Reversing evolution: Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Gender Identity

When asked by Newsweek how his views have evolved over time, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (and possible GOP 2012 Presidential candidate) responded by turning his back on the anti-discrimination ordinance he himself had voted for in 1993. He described the landmark measure as “overbaked” because it includes provisions to protect people from discrimination based on gender identity, which he characterizes as a “preference for the way they dressed and behaved.”  As if that weren’t enough, he then goes on to create a fictitious scenario in which a third grade teacher changes gender literally overnight, thereby theoretically confusing the class.

In this interview, Governor Pawlenty disrespects the professionalism of Minnesota teachers, including transgender teachers, and is willing to use children as a shield from criticism for his change in position about anti-discrimination legislation. What cynical maneuvering on his part.

Sadly, Gov. Pawlenty states his opinion that the law should be changed—taking rights away from the people of his own state is certainly not evolution in our book. The online article is titled, “Tim Pawlenty Gets No Respect.” We can certainly see why.

Read the interview here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/227748/page/1. The material cited above is on page 3.

4 Responses to Reversing evolution: Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Gender Identity

  1. Madsion says:

    Being Transgendered Is this my fault that all this is happening to me? “Of coarse not!, its like being born a color that people aren’t used to seeing”, Do unevaluated none intelligent, Mental deficient people have problems with glbt people and blame it on the devil and make up excuses for there hate? ” Its just my own experiences so I have to say, Yes they do”

  2. SIan Nelson says:

    Now that Pawlenty is catering to his nationwide base, he has resurrected the deliberately misleading and defamatory anti-transgender language that he has used in his Minnesota campaigns since 2002.

    This is, of course, typical of Gov Pawlenty and his Minnesota Republican colleagues and former colleagues (Michele Bachmann, now providing right-wing theater in Congress, comes to mind). For years this group of politicians, who lie and hope to set one community against another, have tried to roll back the rights of GLBT people in Minnesota, and they have been unsuccessful across the board. This is not just because of strong organized support here in favor of GLBT rights, but also because Minnesotans in general support equal treatment for all.

    We are a strong transgender community in Minnesota, and we’ll continue to work against Pawlenty and his like. Thank you for publicizing this!

  3. Erica Fields says:

    I sent my Governor this letter today.

    Dear Governor Pawlenty,

    First I would like to thank you for the years of service and accomplishments that you have had in your terms as Governor. I have always been a supporter and have been very proud to have you as my Governor. You had always shown me a sense of genuine compassion for our state as well as all of its citizens. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange 125th anniversary dinner and enjoyed our conversation and the remarks you made at the dinner immensely. Since that time, I have finally confronted a condition I had been struggling to deal with for my whole life, and with the support of my Doctors and Counselors am in the final stages of transitioning my gender. The process has been challenging and difficult but I have had the support of family and friends as they recognized the remarkably positive effect this revelation and change has had on my life and my health. I am actively involved in my community, have a very successful business and pay a lot of taxes. I recently cofounded a website to commemorate the relationship that I and many transgendered people have with their children to give us a day other than the traditional Mothers or Fathers days. The site is http://transparentday.org . My 27 year old daughter came up with the idea and was so excited to have a day we can all celebrate. I am not alone in being actively and positively involved in our community. This excerpt was in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in December.

    Chamber VP to be interim president
    Susan Kimberly will serve as interim president of the St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce while the organization’s leadership conducts a search for a permanent president
    Kimberly will assume the role at the end of January and succeeds Kristofer Johnson, who announced last week that he was leaving the position after 2 1/2 years.
    Kimberly has been the vice president of economic development for the chamber for the past two years. Before that, she was deputy mayor for Norm Coleman, director of planning and economic development for the city of St Paul and vice president of Piper Jaffray’s public finance department. She served on the the St Paul City Council from 1974 to 1978.

    Kimberly is also transgendered and completed her transition years ago. Recently our President appointed an executive from Raytheon, Amanda Simpson, to the Department of Commerce. Amanda successfully transitioned almost a decade ago and has been very successful at her company and in her state of Arizona. There are many of us who are transgendered and are contributing to our society in positive and constructive ways.

    The point I am trying to make, Governor, is that being transgendered is not a preference to cross dress as you referred in your interview. It is not about clothes, it is about becoming who you really are and making your physical person conform to your sense of gender identification. It is a recognized medical condition and the University of Minnesota has one of the oldest and most respected gender studies programs in the world. I understand you may have personal feelings and beliefs that contradict what I am saying, but I think as our Governor, a public servant, you should show the same compassion you have shown elsewhere in trying to understand that there are many of us who are not in conformity with your personal beliefs but are active and positive citizens of Minnesota. Just as I have my beliefs, others have theirs and the right to them. I only ask that you please study a situation before you comment on it. We have a group in Washington DC of which I am a member called the National Center for Transgender Equality http://transequality.org . They work very hard to help educate people about our community. The current Chairman is a Minnesotan who has a successful brokerage firm here in Minneapolis. He successfully transitioned to become a male several years ago and has the full support of his wife and his family.

    Thank you Governor Pawlenty for taking the time to read this, and I hope you can begin to see that we are not a threat but are loving, caring, productive citizens. If you or anyone on your staff would like to contact me further, please feel free to do so at the contact information in my signature below. I look forward to hearing from you, and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

    Sincerely,

    Erica Fields

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