just accept them. They can act like the gender they identify with with no worries that someone is going to beat the shit out of them or move to the other side of the street in disgust. In essence, that person won’t BE different, because they aren’t treated different. I like that world a LOT better than the one we live in now, where someone can fire a nontrad identity person because, oh no, they feel a little ookee. Your ookee feelings are not a reason to stop people from living their lives the way they need to to be happy. IT HARMS NO ONE to give them rights to use the gender-correct bathroom. You want to SEE harm, because you have an oookee feeling and want to justify it. Too bad. Get over it.

    BTW gender ID goes both ways. There are people born female who ID male. “Long lines at the bathroom” notwithstanding.

    I know people who identify with a different gender than they were born with. They are perfectly sane, normal people who just want to live.

    You, apparently, would prefer them to live in pain in the darkness.

  12. Tim Little Says:

    I would just like to add that gender identity is much more complex than simply what chromosomes one happens to be born with. I think the lack of empathy on GLBTQ issues is due to not understanding that the traditional binary model of gender — i.e., you’re either male or female — is inaccurate.

  13. JC Says:

    Lynne, the Hayden remarks are in comments the idiot posted in response to the article. The first, which concerns you is quoted below. He has others defending Cassin’s raises, employmment of his family members et. cetera. He’s quite a piece of work!

    Mikey says…
    “I did use my last meeting to ask my fellow school board members to scrap the search and appoint Mary Jo Santaro and I stand by that. I did agree with Fred Bahou and his opinion that the school did not do enough to promote the school for the search. I think Fred is just playing to the paper and Left in Lowell and Lynne Lupin who went out her wayand smeared me to get Fred elected. Mary Jo is the best choice for Superintendent and no one will ever get me to think otherwise. Now everyone can have a good time knocking me without putting down their real names because I have family members working at the school who by the way are fully qualified for the jobs they hold So go ahead and punch away the floor is all yours”

  14. Lynne Says:

    God, he can’t even spell my name right! It’s not like it’s hard. Or hard to find, either. Though give him credit, he remembered the e at least.

    I went out of my way to smear him…LMAO…HE’s the one who put up the website! Which of course is still there. LMFAO!! I smeared him WITH HIS OWN WORDS, and with the facts. Honest, honest Iago.

    “no one will ever get me to think otherwise.”

    I think one can leave off the “otherwise” there…

    He *would* be one to leave comments in Topix. LMAO! That place is a cesspool. And a pretty poor place for someone to respond to an article in any case.

  15. nextyearishere Says:

    It’s good to know that Hayden understands that you are the one who exposed him for what he is. Thanks.

  16. Mary Says:

    Just FYI I am in total agreement with gay marriage. I have a number of gay friends and family members and it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. I’m talking about the issue of safety.

    Why is it that when someone disagrees or has a difference of opinion with a liberal stance they are immediately branded as predjudiced and insecure? I’m so tired of that.

    Again Lynne, I may have missed it in your post. Do you have children?

  17. Christopher Says:

    Unisex restrooms are the norm, or at least more prevalent, in Europe. The stalls are individual and have more of a door than we’re used to here and there are no urinals. The sink area is common to all users. I don’t understand the question about having children. They would still have privacy in the individual stalls and the sink area wouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other public place.

  18. Tim Little Says:

    Mary:

    The problem with your logic is that there is no actual connection between the protection of the basic civil liberties of transgender individuals — i.e., protecting them from discrimination in the workplace and in housing — and the safety of children in public restrooms. These are two *very* distinct issues that have become conflated for political purposes.

    Re: prejudice.

    From your argument it would seem that you a) view transgender individuals to pose an inherent safety risk to children. This implies that you have preconceived notions about such people as a group. This is the literal definition of prejudice — pre-judging. This bias may not be fully conscious, but since you articulate it, it must exist to at least some extent.

    On the other hand, if your concern is actually b) that sexual predators will suddenly start cross-dressing and pose an added risk to the safety of children, there is nothing that prevents this from happening now and nothing — short of police at restroom doors checking one’s “equipment” — that will prevent this from happening in the future, regardless of what happens to this particular piece of legislation.

    Again, transgender equality and sexual predation are two very distinct issues. If you can separate out the apparent bias against transgender individuals from your concern about sexual predators and the safety of children, then you might realize what how duplicitous this “bathroom” argument actually is.

  19. Tim Little Says:

    Also, re: kids — see post #4 above where Lynne writes:

    “No I don’t have kids, but I know about kids, as I have nieces and spent a lot of time taking care of kids my whole life.”

    (Trying to spare Lynne another rant here…. ;) )

  20. Tim Little Says:

    Sorry…. Just want to clarify one point above:

    “… there is nothing that prevents this from happening now and nothing — short of police at restroom doors checking one’s “equipment” — that will prevent this from happening in the future, regardless of what happens to this particular piece of legislation.”

