Letters to the Editor

Fear tactics

November 27, 2009

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To the editor:

My first reaction to the Human Relations Commission vote (6-3) against recommending a change in the city’s human rights ordinance to include gender identity as a protected category did leave me speechless, as Friday’s article noted. But I’ve found my voice.

The commissioners’ discussion seemed to imply support for the change requested by the Kansas Equality Coalition. Then we heard public comments that reflected irrational fear and lamentable ignorance. Several speakers said they feared for their daughters’ safety in public restrooms. They implied that transgendered persons are likely to be child molesters.

This is absurd. The transgendered persons that I know have suffered so much from their sense of not belonging in their own bodies and from the harassment of others that they have developed deep compassion. Their efforts to be true to themselves in a culture where most people cling to rigid gender stereotypes have helped them develop great courage and integrity.

There were also questions about the potential expense of a change in the human rights ordinance in lean times. Since when is there a price tag on equality in America? How cheap does dignity have to be before we decide it’s affordable?

Was the Human Relations Commission swayed by the fear and ignorance expressed by the public? I would hope they have more backbone than that.

Perhaps we can hope that the City Commission will not follow their recommendation.

Comments

Brent Garner 5 years, 7 months ago

You, Ms Childs, may be comfortable having a man in the womens restroom in a public place but let me assure you most women and girls I know would be most uncomfortable with that regardless if the "man" in question "thinks" of "himself" as female. Frankly, this kind of stupidity gives too much cover for pedophiles, voyeurs, and the like.

grimpeur 5 years, 7 months ago

"...this kind of stupidity gives too much cover for pedophiles, voyeurs, and the like."

Kind of like bogus claims of safety give cover to hysteria, abject bigotry and ignorance? You bet.

wordgenie8 5 years, 7 months ago

The kind of courage, integrity and compassion Ms. Childs rightly notes are often possessed by those abused and misunderstood by mainstream, male, white, ableist society deserves wider recognition and respect. What passes for genuine care and concern and fellow feeling in Lawrence is often an offensive and smarmy mishmash of condescending paternalism, bigotry, ignorance, and aggressive, disrespectful meddling in others' business.

brujablanco 5 years, 7 months ago

Brent - you mean the "cover" catholic priests have enjoyed for many years?

grammaddy 5 years, 7 months ago

Can someone explain to me why it is that if you are not heterosexual you must be a freak? Do you really believe that homosexuality is a choice? And I don't want to hear (or read) excerpts from the Bible aka the "greatest work of fiction" of all time.Thank you Ms. Childs for speaking to an important issue of our time.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

bruja;

I can't speak for Brent or know what he meant. But I'm pretty sure your comment regarding Catholic priests is exactly the kind of fear, ignorance, and bigotry the LTE writer is talking about.

jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

"Maggie… you are very lucky that I am not in a position to defund your activity and those like it. Who in the hell is paying your wages, I sure hope it is NOT the taxpayer."

Volunteer contributions, according to their website. And yes, we're all lucky that you're not in the position to defund other people's activities.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 7 months ago

"A huge argument could be made that these people are very mentally ill. I do not want to take a chance on one of these types around my children teaching them about a deviant lifestyle and recruiting our young."

I'm confused, will a transgendered person recruit little girls in the women's rest room, or little boys in the men's room? And does forcing them to one bathroom or the other do anything beyond just changing the sex of the victim?

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Why am I less important than others that are recognized by the PC community???

I am a Catholic and I have been discriminated against. I want redress!!!

mrdarcybennet 5 years, 7 months ago

My congratulations to Ms. Childs for articulating such an on-point response to the caving of the Human Relations Commission to blatant fear tactics from ignorant members of the public. It had been my impression that the Human Relations Commission is charged with evaluating, studying and recommending legislation to the city commission which protects civil rights for our community members.

If a group of angry neighbors came to the HRC to vent their fears that white people would be endangered by black people (who are biologically predisposed to violence and psychologically prone to promiscuity) using their public restrooms they would be treated with pity and their comments dismissed as bigoted and unfounded. When the HRC fails to stand up for the rights of marginalized citizens who will?

Our churches and civic organizations have voiced support for the rights of transgendered people to equal accommodation. Others have voiced opposition. It is up to the HRC to determine who speaks out of unfounded fear and who speaks for the human rights we all deserve. Shame on those who voted against this important protection. I too hope the City Commissioners take their duties more seriously and will stand up for what is right.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 7 months ago

Since we do have designated mens and womens restrooms, I suggest we keep using them in the way they were designed for. If someone has been though the surgical process, they should use the restroom they now are physically. If I see a man in the womens restroom I am going to report him.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

mrdarcybennet (Anonymous) says…

Can one not be for acceptance of human rights without being for the government creating inequities??

TopJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

More lunacy. Yes these people are either mentally ill, or at least confused. If homosexuals are born that way, then so are pedophiles. Protecting the rights of pedohiles, is that next on the lunatic agaenda?

TopJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

TopJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Moderate, Exactly. But really, a man's rights end at the ladies room door, and vice versa.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

TopJayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Not sure anymore. I have noticed ladies using the "Men's" room at large gatherings because the "Women's" room was backed up!!

mr_right_wing 5 years, 7 months ago

Massive hemorrhaging in the heart of this extreme liberal.

