Archive for August, 2008

A rose by any other name

August 31, 2008

Recently I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the vocabulary that we (trans people) have available to us, how we talk about trans issues like transitioning, transsexuality, cis (non-trans) concerns and so on. I find it difficult, for example, to define gender identity in a way that is meaningful to me but which can still be understood by cis (non-trans) people – mainly because I don’t have any words that really fit. This is a subject that I may return to in the future, but for now I’d like to talk about a couple of occasions in the last few weeks where I’ve found myself questioning a couple of quite commonly-used words.

First, in my recent post about Kellie Telesford over at TFW I described Kellie – twice – as a “woman of colour”. And I was called out on this use by one of the commenters who said he found the term problematic and questioned why I needed to refer to her colour at all. The unspoken subtext that I drew from his remarks was that I was seeing it through (what The Unapologetic Mexican calls) the white lens:

This is the lens that is fitted upon the American who absorbs mainstream culture. You do not have to be White to see this way. See Gonzales, Condi, etc. It involves thinking that POC are inferior to Whites, that Whites are best enabled and empowered by Nature to act for and in the interest of all other brown peoples, that the most desirable goal is to succeed in this current White power structure as it stands, and as it has been built; to abdicate parts of yourself or your culture or history as demanded by this structure and to never look back. It can be an unepexpectedly subtle lens, and so good a fit that rarely are people aware they are wearing it.

Yet it wreaks untold harm upon the world.

The commenter’s remarks rather caught me off-guard, and on reflection I felt that it would be fair to say that my use of the term “woman of colour” was wrong, albeit for a different reason. I tend to use it as a catchall, umbrella term – like “transgender”, in a sense. Again from UM: ‘[People of Colour] can mean Latin Americans, Blacks, Asians, Indians, Middle Easterners, etc. It means “not White European”‘. So it would have been more appropriate to refer to Kellie Telesford as a black trans woman – and I amended my post to reflect that.

But I completely disagree about the relevance issue: I think the fact that Kellie Telesford was black was actually entirely relevant. Although I understand, but disagree with, what the commenter means when he says that the term “woman of colour” is a misnomer “because it assumes white women don’t have colour”, the fact remains that the majority of trans women who are murdered are black or Latin@. So her skin colour is relevant from my point of view as a trans woman, reflecting on Kellie Telesford’s death, the consequent court case and verdict.

I’m immediately back on the subject of intersectionality: as a trans woman I am oppressed (a) because I’m a woman and (b) because I’m transsexual. The concept of intersectionality dictates that these two oppressions will act together – not independently, not in parallel – and create a third oppression: that of being a trans woman. So the oppressions Kellie Telesford suffered were (a) because she was a woman (b) because she was trans and (c) because she was black. The intersectionality creates a fourth oppression which arises from being a black trans woman.

But what the commenter fails to notice is his cis (non-trans) privilege. (See this link, this link and this link). By introducing the subject of my use of the term woman of colour, and telling me that her skin colour is irrelevant, the commenter has refocused the discussion on cis (non-trans) concerns. My post was about the verdict of the court with regards to the trial of Kellie Telesford’s alleged murderer, yet the commenter was recentring it on race; which was a secondary aspect of the subject.

This refocusing on to cis (non-trans) concerns is an all too common reaction when trans people try to discuss trans issues in cis (non-trans) spaces. An attempt to derail the comments had already been made, and – typically – I had been criticised for standing firm on the subject matter. And that kind of criticism is also too common – it’s a variation of UM’s Drowning Maestro attack: “I can’t care about the violent death of a black trans woman when you use that tone of voice”. The truth is that the cis (non-trans) person using that line of attack is more bothered that a trans person has the nerve to speak passionately. It’s demeaning, and in other circumstances would leave them open to ridicule. It also leads into the question of safe spaces for trans people, but that’s another subject which I previously touched on here; I found Lisa’s comments perceptive and very helpful, and I plan to return to it at a later date.

I think that’s quite a thorough example of just some of the problems with the vocabulary and language that trans people use to talk about trans issues with cis (non-trans) people, and how cis (non-trans) people like to keep the spotlight on themselves.

————

Moving right along… A useful example of the difficulties of finding appropriate language for use amongst ourselves (trans people) is found in Tobi Hill-Meyer’s post, Is ‘Tranny’ Offensive? To me, the short answer to this deceptively simple question is, “It depends who’s asking the question, who they’re asking it of, and why they’re asking it”.

I have a problem with Tobi’s piece that comes from hir habit of making generalised statements without citing hir sources. For example: “The term itself was first widely used within the porn industry“. Was it? The entire porn industry, or only part of it? When did this use start, and why? Has that use been continuous? And so on. Because without those qualifications, Tobi’s trawl through the history of the term is interesting but no more. Without attribution, it leaves open to question statements like:

The issue of reclaiming the term is further complicated, though. You see, while I have been discussing the impact the term has had on trans people, the reality is that it is trans women who have most directly targeted by it. Trans men have been comparably invisible is the sex and porn industries, and the trans men porn that exists today is almost exclusively produced by trans men. Yet a significant portion, arguably a majority, of the effort to reclaim the term has been made by trans men. Usually by trans men who are not familiar with the negative history of the term, let alone having been subjected to it’s sting themselves.

It’s a shame that we have to rely solely on hir interpretation of unknown sources, because what sie says is otherwise fascinating, and the original material may offer other, additional, insights.

Nevertheless, that concern aside, I do empathise with hir stated discomfort at the use of the word tranny. I’ve noticed its use in a couple of trans-only forums and indeed, I’ve used it myself in that context: but that’s the only place I’ve used it, and even then, I felt my use of it to be tentative, cautious. I’d be very reluctant to use it around cis (non-trans) people because I think that it’s likely to be misappropriated and used deliberately to cause offence to trans people.

And I think that there are already plenty of pejoratives available to cis (non-trans) people to marginalise and dehumanise us, without handing them further ammunition. “Well, you used it so why shouldn’t I?”…

————

Okay, let me finish with some linkbacks, then a tune: I found the piece Is ‘Tranny’ Offensive? by Tobi Hill-Meyer from a link in Weasel’s post solitary oddness over at the rather wonderfully-named Dreaming of Butterflies. Which I have at last added to my blogroll…

For obvious reasons (well, obvious to me, anyway ^_^) I wanted to close with Weasel And The White Boys Cool by Rickie Lee Jones and actually managed to find a live version at YouTube. It’s from 1985 so beware the hair – but the song, and the playing, is/are generally pretty fab, although I do have reservations about the rock lobster on the leaden guitar.

To be honest, I could listen to any track from that album, but then again, it’s been one of my favourite albums for about 30 years. So maybe I’m a little bit biased…

Rickie Lee Jones: Weasel and the White Boys Cool

Sal was working at Nyro’s Nook in downtown
Selling articles of congress to these people downtown
He was pretty sleazy when I met him
A weasel in a poor boy’s wool

Sal lives in a black vinyl pen in New Jersey
Buys his meat from a whore next door
Wants it rare but he gets it well
A weasel on a short order floor

So, Sal, say good-bye to your mom and your dad
Sal, say good-bye to the barrio
Sal, say good-bye to your buddies and your pals
Angela, Perry and Mario

Kid Sinister with the Bus Stop Blues
A quarter could take you home
A dime could make a dream come true
But a weasel ain’t got a dime for the phone
Does a weasel got a dime for the phone?

So, Sal, say good-bye to your mom and your dad
Sal, say good-bye to the barrio
Sal, say good-bye to your buddies and your pals
Angela, Perry and Mario

You dancin’ in the welfare lines, Sal
Actin’ like some jerk-off fool
When we could lay out eatin’ peaches on the beaches
A weasel in a white boy’s cool
But we’re all in a white boy’s school
Just like a weasel

(YouTube link)

She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister

August 30, 2008

Transsexuality is a complex and contradictory condition. It cuts across all boundaries: class, race, age, sex, laws, you name it. It has its origins in biology as well as culture: nature and nurture.

One result of this intersectionality is that transsexual people form a very diverse group with as many differences as similarities. In my darker moments, I find solace in knowing that – just as our transsexuality links us, even though we are such a disparate bunch – it’s our diversity that ensures we can celebrate our experiences, shared and different. And by that means, we develop a sense of kinship, yes, even community.

