Category Archives: Culture wars

The Transgender Wars — Part III

This is the third of a five-part series on Virginia’s transgender wars.

by Tom Pafford

The Left is waging a very successful War to manipulate the public into accepting Transgender identity as normal. Neither the LGB crowd, nor the “Right-Wingers” who do not accept Trans, have successfully countered this War. The Left’s agenda moves forward daily, e.g., the recently passed Equality Act by the House. And, it is based on a simple precept: “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.”

Little is known for certain about the causes of Trans. But there is no lack of studies.

Identical Twin Studies: When one identical twin is Trans, more often both are Trans. This frequency is not seen in fraternal twins, indicating that there may be a genetic influence for this identity.

Neurobiological Studies: The volume of the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminals (BSTc), a brain area essential for sexual behavior, is larger in men than in women. Studies show that Trans females had female-sized BSTc; the Trans males had male-sized BSTc. (Also see.) Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part II

This is the second part of a five-part series on the transgender wars in Virginia.

by Tom Pafford

A behind-the-scenes tug-of-war is happening between the Left and many in the LBG movement. You certainly won’t read about it in USA Today! But you can in Gay news outlets where Gay intellectuals state their concern over Gender Identity.

One such outlet is the Intelligencer:

As many of us [Gays] saw our goals largely completed and moved on, the far left filled the void. The movement is now rhetorically as much about race and gender as it is about sexual orientation. [intersectionality] prefers alternatives to marriage to marriage equality, sees white men as ‘problematic,’ masculinity as toxic, gender as fluid, and race as fundamental. They have no desire to seem ‘virtually normal’; they are contemptuous of “respectability politics” — which means most politics outside the left. Above all, they have advocated transgenderism, an ideology that goes far beyond recognizing the dignity and humanity and civil equality of trans people into a critique of gender, masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality. ‘Live and let live’ became: “If you don’t believe gender is nonbinary, you’re a bigot.” I would be shocked if this sudden lurch in the message didn’t in some way negatively affect some straight people’s views of gays…. If the gay-rights movement decides to throw in with this new leftism, and abandon the moderation and integrationism of the recent past, they risk turning gay equality from being about a win-win process for gays and straights into a war between ‘LGBT’ people and the rest. That’s a battle none of us need to fight. Especially after the real war was won.

Continue reading

Transgender Wars — Part I

This is the first of a five-part series on Virginia’s transgender wars.

by Tom Pafford

With only 1% of the population claiming transgender status, Trans issues are not a common topic at the dinner table. It wasn’t until I got into the race for a Fairfax County School Board seat this year that I became aware of the Transgender Wars.

For those ignorant about the War or the word “transgender” or the folks who claim to be transgender, let’s start with Bruce Jenner, aka, Caitlyn. As reported in Vanity Fair in July 2015, Bruce’s life was long conflicted, torn between being a biological man and obsessive thoughts that he was really a woman. His Trans journey started in the 1980s with hormones, the removal of body hair and surgery to make his face more feminine. By 2014, he announced his identity as the woman Caitlyn.

As Bruce (Caitlyn) illustrates, every Trans is at war with him (her) self over his (her) body and their gender. Trans want to separate their gender (boy/girl) from their biological body (male/female). Until recently, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defined the Trans phenomenon as Gender Identity Disorder, labeling it as a mental disorder.

The controversy over Trans identity is especially intense in LGBTQ circles. Not all Gays are happy with including Trans in their movement. This struggle is played out forcefully on Reddit and other online forums where you’ll find arguments for both sides. A Reddit user, Defsnotmymainaccount, posted the following: Continue reading

Is the VMFA Aligning with the Left in America’s Culture Wars?

Kehinde Wiley is unquestionably a very talented artist. His mastery of painting is abundantly visible in his renderings of African-Americans in contemporary garb posing in the style of European masterpieces such as Jacques-Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” (as seen to the right). Inspired by the debate over Civil War statues, Wiley will display in New York this September a monumental statue of a young African-American in urban street-wear sitting astride a horse in a pose reminiscent of Richmond’s J.E.B. Stuart monument. In December, the statue will be installed in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Arthur Ashe Boulevard — about a mile from the Stuart statue. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Wiley statue will be the most expensive acquisition made in the museum’s history.

