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A Veteran Is Never An “It” Or A “Shim”

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Editor’s note:

J. Rudy Flesher is a Philadelphia based actor, blogger and college student. After a three-year detour working in health care he recently returned to The College of New Jersey to complete his B.A. in Women’s and Gender studies. He blogs (sporadically at the moment and daily when school is not in session) at The Pistol in Bed Thirteen.

You can also read Rudy’s first post here, “Twentysomething Hairless White Gay Men Who Have Time To Take Pilates 5 Days A Week.”

This is Rudy’s second piece at The New Civil Rights Movement.


Today, I was moved beyond words by Autumn Sandeen’s open letter to President Barack Obama at Pam’s House Blend, “President Obama: A Transgender Veteran Is Not An ‘Impersonator,’ ‘It,’ Or ‘Shim.” For those of you that haven’t read it, it describes her experience as a transgender retired Navy veteran arrested at Get Equal’s most recent direct action when, along with five others, she handcuffed herself to the White House fence on April 20th. She was misgendered, mocked by U.S. Marshals, and dehumanized, called “it” and “shim.”

I was, as I said, moved – moved to rage, to indignation, to a sudden urge to call and text all of my transgender family and friends, to make sure they were OK. Why? From the way Autumn was treated, to a transgender student recently attacked and had the word “it” carved into hir chest (I use the gender neutral pronoun “hir” because the victim/survivor’s gender was not noted), I fear for the incomparable amount of hatred and violence directed at my transgender, transsexual, genderqueer and gender outlaw family.

Every single one of us needs to stand with Autumn now, and see that this story doesn’t end in the queer and progressive blogosphere. No person is below the status of a full human being, deserving dignity, love, and a life free and violence and fear. No person is an “it.”

What can we do? By drawing national attention to this disgrace, we can open a dialogue about what it means to be transgender on America, and create an opportunity for education, understanding and compassion.

First:  Let’s create a blog storm that reaches the national mainstream media.  Use your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and every other place you have a voice to encourage your friends to contact media outlets and request that they pick up this story.  Copy and paste the following text into the news sites’ contact forms:

“Autumn Sandeen’s inhumane treatment at the hand of U.S. Marshals due to her transgender identity is a disgrace and cannot go unreported, lest it be forgotten, excused or dismissed. Please see her open letter to President Barrack Obama describing the incident here:

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/15940/president-obama-a-transgender-veteran-is-not-impersonator-it-or-shim

and run this story.”

Choose the news station and newspaper that you read and watch the most, or more if you can!

CNN:  http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form11b.html?1

MSNBC:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10285339/

Fox News: Contacts to individual shows here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,77538,00.html email here:  yourcomments@foxnews.com

ABCNews http://abcnews.go.com/Site/page?id=3052660

CBS Evening News:  evening@cbsnews.com or (212) 975-3247

New York Times:  nytnews@nytimes.com or 1-888-NYT-NEWS

Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/about/chi-email-newstips,0,2569758.customform

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/about/mediagroup/la-feedback-email-form-rr,0,5493970.customform

Don’t see your station or newspaper? I found that Googling the name along with “news tips” or “contact us” got me where I needed to go.

Second: Don’t just contact these news sites.  Direct your friends, families, coworkers and neighbors to Autumn’s original piece.  Let them hear about her experience in her own words.

Third: Don’t hate, educate!  If you yourself know little to nothing about trans issues, today is the day to begin learning!  Here are a few great starting places:  The fabulous and incomparable Kate Bornstein has written both Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook: How To Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely. Another great start is an anthology called GENDERqUEER, which describes many, many gendered experiences. For a scholarly bent, check out The Transgender Studies Reader.

Not being transgender myself, this is the best way I’ve found to be a trans ally:  listen a lot and talk a little.  Don’t speak for people.  Say “my friend had this experience” or “actually that’s a misconception, I read that…”  And for the love of Pete, please don’t go running to the one trans guy or gal in your neighborhood for the run down on all things trans. Just like there’s no singular black, gay, or other experience, there’s no one universal trans experience. Identities are complicated by race, sexuality, class, and geographical location.

