“Why can’t Bailey Jay just have her feelings about RuPaul?” On the trans community and differences of opinion

After trans adult performer Bailey Jay criticized trans people who object to the use of transphobic slurs in mass media such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, an anonymous person on Tumblr asked me why I took issue with her remarks. My response is reprinted here.

Anonymous asked: Why can’t Bailey Jay just have her feelings about RuPaul? Some consider her (Ru) part of the trans community, others don’t. The idea of a ‘transgender’ community or identity is a recent invention, and many people have the word ‘tranny’ used against them. just my two-cents from a twoc who’s found RuPaul empowering, even if you consider her just a Black man in a (fabulous) dress. Also fuck that last anon, you’re just as pretty as Ru! :P

I appreciate your perspective on this. I don’t consider drag to be something that’s strictly and inherently negative in terms of its consequences for trans people, and I can totally understand how it can serve as a gateway for trans or questioning people to explore gender. So I get how it can be empowering – I had a phase where I had no better way than “drag” to describe what I was doing, and that was a step on the way to figuring myself out.

What I really object to is RuPaul’s various statements about how the difference between drag and trans people is “$25,000 and a good surgeon”, and recently, the overt hostility toward trans people who’ve objected to these particular slurs being regularly used on TV. Were it not for that sort of thing, I otherwise wouldn’t really have a problem with RuPaul, or the others who’ve been involved in this.

If the idea of an overarching trans community is a recent one, then I can see why some of these people might think they’ve been unwillingly drafted into something bigger, and others are now telling them they can’t use their own slang. Personally, I’m not a fan of the “trans umbrella” concept either – there are a lot of serious distinctions between drag performers, recreational crossdressers, people who transition, and everyone else whose differences get erased by a blanket concept of “transgender”.

I try to look at things in light of the different challenges we respectively face – some of us will have to deal with the legal and medical system in the course of expressing our gender, issues with sex-segregated environments, coverage of transition-related treatments, and so on; others will not have to deal with any of this. I think looking at the specifics is more helpful than anyone just deciding to define us together, or define us apart.

But at the same time, I’ve recently seen a lot of these same people – Calpernia Addams, Andrea James, Justin Vivian Bond – suggesting that “transgender” really is such a broad grouping, and a label which they have equal claim to. Looking at how gender-variant people in general have been historically treated, I can see that there’s some truth to this. Bigots often haven’t bothered to distinguish between gender-nonconforming cis people, or drag performers, or crossdressers, or people who transition – to them, every one of us is a “tranny” or “shemale”. They don’t care much for the specifics of our lives and identities and experiences and what the differences may be.

The trans umbrella grouping may be recent, but it seems like the recognition that these are distinct phenomena is also just as recent. The other day, I was reading an article in the New York Times from 2000 about Calpernia Addams. The writer could barely figure out which pronouns to use, whether she was a woman or a “gay man”, the implications of this for her boyfriend’s orientation, and whether they were in a “homosexual” relationship or not.

It was so conceptually muddled that it was obvious the author was conflating so many distinct ideas – but back then, they just didn’t have the language or the models and understandings to articulate this in a more sensible and clear way. It was like that person on Tumblr who was like “Neil Patrick Harris is gay, not cis”, except it was an entire article full of that. And that was just 14 years ago.

I’m just glad that things have become a bit clearer since then – it may not be a perfectly clear split, the lines may be blurry, but it’s not all one identical shade of grey either. And I get how performers like RuPaul can have very different experiences from trans people, while also facing some of the same things, like the slurs and hostility. But I have trouble accepting the logic of: “we’ve been targeted by these slurs, they’ve been targeted by these slurs, they feel fine about these slurs, therefore let’s all continue normalizing these slurs in mass media”.

One imbalance here is that the particular people who are putting their stamp of approval on this language have a great deal of media reach and access. RuPaul has a really popular TV show. Calpernia Addams and Andrea James are advisers on trans portrayals in major Hollywood films. Bailey Jay is probably the single best-known trans adult performer. So they have a disproportionate impact, even when there may be hundreds or thousands more trans people who are really uncomfortable with the casual use of these words. They may not represent our views – but they’ve still ended up representing us to the entire world anyway. There are far fewer trans people with that level of access and popularity who have strongly spoken out against these words.

Another issue is that this has extended far beyond them having their own feelings about these words, about RuPaul, and so on. They also have feelings about us having our own feelings about this. Particularly, when we’ve expressed our discomfort with hearing these slurs all the time, they’ve called us “nutty”, “fringe”, “fascists”, “trans lesbians” in a derogatory sense (why they think this is derogatory, I have no idea), “newly minted queers”, “stay at home activists”, and accused trans women of having “male privilege”. They’ve attacked our orientations and genders. This has gone beyond a respectful difference of opinion.

Personally, I haven’t felt any need to misgender any of them during this, or use mental illness stigma against them, or attack them for their sexual orientation, or any of that. I don’t know why someone would do that and I’ve honestly been surprised that many of them have escalated this to that level. I’ve stuck to addressing their arguments, because that’s all that should have to happen here.

So it’s become about more than the words themselves. It’s also become about how the people who loudly, publicly endorse these words also just so happen to be loudly, publicly attacking trans people in ways that, if cis people were to talk about us like this, would be unambiguously recognized as severe transphobia. It’s been really uncomfortable to see them doing this time and time again, and it worries me that their support of slurs used against trans people is so often associated with outright hateful attacks against trans people. At a minimum, this is not breaking down the association between these words and transphobic hatred. It is reinforcing that association. I don’t like being on bad terms with people – I really, really wanted to be able to like RuPaul and Calpernia and Andrea and Bailey. What they’ve been doing lately is making that really difficult.

But even if they hadn’t done any of this, and even if they had otherwise respected us, I’m still not sure that this can be a live-and-let-live kind of situation. For a lot of trans people, those words can conjure up really traumatic memories of being beaten or harassed on the street or rejected by their families and partners or anything else that so many of us deal with from a transphobic society. It’s not even just memories – it’s a reminder of the real danger that some of us face just going outside every day.

And it’s a reminder that society has, at seemingly all levels, decided that the words we hear from people who reject our existence – sometimes violently – are totally suitable for mass media. That’s disturbing, and unsettling, and suffocating. The reality of having to live in this world can feel like we’re drowning and no rescue is coming. It’s like a nightmare we can’t wake up from.

So I find it difficult to accept that erring on the side of caution, here, means going ahead and continuing to throw these words around casually just because some people think it’s okay. I have to wonder what degree of deprivation that people will be subjected to simply by being asked not to say “tranny” and “shemale” – is the absence of these slurs from the conversation just as frightening as the everyday, inescapable transphobic climate that they’re so often associated with? I find that hard to believe.

I think erring on the side of caution would mean showing the decency of recognizing that these words often show up alongside some really, really bad shit for a lot of people who can’t get away from it. And I guess I really can’t grasp how these other people can feel so put-upon by that simple idea. I was being called a “tranny” and “shemale” on YouTube, years before I transitioned or before I even knew I was trans. It was never, ever, ever a positive thing, and even back then, there was no way that I was comfortable even saying those words out loud, let alone as some kind of joke. Even if others also have a claim to these words, I think it’s worth considering whether we’re really asking as much of them as they’re asking of us.


Related reading:

Trans Women Oppose Recent Attacks by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James

How modern-day drag hurts trans women and achieves little or nothing of value

Open Letter: 350+ Trans Women and Transfeminine People Stand Against Calpernia Addams and Andrea James

Trans Women Oppose Recent Attacks by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James

We, the undersigned trans women and trans-feminine individuals, are appalled at recent attacks on trans woman journalist Parker Marie Molloy published by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James on the Huffington Post and Boing Boing. Addams’ and James’ hit pieces exhibit a pervasive hostility to young, queer trans women, and indeed any trans woman who is uncomfortable with the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag queens like RuPaul. They display homophobia, transphobia, ignorance, dishonesty, and hatred throughout.

We believe that these pieces should not have been published, and that they are not representative of the views of trans women as a community. Calpernia Addams and Andrea James do not speak for us.

 

1. Absence of good-faith arguments

James variously describes trans women who take issue with RuPaul as “hecklers”, “shut-ins” who “spend their waking lives online”, “victim cultists”, “self-haters” engaging in “attention-seeking behavior”, “elitists”, “the language police”, “finger-wagging schoolmarms”, “fucking stay-at-home transactivists”, and “trans separatists” with “internalized transphobia” who “transition from male to female with the zeal of a religious convert.” Unlike James, we do not believe that objecting to transmisogynist slurs makes someone any of these things. We also find it doubtful that James genuinely seeks to “resolve this dispute like professional journalists”, as her column exhibits very little sense of professionalism at all. If, as James says, “experienced activists seek to build bridges and establish empathy”, we are skeptical of her experience.

 

2. Misleading personal attacks

Addams and James have chosen to focus on an individual trans woman and personally attack her at length. In doing so, they give the impression that opposing the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag performers is an isolated and marginal position held by, as Addams puts it, “nutty trans hacktivists”. In reality, the conduct of RuPaul and others has been widely criticized by vast swathes of trans women. This is not a new critique that has only arisen due to a lack of experience among young queer trans women. It is a long-standing and well-supported objection, one which has been articulated by trans women of all ages and sexualities. Addams and James ignore this in favor of needlessly inflammatory rhetoric, a regressive defense of gay and lesbian transphobia, and unmitigated contempt for the gender and sexuality of queer trans women. Their columns do not contribute to this discussion in any meaningful way.

 

3. Traditionalism and ageism

We reject Addams’ portrayal of young trans women like Molloy as “newcomer[s] to transition and lesbian/trans issues”, a description which suggests young trans women are less informed, less competent, and less qualified to argue their viewpoints on these topics. To the contrary, young trans women can offer a fresh and contemporary perspective to balance the traditional and stagnant views of those like Addams and James. Whatever decades of experience with trans issues that Addams and James have had, it has not served them well in these recent columns.

 

4. Misgendering and accusations of “privilege”

We find it completely unacceptable that Addams would accuse queer trans women of being “conditioned to bully and take by a lifetime of white, heterosexual, male privilege”, using “the gains and habits of this privilege”, and having “lingering ‘cis-het privilege.’” It is baffling and incomprehensible to imply that an out queer trans woman is somehow capable of wielding heterosexual, cisgender, male privilege to her advantage. This isn’t a new tactic – it is commonly used by transphobes to misgender trans women and dismiss anything we say as coming from a place of supposed “maleness”. Here, Addams has done exactly that. This is not a meaningful argument; it is only more of the same classic transmisogyny.

 

5. False hierarchies of trans women

We oppose Addams’ and James’ oversimplification of queer trans women’s sexualities, unique personal histories, intersectional experiences, and self-understandings. Addams describes her own “feminine and soft nature” and experiences of being “rejected from participating in heteronormative culture”, while claiming that queer trans women “presumably lived most of their lives with the tacit approval and support of a society that viewed them as heterosexual, white men”. Her presumption is unwarranted, as is James’ description of these women as “newly-minted queers”.

If a trans woman is attracted to women, this does not mean that she always lacked a “feminine and soft nature” (whatever Addams thinks this means), that her sexuality was never called into question by others, that she was not “a participant in LGBT culture”, or that she was never attracted to men. Many queer trans women who are attracted to women share these experiences – their queerness is not “newly-minted” by any stretch of the imagination. Addams’ and James’ false dichotomy uncomfortably echoes the long history of straight trans women being judged as more legitimate in their womanhood and more “feminine” than queer trans women. This constitutes the same kind of implicit misgendering as Addams’ claim that queer trans women possess “lingering” privilege, while Addams herself supposedly does not.

 

6. Hypocrisy and feigned offense

While any use of “drag queen” to deny or delegitimize a trans woman’s gender is obviously unacceptable, we decry James’ hypocrisy in taking offense to the accurate description of Addams’ history as a drag performer. James herself notes that trans women have a history of “working alongside drag performers”, and that there “was no separation of drag and trans” in “pre-Stonewall Manhattan LGBT social life”, but then claims that “drag queen” is a “transphobic slur” when referring to Addams’ involvement in drag performance. This is, at a minimum, inconsistent. It is absurd that James would denounce this accurate statement of fact as “transphobic”, while she and Addams promote false generalizations about queer trans women and implicitly misgender them with accusations of “male privilege”. We particularly note the hypocrisy of Addams’ call to defend “trans people who choose to… associate with gay and lesbian people”, given her own hostility toward queer trans women.

 

7. Siding with mainstream prejudice

Contrary to James, we do not accept that drag performance is itself a valid excuse for cisgender people to use transmisogynist slurs. James believes that “taboos around language” – language such as “shemale” – are “practically begging drag queens and kings to violate these taboos”, and that drag is an “art form with countercultural subversion at its heart”. Such a rationale is nonsensical. When a word becomes so closely associated with open hostility toward a marginalized group that it is widely considered a slur by the group it targets, this is not itself a justification to continue using this word. It is rather obviously a compelling reason not to use it.

Cis people using transmisogynist slurs are not violating a taboo when the use of such slurs is already broadly accepted among cis people. Most of society does not consider it taboo to refer to trans women in these terms – there is no taboo to break. Repeating a one-word distillation of a culture’s hostility to trans women is neither countercultural nor subversive. It is mainstream. In light of this, James’ commitment to “siding with offensive artists” is hardly a laudable choice.

 

8. Disingenuous conflation of “transgender” with drag

We reject James’ classification of RuPaul as transgender, as well as any implication that cisgender male drag queens are therefore entitled to use transmisogynist slurs. Cisgender male drag queens are assigned male at birth, and they neither consider themselves to be women nor live as women in their everyday lives. Unlike trans women, they are not the ones who regularly face the consequences of widespread transphobia and transmisogyny, and they are not confronted with the fallout of normalizing transmisogynist slurs. Likewise, Addams’ statement that she “hate[s] the term ‘cisgender’” shows a lack of understanding of the importance of this distinction.

 

9. Hiding behind “homophobia” to defend transphobia

We further reject Addams’ argument that trans women’s criticism of the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag performers is a form of “homophobia” or “hatred or derision for gay and lesbian culture”. Trans women’s objections to transphobia do not become any less legitimate when that transphobia comes from “gay and lesbian culture”. This transphobia is no more excusable – it is equally deserving of scrutiny. While Addams recognizes that “being trans is not a free pass to be transphobic or homophobic”, she appears to believe that being gay or lesbian is indeed a free pass to be transphobic. We do not share this belief.

 

10. Elitism and exclusion of queer trans women from queer culture

Addams attacks trans women who object to RuPaul’s slurs as “hate-filled, angry and inexperienced folks” who “hop the fence at this late stage and try to dictate our culture rather than learn and build and participate in it”. We believe that trans women have every reason to be angry at the mass media legitimization of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender men, and we question the value of learning from this culture or participating in it, let alone building upon it. It is no point of pride to tolerate a transphobic culture. Accusing young queer trans women of trying to “dictate our culture” implies that they have less of a claim to gay and lesbian culture than Addams, and lazily dismisses legitimate objections to the harms of this culture and the attitudes it has normalized.

 

Our aims

We ask that Calpernia Addams and Andrea James refrain from publishing further columns exhibiting this variety of homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, misgendering, ageism, and unwarranted hostility toward other trans women. We further ask that Huffington Post, Boing Boing, and other outlets refuse to give a platform to any columns endorsing such prejudice, whether by Addams and James or by others. As Addams notes, “you choose your community’s voices and heroes.” We reject Calpernia Addams and Andrea James as voices of our community.

 

SIGNATORIES

  • Lauren McNamara, defense witness, United States v. Manning
  • Amelia June Gapin, software engineer
  • Thorin Sorensen, activist and writer
  • Katherine Prevost, software developer, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Anne Cognito, activist and author
  • Kat Haché
  • Andrea Borquez Brito, law school graduate
  • Sarah Brown, politician and trans woman
  • Kristina Foster
  • Teri Dawn Wright, student, activist
  • Lauren Voswinkel, software developer
  • Bobbi Joseph, activist
  • Dr. Mirah Gary, physicist
  • Vivian Doug, public speaker and systems analyst
  • Breanna Clayton, web content strategist
  • Danielle White, SAS Platform Administrator
  • Rachel Ripstra, software engineer
  • Jessica Reardon Smith
  • Kimberly Horne, software developer
  • Josephine Doggett, artist
  • Dr. Aoife Emily Hart, lecturer
  • April Daniels, writer
  • Morgan Smith, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies student and activist
  • Sabine, activist
  • Chelsea Tera Boyhan, field support engineer
  • Fallon Fox, Mixed Martial Arts fighter
  • Sarah Foreman, activist and software developer
  • Josefina Vineyard, graphic designer
  • Rebecca Hargate, software developer, University student
  • Schell Carpenter, Vice President of Engineering
  • Kayley Whalen, trans activist
  • Carol Holly, Scientist and Global Business Development Manager
  • Erika Sorensen, software developer
  • Laurelai Bailey, journalist for TransAdvocate.com
  • Emily L Kwolek, activist
  • Adele Sheffield, social media manager, web editor
  • Winter Hardin, student
  • Skye Arixe
  • Melissa Savage, activist
  • Dana Lane Taylor, TransAdvocate.com, University of Pennsylvania
  • Rhianne Stevens, lecturer, activist and Transgender Support Group Officer
  • Willow Dobmeier
  • Katie Anderson, software engineer
  • Chelsea Richards, emergency medical responder
  • Emily Prince, Esq.
  • Morgan Rose, artist
  • Casey Coughlin, student
  • Zoe Gagnon, software engineer and activist
  • Kathryn Anna Fortunato, IT systems administrator and activist
  • Rebecca Putman
  • Ellie Green, artist
  • Coda Gardner
  • Jayska Teag
  • Eleven, filmmaker and writer
  • Alisha G, information technology
  • Greta Gustava Martela, software engineer and TGSF board member
  • Nina Chaubal, software engineer
  • Annetta Gaiman, trans feminist
  • Diane Tejera Monaco, scientist and educator
  • Alex Ray, web admin
  • Claire Siegely
  • Ally Clarke
  • Aria Smith
  • Devi Smith
  • Bethany Turner, market researcher and webcomic author/artist
  • Cristan Williams, Senior Editor for the TransAdvocate
  • Madison Turner, singer/songwriter
  • Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor, author and activist
  • Amy A. Dobrowolsky, trans feminist geographer
  • Autumn Sandeen, Editor for The TransAdvocate
  • Christina Ann-Marie DiEdoardo, Esq., criminal defense attorney
  • Melissa Jensen, sex worker
  • Octavia Reising
  • Naomi Ceder, IT director, Pythonista, advocate
  • Kris Simon, disability, gender, and sexuality activist
  • K.L. Tremaine, author and publisher, Artemis Flight Books
  • Kelli Anne Busey, contributor TransAdvocate, blogger planetransgender, activist
  • Serana Storey
  • Kylie Brooks, gender, disability, race and sexuality activist
  • Amber Dawn Redman, International Media / Commercial Aviation / Communications / Equality Journalist
  • Reverend Erin Fish, Professional Twitterer
  • Sarah Noble, transgender and equality activist, university student
  • Paige Sullivan, software engineer, trans* activist, wife, and parent
  • Amélie Erin Koran, Executive Office of the President of the United States (Detailee) & President of U.S. Department of the Interior GLOBE
  • Morgan Mullaney, software engineer
  • Lisa Harney
  • Meryl Scarlett Fortney
  • Dani Pettas, videographer/advertising creative
  • Forth Sadler, queer transwoman
  • Ayasha Pope, writer and musician
  • Sara Ross, activist and game developer
  • Kylie Jack, ux designer, activist
  • Kathryn Long, technical artist and software engineer
  • Kaitlyn Richardson, system administrator
  • Hannah Cutler, archaeologist
  • Miranda Lukeman
  • Karin Engström
  • Harriet de Kok, student, aged care personal care worker
  • Freja Falson, student, writer, and trans feminist
  • Shadi Petosky, creative director
  • Jennifer Kitney, student chef
  • Megan Danielle Turcotte, software developer
  • Annie Mei Shen
  • Lauren Moffatt PhD, Professor of Physics
  • Rani Baker, destroyedforcomfort.com, noise musician/freelance artist
  • Amy Wilhelm, trans activist, network engineer
  • Amoreena Crees, interior design
  • Zoey Marie Bedenbaugh, student, writer
  • Dominica Deal
  • Eva Odland, IT worker/author
  • Mara Emily
  • Phoenix Lee
  • Katherine Cutting
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  • Drew Stroud, web and game developer
  • Amara Sugalski, geneticist
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  • Rhea Vichot, graduate student
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  • The Right Honourable Max, Lairde Harmony
  • Dr. Myriam J. Johnson, physicist
  • Charley Matz, trans lesbian artist
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  • Sabrina Kane, Elections Project Officer
  • Maria Ramnehill, transfeminist
  • Addie C.
  • Rebecca Turner, software engineer
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  • Samantha Llywela Thornton, photo technician, student
  • Alice Wilde, drafter
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  • D.J. Freedman, MSW, queer social worker
  • Michelle Spicer, BA, Writer/Activist
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  • Stephanie Wilson, retired, civil engineer, program manager
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  • Maddy Love, podcaster and clinical laboratorian
  • Marja Erwin
  • Danni Shochet, Director of Information Systems, Vice Chair Raleigh Transgender Initiative
  • Clare Davis, bookkeeper
  • Jane Natoli, Financial Crimes Consultant
  • Amy Roberts, writer, game designer, software QA
  • Danielle Burgess, web developer
  • Sophie Taylor, aerospace engineer
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  • Elizabeth Rossiter, software engineer
  • Emilie Geary, trans advocate
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  • Julie Harper Lynch, registered nurse
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  • Rachel S. Adelhyde, writer and activist
  • Cadence Valentine, board member of Transgender Leadership Council, co-chair and lead organizer of Transgender Leadership Summit, Program Coordinator for Transsafetycounts, secretary of Transgender Service Providers Network
  • Johanna Wolf, game developer
  • Alexandra Robin Clodge, software engineer/activist
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  • Abby Malson, software developer, transgender woman
  • Allison Lara Keene, software developer
  • Janet Logan, software engineer and transgender woman
  • Katherine Norcross, molecular biologist and artist
  • Alison Edwards, writer and educator
  • Rachel Determann, musician, data journalist and engineer
  • Nicole “Nicky” Roberts, activist, 2013 JCF grantee
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  • Margaret Laughlan, Residential Social Worker
  • Harper Sylvia Sanford, software QA
  • Victoria Solís Quintillá, student, activist
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  • Skyla Marchel, activist

  • Ashley Wells, library technician and artist
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  • Jennifer Mason
  • Donna Levinsohn, attorney and activist
  • Elizabeth Flanagan, Trans/Geek Feminist
  • Madison Rae, HIV Outreach Educator of the Transaction program
  • Kelley Sullivan, Sales Representative
  • Nina Yorty, freelance caregiver
  • Tommilynn Janelle Travis, Customer Support and Sales
  • Jessica Ottowell, software engineer, small business owner, PR officer for the British Liberal Democrat party
  • Rye Silverman, comedian and writer
  • Christina W., Software Engineer
  • A. Mani, Researcher (Math, Logic, Rough Sets), Trans Feminist
  • Sara Hughes, college student information systems analyst and project manager
  • Erica Jones, software developer
  • Michelle Jené Wedge, Writer / Activist
  • Danielle Newberry, author, culinary engineer
  • Nuala Shields, retired network engineer, trans activist, human being
  • Lily Connor, Pagan priestess and nursing student
  • Miranda Radik
  • Charlie Hale, student and author
  • Aisling Fae, college student, physics
  • Gina Grahame, businesswoman
  • Laila Villanueva, United States Army Nurse – currently silently serving on Active Duty
  • Ryan Alana McLaughlin, artist, blacksmith, former Special Forces medical sergeant, activist, and feminist
  • Ellen Faye Harvey, Sales Specialist
  • Mica Hind, storyteller/historical interpreter
  • Claudia Jean Adams, Online Community Manager
  • Nancy Scott Burke Williams, Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Kelsie Brynn Jones, ILGA Advocate
  • Lara Boons, Belgium, a little bit a solo activist on disability, hit by PTSD
  • Allison Andrews, software engineer
  • Aleshia Brevard
  • Anne Rowlands, librarian and pagan
  • Alena Bruening, model
  • Eli Erlick, student, activist, and director of Trans Student Equality Resources
  • Vera Vartanian, writer
  • Alex Sennello, student and cofounder of Trans Student Equality Resources
  • Tina Kent, truck driver
  • Dawn Alderman, systems engineer
  • Lynn Cyrin, student, activist
  • Nic Llewellyn, cleaner and musician
  • Aubrey Schaefer, writer
  • Bella Bellucci, writer, activist, entertainer
  • Lilith Barri Routh, network engineer
  • Lilith Annabelle Rios, Customer Service Representative and Trans Feminist/Activist
  • Laura Watson, Singer/Songwriter/Musician
  • Kathryn Isaacs, software developer
  • Jena Lewis, trans* diversity educator, community activist, feminist
  • Jade Juhl, trans advocate
  • Lily Wolf Solomon, owner of Greenpath Transcripts
  • Gwyneth Yeh, Artist at ArenaNet
  • Samantha Hypatia Thompson, librarian
  • Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan, Women’s Studies Professor
  • Veronica Garrett, Nuclear Professional
  • Emma Bready Larson, student, library worker, and activist
  • Morgan Sea, Tranzister Radio
  • Sierra Kinney, owner of Lone Star Laser
  • Sena Riley, blogger/programmer
  • Caitlin Howarth, student
  • Christina Williams, IT manager and newbie trans advocate
  • Kendall Cunningham, pastry chef
  • Miranda Rae Lunabel, barista and musician
  • Alexandra Bard, medically retired Marine
  • Chelsea Allens, Artist/Student
  • Drew Deveaux, queer porn star, feminist, sex educator
  • Julie Danielle Barnett
  • Coraline Ada Ehmke, Software Engineer and Activist
  • Isabelle Jones, law student
  • Gwen Carlson, student and activist
  • Lisa Severn, IT Architect
  • Helen C. Walther, Chat Administrator, Susan’s Place Transgender Resources, Executive Director, Southern Tier Trans Network
  • Jody Toomey, sci-fi author and musician
  • Eleanor Amaranth Lockhart, university lecturer and researcher
  • Cristin Meravi, student
  • Alys Elbe, student
  • Erin Dean, queer trans* woman of color and radical intersectional activist, blogger at Glitter of Revolt
  • Ellie Morris
  • Crystal Frasier, author
  • MC Tanuki, musician
  • Eva Allan, Revolutionary socialist and Trade Union Activist
  • Elizabeth Izatt, software engineer
  • Bitmap Madelyn Prager
  • Veronikka Edmunds, Waste Management Consultant
  • JoVan Wilson, Healthcare Communicator
  • Natalie Russell, civil engineer
  • Ellie Howard
  • Eleanor Robyn Carson II, author, photographer, video game reviewer
  • Tylyn S. Anson, filmmaker and MFA student
  • Alex Richards Childs, student of Metallurgical Engineering
  • Bobbie Jo Conner, maintenance worker
  • Jessica K. Nichols-Vernon, writer
  • Rachel Evil McCall, writer
  • Sophia Gold, performance artist
  • Kathryn Cowie, writer and editor
  • Johanna Marseille, graphic designer
  • Kori Evans, student
  • Morgane Oger, small business owner
  • Amanda Melody Barna, student and pizza delivery driver
  • Rachel Collier
