Letters to the Editor

Offensive term

October 1, 2011


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.


begin60 6 years, 5 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.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

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

Bradley Kemp 6 years, 5 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.)

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

They have nothing to do with each other. It is like saying Chinese when referring to Japanese ..or Jehovah Witnesses instead of Jewish people

The term, in and of itself is not offensive, the mistake was.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

While the terms would seem synonymous, they are not synonymous in their history and usage. "Transvestite" carries the implication of cross dressing for sexual gratification, while "cross dressing" is a more neutral term, carrying no implication about motivation. People cross dress for many reasons.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 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.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 5 months ago

At least you're willing to try. I agree it is hard.My familly looks like the U.N. assembly and I'm always a little behind in the correct language.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

If in doubt, ask. The chances are they have thought about it and been bugged by all the different terminology and would be happy to tell you what they prefer and why.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

I want to be called "Your Highness". "White Trash would be OK too.

ResQd 6 years, 5 months ago

so Funny! My laugh for the day, thank you.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

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

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

"Well, we won't quarrel about a word," said the other, pleasantly.

"Why on earth not?" said MacIan, with a sudden asperity. "Why shouldn't we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren't important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn't any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn't there be a quarrel about a word? If you're not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about? Are you going to convey your meaning to me by moving your ears?"

(From "The Ball and the Cross," G. K. Chesterton)

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

That's cute :-)

But, changing the term from transvestite to cross dresser will not necessarily entail a change of attitudes.

And, there's nothing inherent about the word transvestite that conveys a negative attitude either.

I would think, if I were a member of any such group (minority in any way that had experienced discrimination, etc.) that I'd be much more concerned with attitudes and actions than words.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

Quarrel all you want. That's cool, but It isn't my responsibility to make sure don't mistake my words although I try to be as cogent as I can. I know what I mean, and that's what matters. What people hear is inside their heads is none of my business anyway unless they have some weird urge to tell me.

As for the original poster (aka OP), my guess is they consider themselves "liberal" so it doesn't surprise me they would run so roughshod over the constitution rights of others.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

That fails to note that the word "liberal" was demonized by the right wing quite successfully, so much so that people would not self-identify as liberal even if their positions on substantive issues were in fact liberal.

devobrun 6 years, 5 months ago

"Progressive" was demonized in the 1930s because many of the social engineering aspects of the Progressive movement prior grew into some nasty things like eugenics. Hitler engaged in social engineering with a heavy dose of hatred and fear. The term wasn't used in the 1950s.

That is why some people were puzzled/alarmed by the resurrection of the word awhile back.
And the whole problem with words is that they develop connotations to some people. The word changes its meaning because people who are identified by the word sometimes do things that are bad....and then everybody with that name becomes bad.

I am an engineer. Some people find that bad. In the 1970s, I was a baby killer. In the 1980s, I was a polluter. By the 1990s, engineering was replaced by politicians who told engineers what to do, so engineering became a game of computer data generation. We are much less threatening now because we build drones that a democratic presidents uses. Killin' gks is much cleaner now days. What word did I use? Uh-oh, I can't use that word. But Obama kills them just the same. And when a republican is elected next, the drones will be the work of the devil again, and I will be a nasty old engineer-American again. Isn't culture grand? Word definitions and implications change depending on who is president.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

You're confusing liberal with radical there.

Steve Bunch 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't recall any student unions being blown up, and an admittedly cursory Google search didn't turn up any instances. Please point us to your source. Thanks.

evilpenguin 6 years, 5 months ago

Hang on, it's not ok to blow up student unions but it IS ok to blow up foreign civilians? Sounds like double standards....

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

It's the right-wing, BornAgainAmerican, who conflated radicals and liberals in the Vietnam War era. You invoke the same mistaken notion now in order to blacken persons who cling to the political center. Genuine liberals, then and now, are appalled by acts of violence and terrorism. They are patriots who love their country and who challenge the right-wing's claims that only they (right-wingers) care about the fate of their nation. Of course, back in the Vietnam era, the right-wing supported the government ("get behind our president") and supported American military adventurism abroad ("victory over the enemies of our country"). Now the right-wing derides the government constantly, especially the president, and demands that the US abandon its foreign operations. It's the Democrats whom you so despise, BornAgainAmerican, who are now the ones who have embraced the values of the Republicans of the Vietnam era.

