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Transgender Rights, Transgender Perks

Exactly what special perks are transgender kids in Juvenile Detention really getting? They get to wear prison uniforms, underwear and hairstyles appropriate to the gender they believe themselves to be.
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Hijras are people who belong to a socially and spiritually recognized third gender in India. They are also the most universally-despised citizens of that country. When you're a hijra, you can't get a job. If you've got the courage to risk getting beaten up, you can go begging, or you can do sex work. That's about it. But hijras have an universally known and respected advantage: they have the power to bless or to curse. For example, you can't have a wedding in India--or give birth to a boy child--without hijras being present to bless the occasion. You certainly don't want one of their curses. Nevertheless, you're not likely to go long in your life as a hijra without being raped or beaten-up. That's what happens to sex and gender outlaws in most countries.

Okay, Here's What Got Me Thinking About Hijras
Earlier this week, I had the great pleasure to read some great news from the Associated Press. The Office of Children and Family Services in New York State has begun putting in place a piece of legislation that passed the State Assembly in Syracuse this past March 17th. Permit me to quote pieces of that article here:

"The new policy prohibits [state juvenile detention facility] staff from asking residents about their sexual orientation or gender identity and says any disclosure must be voluntary. It also directs staff to talk to youth who decide to reveal their gender identity.

"Staff should never just move on; talk about what it means for this youth to be lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning," the 14-page policy states.

Under the policy, transgender youth may request placement based on gender identity.

"Those requests will be heard by a special committee composed of behavioral health and
medical services experts as well as administrators. OCFS spokesman Ed Borges said the
agency's center in Red Hook, in New York City, has housed a number of transgender
youth in the past because its staff has earned a reputation for tolerance. Transgender youth are provided private sleeping quarters and are allowed to shower privately. They are also allowed to shave body parts, use makeup or grow their hair long. The policy directs staff to learn and use the words gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in an appropriate context when talking with youth.

"While all residents may ask to be called by a preferred first name rather than their legal
one, the policy says males who believe they are female must be called "she" and females
who believe they are male must be referred to as "he." Staff must use the preferred name
and pronoun in any documents they file.

"All residents must wear a uniform, but the policy allows transgender youth to wear a
uniform of the opposite sex, including underwear of their choice. Each facility must have underwear for both sexes."

Isn't that just lovely? Unlike the vulnerable hijra in India, New York State's most vulnerable and at-risk youth now have a few less reasons to kill themselves. I had such a good time reading about that. And then--two days later--I read a piece by Laura Ingraham:

Special perks? I'm sorry--perks? Miss Ingraham's guest for the day was criminal defense attorney, Randy Zelin, who responded reasonably:

"Well, first of all, a perk is getting extra coffee at the workplace and good coffee, a good parking spot. Being able to exist and survive and being afforded equal protection under the law, that's not a perk. That's a right. And the bottom line is we are talking about children, vulnerable to begin with."

Miss Ingraham articulates what she's learned from all this:

"The lesson I'm getting from all of this is if you are in lockup, if you are in juvenile detention, then you're probably better off saying that you would like transgender treatment because then you do get special accommodations."

I was angry with Miss Laura, yes indeedy. Either she was ignorant of the plight those young trans-kids were facing, or she knew about their plight and was just plain mean.

Things It Occurred to Me to Say to Miss Ingraham

You want transgender treatment, Miss Ingraham? Think you might want that? Think you might want to be shunned, picked on, beaten up, raped, humiliated or driven to suicide? Wanna be tossed out by your friends, family, and church? Most of us trannies have spent our entire lives with some degree of this "transgender treatment." You really want that sort of treatment, Ms. Ingraham? I wouldn't wish that on you.

So, exactly what special perks are these kids really getting? They get to wear prison uniforms, underwear and hairstyles appropriate to the gender they believe themselves to be. Correct me if I'm wrong, Miss Ingraham, but I assume you do all of that every day of your life. Maybe not as consciously as these kids do, but that's what you do. Nope, there's nothing all that special about that. Though you do dress kindy perkily, Miss Laura.

What other perks do my kids get from this new piece of legislation? They get right to use and be referred to by the pronoun of their choice. That's something else you expect, isn't it Miss Ingraham? You wouldn't want to be referred to as he or it, am I right? And of course, you wouldn't ever change the pronoun you use to refer to yourself, would you? Oh wait! You've done that already, haven't you? In a recent interview with Us Magazine online--in reference to your adoption of a 3 year old Guatemalan child:

Ingraham said wanted to be a mother - "especially to someone who didn't have anybody." She added, "So, I was once an 'I' and now I'm a 'we.'"

Miss Ingraham, do you really go around referring to yourself as we? Really? That's mighty special. That's pretty perky of you. Do your friends and business associates respect your decision, and refer to you as they?

Look... my brave, fabulous tranny kids have finally had the law come down on their side, to provide them with the rights you seem to exercise yourself, Miss Ingraham. What on earth is your objection???

How Exactly Did Laura Ingraham Make Me So Freakin' Angry?
She was mean-spirited to my kids. She mocked a law that makes it easier for my children to live freely and with some happiness--it's a law guaranteed all of us in The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. And you just don't fuck with my kids.
According to reports, Miss Ingraham is quite brilliant, with a long list of accomplishments... including both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize... in biology, no less! I'm small beans compared to her.

I understand that Miss Laura is a decent and devout Roman Catholic. I trust that your God gives her great comfort and strength. Well, I'm a decent devout witch. And that's where I've got one up on Laura Ingraham: I am the USA equivalent of a hijra. I have the power to bless, and the power to curse. I'm a witch. How about that? My wishes come true.

Miss Ingraham is entering her mid-forties. She's riding the crest of her cultural power here in the USA. Me, I just turned 60. My days of cultural power have been on the wane. But you know what happens when you turn 60? You get really good with your spiritual power. How about that? I've got sixteen years on Miss Laura Ingraham. And I will have sixteen years on her until the day one of us dies. Please, don't be worried. I don't plan to bless you or curse her. But here's how I figured out how to deal with my anger at Miss Laura.

Here Are My Very Best Wishes for Miss Laura Ingraham
Miss Laura, I wish that you and your newly-adopted three-year-old daughter have a wonderful life together. I hope that she loves you with all her heart, and that you return her love with all the love you have to give her. I hope the two of you go through life with a minimum of the baggage that usually accompanies a mother/daughter relationship.

As your daughter matures, I wish for her the opportunity to freely and safely explore her sexuality and her gender. I wish she receives nothing but respect for her explorations into her identity and her desire. She'll come into contact with lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Your daughter will meet people who are into all sorts of loving, respectful sexualities. My wish for her is that she's never hurt by any of those, but that she has the opportunity to find her own bliss.
As she grows up, your daughter will also meet gender outlaws of all stripes: female-to-male, male-to-female, genderqueer, intersex... the list goes on and on. She may fall in love with one of them. She may even become a gender outlaw herself. It happens. I wish her the peace and strength and courage it will take her to find and express from deep within herself whatever combination of masculinity and femininity best serve to give her joy.

That's my wish for you, Miss Laura Ingraham. I'm an old, wacky tranny witch--and my wish for you contains no malice whatsoever. That's precisely why my wish for you is going to come true.

Whether it will be a blessing or a curse... well that's up to you.

kiss, kiss
Kate Bornstein

That's all I've got to say for now. Have a lovely summer. I will--knowing that my tranny kids are somewhat safer in the New York State juvenile delinquent system.

My very best wishes to you all.