Human Beings, Not Victims

To the Editor,

Congratulations to Joni K. Mausse on her beautiful and thoughtful article on Tucson's transgendered community ("A Many Gendered World," September 19). Mausse exhaustively researched her article, interviewing transgendered, transsexual and any other gender-deviant individual she could find, and came up with an articulate, and respectful article.

I must respond to Denny Banks' letter (Mailbag, October 3). I feel that Banks' heart is in the right place. His facts, however, couldn't be more off base. It has been my experience that transgendered individuals have not "lost track of who they are." They have, in some cases after decades of searching, found who they are. And when transgendered individuals say that rigid gender roles hurt us, they are not rationalizing, they are simply expressing the frustration that anyone would feel when society, family and peers, even their own bodies, tell them that they must be something they simply don't feel inside.

I cannot state strongly enough that I have never met a transgendered person I would classify as a victim. On the contrary, most of the transgendered people I have met are among the most powerful people I have known. This power comes from having taken charge of their own lives, and their own bodies, reaching the point where the person they see in the mirror looks like the person they know inside.

I have never met a single transgendered, transsexual or gender-deviant person who was looking for "understanding," or any other form of what can only be described as pity. All they, or anyone for that matter, are looking for is the simple respect due them as human beings. That, and the freedom to live their lives in the manner they see fit.

--Marshall E. Taylor

Haute Wax

To the Editor,

I cracked up reading Lori Andersen's response (Mailbag, October 10) to Juliana Piccillo's article on the Brazilian Bikini Wax ("Bushwacked," September 26). There is obviously a market for the procedure and Andersen seems to be a little too hostile about the practice. As for saying "women don't like it," there is obviously a market out there; women are getting it done. Guys whose chicks have it done can attest to the benefits of the procedure. We're not talking about the war on Iraq; it's just a wax, Lori, so don't take it so seriously!

--Maritza Encinas

The Bald Facts

To the Editor,

I enjoy The Weekly. The local coverage, comics and Uncensored Personals all make me think, which is a good thing (though I still shudder when thinking about someone who wants a "cow slave"). But what compels me to write is Lori Andersen's rant (Mailbag, October 10) regarding bikini waxing.

She herself asks the question, "And who the hell cares?" And the contents of her letter confirm that she does. She might have contented herself by giving her opinion of the practice (I believe she is not a fan), but she persisted in basing her argument on alleged facts rather than stick to her opinion.

First, she claims that "everyone who has an education knows that pornography is a direct contributor to sexual violence; there have been numerous studies." It was interesting that she did not name the studies, since my education (graduate level classes in statistical analysis and research methodology) has shown that although there has been some correlation between pornography and crimes such as rape, there hasn't been much to show a causal relationship. This is an important distinction, especially since I've read that 40 percent of pornography users are now women. I haven't heard about any rise in the number of rapes being committed by women; has anyone else? Maybe I'm being unfair, since Andersen said "sexual violence," not rape, but since "sexual violence" remains undefined and vague I cannot know what the hell she's talking about if it's not something like rape.

Andersen then comments regarding the photo accompanying the article. She decries "another panty shot of a half-nude girl-child photograph." I, too, found the picture a bit cheesy. I recommend that any follow-up articles be accompanied by some full-blown before-and-after beaver shots, since they would be appropriate in the context of the article. They would be far more informative.

Her letter concludes with all the reasons not to engage in the horrific sexist practice, calling it "another stupid male concept of beauty (beauty equals youth) that sucks for the women who are insecure enough to try it!" She is very wrong here. Consenting adults are getting their bushes depilated, not slaves. Women are choosing to engage in this practice. These are not cattle, they are women who enjoy having a bald vulva. And those who choose not to do it are not harmed in any way by this practice.

--Jon Meade

The Cold, Hard Truth About Ugly Town

To the Editor,

Renée Downing, you're getting close to the cold, hard truth about Tucson. Yes, it's an ugly place, and will in all likelihood get uglier ("Ugly Town," October 3).

Years ago, Life magazine called East Speedway the ugliest street in America. It's better now than it was, but as you noted in your article, the impulse towards new ugliness that is so common here is winning out.

I've been researching Tucson as part of my doctoral study. I've been led to some unavoidable conclusions. First, the city is dominated by a completely unchallenged culture of mediocrity. This is rooted in geographical and philosophical isolation. Tucson is too far away from any better influences.

Tucson also has the most abysmal economic leadership I've ever seen. Despite 50 years of one misguided plan after another, all we have are convenience stores and call centers. It doesn't have to be that way; any bookstore has shelves of titles that show clearly what has to be done. But, it appears none of the current community leadership reads.

It's a mess. I've lived, worked and taught here for over 20 years. But I'm leaving; I have some business development projects I will finish over the winter. Then, I'll relocate to a community with more energy and creativity. I'll have a long list to pick from.

--Alan Lantzer

Happy Talk

To the Editor,

Thank you for your kind consideration of my efforts as a talk show host ("Best of Tucson," September 26). Over the past several years I have been privileged to offer my perspectives on the news of the day and provide a forum (for those who can find a minute in the morning) to share ideas on the phone with KNST's listeners.

There continues to be significant growth in the talk format nationally and in Tucson. I'm happy to be part of that phenomenon. I'd also like to thank KNST, AC Cook, Paul Birmingham and Brian Jeffries for their enormous contributions to the show and their patience with me.

--Mike Rapp
Mike Rapp and the Morning News
Newstalk 790 KNST

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