Mr. Noble’s At it Again

Except this time it is a video post:

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And this was my direct response to him:

Chromosomes do not a male or female make.

Not everyone is born with with an XX and an XY. Some people are born XO, meaning they don’t have a second X chromosome. These individuals have what is called Turner’s syndrome. Some individuals are born with XXY, Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Or XYY, Jacob’s Syndrome. Or XXYY.

There are even males with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. These individuals who are born XY, but because their body’s do not respond to testosterone, they develop as female. There are women, born XX, whose bodies produce too much testosterone, causing their bodies to naturally become more masculine.

Beyond that, there have been studies that show that male-to-female transgender individuals actually have a female brain structure, and a study done in Australia actually identified the NR3C4, which codes for an androgen receptor in males, has a variant where it is longer than typical, causing a decrease in testosterone sensitivity, which causes more feminine characteristics.

On the flip side of this, the CYP17 gene in female-to-male transgender individuals is altered, causing a differing bodily response to the female reproductive hormones of progesterone and estrogen.

And these aren’t “feelings” or “environmental differences.” These are genetic. These are, as you would call them, God-given differences that these people have.

I understand that concern, but this law isn’t going to keep people who intend harm on another from carrying out what they intend to do, and not having this law isn’t going to make it a free-for-all in the bathroom. What it is doing is making a very marginalized group of individuals fear you and others like you when they enter the bathroom.

It’s not that you are necessarily perpetuating hatred. It’s that you are perpetuating fear. And when people are afraid, they do things they wouldn’t necessarily do. And these transgender people are scared to use the bathroom because they’re worried you will see them enter the bathroom that associates with their gender, and you fear that someone who doesn’t fit what you believe is female is following your wife and daughter into the bathroom intends harm… and that’s a breeding ground for regretful things to happen.

There are Days…

It’s not a secret that I teach high school.

I teach high school in one of the largest school districts in the country.  I think they like the bragging rights, because the only thing good that comes from having a district so large is the available schools for our School Choice program and the fact that if the mountains get snow, the whole district shuts down, even if we don’t have anything on the roads where I live.

High school isn’t exactly an easy time for people.  There’s a lot of transitioning that happens between puberty and now you’re expected to be an adult, but not quite yet, and what does that look like?  You’re taking six to seven classes (at lease here), and it can be a lot of work.  The teachers aren’t all consistent in how they grade, and it can just be really overwhelming.

It’s not easy to stand in front of a room and reach 30 different learning styles five times a day.  It’s not easy to connect with so many students, and there are days where things just aren’t going to work out.

And every day is unpredictable.

There’s not telling when someone may wake up and have a bad day and just… not be able to handle reality anymore.  And in a culture where violence is becoming the name of the game, it’s not a surprise that students turn to violence to solve their problems.  It’s not a surprise when that is what they see at home… and what they see in television and in movies and on the news.  Violence is the new normal.

Every year, we have a list of drills that we have to do.  We have a certain number of fire drills each year.  We have a tornado drill.  We also have two lock down drills: a partial and a full.  The full is where we hide all the kids and we bribe them to be quiet so we don’t get shot.  It’s like a game: if we’re quiet and the lights are out and we pretend we aren’t here… when they come by and check on us and rattle the door, if they don’t see or hear us, they will pass us by and we will live.

If they hear or see us, the administration unlocks the door and tells us we’re all dead.

The kids all think it’s a game, and keeping them from talking can sometimes be a little difficult, but luckily, I haven’t been “killed” yet in the drills.  I do a good job of bribing, it seems.

But what they don’t realize is what I’m expected to do in this drill.  When we get the call that it is time to lock down, we move the kids away from doors and windows.  Luckily, my room has large lab benches and a back room where I can put the kids if this ever becomes a real problem.  I am then expected to listen at the door for active fire.  If I don’t hear anyone, I stick my head out the door and look both ways, grabbing any student who is running for their lives in the hall.

We then sit.  And we wait.  And if my door gets broken into, then it’s me and a shooter and 30 students who I’m going to tell to run .

But we’ve never had a problem.  And I’ve never had to do these things, and I pray that I never do.

But there are days when I replay my role in my head over and over again because I’m reminded that the call to go into lock down may happen at any moment.  I’m reminded that things could go bad here at any point in time.

And today was one of those days.

There was an active shooting event at a high school in my district.  One student was shot.  And for those teachers and those students, the lock down call came and it wasn’t a drill.  It was real.  And those teachers put themselves between their kids and that locked door and they prayed that it would be over soon and that they wouldn’t be faced with a situation where they had to tell their kids to run.

They haven’t found the shooter.

They’ve evacuated the school, parents are waiting for the pick up call, they’re searching the roof of the building, but nothing yet.  The neighboring schools are all on lock down, and I’m praying I can make it to lunch before the kids start asking me a lot of questions.

Before I have to tell them that a shooter has to get through me to get to them.

I don’t like days like this.

All I can do is pray.

Pray for student who was shot that he recovers quickly.  Pray for the family of the student that their faith and reality aren’t so shattered as can be recovered.  Pray for students at the school that their sense of safety returns.  Pray for the teachers that will have a lot of trauma to deal with over the next few days or weeks.  Pray for the law enforcement as they search for the person responsible.