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

I guess I must have voiced an unwelcome truth, BornAgainAmerican, for you to reply with such empty vituperation. Democrats aren't "attempting to secularize" the United States. It was founded as a secular country: note the omission of any reference to a deity in the Constitution, and the specific prohibition on religious tests for the holding of public office. Democrats are opposing forces, mostly in the Republican Party, to privilege a certain sort of aggressive Christianism in public life. Democrats aren't trying to impose "some kind of European-style Socialism" on the United States; they accept American exceptionalism. (Not to mention that European countries, for the most part, aren't socialist, either.) They do think that the government has a responsibility to see to the well-being of its citizens, including both encouraging self-sufficiency and providing for the vulnerable when they are unable to provide for themselves. That's in the best Christian tradition, BornAgainAmerican.

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

So, BornAgainAmerican, you can't respond on the topic of your post, namely liberals' political views, so you change the topic to talk about welfare cheats. But liberals don't approve of welfare cheats, BornAgainAmerican, because they are take away from the truly needy. Even more, liberals want the working poor to earn a living wage and have health insurance, so they won't end up on welfare. Old-fashioned conservatives agree with these principles. It's only the radical right-wing of today's political scene who like to blame the poor for needing help. It's a positively unchristian attitude. What would Jesus do?

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

BornAgainAmerican, True conservatives don't begrudge the needy assistance, and I don't have any problem with them. But the radical right-winger do begrudge the needy assistance, and blame them for the country's financial woes. But it wasn't assistance to the poor that caused the current economic downturn. It was the greed of the wealthy corporations and their overpaid executives. They caused the real estate bubble and the stock market crash; they ate up the Bush-era tax cuts and found huge tax loopholes; they slashed workers' wages and benefits; they hired illegals; they swallowed up billions of our tax dollars in bailouts; they created ecological disasters that the government had to pay to clean up. They didn't create jobs; instead, in pursuit solely of their own profits, they shipped American jobs abroad, flooded the market with foreign-made goods, and took huge salaries, bonuses, and dividends. And now you want the poor to shoulder even more of the costs of our country's economic woes, while giving the megarich a free pass? How can you still believe that they will create jobs that will lift the poor out of poverty? The only entity in our society that is interested in creating jobs is the government, and the radical right-wing is trying its hardest to keep it from doing so.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

They should just come out and admit they are socialists.

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 5 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).

appleaday 6 years, 5 months ago

Not to mention what he was implying about conservatives in general.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 5 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.

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

"niggardly" doesn't simply mean "thrifty;" according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means "meanly parsimonious, close-fisted, stingy." Clearly, then, the word has an innate derogatory meaning absent in "thrifty," which has a positive connotation. The OED etymology does not connect "niggard" to the "N-word" so offensive to persons of color; its origin is obscure, but it dates back to the time of Chaucer and so is unrelated to American racial terminology. However, the similarity in sound to the "N-word," joined with the word's negative connotation, has made it offensive to some people. The issue, wounded_soldier, is not one of "free speech" but rather of good manners. Why would you choose to use a word in a business setting that is likely to offend customers and fellow workers, when other words that express the idea equally well are readily available to you? While you certainly enjoy the legal protection to express your views, why are you complaining about how people respond when you do? It's not "censorship" if you feel obliged to consider how your fellow citizens will react when you exercise your right to free speech; it's just good manners.

beatrice 6 years, 5 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.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps. Guess nobody is perfect and we have to draw lines somewhere in our accurate descriptions of others.

So if they don't live in the sky, where do the Christian and Muslim gods reside? Please do clarify.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

No, not much.

So I asked you a question -- if the gods don't live in the sky, where do they live? Why is that such a difficult question?

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

One more thing BAA -- who are you to question anyone - EVER - on using insulting terms? Talk about hypocricy. Once you can post without routinely calling people names, then you can get back to me on asking people about where their god lives and if living in the sky makes that being a sky god. Until then, you are just being nothing but hypocritical.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

You have yet to tell me in any reasonable fashion why sky god is offensive. Just because you say it is offensive doesn't make it so. Sky god is a phrase that describes exactly what we are talking about. Are we talking about gods? Yes. Are these gods terrestrial beings? No. Do they live somewhere "up there"? Yes. Can "up there" be accurately desribed as the "sky"? Yes.

It is an accurate way for a non-believer (or anyone else) to describe these gods. Just calling facts offensive doesn't make them so.

Besides, you are the only person on here who has ever claimed to be offended by this, while at another time you claimed you aren't even a Christian. You are crying offense for others who aren't making that claim themselves. There is indeed some hypocricy at play here, but it isn't from me.

So keep rolling on the floor. Dogs like to do that too.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

I think BAA is right on this one.

You clearly don't intend it as a complimentary description of religion or believers.

It's provocative, and a bit dismissive in tone - the sky is part of our physical universe - if God exists in some fashion outside of it, then no, he/she/it doesn't live "in the sky".

He's wrong, of course, for failing to continue to be reasonable and refrain from name-calling, just because others engage in it.

I've suggested numerous times that he flag posts instead, but he doesn't seem to want to do that.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

But jafs, you have to admit that "sky god" is certainly easier than "supernatural being that resides somewhere outside of the physical (known) universe."

Oh well. As I've already said, guess I'm not perfect after all. Good thing I found out now, before I went to the lake and started betting people I could walk on water.

Tell you what, I'll stop using sky god. It is one phrase, and easy enough to lose. Think BAA will now stop using ... well ... everything he uses?

Nah, I didn't think so either.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

There's no real need to characterize believers in any way, is there?

I manage to post a lot without ever doing so. Or you could just call them religious folks, for one.

And, no, I don't think he will change his actions, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are acting in accordance with your own values.

We can only hope that if enough of us do that, it will affect others in some small way.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

So are you a Christian? I recall you had said something indicating you weren't, but I won't bother going through past posts to find it. If I am mistaken, then I apologize. Not a diversionary tactic -- just a false memory. Won't be the first time I was incorrect about someone's posting history.

At least I am willing to admit that calling people names and generally being dismissive of others is immature and silly. How about you? Going to give up name calling while still pointing it out by others? I mean, if you are going to point out the hypocricy of others, you wouldn't want to be hypocrical yourself -- now would you?

Glad you think I'm a hoot. I actually don't think you are. I think you are just someone incapable of making a point without having to resort to name-calling, which basically means you are not someone to take seriously. The attempts at insulting others only says more about you than they do of anyone else. Too bad. We could probably have some real interesting conversations on the honest differences of conservativism and liberalism if you were capable of doing so.

Now fire away with the insults if you must!

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

I think he said once he wasn't a "born again" Christian, since his screen name is "born again" American.

It is very hard these days to have a calm discussion about political differences, which sucks.

There are some decent conservative ideas, in my view, that could/should be combined with some decent liberal ones. But, we'll never get there in this highly charged polarized atmosphere.

rtwngr 6 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, the first person I heard quoted using the word "Teabaggers" was Bill Clinton. No kidding. I don't know if that is correct or not and really don't care, I understand what it is you are saying and I agree, in that to advance an intelligent discussion one must attempt to be courteous.

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

"Dyke Hall has a real problem passing the PC software test."

Maybe it's just your spellcheck. It's "Dyche Hall," isn't it?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 5 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

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Didn't you people learn anything from Lenny Bruce?

funkdog1 6 years, 5 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.

rachelgn 6 years, 5 months ago

Nope, not a hipster term. It's simply just an evolution of language as folks who are not identifying as a man or a woman are looking for a word to describe themselves! You'll find in most updated LGBTQ awareness workshops and presentations, they include that term.

ThePilgrim 6 years, 5 months ago

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

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

Is this the audience for GQ Magazine?

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

"Genderqueer" refers to people who don't identify as either a man or a woman, but as in-between. They may dress in a mix of masculine and feminine styles, or may seek a neutral androgynous appearance.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

I worked for a large corporation once upon a time when in February they told me I couldn't wear shorts to work in my cubicle until may. I could understand dressing up when the bigwigs were in town but not when I was working where nobody of importance would see me. So I went through the corporate dress code and discovered they had no policy forbidding men from wearing women's clothing. I tried to find a dress to fit but could only find skirts. So I wore skirts to work every day. When anyone from management or HR of any level walked by, I said hello nicely. asked if they liked my skirt and further inquired if they wanted me to take it off. They always said no.

