Live show tonight at 10:30

Heather and I will be having a live show on BlogTV tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern time. If you haven’t been there before, it’s essentially a live stream with a chatroom attached where hundreds of people talk with us. It’s usually a lot of chaotic fun. If you’d like to stop by, just go to http://www.blogtv.com/people/zjemptv tonight. See you there!

Update: Thanks to everyone who came to the show. You were fantastic!

Fact-checking the 20/20 special on trans kids

Last Saturday’s 20/20 special on Jazz, a pre-teen trans girl, was generally better than most media coverage of trans people. It avoided most of the common pitfalls of trans documentaries, while being thoroughly humanizing and about as respectful as a mainstream story on the topic can be. For the most part, it wasn’t needlessly salacious, and where other news outlets might have been tempted to portray Jazz as somehow being damaged or raised inappropriately by her parents, the report made it clear that she’s very well-adjusted and happy.

Their coverage was wholly sympathetic, never depicting this as some kind of tragedy, and with no token inclusion of “family values” bigots to offer some “other side” to whether this girl should be free to live her life. They didn’t insist on using her former name at any point, and there was no use of male pronouns. They let Jazz speak for herself, and she told them she didn’t see being trans as a “disorder”. They drew attention to the fact that transition-related treatments are mostly not covered by insurance plans in the US. And when they did insist on talking about genital surgery, they accurately described it as an inversion of the penis while avoiding ugly references to “chopping it off”.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when the most we can ask for is not to be treated as family tragedies, mutilated freaks or sexual perverts. Praising the good points of this report feels a lot like saying “hooray, this story on gay parents made no reference to pedophiles and didn’t include even one scene of bareback porn! Somebody get them a GLAAD award!” But at a time when much news coverage falls short of even that, and major papers still consider it acceptable to publish op-eds calling trans women “dicks in chicks’ clothing”, this stood out as an oasis of relative decency.

Nevertheless, as a mainstream report on trans people, it predictably contained several instances of misleading phrasing and inaccurate information. Jazz was twice described as “a boy living as a girl” and “a boy who wants to be a girl”1, as well as “a child born in the wrong body”2. There was a strong focus on her “pink cleats” and her bedroom “filled with girly things, dresses and dolls”3. There were references to an “ultimate surgery to become fully female”4, and breast augmentation was treated as a standard part of transitioning5. Viewers were told that “once Jazz begins taking estrogen, she will be permanently infertile”6, and that “the cross-hormone therapy is irreversible”7. And treatment with estrogen was described as costing more than $18,000 a year8.

If you’re not sure what’s wrong with these statements, you might want to try your hand at figuring it out before skipping to the footnotes for the answers.

Overall, this show still served a useful purpose, while mostly managing to avoid promoting harmful misconceptions. It showed that children who are trans can have a good life just like everyone else, and that living as their identified gender is healthy for them. It let a general audience know that there are treatment options available to correct these children’s bodies and help avert the damaging effects of puberty. For parents out there who don’t understand why their child seems to identify more closely with another gender, this story gives them the basic conceptual vocabulary they need in order to comprehend the situation and most effectively support that child.

The report could have been improved with more medically accurate information – as is, some aspects of transitioning were made to seem more imposing, epically significant, and financially inaccessible than they are in reality. The use of certain gender stereotypes was also troubling. But the central message was still one of normalcy, happiness, respect and empowerment, elements which have often been almost totally absent from many stories about us. Future media coverage of trans people would benefit from a similar approach.


1. Take away the qualifiers, and phrases like “a boy living as a girl” are still describing her as “a boy”. This suggests that a “boy” is something she is, whereas being a girl is merely something she does – an activity or ambition, akin to playing soccer. This downplays her identity as a girl, when the significance of her gender is clearly integral to the entire story.

2. The metaphor of having the “wrong body” is a simplified explanation meant to convey the fact that someone’s identified gender can indeed differ from their assigned sex. It’s intended to counter the notion that someone’s body cannot possibly be “wrong” and that a person must identify as what their anatomy would seem to dictate. However, while many trans people do experience significant distress at the state of their body, there are also many others who did not always feel that their body was strictly “wrong” for them.

