Sunday, April 26, 2015

Trans Political Partnership (the other TPP)

The title of this post is a bad, political wonk double entendre about a trade partnership that...I just realized anyone who doesn't already know what TPP is probably won't care and explaining a joke never made it funnier. Moving on.

Bruce Jenner recently came out as trasngender in an interview with Diane Sawyer. I'm going to stick with Bruce and male pronouns for this post because to my knowledge he hasn't stated a new name he'd prefer and hasn't specified his pronoun preference. If and when he does, I'll put an addendum on this post, if I'm still paying attention to the story, which I might not be.

For the most part, this is happy news. Someone who felt compelled to hide who they were was finally ready to publicly be themselves. And, the news around it has been largely positive. Bruce's children seem mostly supportive. The media's reaction ranges from vague interest to support (a far cry from what would probably have happened if he'd made his transition public in the 1980s when he first attempted the change). Even his ex-wife, the notoriously unpleasant Kris Jenner, has been pretty cool about the whole thing. Aside from former step son-in-law Kris Humphries posting an asinine tweet that he immediately regretted and apologized for, this looked from the outside like a very smooth coming out story.

He added a gold medal in coming out to his collection

Yay, so we can all move on. Bruce can transition with the support of friends and family. We can be glad society has become far more tolerant of transgender people in the last 30 years. End of story. Except, no, he kept talking and came out again. This time as Republican.

I've made no bones about not comprehending LGBTQ+ people who swing to the right politically. It seems a little like mice advocating for cats or fire saying it's really water deep down. Why would people openly identify with a group that is actively trying to destroy them? And before you say, "Destroy? Really, Cassandra? They just don't want to bake gay wedding cakes." Yes, destroy, really.

The mouse only thinks they can get along

Believe me, I get that a person is a sum of many parts, and those parts don't always have to fit together with the other parts to make sense to everyone else. Just because Bruce is transgender doesn't mean that defines who he is in every respect. Also, being LGBTQ+, the perennial underdogs in most conflicts, doesn't mean we're all saints who wouldn't betray our own allies. Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter, who is as big of a right wing shithead as he is as Dan Savage pointed out awhile back. Not that Dan Savage doesn't have his own issues with the bisexual and transgender parts of the LGBTQ+ alliance. Then there are the entirely baffling Log Cabin Republicans...more on them later.

Bruce went on in the interview to say he wasn't a fan of Obama (despite the president recently saying transgender people needed better legal protections) and that Jenner thought John Boehner and Mitch McConnel (Republican speaker of the house and senate majority leader respectively) would be receptive to listening to him about transgender rights legislation, which is about the time I rolled my eyes so hard that I sprained my sardonic muscles.

I could list all the ways in which Republican leadership, not the fringe lunatics barking at their rabid followers on AM radio and blogs, but the people who are in actual positions of power in the party and the country, have attacked the LGBTQ+ community. But then this blog post would turn into a long, gross book about Republican bigotry. Let's just look at this week, shall we. The Republican controlled house (speaker John Beohner) just repealed the Human Rights Amendment Act to allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in schools. The Senate (majority leader Mitch McConnel) already has similar bills in progress and is eager to move forward with what the house has passed. The repeal won't make it through the senate (because Democrats have sworn to filibuster it), but even if it did, Obama said he'd veto it.

Do you see the problem in Bruce Jenner's thinking? He's not a fan of Obama (the guy who swore to safeguard his already flimsy legal protections) and he thinks the two guys who are voting to remove one of the only protections LGBTQ+ people have would be receptive to hearing ideas on expanding the protections they're currently trying to get rid of. I think spending so much time with so many Kardashians may have permanently severed Bruce's connection to reality.

"Reality TV is my reality!"

Log Cabin Republicans were thrilled to death about Jenner's comments. They couldn't agree more. For those of you who haven't heard of the group, they're the gay Republican organization that doesn't have a seat at basically any of the GOP major conventions and who have never successfully donated money to a Republican president's re-election campaign because no Republican president would accept money from gay people. Let me say that again--Republican politicians turned down free money because it came from gay people. In a political party where money = speech/influence and is viewed nearly as valuable to continued existence as air and water, gay people can't even buy a voice with a group who is for sale to anyone with a checkbook.

I'm happy for Bruce Jenner. I'm glad he's finally becoming the person he always felt he should be. But when it comes to the fight for equality in treatment, rights, and protections for the LGBT+ community, he needs to get a fucking clue.

Or a raging clue, whatever.

I wonder what he's going to say when he realizes he's also giving up his hetero male privilege. He probably thinks his Republican buddies will be interested in hearing what he has to say about the rights of a transgender woman who likes sleeping with other women.