26 January 2014

Out Of The Mists Of The Past

 This may not seem related to gender or LGBT issues, let alone my experience with them.  However, it has to do with the city I have called home for so long and whose history has always fascinated me..

Also, urban mass transportation systems have always interested me. Perhaps those are the reasons I found this photo irresistible and was thinking of an excuse to post it here:

This train is entering the New Lots Avenue station on the Canarsie Line (now the "L" train) of the New York City subway system.  From the light and the condition of the trees, I'd guess it's from early spring.  And, from the style of train cars, I can tell you that this undated photo was probably taken some time before the early 1970's, as these cars were "retired" by that time.

You can find this photo, and more, on www.nycsubway.org. (Note:  The site is not affiliated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.)

25 January 2014

Heterosexuality: Priceless

I am going to make the worst pun of the year (so far, anyway).

Here goes:  What I am about to report is just priceless.

Even the most tolerant and understanding of parents may feel concern and even a twinge of disappointment when their kids "come out."  After all, nearly all parents want their kids to be safe, and they naturally worry that their queer son or daughter is at greater risk of being bullied, harassed, assaulted or even killed than a straight (or seemingly-straight) or cisgender kid.  And, let's face it, most parents still have the fantasy  of their kids meeting the "right" person of the opposite gender and having kids.

Of course, even such attitudes and responses are better than trying to "beat it out" of the kid or throwing him or her out of the house.  Then there are those parents who try to use "incentives" to make their kids straight:  They send their kids on "blind" dates with kids of the opposite gender or encourage them to do things considered appropriate to the gender they were assigned at birth.  

I always figured that some parent probably offered financial incentives, though I'd never met or heard about one--until now.

Cecil Chao is a Hong Kong billionaire who claims to have slept with 10,000 women.  One would think that such a man would understand why someone would want to sleep with a women.  So it seems a bit incongruous, at least to me, that he would offer $130 million US to any man who can turn his daughter, who married her girlfriend in France, straight.

Being the charitable person I am, I am willing to believe he isn't a homophobe.  Perhaps he's just afraid of commitment--or, specifically, committing to a woman--and his daughter's marriage has made it clear.

For her part, his daughter Gigi says she wouldn't mind a man taking  up the offer as long as he's OK with her marriage and is willing to donate at least some of the money to her favorite causes.

24 January 2014

I Am A White Supremacitst. And I Am Very Thankful To Nevada For Letting Me Know.

Several people have given me plausible, sensible, cogent explanations of why the thought of legalizing same-sex marriage drives its foes to the most breathtaking contortions of logic.

In an earlier post, and in a Huffington Post article, I mentioned the "diversity" argument used by opponents of marriage equality in Utah.  They cited the fact that colleges and universities use diversity as a criterion in admissions.  Academic institutions have such policies because activists pointed out that some schools had monochromatic student bodies from the same social classes--and, in some cases, the same geographic areas.  Also, studies over the past half-century or so indicate that students indeed learn more and better when at least some of their classmates are different from themselves.

It obviously follows, then, that kids are better off with two parents who are of different genders.  At least, that's the conclusion of those diligent folks in the Beehive State.

I guess one of Utah's neighbors simply could not be outdone.  So, from Nevada, we have yet another canard from the Bizarro world of people who simply can't stand the thought of Jane marrying Jill or John wedding James.  

We really should listen to the what golden minds from the Silver State said in a Ninth Circuit court hearing.  Are you ready for this? :

 White supremacists engrafted the anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution — and thereby altered marriage from how it had existed at common law and throughout the millennia — to bend that institution into the new and foreign role of inculcating white supremacist doctrines into the consciousness of the people generally. Because of the profound teaching, forming, and transforming power that fundamental social institutions like marriage have over all of us, this evil strategy undoubtedly worked effectively for decades.

Question: Where does one see today a similar massive political effort to profoundly change the marriage institution in order to bend it into a new and foreign role, one in important ways at odds with its ancient and essential roles? Answer: The genderless marriage movement.

So let's see:  White supremacists "engrafted anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution."  (Gotta love that phrase!)  White supremacists changed the definition of marriage.  Gays want to do the same. Ergo, those who want same-sex marriages are no different from white supremacists.

