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Old 06-07-2019, 11:10 AM
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Trans Rights - Too much, too soon?


I hope we can have a reasonable discussion on this topic. To be honest I'm a little afraid of this going badly.

I am a straight married white male. I consider myself a LGBT ally and have many close friends who are gay and lesbian. Over the last 20 years I have supported their efforts to gain equality under the law - of course most specifically related to marriage but certainly other areas like employment protections, medical decision rights, etc. I wept with joy and celebrated with my gay/lesbian friends when gay marriage was made legal. I have since attended many of their weddings.

I wholly agree and support equality and equal protections for transgendered people. I will be honest and admit that I do struggle more with understanding transgender identity and the associated issues than I do with an issue like gay marriage.

Under the current administration all the gains made in the last 10-20 years are under assault, and it seems transgender rights/issues seems to be the spark igniting the severe backlash that is impacting LGBT gains across the board. If you look at one definition of conservative (bolding mine):

Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

I think most people will eventually come to support equality for minority issues but as a whole we are more cautious about change and need time to absorb and in a way internalize it in ways that build support broadly. Of course with any major change, there were those leading the vanguard way ahead of the changes occurring. But it took years of gay and lesbian people being out in their neighborhoods and in their work environments, years of loud and proud advocacy, years of seeing gay people positively portrayed in media and television before enough support was built and people felt comfortable enough for marriage equality to pass.

Almost immediately afterwards though, the topic switched to transgendered issues. It felt to me that this pushed too hard on a topic that generally speaking the majority of society did not understand nor were prepared to make that next step. The question for discussion is did the hard push for transgendered issues come too early/fast on a society that was simply not prepared?

I do feel the answer to my question is "Yes, it was reaching for too much too fast without any groundwork being laid to help pave the way and it resulted in a more significant backlash." And no, I'm not suggesting transgendered people be quiet and wait. But I am struggling with what is going on and I look forward to your thoughts and discussion.

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Old 06-07-2019, 11:28 AM
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No, it did not come "too early". It's never too early, in terms of morality and ethics, and I don't buy that demanding rights and fair treatment before society is "ready" will delay the fair treatment or recognition of those rights.

At worst, the status quo continues and trans people continue to be treated poorly in many ways. At best, progress is made. Since progress on trans rights has already been made (even if there is a long way to go), it was obviously not "too early" to demand that progress.

As far as "groundwork", gay rights (and civil rights in general) are that groundwork. Never have demanded rights been recognized with "ease" -- there's always been a struggle and a resistance. It's no surprise that there are still a lot of ignorant folks (and outright bigots) out there who are disconcerted by this, but their confusion, ignorance, and (in some cases) hatred are not legitimate reasons to delay the demands for fair treatment and recognition of rights.

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Old 06-07-2019, 11:30 AM
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Under the Wilson adminstrative, the strides that black Americans had made towards equality were set back. Why? It had nothing to do with "moving too fast" or "asking too much" and everything to do with Wilson being a racist prick.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:00 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with one of the assumptions in the OP. I don't believe that all that many people fundamentally changed their view on SSM. Sure, some did, but the reason that support went from the high 20s to the high 60s was the passing of the torch to another generation.

You had elderly people who grew up in a time where homosexuality was considered disgusting and sinful. You had people coming of age where, at least in the media, homosexuality was seen as simply a different way of doing things.

As the old people died and the young people became voting age, these votes were replaced. I think the transgender issue is just coming along later in the process. So while in the 1990s at the latest, popular culture portrayed being gay as normal, it has only been in the last few years that transsexuality has had the same.

As late as 10 or 15 years ago, it was very funny to make fun of transgender people in mainstream movies. I predict that its acceptance will follow along the same path, but take time.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:10 PM
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No, it did not come "too early". It's never too early, in terms of morality and ethics, and I don't buy that demanding rights and fair treatment before society is "ready" will delay the fair treatment or recognition of those rights.

At worst, the status quo continues and trans people continue to be treated poorly in many ways. At best, progress is made. Since progress on trans rights has already been made (even if there is a long way to go), it was obviously not "too early" to demand that progress.

As far as "groundwork", gay rights (and civil rights in general) are that groundwork. Never have demanded rights been recognized with "ease" -- there's always been a struggle and a resistance. It's no surprise that there are still a lot of ignorant folks (and outright bigots) out there who are disconcerted by this, but their confusion, ignorance, and (in some cases) hatred are not legitimate reasons to delay the demands for fair treatment and recognition of rights.
Thank you for your response, I think you make some very good points that I don't really disagree with. Perhaps my view/question is driven by my lack of exposure to the early years when this groundwork was being laid. I can see that the same question was posed back then - "Okay, society as a whole is becoming more accepting of civil rights and equality for black people but... not ready for those homosexuals just yet!"

