29 September 2011

Prejudice isn't evidence. It's the opposite.

I've written before about why I think the "legislative repeal" of 10 U.S.C. §654 (The Homosexual Conduct Act, colloquially but incorrectly "DADT") is an abomination. To recap:
  1. A federal court had already held §654 facially unconstitutional in Log Cabin Republicans v Gates and ordered a global injunction against its continued enforcement; and
  2. That court found that laws discriminating against gays merit heightened scrutiny (a crucial and urgently needed legal precedent in the ongoing fight for legal equality); and
  3. The "legislative repeal" was intended to render the important legal precedent of LCR v Gates moot (an outcome the Obama Administration has always desired and continues to argue on behalf of in the court of appeals); and
  4. The "legislative repeal" allows and even requires the military to discriminate against gay and trans servicemembers while kafkaesquely excluding gay and trans servicemembers from being classified as one of the several minorities vulnerable to discrimination; and
  5. The "legislative repeal" categorically bars all legal claims of discrimination under §654 or the repeal itself; so
  6. The "legislative repeal" only says, "gays will no longer be discharged for mere homosexual identity but will otherwise continue to be subject to discrimination without recourse, and heterosexual identity and behavior will continue to be the qualifying factor in determining most employment benefits."
Even assuming the repeal was worthwhile and even if getting #6 implemented hadn't require dicking around for nearly a year, it still wouldn't have protected decorated Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Rebecca Grant. She was recently involuntarily discharged after serving more than decade with honors, including tours in Bosnia and Iraq.

A colleague who wanted to ruin Ssg. Grant's career learned Grant is trans and notified her superiors, aware Army regulations state that all trans persons are impaired by some psychological malfunction so profound they are presumptively unfit to serve. In short, a note dropped in a complaint box functioned as the equivalent of an actual legitimate psychological diagnosis of unfitness for duty DESPITE ACTUAL EVIDENCE Ssg. Grant more than competently performed her job for more than a decade. And this in the US Army, an organization that prides itself on being a meritocracy.

You don't need to be trans to realize this shit needs to end — not just in the U.S. military, but for every worker in the entire United States.

We're not a slave or feudal state — we're a nation founded on the idea that an individual's liberty and pursuit of happiness are their inalienable rights. Inalienable means cannot be taken from you, and cannot be given away.

Employment contracts (explicit and implicit) shouldn't allow an employer any rights beyond job supervision and protection of the employer's assets. If n is not illegal, doesn't interfere with one's ability to perform one's job, or doesn't compromise the employer's assets, employers should be barred from treating n as if it is professionally relevant and a reasonable and justifiable basis for nullifying the contract.

If employers intend to claim something is indeed professionally relevant, they should be expected to bear the burden of proof demonstrating their claim is factually true. Thus, if employers want to refuse to employ trans people, they would merely have to prove trans people can't do that job. Likewise, if employers want to refuse to employ people for smoking at home, they would merely have to show that smokers can't do that job. If employers want to refuse to employ people for being religious nuts, they would merely have to demonstrate how certain religious beliefs interfere with performance.

It's not complicated. Employers have an absolute right to dictate how employees do their job, but that does not extend any corollary right to arbitrarily circumscribe how much liberty they may enjoy or what sorts of happiness they may pursue off-site, off-the-clock, and on their own dime; or to punish people for exceeding those boundaries.

Alas, I suspect that frog has already been boiled by the corporations that regulate our government.

UPDATE: "Mission Accomplished" for Team Obama with regard to #3 above. Unforgivable.

23 September 2011


Quite a spectacle at the Republican debate last night.

Stephen Hill, Iraq veteran, asked the Republican candidates about their policy intent with respect to gays serving in the military.

Members of the audience actually began booing Hill. No shit.

I believe these members would refer to themselves as "values voters."

Naturally, Rick Santorum (R- Frothy Mix) insisted he'd reinstitute the ban, inarticulately claiming that repeal of a law that discriminates exclusively against gays means, "we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege, in removing 'Don't Ask, Don’t Tell.' I think tries to inject social policy into the military."

Santorum's call to reimpose an unconstitutional law to discriminate against gays was met with thunderous applause and rhapsodic cheers. You can barely hear him finish.

Not one candidate rose to defend Steven Hill, thank him for his service, or condemn those who boo'd him. I believe these candidates would refer to themselves "compassionate conservatives."

Democrats against equality became known as "Dixiecrats." It's time that Republicans against equality get their own derisive portmanteau.

I suggest Repuritans.

20 September 2011

Do you still love me, Dad?