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Letters to the Editor

Offensive term

October 1, 2011

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To the editor:

Tuesday’s City Commission meeting was a long one, and it was horrible to sit through hours of hatred and ignorance being spewed at my community. I was thrilled with how they voted, but I was disappointed when I saw a glaring error on the front page of the Journal-World.

I understand how complicated and diverse LGBTQ terminology can be. This is no excuse, however, for the Journal-World to use the word transvestite. Transgender is an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify with the gender that was assigned to them at birth. This includes many identities: transsexual (where someone actually takes steps to change their gender), genderqueer (someone who does not identify as a man or a woman), and crossdresser (people who regularly or occasionally wear the clothing socially assigned to a gender not their own, but are not usually interested in changing their gender). Some people who crossdress use the word transvestite to describe themselves, but overall the best term is crossdresser. This is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully will inform you on the differences between common definitions related to this topic.

While there was a lot of hate speech on Tuesday, the word transvestite didn’t even come up once! You have reported on this issue for years now and interviewed many people who you could have gone to for clarification. I hope that you will issue a correction and make steps to avoid this from happening again in the future.

Comments

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

If we know that a certain word is offensive to people, then our use of it can only be meant to offend or denigrate another person or group of people. Purposely offending someone seems rather childish and counterproductive to me.

And, yes, I have become confused about what terms to use in certain instances. One can always ask the person involved what term they prefer. Not all that hard.

I think this letter was meant to educate and there is nothing wrong with that. All of us can always use more education.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm gonna sit down with a dictionary and decide how many words are offensive. Expect a lengthy manifesto demanding that they be banned from LJW. Be warned that there are days when I am not fond of prepositions and articles.

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Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

If you accept yourself for what you are no epithet can offend you. Figure out for yourselves who you are and don't concern yourselves with what other people think. Thats sorta buddist, which is really the way to go even if you don't believe all the hocus pocus reincarnation junk.

As for companies, landlords or employers that would discriminate against a person based on any gender identification (except maybe big-prorn (like "big-oil" but with more pron)) they are being pretty dumb and sacrificing money or talent. However, I've heard that if something exists, there is pron of it. That's rule #34 of the internet. I bet Big-Pron is big into all this LBDTGB thing. They want money and don't waste talent.

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joellayton 2 years, 6 months ago

Honestly, everyone complaining about "PC" or whatever, and then saying that liberals have thin skin lacks a sense of irony that I imagine would be a bit embarrassing if they were a tad more self aware.

Let's look at language, words, terms and things like that. Ok, it's not right to offend people if they find something offensive. That's whatever.

But what if I started getting offended being called 'white'? Surely we can't police our language to not offend anyone ever! Therefore I should be able to do whatever I want whenever no matter the consequences (or so the argument goes).

But offense isn't the only reason not to use slurs/words like that. In fact, it's not even the primary reason not to (in my opinion). However, that doesn't give free reign for Tom down the street to call every black person he meets the 'n-word' (or at least, to morally do so). The reason why these are not words one can use, and still not be a huge jerk, is because these words are used by people to enforce social stigma, oppression, and other bad things. The more people use these words, the more acceptable it becomes to treat people like crap for no good reason, because we make that person the 'other', and stop caring about how we treat them.

But I guess many people here don't really care about other people, so I suppose it doesn't matter.

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mustrun80 2 years, 6 months ago

There is no thinner skin than a liberal's.

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kawrivercrow 2 years, 6 months ago

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

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 6 months ago

"As Atheists attempt to dismantle religious beliefs using "academic terms" and take to the moral, intellectual high ground when called on it. Disngenious (sic) and thinly veiled hostility is a more descriptive of what you claim to be an exercise in philosophies." ===

So sorry if I offended you, sir or madam. No one can 'dismantle' the religious beliefs of anyone else. The sky gods are omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, or so their followers say. They will be ok and it does not matter what skeptics may say. Choosing parts of what remains from the age of magic and trying to use them to shape public policy is my main objection.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 6 months ago

the left always must impose their morals upon us and they get away with it.

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Barry Watts 2 years, 6 months ago

"genderqueer" Which bathrooms are they permitted to use?

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mustrun80 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe the correct term is a Frankenfurter.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 6 months ago

"BornAgainAmerican (anonymous) replies…Kinda' like Sky Gods, right?" === BAA: Actually, no. Skygods is an academic term to distinguish the newer skygods developed in the ancient Middle East and elsewhere from the older vegetation gods they began to replace. See EO James/ http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Gods-James/dp/0785818332........ you can even get a used copy cheap if you care to study the issue. As for the rest of this thread? Pretty silly overall. People will say what they want and call others by names they choose. The real issue is ending discrimination.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 6 months ago

not to offend, but is rachel a man or a woman, in the legal sense?

