Gays and trannies – Not twins, but definitely siblings

Just to set the record straight – gays & lesbians are not the same as transsexuals/transgender people. We understand them, we understand they are misunderstood, and we consider them part of our broader “community”, but they are not part of the same phenomenon.

If you are gay or lesbian, or bisexual, you are comfortable with the chromosomes and genitalia you were born with – you are simply sexually and emotionally attracted to the same sex. Yes, plenty of gay men are effeminate and plenty of lesbians are masculine, but they are not interested in swapping dicks for pussies or vice versa.

Before I contrast that with the trannies, let’s break them down:

  • transvestite – simply likes to dress in the opposite sex’s clothing (has nothing to do with wanting to be the other sex, or attraction); remember -vest-; this has to do with clothing
  • transgender – considers self as the opposite gender but doesn’t necessarily want to go through with the surgery; these are women who identify as “boi”, men who identify as “girl” or “lady”. SF has tons of transgender FTM (female-to-male)
  • transsexual – genuinely feels like he/she was born in the wrong gender, and usually goes through surgery to correct the sex to what he/she feels is the right one; most transsexuals are attracted to the opposite sex, while some are attracted to the same sex.

As you can see, none of these three presumes what sex you’re attracted to. For example, if you were a MTF transsexual, that means you were born a male, but feel natural as a female, so you undergo surgery to become a female. You could be attracted to men (heterosexual) or women (homosexual). I have seen both. Really.

And, despite popular perception, an MTF transsexual is not a really, really gay guy (although it might seem that way sometimes). You don’t get progressively gayer until >poof!< you want to be the other sex. If that were true, I would want to be a woman just a little bit. I don’t. Again, I’m 100% happy with the sex I was born into.

But the reason that gays & lesbians, for the most part (well, the open-minded ones, at least – there are plenty of bigots of all types in our community!), sympathize with trans people of all types is because:

  • we understand that what feels 100% natural to us may not be what the majority feels
  • we understand it’s not “just a phase”
  • we understand that if you’re not “normal”, then you can face hatred and even violence from bigots

This is why we support trans people’s protection under the hate crimes laws proposed to protect us.

Another thing: Drag queens are transvestites just for performance. Not the same as transvestites who do so for private pleasure. Not the same as transgenders or transsexuals.

(Just trying to set the record straight for the curious.)

Sherri Shepherd is stupid

I understand that the under-50 IQ crowd needs representation on The View, Barbara Walter’s morning talk show, but Sherri Shepherd is so insultingly idiotic that she brings down the level of the debate on the show. And it’s a shame, because the show can really be interesting to watch. I know people like to knock the show, but it is interesting to hear different viewpoints from people who are typically fairly well-informed and capable to rendering a reasonably intelligent viewpoint.

The exception is Sherri.

All I can say is that Elisabeth Hasselbeck must be thrilled to no longer be the dumbest woman on the panel. Even she sounds like Einstein compared to Ms Shepherd, who apparently is too busy taking care of her kids to realize our planet is round and not flat.

Yeah, all that parenting can really drain you to the point of not knowing what 99% of 2nd graders already understand.

I just looked her up in Wikipedia and it seems she was raised a Jehovah’s Witness but then converted to born-again Christianity. That’s like a moron becoming an idiot.

Barbara, please fire this dolt. Stop pandering to the absolute lowest common denominator among your viewership. She’s only useful to point out how appallingly bad our educational standards have fallen.

VIDEO: Whoopi Goldberg has to talk to Sherri like she is a 3 year old. Sherri proudly denies evolution like a good little Christian robot, and says she doesn’t know if the world is flat or not. “Is the world flat? I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it, Whoopi. I’ll tell you what I have thought about – how I’m going to feed my child.”

Apparently she thinks she needs $2 million to feed her child. Man, that kid has expensive tastes!

VIDEO: Sherri does not understand, literally or figuratively, what a chameleon is. “And it’s also hard for men to be a chameleon behind a woman, you know, people shoving them out of the way.”

I love Ugly Betty. LOVE it.

Ugly BettyIf you have a sense of humor, a soul and a good eye for color, I strongly suggest you watch Ugly Betty.My boyfriend and I watched the entire first season on DVD this past week and fell in love. What looks at first glance like a prime-time telenovela made us laugh and even cry.


Okay, three times, but stop bugging me about it.

Why is this show so great? Let me count the ways:

  1. An UGLY main character! Okay, she’s not exactly hideous and America Ferrera, the actress who plays her so deftly, is actually kind of cute. But they give her bushy eyebrows, mismatched, ill-fitting clothes, hair that would make most of us shave it all off and start over, and the cheerful self-confidence to not give a shit when everyone keeps on telling her she looks awful. I will say this: the minute they give her a makeover, I stop watching the show.
  2. Great acting. Vanessa Williams, America Ferrera, and Octavia Spencer (who plays Betty’s father’s immigration caseworker, Constance) were the easy standouts, but the entire cast is pretty damn talented as far as I’m concerned. Vanessa plays a cunt like nobody’s business! Well, a cunt with heart.
  3. Color, color, color. I haven’t seen such vivid sets like this since The Incredible Shrinking Woman. It’s a 42 minute feast for the eyes (don’t worry – your retina gets a break during the commercials).
  4. Camp. The show isn’t dripping with it like a John Waters movie, but there are clever, subtle instances of it for fans of the camp out there. Leslie Jordan (Beverley Leslie from Will & Grace) and the inimitable Alec Mapa make great cameos. And Gina Gershon as Fabia (a parody of Donatella Versace) is absolutely delicious.
  5. It’s boundary-breaking. I love the fact that there are several interracial relationships that occur naturally and aren’t PC-ified to the point of making me vomit. I adore that one of the main characters is a transsexual (played by the gorgeous and surprisingly talented Rebecca Romijn). And I love that Betty’s 12-year-old nephew is a screaming sissy and no one in the family seems to give a shit.
  6. Main characters who are Mexican. …who aren’t vilified for being Mexican. And they’re genuinely good people. If you’re sick to death of the racist overtones of the recent immigration “debate”, then this will be refreshing.
  7. It’s set in New York. J’adore New York. Even if it’s filmed in LA and all the backdrops are greenscreened in, I don’t care. Scenes of New York put me in a damn good mood.
  8. You get to love and hate the villains. Although the basic setup of goodies & baddies is as simplistic as you might imagine, you occasionally feel for the people who have a lot of fun at poor Betty’s expense. Partly because they succumb to the same human frailties that most of do. But also because plucky Betty brushes off their insults without a scratch.
  9. Some hot Latin papis! Kevin Alejandro? Well, hello there! Cristian de la Fuente? Verrrrry pleased to make your acquaintance! Bailey Chase? Well, not technically Latin, but he still speaks Spanish in my fantasies. Durrrrty Spanish.
  10. Those sweet tearjerkers. Three scenes made my boyfriend and me reach for the Kleenex. (SPOILERS) When Santos proposed to Hilda. When Ignacio said his final farewell to Constance, the deranged caseworker. And when Hilda’s fantasy came to an end (in the first episode of the 2nd season). If you didn’t cry during these scenes, I’d have to seriously question if you have a soul.

Bonus! If you’re a loser like me and don’t even have a television, you can watch full episodes at The quality is excellent and you actually have fewer commercials to deal with than if you were to watch it on TV.

I do think the original Betty La Fea succeeded in making the lead character far more hideous-looking. I had a good chuckle at this picture:

Betty La Fea

Oakland rallies – Obama vs. Hillary

Hillary Clinton in OaklandBarack Obama in OaklandI went to Obama’s rally in Oakland in mid-March, and Hillary’s yesterday. I like and respect both candidates and would happily support either in the general election.The speeches were similar – you know, the Bush era needs to end, we need better governance, less cronyism, stronger alliances abroad, and a return to the culture of cooperation and fairness. Hillary plugged her health care plan since she had just announced her Health Care Choices plan a week ago.

I actually thought Hillary’s speech was better than Obama’s – strong, excellently delivered, and with a nice heart-touching anecdote at the end. Obama’s was more of his typical audacity-of-hope stuff.

Obama drew an estimated 12,000 attendees; Hillary boasted that her attendance broke records with 14,000.

But, really, the biggest difference? The audience.

Obama’s supporters were a good decade younger than Hillary’s. The average age was probably about 25. Lots of Mission (SF), Haight (SF) and Berkeley types, skewed towards the younger, everyone brimming with optimism. Obama’s crowd was probably half black too.

Hillary’s were far more Adams Point (Oakland), Noe Valley (SF) and Walnut Creek – mid-30s to mid-40s with a smattering of college-age volunteers that were all about the business. People were pragmatic on the side of cranky – at one point, one of the announcers asked if we wanted to hear another song from the Glide Memorial choir, and more than a few yelled back, “No!” They were there to see Hillary goddammit and that’s final! The crowd was much more white, too, with only maybe 10% black supporters, and more Asian and Indian families than I remembered in Obama’s rally.

This might reflect the different stages of the campaign – Obama’s speech, 6 months ago, was far earlier in the campaign. Now we’re, believe it or not, closing in on primary season.

And maybe it’s my age or relative level of cynicism (I prefer to call it realism), but I felt more comfortable with the Hillary crowd. I liked her message a bit more. It felt more real, more direct, less nebulous and more finely crafted. More pragmatic. Like her audience.

Obama’s, on the other hand, gave his audience what they were apparently hungering for–optimism, vaguely-worded, and criticism of the Bush administration. The audience generally ate it up. I was a bit skeptical. In the months following, he’s come out with more details about what his policy would entail.

But it still feels like Hillary’s policy is more solid (at least her health care plan, which includes individual mandate while Barack’s does not), she’s more self-assured, and that she’s ready to hit the ground running as her campaign stresses. She’s also a career politician, which is not always a negative. Bill Clinton was too and he was a remarkably talented president.

Nice writeup at the Oakland Tribune.

Aside: Hillary’s attendees (from about 5pm onward, when I got in):

  • SF mayor Gavin Newsom (Hillary mistakenly (?) referred to him as Governor Gavin Newsom at one point)
  • D’wayne Wiggins (from Oakland-based Tony! Toni! Tone!)
  • Nya Jade
  • Cecil Williams and the Glide Memorial Church Choir
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • CA state senator Don Perata
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee
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