We are, each of us, unique individuals bound by a common condition which manifests itself in many, many ways. I see no fundamental difference between a trans person like me who has undergone surgery, and one who hasn’t. We both have to deal with gender dissonance, and we’re both in the same oppressed minority. She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister.

So, when I read garbage like this: http://ts-si%5BDOT%5Dorg/content/view/3454/995/ – well, it makes me cross. Did I say cross? I meant to say – angry. (And no, I will not link directly: I will not boost this idiot’s Technorati rating).

See, as long as some HBS people are trying to tell me that all they want is “a nice neat binary, with HBS men and women easily and clearly distinguished from a variety of self-advertising publicity-seeking ‘TG Pride’ paraphiliacs and fetishists” – or that “true transsexual” women look and act feminine before transitioning, and the rest of us are somehow unworthy fakes, then I just want to slap them. Hard. Never mind all the sham niceness and oh-so-reasonable tone – just where the hell do these idiots get off with their essentialist bullshit? Who appointed them as judge and jury about who is trans and who isn’t?

I was 50 before I began my transition: not by choice, just circumstances. How my life turned out. Half a century of testosterone damage does not make me “less trans” than someone who was fortunate – privileged – enough to transition young. Maybe it makes me more vulnerable to street harassment, discrimination, bigotry and random acts of violence – but it does not make me any less of a woman.

Those HBS people who adopt cis/heteronormative standards for defining who is a “true transsexual” and who isn’t – are no better than any of the cultfems it has been my misfortune to tangle with.

Let me put this as simply as I can: because a trans person has had bottom surgery does not make hir “more trans” than any other of my sisters and brothers (and let’s remember that HBS people are predominantly white and middle class – privileged, much?). This is not a competition. Transsexuality is not a lifestyle choice. Transsexuality is about survival. It’s about an oppressed minority hanging together, and looking out for each other.

In their scrabble for cis validation, many HBS people seem to have forgotten that we’re on the same side. But if they persist, if they attack just one of us, then they attack all of us. Pick on my sisters and brothers and you pick on me. Pick on me, and you pick on my sisters and brothers. We may be few in number, but together we are strong.

And if they think the rest of us didn’t notice their disgraceful comments to Mercedes’ DSM discussion over at Bilerico, think again. Reparatists and quacks like Zucker and Lawrence are empowered to decide the fate of my sisters and brothers – and we’re supposed to be concerned that some HBS people’s delicate sensibilities are offended?

And don’t even start me on these offensive comments. My sister, Angie Zapata, lies bludgeoned to death by a man who’s already confessed his guilt – and these HBS people still maintain Angie was responsible for her own murder? Listen, idiots, I’ve already told you: if you attack one of us, you attack all of us.

HBS people like this are part of the problem, not the solution.

And you wonder why ‘ordinary’ trans people like me are angry?

 

The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go

His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

(Via YouTube)

APA Task Force Report underreports the prevalence of gender identity disorder

August 29, 2008

Lynn Conway has just published a report on the APA Task Force’s underreporting of the prevalence of gender identity disorderlink here.

I don’t pretend to fully understand the finer points of Lynn’s investigations, but her summary alone speaks volumes in a way even I can understand:

Summary and Findings:

The APA Task Force Report on Gender Identity and Gender Variance [APA08 - PDF here] greatly underreports the prevalence of “gender identity disorder” by a factor on the order of 10 to 20.

The underreporting of GID prevalence derives from a deliberate misuse of clinical definitions and a failure to mention known calculation errors in sources.

The unreasonably low prevalence numbers are given to three significant figures in the Report, as if they were precisely accurate – while failing to mention well-known sources of estimation error.

The Task Force then dismisses recent work by Olyslager and Conway that had exposed large errors in earlier studies by calling that work a “minority position” – as if a scientific analysis must be certified by a majority vote, rather than judged on its merits.

The Task Force further dismisses the work of Olyslager and Conway by insinuating that citation by “transgender activists” somehow reduces its validity – while failing to cite it themselves.

Finally, the Task Force fails to mention recent scientific studies that report far higher-levels of GID prevalence than does their Report.

The point Lynn makes is that the Task Force has apparently deliberately misrepresented GID prevalence by equating “the prevalence of ’sex reassignment’ as being ‘the prevalence of transsexualism’”.

