Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Homosexual Marriage and a Mormon Presidential Candidate

As an air marshal a few of us were delayed in Boston one night due to weather. It just happened to be the same day homosexual weddings were performed for the first time since the Massachusetts state Supreme Court allowed same-sex couples to marry. Mandated to wear business suits, a co-worker named Spencer and I came from the hotel we stayed in early the next morning to catch a taxi back to the airport. Dozens of gay couples were awaiting rides back to the airport too. No doubt they had spent their ‘honeymoon’ in that same hotel.

Spencer, who had a good sense of humor but also once watched as his Army battle buddy was blown up by a hand grenade, turned to me and said something to show his masculinity. The situation was a bit comical and yet a little strange. We were both married, but didn’t want to look like we had just gotten married to each other. While we didn’t embrace homosexuality, we certainly learned to work more closely with the gay community. One male flight attendant flirted with Spencer once, “Coffee, Tea, Me?”—and then he chuckled queerly.

A couple of years ago I learned that a close friend of mine from school had come out of the closet. When I heard that he was ostracized and that people were treating him cruelly, I wrote him a note saying something like, “It doesn’t matter what your orientation is to me; you’ve always been a great friend and a good guy, and you still are.” I think Mitt Romney would feel the same way I do. We don’t agree with the act, but we love the people.

According to a Newsweek article (“A Mormon’s Journey: The Making of Mitt Romney,” October 8, 2007), “When the state Supreme Court made Massachusetts the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, Romney rose in passionate opposition and became the most prominent, and telegenic, gay-marriage critic in the country.” On the other hand, when you look at Rudy Giuliani, who has been pictured in a drag and has lived with an openly gay couple, he just doesn’t seem to stand the litmus test to run on a conservative Republican ticket—his gun control platform aside!

As an active member of his faith, Romney believes in family. As he said during his speech on religion in Texas recently, the leaders of his church won’t make presidential decisions for him, but the morality taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will certainly influence his personal decision—and why not?

The said church has emphasized and reemphasized political neutrality. And as such, any thoughts, feelings or expressions herein are my own, independent of the religion I share with Mitt Romney. For those interested in the position of the Church of Jesus Christ on things like family, child abuse, abortion, same-gender attraction, embryonic stem-cell research, capital punishment, and more, see the websites listed below.

See The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

For all other topics listed above and more, see:

1 comment:

Zoe Brain said...

Dear Mr Denning - I would have used your military rank, had I been able to find it, please excuse the lapse.

First, please let me thank you for your service. That is something that transcends differences of opinion. I have been privileged to work alongside some members of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, and with various arms of the US Military, but never in a combat role - for which I can thank people like you, sir.

Second, and rather less importantly, I was rather saddened to see your quotes in front page magazine regarding the "confused" transsexuals and the jihadis we are all fighting against. As the result of an offhand conversation with a former corrective service officer, you have (I'm sure unwittingly) given ammunition to many who would persecute many of your brother officers.
Case in point: Diane Schroer :
Schroer was an Airborne Ranger qualified Special Forces officer who completed over 450 parachute jumps, received numerous decorations including the Defense Superior Service Medal, and was hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation. She began taking steps to transition from male to female shortly after retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of distinguished service in the Army.

When she interviewed for a job as a terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress, she thought she'd found the perfect fit, given her background and 16,000-volume home library collection on military history, the art of war, international relations, and political philosophy. Schroer accepted the position, but when she told her future supervisor that she was in the process of gender transition, they rescinded the job offer. The ACLU is now representing her in a Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress.

And you've just put her in the same category as the Islamofascists.

Over 50% of transsexual people have served in the military, another little-known fact. Women such as Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, who after putting over 20 years in the Coast Guard, was denied a tax deduction for medically necessary surgery because she was "confused" like Jihadis are - at least, according to your prison officer friend.
The Transgender American Veterans Association is full of submariners (like me), special forces, aircrew, tankers, cannon cockers, many decorated for gallantry "above and beyond". It's possible some have served with you, they tend not to seek the limelight, for obvious reasons.

I'm not technically transsexual, but intersexed. I was never confused about my gender, but when you have the body of a linebacker not a cheerleader, there's little point insisting that you're female. It was only when my metabolism went haywire that the medics gave me a very thorough set of examinations, and changed the diagnosis from undervirilised (slightly intersexed) male to severely androgenised (extremely intersexed) female. By then I couldn't "pass" as a guy.

Yet psychologically, I'm no different from transsexual women, indistinguishable from them in psych evaluations. Not surprising, since we've known for over 10 years now that the old cliche about "women trapped in male bodies" is literally true, neurologically. Men and Women have differences in their brains, and transsexual women have feminised brains, just as I have.

The fact that so many transsexual veterans exist should prove that transsexuality in itself is no indicator of being a threat to national security. Now you never said they were, but unfortunately your words are already being used to justify their persecution.

The many TS women - usually mere girls - in male prisons are almost always victims of familial abuse. Kicked out onto the streets at age 12-14, often the victims of religious-inspired violence, they are the lucky ones. We don't know how many "disappear", victims of "honour killings" western-style, but many of those who survive do so by the skin of their teeth. They then usually are condemned to a life in the gutter, unemployable except in brothels, and often steal (or worse) to survive. When caught (unless they have been able to raise the many 10's of thousands of dollars for surgery, and sometimes still then), they are put in male prisons, with the foreseeable results. Repeated Gang-rape - not always by prisoners - and usually HIV infection.

Under those circumstances, they are almost always brutalised, and many become unsalvageable sociopaths. Your friend was right, many do commit bizarre and violent crimes. Not because they are "confused about their gender" though. But because after enough beatings, enough rapes, enough being treated far worse than mere axe-murderers, they've (to put it bluntly) been driven batshit crazy.

Your inadvertent remarks have not had a helpful result, not for them, and not for your former comrades in arms. I know you didn't mean this. I do urge you to read some articles on the subject first - like ts-101, maybe get your friend Dr Kobrin to read some of the peer-reviewed articles put out by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), maybe even contact the TAVA, before making such off-the-cuff remarks. "Iraqi security expert claims Transsexuals are like Jihadis" goes down all too well with certain fanatic pseudo-religious groups you see. They're rather careless with the truth in such matters.

Once more, thanks for what you've done in the past, and what you continue to do. Give me a nice safe submarine any day.