So by way of follow up, does the past groundwork of civil rights and gay rights pave the way for faster progress? Or does it still take years and years for change to occur? It certainly took a long time from the civil rights protests and gains until gay rights gains were achieved. One did not seem to speed the other.

Perhaps related, I think one of the factors impacting acceptance of trans people is one of visibility and representative percentage of the population. I'd wager that most people do not know a trans person. I know dozens of gay/lesbian people but I only know one person who came out as trans and has transitioned to living as a woman. Yet if I think about every office I've worked in since I was 18 (I'm 50 now) there was a gay person. In every neighborhood I've lived in I've had a gay neighbors. Even friends of mine who live in the suburbs have a common experience of having gay neighbors (granted, it may only be one but it's no unheard of anymore). Even my Trump supporting conservative in-laws who live in the sticks now know many of our gay friends. Would I say they support gay marriage? On the whole, probably not. But if you asked them if they felt Scott and Jeff shouldn't be married well... that's where they begin to open their eyes. Now to expect them to be open to acceptance of transgendered people and... that would be and is still a bridge too far.

Again, thank you for the response and giving me something to think about.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:13 PM
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So by way of follow up, does the past groundwork of civil rights and gay rights pave the way for faster progress? Or does it still take years and years for change to occur? It certainly took a long time from the civil rights protests and gains until gay rights gains were achieved. One did not seem to speed the other.
I don't know. I think it makes/made for faster progress in people deciding to stand up and demand their rights, but I don't know if it's actually faster progress in rights being recognized by society.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:18 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with one of the assumptions in the OP. I don't believe that all that many people fundamentally changed their view on SSM. Sure, some did, but the reason that support went from the high 20s to the high 60s was the passing of the torch to another generation.

You had elderly people who grew up in a time where homosexuality was considered disgusting and sinful. You had people coming of age where, at least in the media, homosexuality was seen as simply a different way of doing things.

As the old people died and the young people became voting age, these votes were replaced. I think the transgender issue is just coming along later in the process. So while in the 1990s at the latest, popular culture portrayed being gay as normal, it has only been in the last few years that transsexuality has had the same.

As late as 10 or 15 years ago, it was very funny to make fun of transgender people in mainstream movies. I predict that its acceptance will follow along the same path, but take time.
As a Gen-X'er, I think I'm in that bridge demographic. As a child I was raised by parents and in a church environment that was very much viewed homosexuality as disgusting and sinful. Through exposure to different people and ideas as a result of a broadening of my social circle after high school my views evolved to where today they are 180-degrees from where I was at 18. Certainly millennials, gen-z, and gen-y are experiencing very different societal views on a variety of issues.

Thank you for this response, also helpful (and hopeful!).
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:20 PM
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I don't know. I think it makes/made for faster progress in people deciding to stand up and demand their rights, but I don't know if it's actually faster progress in rights being recognized by society.
That's a great distinction. My question was related to being faster progress in being recognized by society. I absolutely agree it makes/made for faster progress in people deciding to stand up and demand their rights.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:22 PM
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MLK Jr’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail was in direct response to clergymen who insisted that it was “too soon” for the assertion of rights for African Americans.

Trans people’s rights are being trampled daily and their suicide rate is appalling. You want to back off because there might be a backlash? Dude, what do you think is happening either way?
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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The gay rights movement owes its existence to trans people and specifically trans activists like Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. It was not accountants and interior decorators rioting at Stonewall. That we only now are starting to talk about trans rights is abominable and an absolute stain on the gay rights movement. We co-opted their movement and boxed them out for decades. Trans rights should have been part of the conversation the whole time as it was at the beginning. It is not too much too fast. It has been far too little for far too long.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:27 PM
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I'm pretty solidly of the opinion that the only way society makes any progress on minority rights is when that minority gets noisy and starts demanding them.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:28 PM
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I'm reminded of the letter from a burmingham jail - justice delayed is justice denied. No one should set a time table on someone else's rights.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:34 PM
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MLK Jrís Letter From A Birmingham Jail was in direct response to clergymen who insisted that it was ďtoo soonĒ for the assertion of rights for African Americans.

Trans peopleís rights are being trampled daily and their suicide rate is appalling. You want to back off because there might be a backlash? Dude, what do you think is happening either way?
In no way am I saying we should back off because there might be a backlash. I specifically said I am not calling for trans people to be quiet and wait. I am trying to understand attitudes and factors that drive societal change, what actions can result in losses in progress earned vs. what actions can be more effective in gaining support. From my perspective I saw years and years of slow progress that eventually lead to significant change on the topic of gay rights. My own personal experiences shaped my views today and that happened over years. Today I see a rapid demand of acceptance on trans issues and (I suspect) a large degree of that backlash may be due to pushing for too much too soon when society as a whole just doesn't understand it. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a push but does it risk have far more negative outcomes that leaves hard won progress in tatters?
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:36 PM
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That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a push but does it risk have far more negative outcomes that leaves hard won progress in tatters?
What could the risk be? I suppose some genocidal madman could somehow gain power and advocate mass murder of trans people... but that could happen regardless of the actions of trans activists. Seems wiser to me to rely on simple maxims like "do the right thing" rather than worry about hypotheticals that one has no control over. In this case, "do the right thing" means pushing for justice, recognition of rights, and fair treatment. It's hard to see why or how that could ever be wrong or unwise.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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If you look at one definition of conservative (bolding mine):

Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
But what is "traditional" code for? Regressive social attitudes - sexism, homophobia, and a host of other terrible ideas. Women not getting the vote was once "traditional", slavery was once "traditional". We summon up the word "traditional" only when an idea is so bad that it can't be justified it on its merits.

I visited Memphis a few weeks ago for the first time. There's a fabulous civil rights museum sited at the motel where MLK was murdered, giving an extensive history. I'm not usually inclined to linger over every exhibit at a museum, but it's so well presented I spent about 4 hours there - I'm not from the U.S., there were many gaps in my knowledge. One thing was clear - although there was some conflict over the efficacy of MLK's nonviolent strategy, nonviolence certainly didn't mean sitting back quietly and accepting persecution for another few decades until people can "absorb" and "internalize" whether they are "ready" to treat other human beings with dignity and respect. It meant getting in people's faces and demanding change, and that's the only way that it ever happened at all.

It's an embarrassment for the human species that it has taken us until the 21st century to even begin to act in a remotely civilized manner toward all our fellow human beings. The notion that we need to move more slowly on LGBT rights in order to accommodate those who have ingrained habits of bigotry is.... well, let's keep this polite and just say misguided.

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Old 06-07-2019, 12:53 PM
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What could the risk be? I suppose some genocidal madman could somehow gain power and advocate mass murder of trans people... but that could happen regardless of the actions of trans activists. Seems wiser to me to rely on simple maxims like "do the right thing" rather than worry about hypotheticals that one has no control over. In this case, "do the right thing" means pushing for justice, recognition of rights, and fair treatment. It's hard to see why or how that could ever be wrong or unwise.
A complete roll-back of the gains made so far. I think you do make a fair point about hypotheticals. Perhaps I am weighing too heavily the perceived risks or outcomes I see based upon hypotheticals. I'm very afraid of the assault on women's reproductive rights and what it could mean for my daughter's futures. I am very afraid of the assault on gay rights for what it could mean for my friend's marriages. I am struggling with if those (perceived) risks or hypotheticals are a result of the push on trans rights.

This is great discussion so far, I really appreciate everyones comments and passion.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:56 PM
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The other thing I'll say is that some people will never change, whatever speed we go. As Ultravires pointed out, progress is often made simply by the old bigots dying off, and being replaced by younger people with different attitudes. So challenging the status quo in a visible and assertive manner is important, so that young people realize that there are possibilities other than the terrible choices advocated by their conservative parents and their religious leaders. It's also important, of course, because if you're LGBT and living in some podunk town in the Bible Belt, it may stop you committing suicide if you can realize that the attitudes you see around you every day are not shared by the whole world.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:12 PM
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A complete roll-back of the gains made so far. I think you do make a fair point about hypotheticals. Perhaps I am weighing too heavily the perceived risks or outcomes I see based upon hypotheticals. I'm very afraid of the assault on women's reproductive rights and what it could mean for my daughter's futures. I am very afraid of the assault on gay rights for what it could mean for my friend's marriages. I am struggling with if those (perceived) risks or hypotheticals are a result of the push on trans rights.
No doubt there are some people out there who might now grudgingly accept gay rights, but "draw the line" at trans rights. But I'm highly skeptical that any of these people were ever enthusiastically supportive of gay rights - they had to be dragged reluctantly to where they are. (I guess TERFs might be an exception, but that's a small number of people, and I don't think that's what you're talking about - you're talking about conservatives.)

The cause of any "roll-back" will not be because there are people who support gay rights but are resistant and "draw the line" if we push for treating trans people with respect. It will be a much more straightforward conflict between progressive and regressive attitudes, what we're seeing now with Trumpism - people who never really wanted to give up any of their privilege and bigotry becoming empowered to celebrate their regressive attitudes openly.

Last edited by Riemann; 06-07-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:15 PM
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From my perspective I saw years and years of slow progress that eventually lead to significant change on the topic of gay rights. [...] Today I see a rapid demand of acceptance on trans issues and (I suspect) a large degree of that backlash may be due to pushing for too much too soon when society as a whole just doesn't understand it.
I'd need to see much stronger evidence that it's the transgender rights movement driving the current backlash against LGBQT+ acceptance. My skepticism is due to the fact that there's always been a backlash against acceptance of non-cishet people, and it's always the same: it's just the fashionable excuse for the backlash that changes.

