“There is a lot of brokenness in the Gay community” once said a friend of mine during a conversation we were having on his porch about what life is like inside our borders. Eventually, I would have to agree with him.
There are many individuals who, as children, did not have their emotional process affirmed or accepted, because of parents and caregivers being dismissive of their gender identity/expression or fluidity during their growth and development; a painful journey for many and certainly one, in which anyone who has gone through it in their childhood, leaves residual, emotional scars.
Brokenness within our borders is with the use of drugs and alcohol; measures to self-medicate are not all that unusual. Brokenness witnessed among those who are religious addicts have swapped out chemicals for religion. Then there are those who are unable to stop the G-d talk or giving lectures to the point of saturating and driving everyone away; compromising friendships.
Another friend once said “We have allies who try to convince us that they are our best friends and have our best interests at heart. Don’t believe all of them.” She was referring to outside of our borders and in particular, referencing straights who claim to be allies, because they happened to like gays. What does it take to be an ally for any cause? Isn’t it good enough to like gays?
Good ally-ship requires training and education on the culture the ally supports. Allies, who don’t seek proper training and education, fail to understand the dynamics and the history of how critical issues played a force in the human rights movement. They don’t know how to hold a conversation so in seeking information, it is equally important to speak with individuals who can translate the language of the gay culture. Speaking on issues which affect the rights of a human population requires having the conversations, being able to participate in dialogue and agreeing to remove all caution and stop signs and signals to keep the discussion flowing and moving forward. Once censoring is employed traffic jams occur and the conversation ends; imploding the process. We welcome schooled allies, but we run from those when we see the damage that done because they failed to understand their position on issues affecting the oppressed group.
“Straights who think they can speak for the LGBT and who claim they give LGBT a voice is somewhat insulting,” said another friend of mine. “We have a voice. They don’t want to hear what we have to say. Big difference!” We hear the expression of Giving Voice, a lot.
Do people realize how this is perceived by those never heard? That it is because they either are not invited to the table or are overshadowed by the greater force? Do people realize that when they speak out on behalf of the marginalized group that this is still not giving the individuals of the oppressed group an opportunity to be heard? Do they not realize that the more they speak out, swapping places and swapping expressions, which originated with the oppressed group, are partaking in silencing the very group to whom they should be giving the stage?
Another friend of mine said this “They don’t respect us; if they did, then they would ask for our insights and knowledge on the subject.” We see LGBT human rights groups send in straights to serve as leaders and role models for LGBT organized action as if the LGBT movement for decades has never had any experts in this realm.
LGBT see B.S. a mile away. We recognize mixed messages in a heartbeat. We see patronizing behavior coming before the person finishes delivering. This behavior stems from years of marginalization, having to identify sublimable behaviors and messages. When we witness this within organized groups for action, we see the writing on the wall.
My accounting, living as a gender fluid queer, has been agonizingly difficult – while at other times – liberating when I surround myself with other queers who understand the language and the power in words to help raise awareness of a subculture within a culture. When we are prevented or reminded of who we are through messages from well-meaning straights that sound something along these lines, “Why do you have to talk the gay stuff all the time?”; we realize we don’t have the same rights to joke or have access to conversations unless they are heteronormative. These conversations are a one-way street. The traffic only flows in one direction. To cross over into other lanes of identities and discussions becomes a hazardous endeavor.
I talk, walk, live and breath as the person I am, but only if I am with gays. This privilege is not extended to me once I cross into the hetero world of those who practice living heteronormative lives as cisgenders in a binary world. I have watched the gay community agree to the limit setting imposed on them by cisgenders.
Even in our gay community, we have people who don’t want to move away from heteronormative roles. It is perplexing to me how someone can be gay and be so closed off to the rest of the gay culture. These individuals are equally as guilty as those who refuse to listen and learn about the gay cultural movement.
My friend was correct. We are a broken community inside our borders, but we are also witnessing the brokenness outside of our borders from the cisgender allies who insert themselves, uninvited. They challenge our gender non-conforming behaviors, swapping the language and describing those who are gender benders and non-conformists as aggressive and angry, while they would herald these qualities in cisgender men, challenge these qualities in women and the LGBT.
Privilege is a lovely thing to have, but only when you recognize it and appreciate having it. It is an ugly thing when it becomes a power struggle, leads to entitlement and superiority.
If we could stand up for each other, be kinder and forget what it will do for our popularity, we would get somewhere to civil, and the world might be a better place for all of us. It must start with language and not just a few words as this would abandon the rest of the gay culture. A lesson which could easily apply to any oppressed group.
Bring out the dictionary and let the lesson begin with words.
For more information on good ally-ship, please select the link below.
Here are some arguments on why political correctness doesn’t have a place in public discourse. For those who spoke on bill 2012-296 at the city council hearings last year, reports came in that there was an attempt at censorship by some of those within our borders who served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality, including manipulative control by city council members in undermining those who, like LGBT, spoke out about abuse and threats they had encountered over the years. One of the city council members compared the LGBT to citizens living in Egypt. Whether anyone at the time realized it or not, the insults weren’t just directed to LGBT in Jacksonville but were also directed at Egyptians; Kimberly Daniels, one of the city council members, stated she had heard that some of the Egyptians practiced bestiality and necrophilia; implying that gay people did the same. The outrage could be felt throughout the room, and while there were many unkind and untruths spoken, ranging from some of the city council members to those in the audience, the LGBT voices seemed to be nullified in the eyes of those who were homophobic. The rules had to be followed. Anyone who spoke at the city council hearings had (3) minutes without uninterrupted time by either party from the audience, which wasn’t always a practice adhered to by some of the city council members. Much debate ensued on whether or not the LGBT were presenting favorably as citizens. Destiny children had their theories. Those who had impressions based on absolutely minimal historical fact and mostly false rhetoric were determined to lead the process under the assumption that political correctness would nullify any negative perceptions.