  • Michelle Jane Perez, writer
  • Lauren Gartrenlaub, Case Manager at a social service agency
  • Robyn A. Montgomery, student
  • Vikki Valimir
  • Alyson McManus, Staff Writer at Persephone Magazine
  • Ryder Goodwin
  • Ash Shields, artist, student
  • Stephanie Wallace, Wine Professional, Software Developer
  • Johnnie Ramona Peel, College Instructor and Blogger
  • Rebecca Dobie-Watt, Helpdesk Analyst
  • Sarah Robinson, IT Tech
  • Bridgett Josephine Waxman, student
  • Dana Ashleigh Goodyear, LPN
  • Tali Gaither, trans*femme Disability justice activist, feminist, queer writer
  • Trina Hanson, IT support/web developer
  • T. Walpole, trans officer, Goldsmiths LGBTQ
  • Maya Martinez, US Army Infantry
  • Christina Lynn Johnson, studying for a Paramedic certification
  • Jasmine Doherty, Air Traffic Controller
  • Cheryl Ann Davidson, advocate/hotel front desk clerk
  • Jacquelyn Kjar-Meyer, student
  • Corinne McCreery, Customer Service Representative
  • Tara Franks, student
  • Joli Shempert, university student
  • Antoinette Coles, Information Technical Professional
  • Julia Kreger, systems engineer, photographer, support group meeting facilitator, retired alternative lifestyle community leader
  • Mackenzie Jade Compton, artist
  • Vanessa Kindell, IT support
  • Tori Amanda Foote
  • Lily Lambda, leathergirl
  • Jayna L-Ponder, Podcaster, Educator
  • Alexandra Williams, Licensed Nurse’s Assistant
  • Emilia Lombardi, Professor, Public Health
  • Lexi Kamen Turner, musician/student
  • Petra Mullooly, student and freelance writer
  • Jale Queen, IT Practitioner and Produce Worker
  • Jacolleun “Chrissy” Madron, actor/director/producer
  • Catherine S Hopkins, Airline Captain
  • Alison Stevenson, student
  • Jamie Lynn Armitage
  • Shay Fabian
  • Alice Beaty, DJ, Mixed-media artist, Kaotee
  • Christianne Benedict, illustrator, writer, cartoonist
  • Kiera Beltman, student
  • Dr. Jadis A. Smith, Postdoctoral researcher
  • Allison Kelly
  • Rebecca Adomaitis, accountant
  • Kerri Green, senior staff nurse
  • Willa Riggins, Information Security Professional
  • Stephanie Lawless, retail accounts management, feminist, trans* support facilitator
  • Shelby Green, student, trans activist / educator
  • Jemma Nelson, Bioinformatician
  • Wren Tobi Stein, college student, cashier, real estate owner
  • Marissa du Bois, Programmer Analyst
  • Joanna Blackhart, Musician, Activist, Educator
  • Anna, Former Huge Calpernia Fan, Former Recommender of Finding your Female Voice
  • Wenda Rhiannon Rose, writer, producer, artist, and proud trans lesbian
  • Alicia Artemissian, programmer, writer, caregiver
  • Morgan Thorp, student, occasional Youtuber and Twitch streamer, and further proof that trans lesbians exist
  • Kristen Haven, student, web developer, volunteer
  • Susan Lewis, Social Care
  • Roberta Proença de Gouvêa, Flight and Aeronautical Engineering Student
  • Ashley Davis, software development
  • Willow Gallagher; transfeminist, community leader, trans activist
  • Auriana Danielle Fabricatore, student and pornographic actress
  • Alice Summer
  • Nata Murray, MilTrans advocate who transitioned a decade ago, still in uniform after over 27 years service
  • Evie Ovalle, Healthcare Worker
  • Amber Planting, Air Force Veteran
  • Jenifer Divine, musician, writer – Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand
  • Bethany Hill, trans activist and graduate student
  • Danielle Church, software architect
  • Chelsie Scott, writer
  • Sylia Gray
  • Elen Parker, student, queer historian, and trans dyke
  • Hayley Anthony, marketing planner
  • Ada Nicole, mathematician/teacher
  • Robynn Penelope Mussell, transwoman and owner of Robynn Penelope Game Design Studio and co-founder of Know Where To Go QCA
  • Nicola Romanski, draftsman – electrical engineer
  • Nicola Clubb, freelance 3D designer
  • G. Searer, engineer
  • Victoria Kaye, Mechanical Design Engineer
  • Adina Lynn Levy, Software Development Supervisor
  • “Storky” Duncan, professional poker player
  • Zoe Steinfield, Program Media Assistant at the MSU LBGT Resource Center
  • Danielle Krassner, Systems/Network Admin
  • Alyssa Herzog, trans*woman and DevOps
  • Wren Gayle Romano, doctoral candidate and activist
  • Tetyana Swan, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, San Francisco Sleep Diagnostics
  • Megan Faulkner
  • Eloise, scientist
  • Rava Soler, trance music producer, trans feminist blogger Akntiendz Chik (in Spanish)
  • Jeannie Lynn Robert, IT professional
  • Corinne Green
  • Cynthia Pauline Jones, Trans woman and Poet
  • Renata Luisa Sdao, Photographer/Artist
  • Dawn Stacey Ennis
  • Barbara Campbell, MSgt, USAF (Ret)
  • Rebecca Miriam

