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by National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC
Saturday, Jul. 24, 2004 at 2:46 AM
Gender rights group demands repudiation of California's substitute-governor for his "girly-man" insult.
The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) wants a repudiation of insulting comments made by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this past weekend. In a rally for support of his state budget, Schwarzenegger used the mocking term "girlie men" to describe some California state lawmakers opposing his budget proposal.
A spokesman for the governor, responding to the clamor from the state's democrats, said that no apology would be forthcoming. NTAC claims the comment was contextually derogatory, and wants to know why the governor stands behind the implicit insults of not only democrats, but of women and transgenders as well.
Schwarzenegger made the comment at a rally Saturday as he claimed Democrats were delaying the California state budget by catering to special interests. Democrats claimed the Republicans were caving in to their own special interests, and protested the remark as being "sexist" and "homophobic."
"If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men," Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario, California.
At a rally Sunday in Stockton, the governor gave a speech almost identical to the one he delivered in Ontario but without the "girlie men" remark. The governor's spokesperson Rob Stutzman said the line was dropped because Schwarzenegger had already sent the message he wanted to send, not because he regretted his remarks.
"It's a forceful way of making the point to regular Californians that legislators are wimps when they let special interests push them around," Stutzman said. "If they complain too much about this, I guess they're making the governor's point."
"So in essence, girls or women are considered wimps or cowards in Gov. Schwarzenegger's eyes, and ditto for male-to-female transgenders?" said Vanessa Edwards Foster, chair of NTAC. "Right now, some of these wimpy females - and yes, some closeted transgenders as well - are over in Iraq, keeping the peace in one of the most dangerous war zones on the planet! It's nice to see them so 'forcefully' dismissed, with no regrets by the governor whatsoever."
"Biological women, male-to-female transgenders, and gay men are giving their lives to defend the right of people like Gov. Schwarzenegger to make offensive sexist remarks," said Robyn Walters, Board Secretary and Chair of NTAC's Veteran Affairs subcommittee. "There is not enough respect in America these days, and our leaders are among the worst offenders."
Foster noted that if there's no repudiation of such comments, that it's tantamount to approval of them. "This was clearly a derogatory remark comparing democrats to women or to men whose affectations are feminine in order to belittle and ridicule them," she added. "According to the governor's spokesperson, the governor fully intended these groups to be ridiculed. It perpetuates the image of women and transgenders as less than equal.
"Thank you Gov. Schwarzenegger for letting the world know that no matter what efforts or sacrifices that women or transgenders make on behalf of our state or our country, they will always be 'wimpy' and inadequate compared to the accomplishments of manly men!" NTAC's Foster commented. "What a load of jingoistic hubris! We had higher expectations of the governor than this."
[Founded in 1999, NTAC - the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition - is a §501(c)(4) civil rights organization working to establish and maintain the right of all transgendered, intersexed, and gender-variant people to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.]
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