The measure to pass the bill failed, as did the amended bill.
Two of the city council members, Denise Lee and Warren Jones, voted in favor of the bill, which encompassed the full inclusive language and, if passed, would have protected LGBT; the watered-down version failed a 10-9 vote.
It became quite evident that the arguments presented weren’t enough. Very little focus was placed on statistics from valuable sources, such as Centers for American Progress (CAP), SAGE, and GLAAD, including our local organizations, such as JASMYN. The civic leaders who spoke up didn’t present economic arguments other than to say, “It is the right thing to do.” While that may be what the LGBT and the community of their allies believed, it wasn’t a sentiment shared among mainstream Jacksonville. Civic leaders could have easily presented measured data to support the need to vote in favor of bill 296.
Reports came in from a few individuals that the civic leaders took measures in their own hands, moved through matters very quickly, barring very little time for educational measures by those who were well equipped to dialogue about the differences in the bill and the proposed amendment, causing the Committee for Equality to lose control of the process.
Hours of deliberation and months later, the community of LGBT felt betrayed and angered for some reason. The discussions among those who talked about the process complained, they had been misled by those on the inside who served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality. The Jacksonville Committee for Equality defended themselves and felt they had lost control – despite the well-intentioned efforts of those who spoke out on behalf of the bill. The LGBT community learned too late that the fully inclusive bill had been replaced with the amended version and was told that every measure would be taken to include the full inclusive language at another time. Historically, this failed as Orlando some years ago. It was pointed out by Equality Florida’s executive director, Nadine Smith and Joe Saunders, who now serves House District 49 in Florida.
The transgender community felt deceived, and for good reasons. The population of transgender persons runs the highest risk for homicides worldwide, and according to GLAAD, 45% of reported hate murders were Transgender women.
The LGBT community didn’t have any idea what had happened last year. The LGBT and some of the allies lost faith in the process, which brings us currently to the same concerns; the newly formed committee has some hoops through which to jump if they are to win back the trust of those who felt marginalized and thrown under the bus.
Is it any wonder why the transgender community of Jacksonville was angered by anyone from within the borders agreeing to the proposed amendment? Those from within the borders claim they did not see this coming and expressed heartfelt sadness over the shift that occurred. Will they be in control this time around?
When the LGBT could not have their feelings validated without being viewed as negative by even those from within the borders, they experienced what many victims suffer, trauma. Claims were heard that they were blamed for having negative views and, therefore, would somehow affect the political platform and took the criticisms personally. Some of these individuals will not speak out for fear that they will be verbally attacked.
In defense of the LGBT, not one individual was prepared to hear city council members pass degrading remarks at those who reported incidences of being fired because of their sexual orientation or whose property had been vandalized. The LGBT who reported the incidences were led to believe that their behavior (for merely having a sexual orientation other than that of heterosexuality and gender nonconformity) caused the vandalism and were the reasons for losing their jobs. What would this mean for heterosexuals who are gender non-conforming? How many of these individuals have experienced marginalization? Is anyone listening? Does anyone care enough to ask these questions within this population who might be mislabeled as gay and denied equal opportunities?
Lastly, the LGBT were angered by political correctness enforced upon them within their borders. One such individual, Professor Steven Lance Stoll, spoke up and challenged the city council members on why they were following a book written back in the Bronze age. Did any city council members vote against the bill and the watered-down version because of their religious beliefs?
Currently, nine city council members were honored at First Baptist Church for heeding FBC advice to vote against the bill. Please visit YouTube for more information on FBC honoring the city council members. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJxO0D4d9Fo.
The Witherspoon Institute, on August 13, 2013, published an article on Dissecting Public Discourse written by Stella Morabito, who points out that the problem with political correctness, or PC, is that “we all perpetuate political correctness when we succumb to the fear of contradicting PC” truth.”
What happens in groups? Is it normal to witness self-assignments without any votes being cast? What makes some of these individuals privileged? Granted, some of the individuals now have experience from which to draw they did not have last year. Will they listen to those who raise concerns, or are they more concerned, once again, about behavior, personalizing the criticism received by those who do speak up or raise concerns?
I was one of these individuals who was told that I am half cocked because I called people to task and asked many questions. I removed myself from the committee after realizing that my voice would not count and was viewed as politically attacking and inappropriate, even though I raised concerns based on rumors circulating from last year and public comments made by the LGBT. My overall concern with the process is, will the floor communicate with the committee? Will those who question the process encounter repeated harassment with emails calling for private one on one meetings. Will they be accused of being half-cocked?
Morabito talks about psychological manipulation and its correlation to suppression. “If we think of PC as bacteria, suppression is like the darkroom and the culture required for the bacteria’s growth and replication.”
