Cringed at the Term “Women Wannabes”
While I appreciate The Bridge’s profiles of interesting (and fabulous) local businesses, I have a few language issues with your story on the Wig Goddess, Feb. 5.
The correct, broad term for folks whose gender identity is different than the one assigned to them at birth is transgender (or trans for short), not transgendered. We don’t say that someone is maled, femaled, lesbianed, gayed, Latinoed, or blacked. Being trans is an identity, not a thing that happens to you or a thing that you did — it’s an adjective, not a noun.
Also, toward the beginning of the story you refer to “women and women wannabes.” I have to admit, I cringed when I read that sentence. No one is a woman wannabe (unless you’re comparing us all to society’s ridiculous beauty standards, that is!). People who identify as women are women. Period. Drag queens and other folks who play with gender presentation may or may not be women, but their gender identity — whatever it is — is as real as anyone else’s, most certainly not “wannabe” anything.
I think it’s great that The Bridge is talking about trans folks and gender issues, but next time, please take the time to check that your language is inclusive and not offensive. GLAAD’s media guide for covering LGBT and queer issues is a good resource: glaad.org/reference.
Dana Dwinell-Yardley, Montpelier
Shumlin Failed on Health Care Financing
My name is Farid Quraishi and I am a student at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro. People get sick. It’s a reality of life. When I was a child I had to undergo a major operation on my abdominal wall and large intestine to correct a condition that was causing constant discomfort and pain. The health care costs attributed to this surgery went well into the thousands and caused my parents to be financially set back for many years. No parent should ever be in a position to decide between the comfort of their child and financial detriment. The Shumlin administration’s failure to follow through on a public financing system for health care was a devastating blow to low and middle income residents and essentially rationalizes the desire for the privileged to maintain the status quo. If our legislators really do represent the interests of residents in this great state then they must swallow their collective pride and work to find a way to provide equitable health care for all people in Vermont. No more excuses, no more delays. The Health Care Is a Human Right’s financing plan shows that it is completely possible to publicly finance health care and it’s time for legislators to follow through with their commitments.
Farid Quraishi, Brattleboro
Can’t Keep Quiet
OK, I can’t keep quiet any longer. I’ve kept my mouth shut, told myself it really doesn’t matter. I’ve even tried to attribute it to a matter of taste. But finally, after seeing it day after day as I come into town by way of College Street, I must say something.
I’m referring to the big green VCFA logo (and its rock slab) at the intersection of College and East State streets, perched on a mound at the corner of the college green. It used to be a lovely view from there, a spreading, quiet green backed up by stately College Hall. But now, it’s like approaching a mall, and I can feel a chill creep over me.
Maybe the college is trying to send a message, bridging the gap between old and new, historic and contemporary. But that message fails. The piece doesn’t belong where it is. It doesn’t fit the environment. It’s in our face. It draws attention to itself while obscuring, even severely detracting from, the beautifully-proportioned setting of urban meadow, old trees, and grand architecture of another era.
And, my wife says, the rock slab behind the logo is crooked.
Charles W. Johnson, East Montpelier
Green Mountain United Way Campaign Underway
As chair of this year’s Green Mountain United Way campaign, I am writing to remind you that our appeal will continue until April 30. Approximately 75 percent of the $550,000 goal has been met. It is not too late to make a contribution and help us meet our goal.
This organization needs your help to meet its total goal and continue to make a difference in the lives of Vermonters. If you have already sent your contribution this year, we thank you. Please consider sending your tax-deductible check today to GMUW, 963 Paine Turnpike N #2, Montpelier, VT 05602 or donate online. Visit www.gmunitedway.org/waystogive.shtml.
Catherine Hamilton, Vice president of Consumer Services and Planning, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Educational Freedom Available For a Price
I congratulate Montpelier High School and The Bridge for rediscovering the merits of educational freedom, albeit limited to incoming foreign students. Apparently a government school managed to price its educational service and outsource the sales and marketing. Kudos for the unexpected liberal capitalism, in the most unlikely of places.
Can I hope that one day soon, students zoned into unfavorable school districts in other states might also be offered the same opportunity and freedom?
Or perhaps the reverse … might I hope that an enterprising and adventurous student with an abiding interest in Cantonese or Mandarin in Montpelier would choose to attend school in Beijing? Would the district be willing to pick up some (or even all) of the tab?
What of competition within Vermont itself, on price, quality, offerings? Does the cash taken from property owners in the name of the children actually belong to them? Or is it really intended as a building preservation fund, a union pension fund, a revenue stream with “do it for the children” as plausible justification?
Dangerous stuff this freedom. So rare, I hardly recognize it.
Tom Luther, Barre
Bravo to Chris Wood!
We are pleased to be credited with starting the Green Mountain Film Festival (issue of March 5-18), but we’d like to add that the festival became a successful event in those early years largely due to the vision, energy, and organizational brilliance of our friend and colleague Chris Wood (now of Tunbridge). Bravo, Chris, and “bon cinema” as they say in Montreal!
Andrea Serota and Rick Winston
Government is Sticking it to the Plow Drivers
To Gov. Peter Shumlin:
I am a hard-working Vermont state employee for the Agency of Transportation (District 3). I plow the roads. Us plow drivers get up, when needed, at 3 a.m. (sometimes working seven days a week) to make sure our roads are safe so Vermonters (including yourself) can go to work and so everyone’s kids can get to school.
That said, I see and read the things you and the legislature are proposing, and I very much disapprove. You ask for pay cuts and threaten to lay off 450 working-class people if we do not open the contract which we negotiated with you in good faith. You refuse to balance the budget by raising taxes on the wealthy and instead want to take money out of my pocket to cover your failures. You want me and the other plow drivers to open our contracts and give back the 2.5 percent pay raise we all agree to.
I make just over $17 an hour, while the average wage of a plow driver is $38,000 a year. Yet you have made it clear that you will not tax the wealthy who can afford it to cover the budget gap that you created. But I do not expect you to necessarily understand the hardships you are asking us to suffer, as I am told you are personally worth $10 million. Maybe you don’t understand that taking $36 a paycheck out of my wages (which on average you are proposing for all plow divers) is the difference between making or missing a mortgage payment, a utility bill or buying a pair of shoes for the kids. Maybe you also don’t understand how hard we work for the modest pay we receive.
Therefore, I invite you, Mr. Governor, to shadow my job as an AOT snowplow truck driver through just one storm. Otherwise, I look forward to remembering who stood with and against working-class Vermonters when I enter the booth during our next general election.
Ed Olsen, Proctor