Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Newton's Third Law

In my last post I shared some of what I'd call "positive" news: the recent Elle magazine cover featuring Lea T.

There's a bunch more tidbets of good news to share.  Some examples:
  • Howard County in Maryland became the 3rd county in the state to pass a trans-specific discrimination bill (details here). 
  • President Obama released a first-of-its-kind Presidential Memorandum making the defense of LGBT rights a global effort (details here).  "The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights," Mr. Obama said.  Read the entire Memorandum here.  Big stuff, that was immediately attacked by Rick Perry....
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continued that theme by defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender persons around the world in a speech entitled "Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights", at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. (details here).
  • NCTE released a document outlining workplace rights for Transgender Federal Employees (see it here).
  • A Georgia transwoman who was fired when she announced that she planned to transition won her appeal when the 11th Circuit Court announced that her dismissal constituted sex descrimination (details here).  These kinds of things are huge.
It's hard to believe that so much has happened in just the last day.

But the thing that I find most compelling is also the thing I find most disturbing.  It's the story, AND VIDEO, from mid-November of a California transwoman being tazed in the crotch by law enforcement officials once they realized her situation (see story here).

It's horrific to watch this go down.  And to be sure, this kind of thing isn't isolated or rare. An article on Huffington Post highlights just a few recent examples (read it here).

I've said in the past that one of my biggest fears in the early days of my transition was to be stopped by the police. Honest to God, I would have had a heart attack right there. And that's a pretty significant thing to admit given all the other things that were going on in my life at the time. But it's true. And depending on who stops any of us those fears have proven time and time again to be justified.  Recent incidents in Washington DC brought that police force into the national spotlight, as well (details here).

It's a shame that good people get tainted by the behaviors of a few, but that's the reality of many things in life. And - watching this there can be no doubt that this is a hate crime.  The sight of a person peacefully standing with their hands up suddenly getting tazed not once but twice isn't something anyone could reasonably argue as otherwise.

Is this any different than the brutal attack on a transwoman in a Baltimore McDonald's earlier this year?  As a matter of fact - it is.  Because these attackers worked for the government - the Bureau of Land Management - so they had "authority".  I find this to be doubly troubling because BLM is part of the Department of the Interior, and I was just there last month to speak and do trainings.  I saw the commitment to respect at the highest levels for myself.  But the oath that government employees take to protect the Consitution is nowhere to be found as this poor woman writhes helplessly on the ground.

So - the take away from all of this is that we're making amazing progress but we're still being brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and disrespected every day.  Daily indignities continue to be the norm for many if not most.  And Newton's Third Law stating that every motion has an equal and opposite re-action is very much alive and well.

As a side note, while I think it's critical to recognize that although it's important to embed our values in our foreign policy and to articulate them clearly for all to recognize, we've still got lots of work to do here at home, too.

As for me - I'm heading to the gym.  I took yesterday "off" but I'm hoping for a good, long, brisk 5-mile jaunt on a treadmill.  Then?  Dinner and the most civilized part of the day.....a glass of red wine.


Caroline said...

Nowhere do we see a post where these "official" thugs get their comeuppance!

They have provided the evidence of their own guilt, why are they not now in jail?

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna I can’t help but point out that the officer instructed the individual to lay on the ground they Refused at which point the officer tazed them.

{ He then told her to lie on the ground so he could arrest her. She refused, }

This person instead tried to argue with the officer, which was completely the wrong thing to do. Once he had determined that he was placing this person under arrest they should have followed his instructions and they wouldn’t have been tazed. They will get their chance to argue their case when it comes to court at the time of the arrest isn't the right time to try and proof their case.. I swear you trans people want to blame every little thing that doesn't go your way on harassment or yell hate crime. Try just following the Damn rules of society and quit bitchy like your entitled to be treated special. I known cops aren’t perfect and they do screw up but I’m sick and tired of every time someone says or does something that goes contrary to the Transgender meme they yell hate crime or try to imply they are being treated unfairly. Grow the F$%^ up ! You have got to realize that there are people in this world who will NEVER see people who have the genitalia of one gender as the other gender regardless of how well that person present themselves or how they feel about who they are on the inside. Some people don't give a shit who a Transgender person feels they are on the inside so unless you have some type of medical evidence to back up your claim of really being the opposite gender from what you were born in it's just words and means little in todays world

Caroline said...

I don't believe aiming at genitalia is in the training manual...

Mae West said...

What the hell is the Bureau of Land Management doing tasering people? Even if this woman and the party she was with really were taking nude pictures, she didn't deserve this treatment! If she was that much of a threat, then why did the ranger wait to taser her until after he saw her ID? This really smells like discrimination to me, and it stinks!

Donna said...

1) There is no justification for this brutality
2) This is a hate crime
3) You say that "there are people in this world who will NEVER see people who have genetalia of one gender as the other". Well, there are people who will never see you or me or any of us as anything more than self-mutilated mentally ill freaks regardless of medical justification, efforts to distance yourself from others, or whatever other delusional logic somehow makes sense to you. I'd suggest that it's YOU who needs to WAKE the F$%^ up.

Donna said...

....or you need to SHUT the F$%^ up. Either way, the goal has got to be working to create a safer, more tolerant society - not dictating what society wants or doesn't want or likes or doesn't like. Your direction is clear. And so is mine....

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna I'm sorry but I've watched the video and I didn't see any what was the word you used "Brutality" I saw and hear an officer tell this person to get on the ground and they REFUSED, believe me in a pissing contest with the police the police ARE going to win, so this isn't a hate crime in any way shape or form.

Yes while there are people who will never see you or I as women despite our Medically documented conditions and despite that we've had surgery my experience makes me to believe that the vast majority of people are will to accept us far more then they are Transgender individuals who haven't had surgery and have No intention of having it.

As for your assertion that the goal is to create a more tolerant society if by more tolerant you mean one were individuals can be seen and treated as normal women granted the same rights as normal women yet still have penis you're kidding yourself thats not likely to happen in your or my lifetimes. It hasn't happen in 2000 years and I seriously dough that it's going to be a reality anytime soon. Ignoring how and what society will allow is a stick your head in the sand approach. As for my logic it's not delusional so I find no reason for you to insult me and try to make me sound like some kind of a crack pot when you known fully well that there are a great many Transexuals who feel exactly as I do. Besides I have fully respected your right to your opinions and haven't resorted to insults.

Anonymous said...

I agree with sweetbrandigirl2004 on all points.

Sophie Lynne said...

A taser to the crotch is brutality, plain and simple.

The fact that we as a group can't even agree on that shows how far we have to go.

sweetbrandigirl, i assume you are a law enforcement officer? If so, can you show me the protocol that says "taser people in the crotch?" The person is down and helpless. Additional tasing is not needed as she is NOT a threat.