Examples: When gay people started becoming more "out and proud" in the 1980s, the "respectable" reason for the anti-gay backlash was the AIDS epidemic: gays were recklessly endangering public health with all their irresponsible promiscuous sex and yadda yadda.

Then in the 1990s and 2000s it was the push for same-sex marriage and acceptance of same-sex parenting and gays in the military that provided the excuse for the backlash, with anti-gay conservatives whining that the gays were destroying marriage and family and national security with all their Heather Has Two Mommies propaganda and sweaty barrack-room orgies and whatnot.

In the 2010s anti-gay conservatives started waving the banner of homophobia as religious freedom, claiming that barring them from discriminating against gays was a violation of their rights. And more recently they've latched on to popular transphobia, whipping up outrage over the fact that some of these "alphabet soup types" are not just canoodling with the wrong gender but actually trying to be the wrong gender.

In short, Mean Joe, AFAICT you've got it exactly backwards. The movement for trans rights is not the cause of the current backlash against gay rights. On the contrary, the current backlash against gay rights is a consequence of the fact that homophobes are always pushing for a backlash against gay rights, and are always needing a new gimmick to revitalize the backlash when the old gimmick starts to get too familiar.

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The cause of any "roll-back" will not be because there are people who support gay rights but are resistant and "draw the line" if we push for treating trans people with respect. It will be a much more straightforward conflict between progressive and regressive attitudes, what we're seeing now with Trumpism - people who never really wanted to give up any of their privilege and bigotry becoming empowered to celebrate their regressive attitudes openly.
This, exactly. The movement for transgender rights is just the latest cultural "hook" for homophobes to hang their homophobia on. If the entire trans-rights movement went totally silent starting tomorrow, the homophobes would simply have to think up a different reason to foment outrage against gays. Possibly that there are too many of them in municipal government or something.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:20 PM
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In short, Mean Joe, AFAICT you've got it exactly backwards. The movement for trans rights is not the cause of the current backlash against gay rights. On the contrary, the current backlash against gay rights is a consequence of the fact that homophobes are always pushing for a backlash against gay rights, and are always needing a new gimmick to revitalize the backlash when the old gimmick starts to get too familiar.


This, exactly. The movement for transgender rights is just the latest cultural "hook" for homophobes to hang their homophobia on. If the entire trans-rights movement went totally silent starting tomorrow, the homophobes would simply have to think up a different reason to foment outrage against gays. Possibly that there are too many of them in municipal government or something.
I had not thought about it from that direction, thank you!
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:25 PM
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No doubt there are some people out there who might now grudgingly accept gay rights, but "draw the line" at trans rights. But I'm highly skeptical that any of these people were ever enthusiastically supportive of gay rights - they had to be dragged reluctantly to where they are. (I guess TERFs might be an exception, but that's a small number of people, and I don't think that's what you're talking about - you're talking about conservatives.)

The cause of any "roll-back" will not be because there are people who support gay rights but are resistant and "draw the line" if we push for treating trans people with respect. It will be a much more straightforward conflict between progressive and regressive attitudes, what we're seeing now with Trumpism - people who never really wanted to give up any of their privilege and bigotry becoming empowered to celebrate their regressive attitudes openly.
The later response, in addition to the response from Kimstu is very helpful and I appreciate it.

If I may though on the first point you make - I don't care if they were enthusiastic, only that they didn't get in the way. I don't have data to back this up but I have to think there are a lot of people who although not enthusiastic did not proactively try to stop progress. I know a lot of people like that - they may think "the gay" is icky and don't understand it but "it's not my business to tell you how to live your life". My conservative in-laws are most certainly in this category with a slow movement on the later part towards "it's not my business". :-)
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:25 PM
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I agree with Kimstu, it's pretty obvious that the assault on trans people is not independent of homophobia, but instead just those same homophobes finding an easier target to focus on. Like MeanJoe pointed out, most people don't know any openly trans people so they don't get as much support, and it's easier to be angry about 'men dressed as women infiltrating our bathrooms' when you don't understand the actual issue or know of any people that it applies to.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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What 'rights'?

CMC fnord!
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:12 AM
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Perhaps related, I think one of the factors impacting acceptance of trans people is one of visibility and representative percentage of the population. I'd wager that most people do not know a trans person.
That's funny. Literally everyone in my life knows a trans person. Shit, the most important person in my life sleeps with one of them. Can you imagine?

In all seriousness, I'd wager that most people know one or two. Y'all just don't know it. This was particularly true 15 years ago, when transitioning often meant going "stealth". This was in part due to safety (and it still is in many parts of the US and rest of the world), but also because medical professionals often wouldn't let you transition if they didn't feel you would blend in cis-normative society. When I started to transition, three acquaintances outed themselves to me. I had no idea. I have a friend from high school who I had long fallen out of contact with. He happened to find me on Twitter randomly. He was about a year into transition, and I had just started.

