Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it

And the reaction will be passionate

Give ’em the old hocus pocus ….

Give ’em the old three ring circus”

— Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in the song “Razzle Dazzle” from the movie “Chicago”

What the hell is up with being trans?

Seriously, why is it such a heinous scandal to have someone attached to anything hinting of crossdressing or transsexualism? One would think that in 2007 we’ve progressed beyond that stage, but clearly that’s not so.

A couple of items jumped out at me this week prompting this rant. One was a tabloid (Star or Enquirer, can’t remember which) with a blaring headline replete with photos showing a sad looking Cher, and an alternate photo of daughter Chastity Bono in what appears to be a man’s suit. The headline was: Cher’s Heartbreak Over Chastity’s Sex Change Decision.

The other item concerns photos released of Oscar DeLaHoya and trumpeted as lead story on Entertainment Tonight for multiple nights in a row, even bleeding over into the nightly six o’clock local news at one point. The photos have what appears to be the boxing champ in a fishnet bodysuit, spike-heeled pumps and even wearing a wig with a jaunty fedora in one photo.

“The gays and lesbians are after me! The gays and lesbians are after me!!!” — Texas State Rep. Robert Talton (R) while running down the halls of the Texas Capitol Building being chased by a transsexual activist. All apologies, but I had to start this article with a bit about Robert Talton of Pasadena, Texas (or as we like to refer to our suburb here in Houston, Pasa-g*ddamned-dena). It was instructed to we trans activists not to bother with Talton, he was bad news – not the worst, but bad news. Well, myself and another close friend with me that day, Dani MacCleney, were always up for the challenges – giant killers we considered ourselves. During that first visit any of us had made to Talton’s office we discovered something. He was very much into the evangelical play book, fashioned his entire agenda after a tight circle of cherry-picked biblical text. However, he had some pretty serious skeletons in his closet. We both walked out with one word in mind: xenophobia. In time, I and others learned to fight fire with fire, using biblical text to counter his own. That’s when the rules changed, he couldn’t see us any more, he needed DPS officers (state police here in Texas) to escort him to and from his appointments and to act as sentry outside his office to keep us out. He even singled out a female minister (sitting next to her husband), pointed and declared “I don’t like you and I don’t like your kind!” The minister was aghast, replying “What!?! Presbyterians?!?” Apparently Talton presumed the minister, whose hair was short, was a lesbian even though she was sitting next to her legally-married husband. Here in Texas, Robert Talton personifies the word phobia – whether homophobia or transphobia (or other unpublicized lesser-known phobias) he’s become Public Enemy #1 of anything GLBT. Indeed he revels in his reputation as a pig would wallow in mud. Recently we had the latest in a recent spate of Republican outings and subsequent oustings from their political office and party participation itself. Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) has been a staunch anti-GLBT vote to the red-meat conservatives dominating the GOP. He comes from the mountain state red zone, Idaho, where anti-homosexuality rants play to standing ovations. Yes, he was a man in his element. At least he was, so long as he kept his personal and private feelings about sexuality private. Then came the infamous “sting” in June at the Minneapolis airport men’s restroom. Yes, it seems Sen. Craig got caught up in a sex-sting dragnet in airport bathrooms there. Kind of an odd place to pick up a quickie, but some will go to extraordinary lengths I suppose – no pun intended, of course. Apparently this is a recent fad, and one that even the conservative senator appeared to know about. In typical hand-in-the-cookie-jar guilt, the senator tried his mightiest to wiggle out of being nabbed. First he plopped down his business card and demanded “how do you like that?” The arresting officer was unimpressed. After a bout of entrapment claims, Craig finally acquiesced and pleaded guilty to the charge. Then came the contrition (or as best as the Republican senator could muster): “I’m not gay and never have been gay.” Note how he cleverly avoided anything to do with bisexuality (he is marred), and how we never here him talk of never having had a homosexual experience. Still … clever wording, very Republican. The one major misstep by Sen. Larry … he admitted guilt to the charge. Cardinal sin in RNC-land. There was a literal RNC stampede away from ol’ Sen. Larry after the guilt plea. Who cares about honesty? When there’s consistent denial, it’s plausible deniability regardless of how red-handed you’re caught – at least in Republican-land. Unless it’s adultery by a male politician with a woman (a-la Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), admitting guilt is a kiss of death. Witness the contrast between Randy “Duke” Cunningham (caught and admitted guilt) and Tom DeLay (caught and denied vehemently). However, it was more than guilt that got him a speedy one-way ticket out of GOPperville. Compounding it was being caught as being gay. Though it may seem so in recent years, GOP does not stand for “Gay Old Party” – something the conservatives will be quick to point out. Again, when you have an “R” next to your name, you’re never truly gay until your caught by your own admission, red-handed or no. Why be like Mark Foley or Ed Schrock when you could be a David Dreier or even aspire to the highest office in the land like President George W. Bush? Even though the hypocrisy of the consistently anti-gay legislator was blatant, hypocrisy by his own party is much more bluntly evident. Sen. Larry is a fine man up to the minute he admits his guilt. And in their defense, Republicans point out Gerry Studds and Barney Frank (both D-MA). How weak is that? Democrats aren’t the judgmental ideologues. That’s Republicans. Democrats pardon. Republicans never forget, nor let it go. And while Jesus forgives, and Democrats generally follow suit, Republicans tend to like Paul’s teachings better, or the Old Testament punitive styles better still (Jesus being a bit too liberal for their tastes.) Later Sen. Larry hinted at wanting a do over. Or maybe not. He decided the error of his ways was admitting guilt, and that holding out for wearing the opposition down (RNC-style) is a better strategy. But then he even rescinded that by saying it’s his “intent” to step down September 30 as planned. Notice the equivocal wording. (Can you say “wiggle room”?) Who knows what’s Sen. Larry’s plans are – we’re not sure he knows just yet. Recently he’s flipping and flopping like a freshly beached fish on a hook. One thing you can say, you gotta admire the chutzpah of Republicans and their morals. Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh railing about all druggies needing life in prison until he’s popped gaming scrips to feed his addiction to hillbilly heroin (aka: oxycontin), or President Bush taking hard line on lawbreakers until it happens to a well-connected aide such as Scooter Libby. Sen. Larry was always a reliable vote against anything GLBT, a good RNC company man. The American Conservative Union rated Craig’s 2005 voting record at 96 out of 100 points! After his guilty plea, he bleats at the crowd during his press conference back in Idaho, “I am not gay. I have never been gay ….” But of course, rumors had been going around even in his own party circles of his rep. A report from the Idaho Statesman noted: