Oh For F*ck’s Sake: Kansas Legislator Dick Jones Claims Gay People are a “Third Sex”

feature image via shutterstock

This is just to say that discussion of the horrific anti-trans legislation just passed in South Dakota would normally go here as the news fix’s top story, because it’s a huge deal, and the only reason it’s not is that we’re going to have a full article on it later in the day, so please keep an eye out for that!

Well F*ck This Guy

+ What! is this. This reads like an internet troll who has burst through the screen á la The Last Action Hero and is running amok in our legislative system. The fact that his name is Dick Jones does not help disabuse me of that notion. Anyways, this bizarre and hateful person is arguing that being gay is legally its own gender and we should all be mad about it. This came up, of course, during hearings on a “religious freedom” business owner discrimination issue wherein a florist did not want to provide services to a same-sex couple.

A Topeka lawmaker on Wednesday said gay people represent a “third sex” under U.S. Supreme Court decisions that legalized same-sex marriage and expanded gay rights. Rep. Dick Jones, a Republican, said the national psyche had already flipped to allow people to speak of the positives of being accepting of people’s choice in terms of “sexual gratification.”… “The Supreme Court has, in fact, established a third sex for all intents and purposes. So there’s male and female and gay,” Jones said.

To be clear, I don’t think he literally believes this — he also said “But we must not forget that ga

dickjones

feast your eyes on Dick Jones

y is strictly a sexual preference… It’s not a separate sex” — but he’s clearly trying to invoke a perceived collective panic about gender diversity and/or trans people (not that being trans is actually a “third sex,” but that Jones and others may believe that) to make sure that straight cis people are properly horrified by the prospect of LGB people having any legal recognition. Essentially, this is throwing trans and gender non-conforming people under the bus as a means of throwing LGB people under the bus and then setting the bus on fire, metaphorically speaking.

It’s not clear that people are necessarily hanging on Dick Jones’ every word on this issue, but it is frustrating that Jones was able to present these views without a counterpoint — a frustration that Kansas activists also expressed.

Tom Witt, director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas, blasted the lack of opposing viewpoints during the hearing, in which only Stutzman and Fiedorek spoke. He called Jones misinformed. “Had this not been a one-sided presentation, we would have had an opportunity to set him straight on his understanding of what sexual orientation actually means,” Witt said.

Presidential Candidates

+ Last night Anderson Cooper hosted a GOP Town Hall on CNN, in which the the Republican candidates remaining in the race had to speed through a local megamart, trying to find the items on the shopping list provided in order to win free groceries for a year. Just kidding! I think actually they just yelled a lot. Topics discussed included Apple’s refusal to let the FBI access one of their users’ phones, guns, and the nomination of someone to the Supreme Court to replace Scalia. CNN says Cruz won; mostly it feels like we all lost. You can watch Ted Cruz’s performance here if you wish, and the end screen after the video should link you to other candidates’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z2rB3ANIoQ

+ Hillary gave a speech addressing systemic racism at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Rembert Browne, who was there, writes about it.

+ As you likely know, the current phase of the virtually endless American election cycle we’re in is primary season, when various state primaries are performed and we are told that each of them is simultaneously a huge deal but also ultimately inconclusive, somehow. Right now we’re talking about South Carolina, where Trump and Clinton are reported to lead in the polls. But speaking of polls, the real news is about the people who say they’re going to vote for Trump, and the batshit things they report they believe. Some things that SC Trump supporters say about themselves, as reported by Jezebel:

+ 70% think the Confederate flag should still be flying over the State Capital, to only 20% who agree with it being taken down. In fact 38% of Trump voters say they wish the South had won the Civil War to only 24% glad the North won and 38% who aren’t sure. Overall just 36% of Republican primary voters in the state are glad the North emerged victorious to 30% for the South, but Trump’s the only one whose supporters actually wish the South had won.