And pray for the shooter… that he or she is found, brought to justice, and gains an understanding of the severity of what he or she has done.

This Mother’s Day…

I came across this article in my news feed and I think it is definitely worth a read. 

There is a need for highly motivated and loving individuals to parent displaced children either for a short time or an extended time. 

Ever since I wanted kids, I knew that foster care was going to be a part of that journey. There’s a need, and I wanted to help meet that need and help children who needed it. 

So rather than just talking about the problem, Erin and I chose to act. And we are so happy that we did. 

This Mother’s Day, think about foster care

Teacher Appreciation Week

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I am a high school teacher.  This is my fifth year at the school where I currently work, which is my fifth year of being a certified teacher.  Really, though, I taught for a year in graduate school and then taught for two years as Supplemental Instructor in my undergraduate program.

I both love and hate this time of year.

I love this time of year because I love what I do.  I get to turn kids on to science.  I get to interact with kids and help guide them to becoming the next generation of adults.  I live my life out loud as an example to my students.

I love this time of year because everything begins to come together.  Exams are in less that two weeks.  The summer is right around the corner.  There’s a lot of pressure, but it is so rewarding at the end when the kids do well and meet the goals they either consciously or unconsciously set out for themselves.

But I also hate this time of year.

Because it is “Teacher Appreciation Week,” which is a complete and total joke.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the gifts that get from my students, or the “Thank You” images and messages from friends and family.  I really and truly appreciate the appreciation, but seriously… Teacher Appreciation Week???

What a perfect way to get parents, students, friends, and family to remind you how awesome you are right when you are ready to pull your hair out from the end of the year push to the finish line.

Why do we have a Teacher Appreciation Week?  Why do we need a Teacher Appreciation Week?

I’ll tell you why: so that we can overlook and ignore teachers the rest of year.  Because we need to make a week to make it a point that maybe we should pay our Nation’s educators a little attention.

As David Cohen says, “If they need to make a special day, week, or month for you, you know you’re already a step or two behind. I haven’t noticed any need to appreciate other professions on special days. I’m sure those people are appreciated, but more importantly, they’re treated professionally, and compensated accordingly.” (Washington Post)

I was sitting at lunch today with a coworker.  He, for whatever reason, looked up his paystub.

“Did you know that we’re only paid for 59 hours a week?”

I took a bite of my salad, “Nope.  We’re paid for 59 hours on our pay check.  We get paid twice a month.  We’re paid for 29.5 hours a week.”

He looked at it again, “Damn, that really sucks.  Why do they do that?”

“Because we are salaried, so they take our total amount to be paid and divide it up over the year.  It comes out to about $30/hour for me.  I was looking at it the other day because I was curious about what my pay raise would do to my pay check next year.”

Then, I crunched some numbers.

So I give you some FUN FACTOIDS for teacher appreciation week:

I have four years of experience and a Masters degree.

If we flip that around the $30/hour for 29.5 hours/week, my actual “hourly” pay is just over $23/hour for a 37.75 hour week (which is me coming to school at 8:15AM and leaving at 4:00PM)…

But, if we factor in the after school meetings EVERY WEDNESDAY (+1 to 2 hours/week), the after school tutoring we do on Tuesdays and Thursday (+2.5 hours/week), the ticket selling I do on a fairly regular basis as part of my duty rotation (+2 hours/game), the grading I do every week (+5 or more hours/week)…

So now… I have a typical week this time of year with a game/week… I work approximately 48 hours a week IF I don’t do more than 5 hours of grading… or stay after with students…

So according to my paystub, if my salary covers the amount of time I actually work, I am paid a little over $18/hour…

But I get summers off, right?

And if I don’t like it, I can go find another job whenever, I’m sure…

By the way, those last two lines were sarcasm.

But you’re welcome… And thank you for the card.

Post-Post-Post Graduate Education

I seriously am a glutton.

A glutton for punishment.

I’m not even out of my graduate program now, and I’m looking forward to more education in the future.

I have always felt drawn towards ministry in some form.  Right now, I’m doing that at my church, and it feels awesome and wonderful to help lead and guide all the kids at the church on their spiritual journeys.

I don’t have a formal religious education in any denomination or faith practice.  Everything I’ve learned, I’ve taught myself through reading and studying, or I’ve learned it from listening to message from many people all over the country and world from many different backgrounds.

But I’d like something that was a little bit more formal.

I’ve played around with these ideas for years.  I don’t plan on ever finishing another graduate program, but I’m also no closing myself off to the possibilities.

I would really like to take a few classes to really start learning more, but I don’t plan on taking anything until my current program is done.  I’m not really sure where I would try to take classes, though.  Ideally, they’d be online.