 

If you are a trans woman or otherwise trans-feminine and would like to sign this letter, please email Zinnia Jones at zjemptv@gmail.com with your full name and occupation. This letter will be updated regularly.

Why I outed “ex-gay” Matt Moore

When I was tipped off that an “ex-gay” writer for the Christian Post may have been using a dating site for gay men, I had two options. I could keep quiet and let others handle this, or I could do something about it. And when I saw that no one else was going to address this, I made the decision to go public about it. I first wrote about the simple facts of the matter: that someone on Grindr was using the name, age, location, and photo of Matt Moore, a self-declared former homosexual. I then contacted Moore himself, who personally confirmed to me that this was his own profile, and I published this admission as well.

Some people have argued that outing Moore was an invasion of his privacy and an unnecessary exposure of his personal life. Others say this is little more than shaming someone who’s obviously struggling with his sexuality and his faith. Some have even claimed that since Moore regards his orientation as an addiction he’s fighting, much like that of an alcoholic or drug user, exposing him publicly is tantamount to criticizing someone for “falling off the wagon”.

I don’t see any of these critiques as legitimate. Matt Moore has already made what would otherwise be his private life into the cornerstone of a very public argument. As recently as last week, Moore was writing about the “real power” of his testimony of “leaving homosexuality”. Moore stated:

…what I believe speaks volumes of the grace of God and the power of the gospel, is that year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day – I continue to fight the fight of faith. I have sought after Jesus and I have turned from sin daily.

This is not merely a personal stance of his. It is a message to a wider audience. In his earlier document, “A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality”, Moore wrote:

The Spirit of Christ transforms the persons life – day by day, making them more and more into the likeness of their Lord – and ridding them more and more of the corruption that the presence of sin has caused in their hearts.

He’s also targeted children with his call to “conversion”. In a post titled “Dear Gay Kid”, he describes his life as an openly gay man as being full of meaningless and unsafe sex, and devoid of healthy and fulfilling relationships. He claims this “lifestyle” is “driven by sex and indulgence, not by ‘love'”. And he tells queer youth that they need God to “rescue” them from “eternal condemnation”.

So, how has that been working out for him? This is a relevant question. Of course, there are already plenty of other angles from which to attack the Christian “ex-gay” movement. Its metaphysics are just as unproven as those of any other religion, its interpretation of the Bible is just one among very many, and its notion that celibacy is the proper response to homosexuality contradicts both scientific evidence and human decency. These are all completely valid points, and even if Matt Moore did remain entirely abstinent, this would in no way support these ex-gay beliefs. But when he and the Christian Post have turned his personal testimony into a promotion for this movement, it’s equally crucial that we examine just how true that testimony really is.

Moore has set out to engage in a discussion about the morality of homosexuality, the desires of God, and the possibility of personal sexual change through faith. He has cited his own experience in support of the notion that devout Christianity can help people diminish and resist their homosexual inclinations. But if he has any interest whatsoever in an open and honest discussion about that, why should he be the only one who’s privy to the fact that this religious program has failed even himself? This fundamentally compromises the value of his testimony as evidence.

Why should the rest of us have to remain unaware of this, while he continues to deceive people about whether religion can change their sexuality? Not only is it hypocritical to present oneself as a model of sexual reformation when one is clearly anything but reformed. Such a substantial omission is just unfair to all the participants in a public debate such as this. He knows something we don’t, and he’s withholding information that impacts the soundness of his argument.

Revealing this vital information is anything but an act of shaming, and this is not some malicious and arbitrary outing of a random person who was simply going about their business. Plenty of people go looking for partners all the time, and this is certainly not deserving of shame. It’s not a problem that a gay man happened to be seeking the company of other gay men. Indeed, I hope he enjoyed himself. But his public complicity in the ex-gay movement is what makes this publicly relevant, and that complicity is what’s truly deserving of shame here.

I also don’t care if Moore regards his own inclinations as an “addiction”. I might consider it unhealthy and maladjusted of him, but that’s his business. However, it’s no longer just his business when he proposes that the rest of us ought to regard ourselves similarly. And we are in no way obligated to humor a twisted belief that treats our own loving relationships as no more than a relapse into an “addiction” that we would have resisted, if only we had been stronger.

This is about more than just Moore. There are people who are going to read his story, and it will lead them to believe that their gay son or daughter could become straight if they were just willing to try hard enough. By keeping up this charade, he continued to promote the idea that prayer was an effective remedy to homosexuality. Now, people can see for themselves just how effective this really is. And the sooner people understand that sexual orientation can’t be forcibly changed by this or any other means, the sooner they’ll stop trying to force such ineffective change on themselves and others.

Ex-gay Matt Moore confirms he was on Grindr

After my last post about a profile on Grindr using ex-gay writer Matt Moore’s photo and personal details, I contacted Moore, who responded as follows:

The grindr profile was really mine. I’ve been on it on and off for the last couple of weeks.

Like I told the guy who sent you the picture, I am wrong in having been on grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the bible, etc.

Creating a grindr profile and talking to guys on it was major disobedience on my part….disobedience to Christ. Disobedience to a loving and gracious God. Thankfully, I believe that He forgives me for this disobedience. I believe the blood of Christ covers this disobedience. And I won’t be on grindr again….ever.

The pastor of my church and the church body I am a part of were informed about me being on grindr (I told them) before all of this came out, publicly.

While I’m glad that Moore chose to own up to this rather than continuing to make excuses as others have done in the same situation, it’s disappointing that he ever put himself in such a deceptive and hypocritical situation in the first place. So-called “ex-gays” publicly promote the notion that LGBT people are sinning against a god who will torture them eternally if they fail to suppress and deny their true nature. But privately, they often seem to have trouble practicing what they preach. They proudly tell queer youth that their lives will be cursed with misery, illness, violence, addiction, a lack of meaningful human connection and an untimely death, unless they follow a faith that demands nothing less than the utter negation of who they are. Then they turn around and happily jump right back into a life that supposedly carries these most terrible consequences. And isn’t it wonderful how easily they can choose to forgive themselves for all this?

It’s faith-based nonsense. It’s reality-denying foolishness. It’s harmful, hateful, ignorant, irresponsible bullshit that puts shame on innocent people. And it’s all for nothing. Don’t fall for “ex-gays” – they don’t even believe what they’re selling.

I’d like to thank my readers who send me tips about these goings-on. You’re the ones who make this all possible.

Someone is using a picture of ex-gay Matt Moore on Grindr (updated)

Matt Moore, a blogger at the Christian Post, has written extensively about his experiences with homosexuality and his ultimate decision to leave that “lifestyle”. In “My Story: Homosexuality, Drunkenness, Grace and Redemption”, Moore states:

God commands me to repent of my sin not because He’s an evil dictator, but because He’s a loving Father who knows that my sin will destroy me in multiple ways. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and ultimately eternally. If you don’t think homosexuality hurts anybody, just check out the statistics. Check out the number of murders among the gay community. Check out the addiction rate among homosexuals. Check out the average lifespan of a male homosexual. Seriously, just google it. You can see for yourself. …

I can, in truth, firmly say that the longer I keep turning away from my homosexual desires, the less in strength they become. My homosexual feelings have definitely diminished since the night God started drawing me to Himself in September of 2010. Are they completely gone? No, they are not. Will they ever be completely gone? I do not know. …

The main thing that I struggle with the most still is pornography, but even that is changing. I don’t get the same satisfaction that I used to from it. My stomach actually turns at the site of homosexual “relations.” But I also know that if I continue to watch it and harden my heart toward the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I will start to see things again through the eyes of my sinful flesh rather than through the eyes of the Spirit.

