Keri Renault

AFA Self Mutilates over Amanda Simpson

Filed By Keri Renault | January 11, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Politics

The social-cultural divide in America has widened considerably since conservatives were voted from power after the 2008 election. Nowhere is this emotionally charged environment more evident than when an LGBT American makes national news.

Take the Obama administration's appointment of Amanda Simpson to the Commerce Department. Never mind her impressive educational and professional qualifications. Simpson, a 48-year-old transgender woman, came under attack late last week from Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association:

"Amanda" is a biological male in every cell of his body, and no amount of surgical mutilation is ever going to change that. It's a mistake for our president to appoint such a sexually confused individual to a position of public responsibility.

This isn't about sex--and Ms. Simpson certainly isn't confused about her gender identity. So where does AFA get off?

According to its website...

the American Family Association represents and stands for traditional family values and exists to motivate and equip citizens to reform our culture to reflect Biblical truth on which it was founded. We believe that God has communicated absolute truth to man through nature and the Bible, and that all men everywhere and at all times are subject to His authority.

Amen. That's a fundamental mouth-full. Wildmon continued his assault:

Gender is assigned by the Creator at the moment of conception, and no healthy society should ever regard sexual mutilation, even if it's self inflicted, as something that's normal and merits approval. But that's exactly the kind of signal the president has sent here. This appointment should be rescinded immediately.

Not so fast Mr. Wildmon.

This is America, the land of the free where the right to free speech doesn't equate to the enforcement of religious beliefs. The 1st Amendment of the U. S. Constitution says so. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

We Americans call this principle separation of church and state. The freedoms of every American citizen were founded on it.

And while you're proffering discourse on "surgical mutilation" consider this, Mr. Wildmon. What about body piercings, tattoos and circumcisions? These, too, must certainly be job disqualifiers in your good book on employment discrimination.

Thankfully, rational thought prevails in the majority of corporate America.

Common sense says human dignity and equality should extend to the LGBT community. Fair is fair. Equality is a two way street, not a "special privilege" exclusive to faithful of the religious far-right.

Wildmon disciple Bryan Fischer, AFA's "director of issues analysis" further ministered the propaganda of hate with more malicious distortions of the truth:

According to the American Psychiatric Association, transgenderism is a mental health disorder. This means bluntly that Simpson is suffering from mental illness. Simpson needs therapeutic help, not a position where he's shaping public policy.

Truth be told, the "cure" for gender identity disorder is transition according to the standards of care set for by WPATH. Amanda Simpson appears to have healed herself.

There's a lesson here for the American Family Association--before attempting to heal America, please, heal thyself.

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'Gender is assigned by the Creator at the moment of conception'

sorry, no f##kin way is there truth to that.
moment of conception???

Re: APA and the AFA's comments above...

The American Psychological Association is changing and doesn't agree. The APA has called upon its members to treat transgendered people without discrimination and to support their desire to change gender. Much more detail here >

Christian conservatives know that if the 'Amanda Simpsons' of the world get government appointments, one more step has been taken toward normalization of the American culture and society, and they will pull whatever lies they can out of their a$$ to ensure that doesn’t happen.

"Gender is assigned by the Creator at the moment of conception"

I've got 92 Genes (46XX/46XY), 2 blood types and 1 nasty attitude when I have to deal with ignorant simple minded (damn dirty) apes like that group (especially when my hormonal system is acting up). God made me and no human can 'fix' me or 'heal' me. God made me, and God? God don't make no mistakes.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | January 11, 2010 6:47 PM

The AFA is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Why are we caring what they think?

Because if we don't know what they're saying, we can't counter it, and people do listen to this nonsense.