You make the choice to whine about how you were "born in the wrong body." There should be no 'human rights' protection for something like this that is a choice of lifestyle. Get over it and shut up already.

Hey, with Obama's health control do we get to pay for those freaks who decide to go ahead with a sex-change operation?

Where are the human rights for those who feel they should have been born as a dog, or cow or horse? Is their only hope reincarnation? That is totally unfair.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 7 months ago

In some places restrooms with one toilet are unisex which makes sense as only one person is going to be in there. When there is a line of stalls, then men or women. There are some things that I don't need or want to understand.

wordgenie8 5 years, 7 months ago

Cultural norms are relative and none too sane or humane in these backwoods parts. 75x55 ,cultural standards in Lawrence allow complete strangers to aggressively violate the decent personal boundaries and privacy of complete strangers on the street based on offensive bigotry and stereotypes. In most places such behavior is viewed as sicko, unacceptable harassment. Here, copping a braindead claim you are "just helping" is socially acceptable and even praiseworthy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"You make the choice to whine about how you were “born in the wrong body.” "

I agree, mr right wing. If that body comes down with cancer or appendicitis or whatever, you should just accept it that God wants you to die. Get off the planet, already, and make space for those perfect creatures God intended it for (and aside from servants before they live out their short lives, that will mostly be White Christians.)

BigPrune 5 years, 7 months ago

Let me get this straight (no pun intended) LTE writer - If a male pervert wants to dress up as a woman and go into the women's restroom and hang out, that should be their defended and protected right? Just where does someone draw the line?

jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

"Let me get this straight"

Anytime you say that, BigPrune, you should stop. You've shown a decided lack of ability to ever get things straight.

You see, the problem expressed (very clearly) in the LTE regards the exclusion of gender identity as a demographic with human rights. The only time the LTE mentions bathrooms is briefly as a response to largely unfounded fears that opposition has been built around.

Then, our local flavor on this board fixated on that single, mostly irrelevant line within the LTE, and that is all that has been talked about since. Kind of exactly like the LTE writer says herself.

Paul Decelles 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually the bathroom issue is a diversion from other issues, employment, housing, stuff like that. I am surprised the HRC wasn't able to see that.

Bradley Kemp 5 years, 7 months ago

Why should we be swayed by arguments from people who don't know what they are talking about?

These are arguments from people who don't know what "gender identity" means: "Frankly, this kind of stupidity gives too much cover for pedophiles, voyeurs, and the like." "If you ever find yourself face to face with a silly looking man with long hair and falseys, immediately kick IT in the crotch." "If a male pervert wants to dress up as a woman and go into the women's restroom and hang out, that should be their defended and protected right?"

This is an argument from someone who doesn't know what "mentally ill" means: "A huge argument could be made that these people are very mentally ill."

These are arguments from people who don't know the rationale for and workings of antidiscrimination laws: "I am a Catholic and I have been discriminated against. I want redress!!!" "Can one not be for acceptance of human rights without being for the government creating inequities??"

funkdog1 5 years, 7 months ago

Okay, there's a lot of hot air being blown around here from people who obviously don't know what they're talking about.

Speaking as a woman who has, many a time, shared a restroom with both gay men and transgendered females (yes, honestly, I've done this), lemmie assure you all of something: it's just no big deal.

They're not looking at you. They don't want to look at you. They're not interested in you. All they want to do is go to the bathroom and ask you where you bought your shoes. In general, they tend to be very sweet people, despite all the hate that they endure on a daily basis. I frankly don't know how they manage it.

BigPrune 5 years, 7 months ago

Souki: "These are arguments from people who don't know what “gender identity” means."

Me: These are arguments from people who don't know what gender they are.

mr_right_wing 5 years, 7 months ago

"I agree, mr right wing. If that body comes down with cancer or appendicitis or whatever, you should just accept it that God wants you to die. Get off the planet, already, and make space for those perfect creatures God intended it for (and aside from servants before they live out their short lives, that will mostly be White Christians.)"

See, the majority of us don't actually make the decision to get cancer (notice 'majority') I deal with a few chronic health issues myself...I just got back from a treatment at the hospital this morning. I was (as we all are) born in the right body, these health challenges I face every day make me who I am. It is a complete voluntary choice to think you're the wrong sex...just as it is a completely voluntary act to become an alcoholic. Both are a free choice and both are very destructive. mrw has spoken.

Stu Clark 5 years, 7 months ago

mrw has spoken so I guess that's the end. But wait! What if he's wrong? No amount of debate can ever convince me that homosexuality is a "choice". Homosexual behavior is a choice, just as is hetero behavior. But the drive and desire for gratification is innate.

And what is this red herring about protecting the right to loiter about in a public toilet? A completely different issue and one not the subject of the LTE.

funkdog1 5 years, 7 months ago

mrw knows what he's talking about because he has feelings of gayness but chooses to ignore those feelings ... or does he?

mr_right_wing 5 years, 7 months ago

There are actually two reasons for my name...conservative "right" AND always correct "right."

I'd never call myself "mr wrong ..." or "mr loser ..." or "mr stupid ..." or, worst of all "mr left wing (aka moron)"

killjoy 5 years, 7 months ago

Maggie, In the future, please shut up.

Left_handed 5 years, 7 months ago

Gramaddy,

You are correct. If you are not heterosexual, you are a freak. Thanks for asking.

jimmyjms 5 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Brent Garner is kind of a dick, huh?

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