Now, I'll grant you there are white supremacists, as well as bigots of every other kind, who happen to be gay men, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals or of just about any other kind of sexual or gender identity you can imagine.  If nothing else, most at least have enough fashion sense not to wear white robes and hoods. (Most white people don't look good in white.  I include myself.)  But, seriously, I think that there are fewer such extreme haters in the "spectrum" in which I include myself.  Most of us still have unconscious prejudices, as nearly everyone else has, simply from being inculcated with subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) stereotypical notions about the sorts of jobs people are supposed to have, the clothes they're expected to wear and the foods they should eat, depending on their race, gender, geographical location or any number of other factors.

Still, I have yet to hear even the most racist, classist, misogynist, misandropic or even homo- or trans-phobic (Yes, we have those!) in our midst suggest that we pass laws to keep people from marrying each other.  Like most right-thinking people, most of us support only one restriction on marriage:  a minimum age.

Now, I have never been to law school. I entertained the thought of going for, oh, maybe fifteen minutes of my life. So forgive me if I am missing something.  I simply cannot understand how anyone can use laws that were used to keep people from marrying each other to rationalize his or her opposition to a law that would allow people to marry.  Moreover, I don't get how anyone can use a law that kept people who were of different races from hooking up to oppose a law that would allow two folks who are the same, in at least one way, from getting hitched.

Maybe I'm just too East Coast-centric to understand the dazzling feats of logic they've achieved in Utah and Nevada.  Or, perhaps, I'm too European in my outlook (After all, I've lived in France!) to understand how real Amurrikkkuns do things.  Or, perhaps, I have misunderstood every thinker and writer I've ever read.  Yes, it's been some time since I've read Descartes or Hegel or Kant. So, perhaps, I need to refresh my skills in logical thinking.

Or it may be that I just haven't spent enough time in Nevada to see how marriage is supposed to be.  Growing up in the dystopias of Brooklyn and New Jersey, all I ever saw were people who were married in churches, synagogues and by justices of the peace, and who remained together.  Such couples include my parents.  They have been Mr. and Mrs. for one year longer than I have been on this planet.  I blame them for setting such an example for me, their firstborn.

I mean, if I haven't been around folks whose nupitals were witnessed by slot machines, how can I possibly know what marriage is.  Right?  I didn't grow up in a place (or time) where Dennis Rodman wed Carmen Electra or Kim Kardashian tied the knot with Kris Humphries.  I never saw or heard about such perfect unions as the one between Jason Alexander and Britney Spears.  Never having the benefit of having grown up around such fine examples of matrimony, I guess I'm unduly impressed with two women of my acquaintance who've been together since 1971.  Or my parents.

Yes, I admit, I want to hijack the august institution of male masters and female chattel so that folks like my friends can have the same rights as my parents.  Or--now I'll expose my self-interest--so that I can enjoy those same rights, if I decide to marry a woman (or, for that matter, a man).  

I guess that makes me no better than the white supremacists.  As we say in the old country, tant pis.


23 January 2014

Growing Issues Of Hate

In spite of (or, as some might argue, as a backlash against) the passing of laws to protect gender identity and expression, more violence is committed against transgender (or other gender-variant) people every year.  And, perhaps even more disturbing, the assaults committed against, and the murders of, us constitute an ever-increasing percentage of crimes against LGBT people, hate crimes and crimes generally.

From:  Think Progress

22 January 2014

Sneaky Queers And Treacherous Trannies

When I was growing up, one rarely saw an LGBT character in a movie or TV show. 

In fact, one almost never heard about "queer" people or characters in the news or other parts of the media.  On those rare occasions when one appeared, he was almost invariably a gay man.  And, if his sexual orientation was not denounced, there was an implication that it defined--in overwhelmingly negative ways--every other aspect of his character and life.  

So, the few gay men we saw or heard about were shadowy, sneaky figures.  They were seen as vaguely--or not-so-vaguely--dishonest.  They were often double-agents or simply double-crossers, or their homosexuality was used to depict them as such.  

One example is Clay Shaw, who according to his onetime lover (and male prostitute) Willie O'Keefe, discussed the JFK assassination with Lee Harvey Oswald and others believed to be involved in the killing. All of this is depicted in Oliver Stone's film JFK.  Stone, of course, does not imply that either man's proclivity or interest in each other was a root cause of their involvement in the killing.  But he shows how people commonly believed that such a thing was possible--and that O'Keefe's and Shaw's preferences and relationship (as well as the prison sentence O'Keefe served for solicitation) was used to discredit them.