Gender is assigned by God at conception; then God reassigns gender:

The 'Guevedoces'
of the Dominican Republic

During the early 1970s, Dr. Julianne Imperato, a Cornell endocrinologist, conducted an expedition to the Dominican Republic to investigate reports of an isolated village where children appearing to be girls turned into men at puberty. In the village, these children were known as 'guevedoces' (literally, penis at 12 years). Also known locally as machihembras ('first women, then man'), these pseudohermaphrodites were documented serially in the following photographs published originally in the American Journal of Medicne (Am. J. Med. 62: 170-191, 1977):

In an isolated village of the southwestern Dominican Republic, 2% of the live births were in the 1970's, guevedoces (actually male pseudohermaphrodites). These children appeared to be girls at birth, but at puberty these 'girls' sprout muscles, testes, and a penis. For the rest of their lives they are men in nearly all respects (see photograph 6 below). Their underlying pathology was found to be a deficiency of the enzyme, 5-alpha Reductase.

1. At 18 months, the appearance is female though undescended testes are present.

2. Lacking dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in utero, this boy's external genitalia develop as female. However, internally the gonadal tissue is that of normal male and his karyotype is 46 XY (normal male).

3. In utero, DHT is essential for the normal male development of the external genitalia. After complete maturation, DHT seems to have no important biological function.

4. Just before puberty, prior to the testosterone outpouring, the phenotype is still female.

5. With the testosterone surge at puberty, the phenotype changes to male: the voice deepens, the testes descend, the phallus grows, erection and ejaculation begin, and a male psychosexual orientation develops.

And for the rest of their lives, the guevedoces resemble the other Dominican men in all respects except:
The story of the guevedoces was originally presented at a Federation meeting in Atlantic City, NJ in 1973 and published in Science in 1974 (Imperato-McGinley J, Guerrero L, Gautier T, Peterson RE. Steroid 5alpha-reductase deficiency in man: an inherited form of male pseudohermaphroditism. Science 1974 Dec 27; 186 (4170): 1213-5). Specific inhibition of 5-alpha Reductase is the mechanism of action of the prostate drug, finasteride (Proscar), which in adults, shrinks the prostate without affecting the male phenotype.

Hello Kathy

I see so I do what exactly? change from female to male in order to prove what? For Who's benefit? To illustrate what?

I have 5 alpha myself and can assure you that Mc Ginley's studies were badly flawed and biased.

"Amanda" is a biological male in every cell of his body, and no amount of surgical mutilation is ever going to change that.

How the fuck does Mr. Wildmon know this for sure? Has he run a karyogram panel on Amanda Simpson? Does he have access to her medical records? Is Mr. Wildmon or his lackey henchman Mr. Fischer recognized as experts in human genetics?

And even if Simpson would test out to have XY chromosomes, is Mr. Wildmon et al claiming that all humans are either XY or XX? Is he claiming that there is no such thing as human hermaphroditism? Or Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome? If so, then he might as well be claiming that the Earth is flat and riding on the back of the Great Cosmic Turtle.

Inter-sex and transgenderism may not be the same thing --- but these AFA statements attempt to knock down all gender variations in one fell, and very ignorant, swoop.

"And while you're proffering discourse on "surgical mutilation" consider this, Mr. Wildmon. What about body piercings, tattoos and circumcisions?"

Maybe a tattoo to make one congruent with their "inner gender identity" of a sailor? I don't understand what point is being made here - body piercings, circumcisions? What does this have to do with removal of hormone producing gonads, hormone therapy, secondary sex characteristics and vaginoplasty? Even the labiaplasty procedure has nothing in common with circumcision.
The neo - clitoris is hooded rather than exposed. The urethra is often revised but that would be more analogous to hypospadias repair which many of us do not know whether we had previously because it is often hidden from many of us.

Tattoo ink is not homologous with skin pigment the way female and male genital tissue is. Transsexual treatments have to do with primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Many people have had surgeries in infancy or adolescence that alter primary characteristics in an attempt to improve reproductive capabilities and to develop secondary characteristics to make them appear normal. Quite often it leaves the person with a discordant sense of self, probably because the batter the environment has to work with has been mixed according to a prenatal recipe and, in some people, reinforced by variations in the hypothalamic/ gondal axis. I rather like gender at times but it takes a lot of practice. Nobody wakes up in the morning singing like Maria Callas without a little training. There are certain other things that cannot be changed, however.