The widespread promotion of this very basic explanation is not harmless – it has sometimes led trans people to believe that they couldn’t really be trans if they didn’t experience the sense of “wrongness” and overwhelming discomfort with their body that’s implied by this metaphor. Yet these trans people are still trans nonetheless, because they prefer to live as a gender other than their assigned sex. While the presence of this bodily dysphoria can strongly indicate that someone is trans, its absence does not preclude them from being trans, either.

3. The emphasis on Jazz’s interest in feminine-coded items is obviously meant to legitimize her identity as a girl. It’s intended to show that despite being told by her family, society, and her own body that she’s supposed to be a boy, her female identity was still strong enough to emerge in this fashion. And while that’s a valid and important point to make, demonstrating it with these particular examples runs the risk of delegitimizing the genders of other trans people who did not exhibit such gender-stereotyped interests at an early age.

Trans people who clearly and overtly identified as another gender from early childhood, like Jazz, are currently only a small minority. Not everyone “just knew” for as long as they could remember or had a strong sense of identifying as another gender. For many trans people, this realization does not occur until adolescence, young adulthood, or even later. Because this expectation of self-awareness in childhood is so prevalent, trans people and those around them may doubt that they could actually be trans if there was no indication of it in their youth.

But the absence of this early awareness or expression of their true gender isn’t because they’re not really trans. It can be due to the deficiencies of introspection that are common in children and people in general, or a lack of access to information about what it means to be trans, or their own conscious repression of any display of gender-transgressive interests – because they know they would face severe disapproval and consequences.

Conversely, there are boys who take a strong interest in pink things and other feminine-designated items, while still identifying as boys. There are also tomboyish girls who don’t consider themselves to be anything other than girls, regardless of their masculine-designated interests. Obviously, most cis people are not walking stereotypes of masculinity or femininity – people show diversity in their interests, behaviors and attitudes. Trans people are no different, and Jazz would be no less of a girl if her bedroom were full of motorcycles and football posters.

4. Genital surgery is neither an “ultimate surgery”, nor does it mean that someone is “fully female” or male. Most people still consider a vagina or penis to be the final word on whether someone is a woman or a man, so it’s easy to see why they chose to use this as a euphemism for the relevant surgery. (I’d imagine someone decided against calling it “having a vagina installed” in the promos.) But not all trans people pursue surgical transition, and there isn’t any one “ultimate surgery”. Full genital reassignment surgery isn’t the only surgery for trans women – there’s orchiectomy, facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation, tracheal shave, and vocal cord surgery as well.

Trans women may choose to have any combination of these surgeries (if they have a choice in the matter), or none at all. Not everyone wants them, not everyone is medically capable of having them, and not everyone can afford them. As was mentioned on the show, these procedures are often not covered by insurance, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. Many trans people are not in a position to pay for this.

But someone is not any less “fully female” or male just because of the configuration of their body. A trans woman who has a penis is still a woman, no less female or more male than women who’ve had genital surgery. That’s why Jazz, who hasn’t had any surgeries, is still a girl, and the show itself referred to her as such. Assuming that someone’s manhood or womanhood depends on their genitals just provides another excuse for misgendering trans people, calling women “he” and men “she”, despite the fact that their physical anatomy doesn’t define their identity at all. Wasn’t that pretty much the entire point of the show, anyway?

5. While some trans women seek breast augmentation, many are able to achieve breast growth that they consider satisfactory from HRT alone.

6. Trans women who begin HRT as adults, without having had any intervention in their own endogenous (“male”) puberty, have sometimes been known to regain fertility if they discontinue HRT. There is little data on why some regain their fertility while others don’t. Some trans women remain fertile even while on hormones. This is why trans women have to take the same precautions to avoid impregnating their fertile partners, if their sexual activities are of such a nature that this is possible. There seems to be no information about the effects on fertility for trans women whose first puberty has been entirely averted in favor of inducing female puberty, but it can’t be assumed that starting hormones is certain to deprive you of your fertility on a permanent basis.

