Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Susan Stanton Update

The hearing is final, and the city of Largo decided to fire Stanton. More here:

Largo isn't switching: Transsexual city manager must go

And some of the backlash here:

NCTE Denounces Firing of Largo City Manager

I'm in a flowcharty sort of mood, so here's my opinion once again:

You bow to pressure from a religous group...
You are committing a crime against both God and country. Allowing one church group to govern our laws? Even if this country were 100% Christian, what makes you think all denominations would agree on the same laws? No matter which church group you favor, you're going to piss off another church group's version of God. And if you legally force people to follow your God's rules, then people are no longer worshipping Him by choice, which makes it that much harder to tell the truly religious from those who are going through the motions. The act of following God's word means nothing when it's impossible to do anything else. This country was founded on the concept of religious freedom, and we should never allow religion to influence our laws.

But let's assume you're an asshole, and like a little religion in your law...
You feel that sexual diversity should be forbidden...
You're committing a crime against both God and your fellow human beings. Whatever happened to letting God do the judging? Why is it any of your business what goes on in someone else's bedroom? Heh, a friend of mine recently was trying to convince me that homosexuality was wrong. One of his reasons was that anal sex is gross. I can't disagree (I'm not into it either), but so what? A lot of straight couples have anal sex too. Does this mean that lesbians are even better than straight couples, religiously speaking? From the RENT soundtrack: "...Sodomy is between God and me..."

But let's assume you're a stupid bigot, and feel homosexuality is a mortal sin that should be punishable by death...
You feel that people who want sex changes are in the same category as homosexuals...
You're committing a crime against both God and logic. What's so anti-religious about a sex change? There's a vast difference between sexual orientation and gender orientation. Homosexuality may or may not be evil, depending on your denomination, but transsexualism is more like a birth defect that needs to be fixed. And by "fixed", I mean through hormones and surgery - trying to change the brain doesn't have a history of success. One might even argue that if God put a woman's brain in a man's body, she's committing a sin by NOT doing anything about it. Maybe God gives us these challenges to overcome, so that we are stronger people in the end.

If all of the above describes you - you hate gays/transsexuals, you think laws should be based on your religious denomination, etc - then I would strongly encourage you to move to another country. Or another planet, if possible. This world has no use for you. The only people I truly hate are people who hate, and I'll bet God agrees.

Of course, I don't know if there's a God. But for an agnostic, I feel I have a lot more respect for the Great Being than a lot of born-again, church-going Christians. The God I used to know was all about love, not hate, and I try to live by His example. He was about standing up for things, not tearing things down. He was about giving people hope, not taking it away.

So if there is a God, then let Him do His job, and you do yours. His job is to decide who gets to go where in the afterlife; your job is to be nice to each other while you're here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Susan Stanton

I first read this article about Susan Stanton a couple of weeks ago:

Mayor Backs Official Undergoing Sex Change

Steve Stanton, City Manager of Largo, FL, announced that he was transgendered, and would soon start living as a woman. She had the mayor's support, and the other city officials seemed to be understanding. Overall, I thought it was a rather inspirational story. Then, just a few days later, a read a follow-up to the story. Turns out Stanton is getting booted out of office after all. There's a good (but long) article about it here:

His Second Self

It's hard to find an unbiased article, but I hear that the Largo City Commission was influenced by a very loud local church. Look, if the people vote to have her step down, it's hard to argue with that. That's democracy - the majority gets to decide, even if that majority is made up of idiots. But this is like firing someone because she's a woman. You just can't do that. Or, if you think of transgenderism as a birth defect, it's like firing someone because they're handicapped. Another bad idea.

Of course, in their minds, it's probably more like firing someone because they're gay. Uh... you really can't do that either. And if this goes through, it's going to set a lousy precedent. Stanton is facing a hearing, on "moral" charges, because of aspects of her life that have nothing to do with her ability to do her job. She is in trouble for who she is, not for anything she's done.

Transgenderism is not a choice, it's something you simply are. Yes, you can choose whether or not to cross-dress. You can choose whether or not to have the surgery. But your other self is going to come out eventually, no matter how hard you try to suppress it. You can not simply choose to be "normal". You can't choose to have a male brain any more than you can choose to be heterosexual or caucasian or naturally blonde. So while Stanton may have made the choice to start living as a woman, it wasn't really a choice at all.

But wait, the plot sickens. During the commission hearing, Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith was arrested for handing out flyers supporting Stanton. Apparently distributing the flyers was in violation of a city ordinance. Why? Well, according to this site (again, very biased, so form your own opinion), it's because flyers are supposedly a fire hazard and people can slip on them. Note, Smith wasn't throwing flyers around, she was handing them to people. If you see someone drop a flyer on the ground, you can arrest them for littering. But arresting someone for handing pieces of paper to other people? Calling it a felony? With a $5,000 bail? Where do you come up with that?

Florida's not my favorite state... it's hot, it has hurricanes, and it has trouble voting. But on the plus side, it's got more theme parks than churches, it's shaped like a giant penis, and it has birds and trees right out of Dr. Seuss. So I guess I can give or take Florida. But Largo... you're on my list. In big bold letters, right between Paul McHugh and Jack Chick. Heck, I might even forget about Jack Thompson for a while; there's bigger fish to fry.

It must be nice to be religious. You can say the most outrageous things, and then just say, "Well, God said so." You can hate anyone you want, just call them a blasphemer. You can claim that women shouldn't have the same rights as men. If you work at it, you can even make a case for white supremecy. It must be great to be able to declare your own race/sex/beliefs to be superior to all others, and then justify your claims by saying, "It says so right here in the good book!"

If you would like to show your support for Susan Stanton, here's her e-mail address: sstanton@largo.com

If you would like to complain to Largo's commissioners, here's their collective e-mail address: Commission@largo.com

Or if you'd rather call, here's the number for Largo City Hall: (727) 587-6700