I don’t have a problem with either Wiley or his creation. Wiley is exercising his right to free expression. His work shatters stereotypes and provokes thought. His work displays a mastery of technique, unlike much of the trash that passes for contemporary “art” in museums today. Further, he’s not tearing down or vandalizing Richmond’s Civil War statues; he’s mocking them. I don’t even have a problem with the VMFA displaying the controversial, in-your-face piece outside the museum. I appreciate a diversity of artistic viewpoints and perspectives.

Rather, I see the VMFA’s huge investment in Wiley’s artwork as a sign that the state museum has taken sides in the nation’s culture wars. Indeed, I would go one step further in suggesting that the museum sector in Richmond is being increasingly captured by political progressives and weaponized to challenge — even to assault — the values and beliefs of a large segment of the population. I will develop this theme in future posts. Meanwhile, back to the VMFA… Continue reading

War Wounds, Lost Income and the Reparations Debate

Benjamin Franklin, Civil War amputee. Source: Pinterest

As the reparations issue heats up across the country — Congressional Democrats are considering forming a commission on reparations, reports the New York Times — it’s just a matter of time before the divisive debate comes to Virginia. The Old Dominion, after all, was a slave state and a segregationist state. We have a history of racism and discrimination to grapple with that, say, Minnesota or New Hampshire do not.

Personally, I find the idea of holding individuals accountable for long-ago sins committed by members of the same race to be a moral obscenity. But as an amateur historian, I find the debate fascinating. The controversy should dredge up loads of intriguing material as Americans trace the impact of slavery and segregation and the efforts to ameliorate that impact.

Here is a study that you won’t hear cited by the reparations brigade: “The Impact of a Wartime Health Shock on the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children.” The authors did not research the paper with reparations in mind. Rather, they were tracing the impact of disability on earnings and wealth in an economy dominated by farming and manual labor. But the findings bear upon the reparations debate. In any moral reckoning over the legacy of slavery, one must consider that 620,000 soldiers died from combat, disease and other causes in the Civil War. Even if we assign zero value to the deaths of Confederate soldiers in the war to end slavery, surely we must take into account the loss of 360,000 Union soldiers (who were, for purposes of the reparations debate, overwhelmingly white). Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Keeping the Political Class on its Toes

Cranky strikes again. John Butcher does another deep dive into Richmond Public School statistics, comparing the capital city’s school system with the schools in peer cities of Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News. Richmond spends $2,887 more per student than the state average, and it spends $1,659 more on instructional expenses. Yet somehow, the district supports fewer instructional positions per 100 students and pays teachers and principals less. And, as Butcher has amply demonstrated before, disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in Richmond under-perform their disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged peers in other urban-core localities by wide margins.

How about the indignity of attending lousy schools? But never fear, Richmond school administrators are au current with the latest in politically correct virtue signaling. As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond schools started requiring graduating students to wear gender-neutral gaps and gowns this year, ending a decades-long practice of having separate colors for men and women. Explained Superintendent Jason Kamras: “We want to make sure out transgender and nonbinary students don’t have to suffer the indignity of being forced to express their gender in a manner contrary to their identity.”

Big subsidies for big data. Virginia is home to 159 data centers that benefited from $417.5 million in sales-and-use tax exemptions from mid-2010 through mid-2017, according to estimates from a new Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report. JLARC deems the state subsidies to have been “relatively effective” and generate “moderate economic benefits.” It is reasonable for the state to continue the exemption, concluded JLARC. However, the tax break does not appear to have stimulated growth in distressed areas. Continue reading

Meanwhile, Back in the People’s Republic of Charlottesville…

City Councilor Cathy Galvin — divestment a step in the right direction.

Charlottesville City Council has voted to remove all operating investments in “weapons” and fossil-fuel companies from its $50 million-to-$100 million core investment portfolio, reports WVIR-TV.

Divestment proponents said fossil fuels and weapons do not align with the city’s vision and have negative impacts on community members. In response to calls that the measure does not go far enough, Treasurer Jason Vandever said the city is looking into divesting from fossil-fuel and weapons investments in the retirement fund as well.

Fossil-fuel and weapons companies make up only a small portion of the investment portfolio, so the measure will have a minimal budgetary impact, divestment advocates said.

Bacon’s bottom line: I wish there were some way Virginia could divest itself of Charlottesville, but no mechanism readily comes to mind. As a fall-back position, perhaps Commonwealth should divest itself of the University of Virginia, which sits at the epicenter of the city’s radical-chic culture. Continue reading

Trump, His Haters, and the Truth about Charlottesville

Citing scheduling conflicts, Tony Bennett, coach of the University of Virginia men’s basketball team, announced Friday that the team would decline an invitation to celebrate its N.C.A.A. championship at the White House. The move was particularly poignant, editorialized the New York Times news story, “as it highlighted widespread outrage over President Trump’s response to the white-nationalist rally two years ago in Charlottesville.”