7. Some of the effects of HRT are reversible, and others are not. Breast tissue grown while on HRT can recede somewhat if HRT is discontinued. Genital shrinkage can reverse. As mentioned above, fertility may or may not return, if it was ever lost. Without the suppression of testosterone, masculinization will resume, with the same effects as in cis men – facial and body hair growth, rougher skin, possible male-pattern baldness, and so on.

For trans women who transition early enough to avert endogenous puberty in favor of female puberty, their overall bone structure and body shape will be like that of a cis woman who’s been through puberty. That particular effect is indeed fixed and irreversible. But it should also be taken into account that allowing young trans girls to undergo their own uninterrupted endogenous puberty is irreversible in exactly the same sense as induced female puberty. In either case, they will have to deal with the permanent effects arising from this. In portraying this intervention as something that can’t be undone, it should be made clear that allowing endogenous puberty to proceed carries the same risks – it is just as much of a permanent step with permanent consequences.

8. The treatment to delay puberty tends to be more expensive than standard HRT regimens (estrogen, anti-androgens, and optionally progesterone) for trans women, and there is no conceivable scenario where estrogen alone would cost more than $18,000 a year. To put this in perspective, at the going rates for neovaginoplasty, this is roughly equivalent to having one neovaginoplasty in Thailand a year. This number seems to be off by a factor of 10 to 100. In some areas, oral estrogen can be obtained for less than $20 a month. Even subdermal pellets, the most expensive method of administration, would have to cost $1,500 a month for this to add up.

Live show tonight at 8 PM Eastern

Heather and I will be hosting a live show on BlogTV tonight at 8 PM Eastern time. If you haven’t been to BlogTV before, it’s a live stream with a chatroom attached where people can talk to us. Tonight, we’ll be watching a 20/20 special on ABC about transgender children, and anyone else in the US is invited to follow along. If you’d like to join us, just go to http://www.blogtv.com/people/zjemptv tonight. See you there!

Update: The show is now concluded. Thanks to the 600+ people who showed up! Commentary on the ABC special is forthcoming.

A podcast of unparalleled awesomeness

This week, The Thinking Atheist hosted a podcast on how religious beliefs and cultures influence sexuality, featuring our own Greta Christina, Jen Peeples of The Atheist Experience, and Dr. Darrel Ray of Recovering From Religion. Oh, and I was there too! It was a lot of fun, and I hope you’ll give it a listen.

The crass hypocrisy of Julie Burchill

Guest post by Heather McNamara

So, who’s heard of Julie Burchill and her “censored” article?

Coming to the defense of her maligned feminist friend, columnist and author Julie Burchill wrote an article about trans women. Apparently, her friend Suzanne Moore’s latest article contained a faux pas. In Burchill’s words:

She wrote that, amongst other things, women were angry about “not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual”.

At best, this is simply a poorly constructed byproduct of the aged-out argument that idealized beauties are expected to be voluptuous in ways white women can’t achieve (Brazilian!) and skinny in a way that cis women can’t achieve (transsexual!) simultaneously. It juxtaposes the hyperfeminized (big boobs!) and masculinized (skinny hips!) to demonstrate the absurdity and impossibility of beauty ideals.

It’s aged out because modern feminists can generally agree that however rare these body types are, shaming the women who possess them as plastic and/or masculinized is just repackaging the same old worms. Moore’s statement was poorly thought out. It was also a microaggression. It was clearly not intended to upset or dismiss transsexual people, but to make a cheap and thoughtless argument. The problem was that she completely disregarded trans people in doing so. She decided that their opinions or their audience was not worth acknowledging and that their identities were therefore free and available to use as a brazen and absurd example of what not to be.