Although some people have moved away from such attitudes--or, at any rate, wouldn't publicly express them--about gay men, transgender people are being portrayed as devious in almost exactly the way gay men were not so long ago.  (Interestingly, there doesn't seem to have been a similar stereotype about lesbians.)  Even people who have gay or lesbian family members, friends and colleagues--or who themselves are on the "spectrum"-- may hold or express the notion that trans people are fundamentally dishonest.  In fact, I have talked--before, during and since my transition--with gay men and mental-health professionals who said, in essence, that trans people "just don't want to admit they're gay," as a onetime friend of mine put it.

So, although I was upset, I was not surprised to learn that Caleb Hannan had not only "outed" Essay Anne Vanderbilt; he used the fact that she was born male--something, apparently, only a few people knew--to explain her true dishonesty:  lying about her academic credentials and work experience as a scientist, much of it as a private contractor to the Department of Defense.  She apparently used those fictions to convince someone to invest in a new golf club she'd invented.   

About all I know about golf is that Tiger Woods plays it (and the field).  So I couldn't tell you whether Vanderbilt's club was everything she claimed, and her investor believed, it to be.  But, apparently, some swear by it.  Even Hannan acknowledged that he played a better game when he used it.

Now, if people like the club, they're probably not going to care whether she actually worked for the DoD or went to MIT or whatever.  On the other hand, I can understand that someone would hold her, as a person, in low regard for lying about her credentials and just generally being a difficult person, as many have testified.  After all, great ideas and creations don't always come from good people:  Wagner was one of the greatest composers and most detestable human beings who ever lived. I'm not so sure I would have wanted Bach as a father, husband, brother, friend or neighbor, either.  And T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Fernand Celine were notorious anti-Semites.  Still, their flaws don't degrade the quality of their work, any more than Vanderbilt's fabricated resume makes her golf club less of a marvel than its enthusiasts say it is.

However, to imply that someone who was born with one of the most fundamental conflicts a person can live with cannot be anything but inherently dishonest as a result of that conflict, as Hannan does, is simply ignorant at best and vicious at worst.  I can't help but to tend toward the latter interpretation:  He portrayed Ms. Vanderbilt as one born to manipulate even though he knew about her suicide attempt--which he uses to further the idea that she was congenitally unstable.

But the real reason I am so upset at Hannan is that while he was "researching" his article, Ms. Vanderbilt took her own life.  Now, I realize that it's probably not possible to "prove" that his outing her caused her to off herself.  Still, I think he should be taken to task for "outing" someone who has the sort of history she had--or, for that matter, anyone who does not disclose that information about herself.

I realize that in writing this blog, and some of my other works, some people might think I'm giving them permission to "out" me to people who would use that information to portray me as a monster, criminal or worse.  However, there are still many, many people who do not know my history and never will--unless, of course, someone "outs" me.  As an example, I was renewing my state ID last week.  The clerk did not know that, at one time, my name and gender weren't the ones on the card I was handing him.  And, really, there was no need for him to know.  I don't know whether knowing that aspect of my history would have changed the way he treated me (He was, in spite of the stereotype about Department of Motor Vehicle employees, friendly:  Somehow we found ourselves talking about our cats!) or added another layer of bureaucracy to a transaction that, for most people, is routine.  

I will probably never see that clerk again--or, for that matter, most people I encounter on any given day.  They don't all need to know about my gender history and, really, have no right to know unless I disclose it (which, of course, I do on this blog).  More to the point, neither they nor anyone else has the right to use it to paint me as anything other than I am, for better or worse.  

21 January 2014

Jay's House

Lately, I’ve been listening quite a bit to WBAI, the Pacifica Radio station here in New York.  I have gone through periods of my life when I have listened to no other radio station—sometimes, during times when I wasn’t watching television.

I started listening again a few months ago because there is so little on local radio or television I can stand, even as background, while I’m working on something.  At other times when I listened regularly, there were more intelligent, engaging or simply entertaining (by my standards, anyway) options in the media than there are now.  I know that I can find some favorite old episodes and programs on You Tube and other venues, but I don’t want to spend too much time on reruns.  Besides, it’s hard use You Tube or its equivalents as background.

Anyway, WBAI has an “OUT Radio” program, which claims to be the only LGBT-centered radio program in the NYC area.  Their claim is probably accurate.  I hadn’t tuned in specifically to hear that program, though:  I’ve had the radio on most of the day as I’ve gone in and out to shop for food and do laundry and other errands—all within a two-block radius of my place.  Still, I listened.  I’m glad I did:  the producer—I didn’t catch her name—interviewed Jay Toole.

Until recently, Jay headed Queers for Economic Justice.  However, the organization is dying because it’s lost its funding.  But Jay had been working on a dream, which is now coming into fruition:  Jay’s House, a shelter/community center for LGBT people.