She refers to suppression as one of the twins, while the other is “saturation.” Morabito dissects the outcome and pointedly refers to this as producing an illusion that shifts public opinion by heavily saturating them with an impression, ‘opinion cascade’ as she calls it. The outcome? Regulating the opinions of others. Politicians understand twin processes well enough to know that it results in “shaping public opinion and the political process.” according to Morabito.
Morabito writes that in 1999, an article on ‘availability cascade’ was published on a ‘related concept’ in Stanford Law Review. The purpose is to prevent people from thinking freely and falling victim to practice survival mode for social acceptance.
We have some people within our community who have been successfully silenced in this manner through social isolation and vilified as the enemy by those who might have experienced the fear of going against PC.
Some of us watched and observed the toxic effect this had on our community and soon realized that some of the players classified themselves as our allies. A rhetorical question some of us had “Are some of our allies dispelling truth?”, And no pun intended here with the use of the label ‘all lies.’ Still, it seems even some of them are propagating the idea that censoring behavior, expression, and individual style must meet the standards of their plan for PC. Are they correct? Are they suppressing voices within our borders from the outside? Do they have the right to do so? Who grants them this privilege while we stand by and recognize that even among some of these allies, they do not understand the gay culture. It is even more disturbing that within our borders, even some of the LGBT want to compare LGBT rights to the black race issues. A black person will tell you that there isn’t any comparison because the race issue continues to exist in the present day. They cannot escape from being black. Why then is there this need to continue to focus on the religious argument and play the race card? Why are we not educating the public on the different types of sexual orientations since anyone of any color and creed can have sexual orientations? Is it because the religious evangelists have successfully managed to brainwash individuals from birth through tainted, hateful rhetoric? Isn’t this equally as damaging as any other addiction, or is it deliberate, and can we call this out as abuse? Isn’t it disturbing when we hear of people raised with fundamental religious views that take their own lives or those of others because of their sexual orientation?
Morabito points out Cass Sunstein in a chapter of his book titled “On Rumors” 2009, referring to “chilling effect” as a tactic and essentially did everything he could to discredit Obamacare. Could we say this is what FBC and the Family Policy Council attempted?
What is Morabito’s recommendation in all of this? She suggests avoiding isolation instead of doing the work by having conversations with others in the community to build a stronger voice. Morabito writes, “if enough people come out of isolation and shed the fear of speaking their minds, a genuine cascade of truth will ensue.”
Social media allows for this opportunity. However, some LGBT and allies have been verbally attacked on FB by those who viewed their remarks as negative. Who are these destiny children? Why are they so afraid? Do they believe that speaking the truth and raising concerns will result in adverse outcomes?
To read more about Stella Morabito, please refer to her article on Public Discourse. It is an excellent read. The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, and The Human Life Review feature some of Morabito’s articles.
The information pertaining outside of any references made to Morabito’s article does not in any way reflect her views. These are views gathered from various LGBT members in the community who over time, have expressed similar sentiments along with the author.
Organizational behavior is an interesting study among activists and volunteers who work together to improve the quality of life among oppressed groups. Members serving on committees, who are blind-sighted by hidden agendas, not privy to all information or proposed changes, are in danger of falling victim to the very facet which they vow to eliminate; oppression. Distrust sets in among members who now find themselves, victimized; triggering dysfunction and obstructing the fluidity of the process. When a proposal to restructure the organizational reportingis presented as something which was suggested in prior months, with self-assigned roles and activities, a heightened sense of awareness among the oppressed members ensues and without any words exchanged, the dynamics within the group change.
I am referring to the process of a Jacksonville’s committee whose members were intent on seeing to it that the HRO would pass at the local level without any assistance by outside groups, whose individuals are accustomed to working with political agendas but were asked to take a back seat. Rumors flew throughout the community, and tensions escalated. Questions from community members were “Why a large organization, such as Equality Florida, would not be invited to the table and take a position at the forefront of the process?” The consensus among the LGBT public was that the right hand did not know what the left was doing and could have benefitted from outside support. Others argued that the changes needed to be done at the local level without outside assistance. Who was in charge? No one knew, but some of the individuals in the LGBT community surmised that it was a selective group of individuals who were viewed as secretive and unwilling to freely disclose matters. While the new members are assured that any future process will be transparent, validation and accountability will be put through a Litmus test.
What strengthens freedom among members serving on committees is allowing the expression of all thoughts to flourish. Dysfunction occurs when the parties are not forthcoming and camouflage the truth. In establishing power over those whom they have deemed unworthy or less capable of serving as part of the inner circle, under the guise of recommending a change in structure, (not by majority vote nor not by any voting process transparent to the entire committee), left much doubt and dismay among some of the members.
One of the members expressed that they were just handed the kiss of death. Distrust could be pulsed throughout the room. The realization sat that they were not deemed, any longer, politically correct, or worthy of any contribution. The question which comes to mind among members is, “Who are the gatekeepers?”. Glances were swiftly swapped from one individual to another in a roundtable fashion, while the tension among the power players increased. Some of the members weren’t easily swayed by colorfully presented denials that they might have gone back to gatekeeping.
Reluctancy sets in among some persons, who financially and emotionally invested and contributed their time, energy, and trust to improve quality and performance within organizational structures.