Every now and then I threaten my current boss I'll wear them again, but I wouldn't. I like my employer too much.

classclown 6 years, 5 months ago

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

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

"Trannies" is a controversial term, considered offensive by many people, but not all. Some people think it's an affectionate term, but it's assymetrical, like the N-word. A few transgender people might be heard using it to refer to themselves, but a non-trans person uttering it will offend. If you feel a need to describe someone as a cross dresser, cross dresser will do - no need to shorten that. If there's a chance a word will offend, you won't be respected if you use it.

begin60 6 years, 5 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.

classclown 6 years, 5 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

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

Art is art - and exists in a historical context. Watching an almost 40 year old movie with that word is not going to offend as much as someone hurling that term in current time.

Aiko 6 years, 5 months ago

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

grisgris 6 years, 5 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.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

Yep - we're all just people. We all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

When Parliament was debating whether to use the Emperor's honorifics in writing surrender terms for Japan, Winston Churchill said, "If you're going to kill a man, kindness costs you nothing". I still believe kindness costs nothing. You can argue adamantly against someone else's position, and still be kind

kugrad 6 years, 5 months ago

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

Jon Jambor 6 years, 5 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!"

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 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.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

Really? I remember what manors used to mean. PC relates only slightly to manors.
Frankly, I think it is very self serving if as a relatively small segment of society you demand that everyone else learn your terms. Unless a conscious insult is intended you just let it go.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

Manors mean trying to include people and not offend them and speak respectfully.

I understand you do not hold that value, but do not confuse that to mean that the value is not a core value of a civil and humane society. Your aversion to that just shows where you stand on that value, nothing more.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

What a stupid inane response. Of course I hold to manors. I just do not hold to a lot of the PC stuff.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

PC stuff, as you call it, is simple manors. Do not say something that you know could be hurtful.

If you oppose that rule, you oppose manors.

I would respect you more if you just admitted that you are fine hurting people you do not understand.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

And why do I want your respect?

If I agree with you I am respected. If I disagree with you I am without respect.

Let us be clear where I am coming from. I am not even in the argument posted in the article. I am attacking your argument that you either completely avoid hurting anybody ever or that you are not worthy of respect. Worse you and your fellow travelers get to decide. Bunkum!!

There are countless numbers of small groups with many variations on beliefs and notions of culture – way to many for the average person to keep up with. I refuse your assignment that I must learn their terms and avoid offending them.

The very notion that some small group can lay demands on the society in general is silly. As I said before the criteria is intent. No intent then no foul!

It fascinates me that some of you find no difficulty in insulting those who disagree with you but are offended if we insult something you believe in . Does that mean diversity is not universal – only open to those the in group decides should be there??

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

again, your responses are dishonest, It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing and to suggest you is patently dishonest and passive aggressive.

It is, in disagreeing, if you fell no problem saying something that you know could be hurtful.

You have no problem being hurtful, that defines what sort of person you are.

You are allowed to be like that, just as I am allowed to tell you it is disgusting and shameful in a civilized society.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for once again making my point. It is your way or the highway. I am "hurtfull" because you say I am. Neat!

Your also can not read as I argued intent not fact of.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

again, you are dishonest.

Words have power, and while it is arguable to say that they only have the power we let them have, it is a fact that words can hurt and are often calculated to do this that.

There are certain words or labels used to hurt people and you know it, and you do not care.

Again, that defines you as a person who has no problem hurting someone on purpose.

It is a sick trait in humanity and at some points, we are all guilty. The difference is that you are not interested in attempting to rise above it.

That, again, shows your inner failing.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

ivalueamerica saysL

Words have power, and while it is arguable to say that they only have the power we let them have, it is a fact that words can hurt and are often calculated to do this that.

shows your inner failing you are dishonest"

So it is OK for you to hurt??? That is a point. So is you being able to make such judgements

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

I am telling you the pain you are causing, if that hurts you, you are not the victim of me, you are the victim of your own guilt.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

Who appointed you king/queen? In the relative society created by you all, I am the detrerminer of whether I hurt anyone.

