27 April 2013

Same-Sex Marriage And The Lost Generation Of Transgenders

In previous posts, I've said that I am glad that same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York and other states, and hope that it will be recognized by the Federal Government of the US, mainly because it's the best solution we can achieve under the current social and economic system.  

That situation, I believe, has at least a little to do with what I have described as the Lost Generation of Transgenders.  It also has to do with the fact that, early in the modern gay-rights movement (or "gay liberation", as it was called in those days), transgender people were allied with gays and lesbians.  To some degree, trans people chose such an alliance, but the media and the general public (to the extent they were thinking about us) lumped us with gays and lesbians simply because most people, at that time, conflated gender identity with sexuality.

Whether or not Sylvia Rivera actually threw her red stiletto-heeled shoe at police officers who raided the Stonewall Inn on that fateful early summer night in 1969 (I have spoken with people who claim to have been there and insist that it didn't happen), there can be little doubt that transgender people were active in, and integral to, the Gay Rights movement in its early years.  Rivera herself, while participating in various marches and demonstrations for gay equality, drew attention to the plight of trans people.  

However, two things happened to marginalize trans people within the LGBT movement--and to leave us further marginalized than we already were within larger society. The first, as I have mentioned in other posts, was the rise of Second-Wave Feminism, spearheaded by Janice Raymond.  The second was the AIDS epidemic, which led to LGBT movements being dominated (some would say hijacked) by affluent gay white men.

Now, I will not deny the importance of AIDS activism:  After all, sixteen people who were friends or acquaintances of mine have died from illnesses generated by the disease, and every one of their deaths was horrific.  However, once ACT UP and other organizations dedicated to the effects of the epidemic--most of whose victims, at the time, were gay men or intravenous drug users--came to be dominated by affluent gay white men, there would be no turning back.  No other part of the LGBT rainbow can even come close to matching the financial power, not to mention the organizational ability, of the men of Christopher Street or the Castro district.  And trans people were far behind even lesbians of color, as there are fewer of us and, then as now, we are more likely to be unemployed and living in poverty.

The more affluent and integrated people are, the more they are likely to try to use the system, as it's constructed, to further their own interests.   In the case of gay men, the ones who were white and working as in the FIRE industries or as advertising art directors wanted (understandably) to enjoy the same sorts of tax benefits, and to be "respectable" in the same ways, as their heterosexual peers. 

What I've described in the previous paragraph led to a nearly singular drive, among LGBT organizations, for "marriage equality"--at times, nearly to the exclusion of every other issue.  While some trans people want to enter same-sex marriages (or are, in fact, in them), many more are preoccupied with day-to-day survival and the issues that are part of it, e.g., employment, health insurance, homelessness and being victims of violent crime and other forms of discrimination.  

However, discussion of--let alone advocacy for--such issues was largely absent during the days of AIDS activism and the drive for same-sex marriage. In the meantime, those who could gain from marriage "equality" pushed for a parallel system to the one most heterosexual people take for granted, i.e., same-sex marriage that followed the heterosexual (and hetero-normative) model. Rarely, if ever, was any consideration given to the idea of getting the government out of marriage altogether, and of taking away the churches' (and other houses of worship's) power to decide, for the (nominally secular) government, who is and isn't married.  

Instead, organizations like the Human Rights Campaign focused their efforts on allowing gays and lesbians to have the same kinds of marriages as straight people. I can't help but to think that if trans people had been more influential, we would have fought for the the separation of Church and State in matters of matrimony, and to have other kinds of relationships (including ones that don't follow the heteronormative script of marriage).  But that didn't happen, in part, because one of the results of a Lost Generation of Transgenders is that because we are far fewer in number (and, proportionally, far less wealthy) than we might have been otherwise.  So, while we were able to get language protecting us into the New York City Human Rights Law in April of 2002, we were (arguably) further from having similar language included in New York State's or the Federal Government's laws and policies than we were in 1972.

I still hope that we will have fair and equitable policies for trans people everywhere.  Then, perhaps, we will be able to move beyond the effects of losing a generation of our people.

25 April 2013

Nos Marriages Sont Legaux. J'espere Qui Nous Rend Egaux!

It seems that attacks against members of any group of people become the most violent, and most virulent, when that group is gaining (however slowly) the same status and rights afforded members of the "majority" culture and race.

