(Takei is currently working on a new stage musical,Allegiance, about the experience of a Japanese-American family in a World War II internment camp — an experience he and his own family had to endure. He is of course best known for playing Sulu in the original Star Trek, but in recent years has gained new prominence as something of an elder-comic statesman of gay rights activism. He’s awesome, is what I’m saying).
I left the following as a comment in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s (near-) daily open thread today, and decided to make it into a post in its own right. There are so many ways to be human.
Amanda Simpson, senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, is the first known transgender person appointed to a position in the US government. She was appointed by President Obama a year ago this week.
In wandering about among some of my favorite blogs the other day, I found that my internet pal sara_l_r had linked to this lovely, lovely poem over at her place, Ends and Leavings, and I decided I wanted to share it, too:
I know that we have a number of trans people in the community of commenters at Ta-Nehisi’s place, and I suspect there are more that I don’t know about, and I’ve recently been trying to come to grips with my sheer inability to grasp the reality of the lives lived by people who identify as trans.
I’ve long felt that you are who you tell me you are, and in whatever language you use, but there are places where it’s simply a greater challenge for my head to go to and hope to understand.
The fact of Dana International, an Israeli singer and trans woman, made a big difference for me, many years ago, but recently — because of the folks at Ta-Nehisi’s place and, like the rest of America, Chaz Bono — I’ve found myself realizing how far I had to come still. Reading about and watching interviews with Chaz helped (and I know some in the LGBTQ community have issues with him, not to mention women more generally having issue with what some see as his misogyny, but I’m working at a much, much more basic level here!), as did reading a wonderful, loving Boston Globe article about identical twins, one of whom is a boy and one of whom is a trans girl – and then the other day, this poem helped enormously.
Those who fought for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or those who argue for government to continue to deny legal recognition for gay couples say they are trying to protect the definition of marriage. Marriage is sacred, they say. A holy union between a man and a woman because that’s always how it has been. Our generation has failed to realize that our approval is not necessary for others to live how they please. Our personal feelings about gay marriage and the rights of citizens to create a legally binding social contract are two different arguments. While I am all for love and freedom of choice, my argument does not come from that place, it comes from understanding the Constitution was created to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.
Dare I ask why our righteous candidates aren’t knocking on Kim Kardashian’s door in outrage? Would someone dare try to argue that her sham of a marriage was holy or sacred? What about Sinead O’Connor? Her marriage is ending after eighteen days, and according to her the marriage was in trouble after three hours. Sounds like a sacred union to me. An oath before God and man crumbled in less time than I spent at a buffet in Las Vegas, but some would argue it is more valid than a loving gay couple who make a real commitment and work to keep it. Not all same-sex couples are lifelong partners, but they are no different than their straight counterparts in that regard. Relationships are completely defined by the people who are in them, and government should not deny rights based on a behavior that is out of its scope. Who we love, who we wake up with every morning, how we conduct our private lives should not be regulated or defined by anyone as long as it is within the boundaries of the law. Denying rights based on legal choices is nothing less than discrimination. Continue reading →
Bradley Manning is a “true American hero,” a modern-day Daniel Ellsberg, a brave and selfless patriot and soldier who sacrificed his own freedom in order to fight against the “enemies of public liberty” and awaken the American masses to the realities of war.
But even if you believe Manning is a “true American traitor,” a modern-day Benedict Arnold who betrayed his unit and disavowed his oath to country by haphazardly leaking hundreds of thousands of war reports and State Department cables, most of which he didn’t bother reading, Manning is entitled to a fair trial nonetheless.
Unfortunately for the Puritopian emoprogs of the far left who fueled this hero motif by peddling “Free Manning” T-shirts and tweeting “Free Bradley” hashtags, being a hero and getting a fair trial are mutually exclusive, at least as far as his attorneys can tell.
Someone I follow on Facebook linked to this, and I am ever so grateful that I checked it out. I read a lot of news, but this one skated past me. This is a speech given by a 19-year-old man who was raised by two women. If you have a minute, please watch it because he makes so many good points the only way I could touch on them all would be a complete transcript.
I wonder how Michele Bachmann would respond to this? Do you think she would tell this man his family is broken and needs healing?
I wonder what Perry would say. His ego can’t process that though he doesn’t “believe in gay marriage” it exists, and legal citizens are denied representation.
Would Eye of Newt tell him to follow Obama because there is no place for him in his America? Oh wait, he already did that.
This is a brilliant speaker who actually moved me to tears. He is simple, honest, and not afraid of himself or where he came from. He is everything the GOP hates, a successful “other” who may threaten their assigned levels of worth. This young man uses logic and a lifetime of accomplishment to shoot a hole in their theory.
I guess now they’ll have to go back to The Gay Is Catching or another tried and true distraction.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta (L), assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), kisses her partner Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, following the ship's return to homeport after a three-month deployment in the Caribbean, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in this handout photograph taken and released on December 21, 2011. History was made on a Virginia Beach pier on Wednesday when two women sailors, one just home from 80 days at sea, became what was believed to be the first same-sex couple to share the Navy's traditional first kiss.
V-J Day in Times Square, a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was published in Life in 1945 with the caption, In New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers
One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to discuss the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning is the weird phenomenon of bandwagoning the issue creates. Working backwards from “WikiLeaks is good,” his staunchest supporters seem to reason that the release of thousands of classified State Department cables is good; therefore the person who released them (as Manning apparently claimed he did) was justified in his action; therefore any punishment of him is unjust and cruel. I’ve lost count of the number of irritating, undergraduate-level Nineteen Eighty-Four references made in this vein.
Manning’s guilt or innocence notwithstanding for the moment, the hapless private has been turned into an avatar by two factions who seek to use his case to move their respective flags forward. There are the WikiLeakers, who, while seeking greater transparency in government, seem to have convinced themselves that any state secret is intolerable. And there are, tragically in my view, those champions of LGBT rights who believe Manning is being treated unjustly specifically due to his struggles with sexuality and gender identity – and they seem willing to ignore or wave aside any wrongs he may have actually committed.
Dan Choi Has Lost It, and Dan Ellsberg’s Not Far Behind
As usual, I’m watching Countdown while I work. I just listened to Lt. Dan Choi calling Bradley Manning “an excellent soldier.” If Lt. Choi’s appraisal is indicative of what his supporters know about Manning, they are fools.
An excellent soldier does not get charged with assaulting other soldiers. An excellent soldier does not have the firing pins removed from his weapons because he is too unstable to be trusted with a working weapon. An excellent soldier does not provide the enemy with information that they can use to incite attacks on other soldiers. An excellent soldier is not deemed unfit for combat because he is too uncontrollable.
One mind-bogglingly offensive step forward in the Bradley Manning case, one giant leap backward for the gay community.
Turncoat to more than country
Forget the insanity defense. Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning are trying to keep their client out of prison by arguing the exact opposite of what homosexuals have been fighting against for decades: discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Politico.com reports that in addition to other odd and apparently gender-related behaviors, Manning had “at least one” e-mail address and had created a Facebook profile under the name “Breanna Manning,” according to a military investigator.