Just wheredid that big chip on your shoulder come from!!!

evilpenguin 6 years, 5 months ago

Thank goodness someone has realized that "manors" and "manners" are not interchangeable.

evilpenguin 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't agree with that. I am an atheist from another country and I have manners and try not to intentionally hurt other people. Being nice isn't restricted to being Christian or American and, in my experience, the large proportion of hateful, unpleasant and rude behavior comes from Americans (a number of whom are of the Christian persuasion)

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

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

grisgris 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you think Bruce Wayne read Emily Post in Wayne manor to help him learn to have good manners?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

That scamp Bruce Wayne probably entertained Emily Post, Ms Manners and Ann Landers in stately Wayne manor. Perhaps all three at once!

sara_phx 6 years, 5 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 ...

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

No one is asking anyone mandate giving a job to someone, they are only mandating that you they have equal opportunity. If you do not understand the difference, you miss some major citizenship values.

It is a common, yet HIGHLY dishonest tactic of people who support discrimination to try and change the message from equal opportunity to special privilege.

However, if you were honest, what you really prefer is special privilege for bigots to enforce their bigotry to keep those they are uncomfortable with from participating fully in society.

To me, that should be classified as a mental disorder that demands treatment for the bigoted person to be able to be appropriate.

The difference is very key and important, The emotional, social or mental disorder is not thinking or being different, that is a condition. The disorder is to take that condition, in this case, bigotry, and use that as privilege to keep others from being equal. That is where it goes from condition to disorder.

devobrun 6 years, 5 months ago

Where do you live, IVA? Mandated jobs exist in the military, at universities, at Ford Motor Company.....the list is almost every job.

You get incentives (carrot) for hiring minorities, women, special groups. You get stick (fines, lost government contracts, arrest) for not saying the right words, for not having the correct boilerplate......."We are an equal opportunity employer", Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The Chinese don't have that.....do they? We can't make anything anymore, can we? Because we are making everybody happy. Which means that we make nobody happy.

I used to be an engineer. I hired people who lifted, drilled, thought, showed up........ Now I hire people because they were abused, or were violated, or are black, or have .....something not right with them. And I would be an employer, which puts me in the ":employer class".

So I must make amends for dozens of years of oppression of the working class.

Welcome to the USSR. Oh BTW, Siberia is two months away here in Kansas.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

Affirmative action was declared illegal.

I realize you want so much to keep pretending it exists, then say you are part of the disenfranchised battered majority, however, it would be a lie.

Please feel free to keep trying, but I aint that stupid.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

I assume you are used to discussing with stupid people, and I agree that there are a lot of them.

I realize that when someone says they will to targeted recruitment of under represented populations, the racist right (not all right are racist) pretend that means the same thing as affirmative action as they know that will elicite an emotional response and stupid people will believe them.

However, it is dishonest and childish to argue a point like that and I do not respect people who live on sound bites and false information.

You are free to try to do so, but with me, it only makes you look dishonest and suggests that you feel you can not support your position with logic and fact and honesty.

Brock Masters 6 years, 5 months ago

Private business owners should be able to discriminate against anyone they want for whatever reason. It is their investment, their risk and their decision.

And while I am at it, why do we allow some discrimination? For example, only blacks can join the black caucus, and women only gyms like Curves or Body Boutique. Why is this discrimination okay?

Truth is, people should be free to discriminate. The government should not, but individuals and private businesses, yes.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago



So, if somebody doesn't like black people/women/Jews/Christians/etc., they can just not hire them, or rent to them, sell their house to them, serve them at their business, etc.?

I thought we discussed this pretty thoroughly in the '60's, and decided we didn't think that would be a good idea.

Your question is a good one - I've never completely understood why men's colleges aren't ok, but women's colleges are. Some groups seem a bit self-selecting, though, why would a white person want to join the black caucus?

Brock Masters 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, if someone doesn't like people then if it is their business they should be able to discriminate - dumb idea, but people should be able to make dumb decisions. We should not legislate morals. Think about this - not discriminating is really a moral issue and while most might agree with it, it is dangerous to do. To say it is okay to legislate morals means it is okay to ban strip clubs, abortions and so on. Is this what we want? I don't want the government telling me how to live my life.

