Category Archives: LGBT

Here Comes The Wing Dang Doodle

Hello, Tennessee! Yes, your legislature still has a Republican supermajority. So let the crazy games begin!

Republican Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling apparently doesn’t have anything more important to do than worry about what your married gay friends and family call each other. Check out what this lover of “limited government” is doing in her bill covering the semantics of family life, SB-0030:

linguistics

There’s a House version, HB-0030, sponsored by John Ragan.

Now, that’s what I call small government! Deciding what words married gay people and their kids have a right to use! This is keeping people up nights? Well, I’m sure it all came from the fevered dreams of David Fowler, he of the TN Family Assn. Family Action Council, where all the rest of this culture war nonsense originates.

I just can’t imagine what the point of this is, except some good old-fashioned shaming, contempt and mortification. YOUR marriage is different! YOUR family is different! YOU don’t get to have a husband, and YOU don’t get to have a wife. YOU only get to have a spouse. And YOU, little Timmy and Jenny, YOUR family is different from everyone else’s! YOUR FAMILY IS NOT NORMAL. That’s what the point of this is, isn’t it? Just, basically, to be dicks?

Here’s how stuff like this usually plays out: even though the legislation is sponsored by rural county Republicans (Sen. Janice Bowling’s District 16 covers Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren Counties, while Rep. John Ragan is from District 33, Anderson County), if the bill moves on up the food chain and becomes a national story, it will be Nashville which suffers. Nashville is the biggst city here, and Nashville is where the big conferences, sporting events and concert tours come. So when people want to punish the state for bigoted, anti-gay legislation, they launch boycotts of Nashville. Even though Nashville is a progressive city, which was the first to have an anti-discrimination ordinance (which the state overturned) and sends to the legislature pro-GLBT legislators, we still have to pay the price when our redneck neighbors get up to their old tricks. So it’s Nashville which stands to lose sports tournaments and professional conferences, while the rural rednecks who sponsored this hate in the first place get to spout their sanctimonious bullshit and go on their merry way, never suffering any consequences whatsoever. Everything bad will happen to someone else — someone they despise, by the way, so it serves us liberal pantywaists right.

So here’s a pre-emptive word to the wise, because if it’s not this particular piece of crackpottery, it will surely be something else: please target your activism toward the actual crazies in the legislature, not your allies representing Nashville. How about sending a message to Nissan USA, whose “Decherd No. 2” plant builds Infiniti engines in Winchester? Or why not send some letters to the CEO of Silver Spring, Md.-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc., which one year ago announced a $1 billion power plant in Grundy County? Or Germany’s Mann+Hummel, which builds car parts and has a plant in Dunlap, TN? Or maybe send a message to the CEO of 3M, which recently invested $135 million in a new Anderson County plant? Or why not hit the Google and find out which lefty-leaning corporations (CostCo, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) have distribution centers in these rural counties?

I strongly suspect that these corporations will have the ear of State Sen. Janice Bowling and House Rep. John Ragan to a far greater extent than liberal activists in Nashville, whom they already despise and are happy to ignore.

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Filed under boycotts, GLBT, LGBT, marriage, Tennessee politics, Tennesseee

This Is Not About Us Ladies

[UPDATE]:

Welcome, Crooks & Liars! Please see my update to this post here.

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I’m sorry, I thought this whole bathroom nonsense was really about punishing transgendered people for having the nerve to not be like everyone else. Much to my surprise, I learn the Sir Galahads in the legislature are really just trying to protect the ladies. Awwww:

The bathroom — more specifically, the women’s restroom — is the one publicly sanctioned refuge for women, a sanctuary from harassment and abuse, a safe space, to employ that overused phrase. In all my conversations and in all the articles I’ve read on this issue, I haven’t heard anyone express the fear that a person who was born a woman and now identifies as a man will cause harm if he enters a men’s room.

But the fear that a person who was born a man and now presents as a woman will lurk behind the stalls to attack unsuspecting daughters is threaded throughout objections to the bathroom mandate.

“We’re in denial about most of the violence against women in our society, and this brings it to the surface,” Ladin observed. “If I am in a women’s room and see someone who looks like a guy, I’m taken aback. It doesn’t make sense, except for the fact that women everywhere are exposed to violence.”

Indeed, in Tennessee as elsewhere, it appears this really is just about protecting us ladies. Again: awwwwwww.

Yes, if I had a dollar for every time a man dressed up as a woman so he could gain access to the women’s bathroom to harass me! You know, as opposed to just harassing me out in the open, which is where women are actually harassed on a daily basis. Seriously, guys? This is your argument? The “Tootsie” defense? Bullshit.

Why don’t we ask Republican House Rep. Jeremy Durham how often he dressed as a woman to harass his victims in bathrooms, instead of doing it the old-fashioned way? I’m going to guess the answer would be a big, fat never.

No, no. Your transphobia is your problem. You will not hide behind me on this one. This is not about me. It’s about you.

In my fifty-something years on this planet I’ve been to public restrooms all around the world. Oh yes, I’ve peed in big cities and small towns. I’ve used locker rooms at gyms and swimming pools in major metropolises and small rural burghs. I’ve peed in arenas and stadiums, libraries and museums, restaurants and bars, train stations, airports and shopping malls. I’ve showered at the Centennial SportsPlex in downtown Nashville and the fitness center at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz, Kentucky. I’ve used pools and locker rooms in Los Angeles and Copenhagen and London and New York City. Good grief, y’all. In all my many experiences with public facilities in five decades on this planet, two things have never ever ever ever EVER happened:

1- I have never been harassed by a man dressed up as a woman;

2- I have never examined or in any other way even noticed another person’s genitalia, nor have I flashed my own. We go about our business with a certain amount of decorum in the facilities. We do not inspect other peoples’ business.

Have I shared a locker room or bathroom with a trans person? Maybe! Probably! I have no way of knowing. I’m not checking what’s under the towel.

I’m increasingly hearing this “we’re just thinking about you ladies” excuse and I find it incredibly offensive and condescending. If you guys really gave a shit about women and women’s safety you wouldn’t have blocked a paltry $2 million needed to address a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits two years ago.

No, no. This isn’t about us. It’s about you. Own it.

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Filed under LGBT, Republican Party, Tennessee