Of bills and buffoons

By |2018-01-15T22:15:56-05:00September 1st, 2011|Uncategorized|

Now this is just getting embarrassing.
We live in a state that bans same-sex marriage, refuses to recognize perfectly legal same-sex marriages performed in other states and has no protections for LGBTs in housing or employment.
And now we live in a state that may ban sex change operations for prisoners.
Not that any prisoner has ever tried to have, or actually had, a sex change operation on taxpayers’ dime. Not that the legislator who introduced the bill, Rep. Thomas Hooker, even knows of any active requests from prisoners for sex change operations. Not that Rep. Hooker fully understands transgender health care, as the short paragraph that is his bill refers mostly to physical deformities.
Apparently, this exact moment in time is the most pressing to pass laws about transgender health care – gawsh, it’s not as if our state is in some sort of economic crisis with record unemployment or anything.
When pressed with these basic questions – uh, why do you care so much about this (very) particular issue at this particular moment? – Rep. Hooker just said it’s what the American Family Association of Michigan wanted him to do.
This is just painful. This is the kind of thing that gets our state made fun of on late-night television. This is the kind of thing that makes Michigan look as tolerant as Mississippi. This is the kind of thing that makes us realize that our GOP lawmakers are as unschooled in basic fact-checking as they are with the other pressing problems facing the state.
In short, this is the kind of thing that makes those lawmakers – and the citizens who voted for them – look like a bunch of buffoons.
Fortunately, the Michigan Department of Corrections is not a bunch of buffoons.
When the story of this silly little bill broke, the MDOC spokesman told us that MDOC was a bit surprised about the legislation (that is polite-speak for “WTF”), and that they take care of all inmates as medically necessary. It is highly unlikely that a sex change operation would be deemed medically necessary, explained the spokesman, but if for some reason it were, it could very well happen. Why? The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution (yes, our Constitution, the one Republicans like to thump as much as the Bible itself) protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment, and the practice of not providing medically necessary health care to inmates has been deemed cruel and unusual and downright unconstitutional.
This bizarre buffoonery by Bible-thumping bigots has no place in a state full of intelligent, reasonable and caring citizens. Keep this little nugget in the back of your mind. Next time you hear someone pontificating about the greatness of the GOP and its family values, toss this perfect example of blatant idiocy their way. For Pete’s sake, it’s your civic duty.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.