When practices are in question and are overlooked or not challenged inside the borders, that is when the dysfunction sets in. To circumvent and implement a strategy by the members is one way to enforce corrective measures and ethical behavior. To reduce any chance of oppression; insisting on equality at this basic level among all of the members, who signed up to improve their communities, would ensure respect among the group and enhance their interests in working collaboratively to wipe out discrimination. The first course of action might result in a decision to challenge the process with the support of peers, advisers or financial backers before they remove themselves from the process. When committee members question professional conduct, it might be time to challenge the platform.
The Pope has recently made the statement “Who am I to Judge?” when asked about LGBT. Did he make this statement because the Vatican is in a financial crisis? A commentator for Timesunion.com, Leslie Hudson, published an article, February 20, 2013. Hudson wrote, Italian authorities placed the Vatican bank on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries for money laundering after seizing $29 million. J.P. Morgan tried to obtain information from the Vatican due to large deposits and withdrawals of money. When the Vatican failed to provide the information, J.P. Morgan closed one of the accounts. The Vatican hired outside financial advisers to address the Vatican bank’s compliance in meeting financial regulations. Who are they? How many other reports exist?
The Daily Beast posted an article from World News by Barbie Latza Nadeau, July 2, 2013, and author of Angel Face, a book about Amanda Knox. Since 1997, Nadeau has reported from Italy for Newsweek and appears on some networks, such as CNN, BBC, and NPR. The article is a painful reminder of the underground activities at the Vatican. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, former Vatican finance official who became a priest at the age of 32, also known as Monsignor 500, because of his habit in carrying around cash, was arrested this year in an attempt to smuggle $26 million from Switzerland to an unidentified bank account in Italy. General Director, Paolo Cipriani and deputy, Massimo Tulli, both resigned on July 1 and are under criminal investigation by Italian authorities for assisting Msgr. Scarano. The former Vatican’s bank president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi provided his friends with a list of enemies after claiming, last year, that he was in fear for his life.
He should. After all, Nadeau referred to Roberto Calvi “Three decades ago, another of “God’s bankers,” Roberto Calvi, was found hanging from a noose under Blackfriars Bridge in London.
In an article published by Catholic News Agency, Andrea Gagiliarducci, July 15, 2013, reports that according to the authorities, Msgr. Scarano was the mastermind of the plot and included a former suspended agent of the Italian Domestic Intelligence agency, Giovanni Maria Zito, along with the financial broker, Giovanni Carenzio.
Lizzy Davies from Rome wrote a piece for The Guardian, June 26, 2013, on the Vatican’s image and Pope Francis vowing to uphold moral, financial reform. Ernst Von Freyberg, a German Financier for the institution, and a lawyer validated that the Vatican had some cleaning up to do while the seven possible incidents of money laundering are under investigation.
Religion News Service posted an article on February 15, 2013, written by Alessandro Speciale, concerning Freyberg, who took over from the former ousted president Tedeschi. His new position with the Vatican bank triggered an uproar. Freyberg served as the chairman of the executive board of German shipyard Blohm + Voss. Apparently, this enterprise was involved in the production of warships under Nazi Germany.
The Vatican defended selecting Freyberg and claimed that it has never in the previous history, hired an international headhunting agency to do the scouting. The question is how does an international headhunting agency decide Freyberg’s moral excellence when the Vatican Bank president is a descendant of one of the shipyard’s founders as confirmed by Blohm + Voss? Who recommended the international headhunting agency?
In an article, posted on February 16, 2013, News.com.au, Freyberg not only is a minority shareholder in Blohm + Voss, but he is also a treasurer of the German association of the Order of the Knights of Malta, founded during the Crusades in the Middle Ages. The religious lay order has approximately 13,500 members around the world.
Breaking News from NPR reported by Sylvia Poggioli, February 09, 2013, Knights of Malta’s 4,000 members, Pilgrims and tourists, celebrated the 900th Anniversary at the Vatican and marched to the tomb of St. Peter. Poggioli writes that the mission of the Order is humility and charity.
Not only is Freyburg treasurer for this Order, but he is also the Vatican’s Financier.
NDTV released an article by Associated Press, May 19, 2013, reporting that Pope Francis led a rally to encourage moral conscience, after having deliberated in talks at the Vatican with Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. He expressed disappointment with the economic crisis. In his speech, he told the crowd that the true crises lie with moral values.
Clearly, the Vatican bank isn’t off the hook?
The Guardian posted an article by David Leigh, Jean François Tanda, and Jessica Benhamou, January 21, 2013, with the Headline “How the Vatican Built A Secret Property Empire Using Mussolini’s Millions.” The writer’s reported the lengths taken by the Vatican to keep matters undisclosed. Investigations reveal that at the height of the bubble in 2006, of the £15m the Vatican purchased 30 St. James Square where it housed the investment bank, Altium Capital, bought by the company, British Grolux Investments Ltd. The Vatican’s purchases also included properties, New Bond Street and in the City of Coventry plus properties in Paris and Switzerland.
Mail Online published an article by Mario Ledwith, January 22, 2013. Ledwith wrote that the Catholic Church owns many luxurious London properties and that it has been claimed that the property empire initially was funded by a fascist dictator, Mussolini. Ledwith goes on to write that the Vatican’s foreign company portfolio is worth around £560 million.
Could we arguably say that Pope Francis is recruiting LGBT and others to build the census, to recover from the financial crisis and to rebuild the Vatican’s reputation?
