Transgender Equality: Get Used to It

alysia_yeoh-350It is only through the whimsical decision by Nature that we are not all hermaphrodites, let alone transgender (Am I shocking your sensibilities?  Good).

We all start out more or less the same in utero (with male and female hormones), but the majority of people find they are more attracted to the opposite sex.

If we are true to ourselves, we have to admit that at some point in our lives, we have been drawn to someone of the same sex.  Some are afraid of what they feel, others experiment; still others engage in what at the time was an honest homosexual relationship (think of Anne Heche).

Many, of course, are homosexual from the beginning, the majority of whom have to struggle to admit it to themselves (if Society were more open, there wouldn’t be the inherent fear about coming out—an action, frankly, that is unnecessary).  Some are attracted to both sexes (Marlon Brando), and others are transgender (consider the interesting introduction of DC Comic’s Alysia Yeoh in Batgirl, albeit a fictional character but hopefully a good role model).

I always love it when people quote the Bible to me about how sinful such behavior is.  It is obvious to me that such people have probably never read the Holy Scriptures nor understood them if they did.

How does one explain King David’s love for Jonathan more than any woman?  He loved no one better despite his many subsequent wives.

What about Jesus’ love for that Beloved Disciple?  Some scholars believe it is John; others, James—unless we consider the faithful Mary of Magdala.  People insist on quoting Leviticus 18:22, a passage so massively misunderstood (no mention of a woman lying with another woman, by the way) that it is totally taken out of context (abomination in its original Hebrew meaning, for instance, indicates an act approaching evil and idolatrous worship because it mimics rituals of the polytheists, people from whom the early Hebrews were attempting to create a distinct separation).

At a time when the new monotheistic Judaism was under siege and temptation and surrounded by enemies who wanted to annihilate them, wasting a man’s seed would have been sinful because procreation was needed to increase the tribe and its chances of survival and extend its viability (Judaism now being the most enduring organized religion in history).

As laws are being passed to overturn DOMA and reversing Don’t Ask, Don’t tell and more states are granting same-sex marriage (California, I remind you, was once again the leader), we are turning to another important issue, that of transgender community members and overturning roadblocks to their equal treatment before the law.

Governor Brown, in August and October of this year, signed two major bills.  The first (AB 1266) allows transgender students the right to choose which restrooms and which locker rooms to use based upon the sex with which they identify themselves.

This law reminds me of the time only a few years ago when student applicants for the Magnet Program in the LAUSD had to select (for racial identification) the parent with whom they most closely identified!  Can you imagine being forced to pick your Black father over your white mother just to get into a school of your choice?!

We fought hard to eliminate that question from the process, something soon followed by changes in the U.S. Census to allow people to identify in the way most suitable for them (Black and white; bi-racial, etc.).  The new California laws similarly allow individuals to live as the people they truly are.

In October, Brown signed another bill, AB 1121, to make it easier for transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates and to change their names to reflect their “authentic selves.”  And they won’t have to jump through a myriad of hoops to do so!

Surprising to no one, there are ferocious hounds already nipping at the heels of those laws in an effort to overturn them.  The same organizations [the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the GOP] and the same leadership (such as Frank Schubert, a career hater who headed the fight to ban same-sex marriage through the 2008 Proposition 8—which, of course, was ultimately overturned) are spearheading another ballot measure initiative to overturn these most recent laws.

Says John O’Connor of Equality California, “Frank Schubert has built a political career on these anti-LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bi-Sexual/Transgender) measures that divide people. . . .  We have turned the corner.  The public is solidly in favor of LGBT equality now.”

The Catholic and Mormon churches (under the veil of religious authority and interpretation) heavily funded the Prop. 8 campaigns and convinced millions of voters of the righteousness of their opposition to such marriages.  It is likely that we can expect similar intrusions again.  However, this time we will be ready for the tortured reasoning and onslaught of negative, scary, and distorted commercials to advance their twisted point of view. How some people and institutions continue to be motivated by pure hate and ignorance simply eludes me.

If there is a sin here, it is the millions of dollars repeatedly expended (and wasted) on promoting animus and defending hateful referenda, money that could be better spent, for instance, on the education of our children and healthcare for the public!

This transgender issue may be less palatable to some but so were mixed marriage and racial integration and religious oppression from not so long ago.  None of those issues have been completely alleviated or accepted by all (and neither will this one), but as Gavin Newsom would say, Get used to it!

Equality was built into our Constitution—it is just taking a few hundred years to realize it for one and all.

Please join me and the many others in supporting this very significant issue promoting fairness, justice, and equality.  For more information you may contact Equality California at eqca.org or 323-848-9801 for more details.

Rosemary Jenkins
CityWatch LA

Published by the LA Progressive on November 7, 2013
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About Rosemary Jenkins

Rosemary Jenkins is Chair, Northeast Valley Green Alliance; Secretary, Pro-Active Democrats; Chair, AD 39, LA County Democratic Party, and a freelance writer.