I live extremely openly, and I'm pretty forgiving and pleasant in person. (I'm an absolute terror online though.) This is largely because -- and I certainly didn't anticipate this -- my being trans has made me an unwilling and public representative of all trans people. I wish there had been someone in my Georgia hometown when I was younger to normalize being trans.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:59 AM
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Perhaps related, I think one of the factors impacting acceptance of trans people is one of visibility and representative percentage of the population. I'd wager that most people do not know a trans person. I know dozens of gay/lesbian people but I only know one person who came out as trans and has transitioned to living as a woman. Yet if I think about every office I've worked in since I was 18 (I'm 50 now) there was a gay person. In every neighborhood I've lived in I've had a gay neighbors. Even friends of mine who live in the suburbs have a common experience of having gay neighbors (granted, it may only be one but it's no unheard of anymore)

Again, thank you for the response and giving me something to think about.
So, you donít have any transgendered neighbors? Really? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?

My nephew is trans. He and his wife recently moved to a new city. Iíd be willing to wager that his coworkers and neighbors donít know what his genitals look like. Itís not a topic that people typically discuss. He has a beard. And a male physique. Iím sure,to their neighbors, theyíre just the new couple in the building.
IIRC, the restroom controversies started on college campuses. Because they are one of the few environments where people may be aware that when their peers are transgendered because so many of them transitioned during their college years. Yes, you may be aware that a neighbor or someone at work is transgender IF you knew them while they were transitioning.
But you really have no idea what the birth gender of most of your coworkers and neighbors is. And you certainly have no idea of the birth gender of the other people in the restroom at your local Target.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:08 AM
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So, you donít have any transgendered neighbors? Really? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?
LOL, one of the people who came out to me was literally the person in nextdoor unit of the apartment complex I was in.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:19 AM
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UltraVires, certainly some of the change on gay rights has been due to generational shift. But it's far too big to be explained entirely that way. To go from 20% support to 60% support, you'd need 40% of the population to die off and be replaced, and that's only if you assume that 100% of the old folks are opposed to gay rights and 100% of the young folks are in favor. It hasn't been anywhere near that high in the short time the change took.

As far as knowing trans folks, there's one in my (admittedly large) extended family, and one of my mom's next door neighbors. The one in the family, I think just took a long time figuring out just what she was, and came out pretty much as soon as she figured it out. The neighbor, though, was in the closet for decades, with nobody having a clue except for (I think) her wife.

I've also known at least two trans high school students, and at least one who identifies as nonbinary. But it's perhaps fair not to count them, because, as a substitute teacher in multiple districts, I know an extraordinarily large number of high schoolers.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:02 AM
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The term 'Trans' seems to cover a range of situations. Can someone define it?
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:19 AM
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We already have an example of the groundwork in that people accepted gay marriage much more quickly than they did "mixed race" marriage. The groundwork for the idea of marriage as a right had already been set up.

I also note that the trans community has been a part of the LGBT community for a long time. Sure, there have been squabbles, but trans people were involved in Stonewall. There's a reason why the only consistent letters of the name are LGBT.

So I'm not sure that that gay rights lay a foundation as much as both groups have been working together for a common cause.

That's all I got. I'm no history buff about this or anything. Just little bits of info I picked up along the way.

Wait, one more thing: the Internet has made the world a lot smaller. I don't currently know anyone in real life who is trans. But I interact with a lot of trans people online. While, sure, the relationships are pretty shallow, it's still more exposure. Maybe that exposure is part of why both gay and trans rights seem to have been moving more quickly lately.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:28 AM
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The term 'Trans' seems to cover a range of situations. Can someone define it?
In practice, it pretty much means "someone who identifies as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth". That includes actual transmen and transwomen, as well as non-binaries and genderqueers of various types. Frankly, to me it's just another facet of someone's personality. It doesn't harm me in any way and I honestly have no understanding of why some people are so transphobic.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:32 AM
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I also note that the trans community has been a part of the LGBT community for a long time. Sure, there have been squabbles, but trans people were involved in Stonewall. There's a reason why the only consistent letters of the name are LGBT.
Trans people were INSTRUMENTAL in Stonewall. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were central to the outbreak of the initial riot. This is one reason that there was so much outrage over Roland Emmerich's Stonewall, because it was whitewashed/ciswashed by having a FICTIONAL white cisgender (blond, fit, All-American) protagonist be the one to throw the first brick.

Sadly, it's not just straight folks who can be transphobic. A lot of my fellow fegelahs and lesbians are also intolerant in that area.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:45 AM
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In practice, it pretty much means "someone who identifies as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth". That includes actual transmen and transwomen, as well as non-binaries and genderqueers of various types. Frankly, to me it's just another facet of someone's personality. It doesn't harm me in any way and I honestly have no understanding of why some people are so transphobic.
I agree. The only thing I ask is the understandable confusion that can come from these "new understanding". I know this sounds silly, but I have a disability and it's not easy for me me to to staple down all this information on the corkboard in my head. To others, it may not seem a lot. So basically, my intentions are good and I want to learn.