The shift in meaning in [Bakker93 - PDF here] led to confusion for many decades. After all, most people want an answer to the question “How likely is it that someone might experience gender dysphoria?” The far smaller counts of “sex reassignments” answer a different question.

Key members of the APA Task Force were well aware of the true meaning of the [Bakker93] results, because Olyslager and Conway had exposed it in a presentation at the WPATH 2007 Symposium [Olyslager&Conway07 - PDF here]. In particular, members Zucker and Lawrence (WPATH’s experts in GID prevalence and responsible for revising that section in the 7th Ed. of the SOC) were quite familiar with [Bakker93] and with its deconstruction by [Olyslager&Conway07].

It thus appears that the Task Force knowingly misrepresented the results of [Bakker93] by referring to “sex reassignment” numbers as numbers for “gender identity disorder” – thereby making intense gender dysphoria appear to be far less prevalent than it actually is.

It really is quite disturbing that an organisation with such power would misrepresent the facts around such a debilitating condition, with all the consequences that such a course of action had, and has, on the lives of so many people. And why? For what purpose? I just don’t understand.

ETA: The whys and wherefores of this bugged me enough to email Lynn directly. She sent an interesting reply, which included the comment, “Hope this information is helpful to you. Please do pass it on to your friends and contacts too” – so here’s Lynn’s take on it:

Who might be responsible for this falsification?

It appears that the APA Task Force relied on Ken Zucker and Anne Lawrence for the section on prevalence. Zucker and Lawrence are considered WPATH’s ‘experts’ on prevalence, having been assigned responsibility for the revision of that section in the 7th Edition of the SOC. Furthermore, Zucker presented the exact same numbers for GID prevalence at the WPATH 2007 Symposium as presented in the APA report.

Why do the prevalence numbers matter?

Factors of 20 are important. By maintaining the old misimpression that fewer than 1 in 10,000 people experience gender dysphoria, the APA creates an illusion that it is an extremely rare “disorder”. If people were aware that gender dysphoria is experienced by at least 1 in 500 people, transgenderism would increasingly be seen for what it is – a natural variation in gendering. Furthermore, by maintaining the illusion that gender dysphoria is incredibly rare, gender-repartists such as Zucker can assure parents that it’s extremely unlikely their gender-variant child will become “transsexual” and suggest that all the child needs is some minor gender-repairs.

I think you can see why and how this happened. It all points to Zucker and Lawrence, who are principal figures in the “old-guard” psych community that has long demonized transwomen. Zucker in particular runs a gender-reparatist clinic in Canada, and is well-known for forcing young GID children to accept their birth gender.

For more on Zucker and Lawrence, see the following pages:
http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/kenneth-zucker.html
http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/News/Drop%20the%20Barbie.htm
http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/anne-lawrence.html

———-

Previous, related posts on this blog (most recent first):

Angie Zapata murder – court date set

August 28, 2008

In my previous post about Angie Zapata, I mentioned that Allen Andrade was due back in court on 26 August. That date has now passed, and according to Tuesday’s Denver Post:

Court date set in Greeley transgender murder

A man accused of beating to death a transgender woman faces a preliminary hearing next month, when the prosecution’s case against him will be mapped out.

Also at the Sept. 18 hearing, a decision on bail for Allen Andrade, 31, of Thornton is expected.

Andrade is charged with first-degree murder, felony bias-motivated crime, felony motor-vehicle theft and felony identity theft. He is accused of first beating 18-year-old Angie Zapata with his fists and then with a fire extinguisher at her Greeley apartment on July 16.

Andrade allegedly attacked Zapata when he found out she was biologically a man.

She had performed oral sex on Zapata the night before the killing, but the two slept in separate bedrooms, according to a police affidavit. The next day, he became suspicious of Zapata’s gender when he saw pictures of her in her apartment.

He allegedly told police he had killed “it,” referring to Zapata.

Zapata’s family and friends from Fort Lupton and Brighton are hanging close to each other as the case progresses, said Kelly Costello, a family spokesman and director of victim services for the Colorado Anti-Violence Program.

“The whole community is hugely supportive,” Costello said after today’s hearing to set the court dates. “But this is just the start.”

Here’s hoping that Angie Zapata and her family get the justice that was so badly lacking in the Kellie Telesford case.