Jay’s vision for it was borne of experience living in the New York City shelter system and, before that, on the streets.  Like too many other young queer people, Jay became homeless upon “coming out” as a teenager.  To be exact, Jay was 13 years old at the time and would live without a home for more than thirty years afterward.

One of the things for which I am thankful is that the most difficult times I’ve experienced are nothing like what Jay experienced every day for decades.  Another thing for which I’m thankful is for which I’m thankful is having met Jay, especially at the time in my life when I did.

Not long before I moved out of the apartment I’d been sharing with Tammy, I went to Center Care, the counseling center of the LGBT Community Center of New York.  Jay volunteered as an intake counselor and was on duty the day I walked in.  Until that day, Tammy was the only person with whom I’d talked about my gender identity.  Actually, I didn’t talk about it so much as I insisted that the clothing, the jewelry and the time I spent in them were things I could simply “walk away from” if and when it ever became a possible roadblock to her career—or, more precisely, her own life based on her defying other people’s perceptions of her real and  understandable wish to escape the pain other males in her life had caused her.

Living a half- (or otherwise partial-) truth really isn’t any better—or, at least, mentally and spiritually healthy—than living an outright lie.  Well, it might be better in the sense that sometimes it’s necessary to live that partial truth—which, really, is another kind of mendacity—in order to learn whatever one must learn, or simply to survive, before facing reality.

I knew I had to end those fictions—and the ones I’d given my family, friends and anyone else who knew or questioned me—on the day I met Jay.  As I sat in the Center’s waiting area, I thought about how I would explain myself to whoever I met.  (At that moment, of course, I didn’t know that person would be Jay.)  Until that moment, nothing made any sense to me:  I didn’t know, therefore, how I could make it make sense to anyone else.

The receptionist called my name and directed me to one of the Center’s narrow but well-lit offices.  “I’m Jay.”  “Hi.” 

At that moment, I forgot whatever I’d been rehearsing in my mind.  Instead, this passed through my lips:  “I’m a woman.”

“I know.”

I would later realize that, at that moment, I knew Jay, too, even though we were meeting for the first time.  You see, I intuited—and much later articulated—this:  I was, at that moment, an inversion of Jay, who was about as “butch” as anyone could be without having been born with XY chromosomes.  But, even more important, we had both been defined by our vulnerability and pain.  Both of us had experienced sexual molestation and violence; while Jay was cast out, I alienated myself because I simply could not relate to anyone else, not even members of my own family.  Jay had spent more than three decades without a physical home; I’d spent about the same amount of time, if not more, unable to be at home in my own body, in my own mind, in my own spirit, let alone in any physical environment in which I’d lived, worked or been inculcated with notions to which I simply couldn’t conform, no matter how hard I tried or how much I loved the people who were teaching the lessons they’d been taught and, in some cases, did not understand.

Jay and I would later volunteer on one of the Center’s projects and remain in contact, if episodically.  Although Jay is very busy, the time in which we didn’t talk or write much to each other was also my fault:  I withdrew from almost everyone with whom I didn’t have to be in contact when Dominick was doing everything he could to destroy me.  I didn’t have to make the apology I offered when we bumped into each other, for the first time in a couple of years, back in June:  After all, almost no one else I know understands what it’s like simply to survive the day and the day before as well as Jay does.

20 January 2014

The Next Frontier, Then And Now

Today, Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday is being commemorated.  I am thinking now about how he spent the last days of his life working to help the sanitation workers of Memphis to gain better pay and working conditions.  I am also thinking about the speech he gave on 4 April 1967—exactly one year before he was gunned down.  In it, he denounced the Vietnam War and the ways in which the United States was turning into the kind of repressive colonial power against which it fought to gain its independence.

Nearly half a century later, his words and actions remain relevant, if for different reasons than they were when they were new or, say, twenty or thirty years ago.  I concur with those people who see them as evidence that he was turning his attention toward economic inequalities and how power—whether military, political, capitalist or corporate—is used to initiate and reinforce such inequities.  Interestingly, Malcolm X was turning his interests toward those very issues before he was shot to death in the Audubon Ballroom.  Some have posited that it’s a reason why the widows of the two men became allies in the struggle for social and economic justice as well as close personal friends.  Having met Sister Betty Shabazz, however briefly, a couple of years before she died, I would accept such an explanation.

