Tag: Friday Philosophy

To thine own self…

Scarlet Letter
I was very far away. My real life had gone underground and could not be seen by anybody. The person at the surface that everybody saw was no longer me.

–Philip Ó Ceallaigh

I became a teacher in 1977, when I was a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Oregon.  I spent five years there earning my PhD before moving on to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for three years, during which time both my parents died.  That sort of put the kibosh on me getting enough done to earn tenure there…and my mentor (E. H. Feller) died as well…so I moved on to the University of Central Arkansas, where I taught for 16 years.

Friday Philosophy: Personal Identity

We are not confused about our gender.  It is other people who have that problem.  They confuse who we are with their image of who we should be.

Would you stand for anyone else doing that to you, for whatever reason?

Transgender people look long and hard into our identities to discover who we truly are.  Self-introspection.  We don’t look between our legs for that.  Human identity is in the mind.

Identity has no material form (Locke:  “Consciousness makes personal identity.”).  Identity does not reside in the chromosomes or genes.  

O, Canada!

Unlike here in the US, we have some progress to report from north of the border.

Recently the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament had been working on C-389, otherwise known as the Transgender Rights Bill.  On November 2 the Committee reported the bill back to the House of Commons for its Third Reading, where it is awaiting its final vote.  If that is successful, it would move on to the Senate for approval.

Bill C-389 adds gender identity and gender expression to the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada hate crimes provisions.  The bill’s author is MP Bill Siksay of the New Democratic Party (the social democrats, sadly missing in the US).  

Halloween Hash, Take 2

Halloween on Sunday.  Halloween again.  Almost like clockwork, it keeps showing up.


As a child I loved Halloween.  We’d go to Mrs. Silver’s house across the street and she would invite us inside and make us fresh caramel apples or popcorn balls.  Lord knows, one can’t do that anymore.

And we would go door to door around the neighborhood and get a real haul of treats.  And somewhere, later, older kids would toilet paper someone’s house or yard, which we would discover on the way to school in the morning.  I never liked the “trick” part.

Razor blades and pins and poison and just plain bad people put a stop to most of the good stuff I remember.  

As I got older, the tricks became worse and the treats were few and far between.

Friday Philosophy: Votes for Sale

It often gets annoying to hang around the InterWeb, for one reason or another.  I have to say the past week has been one of those times.

I’m not referring to anything that the Obama administration has or hasn’t done, though for sure plenty could be and has been said.  Fierce advocacy often appears what any objective person might call milquetoasty.  Of course, he he did say he’d be a fierce advocate of gays and lesbians, not transfolk, and recently seems to have forgotten we exist.

Then, Obama was asked whether being gay or trans was a choice. Here is his incredibly weak response which completely ignores trans people.

I am not obviously – I don’t profess to be an expert. This is a layperson’s opinion. But I don’t think it’s a choice. I think people are born with a certain makeup, and we’re all children of God. We don’t make determinations about who we love. And that’s why I think that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong.


Mmmm.  Toasty.

Friday Philosophy: October Trans News

We have had another suicide, unfortunately.  Chloe Lacey from Clovis, CA, shot herself because she feared she would be harassed and bullied when she went to college in Eureka.

This and other stories about the transgender community on the inside, including some murders, sexual harassment, lost history, and challenges to discrimination.

Some good.

A little more bad.

The usual.

Friday Philosophy: Judge not…

I’ve been having a slow conversation through Facebook with a friend from high school.  Hopefully she will show up here eventually.  But she’s a little busy training to be a Peace Corps volunteer, so we’ll se.

In one of her messages she wrote:

You have an original voice. I know that transgender issues are understandably important to you, but I also find your posts on other subjects to be fascinating. You write with passion and are able to reduce the macrocosm down to the infinitely human microcosm.

Also, everyone changes as they live their lives. Most of us don’t want to be judged, but if we are, we want to be judged by who we are now. As an old high school friend, I would like to see you address this type of issue in relationship to transgender politics.

I’ll try to do that tonight…with a little bit of other stuff mixed in.

To thy own self be true

I was scouting for something to write about/discuss a couple of nights ago and I ran across a few reviews of a new movie that is making the rounds in less than usual venues.  Funded in part by The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, That All May Freely Serve (TAMFS), The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Arlington Cultural Arts Council, The Open Meadows Foundation the movie was produced and directed by Alice Dungan Bouvrie of Mineral King Productions and is entitled Thy Will Be Done, which we of course recognize as a phrase from The Lord’s Prayer.

Personally I might have preferred a quote from Shakespeare.

This above all: to thine own self be true.

–Polonius to his son Laertes, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, line 82

That is, after all, what the story seems to be about for me.

Even people in a conservative state are not safe

That’s what a supporter of Sally Kern says in the video to the left…and his purported lack of safety is in reference to Sally Kern’s opponent in the race for the representative of Oklahoma House district 84, Brittany Novotny.  And why does he…and by extension, all of you as well, have to fear from Brittany?

Brittany is a transwoman.  The fact that she is an Oklahoma City attorney focusing on employment and civil rights law can be conveniently discarded.  The fact that she is ready, willing and able to work for the citizens of her district means nothing.  She’s a transwoman…and her opponents judge that to be a “moral issue”.

Our lives…our existences…are not issues, moral or otherwise.  We are people.

Friday Philosophy: the Politics of Disappointment

Last week, you all recall there was a “moneybomb” for Jack Conway.  Hey, I get calls for money from democrats three or four times a day.  I usually write them back asking some questions.  They are generally not answered.

I asked, in the moneybomb diary, why there was nothing at the Conway website describing the candidate’s stance on GLBT issues.  I was told by someone who was apparently a supporter…and someone who thought he was much smarter than I…that it was Kentucky, as if that meant those issues didn’t matter there.

Excuse me?  I thought Kentucky was one of the United States of America…and that as Americans, and especially as Democrats, we were generally opposed to second-class…even third- or fourth-class citizenship.

Friday Philosophy: Clutter – Three Poems

I recently had to empty one office and move all my shit into another one in a different building.  As often has happened when I have done this sort of thing, I uncovered an old scrap of paper.  On it were three poems.  Searching my data banks has revealed that two of them were micro-planed into poems which I have published before, in slightly different form.

Because of the start of the new semester, that’s about all I’ve got to share this evening.

Originally I was going to write a piece entitled In the good old days, they just called us perverts, but I didn’t find the time to flesh it out.  If anyone wants to discuss the topic, I’m game to do so in the comments.

Friday Philosophy: Transpeople in the News

Sacramento, CA:  The California State Senate passed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Prisoner Safety Act (AB 633) by a 26-9 vote and sent it on to Governor Scharzennegger.  The bill is designed to protect LGBT people who are incarcerated.  Arnold vetoed a similar bill last year.

A recent study from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) found that 67 percent of LGBT inmates report being sexually assaulted by another inmate, a rate 15 times higher than the overall prison population. Another study by UC Irvine and commissioned by CDCR found that 69 percent of transgender inmates reported sexual victimization while incarcerated.

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