Back in 10 minutes

August 27, 2008

I’m in a bit of a bleak headspace at the moment and I don’t know that writing is helping.

I’m not entirely sure that anything’s helping any more, to be honest.

Last night I was this close to just deleting this blog and walking away from it all.

But I’m not sure that would really be much of a solution, either.

So I’m just going to step outside for a few minutes, get some air, see if I can clear my head a little.

Be right back.

Hx

PS: Em has written an excellent post called Oppression and Hope (links here and here). As ever, she makes good sense. I just wish I could find that sense of optimism too.

:(
 

Jim White – A perfect day to chase tornados

Way down south I know a girl who is blind.
She walks alone along a lonely highway each day.
She dreams that one day a man will pull up in a car.
He’ll open up the door, she’ll climb in and he will say:
“Hey babe, whatcha know? Hope you’re ready to go…
’cause today’s a perfect day to chase tornados.”

Yeah, when the wild wind whips around your head you know
that you have found a perfect day to chase tornados.

And what about that preacher man on the run from the law?
He killed a girl in Memphis and ran ’till the dogs tracked him down.
They shot him by the river and as he lay dying in the mud,
well someone asked him, hey Preacher, where’s your soul going now?
And Preacher said, “Well, I do not know, but wherever it is I’ll gladly go…
’cause today’s a perfect day to chase tornados.”

Yeah, when the wild wind kicks around your head you know
that you have found a perfect day to chase tornados.

Sometimes I think that the sky is a prison and the earth is a grave.
And sometimes I feel like Jesus, in some Chinese opera.
And sometimes I’m glad I built my mansion from crazy little stones.
But sometimes I feel so goddamned trapped by everything that I know.
And I wish it wasn’t so, cause the only thing that anyone should ever know
is that today’s a perfect day to chase tornados.

Yeah, when the wild wind whips around your head you know
that you have found a perfect day to chase tornados.

Scenes From the Trans Struggle

August 26, 2008

Over at The Bilerico Project, I see that Mercedes Allen has posted a useful round-up of recent trans-related news events and I recommend reading her full report – link here.

One item that caught my eye is Mercedes’ coverage of the Swedish plan to legislate for the mandatory physical sterilisation of trans people, be they trans women or trans men. I have to say that I’m surprised that a country like Sweden – which has something of a reputation for open-mindedness and tolerance – is considering this.

It seems to show an astonishing lack of knowledge about gender identity issues, to the point where I’m almost inclined to interpret it as moral panic. But Mercedes is a far better writer than I, so I’ll let her tell the full story:

Out of fear of transsexuals parenting children — apparently sparked by the news coverage of Thomas Beatie — a proposal is in the works in Sweden to implement mandatory physical sterilization of transsexuals via removal of the testes or ovaries. These procedures are, of course, a part of full transition, assuming that all transsexuals wish to go that route (not all do), but the proposal is overly-sweeping, takes the decision (and a fundamental human right) away from people and is clearly driven by fear of transsexuals parenting. In addition to smacking of eugenics, there are serious flaws with the plan. In the case of male-to-female transsexuals who are not able to get GRS at the same time (finances, perhaps not completed their RLE yet, depending on when castration is required to occur), there are additional consequences. General surgeons who perform orchiectomies have a reputation for butchering the surrounding tissue in the process, and for this reason, many GRS surgeons are reluctant or flatly refuse to accept a patient who has had the procedure performed.

It’s stories like this that can really make a girl angry. Or depressed. Or both.

And I think it’s fair to say that any such legislation, assuming it goes ahead, would be a rather extreme example of Transphobic Trope #4 – “My Theories Are More Important Than Your Experience”, which is so accurately explained by Lisa and Em over at the indispensable Questioning Transphobia blog.

Word

August 24, 2008

And you wonder why trans people are angry?

Lisa explains it all.

If you only read two posts today, make sure they’re these two:

Trans Anger

Transphobic Words and Deeds

Because we’re disposable

August 23, 2008

Another of my sisters is dead.
Another trans panic defence accepted.
Another killer acquitted of murder.

“Voluntary manslaughter”?
Could there possibly be a more dehumanising, demeaning term?
Two and a half years after her death, Alexis King is still denied dignity.

Why? Because trans women are disposable, our lives are worthless. Even the law agrees.

Shooter of trans woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter

A Philadelphia judge has acquitted the killer of a trans woman of murder charges, despite an impassioned plea by the prosecutor that malice was behind the shooting.

At the end of a three-hour bench trial on Aug. 18, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart convicted Terron Oates of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Alexis King.

[...]

Minehart didn’t explain his ruling, but it appears he accepted the defense’s position that Oates acted in the heat of passion after he picked up King for sex in February 2006, then shot her twice after realizing she was a biological male.

Assistant D.A. MK Feeney argued for a first-degree murder conviction or, as an alternative, a third-degree-murder conviction. She said the evidence indicated that Oates targeted King because of her transgender status.

[...]

“Mr. Oates isn’t so naïve that he can’t find a gun,” she said. “He has an illegal gun in his car, he’s out at five o’clock in the morning on a school night and he’s going to a strip club when he’s underage. He’s sophisticated enough to be doing those things. Yet the defense portrayed him as an innocent, naïve little boy.”

[...]

King was shot twice, from the side and rear, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Her body was found about 120 feet from Oates’ car, where she collapsed in a pool of blood, evidently trying to run for safety, said Feeney.

[...]

(Via Philadelphia Gay News)

 

ETA: Lisa has also posted about this over at Questioning Transphobia (link here).

The comments thread has a useful explanation of the difference between ‘murder’ and ‘manslaughter’.

Lisa also reminds us of the murder last year, also in Philadelphia, of Erica Keel, an African American trans woman, and the reaction (if you can call it that) of the police.

Kellie Telesford – case will be reviewed by police

August 22, 2008

The case of Kellie Telesford’s death will be reviewed by police, according to this article in the Croydon Advertiser.

After four hours of deliberation, the Old Bailey jury cleared Hyatt of murder and an alternative of manslaughter last Thursday [14 August].

But he now faces being kicked out of the country as an illegal immigrant.

The Jamaican was told he will remain in custody facing deportation.

After the verdict a police spokesman revealed that with a conviction not secured the case would be looked at again.

He said: “As is procedure in these circumstances the case will be reviewed before any decision regarding future action is made.”

I hope that the police will make a meaningful decision that will allow the case to be closed in a manner that is acceptable to Kellie’s family.

The full report can be found here.

Silence please

August 22, 2008

I read the report, Many support ex-principal in gay rights case (link here) in the NWF Daily News with an increasing sense of incredulity and outrage. It raises so many questions, but it seems that the judge’s opinion is that the only relevant one appertains to the attempted silencing of dissent. I’d recommend reading the entire piece, but here are some extracts from it:

When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

He suspended some of her friends who expressed their outrage by wearing gay pride T-shirts and buttons at Ponce de Leon High School, according to court records. And he asked dozens of students whether they were gay or associated with gay students.

[...]

The friends donned gay pride T-shirts and rainbow-colored clothing when they found out how Davis had treated her, and he questioned many of them about their sexuality and association with gay students. Some were suspended.

“Davis embarked on what can only be characterized as a ‘witch hunt’ to identify students who were homosexual and their supporters, further adding fuel to the fire,” U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak recounted in his ruling. “He went so far as to lift the shirts of female students to insure the letters ‘GP’ or the words ‘Gay Pride’ were not written on their bodies.”

[...]

The American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued the district on behalf of a girl who protested against Principal David Davis, and a federal judge reprimanded Davis for conducting a “witch hunt” against gays. Davis was demoted, and school employees must now go through sensitivity training.

[...]

Many in the community support Davis and feel outsiders are forcing their beliefs on them. Griffin, who kicked Davis out of the principal’s office but allowed him to continue teaching at the school, said high schoolers here aren’t exposed to the same things as kids in Atlanta or Chicago.

Although this does, as I said, raise many questions, it is interesting to note the judge’s opinion, which states: “I emphasize that Davis’s personal and religious views about homosexuality are not issues in this case. Indeed, Davis’s opinions and views are consistent with the beliefs of many in Holmes County, in Florida, and in the country. Where Davis went wrong was when he endeavored to silence the opinions of his dissenters.”

———-

(Cross-posted at The F Word on 22 August 2008)

©2008 Helen G

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