Tag Archives: LGBT discrimination

Comment of the Day: “From The Law vs. Ethics File: The Discriminatory Charlotte Pride Parade”

How to construct public policy regarding trans individuals is an increasingly varied and controversial ethics controversy (with another Ethics Alarms post on the topic in progress). This another whiplash ethics area where events and attitudes are moving and evolving too fast for some reasonable people to process. I remember as a child reading a vintage Readers Digest article about Christine Jorgensen and having my father answer my questions about her by saying, “He’s a freak.” The dialogue on the related issues here at Ethics Alarms is always  enlightening, in part because we have the benefit of some very well-informed authorities on the topic.

Pennagain added this impressive post to the latest round in the debate, in response to another commenter’s opinion. Here is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post, “From The Law vs. Ethics File: The Discriminatory Charlotte Pride Parade”:

As far as I could find, the conclusion of Scientific American’s January 2016 article, “Is There Something Unique About the Transgender Brain,” speaks to the results of the all the legitimate studies that have been done to date: . . . given the variety of transgender people and the variation in the brains of men and women generally, it will be a long time, if ever, before a doctor can do a brain scan on a child and say, “Yes, this child is trans.”

So far,  so good. Nothing is proven either way as far as brain differentiation is concerned. But your personal observations are not at that level of science; they are your unsupported (and insupportable) opinions. The problem with that kind of observation is that it can easily be turned on its head, as with “Direct observations by my family, from many teachers and administrators: kids who want attention (for various reasons) tend to come out as trans.”

It’s rather: “Kids who are trans or gay tend to stand out and naturally attract attention.” What’s more, those who observe with knowledge can tell the difference easily.

What’s happening here is a common confusion between sexual orientation and gender identity. As simply as I can put it:

“Gay,” “Lesbian” and “Bisexual” refer to sexual orientation, in other words – who you are attracted to, namely, people of the same gender.

“Transgender” is a gender Identity: how you identify yourself in terms of maleness or femaleness. For a transgender person, the gender identity is one that is different from your biological sex. It can, in fact, have nothing whatsoever to do with whom you are attracted to.

Part of the confusion is that being queer (the word being back in vogue, stuck onto the LGBT as Q) designates one whose gender is known as fluid. In other words, the “stand outs” on the playground and even throughout their lives are those whose behavior is often that of the “opposite” gender. This occurs for two reasons: one is to be born with characteristics of another norm, the other is acquired as a copycat of society in general. What you don’t see,are those boys and girls, men and women, who are identical — naturally, biologically — with “straight” males or females… who can and do “pass”, as it were. Whether they look to you to be butch or femme, they are at home with their penis or vagina.

To get back to the question ‘What is the Difference between Gay and Transgender?’ – one has to do with sexual orientation (who you are attracted to sexually) and the other has to do with gender identity (who you feel yourself to be). Got it?

You are correct in thinking that transgender people, especially when in the (often difficult and painful) process of what is called coming out, used to identify as “gay,” because it was as close as they could come. But they had and have that one differentiation: the conviction and discomfort of being in the wrong gendered body. When a transgender person completes transition, he or she may turn out to have a straight orientation. Or not.

As far as your after finding that society no longer views them as special, have settled back into traditional sexuality goes, you display once again a conventional imagination in an attempt to dismiss both the reality of sexual orientation or gender identity and the complexity and difficulty of coming out against a society — a society that includes your own loved and needed ones — that hates, despises and rejects you. If you really believe this is an attention-getting pose, you are … ill-informed and unable to identify much less re-form your prejudices.

In short ‘What is the Difference between Gay and Transgender?”: One has to do with sexual orientation (who you are attracted to sexually) and the other has to do with gender identity (who you feel yourself to be). Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement

UPDATE: The DNC “Apology” Is Even Worse Than I Thought! NOW You Get The Kaboom. KABOOM!

Kaboom Red

 Well, she got me!

The utter dishonesty of the Hillary Clinton-dominated Democratic National Committee finally made my head explode, earning the Ethics Alarms KABOOM designation, and also gratitude from the makers of Scott Paper Towels.

I posted  on the deceitful DNC non-apology apology reported last night as the party’s  response to the Wikileaks revelation that the Debbie Wasserman Schultz-led, Hillary Clinton-supporting staff of the Democratic National Committee was actively assisting Clinton’s campaign and colluding to undermine that of her sole challenger for the nomination, Bernie Sanders. My conclusion was that by apologizing for “the e-mails” and “remarks” instead of acknowledging and apologizing for what those e-mails and remarks signified, the DNC was cynically pretending to be sorry while actually deflecting attention away from its real betrayal.