Not surprisingly, some trans people didn’t like this. Moore was apparently harassed quite a bit on Twitter and felt forced to delete her account. Julie Burchill to the “rescue!” I won’t bother going into the specifics of the article, because it’s all ugly. There’s some stuff about bed-wetting and bad wigs and a hilariously sophomoric display of Burchill’s feeble grasp of How Words Work. For example:

having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as ‘Cis’ – sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff

Why but Burchill rhymes with Churchill, so if I call her Burchill, am I calling her a wrinkly old white guy who hates Lady Astor? What an idiot.

It was originally published in The Observer, but the editor didn’t take long to realize their mistake and took it down. Of course, any editor worth their salt wouldn’t have published it to begin with, but don’t tell that to Toby Young! Why he was so offended at this “censorship” that he chose to republish this snot on The Telegraph, proving that British and American conservatives have at least one thing in common: they really have no grasp of the concept of censorship at all.

But why did Burchill do this? To defend Moore’s honor? I once found myself in Moore’s position, and I can sympathize… almost.

Not too long after my marriage went downhill and my ex lost his main source of income in the flailing economy, I was forced to take a job – literally any job I could get. My skills and experience were pretty okay, but at every job I applied for, I was competing against literally hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in my area. It was taking forever and I had children to feed. I was about to get evicted. So, I took a job I wouldn’t otherwise take at a call center that hired anyone that came through the door: felons, addicts, anyone.

Every day after work, I would apply for more jobs, but for a while I was stuck there. Well, as anyone who has seen any of my videos on Zinnia’s channel or any of our live shows on BlogTV knows, I present in a fairly masculine manner. I stand well above average for a woman at 5’10”. I’m also very obviously a lesbian, and it didn’t take long for my coworkers to notice, but I am not trans. I do identify as a woman. As one of the few people at the office who didn’t show up to work on a lot of drugs every day, I was also fairly successful.

I worked my way up a rank fairly quickly and soon found myself on a level that very few women in that office ever achieved. My coworkers and bosses were all men. This privilege of being promoted, I was often told, had something to do with my “being one of the guys.” Never mind my performance, I guess. There were frequent jokes about how “manly” I was. They called me by my last name rather than my first. I think this was all meant as showing respect by defeminizing me. As a feminist, this was extremely offensive, but driven to feed my kids and not really in a position to hire a lawyer, I kept my mouth shut.

One day, we came to work and discussed the dress code. They were tightening it up, they said, and men would be required to wear collars and slacks. Somebody asked about women’s blouses. Could women wear shirts that didn’t have collars? Of course, they conceded. Women’s blouses are appropriate. I asked if I could wear shirts without collars. They said no. Somebody made a joke that I would look like a man in women’s clothing. I grimaced quietly.

So, along comes Halloween and there’s a costume contest at work. I thought it might be a good idea to up the ante, so to speak, on their crap. I put on one of my old dresses from back when I used to try to look femme. I did not shave my legs and had not in over a year at that point, so I let my fur fly. I also stuffed some tissue in my bra and put on some makeup to look like a five o’clock shadow and some chest hair. I wore a pink feather boa. I was a bad drag queen. My trans girlfriend thought this was hysterical. So did I.

I did not make much money. We rarely had enough to survive. In the absence of the resources to hire a lawyer and draw any real kind of line, I’d asserted my femininity and shone a spotlight on the absurdity and inappropriateness of my coworkers’ jokes. I felt liberated and empowered for the first time in a very, very long time. I carved a pumpkin with a feminism symbol on it and took a picture sans the boa, which was itchy by then. I posted it on reddit.

At first, the thread went fairly well. People thought it was funny. Then, somebody pointed out that this was transphobic. There was much anger. A trans woman who goes by the internet handle LifeInNeon wrote an essay about how offensive I was. This essay become quite popular. My inbox was filled with death threats and sundry vitriol. I was humiliated and exhausted. I responded defensively. Because this was an empowering statement of my gender during a time when I had very little to feel good about, I would not apologize.