The Times did not need to repeat the infamous Trump quote — that there were “very fine people on both sides” of Charlottesville’s deadly Unite the Right rally — because every sentient creature in the universe has heard it. Through a process of telephone tag-like repetition, the quote has morphed into a defense of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen. Most recently, Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Trump for assigning “a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.”

Trump is a repellent person in many ways: for his egotism, his sexism, his amoral business practices, his bullying, his carelessness with the truth, his outright lies, and his bull-in-a-china-shop approach to governance. You don’t have to make stuff up to find Trump a grievously flawed individual. But the president’s very real defects appear to be insufficient to feed the Left’s all-consuming hatred of him. While the president routinely and carelessly makes mis-statements of facts along with deliberate lies, the Left and its media allies make up lies of their own. And the “very fine people” controversy, germinated here in Virginia, is one of the biggest. Continue reading

Virginia is for Bigots?

Map Source: The Atlantic magazine. Click here to view Atlantic’s interactive map.

Virginians are among the more politically intolerant people in the United States, judging by a map published by The Atlantic magazine. If you accept the validity of The Atlantic’s methodology, such a finding says a lot about contemporary Virginia politics in the era of Ralph Northam, blackface, and the social justice wars.

The Atlantic hired PredictWise, a polling and analytics firm, to create a ranking of counties in the U.S. based on partisan prejudice, or “affective polarization.”  The results showed significant variation geographically. The Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and the coastal enclaves of the West Coast are bastions of liberal/leftist intolerance to those with opposing views. South Carolina, Utah, and swaths of Texas, predominantly conservative, stood out for their narrow-mindedness. Florida and Virginia, classic “purple” states, also show strong strains of prejudice, as can be seen in the map above.

Within Virginia, intolerance was pervasive across most the state. The only pockets of relative forebearance were located in non-metropolitan counties in Southside, Southwest, and along the Chesapeake Bay.

Continue reading

Being a Self-Righteous Pain is Not a Crime

Michelle Renay Sutherland, a New Yorker who traveled to Richmond to demonstrate in support of Virginia’s passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, is an annoying individual. Frankly, I find her sanctimonious posturing to be a pain in the ass. Maybe she violated the law for baring her breast when posing as the goddess Virtue in a reenactment of the Virginia state seal, maybe not. But her actions are hardly grounds for holding her in jail without bail for a month.

A magistrate set a bail of $700 for Sutherland, a Brooklyn artist with no criminal record. But General District Court Judge Lawrence B. Cann III ordered her held without bond until her trial, scheduled for March 21.

An article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch does not quote Cann as providing any justification for refusing to release Sutherland. Continue reading

Assisted Conception Option For The New Realities

Rick Olson, Jay Timmons and children at their McLean home.

A major revision of Virginia’s assisted conception laws has fought its way through to a final vote in the State Senate Monday, pushed by a former Virginia official who has gone public with his unconventional and very 21st century family.

Jay Timmons and his husband Rick Olson faced a major legal battle in Wisconsin a few years back over the surrogacy agreement they had with the mother of their third child.  The child was conceived using a frozen embryo from a couple that had used a similar method to build a family of four, didn’t want to use the remaining embryos themselves, but also didn’t want them destroyed.   Continue reading

Why Whites Are More Hard-Line than Blacks about Blackface

Image credit: Washington Post

A Washington Post poll finds that Virginians are split about 50/50 on the question of whether Governor Ralph Northam should step down from office after revelations of his use of blackface during medical school some 35 years ago. The most fascinating finding within that poll was that whites are more likely (48%) than African-Americans (37%) to hold that position.

If whites are more outraged by the blackface incident than blacks, an interesting question arises: How much is white outrage driven by virtue signaling? Continue reading

Dissent Must Be Crushed

Peter Vlaming. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Social mores in the United States are changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. If you fail to conform to the latest turn in politically correct thinking, you’re toast. You could lose your job. Not just in California, but here in Virginia.

Peter Vlaming, a high school teacher in West Point, was fired yesterday by the West Point School Board for resisting administrative orders to use male pronouns to refer to a ninth-grade student who had undergone a gender transition, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Here are the details: Continue reading