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October 6, 2007

"normal" - we're all in the same fish tank

In the next couple of weeks Congress might pass HR 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect Americans from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But a substitute bill has been introduced as HR 3685, which would not stop discrimination based on gender identity.

There has been a lot of good discussions on various blogs both for and against both versions of the bill, and also rumbles of dissent within the organizations that some feel represent the LGBTwhatever community.

xiphophorus_helleri.jpgAs I look over at the swordtail fish in my aquarium, and the guppies in my pond, I recall the stuff I learned about the sexual diversity of fish in college ichthyology class. Depending on the ratio of males to females, age and sexual maturity of the fish in my aquarium, some of them change from female to male, or back again. Other kinds of fish change from male to female when they reach a certain size so they can produce more eggs, which requires more energy and mass to produce than sperm. We even have tranny bass in the Potomac. Some juvenile (but sexually prepared) salmon and sunfish males come to court the females at their nest, pretending to be female as the larger mature males don't always recognize them as competitors. The smaller (but quicker) tranny sunfish or salmon then zips in to the nest, deposits the sperm, and zips out again before the larger males know what's happened. There are a vast range of sexual strategies in the animal world, and most of them are to the benefit of the species as a whole. Quick and tranny, or big and butch? It's not always clear which will work best for the next generation.

Humans are not as subject to hermaphroditism and sex change as fish, but there are hermaphrodite and tranny people out there just as I have tranny fish in my aquarium. Look at the gays - we're different, we were born this way (I think so anyway), and there's a reason why we are this way. Our sexual difference may not be as advantageous depending on the culture, but somehow we happened this way.

I believe transsexuals and hermaphrodites happened that way too. Some people are born one sex but in their mind they know they should be another sex. The 2003 HBO film Normal is about a seemingly "normal" Midwestern factory worker who stuns his family and community by revealing he wants a sex change operation. The acting delivered by Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson show the painfully awkward situations that the main character was in, and the film turned my thoughts around on what a transsexual has to go through to deal with what he or she thinks is the right thing to do. Cue it on your Netflicks subscription some time, especially you Heroes fans, as the daughter in the family is played by a young Hayden Panettiere (Claire, the cheerleader).

enda_ad_150x200px.gifAnyway, I want to bring to your attention a community-wide campaign that hopes to keep 'gender identity' protection in bill HR 2015. The campaign, Accept No Substitutes, a parody of Splenda, the artificial sweetener, asks visitors to sign a petition "to tell Congress to support the original ENDA and accept no substitutes!" Your support will help Congress continue to build support for the original ENDA. The well-intended substitute just won't do.

Washington DC's 20th Annual High Heel RaceI know the addition of 'trans' may endanger the survival of the bill, but like homos, trans (and especially hermaphrodites) people can't help being what they are or what they think they need to be, and are subject to workplace discrimination because of their situation. There is a continuum of sexualities amongst humans: most people are dimorphic (straight), some people are gay or lesbian, and a few people are a little in between all of those options. I believe we're all in the same boat - or in this case sharing the same community aquarium.

Besides - you'll have to answer to Charlene if you have a problem with it.

Charlene says: "Thaynk Yew!" for your support on this matter.

Posted by jimbo at October 6, 2007 10:30 PM


Your post was educational and thoughtful, Jimbo. I wouldn't want to piss Miss Charlene off under any circumstances, those heels hurt!

Posted by: homer at October 5, 2007 9:47 AM

Preach on, my gay brothah. I am a firm believer in the "we're here for a reason" theory. Who's to say that we're not naturally occurring population control?

Fabulously dressed population control, but population control, nonetheless.

Posted by: Stephen J. Xanthos at October 5, 2007 10:00 AM

Awwwwh ... Charlene looks just as young and vibrant as she did almost a year ago .... but then again I'm a proud "momma". Charlene needs to make an appearance at MAM this weekend ....

Posted by: Rob at October 5, 2007 10:57 AM

Wouldn't fighting for someone else's rights be a lot easier if it wouldn't endanger our jobs to do it? All or nothing seems pretty dumb considering how long this bill has been floating around washington. Didn't it first come up in 1971!

Posted by: Tim at October 5, 2007 4:51 PM

Is Jimbo posting from the future of tomorrow? By my recolection, its still Oct 5th, not the 6th. Damn him, he'll know whats going to happen on Stargate before me!

Posted by: Chad at October 5, 2007 6:07 PM

Excellent writing Jimbo - great post.

Posted by: MIchele at October 5, 2007 7:08 PM

I agree with Tim. I don't see how jeopardizing the jobs and health care of thousands of gay men and women for many more years advances the cause of trans people.

Posted by: Sean at October 5, 2007 9:47 PM

Upon reaching 12th level in the Blogger class, you get to post into the future.

Posted by: jimbo at October 5, 2007 11:43 PM

Fierce, Charlene! Hope the petition goes well :)

Posted by: quercer at October 7, 2007 6:17 AM

Yew make me feel back home when yew tawk like that.. er, when Charlene tawks like that. That's the "cost of good souls" for yew, Hon.

Posted by: bc at October 8, 2007 2:36 PM

My opinion in regards to people who go through a sex change, is pretty complicated.

I will say thig though.. I think it is sad that we even have to make laws telling that "Yes even they are protected" under the law.

I firmly belive that EVERY one is and should be protected.

Posted by: Dax at October 9, 2007 11:53 AM

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