Kate’s Corner ~~~ A young Transwoman’s take on Coulter, Olbermann and HRC

Katie

By Kate Doak.

If anyone thought that sexism wasn’t rife within politics and the media, the events of the last few days should cure them. Between homophobic comments, ACORN rants and penis jokes by some attendees of the recent CPAC summit, not to mention a proverbial tennis match between Keith Olbermann and Ann Coulter over transgender individuals, there’s more than enough ammunition floating around that shows the influence that issues like sex and sexuality have on society today.

Now Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann have a long history of despising each other’s guts, to the point where a Bullwhip, Chair and Pistol would probably be useful if they ever met face to face and were forced to openly talk about their differences. Like two competing lightening rods, both of these individuals are polarised to their respective ideals in a way that will never change.

As a young Trans-woman, I’ve heard my fair share of transgender-orientated jokes and rants from both conservatives and liberals. For some weird reason, we tend to be regular targets of ridicule for Conservatives, some feminists and parts of the gay community alike. Coincidently as I’m writing this, I’m receiving extremely cold stares from a gay guy who used to reside in my University Dorm and officially complained about my Transition last year. Transphobia can come from anyone, regardless of politics, location or sexuality.

Recently Ann Coulter launched an attack on MSNBC, pretty much calling Keith Olbermann a Mama’s Boy, Richard Wolffe a creepy androgynous “he-she”, and Rachel Maddow a dude. In a strange twist for a Journalism student, words cannot describe the disgust that I’m experiencing typing these comments out. They are examples of Transphobia in their most vile and blatant form. To the best of my knowledge, neither Maddow or Wolffe have commented publicly on Coulter’s remarks. Olbermann on the other hand has decided to trade barbs with Coulter over this, resorting to referencing Ann’s well known nickname, “Mann Coulter”.

Over the years Olbermann has proved to be a very useful ally for the LGBT movement and the Transgender community in general. Coulter on the other hand, has a vindictive streak within her personality, regularly showing that she’s willing to stamp on the weakest in society if it furthers her own social and political agenda. However annoying, offensive and disgusting it may be, hearing Transphobic remarks from Ann isn’t very surprising. Hearing Keith use Transgender people as a punchline against Ann Coulter however, is.

Quoting Olbermann: (video in link)

“All I have to say about Ann Coulter is this. If this guy wants to live his life as a woman I’m going to back his choice up 100 percent. Coultergeist, today’s not worst person in the world.”

Now I know that I’ll catch a lot of flack for this, but Olbermann crossed a line in saying that. Just because Coulter targeted MSNBC with Transphobic remarks, doesn’t give Olbermann the moral right to respond in kind, no matter how justified or satisfying such a return volley might be. At all times a media personality must take into consideration the ideals and values of their audience, while acting responsibly. With this particular story, I don’t think that Keith and his writers did that, as there are plenty of other punchlines that he could have used that wouldn’t have ridiculed one of the smallest and quietest minorities in the world. Both Keith and Ann’s respective tirades do nothing but promote an environment where transgender people are threatened with violence on a daily basis. The horrific murders of people like Angie Zapata, Gwen Araujo and Brandon Teena are testament to that.

The latest round of Olbermann and Coulter’s “Love-fest” also showcases the low priority that organisations such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have for the Transgender community at this time. Since this story broke, there hasn’t been a single press release or comment from any of these organisations about either Olbermann’s or Coulter’s comments. This is extremely surprising given the fact that Coulter called CNN’s Anderson Cooper gay and Olbermann a girl, at the Conservative Political Action Conference for 2010 over the weekend.  If it wasn’t for columnists such as Tommy Christopher and the people at Queerty, it is highly probable that the punchline of these comments would have gone un-noticed.

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time that these organisations have ignored issues concerning the Transgender community for political gain. Soon after The Task Force’s Creating Change 2010 summit earlier this month, I asked the Human Rights Campaign’s Diversity Officer Allyson Robinson via Twitter what her organisation’s policies are towards Transgender people in the military and why there weren’t Transgender provisions within the Bill to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. After having to apply considerable pressure, I was then informed that the Transgender community is covered by a “Medical Policy” and that I should talk to “Knights Out” about it. For those of you who don’t know, that’s Washington-speak for “You are too controversial for us to consider helping with this Bill. Go away and be someone else’s problem”. This chain of thought is typical of what the Transgender community has been experiencing for quite a while, where HRC will only advocate for Transgender rights if it is politically advantageous for them to do so.