+ By an 80/9 spread, Trump voters support his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. In fact 31% would support a ban on homosexuals entering the United States as well, something no more than 17% of anyone else’s voters think is a good idea. There’s also 62/23 support among Trump voters for creating a national database of Muslims and 40/36 support for shutting down all the mosques in the United States, something no one else’s voters back. Only 44% of Trump voters think the practice of Islam should even be legal at all in the United States, to 33% who think it should be illegal. To put all the views toward Muslims in context though, 32% of Trump voters continue to believe the policy of Japanese internment during World War II was a good one, compared to only 33% who oppose it and 35% who have no opinion one way or another.

+ Oh, Ben Carson! We see what you tried to do here, but at this stage in the game even insulting both American Muslims and the mentally ill in one fell swoop is not going to save you in this race, so maybe give it a rest!

Big, Medium, Small Data

+ In tech and privacy news, Apple has announced that the FBI asked them to remove security and privacy features from an individual’s smartphone so that they could access what’s on it, and that Apple refused in order to protect their customers’ rights. (If you’ve been watching the debates, this ties into the discussion that often comes up about encryption and about whether any given candidate would be able to “work with” corporations for national security purposes.)

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

+ If you were having a chill, relaxed day where nothing unsettling or Nightvale-ish was on your mind, you can check out how corporations are using big data to get involved with employees’ health concerns. There are many reasons why this is an alarming concept, not least of which is that your employer may find out without you wanting them to about things that they think make you less employable, like planning a pregnancy, seeing a mental healthcare professional, or more.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published an article about how bosses might take advantage of big data in order to anticipate employee health needs. The article focused on the ways in which firms like Castlight Healthcare Inc. collect data about what prescriptions employees use, how they shop, and even, sometimes, how they vote, in order to determine who is at risk for certain illnesses in order to offer them personalized messaging. (For instance, someone at risk for diabetes might receive an email suggesting they start a fitness regimen.)

Law & Order

+ A story on how the effects of HB2, the Texas bill that has created even more entrenched restrictions on abortion access, impacts Latinas of the Rio Grande Valley the most.

+ A new state law forces the University of Texas’ president to allow concealed handguns in classrooms; laboratories, sporting events, and areas that contain children are still gun-free zones. The president calls having to adopt the law “the greatest challenge of my presidency to date”; private universities in Texas aren’t required to allow handguns, and most are choosing not to.

+ Indigenous women in Guatemala are pursuing justice in court for sexual violence and slavery they experienced at the hands of soldiers during Guatemala’s civil war.

+ Congress has lifted a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, although it “allows funding only in areas where drug-related cases of hepatitis and HIV are rising or are likely to,” and permits funding only for staff and programs, not the actual syringes.

+ President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal removes all funding for abstinence-only sex education, although the budget still has to be debated and approved by Congress, which will likely be (in technical terms) a “whole thing.”

+ ThinkProgress has a piece on how while bills allowing for discrimination against LGBT citizens are often ostensibly written to protect religious freedom, they actually “upend actual religious freedoms by privileging one set of beliefs over others.”

+ In earlier fixes we reported on new research that shows voter ID laws do in fact disenfranchise voters — keep them from voting — and in Wisconsin (where I live) is already seeing people being turned away from the polls because their ID wasn’t deemed acceptable, including veterans, seniors and students.

+ In a free speech lawsuit over whether a high school student could wear a t-shirt saying “Nobody Knows I’m A Lesbian” to school, the court has decided in her favor, ruling that students may wear “clothing with statements celebrating their or their classmates’ cultural identities” to class.

Nobody-Know-I-m-A-Lesbian-Women-s-T-Shirts

Police/Violence

+ Two longtime LAPD officers have been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting women while on duty, sometimes inside their own squad car. They preyed on women they had arrested for narcotics-related offenses, although at least one woman reports that they also offered her methamphetamines.

+ To add to the list of horrific things ICE has done in the name of detaining undocumented immigrants to the US: one man was lured out of work with a fake text.

