Response to Gayle Ruzika’s latest claptrap about gender identity

Friday, November 8, 2013 2 Permalink 0

Today the Deseret News published a “My View” letter written by Utah’s own Mrs. Gayle Ruzika. You can read her letter here. (If you don’t know who she is, Google her name. She is no friend to the LGBT community.)

A person sent me the link to the article and asked for my thoughts. Below is my reply. 

“I have some problems with her logic. First, the basic premise of her article conflates two very separate and two very distinct issues: gender identity and sexual orientation.

Second, the title and the structure of the article builds up to the scary climax that non-discrimination that includes gender identity might lead to same-sex marriage. That’s what this is all about? Gayle may not be able to read the writing on the wall, but marriage equality will be legal in all 50 states within the next 5-10 years regardless if gender identity is included in anti-discrimination law. This is true in Utah. (As a side note, my great-great Mormon polygamist grandparents would not take kindly to people telling them how to live their lives, especially when it came to their marriages. I really love that Utah history, Mormon history and by extension my family history is loaded with factual evidence of people living “alternative lifestyles” well before that term was used as an insult.)

Her name calling (“Democrats”) and pejoratives (“boys and birls”) are unbecoming of a Latter-day Saint. For someone who professes to be a disciple of Christ, it doesn’t seem like Gayle has done much to help people feel loved and like a child of God, especially people who are different and suffering.
I read an article written by a Mormon mother who’s son is transgender. Reading the article made me weep. Trans people are not sexual deviants who are confused or stupid. They are real people with families, with parents who held them as tiny babies and beamed with pride that their family now had a new addition. Imagine how difficult it is for parents who have a son who one day tells them that he is really a female. I know that seems very weird, but it happens. Biology, sex, and gender identity are extremely complicated issues. Even so, I hope that people would feel compassionate towards people whose path is different than their own, instead of feeling “discomfort” that there is some infinitesimally small chance that one MIGHT see someone in a public bathroom or a locker room at work.
This is the link to the story by the Mormon mother about her trans son. It’s worth a read.
I am heavily involved in the gay community and the gay Mormon community and have been for years. That being true, I personally know very, very few trans people, nor have I ever seen someone in a locker room. And if I did and felt “discomfort,” so what? Discomfort from someone else who is an American and part of the democratic process is not protected by law.
Substitute the words “gender identity” with “black”, “woman”, or “Mormon” and hopefully you’ll see how the argument falls apart.
For example:
“What about the rights of people who feel discomfort sharing a bathroom with black people? Why do all these black people want special rights? Don’t they know they are making white people uncomfortable?”
Or
“What about the rights of men who feel discomfort with women voting. What about their rights to keep women out of the political process?”
Or
“What about the rights of people who feel discomfort with Mormons at their job? What if they see Mormon garments in the locker room and feel discomfort? What about their rights?” See how that argument really holds no water, except to be used as a weapon against people someone doesn’t like?
And the final question to her article has a simple answer: if one person was born a biological woman and has had sexual reassignment surgery and changed their personal documents to match their name and sex, then that person is a man. And if that person wants to marry a woman, then it’s a marriage between a man and a woman. That’s an easy question.
This has been going on since 1951. The first national trans woman was named Christine Jorgensen
This is a clip of her being interviewed in the late 60s
Again, thank you for sending this and asking for my thoughts. We may not agree, but I hope we can always have open, productive conversations.”
As a side note, I was pleased to see so many of the commentators on the Deseret News site who disagreed with Gayle. There is hope, even in Utah.

2 Comments
  • pat L
    December 20, 2013

    Congrats to you, best wishes!

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      December 22, 2013

      Thank you!! :)

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