Whatever their motivations, I think she and Coretta Scott King offer valuable lessons for transgender people.  I am not the first person to say that our state is about what that of gays and lesbians was in the 1970’s or nearly all African-Americans until the 1950’s.  The gains made by the Civil Rights movement did not improve the lot of all people of color; that is not a fault of the work Matin, Coretta, Malcolm or Betty did.  While it’s great that my hometown—New York City—and some other jurisdictions have human-rights laws that include language to specifically include transgender and other gender-variant people, such laws—as Martin and Malcolm discovered—will not, by themselves, bring about social justice.  That is because they cannot bring about economic justice.  They might say that a would-be employer cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender or other qualities, but they do not address the conditions that put us at a disadvantage when we apply for those jobs—or that relegate us to inferior jobs at lower pay and longer periods without jobs and, in some cases, housing. 

19 January 2014

Beside Themselves

A friend of mine read the article I posted the other day.  She was involved in the struggle to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State.  Several years before that legislation passed, she was married to her longtime partner in Canada.

This friend and I were talking about what’s happened in Utah, and about civil rights in general.  She reminded me of something which—surprisingly, given that the legislation in New York passed only two and half years ago—I had forgotten.

Here it is:  One of the arguments made against passing the same-sex marriage law was that it would discriminate against straight people, as it would not guarantee their right to marry gay people.

I wondered what it is about same-sex marriage that drives supposedly well-trained and talented legal minds to such contortions of logic as the one she recalled-- or the argument, made by same-sex marriage foes in Utah, that if diversity is a valid criterion for college admissions, it should also be a criterion in deciding whether or not people should be allowed to marry.

My friend had an explanation:  When people who don’t have much else, they will grasp onto whatever it is that (at least in their minds) separates them from people who are even lower on the socioeconomic ladder than they are.  Politicians like George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan exploited this; folks like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are trying to do the same.  How else can they consider poor and working-class white people in the South and Midwest to vote for candidates like themselves:  the ones who align themselves with the plutocrats who imperil whatever separates those white people from the perpetually destitute blacks and other members of “minority” groups.

It sounds, to me, like a good explanation of why, in spite of the gains we’ve made, the condition of transgender people is still like that of gays and lesbians thirty years ago.

18 January 2014

I'm Not A Scientist. Neither Is Bryan Fischer.

One reason why I have not talked more about going to church, at least on this blog, is that my reasons for doing so are highly personal, perhaps even idiosyncratic.  I don't pretend that my reasons for going to church apply to everyone, and I'm not ready to say that everyone "should" go to church or follow any sort of formal religion.

Also, I must admit that I didn't want to be lumped with some of the people who use their "religion" or "faith" to rationalize all sorts of bigotry--including their notions that people like me don't belong in their churches or can be "cured."

In the latter category is a fellow named Bryan Fischer.  Here is someone who, from what I can tell, has even less background in science than I have.  (I last took a science class in 1978; although I try to stay abreast of some developments, I can't claim to have any more than an average lay person's knowledge.)  Yet he is claiming the role of a scientist--specifically, a geneticist and an evolutionary biologist--to reiterate the tired canard that if you have male DNA and anatomy, you can't possibly be female because "God doesn't make mistakes."

What a lot of people don't know is that Charles Darwin studied to be an Anglican parson.  But he was astute enough to realize that the most startling phenomenon he encountered could be explained, if not resolved, only through scientific reasoning, not through faith.  He knew that faith and reason could not be substituted for each other and that a question of science cannot be answered with religion any more than a belief in the supernatural can be justified with empirical evidence.

The funny thing about folks like Fischer is that the more they use the word "science," the more irrational and even specious their explanations become.  That's because when they say things like "all of the science I've seen tells me", you know that they know about as much science as I do.  When someone asks them for citations, they change the subject or accuse the questioner of being misled by Satan, or some such thing.

Perhaps some day someone will come up with a scientific explanation for people like me. And someone else might come up with a cogent pyschological explanation, or even a religious or theological one.  Until then, I hope that enough people realize what the kinds of reasoning used in each of those fields can and can't do.  And people like me can tell our stories and, perhaps, create interesting and useful artistic and literary representations of our experiences.


17 January 2014

The Diversity In Marriage Act (DIMA)

Back to serious, sober gender stuff today.

All right, perhaps not so serious and sober.  In fact, you might actually have fun (Whoda thunk it?) reading my latest Huffington Post piece.

I'll reproduce the text here:

The Diversity In Marriage Act

The state of Utah has just ruled that I can marry a black man. Or an Hispanic or Asian male. Even a Native American is acceptable, under the state's ruling.