Why would someone who is not black want to join the black caucus - why does it matter? The point is that they can't solely because of the color of their skin.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if a man dressed in women's workout attire could be banned from Body Boutique under the new law.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, heck, fred, most if not all, of our laws are based on morality.

If you're going to throw that out, then fraud, rape, murder, etc. would all be legal.

The issue is one of basic rights - we decide as a nation what we consider those to be, and then protect them.

We've decided that housing, employment, etc. are basic rights that all Americans should not be denied based on simple prejudice against a group of people.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you, like I, are not in a minority group which experiences discrimination, and that you've never been denied housing, employment, etc. simply because of your race, gender, etc.

Brock Masters 6 years, 5 months ago

Fraud, rape and murder are different because they are acts that infringe upon the rights of a person. Yes, now we get into what are rights and what are not. Murder is a direct act that harms a person and takes away their life and liberty. Denying a person a job because you don't like them does harm to a certain degree their ability to earn a living but it must be balanced against a person's right to freely associate or not associate with those they choose and to run their business as they see fit. The person who did not get the job has the ability to move on and get a job somewhere else.

Yes, we've decided that these are basic rights protected by laws prohibiting discrimination, but that doesn't mean they are right.

I have experienced discrimination and I guarantee you that if I went looking for it, I could demonstrate discrimination toward me from minority groups. It is not just whites that discriminate - minorities discriminate too.

Personally, I have fought against racial discrimination in the workplace - I try to be very color blind and will hire the very best person for the job regardless of race, but that doesn't mean that I think it should be the law.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

The problem occurs when there are lots of people who don't want to hire black, gay, Jewish, etc. people

Then it's not so easy to just find another job.

That's how this all started.

The landlord, or business owner, etc. also has the choice to not do those things for a living, if they can't do them without discriminating on the basis of race, gender, etc.

They could go work at McDonald's, for one thing.

I'd be very interested in your example of discrimination that you have experienced, if you're willing to share it.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

And, also, we've decided what rights people have, and that it's wrong to infringe on them - that's a moral judgement.

If somebody steals some money from me, they have taken "my" money. That is a fact. But, to say that it's "wrong" is a moral judgement.

What if they're starving, and I don't miss the money? A sort of "Les Miserables" example.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 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.

Richard Smith 6 years, 5 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.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

Using offensive terms to refer to a person distracts from the message you want to convey. It's not that offensive terms anger, it's that offensive terms don't allow your point to be made. It weakens the argument; it muddies the waters. It's ineffective speech to use offensive terms. I'm all for people getting angry about issues, on both sides. Anger is a very useful emotion - it energizes you to do things you wouldn't do otherwise. We're just asking that you argue effectively, that's all.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Is that really your reason?

Offensive terms are usually a sign of an attitude, and that attitude is found distasteful by the folks being called names - that's my understanding at least.

And, that's why I think it's a mistake to focus on the words, rather than the attitudes - you create a set of rules for people to follow, but don't get at the root problem.

Also, of course, as you can see, people get tired of being told what words they can and can't use, especially when those change over time.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

It's people's business what words they use. There is free speech, with some limitations (yelling fire in a crowded theater, filing false reports, etc). People need to know that the words they use have consequences for their argument. They can avoid offensive speech and make a convincing point, or they can look like crass fools.

Attitudes are a different issue. Those don't change easily. About 10% of a group will change attitudes based on rational approaches - education is enough. Those 10% tend to be the opinion leaders, the early adopters. About 70% will change attitudes if their friends have a different attitude. The rest will only change attitudes if they are forced to, and of course, that is never real change.

Attitudes towards transgender people will only change one person as a time, as they get to know individuals they care about who happen to be trans. This is, of course, a slow process, since most trans people are living stealth. The younger generation isn't accepting being stealth though.

Richard Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

But why do the terms distract if the person would be mature enough to seek the truth rather than seek the interestes of self all the time? Offensive terms do not weaken the argument, but the one that is weak enough to be offended will not see the point.