In “What Does God Expect From Gay People?”, he writes:

Although I have same sex thoughts on a daily basis, I do not, in any way, feel compelled to ever return to a lifestyle of homosexuality. God has put His Spirit within me and created in me a new heart that views every aspect of life differently because I am finally able to see the world through life-seeking, living eyes of faith rather than the sin-stained, darkened eyes of death that I had always viewed the world through before knowing Christ. …

There are multitudes of people who have “tried out” Christianity for a while, but after a time they turn away from it and resume the gay lifestyle. The secular world uses these cases all the time to point out the supposed inefficacy and ignorance of the Christian faith. But our faith is not inefficient, the real problem is that these once professing Christians never had genuine faith in Jesus Christ; they had faith in a systematic program that they hoped would rid them of homosexual desires. When their desires and temptations did not magically disappear as they assumed would happen, they packed their bags and left the whole idea of Jesus behind.

In August of last year, Moore said:

Yes, their attraction toward the same sex is unnatural and some of them may be extremely promiscuous (as are some heterosexual people) and being indulgent in sexual immorality— but their desire for love and affection is still very real and very much a driving force in their life.

The Lord has used my own thoughts and desires recently to show this to me. There have been instances lately where I have started to feel an emotional pull toward someone of the same sex. Before these recent experiences, I had forgotten that I had ever felt that way before… emotionally drawn toward men (I’m superb at blocking out emotions— so it makes sense to me I would naturally forget certain ones I’ve experienced in the past), but recently, for whatever reasons, I have had an awakening in the cravings of my heart. Not for sex, not for mere physical interaction— but for love and affection.

Recently, one of my readers wrote in to alert me that someone seems to be using a picture of Matt Moore on Grindr, a mobile app primarily used by gay and bi men to find sexual partners. These are their screenshots of the profile using his photo:

Screenshot of Grindr profile using Matt Moore's photo

Screenshot of Grindr profile using Matt Moore's photo

The photo on the Grindr profile is identical to the one used on Matt Moore’s Twitter account, @MattMoore89:

Twitter profile of Matt Moore (MattMoore89)

Not only has the Grindr profile used Moore’s name, but also his age (he was born in 1989) and even the fact that he recently moved to New Orleans. Obviously, someone is trying to make it look like Matt Moore, a noted former homosexual, is now participating in a gay dating network. Whoever is responsible for this should be ashamed of themselves for trying to besmirch the name of a devout, morally upright follower of Christ who has prevailed over his sinful temptations.

Update: Please see my latest post, where Matt Moore confirms this is his Grindr profile.

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.

At least Westboro is intellectually honest

I have more respect for the Westboro Baptist Church – barely – than I do for disingenuous fools like Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer, who beat around the bush when it comes to school shootings because even they realize that the implications of what they’re saying are too repulsive to be stated openly. Consider Mike Huckabee’s simultaneous backtracking and doubling-down on his earlier remarks:

…it’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas carol. That lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers. Churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful and we call them disorders. Sometimes, we even say they’re normal. And to get to where… we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then ask, “Well, where was God?” And I respond that, as I see it, we’ve escorted him right out of our culture and we’ve marched him off the public square, and then we express our surprise that a culture without him actually reflects what it’s become.

To Huckabee, it is a “bedrock moral truth” that LGBT people are not even “disordered” but sinful, that businesses providing insurance to their employees ought to be able to pick and choose whether those employees can have their birth control covered, and that the government should provide its official stamp of approval to the Christian religion. And when we no longer regard sexual minorities as abnormal and condemned by God himself, we’ve somehow created an environment conducive to the mass killings of children. In the twisted mind of Mike Huckabee, LGBT rights and women’s rights and the Establishment Clause are part and parcel with school massacres. Either we side with Huckabee’s God, a God that hates gays and contraception and secular government while also supposedly providing some measure of protection from tragedies, or we must accept the inverse: gaining our freedoms at the cost of children’s lives, which Huckabee’s God allows murderers to take freely. Where was God? Oh, he would have helped out somehow, if only we’d kept paying our dues of misogyny and homophobia and theocracy.

It doesn’t sound so “rah rah God and country, amen!” when you put it that way, does it? But that’s what Huckabee means. Hate the queers, crush women’s reproductive freedom, disrespect the faith of everyone who’s not a Christian, or God will let your children be gunned down in their schools.

Contrast that with the Westboro Baptist Church, who share this opinion but make no effort to hide it whatsoever. To them, the shooting was a direct act of God to punish an insufficiently homophobic nation, and they’re ready to tell the world. No evasions. No prettying it up. No circuitous, long-winded explanations to try and dance around what they really mean to say. They just say it: God sent the shooter. God hates fags. God will kill your children because you accepted gay people. So deal with it.

They’re all scumbag religious vultures feeding on the still-warm corpses of children. But it’s even more insulting that some of them would try to disguise themselves as anything other than the revolting, merciless opportunists they are.

Don’t give to the anti-gay Salvation Army

This holiday season, you may see bell-ringers from the Salvation Army soliciting donations outside of storefronts. You should be aware that the Salvation Army is actually a Christian church, and its charitable functions are administered by this church. While there are plenty of religious groups that provide social services to those in need, the Salvation Army’s beliefs and activities are not so innocuous.

In their position statements, the Salvation Army describes marriage as “one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”. Their statement on homosexuality says:

Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. … Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.

They go on to declare that sexually active gay people are ineligible for the Salvation Army, and call for “a lifestyle built upon celibacy and self-restraint”.

These aren’t just internal matters of church policy, either. The Salvation Army has involved itself in the political arena as well.

– In 1986, the Salvation Army of New Zealand assisted in a petition drive against a law to repeal the country’s ban on homosexuality.

– In 1998, the Salvation Army withdrew from $3.5 million in contracts with San Francisco because of the city’s requirement for contractors to extend benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. As a result, shelters, food services, and drug rehab programs in the city all suffered cutbacks.

– In 2000, the Salvation Army of Scotland spoke out against the proposed repeal of Section 28, which prohibited any discussion in schools of the “acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

– In 2001, the Salvation Army extended benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees, only to reverse this policy after outcry from the Christian right.

– Also in 2001, the Washington Post reported that the Salvation Army had been in discussions with the Bush administration, which had committed to issuing a regulation exempting the Salvation Army from any state or local laws that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexuality. The administration refused to issue such a regulation after their dealings were publicly exposed.

– In 2004, the Salvation Army in New York City once again threatened to close all of its services in the city due to a law requiring contractors to provide equal benefits to same-sex partners.

– And in 2012, a media relations director with the Salvation Army of Australia stated on a radio show that it was part of their “belief system” and “Christian doctrine” that gay people should die.

When we give our money to the Salvation Army, we’re helping to support a church that believes gay people are less than equal, that they should be subject to open discrimination, and that their relationships are inferior in the eyes of God. And this church has been working to ensure that their personal religious beliefs are reflected in the law. That’s the ugly truth behind the change we drop in their red kettles.