The bottom line: you don’t actually need to know anything about a person to realize that you don’t need to hate and dehumanize them! If you simply keep an open heart and mind and realize that every person deserves dignity, move to the head of the class.

You can understand someone’s experience later, but compassion starts now, today, this moment.

(image via Pam’s House Blend)

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BREAKING NEWS

DOJ Signals It Is Conducting a Criminal Investigation of George Santos

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice Friday signaled it is conducting a criminal investigation of U.S. Rep. George Santos‘ campaign finances when it asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to pause its probe into the embattled New York freshman GOP lawmaker.

“The request is the clearest sign to date of an active criminal investigation examining the congressman’s campaign finances,” The Washington Post reports.

But NBC News goes one step further.

“Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos, two law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday,” NBC states. “The probe by federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York is at least the second investigation into Santos.”

READ MORE: Another Santos Financial Concern: GOP Lawmaker Claims Campaign Paid WinRed Triple the Fees It Should Have

“The two sources confirmed that prosecutors are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign as he was running for Congress,” NBC adds.

The Santos campaign this week, according to The Daily Beast, amended FEC filings that originally claimed about $625,000 in “personal” loans from the candidate’s personal funds were actually not from the candidates personal funds. Santos has since refused to state where the money came from.

DOJ also asked the FEC for any “relevant documents” for the Santos’ campaign, The Post noted.

READ MORE: Watch: Santos Responds to Report He Joked About Hitler, ‘The Jews’ and Black People

“Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday interviewed two people about Santos’s role in Harbor City Capital, an investment firm that was forced to shut down in 2021 after the SEC accused it of operating a ‘classic Ponzi scheme,'” according to The Post’s reporting.

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News

Watch: Nancy Pelosi Says ‘I Have Absolutely No Intention of Seeing the Deadly Assault on My Husband’s Life’

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U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the former Speaker of the House, told reporters she has no intention of watching just-released video of the almost fatal, brutal attack on her 82-year old husband, allegedly by a hammer-wielding, far-right conspiracy theory promoting extremist.

DePape had “posted antisemitic screeds and entries defending former President Donald Trump and Ye, the rapper formally known as Kayne West who recently made antisemitic comments,” CBS News reported one day after the attack.

Earlier Friday, before the video had been released by a judge’s order, Rep. Pelosi said did not know if she would watch the video.

Later, Friday afternoon, Pelosi said she would not.

READ MORE: Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’

“As you know, today there was a release of some information. I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in, and I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life.”

Prosecutors have described the attack as “near-fatal.”

She also thanked “people for all of their prayers,” and for “asking about the progress my husband is making, and he is making progress, but it will take more time.”

Apparently choking up, she added that she would not be making any more statements about this case as it proceeds, except again to thank people and inform them of Paul’s progress.”

Watch below or at this link.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’

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News organizations won the release of police body cam video that shows the horrific moment when an intruder, “without warning or hesitation,” whacked Paul Pelosi, the 82-year old husband of the now-former Speaker of the House, with a hammer, knocking him unconscious and to the ground in a pool of blood, in what prosecutors called a “near-fatal” assault.

The alleged assailant is David DePape, a purveyor of far-right conspiracy theories, including QAnon and Pizzagate, COVID-19 disinformation, along with “Big Lie” videos from My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell. He is facing multiple state and federal charges.

Depape reportedly broke into the Pelosi home, screaming, “where’s Nancy?” which some including The Atlantic’s David A. Graham  have noted eerily echoes insurrectionists hunting for Nancy Pelosi on January 6, 2021, screaming, “Nancy! Nancy Pelosi!” “Where you at, Nancy?” “Where’s Nancy?”