The joke, as I attempted to explain to people, was that I looked like a man in a dress. But the way they saw it, I was mocking trans women as looking like men in dresses, simply by looking like a man in a dress. Individually, Zinnia and I managed to explain this to those who would be willing to listen. When I calmed down a bit, I apologized not for doing what I did, but for irresponsibly posting it without the very necessary context, thereby setting into motion the inevitable consequence of appearing to be another one of those transphobes, of which there are more than plenty.

Those who were willing to listen, LifeInNeon included, agreed that while I certainly could not have expected to be perceived as anything other than a transphobe, this was not bigotry and mostly a horrible mistake. I hold myself and no one else responsible for whatever offense I caused, and I hold the authors of the death threats and no one else responsible for their violent behavior. That’s the end of that.

Due to my experience, I have a unique understanding of what Suzanne Moore must have endured when her words went roaring through the trans activist circles online. People can be really awful. Over a year later, I still sometimes get replies to old reddit comments about how I’m a transphobe. People still post that picture whenever they disagree with me, their version of the ultimate ad hominem.

But however vitriolic and sometimes violent those who responded to me may have been, I would never resort to transphobia. I would never denigrate an entire group of people who are just trying to go about the business of living their lives and achieving the same amount of respect that even Moore and Burchill implicitly receive with crass, base insults about the genitalia of an entire group of people, most of whom probably have no idea who Moore even is.

Did Moore have to apologize to every single person who ever got offended or sent a rape or otherwise violent threat? No. Frankly, I’m not a fan of demanding remorse. Apologies taken are not the same as apologies given. But when you’re calling yourself a voice for equality and social justice, there are some basic rules that people will generally expect you to follow, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that, while you may mess up, and may not always practice what you preach, you at least have some kind of idea of what you’re preaching.

I wouldn’t say that I necessarily handled my personal debacle with the utmost of grace and dignity, but I can say with certainty that Burchill’s handling of Moore’s debacle was beyond the pale. Burchill claims she did this in the spirit of feminism, aggressively claiming women’s voices in a sea of men, in which she includes trans women. But what she’s demonstrated is that her version of feminism has less to do with equality of the sexes, and more to do with making sure sewage just rolls a little further downhill than herself. Armed with the same body-shaming, shallow insult tactics that have been used against women since the beginning of time, Burchill is nothing more than a common hypocrite, and would do well to remember that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

Live show tonight at 10:30 Eastern

Heather and I will be having a live show on BlogTV tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern time. If you’ve never been to BlogTV before, it’s basically a live stream with a chatroom attached where people can talk to us. It’s a lot of fun. If you’d like to stop by, just go to http://www.blogtv.com/people/zjemptv tonight. See you there!

Update: The show is now concluded. Thanks to everyone who came by!

Two years later: Notes from the future

First Rule: Never out someone to him/herself.

You may not think this is possible, but it is.

-A Straight Person’s Guide To Gay Etiquette

After I started transitioning physically and discovered how well it worked for me, I often found myself wishing that I had started much sooner. Now that I knew it was so good for me, I regretted that I hadn’t known this before so that I could have experienced its benefits for even more of my life. I sometimes thought, if only I could have told myself in the past how great this would be, that it would be okay, that I can do this.

But I realize now that this probably wouldn’t be such a good idea. Talking to the past might not be possible, but a couple years ago, something strange happened that was just about as close as you can get. While I was searching a massive archive of emails for any accounts that would have to be updated with my new legal name – Lauren, by the way, nice to meet you – I found a lengthy message from early 2011 that I had mostly put out of my mind.

At the time, I didn’t really consider myself to be trans, except maybe under an expansive “umbrella” definition that encompasses anyone who isn’t a conventionally masculine man or a feminine woman. I wasn’t planning on transitioning, and I didn’t consider it necessary. This person, however, seemed to see me as an echo of herself. Like me, she initially had an ambiguous gender for some time, and later decided to transition. She had walked the same path that she believed I was on, and she wanted to tell me where it would lead if I kept going.