    This is not entirely true.

    What I should have said is: Even if the pending legislation is defeated, there would still be other steps — such as police at the doors — required to provide a somewhat greater measure of safety in public restrooms than already exists. The question is whether the costs of implementing these steps are worth the marginal increases in safety.

  21. openyoureyes Says:

    No wonder our society is going literally down the toilet. When we waste time, money and resources (not to mention killing trees to print these bills, MY GOD THINK OF THE TREES!) on this kind of garbage. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few warped, twisted individuals who get their jollies pushing the societal envelope. Bottom line I don’t care what you do in your own bedroom, what you wear or what you would like to be its a simple matter of plumbing. Depending on your personal plumbing determines which bathroom you use, if you have the proper equiptment use the proper bathroom. Not if you think you might possibly want to maybe change on every other Tuesday when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing 13 mph I feel like a woman. Give us all a feaking break!!!

  22. openyoureyes Says:

    Lynne I love how you try to demonize anything you do not agree with. (Mary #9) is exactly right and you, typical of the left throw words like hostile out. I have news for you I don’t care what they perceive themselves as or how they see themselves, if you are born a man you are a man, and vice versa. There is no discussion, transgender is a made up term to try to explain someone’s feelings. Irrelevent, science not psychology is the issue here if they feel that strongly that nature got it wrong fortunately for them science has reached a point where that can be corrected, but until they make that decision they are what they are.

  23. Lynne Says:

    Oh give it up dude. Who is taking you seriously?

    I mean, DUH I’m liberal. It’s right in the damn subtitle of the blog. If you don’t like it, please, feel free to stop reading.

    Also, you’re an unfeeling person and I hope to god that you never have a family member go through what transgendered and nontraditional identity people have to go through.

    It’s science, dude, get over it. Gay or straight or transgendered is not a state of mind. It is a state of BEING and just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    Seriously, if it was just about how someone felt, don’t you think they’d sure as shit want to feel some other way?? Would anyone CHOOSE to have someone like you treat them like crap?

    Get over it. Your way is the old way and it’s changing, and the young people of this country are NOT bigots, and are accepting of people who might be different from them. Too bad for your comfort level but I don’t see where in the constitution we have to cater to people who have no empathy?

  24. Tim Little Says:

    Not to pile on, but as I wrote above:

    … gender identity is much more complex than simply what chromosomes one happens to be born with. I think the lack of empathy on GLBTQ issues is due to not understanding that the traditional binary model of gender — i.e., you’re either male or female — is inaccurate.

    Frankly that goes for our “identity” in general — whether we experience our lives as a male or a female (or something in between), or gay or straight (or something in between), or black or white (or something in between), or Republican or Democrat (or something in between)… you get the idea. All identity is “constructed” from a complex of interconnected processes. We do serious harm to ourselves and others by not recognizing the fact that reality does not necessarily conform to a simplified black-or-white “ideal”.

    And this isn’t some whacked out post-modern leftist intellectual mumbo-jumbo either; there’s at least 2500 years of rigorous study to back this up… though you can always “check the work” for yourself if you’re still skeptical. ;)

  25. openyoureyes Says:

    Just as I said Lynne, when I called you on using words like hostile now I am unfeeling. I would be willing to bet you that I know more and have known more gay people than even your liberal self. I will tell you the great majority of them are in complete agreement with my view because the transgender issue only hurts their own cause. Just out of curiosity have they discovered transgenderism in any other species of mammals or is it only a human phenomenon. When arguing the case for homosexuality liberals love to point to cases of same in other species as evidence of it being a natural part of life. I wonder if transgenderism has ever been determined or is it AS I SUSPECT is a choice and state of mind.
    To the larger issue why should I or any other person, maybe an old man or woman using a facility, or a young child be made to feel uncomfortable to accomodate a miniscule percentage. It seems to me they should adjust to the rest of society. But the typical liberal solution is throw more of taxpayer dollars at it, build some more bathrooms to accomodate everyone but where does it stop.
    Just curious Tim? 2500 years of study on transgenderism. Really, they were studying this and called it such. Just because some college professor says transgenderism is legitimate does not make it so. Just look at the lying global warming academics who cooked the books to further there agenda.

  26. Tim Little Says:

    I’m talking 2500 years (at least) of rigorous study into the conditioned nature of personal identity — or “self” as we like to call it. Again, this isn’t high-minded theoretical stuff. As the current discussion shows, our ideas about who we are have very real implications about how we treat each other.

    We use labels — like male/female, black/white, gay/straight — to identify our selves, and often these labels serve a very useful purpose indeed. However there’s the danger that we mistake a conventional label for reality. We think of things in terms of either black/white, male/female, without realizing that these are just conventional frameworks for describing our experience: the reality of what makes up “blackness” or “whiteness”, or “maleness” or “femaleness” is much more fluid and nebulous.