Is the message here that gays are being recruited because the Pope has had a change of heart, or are they being recruited merely because it makes economic sense? After all, he still claims what so many other Christian Fundamentalists have said, Love The Gays, Don’t Love The Sin.
I recently attended a workshop titled All In The Family: Gender Transitions Throughout The Lifecycle and purchased the speaker’s book titled Transgender Emergence Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families by Arlene Istar Lev, LCSW, CASAC. One of the essential facets I walked away with was gaining insight into the world of the intersex; I was pleasantly surprised to learn the number of variances in intersex and the facts I had not ever acquired throughout any part of my career as a nurse. I continue to do as much research as I can on any given subject that I cover in any work I do, even when it crosses over into the healthcare realm. I try to gain as much insight into the latest reports. I can never possibly know everything. Hence we have specialists working in fields that are not well understood or addressed by every practitioner.
I currently live in Jacksonville, FL, where the necessary protections for human rights continues to remain in the forefront of our brains and have left those of us who believe a human rights ordinance bill is needed for the LGBT community bewildered, at best. In trying to understand the fears of some who argue that introducing a bill for LGBT protections against discrimination would be granting the LGBT special privileges. Last year, one of the city council members mentioned it could lead to necrophilia. In contrast, others who attended the hearings and opposed the bill argued that we would see a rise in pedophilia and bestiality.
The resistance of those opposed to this bill is difficult to grasp. While it was overturned and did not pass the majority voting in its favor, some of us were relieved because we could see that if the watered-down version had passed, this would leave our brothers and sisters in the transgender community at risk. Even with the watered-down version introduced early on as an amendment to the bill, many transgender individuals were mad. They felt they had been thrown to the curb by the allies and LGB, who supported the amended portion to bill 2012-296, which left out Gender Identity and Expression. Those in support of the amended bill claimed they could return at a later time and introduce a bill for Gender Identity and Expression protecting the transgender community. Equality Florida’s Executive director, Nadine Smith, warned everyone that accepting the watered-down version of bill 296 could result in a backlash and would not necessarily guarantee that in the future, protections for Gender Identity and Expression would pass, as what happened to the city of Orlando, Florida where citizen tried and failed for a number of years. It wasn’t until the county of Orlando introduced the bill with full protections for LGBT that an all-inclusive bill finally passed. Who can blame the transgender community of Jacksonville for feeling the way they do?
Where does education begin? Does it start with language? Do we need to use the current definitions in the language and insist on a broader range of adjectives, which best describe individuals in the LGBT culture? What protections are there for individuals who are at risk for discrimination and hate crimes because of their gender variances? Does it only affect the homosexual community? Could we say that in learning what we have of gender variance within a human population that, the heterosexual community is also at risk for discrimination and hate crimes? What about gender variance in the heterosexual community? Some heterosexuals deviate from expressing their gender. Who are some of our transgender individuals? Have some undergone surgery? What defines someone as transgender? Why do some transgender individuals consider themselves born with a congential disability?
There are between 70 and 80 variances of intersex individuals. Some of these intersex individuals receive their sex assignment at birth, and most of them are assigned as female. The practice to perform sex assignments on intersex is changing, and the current practice is taking a shift. According to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), it is better to wait and allow the child to determine which gender they fit more suitably; gender not determined by the parent, but determined by the child. ISNA sheds light on a paradigm that compares the way we should treat intersex as a patient-centered model as opposed to prior treatments, which encouraged concealing the identity and treated it as an abnormality. According to the CDC, 1 in 250 births results in intersex; the statistics still don’t include all the other variances. An internet site, Intersex Roadshow, maintained by Dr. Cary Gabriel Costello,reports that the birth rate for intersex could be put on par with the number of births born with green eyes. If this is true, it is an interesting comparison. Interesting because we seem to accept green eyes shamelessly while we marginalize intersex.
Shouldn’t a community maintain public decency towards intersex and come to recognize that there are individuals who received sex assignments at birth that misaligned them with their identities? After all, the statistics for infants born intersex are 2% of the population. What about individuals who feel disjointed from their biological sex without being intersex? We do not know who is intersex and cannot possibly identify those with anatomical differences because parents shamefully hid the treatment approach from family members, and sometimes even from the child. Many of these individuals grew up with their sex assignments are given at birth, and with most of them receiving female-assigned gender status at birth (FAAB), they didn’t necessarily feel female and, these cases, were wrongly assigned as such. While everyone thought they had done the right thing assigning these children a gender, they kept it a secret, from society and in many cases from the child. The reality is that not all these children grew up feeling quite the same as those of their biological sex, causing a host of psychological and as emotional struggles and shifting the anchored pillar within the family structure from its base.
The binary world only offers two options. Should there be more than two worlds from, which to choose, since it is now clear that we have birth rates of intersex 1 in 250? The question comes to mind whether or not we should continue with the old binary model of male/female or move to a gender variant model which would broaden the spectrum for many individuals.