+ As part of the ongoing attempt to repair the image of police in Chicago (and Rahm Emanuel’s career), the public will now have the right to see audio/video of every officer-involved shooting within 60 days. This is far from a panacea, as it’s still very possible for many officers to just turn off their cameras or recording devices — the officer who killed Laquan McDonald had turned off the audio on his dash cam, for instance — but it seems unlikely to make things worse.

+ A petition has been filed to remove Illinois State Attorney Anita Alvarez from the case of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. The petition holds that Alvarez is closely tied with the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the conflict of interest should mean she’s taken off the case.

“We make this request because Anita Alvarez cannot discharge her duties to the people because she is so aligned with the Fraternal Order of Police,” said Sheila Bedi, a law professor at Northwestern University Law School and an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center. “The Cook County justice system regularly, every day, as we speak churns black and brown men through the system, many for minor non-violent offenses. Yet this very system ground to a halt when it came to holding accountable the police officers who were responsible for the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald….”

anita-alvarez

Anita Alvarez

+ Terrifyingly, a Houston man took out a student loan in 1987 and had $1500 of outstanding debt on it this year — he says he hadn’t even received paperwork about it when seven US marshals with guns showed up on his doorstep.

Aker says he was taken to a federal courthouse where he was forced to sign a payment plan to repay the loan. And, according to Congressman Gene Green, Aker isn’t alone. The federal government is employing private debt collectors to collect overdue student loans, who, in turn, obtain judgments in federal courts that allow them to request the use of the U.S. Marshals to collect payments.

Women Go to Work

+ Diane Humetewa, a Hopi woman and former US attorney in Arizona, has become the first Native American woman to be a federal judge, and only the third Native American of any gender to do so in history.

+ An interview in Jezebel with Chirlane McCray, a member of the Combahee River Collective, a longtime Black feminist activist who previously identified as a lesbian, and currently wife of NYC mayor Bill de Blasio. She wants to fundamentally restructure how the city provides mental health resources!

You’re right, it is quite ambitious. I think it’s all important, but we have six principles. One is changing the culture, because we have to change the way we think about mental health to be able to do something about it, and acting early. Because so many of the problems we see, everywhere we turn —whether it’s in our schools, where our children are being disciplined for bad conduct, or in our jails, where people are arriving because they’re sick and we’re punishing them because of it, or in hospitals, where people are in and out of the emergency room—there’s so much of that we can prevent by acting early. By making interventions.

chirlane

+ Park Cannon, a queer feminist women’s health advocate, has won a seat in the Georgia legislature, where she will join two other openly gay/queer members — Reps. Karla Drenner and Keisha Waites — in a political climate obsessed with anti-LGBT discrimination bills.

+ Elizabeth Warren is “on a mission to get young women excited about personal finance.” The article has five of her tips for women’s personal finance, including “Check out CFPB.gov.”

Grab Bag

+ In alarming news, administrators in charge of handling student sexual assault cases at Indiana University appear to have no guidelines or tools for handling internal sexual assault cases. When an administrator involved in the group that handles sexual misconduct reported that the school’s deputy Title IX director had assaulted her, the Association for Student Conduct Administration said it had never handled an internal case, and the assault survivor says that she felt she was blamed for the incident — the same thing that many students who report their campus sexual assaults say about their experiences doing so.

When Creighton received an excerpt of Hutcheson’s report, she says she was shocked: “The report blames me for being in the same hotel room, blames me for not crying out for help in the moment, blames me for not taking physical pictures [of my injuries]…and blames me for confronting him.”

+ Manny Pacquiao, boxing champion and Phillipines politician, has lost his endorsement deal with Nike after publicly comparing gay people to animals.

+ This is a really great piece by Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera about the role of media in inciting anti-gay violence in Uganda, and how she and her fellow activists combat it.

Over time, we have come to realize that homophobia in the media is one of the primary obstacles to social change. For years, newspapers have published rumors and lies about us without telling our side of the story. We now realize that we need to show people our own perspective, in our own voices, because we can’t rely on others to do it for us.

+ Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahmani Farajaje, who was the provost and professor of cultural studies at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley as well as a Black bisexual activist, passed away this month at age 63. Fellow bi activist and BiNet USA co-founder Lani Ka’ahumanu gave a statement:

“One of our dearest most brilliant, fierce, outspoken, loving, gentle, and fun/ny queer bisexual beings—The Reverend Dr. Ibrahim Farajaje—has passed. A towering talent, an intellectual genius and a kind hearted teacher beloved by many, Dr. Farajaje’s writing on the decolonization of queer theory ‘took off where Audre Lorde left off.’ Like Lorde and her dear friend the Black bisexual poet June Jordan, Dr. Farajaje transitioned too soon from this life to the next.”

+ Obama has confirmed that he will do the part of his job he is constitutionally required to do and nominate a new Supreme Court Justice after the passing of Antonin Scalia.

+ In deeply unsurprising news, a new study finds that male college undergraduates in the US assume their male colleagues are higher-achieving and that their female colleagues are less knowledgeable, while female undergraduates had “zero gender bias.”

+ Pope Francis gave an address in Juárez, Mexico, a mass for those who have lost loved ones in the epidemic of missing and murdered women in Juárez. Poor and indigenous citizens were also given priority to attend the mass.

+ A new study finds that right-wing hate groups are seeing an uptick in members for the first time in three years.

[Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow and author of the report] attributed much of the growth of such groups to the uptick in hateful, xenophobic, and often anti-Muslim rhetoric spouted by presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the latter of which has proposed a ban on all Muslim immigration into the United States in response to terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS.

+ Wal-Mart has announced it will end its “open shift” system, which activists had objected to for some time, replacing it with two different options — a set schedule offered to longer-tenured employees and a “flex shift” that can be set in stone two and a half weeks in advance.

+ It has been revealed that not only were Flint residents still being billed by the state for what the state may have known was poisonous water, but they were actually paying the highest water rates in the country.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1122 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. “Essentially, this is throwing trans and gender non-conforming people under the bus as a means of throwing LGB people under the bus and then setting the bus on fire, metaphorically speaking.”

    Love the description.

  2. Humetewa was actually confirmed back in 2014. Her name has come up again because some folks speculate that she’d be a good SCOTUS nominee, since she was confirmed 96-0 and is a moderate Republican.

    She worked for McCain and was US Attorney for Arizona under Bush II, adding to her obstruction-proof arsenal. She’s also a woman, a minority, an Obama-nominated judge, and began her career as a victim/witness advocate. I’d be interested to see what a new confirmation hearing would bring out of her.

  3. It seems that the U.S is really trying hard to be “Better” than Russia at LGBTI treatment of what they term ,” Sub-human people”.
    I am sooo glad I don’t live in either of these countries.
    This is seriously frightening in respect to democracy as a suitable model for
    government.
    Anna Marie

  4. “Gun-rights activists insist the right to have weapons on campus falls under the Second Amendment and they call it a critical self-defense measure.”

    Is there some kind of massive crime wave in the University of Texas’ classrooms that I don’t know about?

  5. I’ve unfriended tons of people I know on Facebook over this Manny Pacquiao stupidity – I don’t have words to express how upset I am that people I consider as friends are posting links to try justify his actions, they even are ridiculing openly gay celebrities (gay men) who both are famous and influential (Vice Ganda and Boy Abunda) for reacting “that” way as if they mean that they should have kept silent. Thank you for including this story in here – it’s a tough time for us here, well, it is for me.

  6. A less depressing way to read conservative politicians’ incoherent rants about gender and sexuality:
    1. Throw in some bigger words.
    2. Imagine all the statements about the collapsing foundations of society being said in a really positive tone.
    3. Pretend that it’s some super radical queer theory that’s just too complicated for you to understand.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!