That is exactly what happened during the Reconstruction after the Civil War, and during the Civil Rights movement of the late 1950's and 1960's.  The Ku Klux Klan got its start during the Reconstruction and had a major resurgence during the Civil Rights era.  But the KKK was hardly alone in intimidating, harassing and even killing African-Americans who had the audacity to pursue their educations, enter the professions, worship their maker, shop, eat and simply live in the ways and places they saw fit.  And, of course, the KKK would use those same tactics, and legislators would pass laws, to prevent African-Americans from exercising their right to vote and do any number of other things white people took for granted.

So it is, unfortunately, no surprise that there has been a wave of anti-gay protests (in which demonstrators brandished signs with slogans like: 1 Pere + 1 Mere, C'est Hereditaire) and, worse, violence over recent days in France.  The other day, the self-proclaimed Country of Human Rights became the fourteenth country to legalize same-sex marriage.  The first gay matrimonial ceremonies are expected to take place in June and, not surprisingly, some members of la droite and various organizations with "famille" in their name (Does that sound familiar?) are doing what they can to have the law repealed.

(To be fair, French philosophes were probably the first intellectuals in the Western world to declare that human beings have inalienable rights because they are human beings.  The Founding Fathers of the United States took much of their inspiration from Voltaire, Rousseau and other French theorists on human liberty.  And, while French colonial rulers did some terrible things, France has probably taken in more political refugees than any country except the US.)

Of course, the fact that such violent homophobic attacks as the one Wilfrid de Bruijn and his partner suffered are taking place means that an inevitable part of human history is moving forward.  As with the lynchings during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights era, hateful reactionaries fight hardest when their cause has just been lost.  Although the vast majority of French are Catholic (at least nominally) and there is a large Muslim population (as well as the fourth-largest Jewish population in the world), France is,  in many respects, more secular than the US and countries like Spain that have legalized same-sex unions.  Having lived in France and known a number of French people, I think they have an easier time of separating religion from government and may be more ready to embrace the concept of marriage that is not defined by religious institutions.  I have said that the only way we will have true marriage equality is when religious institutions no longer have the power to join people in unions that are recognized as marriages (or even partnerships) by secular governments.  France may be more able and willing than the US to do this.

On the other hand, I also know from experience that while French people more readily acknowledge that certain fashion designers and other celebrities are gay, the subject of homosexuality (let alone transgenderism) is not nearly as openly discussed as it is in America.  So, while French officials may be better able to make same-sex marriages more routine (or, at least, seem more routine) than they are in the States, I have to wonder whether same-sex unions will have the same level of respect that they do in some parts of the US, or in some European countries like the Netherlands.

One reason, I believe, that legalizing same-sex marriage may not have the same social impact in France as it's had in those US states that have it is, ironically, that marriage is (arguably) not as important to the French as it is to Americans.  An even higher percentage of French than American couples are cohabitants, and in France, as in most Western European countries, a higher percentage of first children are born to unmarried women.  

One similarity between the French tax system and its American counterpart is that it provides strong incentives for a "traditional" family in which the father works and the mother stays home to look after kids.  However, the French system seems to be much kinder than its American counterpart to cohabitees.  One result is that cohabiting couples stay together longer in France than they do in the US or the UK.

Also, even though France has allowed civil unions since 1998, people living under those pacts are not allowed to adopt children.  And, although support for same-sex marriage has grown significantly in France, public support for allowing same-sex couples to adopt has not grown with it. Now, I'm not saying that the purpose of marriage is rearing children, but I have to wonder whether some couples would feel less incentive to get married if they couldn't adopt children.

Given what I've just described, I have to wonder whether France's new law--laudable as it is, given its circumstances--will actually result in a wave of same-sex marriages as has happened in the American states that have allowed them.  After all, Spain--whose tax policies regarding marriage bear some similarity to those in France--has not had nearly as many same-sex weddings as some people anticipated.   Now, one could argue that Spain is a more conservatively Catholic country than its neighbor on the other side of the Pyrenees.  However, there, as in other countries, there is a vast difference in attitudes between younger and older people regarding homosexuality and related issues.  So, while younger Spaniards accept gays and marriages between them nearly as much as their peers in Europe and some parts of the US, it still doesn't--and may not, for the foreseeable future--translate into more same-sex marriages.