We have a population of individuals who are transgender, transsexual, and who gender express. All deserve a place at the table with the same rights and equal opportunities as everyone else. Some of these individuals are intersex, while others just feel they were born with the wrong body parts, and frankly, some prefer to dress any way they please. Is it time that we should be kind and gentle towards a population of individuals who do not fit the Westernized nation’s binary world? Is the Westernized nation civil when it behaves antagonistically towards individuals who are different? Is it any wonder that some of these individuals feel they were born with a congenital disability? If the truth was hidden from them, doesn’t it stand to reason they would feel it was shameful to admit that they were born this way; especially if this is how their parents and the medical establishment behaved towards their anatomical parts? How is this any different for individuals who do not feel they connect to their biological sex when the world only offers the binary model?
What about sexual orientation? We know that transgender has nothing to do with sexual orientation. We do know that transgender individuals have a sexual orientation just as anyone else does.
Here is an illustration that might help you understand the differences in sexual orientation and how transgender individuals aren’t any different from anyone else.
You can be a pilot and be either heterosexual, non-heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual. Insert attraction for the opposite sex; the pilot is heterosexual. Insert attraction for the same sex; the pilot is non-heterosexual. Insert an attraction for both genders; the pilot is bisexual. Remove the sexual attraction; the pilot is asexual.
A transgender pilot could be any one of these individuals. A transgender pilot could be intersex.
All four of the pilots share a common thread: they fly planes, must equally meet standards of practice and competency, standards of excellence, and maintain their licenses in meeting FAA standards of policies and procedures. They have nothing in common with each other’s sexual attractions or preferences other than they frequently fly in and out of airports. Again, their sexuality has nothing to do with what they do for a living or hobby.
My advice to those of you reading this is to learn this because if you want to have an intelligent conversation on this subject, this will help you understand that there is nothing more to these differences. It has nothing to do with lifestyle.
You might want to consider, when having a conversation with others who are walled off to anyone who does not fit the binary model, by asking these individuals why they insist non-heterosexual is a lifestyle? Ask them to explain to you how lifestyles between heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals differ? Should the topic of transgender individuals come up to remind individuals that 2% of the population is intersex? While not every transgender person is intersex, it remains a critical component and is categorized under the transgender umbrella of definitions.
If you have an opportunity to help reach one human being across the spectrum of many others, remind the individual that sexual attraction has nothing to do with lifestyle and transgender persons are those individuals whose identity differs from the social expectations of their biological sex. The more we dialogue, the more likely we are to close the gap on biases and prejudices derived from misunderstanding differences. Debunking rhetoric is far more heroic than continuing to allow it to stand in the way of truth. We fail at tolerance when we set up barriers, preach self righteously, and stop listening.
This essay is written from my point of view, and none of which I have written holds any bearing on Lev other than mentioning and making the reference to the intersex variances from her book.
To learn more about Gender-Variant People and Their Families, please consider purchasing Lev’s book titled Transgender Emergence. It is very informative, written for therapists who are working with gender-variant people and their families. It will help some of you understand the world of gender variances. To contact Lev, please visit
The internet sites below were used for this essay and are very helpful to anyone who might be interested in learning more about gender variances.
When businesses and large corporations lose opportunities in hiring the best of the most qualified and skilled labor force, cities are equally and adversely affected.
Discrimination drives away the skilled and qualified labor force. Companies compromise their fiscal stability and experience a decline in profit margins with net losses.
Centers for American Progress reports that the price of discrimination cases is a hefty one for businesses. The annual estimated cost of losing and replacing workers who leave their jobs because of discrimination amounts to $64 billion.
In fact, according to the Centers for American Progress, a Transgendered employee at IBM filed a discrimination suit against the organization. It cost IBM millions in unrealized profits. The cost of employee replacement occurs at a national rate of $5,000 – $10,000 for hourly employees and $75,000 to $211,000 for executives. In one aggregate study, employees who work in a hostile work environment will cost companies an annual $1.4 billion.
Shareholders recognize that companies with inclusive hiring policies improve their profit margins dramatically because the pool of applicants is comprised of the top performers. Shouldn’t we expect cities to adopt all-inclusive policies if cities rely on organizations’ financial earning power? Successful organizations contribute to cities in many ways. When businesses can no longer remain fiscally sound this affects the financial markets.
According to Scott Quehl of Brookings Research, it took Philadelphia and New Haven financial planning to recover their millions of dollars deficit. The cities were either at Junk Bond status or just above Junk Bond status. Investments were deferred, and short fix-it methodologies were running out. Their deficits prevented them from borrowing from capital markets at percentage rates that they could manage. By 1999, both cities recovered with a budget well exceeding their expectations. They improved by cutting costs and expenses among some strategies, one of which was to open their doors to a broader market. http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2000/06/summer-transportation-quehl
But, when corporations cannot attract well qualified, and skilled employees and cities cannot attract tourists, then the market shifts and results in lost earnings and fiscal instability.
The cost of relocating organizations to gay-friendly cities, where legal protections do exist for LGBT, might initially be a costly endeavor, but in recognizing a link between shifts in profit margins and a decline in employee retention rates, organizations realize that where they position their headquarters matters. If a company has inclusive policies which raise the bar, both regarding employee morale and regarding recruitment but have to risk losing opportunities in recruiting the best candidates for the job, isn’t it best that their shareholders, civic and corporate leaders speak out? Why when a city relies on the success of organizations, would it not offer protections and adopt inclusive policies as a matter of Best Practices when its’ leaders step up and speak out?