Anger is a useful thing? It energizes people to do harmful things to property and people. It also is a feeling that hides the truth from those who are blinded by it.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

It distracts because it's hard to take the person using the offensive term seriously - it shows ignorance and lack of cool. And, yes, anger is a useful emotion. Great movements have been started by people angry with the status quo. Righteous anger is a good thing. The danger comes when people try to suppress anger, so it goes underground, or when people are not mature enough to use their anger effectively.

Richard Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

But since terms are used differently and are changed so often, it would seem that mature people could get beyond the words to trying to understand the position of the other. No one can maintain anger long enough to do anything to bring about change that is lasting. Perhaps instead of suppressing anger, the things that cause anger should be died to. In other words, instead of attacking the fire take away the fuel for the fire. People who are angry wear out quickly, but those with real conviction last a lot longer.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

Not everyone is mature. The only person I can control is me. I can influence others, but I can't control them. Words are important. If we had no words, we couldn't discuss anything. Terms do change rapidly, especially with rapid social change. It's important to keep up with current terminology, including their emotional nuance, to be effective.

People with "real conviction" can be angry. Anger can stay on a slow burn and can motivate people over decades. Anger doesn't mean aggression, and it doesn't mean losing control. It means intensely wanting a situation to change.

Anger can also be distracting, which is why it's a good thing not to anger someone unnecessarily, which is what offensive terms do. I am mature enough I can get beyond momentary if someone uses an offensive term for transgender people around me. It energizes me to correct them if they are at a point they can listen. But if I were to use an offensive term, I will be ineffective in convincing them much of anything, other than that I am an ignoramus.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

I think you make good points.

But, people who tend to use offensive terms with the intent to insult aren't generally trying to make any points, or any argument.

And, again, I think taking offense makes more sense regarding attitudes than words - I'd rather have somebody use a non pc correct term with a good attitude than vice versa.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

I mean taking great care to use the currently acceptable language, which changes over time.

For example, I'd rather somebody use the word transvestite without any negative connotations, than the word cross dresser with a host of them.

Can't you see how people react negatively to being told what words are acceptable and what aren't, especially when those change over time?

The real issue is attitudes/actions, not words.

jilldavidson 6 years, 5 months ago

My mother had great difficulty changing from the word she used for people of African descent. It caused me a great deal of cringing as an adolescent. You have to keep up on polite society if you don't want to insult anyone. Of course, if you do want to insult someone, you still need to keep up to do it spectacularly. People deserve to be treated with respect, whether you agree with them or not, and respectful language is part of that.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, we have a slight disagreement.

People should be insulted/offended by attitudes rather than words, in my view.

Also, it's interesting that only certain groups mandate certain language and change it periodically - white folks have been called white for a long time, and don't need to change that. Why is that?

PC type language policing is counter-productive, in my view, and actually makes people react the other way.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 5 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.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

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

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 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.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

Do I have some risk of that happening??

The very people who argue for tolerance brand me hateful for suggesting they are inconsistent. Sounds like business as usual.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

"It would be a wonderful world if we all got along."

It would be boring and we'd probably not evolved too far from the tress.

"I would agree it is wrong to consciously offend someone who is being unoffensive"

Why? Did you sign an oath promising to not offend people unless they had it coming? I didn't.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

I am older. Wasted energy to attack when not attacked

classclown 6 years, 5 months ago

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

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, some of us would rather live in a society in which people generally treated each other with respect, instead of calling each other names in an insulting manner.

Although I will concede that we seem to be smaller in number every day, which is quite unfortunate.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 5 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."

jonas_opines 6 years, 5 months ago

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

Or, ya'know, we don't.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Are you being sarcastic again?

If not, I think you're quite wrong on this one, in a variety of ways.

First, there's nothing "anti-family" about hyphenated names - they accurately portray the combining of two families in a marriage, and they do so without subsuming the woman's name (or her family name). They are a symbolic representation of equality, which is a good thing.

If "traditional family values" mean the ones in which women are not equal to men, treated as property, etc. then they should change (and in fact have changed already).

My wife and I use a hyphenated name.

rachelgn 6 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Jafs! Sorry, this was just the name I was born with. I'm proud that my mom decided to keep her name and I'm equally proud to have a last name that reflects my entire family! Also, I have the rare distinction of getting to share my last name with only one other person in the world, my sibling!