Ironically, as Transphobic as Coulter’s and Olbermann’s comments are, they aren’t nearly as offensive as the refusal of some LGBT rights organisations to stand up to them.

_______________________________________________________

Kate Doak is a Postgraduate student at the University of New England, Australia.  Over the past several years, Kate’s changed genders once, academic fields twice and has developed a deep passion for radio broadcasting.  When not posting for Tommy Christopher’s Daily Dose, she can be found at www.tunefm.net or on Twitter.

Advertisements

Kate’s Corner ~ Medical Team abandons Haitian Hospital, CNN steps in

By Kate Doak

Port-au-Prince victims of the Haiti Earthquake were left writhing in pain overnight, after UN personnel ordered the closure of a Make-shift hospital and the evacuation of its Belgian Medical Team, due to security concerns.

In a move which is bound to have severe repurcussions for the UN, the Hospital’s patients were forcably abandoned, leaving only a CNN News Team led by Dr Sanjay Gupta to care for them. If it wasn’t for these individuals and a few caring locals stepping in, it is highly probable that many of the patients would have died.

After being informed that the Hospital was closing overnight, Dr Gupta was left as the only Doctor to care for these patients, many of whom had just suffered severe head injuries and other major trauma’s. In an interview with CNN, Gupta expressed the following:

“What is striking to me as a physician is that patients who just had surgery, patients who are critically ill are essentially being left here, nobody to care for them.”

In another interview with CNN, Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, US Army (Ret.), who led relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, commented upon the situation:

“Search and Rescue must trump Security. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. They need to man up and get back in there.”

Now normally I have the utmost respect for Doctors and the UN, though decisions and actions such as this are just completely unforgivable, not to meantion shameful. If the Doctors were being ordered to move, they should have taken their patients with them. If they weren’t allowed to, they should have given the relevant UN Officials the “Bird”, and carried on with their work. If a location isn’t safe enough for the Medical Team, then it most certainly isn’t safe enough for patients to be just left to die. Whether they were forced to go or not, the Doctors shouldn’t have abandoned their patients.

In contrast however, I have the utmost admiration, appreciation and respect for Dr Gupta and his team from CNN. This team includes CNN’s Tim Crockett, Jonathan Schaer and one of my mentors, the intrepid Danielle Dellorto. Having witnessed her kindness, honesty and wisdom during my own darkest hour, I know that “Dani” would have done her best to help and comfort the injured, while she would have been a source of inspiration and encouragement for the rest of her team. In a world dominated by instant communication, neither words or photographs can describe how proud I am of my mentor and her colleagues.

Here are some of the Tweets from CNN’s Dr Gupta and Danielle Dellorto from throughout the night:

Kate Doak is a Postgraduate Student at the University of New England, Australia.  Over several years she has changed beats twice, genders once and has interviewed some of Australia’s top Authors, Politicians, Musicians and Journalists for TUNE! FM.  Nowadays, Kate primarily focuses on International History and Current Affairs.

Protests – Compare and Contrast

bllieddoseFox News Reporter Griff Jenkins, lauded after attempting to climb over and barrel through security to interview Ward Churchill – questions PROTESTERS about whether they care about free speech, while they are exercising their right to it:

CNN Reporter Susan Roesgen fired for behaving similarly:

New Hampsire protester legally exercises his state right to bear arms at a public protest, and is praised:

Code Pink protester talks back to police officer, is knocked to the ground and called a bitch by security:

RNC:

DNC:

“We report, you decide.”


Billie’s Quickies

bllieddoseLess than one year after Campbell Brown ponders whether Barack Obama is the Antichrist she says, “CNN is the only cable news network doing journalism.

Good one!

Birthers Endorse Chuck Norris For President

chuck12

With all of the recent noise surrounding the “Birther” movement, I pitched a conspiracy theory roundup to my editors at Asylum.  As I was researching the article, I came across this hilarous Chuck Norris Fact:  The Birthers endorse Chuck for President.

There’s a link on the official Birther homepage to the Chuck Norris 2012 page, where you’ll find the answers to the obvious question:

Why Chuck Norris? Do you need to ask?

Actually, I would have said, “Chuck Norris for President? WTF?” I digress.

Our country needs leadership and Chuck is the one to give it to us! He has a strong moral and professional background and is a leader in everything he does. He will uphold the Constitution and protect all of our rights!

Unless you’re gay.

He is respected by our troops and has proven himself financially responsible.

He has already proven that he has a sence of humor!
If I am elected president – Chuck Norris (06/11/2007)
If I Am Elected Vice President – Chuck Norris (05/20/2008)
– And don’t forget Chuck Norris Facts

While you are at it, check out The Birthers, Dedicated to the rebirth of our Constitutional Republic.

The strange thing, though, is that the Birther-run Chuck Norris 2012 doesn’t feature any proof at all that Norris is a natural-born US citizen.  What gives?  What’s the difference between Chuck Norris and Barack Obama?  No, it couldn’t be that Norris is white and Obama isn’t.  Why is that the first thing you people always think of?

No, there’s no other conclusion to be drawn.  The entire “Birther” movement was created as a smokescreen to cover up Norris” own Kenyan birth.  Chuckers, unite!  Demand proof that this isn’t true!

Surprise! Anti-Healthcare Reform Horror Story is a Lie

Update: So, that Canadian lady in the commercial, the one who wants to keep at least 20 million Americans without healthcare?  The one with the life-threatening brain tumor?  Yeah, not so much.

Still, I found Holmes tale both compelling and troubling. So I decided to check a little further. On the Mayo Clinic’s website, Shona Holmes is a success story. But it’s somewhat different story than all the headlines might have implied. Holmes’ “brain tumour” was actually a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland. To quote an American source, the John Wayne Cancer Center, “Rathke’s Cleft Cysts are not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts.”

Well, surely, a Rathke cleft cyst can be life-threatening, right?

Mortality associated with RCCs is extremely rare. In a study conducted by Shin and colleagues, the mortality rate was 0%, and the recurrence rate was 19%.2 In the literature, recurrence rates typically are lower, commonly 5-10%; however, Mukherjee co-authors reported a recurrence rate of 33%.

So, there you have it.  The Republicans want you to put the future of your healthcare in the hands of a Canadian hypochondriac.  I suppose that’s marginally better than letting the Republicans handle it, but I think we’ll stick with the public option.

Healthcare PWN-age Video of the Day

This clip is actually a few weeks old, but it was emailed to me by a conservative who was in an apoplectic lather over Jane Hamsher’s attempted PWNing of Townhall’s Jillian Bandes.

As it turns out, Jillian PWNed herself. Check it out.

Hamsher plays a little bit of dirty pool here, using her own cancer survivorship to try and taze Bandes into submission,but in doing so, misses a better opportunity. Everybody’s got a story, and when you rest your argument on one, you legitimize whatever sob story the right wants to dig up. Since all the right really has are anecdotes and speculative fiction, this is a bad strategy.

In fact, she’s responding to an ad in which another cancer survivor does the same thing. We could trade horror stories all day long, and it wouldn’t do a thing to illuminate this issue for people.

Hamsher misses the big kill here, as Jillian Bandes delivers the perfect setup. When Shuster asks her who represents the “50 million uninsured,” Bandes torturously haggles him down to 20 million people.

20 million people? Using the best math available to the right, generously granting all of Bandes’ assumptions, that is the best they can do? Why didn’t Hamsher zero in on that? Who is representing the at least twenty million people who cannot get health insurance?

That is the real shame in this.

She misses another chance, as well, to challenge the contradictory assumptions of the right. They say that the public plan will be a deadly morass, yet they are convinced that private insurance companies will be unable to compete with it. What sense does that make? That’s like saying that cheap cans of shit will drive beef stew out of the market. It’s nonsense. Bandes also gets away without answering to the overwhelming public support for a government option.

There may be some grassroots opposition to the public option, but it seems to be coming from insurance companies and their best customers. Take it with a grain of salt, then get your blood pressure checked, if you can.

CNN’s Don Lemon Stars in ‘Comically Awkward Moment Theatre’

I have a weird sense of humor, so while others might smile at this, I spit my drink.  Check out this clip, and keep your eye on Don Lemon the whole time.

When the reporter says “no,” it looks like the Invisible Man picked Lemon up and threw him back in his chair.  Then, Lemon patters his way out of the segment like a guy caught looking when he wasn’t supposed to.  “Yeah, uh, the stairs…G8…blurgh…”

Classic.

Update: In an uncomfortable coincidence, Moe Lane posted this exact video, and we tweeted about it within the same minute.