Still, I want to offer words of congratulations to the government of Francois Hollande for supporting the law, and words of support to gay French people who are bearing the backlash of change.

18 April 2013

Curled Up With Candice

While being somewhat incapacitated by a relapse of a respiratory infection I had during the winter, I looked through some discs.  In one of them, I found this photo:

A few posts ago, I mentioned Candice, who died two and a half months before I adopted Max.  I don't recall exactly when I took the photo, but I think it was some time in the middle of her life, when I was living with Tammy.  I say that because she's curled on a futon we had.

That pose was so typical of her:  Curled atop the softest and highest available object.  It's more or less how I spent--or wanted to spend--my time during the last couple of days!

17 April 2013

No Irish Transgenders Need Apply--In Ireland

I'm going to tell you one of my dim, dark secrets, in case I haven't revealed it elsewhere on this blog:  I was born in Georgia. 

How that happened is a long story.  I lived in Georgia only for the first few months of my life.  I have no dislike of the state and have met some perfectly lovely people who hail from there.  However, I've spent so little time there since those early days of my life that I really can't have a positive, negative or even neutral feeling about it.  I simply can't think of myself as a Georgian, and probably have no right to do so.

Actually, I can't speak too badly of the Peachtree State.  (I mean, how can you hate a place with a name like that?)  After all, they did something a few other states still don't do.  After I had my surgery, they issued me a brand-new birth certificate with my new name and my female gender.  As I understand, some states issue amended birth certificates in which the original name and gender are crossed out.  

Some would argue that post-operative trans people should get amended birth certificates, or shouldn't be able to change it at all.  After all, they say, it's a historical document that records a fact.  

That is true, up to a point.  A person's gender is recorded according to the best judgment of the doctor who delivered him or her.  A few babies' sexes are difficult to determine even for the most experienced obstetricians; however, there are more--including yours truly--whose brains weren't constructed in accordance with their sexual organs.  Of course, the doctor--and, for that matter, just about anybody else--has no way of knowing that.  So, it could be said that the doctor, however unintentionally, made a mistake in determining the baby's gender.  

Perhaps not all mistakes are worth correcting.  However, the gender recorded on your birth certificate determines all kinds of things, from what you're named to (in most places) whom you're allowed to marry. 

So this business of birth certificates is very important.  The State of Georgia, not known for its progressiveness (Is that a word?) is still miles ahead of other places in that regard.  One of those places is Ireland.

Now, you might think that's not so unusual, given Ireland's longstanding reputation as a conservative Catholic country.  But the Emerald Isle's refusal to recognize a gender "change" means that, in essence, it's all but impossible for an Irish trangender person to get married.  A male-to-female is still seen as male; therefore, she cannot marry a man.  And it would probably be all but impossible for her to marry a woman, as nearly all Irish marriages are performed by Catholic priests, most of whom won't marry a transgender person who lives in his or her true gender.

What's really strange about all of this, though, is that Ireland is willing to recognize the status of transgender people born outside of Ireland.  An amended birth certificate from a state that recognizes sex "changes" will allow a person to enter into a marriage or civil union in Ireland, but those born in Ireland can't obtain such a documents.

So, let's see...In Ireland, I have more rights than an Irish transgender person--even one, like Lydia Foy, who had gender-reassignment surgery in England. You can drink a lot of Irish whiskey and not see anything stranger than that!

I mean, it's as if the Irish government were saying "No Irish Need Apply."  Or did Mahmoud "There Are No Homosexuals In Iran" Ahmadinejad move to Ireland and make transgenders the new target of his bigotry?

13 April 2013

Batgirl's Transgender Roommate

I am old enough to remember when, for the first time (at least here in the US), a television drama featured a black actor in a lead role.

That show was I Spy.  Bill Cosby was the actor in question.  The year was 1965--when the Watts area of Los Angeles exploded into what was then one of the most destructive urban riots in American history.  I Spy was banned in some parts of the South.

I've told this story in a couple of my classes. It leaves the students incredulous--after all, they have grown up accustomed to seeing people who look more or less like them on TV, in movies and videos and on the covers of major magazines and newspapers--not to mention on websites and Youtube.

After hearing about I Spy, they're not surprised to learn that none of the shows or movies I watched in my childhood or adolescence featured Asians, Latinos, Native Americans or even Italians as anything more than stereotypes.    But I don't think I will ever be able to convey to them what it's like to grow up without, not only people who look like you, but also people who feel the way you do--or, more to the point, whose brains are constructed like yours--in the images you see every day.