I’m looking at a few places:

  • Unity Institute and Seminary:  This is the seminary associated with the church overarching body of the church Erin and I currently attend.  I trust their interpretation of things more than I trust anyone else really.  I think some “Bible 101” classes from here would be fairly interesting.
  • Meadville Lombard Theological School OR Starr King School for the Ministry: These two are the seminaries associated with the UUA.  As far as open, these two schools are probably close to the top (if not the top) of the list.  They also have online programs for some basic classes, which is what I’m interested in.
  • Cherry Hill Seminary: This is a Pagan seminary in South Carolina.  I’ve been following them for awhile.  They were accredited not too long go (in terms of ages of schools goes), and they’re still fairly new.  I keep checking their course listings and chew my lip about taking some of them, but I’m so on the fence about them.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, they’re just young in comparison to other seminaries.
  • And finally, there is a class that I WILL take because it is online, relatively cheap, and self-paced that is put out by the over arching body of the creation spirituality church Erin and I use to go to called Jubilee! Community Church, which will essentially “ordain” me to run that style of worship service… and I think it would be fun to bring to our church now, especially since, in the process, I found out that the founder of the Creation Spirituality movement regularly teaches at Unity Village, which is owned by the over arching body of our church  now.  Small world.

Anywho, does anyone have any ideas for me of places (preferably online) to get a more formal religious education?  I’m always open for suggestions.

Our Faith

One of the few things we have to do in order to be able to teach our faith to our children is to define what it means to have our version of Pagan Faith.

If we are unable to clearly define what that means to us, then we won’t be able to clearly define it to our children.  This means that we have to sit and really think about what it means, to us, to be Pagan because being Pagan can mean so many things.

Firstly, Erin and I identify as “Independent Family Reformed Kemetic,” which is pretty unique to our family.  I kinda made the term up because I needed (for whatever reason) a denominational title.  We’re like Protestant Kemetics, in my opinion.

We believe:

  1. That the divine energy that we refer to as the Gods or the Netjeru are everywhere and in everything.  We believe there there is one overall connecting power with many names, which is why we see the names of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses change, combine, separate, combine back, etc. over the years.  We expand this belief or idea outside of just the Kemetic pantheon to say that we believe every God or Goddess on the planet is simply a name for this one single power.  We refer to this power as Netjer, which roughly translates to God; however, it isn’t limited to the single term like “God” is in many different faiths.
  2. That there is no need for a connector to Netjer.  We recognize no Nisut, Pope, Savior, etc. as part of our faith.  Since Netjer is omnipotent and omnipresent, Netjer is present within each of us.  To connect to the divine, we simply need to still our minds and look within.  There is no need for an intermediary when the ability to connect resides in us all.
  3. That Netjer is Love.  That when we love others, we are expressing the divine within us.  When we interacte with others in a loving way, we are showing love to the divine as well as showing the divine’s love through our actions.
  4. Because Netjer is all-love, there is no other working force or power.  Pain and suffering stem from human mistakes and misunderstandings, but not necessarily of the person who is in pain or suffering.  There are times when we all suffer because of someone else’s mistakes or misunderstandings, but it all comes down to human failure on some level, which results in some form of pain or suffering.
    1. I really can’t stress this enough when I try to explain this because I am routinely asked why bad things happen if Netjer is all-loving and wants the best for us, because when I say “human immaturity and mistakes,” I am generally met with people believing I am “victim blaming,” which I am not.  Humanity as a whole is very immature, and sometimes, bad things happen to us because someone else didn’t realize or think or care about the consequences of their actions and the effects it would have on other people.
    2. If a tree falls on your house because of a bad storm, it isn’t because Netjer is mad at you and punishing you or because you made a bad choice to build your house next to a tree or made any bad choice at all… but maybe the storm wouldn’t have been so bad if we, as a species, weren’t treating our planet so bad that we were pushing it into another mass extinction event marked by increasingly bad weather due to the effects of global warming.  So maybe a tree falling on your house isn’t a punishment for your immaturity, but maybe it’s a wake up call that the planet is hurting and dying because of the actions of a whole, and maybe it is a call to action to create a positive change.
  5. That there are two basic emotions that all other emotions are a stem from: Love and Fear.  If we act out of a place of love, then we are acting out of a state of divine connection.  If we are acting out of fear, we are acting out of a place of disconnection from the divine.  Love leads to positive connections, caring relationships, a growth of happiness and joy.  Fear leads to hatred, negative and unhealthy relationships, and anger.  We have the ability to chose on which side of the spectrum we wish to live.
    1. Again, I preference this with the understanding that mental health and illnesses are very real things and that our ability to chose is not always going to look the same.  I have an anxiety diagnosis.  I’ve been on and off of anxiety medications because I chose to try and no let that anxiety control my life.  I also understand that not everyone out there is as lucky as I am with their ability to control, but I also believe that there is help out there for everyone, and that we can choose to fight for it… or not.
  6. That each individual is called and selected by a specific name of the divine so that each person may better understand the above ideas.  I don’t know of any religion or faith practice that centers around what the individual sees as hate. I know there are some extreme examples, such as the Westboro Baptist Church, but their entire belief is based off of the idea that you should fear God, so right from the start, they’ve missed the mark.
  7. That since Netjer is in everything, our worship and faith extends beyond a room with four walls out into the world.  Netjer is one with the cycles of planet.  The Ancient Egyptian’s year centered around the rise and fall of the Nile river, which fed them all for the year.  Without that flood, the people would starve.  Their holidays and festivals were in response and in sync with that cycle.  While the rise and fall of the Nile have little effect on my individual ability to eat and it is pretty well controlled by dams now, the cycles of the seasons are extremely important to us here in the States.  There have been late winter/spring freezes that damage the young crops and really affect the local food supply here, so our religious calendar is a hybrid of both the ancient Kemetic calendar and the natural flow of the seasons.  Our spiritual year:
    1. Begins with Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year, which is signified by the rise of Sopdet in the sky.  For where we live, this happens on August 6th.
    2. The Autumnal Equinox (Paganly known as Mabon), which is on or around September 21.
    3. Winter Solstice/Yule, December 21-ish
    4. Moomas, Four days after Yule
    5. Spring Equinox, on or around March 20
    6. Summer Solstice, on or around June 21
    7. The days upon the year, August 1 – 5, where Wesir, Aset, Heru-ur, Set, and Nebt-hey are born.  

