Sunday, May 15, 2005

Another Fishwrapper trumpets the "transgenders"

Transgendered Teen Pursuing Diversity
SPRINGFIELD - By mid-May, most high school seniors are focused on matters other than school district policy statements. Esmael Spencer is the exception.

Spencer, an 18-year-old at Thurston High School, is a transgendered youth - born female but identifying as male. At the start of the school year, Spencer asked teachers and classmates to call him Esmael - a variation of the Hebrew name Ishmael.

The graduating senior insists he will feel less like an outcast if the Springfield School Board ultimately approves a diversity plan that specifically lists gays, lesbians and transgendered youths as among those who are guaranteed equal rights and protection from harassment.
I would feel like less of an outcast if school boards everywhere would approve a diversity plan that specifically lists conservatives as among those guranteed equal rights.

He typically spends the lunch hour on his own, often in a corner of the band room. When nature calls, he uses a unisex bathroom in the school's health room.
If this bathroom is not open to everyone then the school should be sued. That isn't "equal rights."

Earlier this spring, Spencer reluctantly declined a school award that is traditionally presented to the top female senior in English literature. He had hoped to be nominated as the top male senior in English lit.
This is where the problems start. If you have a mental disorder (see the DSM IV) and want to eat lunch by yourself that is one thing, but when you expect everyone else to take you seriously and let you participate in areas that are strictly for a specific gender then you are asking us to ignore reality.

Kash said the school district has no statistical evidence to suggest that discrimination against gay or transgendered students is a persistent problem.

He said the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection of all citizens, and that he objects to the listing of specific protected classes.

"By listing a few, you inescapably exclude the majority," he said.
Exactly. If an assault or harrasment occurs then the offender should be arrested and charged with the appropriate crime. However this is what we do for everyone so it isn't good enough for the transgenders (or the gays), they want their disorder put up on a pedestal of special protection.

The Fishwrappers in this state are working in tandem to create an evironment of normalcy for transgender youth. Their goal is to make it appear that this is a common situation and put a human face on these troubled kids. But don't be fooled, they can find one or two kids with a gender identity disorder but this is not a common occurance. I could just as easily find one or two kids who live in a fantasy world where they would rather be goblins because they play too much Dungeons and Dragons. (Really, I took my kids to a comic book store the other day, there are people like that)

See previous post (Fishwrapper story where parents took their sixth grade boy to a transgender parade dressed as a girl)
See previous post (Fishwrapper tries to explain their story)

It gives me no small amount of pleasure that a Google search for "sander" (the boys name in the first Fishwrapper story) and "transgender" has my blog posts listed before the original Fishwrapper story in the search results. We aren't living in the mainstream media world any longer!

My collection of identity disorder stories that the fishwrappers won't emphasize
Sci-fi fan gets Spock ears - Who wouldn't want pointy ears?

Virtual worlds, real romance - "Vickie Annett spends more than a dozen hours each week pretending to be an elf in a make-believe world of ogres, gnomes and barbarians. She never thought that's where she'd find real-life romance."

Everquest Fest - These people think they are in a game.

Are the schools going to give these people special accomodations?


jwalker said...

I worry about the time, being a teacher, when my beliefs as a Christian (homosexuality, like other sins, needs to be forgiven and repented from) will not be tolerated any more. I avoid speaking of such topics like the plague, although it is getting harder.
Maybe I will become an accountant.

Fortunately, the don't ask don't tell policy of conversatism is alive and well in the public schools.

Daniel said...

Not just the public schools, the atmosphere is such that anything that could be construed as a Christian belief or position is forbidden from the public life.
BlueOregon post

Paul said...

Questions to jwalker and/or daniel:

1) As a Christian, you (jwalker) say you believe homosexuality is a sin; as an athiest, I believe it is not a sin. While I'm happy to discuss these disparate beliefs, can either of us ever prove to the other that our own belief is "right"?

2) It seems to me that one's religious and spiritual beliefs are, in fact, inherently a personal, private matter. Do you agree? As such, isn't it reasonable to expect resistance when those beliefs are brought out in public life?