If there's a 'Sexual Orientation For Dummies' on the net..?

I HAVE done some looking into it.

I hate getting asked about xx and xy chromosomes and how it's all binary, because they, (these particular people,) say, "You're an atheist. You care about facts..." But I don't understand the facts I've been given.

There's a lot to get use to I think, but the burden is in us to figure it out. And seriously, if you're not living a life you identify with, I hope you can embrace it. Being content with life is one of the most important things.

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Old 06-08-2019, 12:16 PM
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A representative from an LGBT rights advocacy legal group came to speak to my law school in the wake of the US v. Windsor decision. Apparently there had been some real controversy among advocates as to how and when and with whom to challenge DOMA in the courts. Some, like the org this speaker represented, wanted to wait a little longer, both to allow more time for attitudes to evolve and to find the perfect sympathetic test case, in order to have the best shot at victory. Others, like Edie Windsor, didn't want to wait.

I think social change is always going to feel like too much, too soon to some people. I'm not aware of any cases of progress towards equality being achieved by the oppressed asking nicely for their rights or sitting quietly until those in power decided to offer it to them. But I do wonder sometimes if deliberately slowing one's roll can be effective in certain situations. Progress obviously tends to be gradual, but it doesn't necessarily follow from that that one's goals must be small and incremental. IOW, if you want a puppy, is the smart thing to ask for a goldfish first, and once everyone's used to the goldfish, ask for the puppy? Or start out asking for a puppy (or better yet, a pony!) and accept that there's going to be some pushback but you'll get there eventually?

I think most people are stronger on empathy than logic. Changing minds usually requires putting a human face on things, and time. I've seen plenty of people get over their homophobia and/or transphobia once they realize someone they love is LGBT, though it's sometimes a slow process. If you try to hustle them all the way to the finish line, it probably won't work--but will it actually slow them down? I don't know.
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Old 06-08-2019, 01:32 PM
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UltraVires, certainly some of the change on gay rights has been due to generational shift. But it's far too big to be explained entirely that way. To go from 20% support to 60% support, you'd need 40% of the population to die off and be replaced, and that's only if you assume that 100% of the old folks are opposed to gay rights and 100% of the young folks are in favor. It hasn't been anywhere near that high in the short time the change took.
This was what I was going to post, as well.

It seems undeniable that there was a segment of Americans who were opposed to SSM ten or fifteen years ago, but who now are supportive of it.

What led to that change is the interesting question, and I lack the sociological knowledge to know what were the most important causes. Was it a decrease in the depiction of gays and lesbians in a negative light in media (and the corresponding increase in depictions of them in a positive light)? Was it more gays and lesbians feeling that they could finally come out of the closet -- and, thus, making it more likely that more Americans realized that they do, in fact, know and respect people who are gay? Was it younger Americans exerting pressure on their older relatives to re-examine their beliefs? Was it related to the ongoing decrease in church attendance in the U.S. (since some, but certainly not all, denominations still hold that homosexuality is a sin)? Was it other things entirely? Heck if I know.

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Old 06-08-2019, 01:55 PM
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I think there is an elephant in the room here. We are alive at possibly a unique juncture in the history of US democracy when the survival of its fundamental values and norms is far from certain.

This is not a time when you want to fuel the bigots and ignoramuses who support Trump and his Republican Guard and who may not even for vote from him in 2020 if left undisturbed. The lesser evil may be to not champion - temporarily - transgender rights.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:26 PM
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It's never 'too soon" for fundamental rights.

However, politicians, and especially political parties- have to carefully pick the hill they wanna die on.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:53 PM
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I would agree the backlash does probably stems in part from how abruptly transgender concerns have broken into the political mainstream. With black civil rights, people had a century to get used to the idea that free black people were a real thing, and they probably should have the same rights as others.

I don't think we should be listening to people who think they should get a 100 year grace period getting used to the idea that oppressed people should have rights.
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Old 06-08-2019, 03:02 PM
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I'll address two points.

As regards the question of whether it was too soon and that we're seeing backlash, I'll point out this particular XKCD strip:

https://xkcd.com/1431/

In it, you'll note that the US government was waaaaay ahead of the populace when it came to the question of interracial marriage, back before 1970. But in terms of gay marriage, the government trailed the populace by a few years.

I've put a lot of thought into that graph because my view of the government isn't populist/(little-d)democratic like most people. I understand that the intent of our style of government was to cede power to elected representatives, and allow them to deliberate and make long-term choices that are based on the bigger picture and the basic principles of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The graph strongly implies that, before 1970, they were doing that. Somewhere between then and now, that stopped.

