The picture of those five “religious” men sitting before a hurriedly called committee meeting called by the Chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Dan Issa (R-CA) on birth control, reminds me of just how clueless men are when it comes to women. Or are they not clueless but just plain scared? For nearly a decade I have been learning what it is to be a woman and the idea that men have the temerity to believe that they know what’s best for women regarding birth control is an abomination to God and an insult to the collective intelligence of both women and men of our nation. Senator Santorum’s remarks (when will they end?) just sealed the deal.
It’s times like these when I reflect on the privilege that I have enjoyed for over fifty years when living unwittingly as a man. I never knew the discrimination that girls and teenagers as students and young parishioners in their faith communities encountered. Then as they became women, they would often have to deal with those same issues and then deal with new prejudices at college and then work. Then, as a woman, they would have been treated by doctors and medical professionals that were grossly ignorant of what a woman really might need. Why? Because women’s health concerns have always been and are still inadequately researched and because of that women were not and are still often accurately treated.
The unique gift that God has given humanity is the ability for one generation to learn and give that new knowledge to the next. That generation takes that knowledge and builds upon it and the cycle continues through millennia. Representative Issa by bringing in the ignorance of the religious community to expound on birth control eviscerates thousands of years of hard won knowledge. Being a mother and suddenly worrying that your daughter may have to re-walk your painful journey is a harrowing thought brought up by the sight of Representative Issa and his committee of witnesses.
Women often ask men to accompany them to their car late at night. Men often glean from that request that they are physically more impressive than women. They’re mere presence would ensure their safety. Women often walk together because in numbers there is some safety. If a guy is present and not a woman, he may get the request. What often follows is that men equate that the bogus idea of the weaker sex also means that women need further protection from making decisions and for sure Chairman Issa lives in that illusion. It can make you act like a very stupid person. See picture of religious witnesses at Issa hearing.
Allow me to depart for a moment and relate a revelation that has come to me during my transition. As I have gone through this transition, I marvel at how men treat women. Now that people regard ME as a woman I am stunned at how I am treated. Yes I get a certain amount of chivalry from some men but there is a flip side. The most alarming is how men disregard women’s private personal space. I have been kissed by a lot of guys who seemed to think I want them to kiss me. Sometimes right on the mouth!! Perfect strangers!!! WTF?!!! Okay that was only once and it was dark and he thought I was somebody else and he spit after he realized but still. I felt violated and not the least BIT turned on. For men it’s as though that act of kissing a woman on the mouth or even the cheek validates that woman in their eyes. I ask myself, “Did I do this?” I sadly have to answer unequivocally, perhaps.
I know I did it but I always felt it was only after a woman had initiated the contact but I don’t know for sure. Never the less, it has become clear to me that even the most enlightened male is not. This includes gay men as well. Gay men love men. That doesn’t necessarily mean that love women or they wish to be women or understand them or be empathetic nay even sympathetic to women’s needs. Being a woman isn’t all about moisturizers and waxing. Those are superficial and as such have the same certain depth of understanding.
When you contemplate Gender Reassignment Surgery, that is (in my case Male to Female transition - MTF) changing male attributes to be female attributes, you have to study exactly what will happen. It’s called vaginoplasty. Vaginoplasty. Men don’t even want to hear that word VAGINA. They come up with a very crude and stupid euphemism to avoid saying that word. Vagina is actually an obscene and unbelievably uncomfortable word for men to say. IT WAS NOT ONCE USED BY ANY MAN DURING THE ISSA HEARING.
So the idea that MEN should EVER discuss BIRTH CONTROL without women is offensive, stupid and reprehensible in our time. There is no excuse that can be made and nothing that can be explained away by religious convictions. Defending religious convictions, in this case as in many other situations, is bogus. Here religious convictions are covering up the abuse of women over the fullness of humanity. The Issa meeting is not celebrating or protecting our personal relationships with God and our nation’s limitless protection of that relationship. Instead the hastily called meeting is actually an insidious and heinous act of desperation by men trying to hold on to their control of women. It is a control that only has precedent not credibility and never has had credibility. Let us make certain as citizens of the United States that we meet this ignorance with the disdain that it deserves.