I think we are working on turning the Moomas holiday into a week long celebration n of the Ascention of the Divine Cow, but I’m unsure. I think it would be a lot of fun. 

Also, when it comes to what the general Pagan faith sees as magic, we see it as prayer, which is pretty much the same thing, just different languages. Honestly, the ancients didn’t call corners from what I’ve read. Their ritual structure was very different than the typical Pagan, and while I have called corners in a forms prayer or house blessing or some other high ritual, I generally do not. I also don’t see the need to. 

Side Rant: We also don’t cherry pick our Gods. While I have no problem with others who believe they are secure enough in their faith to feel comfortable calling on whomever, I’ve found that building an actual relationship with a select few Names seems to be more beneficial, but this is my path, so who knows. I’ve just never felt comfortable with books that tell you to call on X, Y, Z God/dress for whatever work whether or not you have a relationship  with them. It’s suspect to me. 

Anywho, it’s late. I should go to bed. 

The Trickster

Erin and I have spent the last few years growing the family traditions of our faith.  We add a little to the permanency of things each year as we save the money.  This year past year, we added to our Ascension of the Celestial Cow celebration, and this year, we added to our Days Upon the Year week long celebration that ends with Wep Ronpet.

The Days Upon the Year are the last five days of the calendar before the start of the New Year (Wep Ronpet).  It’s the days that Wesir, Aset, Heru-ur, Set, and Nebt-het are born.  Last year, we celebrated with pictures.  This year, we purchased idols for each one.

One of the most well known stories in Egyptian mythology is the story of how Set tricked Wesir.  In the end, Wesir’s body was cut into bits and spread across all the land of Egypt.  Aset traveled all over the land searching for all the parts of Wesir.

So it’s well known that Set doesn’t care for Wesir… and that he’s known for his trickery.

When our first package arrived, we opened the box marked as Set…img_4584

But what we found was completely different…  Set wasn’t in the box, but a knight in shining armor was.  Needless to say, we will be returning that box.

The irony of this wasn’t lost on us, and we had to laugh about it.

But it doesn’t end there.

When we opened the box for Wesir, his crook and flail, the signs of his sovereignty and rule, were broken.

Nothing else in the entire package was damaged, and they call came from the same location.  We’ll be exchanging that idol as well.

We aren’t upset by the mix ups.  We aren’t really on a timeline to have everything in place by THIS DAY OR ELSE.  We’re just amused by the games the universe and the Gods are playing.  We’ll print the packing slips and do some exchanging…

And then we’ll see if the games continue…

Holidays

I wrote a while back about the importance of pagan children to the faith.  If we believe that our faith is true, then we should have no problem teaching that faith to our children.  If we don’t teach our children about our faith, someone else will teach them about their faith, and in a world that is heavily Christian, at least in the United States, that faith will be Christianity.

And Christianity has historically been very anti-Pagan.

Even if what you believe is that there is no right or wrong way to have faith or no right or wrong religion, that still needs to be taught because there are denominations of Christianity that will definitely not say that, and if it comes down to being “right” or “wrong,” kids are going to want to be “right.”

It’s a really easy trap to fall into.

Now that Erin and I are on the brink of being parents, it has gotten to the time where we need to really look at our family practices to better understand our faith and how we can teach it to our children in a way that is both supportive of them without losing ourselves.

Because I asked my future-daughter if she believed in Jesus, and she said yes.

The majority of her religious education comes from three places: a birth mother who was a lot of talk and not a lot of action, a foster mother who panicked that her future forever family would be concerned about her lack of Christian faith education, and me, who is the Youth Education Coordinator at the church she attends and designs the lessons she participates in.

She believes in Jesus, and we have to meet her where she is at.  She, thankfully as far as I know, does NOT believe the narrative that Jesus died for our sins and that only through him shall we enter heaven.  Our church doesn’t believe that, and I do everything I can in the classrooms at church to break that narrative down for kids who are coming from the background.

That narrative, in my opinion and the opinion of my church, is not a positive, loving, or affirmative narrative.  It teaches people that we are inherently bad and evil and deserving of punishment and death.  We are born in evil, we live every day of our lives in evil, and our only hope is for us to pray for forgiveness for our evil (whether we know what it is or not) because otherwise, we go to this place eternally separated from the love of God where we are punished eternally for our sins.

I have no idea where my future son is at or what he believes.