It was worse than that.

When I wrote this, I was not aware of the recent discovery of anti-gay and homophobic comments in the DNC e-mails, though the DNC surely was. For example, there were exchanges like this (from The Daily Caller): Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, language

Dear San Diego Gay Men’s Choir: Yes, Disappointments And Screw-Ups Are Annoying, But They All Aren’t Part Of A Conspiracy Against You, And You Make Your Cause And Yourself Look Foolish By Being So Eager To Play The Victim Card

gay-mens-chorus_1_t658

Allow me to elaborate, guys.

Let’s take your recent unfortunate experience at the San Diego Padres game last night No doubt about it, somebody, probably lost of people, messed up big time.

Before the Dodgers-Padres game at Petco Park, a hundred singers from your San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus  assembled on the field  to sing the National Anthem. Then, just as you were getting ready to sing, and very well, too, if the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. , which I have heard sing many times, are any indication, somebody put on a recorded version  a woman singing it instead. Was it  Lady Gaga? I hope so; that was great.   I guarantee it wasn’t a recording of Rosanne Barr wrecking the song at a Padres game in 1990, but if you want to put what happened to you in perspective and haven’t heard it, here it is. Okay, I’m ready: I have my eyes closed and my fingers are on my ears:

But I digress.  Here you all were, out on the field, ready to sing and entertain the fans, and you are suddenly listening to a recording over the loudspeakers.Nobody stopped it,  no announcement, explanation or apology followed it. You all had to just stand in center field feeling and looking awkward until the song finished, the crowd cheered, and  they escorted you off the field.

That really bites. I remember the time that a performing group I ran and performed with was signed to sing on a dinner cruise down the Potomac, and the organizers never prepared a proper performing area or had the passengers, who wanted to drink and party, prepared to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan songs. It was horrible, believe me. I ended the performance mid-song, because the audience was getting hostile. I’ve never been so humiliated in my life: I would have prayed for a recording of  Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem to come on. I would have prayed for a recording of  Roseanne singing the National Anthem to come on. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Sports, U.S. Society

An Urgent And Probably Futile Call For Empathy And Compassion For The Victims Of Cultural Whiplash

north-carolina-protest-transgenderIt is sobering to read  the hateful and contemptuous comments from so many of my Facebook friends about the legislators of Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and other states that have either passed or have tried to pass laws allowing citizens to opt out of the cultural freight train that gives them the option of boarding or getting crushed. Whether these are “religious freedom” laws or “bathroom laws,” aimed at transgendered interlopers in the once orderly realm of public bathrooms, or whether they are designed to fight for the definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman,” these laws, every one of them unwise and unethical, and probably unconstitutional too, need to be regarded as the inevitable and predictable result when human beings are forced to absorb cultural shifts in a matter of years or less that properly would evolve over generations

Culture–what any society, country, region, religion, business, organization, club, family, secret society or tree house agrees over time as how they do things, think about things, what is right and what is wrong, what is remembered and what is forgotten–is a constantly evolving process. Efforts to freeze it inevitably fail, because human beings as a species can’t stop themselves from learning. Efforts to rush the installment of major changes, however, can be disastrous, even when there seems like no alternative but to rush.

Laws don’t automatically change culture. They are part of the process, both reflecting and facilitating cultural shifts, as well as institutionalizing them. They do not even mark the end of such shifts. Nobody should be surprised, angry or abusively critical when those who have been raised to believe in certain values and practices feel betrayed and mistreated, and see the need to resist when their sense of what is right is suddenly proclaimed as not only wrong but the sign of a character deficiency and a cause for denigration and disrespect. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, U.S. Society

Considering the Retrograde Mississippi Freedom of Comment of the Day #2: “Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, This Shouldn’t Be Surprising At All…”

Jesus-Burdens-our-Religious-Freedom

The second Comment of the Day, also on the same post, comes from frequent COTD author Extradimensional Cephalopod. His topic is religious freedom. Here it is…

Human logic is so warped by truisms. Why are we discussing the competition between religious freedom and the principle of respecting others? Once we strip away the artificial distinction between religious beliefs and any other beliefs, everything becomes more obvious.

It makes no sense at all to say that people are free to believe whatever they want but that they should not impose those beliefs on others in public. Society is built on a foundation of mutual beliefs, beliefs about the best obligations we can all impose on ourselves on behalf of each other. Fundamental disagreements or paradigm mismatches about ethics and rights cannot be ignored, because they disrupt the fabric of society itself. (No, gay marriage in itself doesn’t disrupt the fabric of society; the fact that only a small percentage of the population can discuss it respectfully and intelligently indicates the fabric has been looking for an excuse to unravel.)