I, also, want to add that I don't think very much is known about 5ard. I think biology is much more complicated than the way it is presented in comment #6. . .

"5. With the testosterone surge at puberty, the phenotype changes to male: the voice deepens, the testes descend, the phallus grows, erection and ejaculation begin, and a male psychosexual orientation develops.

"And for the rest of their lives, the guevedoces resemble the other Dominican men in all respects except:"

. . ."except" for the fact it should be well understood by now that the Imperato-McGinley study has been criticized as being flawed, narrowly focused on a population from a tiny geographical area and has lead to gross misunderstandings of people born with the variation?

Actually, there is a Pentacostal sect that objects strongly to piercings and tattoos as mutilation.

My partner and I were fired from a large cusom computer manufacturer that was trans friendly until the appointment of a woman who belonged to this sect as Director of Human Resources. She also fired evryone who had tattoos and piercings.

Happy to report that since this woman instituted the policy of hiring techs based upon these criteria, as opposed to their level of skill, the company is on the threshold of failure, and is not expected to last into 2011.

Sorry if I sound overly strident. I don't have anything against tattoos or body piercings. I remember having my ear pierced with a sewing needle and an ice cube to numb it many decades ago. It didn't affect my hormone levels, however, except, maybe, my adrenal levels - temporarily.

Mutilations do occur, though not the way Wildmon imagines them occurring. There is female genital mutilation and much more intersex genital mutilation than most people are aware of. I understand what Keri was trying to say about Wildmon. I just get jumpy when people talk about "mutilations".

In spite of the fact Simpson had multiple surgeries, it is the genital surgery that is the transsexual surgery. It is much more than simple cosmetic surgery. It does make a physiological difference.

Personally I was outraged to see the hateful, bigoted spew of Mr. Wildmon. It’s difficult to read such venomous, wide-sweeping generalizations. The hateful, stigmatizing tone of APA’s message is toxic to the heart & soul of any enlightened human being. But they need to be called on it.

If Wildmon maliciously describes SRS/FFS or any other gender affirming procedure as “surgical mutilation” then the APA should be consistent in their generalizations to include circumcisions, body piercings of every flavor, and the plethora of cosmetic surgical procedures that have become a cottage industry for mainstream America.

If the APA terminated every one of its members that violated this standard of what’s “normal and merits approval”, I’m certain their membership would be decimated. Of course, the entire generalization of surgical mutilation is absurd, and that’s the point.

Hi Keri,

You mentioned the APA. I assume you were speaking of the AFA but Wildmon did mention the APA to back up his bigoted views:

"According to the American Psychiatric Association, transgenderism is a mental health 'disorder.'" That is not the first time an expression like that has been used against people who have sexual differences.

This is another hot button topic, I know. The statement speaks for itself, though.

I won't disagree with the assertion that FFS and breast augmentation are "gender affirming". Obviously, breast augmentation, facial surgery, body piercings, tattoos, etc. don't have anything to do with the way a person performs the job they have to do. None of these procedures or alterations require a GID diagnosis. It is obvious what has Wildmon's knickers in a twist.

Wildmon does use the "mental health 'disorder'" argument to justify his bigotry. He, also, uses the term "transgenderism" which, I think, was popularized by clinicians unwilling to accept realities about sexual diversity which defies rigidly applied artificial constraints.

Edith, boy babies are frequently circumcised for no real medical reason as well, and I don't hear hear WIldmon and cohorts calling that mutilation even though it's done to a party which has zero say in the matter.

Hi Gina,

I know what you are saying. I agree it is a non consensual surgery. I am not able to sort out exactly what I think about circumcision, however. It is a difficult subject for me to discuss for various reasons.

The AFA claims to be a Christian organization, but they are about as far from Christ's teachings as possible.

Welcome to the main site, Keri. Glad to have you here.

I’d say the AFA is the tragic side of Christianity. Thanks for the welcome, Bil. Moving from DC wasn’t half bad. Then again I’m a light cyber-traveler.

They are nothing more than the American version of the Taliban.

Taliban seems an apt comparison. Conformity at any cost. That’s a price no one should have to pay.

Noranne Wolf | January 12, 2010 8:34 PM

Mr. Wildmon; as the rest of the religious right; fail to read the Holy Book that they wave at the rest of the world. When I see him (Wildmon)standing on the water in the middle of Lake Erie or his swimming pool, then I might accept his judgement. Amanda's (so called) mutilatons have as much to do with her qualifications as Obama being a black President or Barny Frank being a Gay congressman. I suggest to him (as I did to a wife, former friends and some family when starting my transition)that he take that Bible, go into the nearest bathroom and wave it at the person in the mirror. All shall answer to something or someone far more important than a self-righteous bigot like Wildmon.

The AFA break their own biblical rules, if they put "Family" and "Sex" above what they believe to be "G-d" then they are committing idolatry according to their own rules. And every time they annoy me with their pointless and toxic lies. I just say

"Matthew 7: 21-23"

That's a powerful passage that cuts right to the heart of the AFA hate rhetoric:
Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

I claim no religious affiliation, but appreciate the irony of the AFA's free speech hypocrisy in violation of it's own self-proclaimed "biblical truth".

Hello Keri

I get the impression that with Wildmon and the AFA
they read the biblical texts, do exactly what those texts tell them not to do, and the claim to be holy or righteous, so of them the text says:

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"

It is their cruel reasoning I don't fully understand or accept. They say of sex/gender: "G-d does not make mistakes" which implies they are saying that their G-d made someone be born into the wrong sex on purpose? If it was not a mistake it was deliberate after all. When you look at the reasoning of people like the AFA you find little more than people making excuses to be sadistic.

It is not Amanda Simpson who is mentally ill, It's Mr Wildmon.

Well said, Sophia. I couldn't agree more. Literalists don't reason. There's nothing rational about it. They hide behind the "Word", distorting it whenever necessary to serve their intolerant purposes.

Hello Keri

I think the only way to deal with religious prejudice of sort peddled by the AFA, TVC etc is to refute what they say in their theological terms.

There is however the difficulty of how to do that. To date they have just dismissed biblical argument countering their claims as "Liberal". But the truth of it is, a literalist rebuttal of their literalist arguments often unnerves them in my experience of dealing with them.

Generally as it stands they just continue their bullying because very few people have have responded to them in their own language. They understand the accusation "Family being put above G-d = Idolatry" They don't understand "Religious hypocrites" or "Love thy neighbor". I suspect such an approach would be a viable option.

I have to agree with the AFA on this statement, "...Gender is assigned by the Creator at the moment of conception..."

So, for those of you that are religious, I look at it this way:

I don't believe God makes mistakes.

That being said, even though I was born with male genitalia, God gave me the gender of female at the moment of conception. It has taken me 29 years to live up to God's aspiration.

Transitioning is a trial by fire. I have learned more about my soul than any cisgender person will ever hope to know. If their is a God, maybe that was the plan all along. This is path I required to grow.

So AFA, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

A friend of mine defended me to one of her relatives using that sort of reasoning.

Many are born with serious birth defects ('defect' taken widely), she said. GID (and the myriad other gender-related problems) are in effect more or less the same as any congenital defect correctable by surgery.

This relative responded, with a smirk, 'So, you think God is testing transsexuals?'

My friend said, 'No. I think God is testing everyone else. If you are accepting and loving, you pass, otherwise you fail.'

The transgendered community needs to somehow get out from under the burden the medical community has put on them by designating "transgenderism" as a psychological condition.