The first time I recall seeing a gay character in a television show was in an episode of All In The Family, in which a friend of lead character Archie Bunker "comes out."  In that same episode, another man who is sensitive and not interested in sports or anything militaristic is revealed as straight.  That was certainly an advance, but it would be another two decades before any show featured a gay or lesbian--let alone transgender--character.

I occasionally looked at comic books, but I wasn't obsessed with them.  That said, I don't recall seeing an LGBT character in any of them.

Well, now it looks like the world of cartooning is changing.  Some characters, like Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) are openly gay or lesbian.  Now, in the latest issue of Batgirl, Alysia Yeoh--the roommate of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon--reveals herself to be a transwoman.

It gets better:  Batgirl writer Gail Simone has taken care not to conflate Alysia's gender identity with her sexuality.  So, Ms. Yeoh is also bisexual.

What's next?  Will we find out that she's not sharing only the rent and utility bills with Batgirl?  Now that would be a lot of fun!

11 April 2013

This Letter Will Save Lives

If you were to ask most people to name a state that has progressive policies when it comes to transgender health care, many would mention California.  After all, San Francisco was one of the first cities to include gender identity and expression in its anti-discrimination laws.  It was also the first American city to offer to pay for gender-reassignment surgery, hormones and other necessary treatments for trans people who are City or County employees.

Now the California Department of Managed Health Care (CDMHC) has ordered all of the state's health plans to remove gender identity or expression as a basis for excluding or refusing coverage.

Why does that matter?  Well, I can offer one example from firsthand experience:  After I started taking hormones for two years, my doctor recommended that I get a mammogram.  My breasts had grown somewhat, but more important, the fact that I was taking estrogen put me at somewhat greater risk of breast cancer.  At the time, of course, I hadn't undergone gender reassignment surgery so, according to many insurers (though, thankfully, not the one I had) would have considered me a male.  And, as others in my situation discovered, other insurers would not pay for a "man's" mammogram--or, worse, would accuse any transwoman or her doctor of fraud for claiming the procedure.

Or, let's say some insurer considered me female and I had a medical problem that was testicular in origin, or that had to do with my prostate.  That insurer would have rejected a claim for any treatment involving those issues.

Then there are trans men who have been taking testosterone and who, perhaps, have had "top" surgery, but not bottom surgery.  He might then need, say, a pap smear--which an insurer could deny if he is classified as male.  On the other hand, if he is still classified as female, he might be denied treatment for high cholesterol or other conditions for which he is at greater risk as a result of taking testosterone.

What insurers may not realize is how risky it can be to deny treatments to people who are transitioning.  As Masen Davis, the Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center said, "This one letter will save lives."

10 April 2013

Petitioning Smith College To End Anti-Transgender Discrimination

A few posts ago, I talked about the plight of Calliope Wong. She is a high-school senior who has been living as female for two years and has identified as one for as long as she can remember.  Her application to Smith College was rejected because her documentation--including her Social Security records, birth certificate and the financial aid form her parents had to submit--still indicate that she is male.

I, for one, found it very curious that Smith should have rejected her--or, more precisely, returned her applications materials--because Smith allows students to transition into maleness while they are enrolled in the college, and because the school has a longer history than most of supporting lesbian students.

Well, GLAAD has announced that it has joined 3000 other signatories on a petition to end the college's discriminatory policies.  If you are interested in signing the petition, you can find it here.

09 April 2013

Six Years With Max

Six years ago today, I took Max into my home.

A few months earlier, my friend Millie rescued him from a street that divides a shop in which metal is cut, bent and welded from another in which auto bodies are painted, sometimes in bizarre schemes.  Just down the block from it is a commercial bakery that supplies restaurants in Manhattan as well as in Queens:  the place from which Marley was rescued.

Millie kept Max in her house for a time.  But she already had other cats, and a guy who briefly moved into the neighborhood took him in.  He disappeared, as he was wont to do, for two weeks.  A neighbor heard Max’s cries.  Fortunately, the guy returned a day later, and Millie took Max from him.

I offered to take Max home—when I was ready.  You see, during that time, Candice, who had been in my life for twelve years, died.

I jokingly referred to her as my “ballerina”:  She was pretty and thin even though I fed her what I fed Charlie.  And she always seemed to be walking en pointe.

In some ways, Marley reminds me of her. She liked to jump into my lap, cuddle and curl, as he does.  Also,  she was a bit skittish, though very gentle, as Marley is. While Max always seems ready to greet anyone I bring into my apartment, Marley is more cautious:  It takes him some time to work up the nerve (or whatever cats have) to meet my guests.  However, once he “comes out”, he rubs himself against my guest and licks his or her hand.  Candice was like that, too.

She died  a little more than a year after my first Charlie.  They were about the same age (15 years), though Candice spent a little less time in my life because I adopted her when she was three years old, while Charlie came home with me only a few weeks after he was born.   But both he and Candice shared some important times in my life, including the early and middle parts of my transition.  And I owned about a dozen bikes (though not all at the same time) and rode about a dozen more during that time!
Then Max came along.  I’ve gone through some more changes (and bikes) and he has just loved, and loved some more.  He doesn’t have to do anything else.

08 April 2013

The End Of A Day At The Beginning Of A Season

During my ride home, I stopped at the Long Island City piers just in time for this:

And, in one sign that Spring is finally springing on us, I saw a willow just beginning to open itself to the sun that's finally warming it:

03 April 2013

A Double Bind For "The Pregnant Man."

What if Franz Kafka wrote about transgender people and same-sex marriage?

One possible answer to that question is not a work of fiction.  It's a current news story unfolding in the State of Arizona.

There, Thomas Beatie--who made headlines a few years ago as the "pregnant man", lived with Nancy, the woman he married in Hawaii in 2003. Now he is trying to dissolve that union because, he says, she is violent and has even punched him in the crotch in front of their children.  He is willing to pay child support to keep his children in his life.

Now, even in most states that don't allow same-sex unions, a person who legally "changes" his or her sex can marry someone of the opposite sex. The problem is that states do not all define gender in the same way.  For example, in New York, I was considered female as soon as I had letters from my doctor and therapist saying that I was taking hormones and living as a woman in anticipation of gender-reassignment surgery.  However, at the time (2003-2004), most states and the Federal government required the surgery as a condition of recognizing a person's gender change.  That meant my New York State ID had an "F" in the "Gender" box, but my passport bore the "M" and Social Security still identified me as male.  

(Actually, I was able to get a one-year passport in the female gender when I first transitioned, and I was able to renew it twice before more restrictive policies were enacted. So I was able to take a trip to France and another to Turkey before I had to get the male passport I had until my surgery.)

Apparently, Hawaii's policies were more like New York's when Mr. Beatie got married.  Apparently, Arizona is more restrictive in the way it defines gender.  Or, at least, that's how Judge Douglas Gerlach interprets the law, or what he believes it to be.

He refused to grant a divorce because, he said, the Beaties weren't married in the first place: The Copper State doesn't allow or recognize same-sex marriage.  According to the judge, there isn't "sufficient evidence" to show that Thomas Beatie was indeed a man when he got married.  The esteemed jurist cited the interruption in Beatie's hormone treatments and said that the couple hadn't provided records to fully explain what Thomas had and hadn't done to become a man by the time he and Nancy wed in Honolulu.

Now, I'm not any sort of legal scholar, but if there is indeed a "lack of evidence," I can understand how Judge Gerlach would rule that, under Arizona law, would rule that the Beaties were never married.  After all, as judge, it is his job to adjudicate according to the laws of his state.  On the other hand, his ruling begs the question of what, exactly, constitutes a legal change in gender identity in Arizona, and why it or any other state would not recognize a marriage that was perfectly legal in another.

So now Thomas Beatie is in a double bind:  Because a judge in Arizona doesn't recognize his marriage, he can't get a divorce.  That means he can't leave his wife without, in essence, deserting her and their children.  Of course, his willingness to pay child support shows he doesn't want to do that. And, on top of everything, he can't marry his new girlfriend in either Arizona or Hawaii--or, for that matter, in any other state that recognizes his marriage.  While Arizona (and, probably, many other states) wouldn't allow or recognize such a union, in Hawaii he would be guilty of bigamy.  And he'd still wouldn't have custody of his kids.

02 April 2013

David Brooks Homophobia--And Racism And Classism

Sure, let gays get married.  Let them suffer like the rest of us.