She proposed that my increasingly feminine presentation and identity were better explained as an early phase of self-discovery for someone who’s trans, rather than just a gay guy doing drag. She pointed out that most gay men don’t do drag in such a way that they intend to look indistinguishable from other women, whereas many people who later come out as trans do initially explain away their gender transgression as merely being “drag”, and deny that it could mean anything in terms of their identity.

Just to drive the point home, she suggested that if I really considered myself a guy, then I might want to try presenting as a guy, and see if I was comfortable with that – after all, people who do identify as men typically want to be recognized as men. She also predicted that if I did see myself as a man, then I would be just fine with the continuing masculinization of my body as I grew older, but if not, then maybe I should consider the conventional treatment to halt this – that is, transitioning.

Of course, these are all completely valid points. Every bit of this ended up being applicable to me. Back then, plenty of people thought I had either transitioned already, or I was clearly heading in that direction. It was probably obvious to just about everyone, and for trans women who’ve been through this already, I’m sure it was even easier to make informed guesses about my situation. The person who sent me this message even told me, after I finally came out, that she was hoping to spark the realization that I was really trans.

I can look back now with a cool and distanced perspective and marvel at how accurate her predictions were, but at the time… it scared the hell out of me. Yes, I should have realized that these were all meaningful clues to where my life was going. Yes, I should have realized that I’m probably not that special, and it’s more likely that I was just another trans woman in denial. But I simply wasn’t ready for this yet. I won’t lie, I was seriously shaken by what she said.

Think about it: if you believe someone is actually trans, but that they’re so deeply closeted they’re not yet out even to themselves despite it being so obvious to everyone else, is it really a good idea to tell them they’re just going to become more and more manly? You’re literally telling them, “I know you’re scared. And you know that one thing you’re so deathly afraid of? Yep, it’s coming for you, just you wait.” There has to be some better approach to letting people know there are options available, because if there’s one way to hammer on someone’s insecurities, this is it.

But why did it disturb me so much when she told me there was an answer to all this – another path that I eventually did end up taking? Did she uncover some previously unarticulated desire to be a woman, forcing me into a traumatic epiphany without warning? Actually, no. It wasn’t even that. I was already aware that transitioning was a possibility. When you’re wandering in the wilderness of gender outside the safety of its two major outposts, you tend to become familiar with the landscape, and transitioning is just about the most obvious destination there is. This wasn’t anything I didn’t know.

But at the time, I didn’t want my body to change. Sure, I didn’t want to become any more masculine, and the prospect was frightening and profoundly unsettling. And yes, that should have told me something about myself. But I wasn’t prepared to be physically female, either. I was happy with how things were, and I didn’t want to have to make a choice like that. Not yet.

So while she was entirely correct about where I was headed, I still had to get there on my own. Just presenting the possibility, explaining it in detail, and trying to clear the path ahead of me still wasn’t enough to tip me over the edge. For instance, right now, I don’t really feel like having “the surgery” – you know, the one that most people are thinking of when they say “the surgery”. Sure, it’s possible that in 5 or 10 years, I might change my mind. But if someone were to inform me of my eventual choice with great certainty in the present day, that wouldn’t really help me. If anything, it would just make me worry about how long I had before my body began to feel not just odd, but unbearably wrong to the point of forcing me into action.

The really strange thing is, I know she was trying to help. I know she just wanted to provide me with some key insight she thought I was missing, an answer that would clear up the confusion she assumed I was suffering from. The questions she posed to me weren’t original. They crop up every time someone asks for advice about their gender, and they’re intended to trigger exactly that kind of insight. These are questions like: “If you could have been born and lived your entire life as the opposite sex, would you want to?” “Would you be disappointed if a hypothetical test told you with 100% certainty that you’re not actually trans?” “If you could press a button to turn yourself into a man or a woman instantly, would you?” And, of course: “How would you feel about becoming steadily more and more masculine or feminine over your lifetime?”

