Category Archives: GLBT

Words Fail Us

Weer’d World today informs us that Harvard University has hired a BGLTQ director by the name of Vanidy “Van” Bailey. That in itself is worthy of comment, and I will offer one soon, but it must be noted that The Harvard Crimson posted a correction on 3 July to the article reporting this hiring. Apparently, Bailey prefers to eschew “gendered pronouns” in reference to herself. The article and correction can be read here.

I am on record here on this weblog and in many other places in support of human rights, including specifically the right to be attracted to others as our natures dictate. I don’t care whether you’re gay, straight, or mix-and-match. As long as you act only with other consenting adults and as long as you have the discretion to get a room before you get to second base, you and I have no problem.

But it’s a biological fact that multicellular life, in the vast majority of species and particularly for mammals, is divided into male and female. That’s not a value judgement, nor is it a political or moral characteristic. Denying this only serves to make Bailey look foolish. She has succeeded in that, given the various comments posted to the article and correction (including two of my own). What I hope she comes to understand is that not all the comments are necessarily anti-homosexual. There are people in this world who wish to retain logic and science, while at the same time valuing personal liberty. I include myself in that group.

What Bailey is doing appears to be an effort to erase our awareness of the differences between men and women. What are those differences? There are the obvious biological ones, expressed in anatomy and physiology. Folklore suggests many others, but science hesitates to study those for political reasons. I am reluctant to take sides in that discussion, especially since it is also a fact that there is more diversity within a group than between groups, speaking in biological or sociological terms. But the XX genes do create structures that are visibly different from the ones created by XY. To put the matter another way, I would like my bank to use the term, millionaire, in reference to me, but facts are facts.

But what of BGLTQ? It stands for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, and Queer. That’s a mouthful, and its tastes will elicit different reactions, depending on the mouth, but I am curious as to why Harvard University feels the need for all of that to be directed. Harvard’s only job is to be an institution of higher learning. Matters of housing, civility, and law can surely be handled by the Dean of Students (or whatever strained title he or she is given) and the campus police. Students ought to be able to form such clubs as they wish, and members of the faculty ought to be allowed to organize discussions with their colleagues and with students, but the institution should have only one purpose: education.

GLB, But What About T?

I heard about this on NPR, but there are several articles available on the Internet.  Have a look at this one:

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2011/01/18/berkeley-may-pay-for-sex-change-surgeries/

Apparently, some California cities are determined to be everything that the rest of the country believes them to be.

My objection here is not that governments are recognizing and respecting people who don’t fit into the norm.  That’s as it ought to be.  I’ve written before on the question of gay marriage, expressing my support for it.  Sex reassignment surgery is something else entirely.

What’s the difference?  Orientation and marriage are behaviors.  Since gay or straight relationships cause me no harm, I have no wish to interfere in either kind.  I’m glad when any two individuals find each other and form a bond together.  But a person’s sex is fundamental.  When it comes to sex, we are what we are born.  A person is XX or XY.  Yes, there are rare cases in which a person is born with some genetic abnormalities that require medical treatment, and I support our healthcare system providing that, but I don’t see why a city government is considering spending its citizens’ money on what is effectively a cosmetic surgery.

This is not a suggestion that we treat transsexuals rudely.  Again, as long as you don’t harm me, I have no problem with what you do, particularly in your private life.  What I do want is clarity in our thinking.  What it means to be male or female is a complex question, but this kind of foolishness doesn’t help matters.