The best reason for not bringing one's belief into the public arena is that doing so inevitably causes conflicts between those of differing beliefs. Further, since we all have our own forums in which we can share and discuss our beliefs (church, social settings, family), it's not like our beliefs are being suppressed. Out of respect for each other, I think it is reasonable to ask that we keep our private beliefs to ourselves when we are in the public space.

Note to readers: yes, I know -- I'm a troublemaking troll, as they say. But I hope you realize that my questions and comments are truly meant to try to engage in deep reflection and discussion of these topics.


Daniel said...

Thanks for the intelligent questions Paul.

I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. You believe that it isn't a sin. There can't be an absense of values in this case, at least in terms of social norms and public acceptance. Your values dictate that there is no God therefore no boundaries/judgements on behavior. So it is just a matter of whose values will be the social norm. Obviously both sides of this particular issue are adamant that they are right and I don't think that I can convice you or vise versa.

I am not asking to control private behavior but when a person brings their private sexuality into the public square that is another matter. I think that public policy should be centered on a healthy family norm in order to protect children.

I don't think that "women have come a long way" when 12 year olds are trading sex for meth but thank goodness they can have an abortion afterwards with no questions asked.

I think that Christian values are the best for a healthy and free society.

jwalker said...

To my atheist friend,

I was so blessed by your respectful tome!

I truly believe that God lays down in the old Testament, and Jesus lays down in the new Testament, that homosexuality is wrong. I believe that people are born with homosexuality as part of their sin nature and must be overcome, not unlike alcoholism. It is the nature of sin and the fall from grace we all experience.

I think what I was orginally saying is that I DO keep my personal feelings out of the public arena because it is so divisive in the educational process. I agonize over this because I also believe we are to speak truth.

I have not yet had to get into this subject, but as Oregon begins to include homosexuality with the matters of toleration like gender and race, I believe someday I may have to take a stand. I will not condone homosexuality. I think doing so would be wrong.

Accounting is looking better all the time.

paul said...

Quoting Daniel for a while: "Your values dictate that there is no God therefore no boundaries/judgements on behavior."

Daniel, I have to immediately start by saying this is absolutely false. You presume to understand my belief systems because I stated I was an atheist. Being an atheist does not imply that I have no values, or that I do not believe there are boundaries to acceptable behavior. I think this misconception is one of the reasons why atheism is so looked down upon by theists. Every atheist I know has values, just as you do! In fact, I'm willing to bet that my values of personal behavior are not that far off from yours. I raise my children to respect others, to act with kindness and compassion, to do no harm, to live healthy lives, and to do what they can to make the world a better place for us all. I hope you can understand that you are speaking from a misconception.

Now, on to other points: "So it is just a matter of whose values will be the social norm." True -- this is always the struggle in society. And, this is what we have a legal system for. We adopt the commonly accepted standard and encode them into our laws. Note that we needn't bring religious dogma into our laws, but we our laws certainly might share some values with religious tradition. The best we can do, given our diverse society, is to enact laws which reflect our values, but are free of the religious undertones.

"...but when a person brings their private sexuality into the public square that is another matter." Indeed. I'm not crazy about watching anyone grope and fondle and kiss in public, regardless of the genders involved. However, I don't think we should necessarily try to pretend that homosexuality doesn't exist. It does exist, and we as a society must accept and deal with that.

Which brings me to another important point, touched on by jwalker, when he (she?) said: "I believe that people are born with homosexuality as part of their sin nature and must be overcome, not unlike alcoholism." Two responses:

First, you state "I believe...", and this is critical. You recognize that this is a belief, not a fact. There are some who might believe that inter-racial marriage is a sin; would you want them to force their beliefs onto society as a whole? I hope not. So, as I said in my earlier post, some beliefs should be kept private.

Second, the weight of evidence is also against this belief: more and more, the medical, scientific, and psychological community is recognizing that homosexuality is not a matter of behavioral choices (like alcoholism). I can no more choose my sexual orientation than I can choose my eye or skin color. This is not my belief, this is being borne out by more and more research. Given that, we as a society have to learn to tolerate and accept what is part of us, just as we must learn to tolerate and accept those who look different, believe differently, or vote differently! It's always been a challenge to us as human beings -- in every society -- to learn to not fear those who are different from us.