Are shareholders willing to ride the waves and if so, for how long of a period of time? After all, the bottom line is what matters, and when shareholders cannot see a return on their dollars, the risks in gaining opportunities by relocating to other parts of the State or country might outweigh the risks of losing investors. These concerns do concern those who are running the organizations.
According to authors, Dr. Robert Brown and Ms. Ruth Washton, of Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research which conducts research of the Gay and Lesbian Market in collaboration with another Marketing firm, WiteckCombs Communications, LGBT consumers spent 660 billion dollars in goods and services. The projections for 2011 were set at $835 billion, a rounded 21% increase in four years. LGBT have spent a trillion in consumer spending. Their spending across the globe accounts for 6%.http://www.witeckcombs.com/research_insights/harris_interactive.html
In fact, this number would be exponentially so many times more than this, if businesses global-wide were gay-friendly. Could we venture to guesstimate? The researchers report that Sixty-six percent of LGBT consumers indicated that they would purchase from a gay-friendly business even if the unfriendly companies offered lower prices and were convenient.
So why do cities refuse to adopt bills which otherwise would provide legal protections against discrimination for LGBT, if this would improve their economy social standards? How do we get venture capital to flow from booming industries to industries in need of capital?
When we cannot recruit the level of performers corporations to need due to the lack of protections, cities miss out on valuing cultures. Cities which have added value have in turn boosted their economy and their scores on a national level go up.
Folio FLOG Weekly reported in their online August 28th publication Activist and frequent City Commission critic Ed Slavin asked commissioners to amend the city’s Fair Housing Act during public comments.“It sends the message that St. Augustine is open for business, and our hearts are open,” Slavin told Folio Weekly after the vote.http://www.flogfolioweekly.com/?tag=st-augustine
Some of the business owners in Jacksonville, argue that they have the right to select to whom they will open their doors. But, if they are a public entity serving the public, can they? ACLU won a case in Vermont on behalf of a Lesbian couple, who were turned away after the Wildflower Inn learned that they were Lesbian and argued that they turned them away because of their religious beliefs. ACLU won the case based on the federal laws which prohibit discrimination. The message is an important one for business owners that clearly says to everyone – “Open your doors to the general public, you have to follow the same rules that apply to everyone else, and you can’t use your own personal religious beliefs to pick and choose who you want to serve. This is not a new idea.”
According to the Corporate Equality Index of 2004 firms such as some of these referenced moving forward have stepped up their Best Practices by incorporating diversity training, building diversity teams and ensuring that policies include the necessary language for training and protections of LGBT, along with providing sensitivity awareness training in recruitment practices.
If corporations cannot retain their top-performing employees because their city doesn’t offer protections for LGBT against discrimination, they are settling on a mediocre employee while long-term vested employees relocate to gay-friendly places in exchange for a better lifestyle.
Lifting the glass ceiling to people of color and the spectrum of gender matters a great deal if it means hiring or promoting someone who is qualified for the job. Sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are not what drive business away. What drives business into the ground is the lack of Best Practices and the focus on personal features that hold very little weight in regards to skills sets and performance.
The Williams Institute of Law at UCLA in October of 2011 – Economic Motives for Adopting LGBT-Related Workplace Policies – lists statements made by top 50 federal contractors. The following organizations made these statements.
Diversity and inclusion are part of Boeing’s values at the highest level. Having diverse employees, business partners and community relationships is vital to creating advanced aerospace products and services for our diverse customers around the world. The company’s commitment to diversity means providing a work environment for all employees that is welcoming, respectful and engaging, with opportunities for personal and professional development. This, in turn, increases productivity, quality and creativity and innovation.”
As HP has grown and expanded throughout the world, its workforce has become more diverse. HP believes that this diverse workforce helps the company realize its full potential. Recognizing and developing the talents of each individual brings new ideas to HP. The company benefits from the creativity and innovation that results when HP people who have different experiences, perspectives, and cultures work together. This is what drives invention and high performance at HP. We believe a well managed, diverse workforce expands HP’s base of knowledge, skills and cross-cultural understanding, which in turn, enables us to understand, relate and respond to our diverse and changing customers throughout the world, connecting them to the power of technology. Our overall commitment is reflected in our diversity and inclusion philosophy.http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Mallory-Sears-Corp-Statements-Tables-Oct2011.pdf
Centers for American Progress lists some of the corporations with these Best Practices. In looking at the corporations cited in the article by Crosby Burns, Research Associate for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., the corporations are mostly positioned in markets where diversity is welcoming, and some protections exist.
Morgan Stanley and Bank of America along with J.P. Morgan, Pepsico, and IBM all have their headquarters in NY. While Microsoft has it’s’ in both Redmond, WA, and NY.
NYC has legal protections for LGBT. In fact, recently NYC’s mayor, Andrew Cuomo, signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
Let’s look at corporate conglomerates such as Lockheed Martin whose headquarters is in Bethesda, Maryland and Dell’s in Austin, TX, all organizations along with Johnson & Johnson’s in Brunswick, NJ exist in cities where diversity is welcome. GM’s are in Detroit, MI which does not have legal protections for GLBT. Yet, Detroit benefits from the hiring policies GM has in place.
Joann Muller, Forbes Detroit bureau of the chief writer, reports that Tim Bryan, chairman, and chief executive of GalaxE Solutions, says “If you don’t capitalize on opportunities, you get left behind.”
