Freedom of speech took a major hit in Canada this week when the CBC pulled a BBC documentary from its lineup because a handful of so-called “transgender activists” felt it “disseminates inaccurate information about trans youth and gender dysphoria, and will feed transphobia,” according to one Joshua M. Ferguson (see Toronto Star report).
“And it’s one, two, three
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn
Next stop is (Afghanistan)
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We’re all gonna die”
— Country Joe and the Fish
I’m not sure why anybody would want to give Uncle Sam, or in this case Uncle Donald, a helping hand on the battlefield these days.
I mean, the commander in chief doesn’t exactly instill a lot of patriotism in most people. Would you want your kids laying their lives on the line for Donald Trump’s foreign policies?
I suppose one could ask the same questions of the Nixon/Vietnam era, Korea and all the other wars America has gotten itself involved with on foreign soil — and the presidents who served as commanders in chief at the time.
Still, people do enlist to this day, and I can’t explain what would inspire people to want to learn how to kill other humans in the trenches and so on. But to each their own . . . I’m a 1960s/1970s/1980s/1990s/2000s/2010s flower child, as in Make Love. Not war . . .
So, in a way, I’m thinking Donald Trump and his cohorts may be be doing transgender people a favour by barring them from joining the U.S. military and killing people on the battlefields of foreign countries.
But I know that a lot of trans people feel they should have the right to travel to foreign countries with the U.S. military and kill people.
And, hey, if other Americans are allowed to do it, trans people should be allowed to do it, too.
I’m reserving comment, though, on the ban announced by Trump on Twitter today saying that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity.
I need clarity, because it is obvious that Trump’s announcement took the Pentagon by surprise. Does the ban apply only to people who are beginning to medically transition or are in the process of transitioning? Or does it apply to fully transitioned individuals as well?
The New York Times is quoting people saying this is a money issue, that the U.S. military doesn’t want to pay the costs associated with gender transitioning? If this is true, then fully transitioned people should be allowed to serve.
We’ll get clarity on all of this in the days to come, I’m sure. I suspect that Trump tweeted it as a trial balloon, and that we will see some back-peddling by the White House.
Note: I slightly altered Country Joe’s “Vietnam” song in the excerpt at the beginning by substituting the word “Vietnam” with “(Afghanistan)” to make it more current.
Photo: Donald Trump. (Credit: Marc Nozell/Wikimedia Commons)
I should be happy: a cause I championed as an LGBTQ advocate for a long time in my old newspaper blog and beyond has finally been won. Transgender people have won civil rights protections at the federal level. Coupled with all the gains made by lesbian and gay people, that should pretty much wrap up my LGBTQ advocacy work in Canada, right?
Well, maybe not.
Update: Apparently, the word “transgenderism” has fallen out of favour with trans people and is considered to be insulting. My apologies with anyone who was offended the use of the word here.
As some American politicians struggle with what Vladimir Putin has (correctly) called “political schizophrenia,” some Canadian politicians have been wrestling with gender neutral pronoun schizophrenia.
“Zeke Smith, and transgender people like him, are not deceiving anyone by being their authentic selves, and it is dangerous and unacceptable to out a transgender person.”
That’s a comment from Nick Adams, director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program, in response to an episode of reality-TV program Survivor, in which one contestant — Jeff Varner — outed another as being a transgender person.
Writer Hannah Simpson took the thoughts right out of my head in her commentary on the NBC News site:
It happens more often than we might think: Complications from surgery leave patients worse off than they were before they had it.
In the majority of such cases, there were few or no options to the surgery, and the risks were acceptable. It was do or die.
No, I’m not commenting on the U.S. election here. This is social commentary of another kind . . .
(This post was first published on the LGBT Perspectives site)
So there was Jeffrey Tambor accepting an Emmy Award on Sunday night for his role as a trans woman in the series Transparent — his second such award for that role. And he was ever so humble about it, indeed almost apologetic, while calling for more transgender actors to represent the trans community.
Jeffrey Tambor blew it last night. It was a mistake, no doubt, but a telling mistake. With millions of TV viewers watching, he reportedly used the word “transgender” as a noun. (I say “reportedly” because I didn’t see/hear the quote, but saw it reported shortly afterward on several Twitter tweets and on various media sites.)
It has been a momentous day in Ottawa, where the federal Liberals introduced legislation that, once passed, will protect transgender Canadians by updating the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms gender identity and gender expression.