    To try to bring this back to the original context, what exactly is it that makes one “male” or “female”? Is maleness or femaleness simply defined by one’s genetalia, or does the actual experience of being male or female contingent upon a wider range of factors? Tell me from your own experience, What makes you a “man” or a “woman”? What makes you who you are?

    Once we’ve had a chance to reflect on these questions we realize how utterly stupid and pointless it is to worry about whether someone is properly equipped to use a particular bathroom. As long as no one is being harmed — so excluding things like workplace discrimination or sexual predation — do the concepts of “male” or “female” really matter? Or is it simply better to honor the inherent worth and dignity of each person in whatever flavor he or she comes?

  27. Tim Little Says:

    And while realizing that intersexuality is NOT the same as transgender, here’s an illustration of how sex and gender aren’t as cut-and-dried as we’re often led to believe:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersexuality

    What are the bathroom police to make of this?

  28. Lynne Says:

    Well, gee, dude, how else do you describe someone who states, “if you are born a man you are a man, and vice versa. There is no discussion, transgender is a made up term to try to explain someone’s feelings.”

    That’s pretty unfeeling to me. If the shoe fits, bud.

    I mean, one might as well give up on trying to give you a teaching moment, you have no interest in learning about differences in other people and just want to spew rather hateful stuff about them on a blog. If Tim (with his very wise, thoughtful, and generously nice commentary) can’t convince you, you can’t be convinced. Doesn’t mean I won’t call you what you are - unfeeling, and kinda hateful. Certainly, you are the opposite of empathic.

    And it has nothing to do with spending taxpayer dollars. Hey, if you don’t like a free, open, and equal society, you can always move to Uzbekistan. Or Iran, where they punish gays and certainly transgender people. Just trying to be helpful.

    Being GLBT is NOT a choice, and sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling LALALALA doesn’t change that. You are a relic, a dinosaur. And I rather pity you. It’s sad to harbor such lack of understanding for others in one’s life…I’d rather embrace the differences in us, not condemn them because I feel all “oogey.”

  29. Lynne Says:

    By the way, “openyoureyes” (ironic much?), this is personal to me. I know and like people who are transgendered. Do you have personal experience with a friend or family member who is going through this? I bet you haven’t, or else you’d be singing a different tune.

    How the frack does it harm YOU to share a bathroom with a transgendered person? It doesn’t. There is no clause in the US Constitution that you have a right to be comfortable all the time. The Declaration of Independence didn’t say that we have a “Right to Life, Liberty, and to never feel oogey”.

    You say they should get used to it? I say YOU should get used to it. Condemning people who are different to a life of rejection is inhumane. “Separate but equal” is NEVER equal. Get. Over. It. Our world is changing to become more tolerant, change or be left behind.

    If you were perfectly comfortable in your OWN sexuality, you wouldn’t be as threatened by others’. Think about that for a moment.

  30. openyoureyes Says:

    Ah the argument of the factually challenged when losing to a conservative call him/her homophobic, mean or prejudiced and question their sexuality to put them on the defensive. Ouch, that really hurt Lynne, I guess I need to rethink my position. By the way where does it say in the Constitution (which I sincerely doubt you believe in considering your support of unconstitutional measures such as Obamacare) that a transgendered (made up term) person has the right to be comfortable and I or anyone else does not. You gloss over the safety concerns of this issue but they are very real. It will make it easier for pedophiles and sexual deviants to do what they do and I don’t care how much you try you cannot argue otherwise. And by the way you can say you know trangendered people until you are blue in the face the fact is you do not because THEY DO NOT EXIST, they maybe confused as to their sexuality but not their gender.

  31. Tim Little Says:

    Sigh….

    Lynne, I share your frustration. The problem is that no amount of screaming, yelling, and breating is going to make openyoureyes or mary or anyone else see the light. As you say, “If Tim… can’t convince you, you can’t be convinced.” (Though I will demur by saying that it’s not whether *I* can convince anyone of anything, merely whether I can help someone better his or her own understanding.)

    I’ve found from my experience that the more heated and vitriolic a discussion becomes, the less likely that any actual communication takes place. And then we all lose.

    The point is that people don’t always see things in the light of wisdom. Often times this ignorance — and I don’t use this word pejoratively, merely descriptively — leads to real suffering for those whom we love and care about. This can be frustrating and scary and we get our defenses up and sometimes we lash out in reaction to the perceived threat. Unfortunately this very rarely improves the situation.

    So what can we do? Well, we only can try our best to *help* others see things correctly. But we can only go so far: true understanding has to come from within, and ultimately that is up to each one of us to work out for him or herself.

  32. Tim Little Says:

    Openyoureyes:

    1) If you’re concerned about sexual predators then you should focus on legislation that specifically deals with *that* issue, not confuse it with an effort to protect certain individuals from violence and discrimination in housing and in the workplace. Again: these are two very distinct issues that are best addressed separately.