Personally, the strongest argument that I've come across is that there was a change made to publicize the names of who voted for what, in Congress, that was enacted in 1970. This has had the effect that it allows outsiders to, in essence, commit voter fraud by punishing and rewarding our representatives:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HNmsBaVmZs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gEz__sMVaY

But the transparency policies weren't instituted as a counter-reaction to the removal of interracial marriage laws. At least, I don't think so. I think it was just a matter that they had the technology to start taking an electronic vote and thought it was cool. (Based on my read of the Congressional rules changes that were passed that caused the results to be publicized.)

So in terms of whether, for example, the government can move forward with something before the people are ready for it: Yes. We made a far larger move before and, to be certain, it probably made a lot of people angry and there was probably violence and outlash because of it and there may have been less if we'd waited 50 more years. Maybe not, I don't know.

But that would have been a long 50 years and, personally, I would leave that choice up to the individuals affected. If LGBTQ people feel like they'd rather have their rights enshrined in law, even if it means some backlash, that's their choice. I'll back them either way they go. They probably have a better sense of what that's going to look like than me and how many are liable to be affected. If transgender people feel like now is the time, then I'll take their word for it.

But if the time was 20 years ago, and we didn't make it then because our politicians simply couldn't afford to do so for fear of political retribution, then that's a bigger issue so far as I'm concerned.

We could have waited until slavery had become so chock-full of regulations that it simply wasn't a financially viable option, before axing it. That probably would have taken another 50-100 years. And while Lincoln might not have illegalized slavery, had there been no separatist actions taken, the separatist actions took place because they felt like there was a real possibility that, before too long, it was going to come.

Done right, elected representatives tend to be more progressive than the average populace. The representatives are almost always going to be better educated and, whether they want to or not, they're going to encounter the people who are affected by their policy decisions and have to hear their side. They're going to feel the actual weight of their choices. It's when we take the shackles off them that government is out ahead, not when we tie them hand and foot to the popular vote.

Now, my second point:

I do caution (a very small and almost completely meaningless caution) against whole-sale dive into being pro-LGBTQ.

To be sure, the naturalistic argument is crap. Saying that it's unnatural to want to be romantically attached to someone of the same gender, or viewing yourself as being of the opposite gender, or whatever is stupid. 1) It's obviously natural since we're natural and we're doing it - it's not mind control by aliens, it happened on its own - and it's been happening through human history, 2) if you don't like what's natural, then stop living in a house and wearing clothes and taking medicine.

Personally, I'm big on Jefferson's idea that if it doesn't break my bones nor pick my pockets, then I have no right to give any fucks. If someone is a different religion or a different skin color or likes to dress as the opposite gender, great. Doesn't affect me.

But, I do think that there's a difference between "choice" and "personal circumstances".

If I'm born without feet, I'm just stuck with that. That's not a personal choice that I made. It just happened and it affects my life, usually in a negative manner.

If I decide that I like to spend my time writing versus riding horses...I mean there's some argument to be made that this is based on my underlying personality and that's determined by my genetics and upbringing and stuff but, on the whole, we can more clearly say that this is a choice. It doesn't really matter which option I chose, they're both good.

In the case of homosexuality, even if we assume that all social ills have been fixed and there's no social consequence of being gay, there could have been a negative to being gay in that you can't have children. In practical reality, that's not a real concern though. You can adopt, you can find a surrogate womb or get a sperm donation, etc. It's probably not a big enough matter, to matter.

With transgender, I don't know that it's that simple. Fundamentally, your brain and your body disagree. And maybe we'll develop the technology to be able to correct that. But, in a sense, then you're no longer transgender, you're just a person who had an illness and now it's fixed. You're the opposite sex. But if we don't develop that technology, then you're never going to be healed.

And the technology might not be to remake the body, it might be to switch the brain back to the other view. I doubt that that's the easier solution. More likely, we'll improve our body modification techniques and get things 100% at some point. But it's not guaranteed.

If someone chooses to be transgender, then I completely support that choice. You be you. But if you were just stuck with it, I certainly want to do anything I can to make sure that you're as happy as possible. And, if our current level of technology is fully satisfying to you, then I guess that's great and my quibble wasn't necessary to say. But if it's not, and you're suffering from insensitivity in your genital regions, or depressed that you don't have a womb, or whatever, then I would worry that we're too busy being proud that we're being accepting of transgender folk, when there's more to it than that. We still need to do some research, which means making sure that we continue to invest and not accept the current state of the art, and the solution we find might not be the one that the entirely pro-transgender ideology would hope for.
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:28 PM
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What?
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:24 PM
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It's never 'too soon" for fundamental rights.

However, politicians, and especially political parties- have to carefully pick the hill they wanna die on.
As was mentioned upthread, what are these "fundamental rights" that transsexuals are seeking that they do not already have? Marriage? That fight is over. What specific laws are being sought?
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:26 PM
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As was mentioned upthread, what are these "fundamental rights" that transsexuals are seeking that they do not already have? Marriage? That fight is over. What specific laws are being sought?
The right to live as the gender they identify as without facing legal discrimination.