And this whole situation isn’t exactly one that Erin and I were really prepared for when it came to having children.  We, like most people, assumed that when the Gods blessed us with children they would babies, either biologically or through adoption.  We never once thought that our family would begin with a 13-year-old and will-be-9-year-old.

It means that there’s a lot of their lives where they were taught something we, as parents, may or may not have chosen to teach them, and there’s a fine line when it comes to where we go from here.

I’ve already explained it to our future oldest that Erin and I are not Christian, and that we do not celebrate the two major Christian holidays in our home: Christmas and Easter.  I also mentioned, however, that we do celebrate with our families when we go to Michigan or to my parents’ house.

The conclusion that we’ve drawn is that our kids are going to have a lot of religious holidays throughout the year, and while we can’t force them to celebrate with us because of their background, we are really and truly hoping and praying that they will.

This is just another example of how parenting from the foster care system and adopting from the foster care system is a lot different than just having your own child through birth or infant adoption.  We’ve missed out on 9-13 years of parenting, guidance, education, and growth with our kids, and now we’re riding a thin line between allowing them to have a faith they may or may not already have and teaching them our own in a way that doesn’t trample on what they already believe.

We want to live our faith, which includes being accepting and affirming of other faiths to a point.  We definitely are not okay with any negative-theology, and will not be okay with anyone telling us we are damned to hell for whatever sin said person decides upon.

What this means is that if our children choose a Christian faith, then we’ll support them, but we fully plan on exposing them to our Pagan faith as well.

Hate Crimes, North Carolina, and Restroom Confusion: A Response

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It was late the other night when my phone went off.  I was playing a game on my XBox, so I didn’t really pay it much attention.  My professors had been putting grades in all day, so my phone was going off with e-mail vibrations on the table.  A text vibration doesn’t sound so different.

When I finally realized just how late it was, I shut everything down and grabbed my phone.

A text message from a friend saying, “Noble strikes again.”

I wrote back, “What happened this time?”

There was a near immediate response with a link to the news article that linked back to this blog praising North Carolina and every other “bathroom bill” as being right.  I, of course, read the blog in its entirety before going back and looking at the comments on both the news article and his public Facebook page that posted the article.

I got basically what I was expecting to see: a fairly even mix of “Perry Noble is right because he can basically do no wrong and everything about him smells like roses” and “Perry Noble is a cult leader, and all of his followers are sheep.”

If there were actual posts about why they thought Perry Noble was right or wrong, they were buried under the algorithms because people kept liking all the smear campaigns.

The conversations had degraded so much by the time I got to the feed that my friend texted me back a few minutes later saying, “I just got called a loser on the NewSpring thread in response to my comment.”

For the record, her comment said, “I really wish Perry Noble would educate himself on topics before he made a statement.”

The comment said, “You’re a loser.”

So here we go again:

Several weeks ago I saw an article online that talked about how the mayor of San Francisco was banning travel by city employees to the state of North Carolina because of a “hate crime” law that had been passed.

Later on in the week I began to see musicians cancel concert appearances, a film maker say he would not make any movies in North Carolina…and recently the NBA tell North Carolina that they would not have the all star game there next year unless something was done to repeal the hate crime law.

What is this “hate crime?”

The first thing I would like to point out is the difference between a Hate Crime and a Hate Law/Legislation/Bill.  A “hate crime” is a criminal act motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice that generally involves some sort of violence.  A “hate law/legislation/bill” is any form of law or legislation that creates prejudice and allows it to become the legal norm.

A “hate crime law” is generally any legislation that defines a hate crime and then penalizes it; however, in this case the “hate crime” law that Perry Noble is talking about is really a Hate Bill called HB2 that North Carolina passed not too terribly long ago.

It’s not that the bill itself is a hate crime so much so that it will allow hate to become law.

The south isn’t know for being welcoming.

It’s known for shooting first and asking questions later.  It’s knows for its King of the Castle Laws and Castle Doctrine, where it’s okay to shoot someone coming onto your property if you think you’re in trouble.  It’s known for being the single most Christian area in the country, where people “Vote Bible” and select whoever yells and scream about God the loudest, but then stand by and let children starve or go homeless… or prevent healthcare for the poor… I could go on.

The point is: the south isn’t known for being a welcoming and inclusive place.  It’s known for its hate.

So no, HB2 isn’t necessarily a “hate crime,” but it will lead to hate crimes.  It will lead to men and women being assaulted in bathrooms, or outside the bathrooms.  And we’ll see an example of this in Perry Noble’s blog in a little bit.

Apparently it’s a law that has been passed in North Carolina that says if you have a penis then you are required to use the men’s restroom, and if you have a vagina you are required to use the women’s restroom.

To the best of my knowledge (which I often admit I do not possess a lot of)—that’s it.  And now because of this law, men who “feel like women” and women who “feel like men” claim they are facing discrimination because they’re being told how they feel is not a justifiable reason for switching restrooms.

I just want to requote this one line before I go on:

“To be bet of my knowledge (which I often admit I do not possess a lot of)”

Perry Noble, do yourself and all of your followers a favor: please do more research before you blindly go out and give an opinion that affect THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE in the state of South Carolina.  You have the single biggest church in South Carolina, and that is a lot of responsibility to be giving out opinions before you fully feel comfortable about the information you are talking about.