“Religious freedom” is an excuse to avoid difficult conversations and careful thought, and just sweep the differences under the rug. The only reason that’s possible is because (most) people decided they would prefer to ignore each other rather than kill each other, but that doesn’t make the underlying misunderstandings go away. They show up in politics because the law of the land is the only place where people have no alternative but to deal with each other’s beliefs about right and wrong (or leave the country). If we face our disagreements head on, but with the goal of learning, there is no reason “tolerance” needs to last forever.

I would never tell a person who believes that gay marriage is an offense against a magical energy being that they should keep that belief to themselves, any more than I would ask it of someone who believes that evolution is a more accurate and useful concept than creationism. People who keep beliefs to themselves rarely get the opportunity to learn they’re wrong. Of course, people who never shut up about their beliefs and listen to alternatives never learn either. Ideas should be sent out into the world to stand on their own. Most of them will be torn to shreds, and that’s good. The ideas that don’t survive weren’t useful, at least not by themselves.

There is no way to defend religion as a concept, let alone its exercise, because religion is an arbitrary collection of descriptive and normative beliefs with a lot of people who consider them somehow existentially important. Religion in general cannot be defended ethically or legally, because its beliefs could say literally anything. Any such defense would merely be an excuse to completely ignore skepticism and critical thinking in the name of… somehow being morally superior in a way that critical thinking and skepticism… somehow prevents. However, most (but not all) religions allow critical thinking in ways that don’t threaten their tenets, because the ones that don’t are even more horribly crippled due to their intellectual bankruptcy. Few complain because few know how to think critically, or value the practice.

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society

Comment Of The Day #1: “Considering the Retrograde Mississippi Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, This Shouldn’t Be Surprising At All…”

same sex-cake-cutting-

Frequent and thoughtful commenter Inquiring Mind is regularly roiled by efforts to punish members of society and the business community who carry their objection to same sex marriage outside of the home and the church into the workplace and the marketplace. Here is his Comment of the Day, posted a day late, on the post about the Mississippi law the allows certain forms of discrimination against LGBT citizens, Considering the Retrograde Mississippi Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, This Shouldn’t Be Surprising At All…

(I’ll be back for some comments at the end.)

The “free exercise of religion” is also a right. So are freedom of association and freedom of speech, ones expressly spelled out in the plain text of the Constitution. Those who seek to enact the “legal mandates” (or in other words, enacting their legislative agenda) are, in my opinion, trampling on those rights – rights that predate from the rulings where Anthony Kennedy invented a right to same-sex marriage.

The arguments against abortion since Roe v. Wade have included moral arguments (notably from the Catholic Church). A sense of morality is often used to determine what legal mandates should be. The only question here is WHOSE morality gets enacted into legal mandates – the Religious Right’s morality or the “progressive” left’s morality.

Three years ago, you posted a comment of mine as Comment of the Day.  I will refer back to it:

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society, Workplace

Ethics Dunces: PayPal, And Those Applauding Its Unethical Grandstanding

PayPal-logo-1

The online payments company PayPal announced that it is cancelling plans to open an office in Charlotte, North Carolina because the state’s so-called “bathroom law” “violates PayPal values.” Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement this week:

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

My many knee-jerk progressive Facebook friends immediately slapped their seal-flippers together and barked their approval in unison. “I (heart) PayPal!” more than one wrote. “PayPal is my hero!” wrote others.

Never mind that a corporation has no business using financial muscle to exercise extra-legal vetoes over legislation in states where it is not a citizen and where the actual citizens, in their legal exercise of their rights, have elected representatives who duly passed it. This cheering on excessive and abusive influence on governance by big corporations is especially hypocritical coming from supporters of Bernie and Hillary, who regularly claim that allowing companies the right to engage in political speech magically robs voters of their ability to reason and causes all to vote, zombie-like, according to corporate America’s will.

This is why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are leading…wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it? Actually none of the popular and media attacks on Citizens United are grounded in reality, law, or comprehension of the Constitution, and virtually none of the indignant opponents of the decision have read it or listened to the revealing oral argument. But I digress. The point is that the progressives endorse the practice of corporations using their power to warp the system in directions progressives like, but believe that this—this meaning bullying, threats and coercion— is the only form of influence that should be allowed—certainly not speech and advocacy.

That is just half of what makes the cheering for PayPal foolish and cynical. For PayPal is playing these people like a harpsichord, and indulging in outrageous, hypocritical grandstanding. Moving an office into North Carolina where the bathroom privileges of trans citizens are being restricted “violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” but somehow… Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights