A PREGNANT PAUSE
DEAR MERCURY—I know the Mercury loves its in-your-face, edgy, un-PC voice. But Ann Romano took it way too far last week in her commentary on Thomas Beatie and HIS pregnancy ["One Day at a Time," April 10]. So here's some education for you, Ann, so you can hopefully avoid making such a disgusting ass of yourself in the future: (1) Gender is not determined by one's fleshy bits. (2) Not all trans people desire surgery. (3) Always refer to a person as the gender they think they are.
DEAR MERCURY—I'm not someone from off the street who picks up your paper and has such weak sensibilities and lack of humor that I am easily offended by what you publish. This latest one though... I don't get it ["One Day at a Time," April 10]. I don't expect my humor columnists to be politically correct, but I do expect them to communicate a general understanding that everyone's an equal target for humor and no one group or individual will be subject to hateful and cruel commentary.
DEAR EDITOR(S)—Your article on Thomas Beatie by Ann Romano was disrespectful and downright hateful ["One Day at a Time," April 10]. Like Mr. Beatie, I was born as and lived most of my life as female. When exploring my gender identity, here were my options: Live my ideal life (as male) or commit suicide. I considered including in this letter a discussion on gender identity and a short Trans 101, if you will, but I decided that it's not my job to educate you. Portland has a number of resources where you can [educate yourself] (SMYRC, Q Center, Transgender/Identity Resource Center at Outside In), but you probably won't choose to do this.
TO THE MERCURY—I just spotted the "Week in Review" take on transgendered man Thomas Beatie's pregnancy. I have to say that I am really disappointed to have read this in a publication such as the Mercury. Yes, this is an obvious case of transphobia, but really it's just a plain lack of respect.
Regardless of a person's beliefs on transgendered people, it should not be considered okay to question and even mock a person's identity. If this article were mocking Mr. Beatie's ethnic or racial identity, do you think it would have been printed in this paper? Doubtful. Although certainly not equivalent, gender identity is no less integral or important to how people view themselves and how others view and treat them.
So, to the author of "Week in Review," I say - Think about how you would feel if people continuously questioned your gender identity. Are you really the gender that you claim you are? How can you prove it? Do I need to talk about your genitals in order to validate your gender identity? Here's a fabulous idea - how about we just respect people's right to define themselves in whichever way they choose. Much easier.
Also, you might want to think about who's reading your column. There are more of us out there than you think.
Aidan C Padilla
TO THE MERCURY—I would say I am surprised at your blatant transphobic remarks in this past week's one day at a time in regards to Thomas Beatie, but I guess I am not that surprised. Horrified? Yes. Disgusted? Yes. Ashamed? Absolutely. Ashamed that your paper is supposedly the alternative option that my demographic (late 20's queer hipster) has to the mainstream bullshit media. Well, this week, that is a sad prospect.
I am sickened by your lack of support for people who are trying to exist in our world in the way that they feel best. I am saddened by your classism and misogyny in claiming that a man is only the penis in his pants. I am somewhat amazed that you were able to invalidate this human being in just about every sentence in your article. And to say you are a fan of the trans community and then spew your filth, is like saying, "well, I'm not racist, but...". Save your ironic wit for pop stars who make fools of themselves, not average human beings trying to make a family.
Shame on you Mercury. Shame on you. Way to alienate the queer community, yet again.
TO THE MERCURY—It's not that I have a problem with deliberately superficially provocative writing, in fact, to be brutally honest, it's your paper's only real merit. It's just that, well, the bit about the pregnant tranny was obviously nothing but provocation. I'm on to the fact that "One Day At A Time" is ghost written; sometimes it's funny as hell, sometimes, well, it's just not. That part was lame. I mean, are you guys going to tell me you're really serious about defending masculinity? As in: are you content making gags that better target my Dad's sense of humor than mine? Because you're acting like the people that I usually laugh at the expense of and, damn it, I really could have used one of the funny articles this week.
Mr. Penis Head
TO THE MERCURY—My name is Alex and I am a Transgender, FtM, individual. It was incredibly disheartening to read Ann Romano's comments about Thomas Beatie. As a Transgender man I have been beaten, verbally abused, and discriminated against and to see a publication such as yours do the same thing is sickening. Thomas Beatie has every right to do with his body what he chooses. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Beatie was born into this world with a female body, HE not SHE felt like he was born into the wrong body and took the measures to make his body match how he mentally felt. Just because he chose to have some surgery and to live his life as male does not mean he should be looked at as female for utilizing the female parts of his body that are still genetically female. You should be ashamed of yourself Ms. Romano, for such blatant transphobia and your publication should be embarrassed for printing such nonsense. Shame on you, you do not have any friends in the Trans community anymore.
TO THE MERCURY—I was made aware of your article about Thomas Beatie. I have to say that I feel Mr. Beatie's hijacking of the national spotlight is despicable. However, you've managed to put yourself right up there as far as despicable and stupid goes. Unfortunately your article cared more about what was in his pants than what was actually the relevant political and social repercussion of his and the medias actions. How about mentioning how this could reflect on the American public's perception of sex and gender? Then again you've possibly done exactly that by demonstrating an amazing amount of ignorance. To publish an article in which you invalidate another human being on the basis of your small minded and uneducated opinion is a monument to fact that you really oughtn't to be called a news source. Last I checked while you do have freedom of speech, something folks like you make me regret that I spent several years willing to defend with my life, your freedom to judge, belittle, and generally act like bigot is not guaranteed by any written document. Maybe you could try and fix that with your next issue. Instead of just catering to the unwashed masses, something I know your hipster edginess would never let you admit to, maybe you could actually publish their manifesto. If your going to do it do it right just drop the we're open and cool act and demand the right to dictate who is a person and who's just an oddity for your amusement. Don't claim to be trans friendly like it's a shield for you to lob your bigoted comments from behind. Either drop the act admit that your not trans friendly and you're just a mainstream media sheep or apologize for your short sighted and uninformed opinion and we can all move on albeit slightly more disillusioned about just how open our beautiful city is.
Not At All Lost In Transition
TO THE MERCURY—The lack of respect that your paper has shown for the trans community and Thomas Beattie is unbelievable. I expect that you paper should print an apology to the trans community. The comments that were written about Thomas Beattie slander all trans people. You have helped to further the already existing transphobia that is rampant. I love a good joke and have a great sense of humor. These comments made by your writer are equivalent to saying that a lesbian woman is not really a woman, that a gay man is not really a man, or that anyone who is brave enough to commit a selfless act for their wife to help bring about their family is less of a person. This is unforgivable.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: First of all, thanks to everyone who sent in letters showing their support for the transgender community. Though Ann will be issuing an apology in her column, it's equally important for me to issue one as well. As editor of this paper, it's my responsibility to "value check" everything that comes past my desk to make sure our articles represent who we are. This time, I really blew it. For the past eight years the Mercury has prided itself on supporting the LGBTQ community, and because of my careless oversight, I've inflicted damage that I hope isn't irreparable. For what it's worth, I accept responsibility, and I'm truly sorry. The transgender community deserves to be lauded for their struggles and bravery, rather than be the object of thoughtless smartassery. We intend to explore this idea further in future articles on the subject. While I'm certainly not perfect, I will try my hardest to be more sensitive in the future—and renew our focus of sticking it to the people who actually deserve it. Again, I apologize for any pain this article caused, and thanks for taking the time to tell us how you feel.
DEAR MERCURY—I object to the adjective "downtrodden" to describe the Oregon Leather Company Building in Old Town ["Old Town Shuffle," Feature, April 3]. Also, the building has been owned and the business operated by the MacPherson and Rufner families since the 1950s. It is not, as of this writing, part of the Naito re-development plan.
James MacPherson President, Oregon Leather Co.
MATT DAVIS RESPONDS: I'm sorry for describing the building in those terms, but I'm looking at the Naito Company's "master plan" as I write this, and the OLC building is clearly included in it, targeted for demolition and replacement with a three-story mixed-use building.
DEAR MERCURY—Let's get one thing straight, or two, whatever. (This article offends my learned sensibilities ["Portland Wants Squatch!" Feature, April 10].) The Sasquatch is NOT SCARY because it is NOT REAL. Trail cats, as in bobcats you might meet on the trail: VERY SCARY! A hunter/logger/hippie/surveyor's worst nightmare EVER is a cat, because they wait quietly in the trees (where you can't see them!) and jump on you from out of nowhere and claw your eyes out and eat your brains before you can grab your gun!! You folks, er wait, Ezra "Ace," needs to get a grip and get out of his condo more often.
CONGRATULATIONS TO CHLOE for her compelling defense of Blaze the Trail Cat—let's agree to disagree. In the meantime, Chloe wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where cats are not allowed (but Sasquatch are).