Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is You Is or Is You Ain't a Lady?

Do you remember the episode of the original Star Trek television series when a computer threatened to take over the Starship Enterprise and Mr. Spock caused it to self-destruct by asking it to calculate the exact value of pi? As any high school student can tell you, pi is a ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter; and that ratio has no absolute answer. But to keep students’ heads from exploding, The Federal Department of Exploding Head Prevention has determined that for all practical math problems pi shall be valued at 3.14.

Well, for America’s religious right, the issue of same-sex marriage is a lot like that.

The overturning of California’s Proposition 8 on same-sex marriage is a milestone, and one which may very well be game changer when this issue eventually comes before the Supreme Court. I don’t know if allowing TGLB folk to marry will improve the dismal survival statistics of the straights, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Personally, I think that any group who has waited as long as the TGLB community has will probably do more to revive the “sanctity of marriage” than their hetero counterparts. Then again, I could be dead wrong and the rainbow community may be just as awful at high-fidelity as Newt and the rest of that gang.

The whole issue is moot for the transgendered community, as usual, because depending on which state we live in, there is some question as to whether or not we are legally recognized as male or female. So no matter who we want to marry we’re probably not going to be able to do it anyway. Confused? I don’t blame you. Consider the following equation.

1) Lydia, a lesbian, transgendered woman leaves New Jersey at 4 pm on a Thursday bound for Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with her civilly unionized partner, Pat. She travels down I-95 at sixty-five miles per hour, with her newly re-issued New Jersey birth certificate packed in her bag, which clearly states that she was born female. Pat and she arrive twenty-four hours later to begin their new jobs as cast members in the “9 to 5” nightclub show. 

Two days after starting the job, Lydia is summoned to the ‘Human’ Relations office where she is told that Tennessee does not recognize her New Jersey birth certificate OR her civil union with Pat. However, because the State of Tennessee still views her as a man, she and Pat can get legally married, thereby preserving the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. So, if x= miles per hour, how soon can Lydia and Pat get the hell out of Tennessee and back to civilization? 

I)                    Faster than a speeding bullet
II)                  The speed of sound
III)                The speed of light
IV)              I and II only

. If you answered IV, congratulations! As for you others, really, the speed of light? Come on people! Every first-grader (except in Tennessee) knows that we have not yet been able to achieve that. If we could, then we could travel through time and replace Tennessee with a really nice, big lake; maybe call it Rainbow Lake.  However, if that option were available, I’m sure Pat and Lydia would have jumped on it faster than Fred Phelps can say, “God hates Fags”, which as we all know, is pretty damned fast. But let’s move on to question number two.

2. Justin, a transgendered  man with a newly re-issued New Jersey birth certificate designating him as male, gets a great job with Texas Sourdough Company and has to move to um...Texas, where his birth certificate will be honored.

At the annual holiday party, Justin meets Susan, a systems analyst. The two begin dating and within a year, Justin asks for Susan’s hand (and the rest of her) in marriage. They plan on a huge wedding, because this is Texas and everything is big.

Two weeks before the nuptials, Justin and Susan go down to City Hall to get their marriage license. Guy Le Clerc, who works in the Records Department, regretfully informs the couple that they cannot be legally married because even though Justin is considered male in both New Jersey and Texas, the decision rendered by the Texas Supreme Court in Littleton v. Prange forbids it. Justin, for marriage purposes, is still considered female, and same-sex marriage is illegal in Texas. Mr. Le Clerc offers his apologies, but keeps the ten-dollar processing fee. The couple leave City Hall heartbroken and in tears, thereby preserving the ‘sanctity’ of marriage.

At same time Jason, Justin’s twin, who is a transgendered gay man (come on people, work with me here) also moves to Texas and gets a job with the Texas Sourdough Company. At the same holiday party, Jason meets the love of his life, Ludlow “Sonny” Day. They too, would like to marry, but of course, cannot because same-sex marriage is verboten in the Longhorn State. Or can they? 

Given that Texas bases its marital criteria on gender at birth, it would seem that Jason (born female) and Sonny (a genetic male) could in fact, marry, thereby preserving the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. What do you think?

In your own words, please describe how fucked-up this is. Pay particular attention to sentence and paragraph construction, syntax, and supply detail descriptions. Pints will be deduckted for speling.

I wish I ran The Federal Department of Exploding Head Prevention because I would love to take a swing at this issue. It’s not nearly as complex as say, the value of pi. Oh what the hell, there’s no such thing as The Federal Department of Exploding Head Prevention, so I might as well.

First of all, let’s examine the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. Now I’m not saying all marriages are bullshit, but I’d be willing to bet that the percentage is higher than the tight, pursed lips of the religious right would care to admit. Just look around in your own life; in the last year or two how many politicians, ministers, friends, and just plain folk in your neighborhood have tossed their marriages into the trash along with that green cream cheese that had been in your refrigerator since last Fourth of July? And how many more of your friends would like to take up La Vida Single, but can’t because of economics. Yes pilgrim, recession even affects the ‘sanctity’ of marriage.  Most statisticians agree that in the recession, the rate of divorce drops because of economics. As the song says, “It’s cheaper to keep her”.

Second, the idea of civil marriage differs from the religious version. The civil version (which is the one in question), carries a lot of economic and social benefits, such as joint tax filing, sharing of health benefits, child rearing, and of course being able to be at your spouse’s bedside in the event of a health calamity. As for the religious version, I truly don’t believe that people are going to worship in a church where they are not welcomed, much less marry in one. So for those who subscribe to the ‘abomination’ philosophy of people like Rick Santorum, et al, just go about your business; you have no power here. But stay out of my business as well.

Now on to the issue of who’s a male and who’s a female. Until the day comes when geneticists can prove conclusively one way or another that transgenderism is in fact, physical in origin and not a mental disorder, y’all are going to just have to take our word for it that it exists. But until that happens, believing that God couldn’t or wouldn’t create us is the real abomination. Because if you believe in God, you believe that He is perfect, that He made everything and that He can make no mistakes. Thus, if he cannot make mistakes, and He made transgendered folk, then I am not a mistake. So kiss my ass.

Societly speaking, the XY or XX argument in determining gender will remain the chromosomal equivalent of pi; but at least in pi’s case, the mathematicians were able to reach a compromise on its value. Surely the religious right can do the same when valuing human beings.

Let me close by saying that I have no skin in the marriage game, having done it unsuccessfully twice. In all honesty, I would never do it again, even if I could. Seriously, I would rather scotch tape a bloody steak around my thigh and put my leg in the mouth of a Rottweiler with rabies, who’s been fasting for two weeks, then pull my own bloody limb out of the great beast’s gaping maw and beat myself to death with it before I ever agree to marry someone, male or female. But there are those who still want to and they should have the right to do so. If they love each other and believe in the institution, it would, in Mr. Spock’s words, be “illogical” not to permit it.

You go on and get married if that satisfies you. And if your state doesn't allow it, fight like hell to change that. As for me? I’m grabbing a slice of pie from the fridge.

That’s it. I’m done bitching. Everybody hug, everybody eat! Abbondanza!




No comments:

Post a Comment