If you have to say that you do not possess a lot of knowledge on a topic, then you should probably stop what you are doing until you do.

Moving on.

Okay, so who, exactly, is going to check to see if “these people” have a penis or a vagina?

And that is not even what the law actually says.  In fact, if you’d like to read the actual bill, you can read it here.

The bill defines biological sex as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

This first line presents a problem for a number of reasons, but before I get into that, I want to point out one other thing:

One would have to commit intellectual dishonesty to claim that there is not a glaring scientific difference between a male and a female, the female having two X chromosomes while the male has an X & Y.  DNA screams there are differences that I am afraid feelings cannot do away with.

Perry Noble, you don’t know science.  I’m not trying to be rude, but coming from someone who is a science teacher, who has a degree in science and is currently working on a Master of Science degree, you do not know science.

If you knew science then you would know the following information:

  1. Not everyone is born with with an XX and an XY.  Some people are born XO, meaning they don’t have a second X chromosome.  These individuals have what is called Turner’s syndrome.  Some individuals are born with XXY, Klinefelter’s Syndrome.  Or XYY, Jacob’s Syndrome.  Or XXYY.
  2. There are even males with Androgen Insensitive Syndrome.  These individuals who are born XY, but because their body’s do not respond to testosterone, they develop as female.
  3. While some of these individuals may present as one sex or the other, they don’t always.  At birth, they are assigned a “gender” or a “sex” for their birth certificate.  There are times when these people age and begin to feel like the opposite of what they were assigned at birth.

Besides the DNA evidence that XX and XY do not necessarily make a person a female or a male, there’s the stipulation put on by the bill: that biological sex is defined as a person marker on their birth certificate.

When a person goes through transition, they begin, usually, by undergoing hormone treatments that put them through a second puberty.  Following that, there’s usually “sex reassignment” surgeries that take place.

The state requires varying degrees of transition before allowing for the marking to be changed.  Some trans individuals can’t go through those surgeries for whatever reason.  Maybe it is cost because insurance doesn’t cover these surgeries.  Some may just not want the surgeries at all.

But no matter how much these individuals look like one gender or the other, they will, because of HB2, be required to use the bathroom according to their birth certificate or their ID.

I challenge you to put yourself in their shoes for an time: how would you feel if you, as you are currently, were forced to use the women’s bathroom.  You would probably feel uncomfortable, and your feelings would be completely valid.

That is the every day life and experience of trans people in the state of North Carolina now.

But I understand you have problems (five to be exact), so I’d like to address them now.

#1 – To call this a hate crime is an insult to actual victims of hate crimes in the past.  People who were murdered because of their race or sexual orientation has always turned the stomach of the majority of people in America – however, being told to go to the restroom that matches your biological gender is far from what people experienced in the Civil Rights movement, or even the Holocaust.

Firstly, no one is calling this bill a hate crime.  A Hate Crime is what is going to happen as a result of this law. When trans people who do not identify as their “biological gender” are forced to use the restroom, they are going to be attacked.  And that will be the hate crime.

Except that this law prevents that from happening and gender identity isn’t federally protected against hate crimes.

Even you, Perry Noble, talk about committing a hate crime against the transgender community.

I can honestly say that if I am standing outside a restroom and my wife and little girl are inside and a man approaches the door and attempts to go in – let’s just say it ain’t happening.

Why?  Because I hate a certain group of people?  No way!

Because I want people to feel discriminated against and shamed?  Nope!

It simply comes down to the safety of my wife and daughter.

Okay, so here’s the deal.  This law now says that individuals who look like men… on any kind of degree or level… must use the women’s restroom because their ID and birth certificate say they are female.

But here’s the real problem: there are going to be individuals who look like women… on any kind of degree or level… who must now use the men’s restroom because their ID and birth certificate says they must.

And that is going to put them at risk of being assaulted.

Imagine your wife and daughter being forced to use a public men’s restroom.  There’s really not much difference.

#2 – Labeling this as a hate crime because someone is being told the way they feel is inaccurate does not carry out logically.

No one is calling transphobia and cisism a hate crime.  They are, however, calling it intolerance.  It’s not a hate crime to tell someone their feelings aren’t real or inaccurate, but it is a little insensitive.

Transgender feelings aren’t “inaccurate.”  They are real feelings that shouldn’t be ignored, and when people in a position of power, such as yourself, come out against these people, it creates depression.  It creates situations where these transgender individuals feel helpless and hopeless.

Did you know that the attempted suicide rate among the trans population in the U.S. is 41%?  That’s nearly HALF of all people identifying as transgender attempting suicide at some point in their life.  That’s an absolutely horrible number.

But you know what lowers that rate by 57%?  Affirmation.  Being in an affirming environment reduces that 41% to 23%, which is still way higher than the national average of 4.6%, but it’s a whole heck of a lot better than 41%.

For example, let’s say I wake up tomorrow and I feel like Taylor Swift.  I can play guitar, sing her songs and mimic her movements.  And let’s say I go to her next concert, show up early and tell them they need to allow me to perform because I feel like I am Taylor Swift.

No one is going to stand with me and say because I feel like Taylor that I am Taylor.