I don't know who said it first.  But, even as a trans woman who was married (albeit briefly) as a man, I always thought it was funny.

That's more than can be said for the editorial David Brooks wrote in today's New York Times.  

Once upon a time, one could actually raise one's IQ a few points from a steady diet of the Times.  Even its most partisan editorials were usually well-reasoned and were relatively well-written.  Sometimes they envinced righteous indignation, especially if they were written by Sydney Schanberg.  Others were provocative; sometimes they were ironic or even funny, in good ways.

Then Schanberg got fired for criticizing real estate developers who were among the newspaper's biggest advertisers, and other columnists like William Safire and Russell Baker died or simply moved on.

Now we have the likes of Brooks who, it seems, is seen as a pundit because, well, he has a column in the Times and he's on all of those Sunday morning political shows.  The thing is, he writes like Dave Barry with a lobotomy and his reasoning skills make Rush Limbaugh seem like Rene Descartes.  

What I really can't stand about him, though, is his smug condescension. He's one of those people who's always going to do you the favor of telling you what's best for you because you, being you, can't possibly know.  At least he is consistent:  He has the same attitude toward anyone who's not white, heterosexual, male and a Baby Boomer still living in the 1950's.

Of course, a man like that, by definition, cannot have a sense of irony.  The problem is, he writes as if he has it, or is capable of acquiring it.  To wit:

But last week saw a setback for the forces of maximum freedom.  A representative of millions of gays and lesbians went to the Supreme Court and asked the court to help put limits on their freedom of choice.  They asked for marriage.

Now, in one way, I would agree with him:  If I were to get married again, I would be placing restrictions on myself.  I would agree to commit my life to that person and, at times, reign in certain desires for the sake of the relationship and the happiness of the person to whom I would be married. Perhaps I would have to do a few things I don't particularly care to do, and spend time with a few people I really would prefer not to know.  But I would make such choices for a larger freedom: that to pursue my own happiness.

But in a society in which no one is considered a full-fledged citizen unless he or she has the right to marry the person of his or her choice, having the right--the freedom of choice--of marriage is one of the greatest freedoms of all.  Just ask any person of my parents' age or older who wanted to marry someone of a different race or religion.  Or, for that matter, ask any African-American who was living in Virginia in 1967 or earlier.  Restrictions on marriage are inevitably aimed at people whom a society considers to be less than full citizens, which of course means people who are not of the "majority" race, culture, sexual inclination or gender expression--and who are, socially and economically, below the middle class.

Plus, the idea that gays and lesbians "asked the court to help put limits on their freedom of choice" is preposterous, not only because those who do not have freedoms don't normally ask for fewer of them, but because they were not asking for their right not to marry.  What makes that statement even more absurd--and outright insulting--is the implication that without "those limits on their freedom of choice", crystal meth-addled gays would hop from bed to bed without making any kind of serious commitments.  (His argument, if it might be called that, quickly deteriorates into a rant about black fathers who abandon their families and unemployed people who buy wide-screen TVs on credit, never mind that guys at places like Shearson-Lehman ran up balances sheets that were in the red for more than all of the wealth that ever existed in the history of the human race.)  Granted, there are LGBT people who are irresponsible and dysfunctional, but there are also plenty of straight people who are no different.   Plus, when you look at the divorce rates for straight people, do you really think gays and lesbians will do any worse?

More to the point, though, people who want to marry people of their own gender would, if allowed to do so, gain all sorts of other freedoms.  They could live openly as couples.  They could adopt kids (or have surrogates conceive or give birth to them).  They could do all of the things heterosexual couples do:  Take advantage of tax benefits, get mortgages and buy homes in both of their names, pass on their estates to each other or the kids they adopt and visit each other, unrestricted, in a hospital or nursing home.  They would be free to care for each other in the same ways heterosexuals commit themselves to caring for each other.  Heck, they can even decide which one is the "male" or "female" in the couple, or to break free of such roles altogether.

That drives people like David Brooks crazy.  And he sounds even crazier when he tries to seem logical.    The operative word, of course, is "tries":  He is no more capable of the reasoning he thinks he can mimic than he is of having babies.  What that means, of course, is that when can't pass off his resentment over other people sharing his privilege as some sort of noblesse oblige.  That might actually be his saving grace.