Friday, February 5, 2010

Representative Hunter on NPR

Where to start with this one….

Representative Hunter manages to display the range and scope of his ignorance and bigotry of LGBT issues in just under five minutes.

He starts by labeling transgender people and hermaphrodites (a better word is intersex) as a sexual preference.

First off, being a hermaphrodite is a genetic condition. No one chooses their chromosomes or genitalia at birth- hence transgender people. (Which is not a sexual preference)

Transgender, at its broadest definition, can be purely behavioral, and I feel, is partially a result of rigid gender expectations and understandings in societies.

Now, from that perspective, I can understand Representative Hunter’s fear of transgender men and women in the military. This institution is about conformity, especially along gender lines. I know women who serve that are not allowed to get the same buzz cuts as men do; they must maintain longer hair, for arbitrary reasons. Transgender people would buck that system, but maybe that is a critique against the military itself.

Representative Hunter also seems afraid that Don’t ask Don’t Tell (DADT) will cause everyone who is LGBT (and intersex) to tell everyone, upon first meeting, of their sexual orientation, which he calls a preference. People usually don’t do this. Everyone has their own method of introducing themselves to others. A few might include sexual orientation, many will not. Unfortunately LGB people are seen as being overt about their sexuality when mentioning normal aspects of their lives like significant others.

This of course would lead to a “bathroom situation”. I don’t really know what he gets up to in the bathroom. Speaking for myself, I use it only for bodily waste disposal. The sexuality or gender of the person using the facilities with me does not at all affect this process.

And if people are uncomfortable about it. So what!

In this time of war, many of our soldiers are in other countries, dealing with inhabitants who do not have American values and expectations. I feel that soldiers need to learn sensitivity to issues they do not understand. The sexuality of the squad mates could act as a spring board, rather than a dividing line.

As an anthropology student, I know and have experienced trying to adapt and fit into situations that I don’t immediately comprehend, but through thinking about and dealing with differences I have become a stronger and better person.

I want to trust our troops and believe that the different sexual orientations in their units is not the hardest thing they are facing right now.

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