Helen Grace James
According to modern scientific research, over 1500 animal and human species have different gender identities while evolving. We have presently identified at least 60. Facebook offers its clients the right to identify up to 50 different gender identities.
Many countries in the world have approved same-sex marriage, military participation by gays, and some recognize third genders on birth certificates. When King Donald decreed that our military would no longer accept transgenders, such an act would have halted LGBTQ progress in this country. A federal judge ruled against him.
The conservative Republican state of Texas has already identified 40,000 transgenders among its K-12 students. A court case against the Air Force filed by a 90-year-old lesbian aroused my interest in LGBTQ rights. I want to use her life and experiences to demonstrate the progress made concerning LBGTQ rights.
Eighty-eight years ago, when Helen Grace James was two years old, she realized she was “different.” She told her mother she wanted to be called “Jim.” She grew up on a Pennsylvania dairy farm with other siblings, milking cows, driving tractors, and helping with the harvest, driving teams of horses hauling bundles to the threshing machine.
Her parents bought dolls and costumes for her Christmas but she would always give them to a younger sister. She would rather have had a toy tractor or boat. She loved playing basketball and field hockey.
When she went to the movies, Helen often fell in love with the female lead. Helen graduated with 16 others from her small high school. She then earned a college degree and taught school for three years.
Helen’s military life
Military life ran deep in her family. Her great-great-grandfather was a member of the Union Army in the Civil War. Helen’s father was in the Army during World War I. Many uncles and cousins fought in World War II. A close cousin of hers fought in the Battle of the Bulge, suffered from PTSD, and remained in a mental hospital for the rest of his life.
Helen joined the Air Force at age 25 and found it exciting. She says, “I loved the marching, I loved the regimentation and meeting people from different parts of the country.” Helen was stationed at the Roslyn Air Force Base on Long Island, New York. Good at her job while enjoying three years of military life, Helen was promoted to crew chief and decided she wanted to make a career of the Air Force. She applied for a commission.
But in 1955, Republican Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin was leading witch hunts. He claimed there were more than 200 Communists in the State Department. He also claimed that the government work force and the military were loaded with gays who were national security risks. His campaign against gays in the military became known as “The Lavender Scare.”
Helen and two other lesbians were investigated by an Air Force Office of Special Investigations unit and were given undesirable discharges. They lost all military benefits, including the GI Bill.
After her undesirable discharge, she earned advanced degrees in physical therapy at Penn and Stanford, and then taught at California State University at Fresno. In 1989 she went into private practice, published respected research in the field, and worked with many Olympic athletes.
She asked the Air Force to upgrade her “undesirable “to a “general.” It was granted. But she was still blocked from gaining any benefits of her service. She still could not be buried in a national cemetery with a color guard. All of her deceased family members have had this honor.
At the age of 90, she sued the Air Force to receive an honorable discharge. She wanted vindication for her service. She says the military told her 60 years ago she was not fit to wear the uniform because of who she was. At Helen James’ undesirable discharge from the Air Force, all of the buttons were cut from her uniform.”
She adds: “I went to Stanford. I was a professor at CSU Fresno. I had patients, friends, students I learned so much from. …I need to do as much as I can to prove I’m a good person. I still wasn’t whole.
The Air Force just announced, on January 18, that she will receive an honorable discharge. Her life span covers much of the drama and trauma associated with the modern LGBTQ community.
Will Rogers was right: there are three kinds of men
A reader sent me the following statement, which succinctly describes what the major problem is with the 32,000 religions we presently have on this earth: “The ignorance sustained by the fantasies, myths, and miracles of revealed religions produces intellectually crippled people. Being able to distinguish between what is true and what is not true is the most important challenge that has faced human beings for all of our history.”
Science has gradually so shredded the Bible since men in ignorance wrote it that many of the “fantasies, myths, and miracles” of still-surviving religions continue to fall by the wayside—as we battle ignorance and bigotry.
The homespun American philosopher Will Rogers beautifully describes the men who have made up our universe: “There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
It’s a tough way to learn. There is not much doubt that many “religious” men have peed on the fence--and there are millions more lined up by the fence to learn about humanity the hard way.