While the Salvation Army does plenty of good things to help communities in need, so do many other charities – charities which focus on providing these essential services with no religiously-based prejudice against minorities. Organizations like Goodwill, Toys for Tots, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America can do everything the Salvation Army does. The difference is that they’ll do it without taking a piece of your donations to fund a politically active anti-gay church.

Sure, it might be easy to drop some money in a bucket. But it should be just as easy to do the right thing. We all want to help those in need, and we can do it without compromising our values of fairness and equality. This season, let’s help out those charities that are willing to respect everyone just the same.

Further confirmation that Mark Regnerus is an asshole

Researcher Mark Regnerus didn’t just misrepresent his flawed study as being about same-sex parents when barely any same-sex couples were present in his sample. He also holds some particularly ugly opinions about same-sex parents themselves. Addressing another study that actually focused on lesbian parents, he said:

And yet all this is not actually why I think it’s time for the NLLFS to shutter its operation. No, the reason is that its sample — 78 kids growing up in activist households — is no longer a source for valid, reliable information.

Did you catch that? “Activist households.” He continues:

In this case, I’m concerned that the kids feel pressure to give better-than-accurate portrayals of their household and personal life. When the adolescent children of lesbian parents are being intermittently interviewed for a study whose results have proven quite politically important — and almost always covered favorably by the mainstream media — it’s prudent for scholars to be skeptical about whether respondents are still offering valid and reliable responses years after they were first contacted.

Take note of the dichotomy he’s set up here. He contends that his own study is superior because of its use of a nationally representative sample. This is in spite of the fact that:

1. His study defined “gay fathers” and “lesbian mothers” as any father or mother who had ever had a same-sex relationship, rather than restricting this to same-sex couples who were actually raising children together.

2. As a result, it included almost no children raised by same-sex parents in the long term, a shortcoming Regnerus himself admits before dismissing it as insurmountable.

3. He also packed these groups of so-called gay parents with as many children of step-parents, divorced parents, adoptive parents and single parents as possible – as he says, he “forced their mutual exclusivity” by removing children of gay-parents-who-may-not-really-be-gay-parents from the aforementioned groups and lumping them all together – and then compared them to “intact biological families”. This put the “gay parents” groups at an inherent disadvantage.

And yet he now claims that the results of a study that specifically focuses on lesbian mothers raising children in the long term cannot be trusted. Why? Apparently because these mothers are activists.

What evidence does he have of this? He describes the study as follows:

The NLLFS employs a convenience sample, recruited entirely from announcements posted “at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers” in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Whatever shortcomings there may be in such a sample, this does not warrant concluding that lesbian couples – who, shockingly, sometimes take an interest in events and publications that are relevant to their lives! – can therefore be assumed to be “activists”. Regnerus ascribes some sinister motive to these lesbian-headed families being studied, for no reason other than the fact that they are lesbian-headed families being studied.

But being in a lesbian relationship and seeking to raise a family does not inherently make someone an “activist”. Starting a family is not some kind of covert gay-agenda “activism”, any more than it’s “activist” for straight couples to do the same.  Reducing our families to little more than a political ploy is nothing but naked and inexcusable prejudice. Never did Regnerus express similar doubts about the responses to his own study. Not once did he consider that the children of opposite-sex and same-sex parents would be influenced to distort their answers to his own study about a hot-button topic like same-sex parenting. Why? Because his study allegedly reflected poorly on gay parents, a conclusion which is somehow above any doubt, while this one reflected positively on us, which means it must be faulty because that just isn’t possible.

Your search queries, answered!

One of the fun features of the blog software is that I can see what people were searching for that led them to the site – not who they are, only what was typed into Google that pointed someone here. While it can be pretty amusing to see what people have searched for (“insults for gay men”? Let’s not), it’s also evident that many of them have serious questions about all sorts of subjects, and these are often worth delving into. So, I’ve decided to take a look at a few of these search terms and give them a more personal approach. For a few lucky searchers, I’ll be playing Cha-Cha. Or Siri. Or whatever people are using now. Shall we?

“gay people and straight people arguing video”

To start with, here’s an 11-part series of a debate between former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher, and philosophy professor John Corvino, at Oregon State University. Also, see this debate between NOM president Brian Brown and advice columnist Dan Savage. Or, for a little less civility and enlightened discussion, refer to my coverage of a Westboro Baptist Church protest and counter-protest.

“why dont people blame rapists”

Some part of this is the just-world hypothesis, people’s desire to believe that life operates in a fair manner, with positive and negative consequences being distributed only to those who “deserve it”. This does not actually reflect reality, but people often like to think that if they just act in a certain way, they can avoid anything bad happening to them. When something happens which contradicts this notion, such as rape, their idea of a fair world becomes unsettled. It undermines the idea that they’ll be protected from harm as long as they do all the “right” things. But their need for a feeling of perceived safety in the world remains, so, to reinforce their beliefs that have come under attack, they imagine that someone who’s been unfairly victimized has actually been fairly victimized – they must have done something to deserve it.

This phenomenon is complemented by widespread attitudes, across almost all cultures, that men are to some degree helpless to control their desires to have sex with women, and women are therefore responsible for provoking their own rapes if they fail to adhere to some nebulous standard of behavior and attire. Of course, women have been raped everywhere and under all conceivable conditions, regardless of dress, sobriety, occupation or location, and this reveals the underlying constant: that women’s bodies are simply always seen as sexual objects, capable of annihilating men’s ability to resist raping them. For this reason, criticism of women’s conduct as somehow causing men to commit rape essentially amounts to telling them “don’t exist in the world as a woman”. People don’t blame rapists because they think rapists are somehow less responsible, or not responsible at all, for their acts of rape.

“who is it you have chosen over jesus?”

Personally? My family. My acquaintances. My audience. Myself. Pretty much anything, because almost everything has more practical relevance to my day-to-day life in reality than an ancient myth that some people happen to believe is the most important thing ever. And that’s probably why most people who choose other things over Jesus do so. Jesus is not that important – at least not to the majority of the world.

“zinnia jones hair”

I use Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner, followed by Tresemme heat protectant spray and a ceramic flat iron. For color, I use L’Oreal natural black #1 creme.

“should teachers be allowed to tell class they are gay”

Let’s do a little thought exercise. How many times did you hear one of your teachers mention her husband in passing? Most likely a fair few times. Was this ever a problem? No. Yet your teachers were effectively telling their classes that they were straight. What need is there for them to share such personal information? Well, it’s just not a big deal, and nobody takes issue with it. Why should it be a problem? It would be absurd to ask whether these teachers should be “allowed” to let their students ever find out that they have a partner of the opposite sex, because it simply makes no sense to expect them to amputate that entire portion of their lives the moment they walk into the classroom. There’s no reason to treat gay teachers any differently in this regard.

Well, that’s it for this round of search queries. See you next time, and keep on searching!