She wasn’t totally right about what I actually needed at that time, but ever since I started transitioning, I’ve often found myself in the same position as her. I’ve posed some of those very same questions to people when they’ve asked for help with figuring themselves out. Once you’ve been through it yourself, and someone else wants to know what they should do about their gender, you sometimes see an echo of yourself in them. And when you recognize that, there can be the temptation to evangelize a bit. To try and show them an enthusiastic and encouraging vision of what could be. To say, “Hey, I’ve been there before too, so here’s what you do. Here are the cheat codes. There’s your answer. Now you can skip all that and go right to the end.”

But there are no cheat codes, and you can’t just skip “all that”. Nobody gets to the point where they’re prepared to transition, without first going through their own personal version of “all that”. And if they aren’t there yet, it’s not my place to give them this sort of unsolicited advice. They might not be ready for it, and this definitely isn’t the time to pepper them with your personal speculation about their identity. Even when someone gives every indication of being trans, even when it seems that they’re almost all the way there and just need somebody else’s permission to admit it to themselves, I’ve still always made sure to tell them that their identity is their own to choose and discover and design. And no one else can dictate that for them.

When I see an echo of my earlier self in someone else, just as she once did, I force myself to remember what it felt like when I was on the other side. I remind myself that no matter how badly I might want to give them the answers I think they need to hear, that never helped me one bit when I was in their place. When you’ve walked the same path and you can tell someone where they’re going to end up, that’s not a power to be used without tact, discretion, and the gentlest approach possible. And when I start to see her reflected in me, that’s how I know where to stop.

It would be very hard to think, I’m over there. And, can I go meet me? And is that me better than this me? Can I learn from the other me? Has the other me made the same mistakes I made?

-Another Earth

National Organization for jailing lesbian parents? Yep.

Jennifer Roback Morse, a spokesperson of the National Organization for Marriage, had some extremely poorly chosen words yesterday for lesbian couples who use donated sperm:

This is the appalling thing right there, I mean right there is the problem, okay? The way almighty God created our bodies, a man and a woman are supposed to come together in an act of love to produce a new human being. This is the way God wants the human species to continue, as a participation in his divine love and in his divine creative power. That is what is imprinted into our bodies, that’s what we’re supposed to do, that’s what we need to do, that’s what we want to do.

And what we’re doing now, Todd, as a result of the sexual revolution and all its fruits, is that we are in full-on retreat from human relationship between a man and a woman in order to create that child. So going online to buy sperm from a stranger is about as far as you can possibly get from the participation in divine love and divine creation. The fact that these two women want to have sex with each other has no bearing whatsoever on whether this should be permitted or not. You know, buying sperm on Craigslist should be abolished. Buying sperm at all should be abolished. And furthermore, these people should be in jail, I’m afraid.

I mean, you know, honestly, I just can’t even imagine where people think this is going to lead. You know, because the child is no longer a gift from God and a fruit of human love participating in God’s love. The child is now a product, manufactured by adults, and therefore the child cannot be fully the equal of its parent. The object cannot be the equal of its producer or its maker, you know. And so the further we go down this path, the further away we are going from the true ideal of equality before God, of equality before one another, of treating one another with dignity. And the child becomes a kind of chattel. So the legal complications and the sort of ick factor of all of this, it’s important to sort all that out and look at it, but let’s not take our eye off that ball, which is that we have defaced the creator’s plan and intention here by this behavior.

Wow! So, to recap:

  • Loving same-sex partners who want to raise a child of their own should be in jail for the crime of using sperm.
  • The children they raise, love, and care for are merely “products” and “chattel” that can never be fully equal.
  • For daring to want a child of their own to love, they’re now an “ick factor” and responsible for “defacing” the divine plan of the almighty creator of the universe.

Let’s not beat around the bush here. An organization that opposes committed, devoted couple, who want nothing more than to start a family and cherish and protect their children does not in any way stand on the side of marriages. They are not on the side of “family values”. They stand for the criminalization of marriages and families. They stand for the legal persecution and capricious incarceration of minorities. They stand for using the long arm of the law to enforce their own twisted theology on everyone.

They “protect” nothing.