No one is going to label the people who stop me at the gate as “haters and intolerant.”

No one is going to label me as a victim of a hate crime, but merely someone who was offended because someone had the courage to tell me the truth.

Unfortunately, Perry, your example doesn’t hold up.

First of all, if you woke up in the morning, and you felt like Taylor Swift, then who are we to tell you that you don’t feel like Taylor Swift?  Your feelings would be your own, and we can’t tell you what your feelings are because we aren’t you.

But here’s the reality: You aren’t Taylor Swift.  No one can be Taylor Swift but Taylor Swift.

When you go to her concert and tell everyone you are her, when you aren’t, is a lot different than when a trans person stands up and says they are who they are.

Trans people aren’t trying to be someone else (like Taylor Swift).  They are trying to be themselves.  They are trying to live their life authentically as the person they are, and that person happens to not be whatever is written on their ID.

And no one would label you as a victim of hate crime because “someone had the courage to tell me the truth.”

They’re going to label the other person as insensitive and misguided.

Lambda Legal keeps a list of organizations that support the rights and feelings and affirmation of trans people.

Are you going to argue with the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and others?

Please, show me your medical degree that tells me you know more about transgender rights and health and whether or not being trans is “real” than all these different organizations.

#3 – Allowing people to choose which restroom they want to use puts the safety of women and children at risk.

And this is where I start getting frustrated because you aren’t protecting women and children from men who would like to use the women’s restroom.

You are

  • Preventing law abiding trans people from using a bathroom where they are going to feel more comfortable.
  • Opening the doors for non-law abiding perverts, both male and female, to walk into the opposite restroom, claim they are transgender, and then do whatever perverted thing they were going to do.
  • Avoiding the “real problem:”  If we are so worried about our women and children who are trying to use the restroom, then we should be making laws that prevent sex offenders from using public restrooms.

At this point, I do not care about popular opinion

That is abundantly clear at this point, sir.  But the popular opinion is something you don’t need to worry about because, unfortunately, the majority of people in the South believe and feel like you do.

What I wish you would do is sit down with trans people and talk to them, like you say you did with gay people because I feel like if you did, you might have more sympathy for them in the end.

I am in complete favor of separate restrooms, individual places where guy or girl can go in alone and do their business.  However, I must take a strong stand here and say there is absolutely no reason for a man to go into a woman’s bathroom.

And I really do believe that restrooms are the first step, next it will be middle school and high school locker rooms!

Perry Noble, I understand where you are coming from when you say this.  I understand the need to categorize everything into neat little boxes, but when it comes to humanity, that’s basically impossible to do.

When has men assaulting women in bathrooms ever been a real actual problem to the point where we’ve needed a law to make sure they stop?

And you are absolutely right: there is no reason for a man to go into a woman’s bathroom…

  • Unless that man is a child going to the women’s restroom with his mother.
  • Unless that man is disable and has to be accompanied by whoever female caregiver he has.
  • Unless that man is a trans man who is now being forced into the women’s restroom because, for whatever reason, he can’t get his ID or birth certificate changed.

#4 – If you do not disagree with the NC law…then you are automatically labeled a “hater.”  Anyone who has had the courage to speak out in favor of this law has been attacked, marginalized and experienced overwhelming public shame.  Because of this I believe many people who should be contributing to the conversation have decided to stay hidden in the shadows rather than expose themselves to the slander of those who are against the law.

There are some really scared and angry people out there right now, Perry.  There are a lot of people out there who are terrified that they are not going to be harassed by others or hurt by others or arrested because of the bathroom that the law now tells them they have to use.

And scared people lash out.  Angry people lash out.

Personally, I don’t think that “hater” is a proper term for anyone who does not disagree with the NC law.  I’m sure there are some out there that know full and well that this law targets and marginalizes a minority group, and those people are “haters,” but for the vast majority of the population, I think “misguided” or “misinformed” are better terms to use.

“Slander” is also a strong word to use here, as it implies that the bashing that’s going out in the community is affecting the reputation of the victim in a negative way, which calling someone a hater, while hurting another’s feeling, is certainly not hurting their reputation, is it?

I agree that the conversations that need to happen aren’t happening as much as they need to be, but they are happening.  And while there are a lot of people out there who are “bashing” others, on both sides of the conversation, there are a lot of people out there doing good work.  I really encourage you to go out and look into that conversation more.

My question is this – I do not hate anyone, but I agree with the premise of the law – so, what is the position I am allowed to have?  Can I not disagree without being a “hater” – or could it be that those in opposition to the law are using the “hater” tag to scare people into silence?

I don’t think that you are a hater, Perry Noble, but I wonder about your level of understanding that you previously stated wasn’t that great.  (By the way, HB2 not only regulates bathrooms, but also prevents cities and counties from expanding their hate crime laws to protect trans individuals)  This law is so, so, so much more than “keeping the perverts out so we can protect our women and children.”

#5 – I am a Christian who believes God’s Word, and Scripture says in Genesis 1:27,

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

The Bible is clear that God made man and God made woman.  Even the way He created them was different.

I’m not going to argue the Bible here.

But we clearly see, in nature, that male and female isn’t always the case.  There are, as I said earlier, intersex individuals.  Are they a mistake of God, by your standards then?  Does God make mistakes then?