    2) The critical issue is not the *comfort* of transgendered individuals or anyone else. The issue is whether antidiscrimination laws explicity apply to transgender individuals. The fact that we need to be explicit about including transgender individuals in antidiscrimination legislation says enough.

  33. Tim Little Says:

    … or maybe it doesn’t say enough.

    It honestly doesn’t matter whether or not any of us thinks “transgender” identity exists. What matters is whether employers and landlords should be able to use gender identity as a basis for discrimination. The arc of history suggests that our antidiscrimination laws are becoming more inclusive (race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), not less so.

  34. Lynne Says:

    Sigh. It’s statements like this that are stupid: “I don’t care how much you try you cannot argue otherwise.”

    Um, yes I can, I have, and you are simply wrong.

    Tim, The problem with trying to be nice to people who can’t seem to empathize with people who are different from them is that they are willfully ignorant; in which case there really isn’t anything you can do, not being nice, not yelling at them, that will change it.

    Actually I’m not posting to change the ironically-named openyoureyes; I’ve given up on that person a long time ago. It’s for the other people out there who might be persuadable. Shaming someone who has views like this is a perfectly legitimate way to bring this sort of thing out into the open where it belongs, ridicule it, and hence marginalize this viewpoint and make it undesirable to hold on to.

    I’ve said this is personal for me; I feel the pain of people who have gone through trying to be themselves and being hurt for it, and it makes me angry that people like this guy want to keep those people hurting rather than accept who they are. It SHOULD be a shameful thing to think that way; it’s shameful to say racist things, and it’s just as shameful in this case as well. If this guy doesn’t want to learn and grow as a human being I can’t stop him from being willfully ignorant, but I sure can use the powerful weapon of shame to keep him from doing any more damage to people I care about.

    I know that’s not a very Buddhist way of doing things, but then again, I’m not a Buddhist. :)

  35. Tim Little Says:

    Lynne:

    I question the premise of “willful” ignorance (causes and conditions and all that); but either way if you’re trying to convince “other people out there who might be persuadable” — a very laudable goal, I’d say — the question remains whether you’ll be better off using honey or vinegar.

    There are skillful ways of working with “wrong views”. Since you’ve kindly outed me as a Buddhist ( ;) ) I don’t mind using the Buddha as an example of someone who was very skillful at exposing bogus views for what they are. (He was particularly harsh on the Brahmins and Jains of his era, btw.) His rhetorical style was very similar to Socarates in this respect, in fact, and entailed inviting his debating partner to come to see the “wrong view” for himself — but he never attacked the person or tried to shame him. He saw that this was futile and counterproductive.

    Your pain and frustration are legitimate — I share them, in fact — and it’s important to acknowledge those feelings. But it doesn’t help to direct those feelings *at* someone else. The oft-quoted verse from the Dhammapada is that “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.” How then can we direct our feelings of pain, fear, frustration in ways that are skillful and non-hateful — ways that can actually ease suffering and bring people together rather than exacerbate suffering and push people further apart? To me this is ultimately what politics is all about — learning to live together skillfully — and at least as much depends on how we express ourselves as in what is expressed.

  36. Tim Little Says:

    Oh, and you don’t need to be a Buddhist… just be a Buddha. ;)

  37. openyoureyes Says:

    Educate me if you feel it so important. How does it supposedly HURT so many of your friends who suffer from this dilusion Lynne to ask that they use a bathroom. Why does it hurt them but you so easily dismiss my or any other person’s discomfort in such situations. How do you casually say get over it to parents who are concerned that their children are not exposed, literally and figurtively to this perversion at a young and impressionable age not to mention the potential for physical harm. You can call me a hater all you want which is typical of a true liberal but if you truly espouse a liberal point of view you would accept my opinion for what it is and embrace what is my right to express. But you do not because it is in opposition to you and your agenda. I wonder if you are so vitriolic toward the muslim community? They advocate the destruction of the west and death to all infidels yet I never see any animiss thrown their way. Probably because it is the talking points that do not allow such things to be said because the feelings of some (like our President, and don’t kid yourself he is one) might be hurt.

  38. openyoureyes Says:

    Hey Tim, I’ve got news for you with regard to post #31 “We can only try our best to try to help others see things correctly” I see things quite correctly thank you. How arrogant it is of you to feel that your point of view is the only one worthy of discussion. I thought that this country and forum was about the exchange of ideas and GASP! freedom of expression. Not in the world of state controlled everything which you and Lynne seem so happy to embrace. Let’s just run the hammer and sicle up the flagpole and salute.

  39. Tim Little Says:

    Man convicted in MGH bathroom attack

    I note in particular that the article does not mention whether the perpetrator was in drag.

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