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago


I will say, though, that it does become a bit cumbersome at times.

And, what will you do if you decide to marry someone who also has a hyphenated name? Then you've go to go to a 4-way split :-)

rachelgn 6 years, 5 months ago

Why wouldn't the person with the hyphenated name just keep their name? :)

Liberty275 6 years, 5 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.

lunacydetector 6 years, 5 months ago

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

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

Who cares? This is the internet anyway, where all women are really old men and 14 year olds are the FBI.

Know your memes.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 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.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

BAA, why would you ever question anyone on using hostile words to describe others, whether they are thinly veiled or overt, when this is how you communicate on these boards on a daily basis? Your apparently false umbrage seems the most blatant form of someone being disingenious possible.

So I'm still curious -- are you a Christian?

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

BAA, my question was simple curiosity stemming from confusion over your previous "born again" statement, that is all. I meant nothing by it, there isn't an angle I'm trying to gain to use this information, or anything like that. I simply curious. Thanks for answering.

As far as the rest, somehow I seriously doubt it when you claim: "I am what I am." Let me explain.

I'll bet that in truth, you don't speak on a daily basis and react to others one on one out in the world in the same manner you do here. I believe you only do so here because of the anonymity offered by the internet. If you don't say the same things to people's faces that you do here, then you aren't really being yourself. Unless, of course, this is the true you and how you react to people on a daily basis in real life is a false presentation of yourself.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't doubt your views wouldn't change -- you have strong opinions -- but how you express them likely would. It is much harder to call someone an extremists just because they have a different take on the issues to their face, especially if you know them or work with them.

Regarding the tit for tat, if you want to sink to the level of people you apparently despise, then I guess you must. Of course, you end up primarily having discussions with those people, because rational folks won't want to engage you in a conversation. Just my two cents worth.

jonas_opines 6 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps it's simply your inability to distinguish where to draw the line, in terms of targets, frequency, purpose. But that's not something you're ever going to learn, I fear, if you haven't by now.

But anyway, I strongly suspect that the whole key to this particular tangential is topic is that when you say:

"As Atheists attempt to dismantle religious beliefs"

what you Actually mean is:

"As Atheists attempt to dismantly My religious beliefs"

and that's pretty much where it all ends. If a dispassionate handling of what religions (all religions) share in common offends you, that's pretty much your problem. And, of course, if we found anything, anywhere, in your profile (or your past ones) critical of other religions, then that would make you a hypocrite, expecting your own to be treated specially, for no reason other than its your own.

As for me, I'm with MOC on this, it's a silly letter, and I think PC is stupid, by and large, because no matter what people are forced to Call something in no way changes their opinion of it.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Flag their posts and complain to the moderators about it.

If you don't do that, I think perhaps you prefer to have an implausible claim of unfair treatment.

jonas_opines 6 years, 5 months ago

"Disngenious and thinly veiled hostility"

Just because that's the approach you take to life, doesn't mean that it's the same for everybody else.


Barry Watts 6 years, 5 months ago

"genderqueer" Which bathrooms are they permitted to use?

lunacydetector 6 years, 5 months ago

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

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

Really? I'm pretty sure the actions of others has no bearing on you personally outside of your not being allowed to discriminate against others -- and that is imposed on all of us by the Constitution, not the left.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 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.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 5 months ago

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

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Bullies like to call the folks they want to bully thin-skinned, wimps, etc.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

"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."

The best way to disarm an offensive word is by the offended embracing the word, ignoring it or laughing at it. Any other action just further empowers the word.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 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.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 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.

verity 6 years, 5 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.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

My head hurts from all the education - do I have no choice on what I want to learn?

verity 6 years, 5 months ago

We live in America. You always have the choice to be ignorant.

George Lippencott 6 years, 5 months ago

I am sorry verity (truth???) but we all must make choices on how we spend our time - particularly those not being paid to be academics. Each topic has a value. Learning the arcane language of a small segment of our population just does not rise to a level competing with new technology, new threats, erc

In my associations I try to learn that language of those with whom I associate. The rest - I do my best. If I offend it is unintentional and consistent with other aspects of the liberal argument I should not be castigated..

All I want is a consistent standard.

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