Now, none of this means I advocate flaunting one's sexuality in public! But I do believe we can learn to accept the reality of our world, and not make those who are different from us feel ashamed or inferior.

One last point: Daniel said: "I don't think that "women have come a long way" when 12 year olds are trading sex for meth but thank goodness they can have an abortion afterwards with no questions asked."

Well, that's a bit of tunnel-vision, I think. I have a 23-year old daughter, who is a marvel in this world. She's starting a family with a beautiful baby; she loves her husband; she's college educated and is using her skills in starting a part-time consulting business, which allows her husband to spend less time working and more time with the baby. She is definitely an example of women who have "come a long way". Daniel, there is always pain, suffering, and hardship in the world, and it can result in situations like you described. Our culture is one in which failure is all too common, and the causes for those failures are multitudinous But for every failure, lets see if we can't bring about more successes like my daughter. You can't take a horrible situation and use that to project a judgement onto women in general.

Daniel said...

Paul, you are definitely an example of a good liberal. I'm sure that you have the best intentions with positions but I think that we will have to agree to disagree on what social norms should be in America.

"It does exist, and we as a society must accept and deal with that."

I don't want homosexuality to be looked at as normal any more than I want pedophilia, euthanasia, or drug use to be looked at as normal. In some places these types of behavior are tolerated. I don't think that is what is best for America.

It sounds like you have raised a great family but I worry that other families are not so lucky because of the toxic environment that is emerging.

Paul said...

How easily my arguments are glossed over. I understand that you "don't want homosexuality to be looked at as normal". What would you, then, have homosexual people do? Kill themselves? Why can't homosexuals be allowed to have lives as fullfilling as yours? You have to do some research and start to understand that homosexuality is not something that people chose. It's given. For those of you who believe in a creator god, then guess who gave it? :-)

Again, consider other historic precedent. In our own past, it was unacceptable for a black person to eat at the same table as a white person. It wasn't at all "normal" by societal standards. But we are slowly growing, as a society, to recognize that those standards are unjust.

And it's really time to stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Pedophilia is a vicious crime promulgated by people, mostly men, who should be locked up for their behavior. Equating homosexuality with that is a horrendous stereotype that seves only to create anger on both sides of the discussion.

And, let's get it on record: I'll wager that pedophilia is more common among heterosexual men than homosexual men. So, let's not hear any empty arguments about how homosexuality is hurting our children. It's not. Do the research, and you'll see.

So, yes, we agree to disagree. but I'd like to see arguments based on reality, not personal conceptions.


Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you as an accountant. I'm glad to know that someone with your belief system will no longer be teaching our children to become intolerant and hateful.

Daniel said...

"What would you, then, have homosexual people do? Kill themselves?"

No, I would have them change their behavior.

"And it's really time to stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia."

I'm not equating the two I am comparing them in relation to social standards. Different countries do not feel the same way that we do in terms of age of consent and pedophilia. I would say that they are wrong. Judging by your statements so would you. We are both making a moral judgement on other peoples behavior. I am doing the same thing with homosexuality.

jwalker said...

Like I said, it is my belief. I am coming from a place that you don't have to come from. People should be true to their beliefs.

I will NEVER single out, put-down, preach at or do anything else that is inappropriate towards my gay children I teach.

But, if someone makes me say that I accept homosexuality as perfectly acceptable way of life, I cannot do this. God said it was wrong, and I cannot ignore this.

I don't expect people to understand these things, but please re-read my first paragraph of this post if you think I would show hatred or bad treatment towards any of my students.

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zion999 said...

Why would you have stories about gamers and internet romance under a comment about "identity disorders?" Just curious since I am the "elf" in the one story. The relationship I found playing Everquest is the most wonderful, loving, fullfilling romance I have ever had. It is 6.5 years strong and we have 2 baby elves running around the forest. I guess, as usual, ignorance is the culprit of judgmental attitudes.