But I can't marry a white man, let alone a white woman. Oh, I can't marry an African-descended, Latina or Asian female, either.

Now, you might think I've gone over to neighboring Colorado and partaken of their newly-legalized recreational drug. Truth is, I'm nowhere near that Rocky Mountain mecca. I've been there only once, and that was to avail myself to the services of one Dr. Marci Bowers. And I've never set foot in the Beehive State. I'm safely ensconced in the very state that kicked out someone named Joseph Smith, who is largely responsible for the Utah we know and love today.

Time was, not so long ago, someone who used "Utah" and "same-sex marriage" in the same sentence would have been suspected of inhaling Boulder's Best -- and I'm not talking about the pure mountain air. Or he or she would have been directed to take his or her medication.

But what would have been seen as a hallucination or fantasy less than a year ago actually came to pass, however briefly, last month. Judge Robert Shelby -- a conservative Republican -- ruled Utah's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. So, for a few heady days, Johns joined Jims and Willas wed Wendys in Salt Lake City and a few other locales in the state.

Of course, Utah being Utah, there were plenty of politicians and lay people who simply wouldn't let such a situation be. So they appealed Judge Shelby's decision to the Supreme Court. They made all of the predictable arguments citing long-discredited studies (or pure-and-simple folklore) about the "benefits" of being raised by one biological parent of each gender and the ways in which heterosexual marriage promotes "responsible" sexual behavior.

Now, such arguments couldn't sway someone like Judge Shelby. But, apparently, Utah's foes of same-sex marriage thought they might work in that liberal bastion known as the United States Supreme Court, where such left-wing stalwarts as Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia occupy the bench.

So what did those righteous folks who wanted to save us from the spectacle of Mr. and Mr. or Ms. and Ms. do? They did their homework and came up with a set of germane court rulings. And -- I must give them their due -- they used those rulings in a way that I never, in a million years, could have imagined.

Various courts have ruled that publicly-funded colleges and universities can use "diversity" as a criterion for admissions. Educators and related professionals have long argued that contact with people from nations, cultures and religions different from one's own enhances a student's educational experience. In other words, the prep school kid, the scholarship student from the slums and the young woman from Asia will all gain social and thinking skills they might not otherwise would have acquired in the classroom.

Ergo, a kid will learn more from two parents who are different sexes than from parents of the same sex -- or only one parent.

Now, I don't know whether Utah's same-sex marriage foes gained such reasoning skills (or, for that matter, learned the word "ergo") in the hallowed halls of their fair state's esteemed institutions of higher learning. Perhaps they're just naturally brilliant. I mean, how else could they have argued, in essence, that "diversity in marriage" is the ideal and will teach kids what they need to learn? At any rate, I never could have constructed such a logical tour de force.

What they said, in essence, is that the state should mandate diversity in marriage. Well, they want gender diversity -- or, more accurately, polarity. But imagine that the legislatures of Utah or other states -- or the federal government -- were to pass a comprehensive Diversity In Marriage Act.

Would DIMA simply mandate what DOMA proscribed? Or would it go beyond DOMA and specify other ways, besides gender, in which each spouse must differ? Must they be of different races and cultural backgrounds? Will they be expected to speak different languages and practice different religions? (Perhaps only one member of the couple could be a theist.) Would dreamers only be permitted to marry schemers? Omnivores to vegans? Would I have to marry a mathematician? (Not that I wouldn't.) Or someone with Type O blood?

If Utah were to pass DIMA, a lot of people might not marry at all: It's one of the whitest states in the union. It's also one of the least religiously diverse, and one of the most socially homogenous in all sorts of other ways.

If I were feeling lonely, I guess I could go to Colorado. Even if they were to pass DIMA, I could brighten up my days in other ways. And, if I were to marry someone of my own race, gender or cultural background, or with a skill-set like mine, I could plead ignorance: Everyone looks the same when you're on a Rocky Mountain High. Or is that when you're drunk?

If you are, you've got to marry someone in a 12-step program. Otherwise, you'll be in violation of the Diversity In Marriage Act. You don't want to get stung with the penalties for such an infraction, especially in the Beehive State. Do the birds marry the bees there?


16 January 2014


OK.  Today I’ll take a break from “gender stuff”.  And I’ll give you a break from it.

Instead, I’ll give you a chance to contemplate.

What do you think this winsome creature is thinking about?  Do you think she’s pondering her own existence?  The finiteness (Is that a word?) of life?  Or is she just trying to make a decision?

What’s she thinking now?