First, let’s remember that only half of the human race has written sections of the Bible. If women submitted gospels for publishing we know they were all rejected. Second, let’s remember that only men who believed the earth was flat were published. Third, let’s remember that the men who wrote the Bible believed that demons caused all illnesses.
Helen Grace James was a victim of all these men who peed on the fence.
Science has been busy for hundreds of years debunking huge sections of the Bible about human and animal relationships. Please remember that Norwegian scientists gave up a decade ago when they tried to find a species that had no homosexuals. God created everything, right?
The International Endocrine Society composed of medical experts and biological researchers has been conducting research on gender identities and has released this statement: “Considerable scientific evidence has emerged demonstrating a durable biological element underlying gender identity. Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. There are no external forces that genuinely cause individuals to change gender identity. Hormone therapy, surgeries, and other procedures are medically necessary and should be covered by insurance.”
In other words, they can substantiate 60 or more gender identities. By the way, research at the University of Denmark has proven that men are the weaker sex and that women live up to four years longer than men. This is another reason gospels written by women could contain more sense because they have more life experiences to draw from!
Let’s get to the men who continue to pee on the fence
Republican candidate for governor of Texas Larry Kilgore evidently doesn’t read or observe much, because he continues to guide a good stream onto the electric fence: “I’d gladly execute a convicted adulterer, sodomite or bestialiter. Biblical law is a blessing.”
He believes LGBTQ people should be put to death because of Biblical law. He’s a white evangelical Christian who has demonstrated he has no Christian values left after voting for King Donald.
Radio show host and evangelical pastor Kevin Swanson has read Leviticus and not much of anything else. He preaches that the Bible says people should receive the death penalty for being gay. Former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore was a frequent visitor on his show.
The old gray men in the Vatican and Roman Catholic leaders around the world continue to preach that homosexuality is “intrinsically evil” and against natural law, however that is defined. Evidently they are going to continue to pee on the electric fence until they die. They definitely are not reading anything of note and are blind to scientific and biological discoveries about homosexuality.
The members of the Southern Baptist Convention and other white Christian evangelicals believe that Satan controls all members of the LGBTQ community. Gay couples recently got pamphlets from those two groups that suggested “Satan entices your flesh with evil desires.”
Was Satan with the gay Michelangelo as he lay on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Did he keep the paint out of the eyes of Michelangelo as Pope Julius II looked on? Did he help Michelangelo carve his David and Pieta? Was Satan on the diving board with gay Greg Louganis, the most famous Olympic diver in history? Was it Satan who split the water so neatly? Was Satan with the gay Leonardo Da Vinci while he painted the 29 ft. wide 15 ft. tall Last Supper, the most famous religious painting in the world? Did Satan help Da Vinci paint the Madonna?
Was Satan the ball retriever for the lesbian Billie Jean King as she became one of the greatest tennis players in the world, winning 39 Grand Slam titles and 20 championships at Wimbledon? Which side was Satan on when she beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes match? Was Satan there when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame?
Most of the Irish have told the Vatican to go to hell after centuries of mistreatment of their young in the Magdalene laundries and asylums (read all about them!) and the Irish schools. The Irish recalled their ambassador to the Vatican years ago.
The Irish recently elected an openly gay half-Indian prime minister who, at 38, is the youngest leader ever elected in Ireland. His name is Leo Varadkar, a physician who is the son of of a Hindu doctor and a Roman Catholic nurse. Leo’s partner is Matthew Barrett, a well-known cardiologist. Leo is evidently a tough customer for Satan to handle.
To my fellow “Christians”: Quote Leviticus and Matthew all you want, but science has proven that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice or Satan whispering in ears. It has proven without a shadow of doubt that homosexuality is a result of genetic predisposition. It’s a matter of hormones and genes, folks.
Examine the life of Helen Grace James from the age of two. If Christians think it’s okay to refuse to sell wedding cakes to gay people, and if Roman Catholics still think homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered,” then these religions should have a very short life expectancy.
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