They seek protected status under anti-discrimination laws.

Are you serious? Do you need statute numbers?
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:28 PM
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As was mentioned upthread, what are these "fundamental rights" that transsexuals are seeking that they do not already have? Marriage? That fight is over. What specific laws are being sought?
Off the top of my head

- Employment non-discrimination
- Housing non-discrimination
- Ban on conversion therapy for minors
- Hate crimes protection
- Ban on "trans panic" defense
- Medicaid coverage for trans-related medication (many states explicitly ban it)
- Medical treatment and protection in prisons
- Title IX protection
- The ability to change documentation without bottom surgery
  #43  
Old 06-08-2019, 07:12 PM
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From Letter from a Birmingham Jail

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I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth of time. I received a letter this morning from a white brother in Texas which said, "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but is it possible that you are in too great of a religious hurry? It has taken Christianity almost 2000 years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." All that is said here grows out of a tragic misconception of time. It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:02 PM
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In it, you'll note that the US government was waaaaay ahead of the populace when it came to the question of interracial marriage, back before 1970. But in terms of gay marriage, the government trailed the populace by a few years.
I'm a bit skeptical that the government was trailing behind the populace when it came to gay rights. In many states when the issue of gay marriage came to a vote by the people it was a no. Some states, like Vermont and Massachusetts, had a population that voted for same sex marriage or civil union but wasn't gay marriage won in the courts in most states?
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:13 PM
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I'm a bit skeptical that the government was trailing behind the populace when it came to gay rights. In many states when the issue of gay marriage came to a vote by the people it was a no. Some states, like Vermont and Massachusetts, had a population that voted for same sex marriage or civil union but wasn't gay marriage won in the courts in most states?
Edited because I think I read the quoted post wrong...

Last edited by jayjay; 06-08-2019 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:43 AM
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The right to live as the gender they identify as without facing legal discrimination.

They seek protected status under anti-discrimination laws.

Are you serious? Do you need statute numbers?
How is it a fundamental right to have protection under anti-discrimination laws? If that was the case then everyone would always have protection under those laws.
  #47  
Old 06-09-2019, 09:04 AM
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How is it a fundamental right to have protection under anti-discrimination laws? If that was the case then everyone would always have protection under those laws.
Everyone does have protection under those laws.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:09 AM
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I would agree the backlash does probably stems in part from how abruptly transgender concerns have broken into the political mainstream. With black civil rights, people had a century to get used to the idea that free black people were a real thing, and they probably should have the same rights as others.

I don't think we should be listening to people who think they should get a 100 year grace period getting used to the idea that oppressed people should have rights.
Heck, some people still don't think women should have rights, and we've been around for a while.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:25 AM
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Everyone does have protection under those laws.
No they don't. People who have the characteristics outlined in the laws are protected. Those who have the overwhelming majority of other characteristics that others find objectionable, but are not listed in the law, do not have any protections.
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:21 AM
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I'm a bit skeptical that the government was trailing behind the populace when it came to gay rights. In many states when the issue of gay marriage came to a vote by the people it was a no. Some states, like Vermont and Massachusetts, had a population that voted for same sex marriage or civil union but wasn't gay marriage won in the courts in most states?
Neither MA nor VT initiated same-sex marriage via public vote, although indirectly, the public supported it. (lagging the legislature in VT, but prior to implementation of the law in MA.)

The Vermont legislature passed a civil union law, it wasn't put to the popular vote. In MA, the original legalization of same-sex marriage was the result of a MA Supreme Court decision.

In the next Vermont election (2000), supporters of civil unions lost ground in the polls, and there were some legislative efforts to undo the law. Two years later, it had become a non-issue, and four years later (2004) supporters of civil unions won a convincing majority.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-s...age_in_Vermont

In MA, there was a move to amend the constitution to prevent same-sex marriage that was killed by the legislature. Then the state supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Following that, there was another citizens petition to change the state constitution to overturn that ruling (or to weaken it to "civil union" instead of "marriage".) MA has weird rules regarding how to get citizen petitions on the general ballot, and at least in this case, the rule required at least 1/4 of the MA legislators to approve the amendment two years in a row before it could go to the public. The first of those two times the amendment got enough votes. Then there was a general election, and to the surprise of many, every legislator who backed same-sex marriage won re-election, and some who backed the amendment lost their seats. Critically, the amendment would not have taken effect until AFTER same-sex marriage had been in place for a while. So it was recognized that it would be disruptive, not "maintain the status quo".

The amendment died in the next legislature. That was partly due to the election results, partly due to public polling that turned up a high degree of support, and partly due to heavy lobbying by MA businesses, who had already spent a lot of money to change their HR policies to recognize same-sex marriage, and didn't want to go through all that expense again.
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