No.  No, God doesn’t make mistakes.  So then how do we explain these individuals that don’t fit into the one or other?  How do we then deny them access to bathrooms because we think they should fit into a nice box when they don’t?

You finish up your blog with the following call to act for Christians:

#3 – Understand that no matter how out of control things seem to be—God is still in control and really will, according to Ecclesiastes 3:11, make everything beautiful in His time.

This world is already beautiful, and if Jesus accepted all people, then who are we to not accept anyone?

I don’t agree with people who murder, but that doesn’t mean I feel that they should be denied basic rights to things like a safe space to pee.  They are, in fact, still human.  And yes, I agree that that example is a little extreme (but maybe not as much as your Taylor Swift analogy?)

Finally, I want to leave you with this thought:

If we don’t expect criminals to follow gun laws, then why do we expect them to follow bathroom bills?

Because this bathroom bill isn’t about the criminals and perverts: it’s about keeping trans people out of the bathrooms where they feel more comfortable.

We’ve spent decades keeping people out of the bathroom because we don’t like them.  We use to scream from the roof tops that black people needed their own bathroom because they were diseased.

Now, it’s trans people who are supposedly “perverts,” which, again, simply isn’t the case.

To Be Silent? No, to be LOUD.

This blog is part of The Pagan Experience.  If you would like more information or are interested in reading other blogs following this path, please follow through on the link.

This is actually my first blog for the Pagan Experience this year.  I can’t garauntee I’ll do another one after this, but I’ve been seeing this topic float around for the month of April.  I debated on whether or not I wanted to speak on this idea of silence or if I should, ironically, remain silent.

But then some things happened today, and I cannot keep my mouth shut on this topic anymore.

I cannot remain silent.

priv·i·lege
ˈpriv(ə)lij/
noun
  1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

There are a lot of people out there in this world who will deny the idea of privilege.  They will deny, deny, deny white privilege because they grew up poor and struggled like the media portrays the black man, not realizing that class privilege is actually a thing as well.

If you are a upper-middle class, white, cis, heterosexual, able-bodied, English speaking, Christian male, you live in a world of privilege.

If you have one or more of the above descriptors, you live in a world of privilege.

I live in a world of privilege.  I also live on the other side of privilege.  I am white.  I come from an upper-middle class family.  I am, for the most part, able-bodied, and I speak English as my primary language.

I am not cis, but many people see my expression as cis, so I hide under that security blanket.  But I am typically-female bodied.  I am not a Christian.  And I am homosexual.

I understand discrimination well here in the United States of America.

And I cannot and will not be silent.

I work with children who are just beginning to stand out on their own.  They are teens on the edge of adulthood, who are learning to think and process for themselves.  They are learning how to form their own opinions and understand things about themselves that maybe they didn’t realize before.

And silence will kill them.

Something happened today, where someone close to my wife and I expressed her disgust at a recent episode of Once Upon a Time.  In this episode, a minor character falls under a sleeping curse.  The sleeping curse can only be cured by true love’s kiss, and the bad guys are all rejoicing because this character?  Well, she has no true love… She has no family… She has no one, and she will be under this curse for the rest of her days.

But she does get true love’s kiss, and that kiss comes from an unlikely source: another woman.

That’s right: there was a true love’s kiss between two women on a fairy tale shoe that jacks up so many fairy tales to begin with… but this… this is what upset said person in our lives: she had to watch a TLK between two women on national television.

She was SO UPSET that she said she was never going to watch the show EVER AGAIN and she was going to give us all of her DVDs of the show (which we gave to her as holiday gifts).  The ultimate regifting.

Yet, she loves us.  She thinks we’re special.  She supports us.

She’s okay with “our gay,” but no one else.  Not on television… Not in front of all those children!  THINK OF THE CHILDREN, DAMN IT!

Erin wrote about the experience on Facebook.  She was hurt.

And there was one response, from a straight woman, that said that she was “obviously trying” to be okay, but that “this was how she was raised” and that it must be hard for her to change her black and white beliefs into ones where “this wasn’t immoral.”

The good old argument: You, the one who is hurt by others’ words, need to be okay with the hate/injustice/ignorance/etc that you are getting because said person is really trying but these things take time.  It’s how they were raised and that takes time to move past that.

Excuse me?

Why should I be okay with someone’s ignorance?  Why should it NOT make me angry or feel hurt?

Why should I just let them get off the hook for it?  Why should their boundaries not be pushed or their feelings not be hurt?  Why do they get to live in blissful and willful ignorance?

They don’t.

And that is why I cannot be silent.

My faith calls me to action.  My faith sees the divine in all creatures, and it cannot be silent when aspects of the divine are being hurt by other’s human immaturity.

Love is love.

And love cannot be silent.

I live my faith.  I live my sexuality.  I live my life.

I live it because there are kids in my classrooms that found peace and love and acceptance because I keep wedding pictures on my desk.  I am open about my pagan faith, but live a life as judgment free as I can.

So no… I cannot be silent…

Not when my wife is hurting.  Not when my family is being attacked.

Not when there are kids on the edge of a cliff ready to jump.

Not ever.

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