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Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

Get over it. It's a more poetic word and is rarely if ever used in a derogatory manner. I'll use it unless it's banned regardless of who it offends.

"but overall the best term is crossdresser"

That's for the author to decide. Also, I want a link to the list of "best terms" so I decide if I want to use any of them.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 6 months ago

jafs (anonymous) replies …

There's clearly a difference between somebody's name, and the names that one uses when discussing others, don't you think?

---think you underestimate the feministi assumptions inherant in the use of hyphenated last names for nonhispnic/nonbritish nobility. it is indeed antifamily.

we all suffer for our culture's devaluation of traditional family values.

plus, JAFS, I think you miss my sarcasm intended here to poke fun at "Ms. politically correct."

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classclown 2 years, 6 months ago

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

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

"On the otherhand it would be a conservatve religious hell."

That comment only shows you to be in the top 10 percentile of Kool-Aid drinkers.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 6 months ago

It would be a wonderful world if we all got along. Of course we do not and when we do not it seems that it is always the other fellow that is the cause.

I would agree it is wrong to consciously offend someone who is being unoffensive. I believe that absent that intent the benefit of the doubt rule applies.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 6 months ago

okay Rachel, the use of the dash "-" in your hyphenated last name offends me because of the feministi assumptions behind it.

stop using it now! I have the god-given, constitutional right not to ever be offended, right. ... after your logic.

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Richard Smith 2 years, 6 months ago

I am not sure how expressing disagreement with people is hatred, so that comment is way off the mark in the context it was offered. While there was no hatred at the meeting from those against the ordinance , I believe I heard someone use the term "transvestite." The article was not accurate at all.

On another point, maybe people need to just grow up and quit worrying about their " feelings" so much. Maybe people just need to learn to quit being so self-centered and self-focused and expecting everyone else to take great pains to speak so gently that no one will ever need to grow up and learn to quit being offended at everything that is said about them. Maybe we should expect people to learn to seek the truth rather than expect that self is the truth that all others have to bow before.

Being "offended" simply means to be made angry. How childish. We should grow up and quit letting others "make" us angry as no one really makes us angry, but instead our anger is usually just our childish response at things we don't like. We would make steps to being more of a mature society if we would expect people to learn to deal with things rather than people expecting everyone else to deal with each person. Being offended in many if not most cases is simply nothing more than people wanting to take their toys and go home until everyone else says words that they like.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Affirmative action is illegal? Somebody best tell the Board of Governors in Connecticut. http://www.ctdhe.org/about/PDFs/AffirmativeActionPolicy.pdf And the University of Albany. http://www.albany.edu/research/AffirmativeAction.htm Or any one of the hundreds of institutions still practicing affirmative action. Wishful thinking ain't gonna feed the bulldog, bub.

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sara_phx 2 years, 6 months ago

As much as I do sympathize with Rachel on some levels, I would like to share an alternative perspective that goes against the grain of the Transgender mantra. Transexuality is not an "identity". It is a medical condition that can be addressed by medical and surgical protocol. Once addressed, we merge into the general population with no further need of "community" or some bizarre connection with cross-dressers and "gender-queer" people. The only community I need is the real-world, thanks very much.

If the transgender need/want some kind of protection, I'm ok with it. But it wouldn't work for me. I won't accept any job where some person is mandated to give it to me. There is no joy nor accomplishment in that.

Sara ...

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

A manor is a large house. Such as: in his secret identity, Batman lives in stately Wayne manor.

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oletimer 2 years, 6 months ago

you don't want to know what I call them

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ivalueamerica 2 years, 6 months ago

PC is a label right wingers have given to manors.

To try and not hurt people, from how I was raised, is a Christian value, an American value and a human value.

Clearly, it is NOT a republican value.

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Jon Jambor 2 years, 6 months ago

Typical leftist bully tactic: Throw firebombs like claims of "hate speech" but never offer one example. I know you think are a good, decent person... and perhaps you are... but the tactics you use are no different than a common, garden variety thug. You won't debate the issues, you just marginalize the opposition so you can smugly think" Well! There's no debating them! They're HOMOPHOBES!"

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kugrad 2 years, 6 months ago

To the author, thanks for the letter. I actually did not know what the term "transgender" meant, and I appreciate the clarification.

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grisgris 2 years, 6 months ago

I think the whole PC thing is out of control, at the end of the day we are all just people. We are sweating the details so much that the original issues get lost. People need to be more accepting and forgiving. Educate those that don't know and ignore those that don't care and move on.

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Aiko 2 years, 6 months ago

Exactly classclown! I was thinking the same thought...

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classclown 2 years, 6 months ago

Does this mean that The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be scrubbed, edited, and dubbed over?

