24 April 2014

Off-Limits To Christians. And I'm Responsible.

I suppose that if I were a different sort of person, I'd be amused when I hear second-wave feminists (and their acolytes) making the same sorts of false, desperate claims as the LGBT-phobic Religious Right.

But such people affect my life and those of friends, allies and peers of mine.  So I am not amused. 

Someone who was once a really good friend but who later saw fit to disavow me--and claim that she never wanted anything to do with me in the first place-- said that I was "changing" genders so I could go to some university and get a job teaching Gender Studies (or Women's Studies) that should rightfully go to a "real"--that is to say, genetic and cisgender--woman.

She also asserted that I and other trans women are trying to usurp the other roles and jobs women have available to them. She never specified what those roles and jobs might be, but I don't recall trying to take any job away from any woman, or applying for one in the hope that I would displace what someone like her would deem a "real woman".

Of course, such facts will not dissuade her any more than any other relevant fact would cause American Family Association President Tim Wildmon to rethink his claim that LGBT folk are keeping good Christian people like him from making a living.

(Don't you just love it when hate groups use "family" in their names?)

According to him, the LGBT community seeks to "destroy the personal business and career (sic)" of Christians who don't support same-sex marriage and other forms of equality for LGBT people. (Of course, he doesn't think of them as "equality"; to him and his ilk, such things are "special privileges.) He cited such examples as Vermont's Wildflower Inn, which no longer hosts weddings after it was fined $30,000 for turning away a same-sex couple and Washington florist Baronnelle Stutzman, who faces a lawsuit from her state's attorney general after she refused to create the floral arrangements for a same-sex couple. He also referenced Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes By Melissa, whose owners cited their religious beliefs in their decision not to prep a cake for a gay couple's wedding.

He uses such examples, and others, to claim that seven common careers have become off-limits for Christians. They include those of the photographer, baker, florist, broadcaster, counselor, innkeeper and teacher/professor.

It sounds like "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," from the way Wildmon tells it. All right, I confess: I am here to take over your career!"

All right, so that was a joke. To me, anyway. But not to folks like Wildmon--or that erstwhile friend of mine--who, apparently, has been teaching Gender/Women's Studies at the College of Staten Island in the City University of New York. What's really scary about that was that I teach on the premise that knowledge is power and that my budding faith is showing me that I don't have to be beaten down by this world. Yet that old friend of mine--her name is Elizabeth Pallitto--and Mr. Wildmon are painting themselves and those who listen to them as victims.

To be fair, I have to say that Wildmon's rhetoric is more reprehensible because he is, in essence, using his and his followers' privilege (which, of course, they don't see as such) as members of what is considered the mainstream in America to push members of minority groups back into the margins. In other words, he's inciting bullying. All Professor Pallitto and her ilk are guilty of, really, is that they stopped learning after they read Janice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire.

23 April 2014

A Woman Who Rode With A Koala

If you've been following this (or my other) blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I like to tell stories about myself.  You've also probably noticed that I like to tell stories about other people, and times and places other than my own, especially if those stories have been untold or forgotten.

That is one reason why I've written posts about (or in which I mention)  Beryl BertonNancy BurghartSue Novara, Rebecca TwiggJeannie LongoPaola Pezzo and other prominent female cyclists.

And, yes, this post will be about another. But it will also touch upon a topic--a nation and culture, really--I've never mentioned:  Australia.  This omission does not come from any sort of bias; it has mainly to do with the fact that I've never been anywhere near the world's smallest continent or sixth-largest country, depending on how you look at it.

Nearly everything I know about it comes from reading and chance encounters with Australians in other parts of the world, including my own home town.  One of the few things I know is that the Aussie population--about a tenth of that of the US, even though the two countries are roughly the same size--includes a disproportionate number of long-distance cyclists.  That's not so surprising when you consider Australians' affinity for sports and outdoor activities and the fact that so much of the country is undeveloped.

One of those riders was someone named Billie Samuels.  I have been trying to find some information on her, to no avail. I guess I have to look in actual book (I think I can still do that) of Australian cycling history.

I learned of her only through stumbling over the photos I've included here.  Whoever she is, I want to know more because, hey, how could you not want to learn about someone who starts a ride from Sydney to Melbourne with a koala mascot on her handlebars?

(The photos in this post come from Vintage Everyday.

22 April 2014

How To Be A Trans Ally

I am a transwoman. And a writer.  And an educator.  Yet I'm still trying to figure out what to say to people who really want to know me, and other trans people as people.

This infographic has some interesting and useful ideas:

From Rebloggy