From the moment news broke of the October 28, 2022 attack on the husband of the Speaker of the House, who told police he was there to violently attack Nancy Pelosi, those on the right, including Elon Musk, ex-president Donald Trump,  and other anti-Pelosi and pro-Trump activists, quickly suggested, implied, or even claimed Depape was Paul Pelosi’s boyfriend, or that it had somehow been an anonymous sexual tryst that went bad – despite no evidence.

READ MORE: Man Charged With Attacking Paul Pelosi Is a MAGA Cultist Who Said the Speaker Was Using ‘Fake Evidence to Spy On’ Trump

In the video, which should be watched only with extreme caution, police can be seen approaching the front door of the Pelosi home, the door opening, DePape holding Paul Pelosi by the wrist with one hand, and a hammer in the other. Within seconds he attacks Pelosi, who falls to the ground. Police take DePape down to the ground, and moaning can be heard, although it’s unclear if it is from Pelosi or his alleged assailant.

DePape told police he wanted to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps and hold her hostage. Since she was across the country in D.C., he ended up fracturing her husband’s skull instead.

Despite the video, the far-right refuses to let go of its false claims about Paul Pelosi, which are hurtful not only to the Pelosi family, but to the LGBTQ community.

Just days after the almost deadly attack Donald Trump falsely claimed, “You know, probably, you and I are better off not talking about it. The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out and, you know, so, it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out.”

Kara Swisher, the well-known tech journalist and opinion writer, blasted those who are ignoring the clear video evidence (not to mention the massive reporting) of the attack.

READ MORE: ‘Suicide Mission’: Pelosi Attacker Named ‘Prominent State and Federal Politicians’ He Wanted to Target

“All those who trafficked in homophobic conspiracy nonsense about this,” she wrote Friday on Twitter, “such as the owner of this increasingly shitty platform, should be ashamed,” Swisher said, referring to Elon Musk.

“They won’t be, but they are heinous & utterly lost,” she added, linking to a Washington Post article titled, “Judge releases evidence, video footage in attack on Pelosi.”

Indeed, two days after the attack, Elon Musk tweeted then later deleted the claim that “there is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” The Independent reported Musk, “attached a screenshot of a bogus report accusing Mr Pelosi of getting into a drunken fight with a male prostitute.”

Politico’s Sam Stein also highlighted Musk pushing the apparent falsehood: “The release of the Paul Pelosi video is a useful reminder that the owner of this here platform pushed conspiracy theories around the attack.”

Entrepreneur and programmer William LeGate, who won a Thiel fellowship at the age of 18, on Friday tweeted: “Now that the Paul Pelosi surveillance footage & 911 call have been made public, it’s time homophobic bigots like Elon Musk, Tucker Carlon, & the like to issue a public apology for spreading the ‘lover’s quarrel’ conspiracy theory.”

MSNBC executive producer Kyle Griffin made remarks similar to Swisher’s: “A lot of conservatives spread disgusting, nonsensical conspiracies about the Paul Pelosi attack — including Elon Musk. Some are still spreading them. Those people should be ashamed.”

Republican former U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, linking to a Politico report on the release of the video, said, “Can we please dig up every persons tweet who made fun of this or cast doubt? This was a sick attack and politicians minimizing it suck.”

READ MORE: ‘Break Her Kneecaps’: Feds Charge Suspect Who Attacked Paul Pelosi as New Details on His Motivation Are Revealed

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte defended the release of the video with this explanation: “Seeing folks question why it was necessary to release the footage of the attack on Paul Pelosi, which is incredibly violent and disturbing. Well, a big reason is Republicans have treated the attempted murder as a joke.”

She linked to an article she wrote in early November titled, “After the Pelosi attack, Republicans have quit pretending they oppose political violence.”

Journalist and SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile also went after Republicans.

“The Paul Pelosi video — and the surveillance video — show the danger and brutality of the attacker,” he tweeted. “Every Republican who mocked this attack is filled with nothing but hate and bile.”

NCRM is embedding the video below, from The Associated Press. We caution watching the brutal video, which is longer than many others and includes the actual attack and the moments after. Again, we urge caution.

 

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