If Dr. Frank-N-Furter is a sweet cross dresser, where should he be from? Transylvania just doesn't seem to work. California? Let's see...

I'm just a sweet cross dresser from Cali.. for.. ni.. a

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begin60 2 years, 6 months ago

Around Lawrence labels are more about ignorance than intent. They are used to strip people of their humanity. Few people, at least the ones who bother and harass strangers in public, can be accused of thinking. They were trained up by their parents to behave like that and never learned to question their own assumptions. They just want a quick, unthinking way to pigeonhole others.It's all an aggressive, imperialist way of forcing your own limited thinking on the world, terrifyingly sexist and ableist, and most of all IGNORANT.

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classclown 2 years, 6 months ago

Transvestites are commonly referred to as trannies. So what will cross dressers be referred to? Crossies?

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 6 months ago

GenderQueer? Where the hell did this term come from. Never heard it before.

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funkdog1 2 years, 6 months ago

Look, I'm about as liberal as they come. I have lesbian friends, gay friends and transgender friends. But "genderqueer"? That's just some ridiculous hipster term. How about "pangender"? Get off my lawn, you darn kids.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Didn't you people learn anything from Lenny Bruce?

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purplesage 2 years, 6 months ago

Touchy, touchy. What a bunch of bunk.

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Lynn731 2 years, 6 months ago

What does this matter? To argue over this is just plain stupid. Let people do what they want as long as does not harm others. Arguing over labels put on people for their likes and dislikes is a waste of time. Thank you, Lynn

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smitty 2 years, 6 months ago

It goes way beyond this PC scolding.

Software now removes words no matter the context. Dyke Hall has a real problem passing the PC software test.

On one occasion I posted a forum comment that got removed...It said..you are a queer one. meaning odd as the word was intended before queer was a popular term for homosexual males.

Include your own words but expect to be PCededed.

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beatrice 2 years, 6 months ago

It isn't just about being PC -- which in my mind means that you are only using terms to describe others in order to gain their favor. Instead, this is really dealing with respecting others who aren't like us. When someone uses a term that others object to, is the original intent to be dismissive or is it an error for not knowing that will be changed once it is pointed out?

I know for a while there, I was sticking to my guns on calling people of a certain political bent "teabaggers," all because they actually were the first to use the term to describe themselves. Clearly they were unaware of the sexual connotation and once they figured it out they dropped it like a hot potato. I simply had to acknowledge that my continued use of the term was only meant as an offense and if I wanted to have a real discussion with someone who identifies with the tea party I had better use non-insulting language. Continuing to use it was just childish name-calling. The same goes for many other terms and phrases people use to describe others. It is all about intent.

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Abdu Omar 2 years, 6 months ago

All of this political correct stuff takes away from truth or true feelings. We are not allowed to speak our minds or say what we feel for fear of offending someone. I am sorry that we are hamstrung by those issues.
I, personally, am not in favor of same-sex marriage, cohabitation by unmarried persons, abortion for any reason other than saving the life of a mother to be, for allowing homosexual men and women in the military, for being labelled as anti-semitic for criticising Israel (I never put down Jews, Muslims or Christians), and being told that I can't use my Constitutionally given right of free speech. I won't resign from my job because I used the term "Niggardly" (which means, for those who have no vocabulary, thrifty). I am not prejudiced against anyone and will hold no one back because I don't agree with them. By keeping things to ourselves and being censored for saying what we feel, we lose the ability to be free. I am a veteran and fought for our right of free speech.

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Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 6 months ago

My personal favorite is when the past president (ole' what's his name) referred to himself as a compassionate conservative. What an oxymoron (no pun intended).

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

My personal fav is when liberals rebranded themselves as progressives. Powerful stuff.

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jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

I think it's a mistake to focus on the words, rather than attitudes.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 6 months ago

Too emotional? Feelings easily hurt?

sticks and stones

As Obama has said so eloquently. Take your bedroom slippers off. You are too soft.

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the semantics lesson Rachel.

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weiser 2 years, 6 months ago

My dog is convinced she is a person.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 6 months ago

I remember "colored people". Now it's "people of color". In between, we had Negro, Black, Afro-American, African-American, maybe more. I'll call anybody whatever they want to be called. It's just sometimes it's hard to keep up. So no offense is intended if I slip and don't use the right word.

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Souki 2 years, 6 months ago

Trans = across. Vestite = dresser. Why is "transvestite" offensive if "crossdresser" is not? (I'm not challenging the proposition. I'm asking for an explanation.)

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

The PC rulebook is gonna be as large as the OED if this keeps up.

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begin60 2 years, 6 months ago

The LJWorld is a funhouse mirror. AS with Douglas County at large, one can always count on the local newspaper to be enlightened.

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