Thursday, May 7, 2015

GOP = Gender Offensive Party : HF 1546 / SF 1543

We have an issue in our legislature relating to sex and science.  Not surprising, we have a divide along political lines relating to the issues, with conservatives rejecting the science and medical opinion. 

Conservatives are consistently wrong on these issues, and their being wrong does real harm to real people.  Conservatives have faulty information, and worse values.  Transgender children and LGBT children are as much a part of their families and communities as any other children.

Hooray for the democrats in the Minnesota legislature, especially in the Senate for their vote in support of transgender children in our schools, as part of the education policy omnibus bill.

Boo! No! Wrong! Bad! to conservatives, republican or more fringie extreme for pushing an anti-transgender children legislation that would not benefit any of our children or adults, but which only promotes ignorance on the subject of gender identity. 

The largest organization focused on factual information and policy on this topic is WPATH, which sides with the Dems against the GOP:

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recognizes the right of all people to legal identity recognition and to identity documents consonant with their gender identity.

Conservatives want to push sexual attitudes and knowledge back to another century, to a reproductive and sexuality dark ages.  Conservatives as a group, as a voting block, as a demographic, are terribly lacking in knowledge and have a failed attitude towards any aspect of human sexuality.

what the reality of
conservative ignorance
looks like - a chlamydia outbreak
They do not understand gender identity, and they do not understand their own human sexuality -- if the rate of divorce, cheating on spouses in marriage, use of pornography (including homosexual porn), and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and underage teen birthrates are anything to go by as a metric.

We see this in the Chlamydia outbreak in Texas, in a school which has embraced religious rightwing  abstinence only sex ed, which provides factually inaccurate information to students, and which largely do not provide sexual information at all.

In Crane High School, in Crane, Texas, the superintendent of schools finally admitted that abstinence only sex ed does not work -- although this has been clear for a long time, by objective, scientific research. From the WaPo:
“We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that’s evidently ain’t working,” Rumage told KFOR. “We need to do all we can, although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”

In spite of not working, conservatives in Texas have thrown more money down this shit hole of abstinence only sex ed. Keep in mind that in addition to equipping students for life as adults with complete and factually accurate information on all aspects of sex and human reproduction, including sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex.  Most recently in Texas, as another example of failed conservative thinking, the legislature defunded HIV Prevention, to fund instead more abstinence only sex ed.  From the Texas Observer:

House Votes to Defund HIV Prevention to Pay for Abstinence Education

Texas has the third highest rate of HIV infections in the country, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing an amendment that defunds HIV/STD prevention programs Tuesday. The amendment to the House budget proposal—offered by Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)—diverts $3 million over the next biennium to abstinence-only sexual education programs.
House Democrats fought against the amendment in a debate that rapidly devolved into awkward farce, with Rep. Spitzer revealing details of his own sexual history as proof of the effectiveness of abstinence. For those keeping tabs at home, he was a virgin until marrying his wife at age 29, although he declined to answer a question from Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) on whether she was the first person he propositioned. “Decorum,” shouted state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs).
Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) asked Spitzer just how much money is needed for abstinence education in Texas, which receives more federal funding than any other state. Spitzer responded that additional funds are needed as long as people are still having sex before marriage.  His goal, he said, was for everyone to know that “abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.”
“My goal is for everyone to be HIV/AIDS free,” Turner said.
For all the good it would do, Turner might as well sacrifice a goat on an alter on the Texas legislature steps to accomplish the same thing... or more precisely FAIL to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

So, clearly, no amount of abstinence only sex ed is working to prevent HIV/AIDS -- but Turner and the rest of the conservatives are attempting to not only force their religious beliefs on monogamy onto everyone in the state, they want to do so while also wasting federal tax payer dollars on a loser program that does not actually educate anyone properly.

It is worth noting that the devil really is in the details... but only if you are superstitious, as distinct from religious but capable of rational thought.  The claimed number of students with chlamydia has been 1 in 15; statistically that comes out to 6.66%, with 666 being the number of the beast.  In reality that number has zero significance to this outbreak of a sexually transmitted disease, because there is a significant disparity in the reported numbers of students with chlamydia; however it is the kind of thing that Texas conservatives cling to instead of rational cause and effect thinking.  This approach to sex and disease, and it includes gender and gender identity, is pretty much appropriate not to the 1950's or even the 1590's but more like the actual burn-a-witch dark ages of European history.

Given the insistence on idiot only sex ed that is factually false, and which does not teach correct information on the understanding of gender identity or sexual orientation either, it should not be surprising that the religious right fails to understand transgender children or adults. 

They are wrong.  They are not just badly misinformed, they are willfully ignorant as a choice, and they seek to impose that willful ignorance on others.

These idiot conservatives, who bear malice  towards the LGBT, not just a failure of understanding factual information, want to force transgender children into the wrong bathrooms and locker rooms.  This flies in the face of all the knowledge we have on the topic, and all of the advice of professional organizations of specialists in this kind of knowledge of human psychology and anatomy and medicine.

We have our own religious right wing fanatic wackadoos here in Minnesota, who would dearly love to emulate the utter failures of Texas legislation.  We have the bone-stupid born-again-haters over at the Minnesota Family Council who sent out this:
Transgender policies in schools are extremely concerning to families because they permit children to choose their own bathroom, locker room, sports team, etc. based on their "gender self-identification" rather than their biological sex.
The biological sex assigned at birth is frequently wrong, often just a guess on the part of doctors where there are biologically ambivalent infants.  Often the transgender child has conditions like polysomy, with abnormal numbers of sex chromosomes, for example, or suffers from developmental conditions in utero such as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.  Conservatives seem to be unwilling or unable to understand these conditions, but here is just one example of why outward appearances can be deceiving as to an individuals ACTUAL biological gender identification.  The conservative policy would actually put children in the wrong bathrooms and locker rooms, apparently without regard for any of the children involved at the school --- but hell, it makes the adults less likely to squirm by having to seriously address a sexual subject.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. Because their bodies are unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development.
Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome occurs when the body cannot use androgens at all. People with this form of the condition have the external sex characteristics of females, but do not have a uterus and therefore do not menstruate and are unable to conceive a child (infertile). They are typically raised as females and have a female gender identity. Affected individuals have male internal sex organs (testes) that are undescended, which means they are abnormally located in the pelvis or abdomen. Undescended testes can become cancerous later in life if they are not surgically removed. People with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome also have sparse or absent hair in the pubic area and under the arms.
We know now that the self-identification is the correct identification, and that the so-called 'biological' identification the right claims is often not simple, not straightforward and not correct.  As correctly, factually accurately noted by Senator Scott Dibble, a democrat:

These bills are inappropriate involvement by government in our daily life. ... 
How do we enforce this? We can’t ask schools to police bathrooms. 
Transgender boys are boys; transgender girls are girls.
Dibble has it right, Minnesota has it RIGHT - not right wing.  Texas shows us what happens when we let Conservatives make decisions about sexuality and education, a disaster, an epic ongoing failure that harms the lives of the people who live and attend school in that state, and their families, friends and communities.  Groups like the Minnesota Family Council should be repudiated, and so should the MN GOP.  The 2016 election cycle would be a great time to do that by not re-electing the right wing sickos who have an unhealthy attitude towards human sexuality and towards science and rational thinking.

A closing observation on conservatives, from the local, state, regional and national level: in spite of all the right wing nut candidates making claims about so-called Biblical or natural one-man-one-woman sex and marriage, that is nowhere in the Bible, and nowhere in nature either.  They apparently fail at their religious education, and their factual history education every bit as much as they fail biology and sex ed.

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