Muller writes that the entrepreneurs and business leaders are capitalizing on opportunities to turn a city on the brink of bankruptcy, is to gain on realized profits. By bridging with Detroit’s police force in addressing solutions to a rapidly growing crime rate and offering protections to the citizens and collaborating with the city’s existing smaller businesses, funding programs which provide for green, sustainable agriculture in urban food. Whole Foods contributed $10 million to local companies to help them grow and become financially independent as business operations.
Jacksonville, FL continues to coexist despite the massive debt it carries. Civic leaders and CEO’s who run corporate conglomerates and small businesses have come to city hall in the recent year and months to encourage the city council members to pass legal protections for LGBT. Among these bigwigs were ex-mayors who reported seeing the backlash of a city which refuses to recognize gay rights. Some of them said a decline in employee retention rates and lost opportunities in hiring the most qualified and skilled individuals in the labor force. City council members in Jacksonville, however, were more concerned over their own small business operations despite expert witnesses such as educators and leaders from programs well versed in LGBT matters.
None of the arguments in favor of passing the human rights bill mattered. Some of the city council members in interviews with the press argued that LGBT would result in turning away their loyal clients who would live in fear that their rights would be placed at risk. They argued that Transgendered persons would pose a threat to their children and clientele, while others claimed it would be against their religion to accept the lifestyles of the LGBT and one city council member went as far as filing a bill 2012-377, pledging religious freedom. She also runs a congregation and has published books which address homosexuality as a sin. Sentiments shared by some of the citizens ran parallel with attorneys from the Family Research Council making a case against voting in favor of bill 2012-296 for fear that this would be damaging to families.
The data presented by some of the leaders shed light on what happens when inefficient hiring and firing decisions result in costly and harmful business practices. None of which seem to sway this group of city council members. What persuaded 17 city council members were the arguments from Family Research Council which were based on misaligned data while the caveat came from First Baptist Church whose leader, on YouTube, announced that they were pleased the city council heeded their advice and voted against protections of LGBT.
Shouldn’t legal protections against LGBT discrimination weigh considerably more when it affects the city’s economic downturn? Doesn’t a city have fiscal as well as social responsibility? Is Jacksonville caught in a gridlock of religious warfare? The arguments during the council hearings were mostly centered on religion. When the federal government has federal protections in place against housing discrimination, and small independent entities can discriminate, aren’t they in essence in violation of the federal laws if they are operating as public entities? Which does raise a red flag on the rental housing industry since they are managing public properties for rental income?
Is Jacksonville hedging towards a fiscal cliff? The answer is yes. Many cities are facing fiscal cliffs by year end 2012. With the amount of debt Jacksonville is in can it afford a zero tolerance policy? COJ reported in their Quarterly Summary of August 2012 that the city has over 3 billion in outstanding debt. The short end of the story? When a city has to declare bankruptcy then who will provide and pay for public services? Who pays the garbage company for collecting garbage? Who pays the utility company? Who does or doesn’t receive their pension? Is this city in need of city council members who can serve its’ best interests without serving their own first and at the city’s welfare?
What are Jacksonville’s Best Practices? Are Jacksonville’s city council members operating in the city’s best interest when they avoid legalizing protections against discrimination for LGBT? What in the end will this cost the city?
Is Jacksonville placing itself at a competitive disadvantage compared to cities such as Orlando and Miami?
Will Jacksonville, along with these corporations, be adversely affected?
Will large corporations relocate?
Prosperous cities have recognized that narrowing their diversity pool ranging from tourists to employees are some of the reasons for economic shifts and the best way to avoid fiscal cliffs is to adopt Best Practices in providing policies that protect LGBT from discrimination. The best message a city can send is in opening her doors to a diverse market.
Welcome to my angoldbauer.com! If this is your very first post tell readers why you like this blog. This is a blog about gender diversity across the spectrum and some of my own trials and tribulations as a trans male, human rights activist, and photojournalist, filmmaker, and healthcare consultant. Seems like a lot of jobs? Not really. They all intersect. That’s right. Each one crosses into the other. As a trans male, board certified in transgender care and enrolled in a doctoral program for Sexology, I have been covering LGBTQIA for quite some time now. Over the past eight years, I have interviewed some people whose children are either gay or trans along with professionals who are experts in their field. This work is ever-evolving, and I love every bit of what I do.
The blog posts are updated from time to time. I do this because of my own personal journey in coming to terms with my struggles that I’ve encountered working with micro-aggression and at times macro-aggression. I feel it is important to speak from this perspective within my own personal journey as a trans male who lives predominantly in a conservative bible belt region of the state in Northeast Florida.
While some of my posts can come off sounding a bit heated, please recognize that since this time, I’ve come a long way from feeling victimized by members of my own community and that some of us needed time to heal and recover.
I also recognize that being an activist is one thing, remaining stuck and angry is an entirely different matter. I am not criticizing anyone who stays stuck and angry. I am aware that society unleashes hate and can be very unkind because of social stigma. Some of the misguided information that continues to circulate out there has caused much harm to our community and serves as a barrier to advancing civil communication. What I am saying, however, is that anger can become addictive and this is where I part ways with it.
I needed to heal and feel well again. For me, this was crucial in my own recovery. Either way, I have kept the posts, but updated them as my views grew. If any of you follow my blog, then please be aware of these occasional updates.