By Jenn Smith.
I had written a short article commending the Valley Voice for previously providing a more balanced coverage of the SOGI 123 issue, but the recent review of the Rally for Barry Neufeld has changed my mind.
Now I should give credit where credit is due, the Voice has published my writing, but they have now descended into the lowest form of vicious personal attacks on my motives, personality, and transgender identity.
I have also been paraphrased out of context. So let’s just do a review and get some facts straight:
The first thing to note is that the Voice‘s story begins by describing the crowd as “elderly,” and later as “right wing.” This is a pretty standard method of ad hominen that focuses on characterizations rather than ideas, and we will see this again later when the writer psychoanalyzes me.
Focusing on the average age of attendees, of course, lacks any real perspective on who was marketed in the rally and how that relates to the demographics. While on the one hand there were a lot of elderly people in the crowd, perhaps because they have wisdom and still remember a time when a man was a man and not a woman, there were many young people in the audience as well, and I talked to some of them during the evening.
When I was at Meghan Murphy’s talk on gender identity in Vancouver last month, it was mainly young and middle aged “left wing” pro-abortion feminists and lesbians in the crowd. Why the difference? Because typically the organizer of an event and their values determines who will gravitate towards attending, this is what we saw at the Culture Guard rally for Neufeld. Both crowds had many people in attendance that knew me, indicating that these issues cross political lines. After Murphy’s event I stood for a time talking to some young lesbian women about what is going on in our schools — a transgender identified person and a bunch of lesbians … unfortunately this image does not fit into the Voice’s attempt to suggest only aging Nazis oppose SOGI 123.
The Voice story describes me as a narcissist, “who doesn’t want kids exposed to his egocentric way of thinking.” Once again, back to personal attacks instead of dealing with the substance of my critiques. I am actually opposed to the confusion and medicalization of young people, and my only concern for their thought processes is that they not be deliberately manipulated and confused by an insane ideology.
The liberal paraphrasing in the story provides a complete lack of context, and distorts everything I am about. If people want to know what my views are they can read the two articles I wrote for the Post-Millennial. Of course you will not get the sneering personal attacks there, for that you will have to return to an apparently ego-wounded Valley Voice who assumed my comments on the media referenced them. They actually did not, until now.
The comments I made about photos were in regard to the nature of the media and its tendency to distort ideas and use carefully selected images to manipulate the public mind. Anybody familiar with critical media analysis will know this to be a truism. In my speech I also mockingly warned that the media would try to portray the event as a gathering of Nazis bent on bringing about an LGBTQ holocaust. It is thus not surprising to see the Voice referencing Kari Simpson’s “Hitleresque” speech and characterizing Chilliwack as a haven of far right-wing bigots, as if gangs of swastika-tattooed white supremacists are driving the streets with confederate flags flying on the sides of their pickup trucks while they toss empty beer cans out the window and look for LGBTQ people to assault. To be quite honest, I was a little surprised to see the Voice engaging in this kind of behavior, which really disparages the entire community.
There also appears to have been conversations between the Voice and myself that did not happen. Now it was noisy in there so perhaps there was miscommunication somewhere along the line. As to when I “transitioned”, I have written repeatedly that I began experimenting with cross gender presentation when I was nine or ten, which was actually in the 1970s. I was still doing it in the 80s when Boy George was big, but at that time doing what I do was dangerous to your health when done in public.
Why do I present the way I do? That actually is a valid question with a rather complex answer that is not easy to nutshell — potshots and ad hominen comments take up much less space. Am I flamboyant in my presentation? Yes I am. Does that matter or should it? No it does not. Part of the problem in this whole debate is everybody keeps focusing on surface appearances instead of the deeper content and implications. One day the media might take an interest in my message instead of me. I am just a case in a larger point, not the point itself.
What you will find conspicuously absent from the Voice‘s story is any analysis of the ideas presented. The author chose instead to report on the alleged character of the message and messengers, instead of on the ideas themselves. The Voice would have the reader believe my presentation and alleged narcissism define my message. That I am actually trying to keep youths from being chemically castrated and confused by a system run amok, seems of little interest to them.
Kari Simpson, incidentally, was not “using” me. She did not invite me and I only decided to attend when I heard that Morgane Oger was going to be there. I wanted to offer a balanced view to counter the hyperbolic nonsense spewed by both sides of this debate.
While the Voice talked about the stoking of “fires of mutual hate,” they were apparently oblivious to the fact I stopped to talk and joke with the LGBTQ protestors on my way in. I actually am not on a side. I have criticized Kari before and criticized the West Coast Christian Accord as well. I am interested in the truth. That I have a flamboyant presentation predates my involvement in this struggle by many years. But the motives for that presentation might actually help inform this debate, but until the media begin looking at ideas instead of identities that will never happen.