GRAND OLD PHOBIA

Uniting the bigots

Those who believe in God, know that he/she/it doesn’t make mistakes. To be a card-carrying member of the “god club,” one must believe the omnipresent deity is perfect and that he/she/it made ALL PEOPLE, everyone, no exceptions.

In my local paper there is an article about Florida Republicans uniting around a notion that Trans and Gay Americans are unmistakably a second-class group that must be controlled, and eventually eliminated. You might think those last three words are a bit much, but if you put it to many voters, they would tell you that boys who become girls, in their minds and bodies, must be stopped from using the restroom of their chosen gender and blocked from competing in any sport where they could have an advantage over females. I have not heard anyone say that a woman who transitions to a man should be barred from competing in male sports, but hey, this is fresh territory for many people and perhaps it’s only a matter of time.

I once had a business partner who announced to the world he was suffering from gender dysphoria and desired a transition to his true persona. Jay became Jaye as she started the process of becoming a woman. At first, I was confused and needed to learn more about this concept and discovered it has existed throughout history. It’s not some sort of aberrant modern misalignment.

Jamie Farr

Many of us laughed at Sergeant Klinger, Jamie Farr’s character in the TV show M*A*S*H who wore women’s clothing. The reason he dressed as a lady wasn’t a desire to be a transvestite, but rather a desperate attempt to get out of military service. It was funny… until it wasn’t. According to many sources, Jamie Farr chose to gradually phase out Klinger’s recurring joke of wearing women’s clothes because he didn’t want his children, who were young at the time, being teased about it while growing up. In a sense, the actor and producers decided the gag was no longer funny.

On my long and winding road of becoming a man, I worked at a theater during my college years. What I experienced there provided a profound education, not only in entertainment but also people. Some actors got so deeply into their character during a production that they “became” that imaginary person. Once the show was over, these folks reverted to their true selves.

During my time in the theater, I interfaced with a considerable number of gay men and learned that, contrary to popular Republican beliefs, one doesn’t “become” Gay or Trans simply by being around people of those persuasions. In fact, the use of the term “persuasion” is a trick. It connotes that one is under the influence of a conversion scheme and once that drunken moment passes the person will magically return to “themself.” Should this myth surprise anyone? Homophobes work lies into truth at every turn.

One doesn’t “become convinced” to become Gay or Trans. It’s a process of discovering themself along life’s path and then feeling better when admitting to themselves who they are. If one cannot be honest with themself, then they are living a lie.

RuPaul

Words matter, so let me insert some definitions here. A transvestite is a person who dresses in clothes primarily associated with the other sex, usually a man who feels comfortable in women’s clothing and style. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, a person experiencing Gender dysphoria has “a sense of unease because of what they perceive to be a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life.” These two may appear to be the same to small-minded people, but they are not.

As our children develop, we adults can either be helpful and encouraging or we can attempt to impose our views, values and vistas on them. Some parents groom their kids to become what they want, rather than allowing their children to find their own ways into happiness. I had a high school buddy whose parents demanded he go into the priesthood. When he saw no way out of his pre-ordained path, he made one. He committed suicide. That has nothing to do with sexual orientation but makes the point that too much parental pressure is not good.

Why would the governor of a state of 22 million people create a law that, in a sense, transforms LGBTQ kids into second class citizens? Is he so politically ambitious that he is willing to put his foot on the necks of thousands of kids trying to find their ways through life? The so-called, “Don’t say Gay” bill screams to every one of these kids they are not equal to others and won’t be empowered in any way. Everything Ron DeSantis does is a quest to quench his thirst for power. He is against women deciding what they should do with their bodies, against Black kids learning about their history and against Gay children feeling comfortable in themselves. He’s even against Disney, one of the largest employers in his state. Obviously, he’s fucking goofy.

Exploitation is not a pretty word. The action of treating someone unfairly to benefit from their work, culture or status was a hallmark of slavery. I find it embarrassing that here in 2023 we have a two-bit politician belittling, demonizing and, in a sense, terrorizing young people. When someone is just learning about who they might be we need to help them, not summon the neighborhood bully to beat the shit out them.

The GOP is using children as steppingstones to their power grab. Ron DeSantis is clearly homophobic and perhaps a little conveniently racist, but he claims to be a true “man of God.” Actually, he’s just another money changer working outside the temple with the sole interest of “changing” the location of wealth from your pockets to his. He wants to be the master, and we all must obey, or get the 39 lashes. Ask Disney if Ron DeSantis truly cares about children and their dreams. He’s not uniting all the people, only the bigots.

SEE WHAT WE COULD BECOME …

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