On Caitlyn and Costumes…

I love Caitlyn Jenner. There. I said it.

Never have I ever been a fan of The Kardashians. I don’t keep up with them. I can’t stomach Kris.

But Caitlyn is a different story. I like her humor. I like the fact that she is choosing to help younger transgender people by telling her story in a responsible way. And I love the fact that, even in her 60’s, she had the courage to become who she truly is. I’ve learned so much and gained such respect for the transgender community from her reality show.

Those that spoke out when Caitlyn received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs were wrong. Are there other acts of courage that might be more courageous than stepping out as a transgender person? Of course. Is she still courageous for doing this? Is she still a hero? You ask that question to a transgender teen that has contemplated suicide.

Recently, another firestorm is brewing over a Halloween Company creating a Caitlyn Jenner costume. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it shared 50,000 times on your newsfeed:

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Apparently, this costume is, “offensive” and, “transphobic.”

Now George Takei, of Star Trek and Facebook fame, has weighed in:

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I am convinced, Mr. Takei. Name me a pop culture phenomenon that hasn’t been replicated come Halloween time. Do you know how many little Donald Trumps, complete with fish lips and combovers, are going to be running around this October? Is the controversy about the costume itself or the fact that a company is producing it? I’m sure there will be much better homemade Caitlyns at Halloween.

Can I see how someone could be offended by this? Sure, I can. I have a nuanced opinion about lots of things that could or should be offensive.

But it all comes down to who is wearing the costume…

Last month, a controversy erupted in Toledo, Ohio about this billboard:

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People were genuinely offended by this, including me. Denny Schaffer is a bigot. He’s made homophobic remarks on his radio shows. He wraps himself up in the pages of the Bible. In fact, when I was 19 and applying for an unpaid internship at his radio station, he conducted the “interview” live on the air, while making fun of my hair and my voice, even going so far as to play an audio clip of Barbara Walters asking, “Do you wear women’s underwear?” (I got the last laugh and was hired by the station less than a year later— in a paid position.)

Denny wasn’t just having fun with this billboard, which has since been removed. Denny was being blatantly offensive. If he came trick-or-treating while wearing the Caitlyn Jenner costume, I would agree with anyone who found it to be “trans-phobic.”

On the other hand, I have a whole world of friends that could wear this costume and pull it off. Friends that are supportive and understanding and funny. Not judgy.

I like Caitlyn. I support Caitlyn. But I think even Caitlyn would have a little giggle at seeing grown men walk around dressed like her Vanity Fair cover.

Speaking of offensive Halloween costumes… do you really want to be offended? Really, really, really offended? You would have been last year, when I saw Ebola patients at Halloween parties. You would have been in 2001, when I saw postal workers wrapped in plastic, at the height of the Anthrax scare. And you will be right now, when I share with you these two photos that I found while researching this article:

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Folks, this is offensive. Particularly the kids. Some parent thought this was acceptable.

Next time, before we get all up-in-arms about being offended, let’s take a deep breath and put things in perspective.

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Puppy Mills.

Hey, all.

Time for a good, old-fashioned, high-on-my-horse rant.

Whenever someone tells me that they’re thinking about adding a dog to their family, I strongly encourage them to consider the local Humane Society or an animal shelter. Responsible people looking to own an animal really have no reason to consider any other option.

According to the Humane Society website, 2.7 million… that’s the number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year across this country.

The average cost to shelters for euthanizing an animal is $50. So this country spends 135 million dollars on killing animals every year. Then consider the costs involved in employees at shelters, vehicle upkeep, food for the animals, veterinary care. Of course, some of this is offset by animal adoption fees. But the majority of this is paid for by you and I— with our tax dollars.

Impact on our wallets aside, what about the impact on our hearts? Are you really comfortable knowing that 2.7 million adoptable animals are killed each year in this country? I’m sure as hell not.

And why do we have this problem? Because irresponsible people make impulse purchases of animals, to please a child or feed some crazy guilt trip. And six months later, the dog ends up in a shelter because the foolhardy decision has caught up with the family— when the kids don’t care anymore and Fido has pooped in the house one too many times.

Is it acceptable to take a trip to your local mall, with the intention of seeing a movie or building-a-bear… only to come home with a real, live, beating heart that you’ll be responsible for— for 10-15 years? I don’t think so. Yet, that’s exactly what goes on at my local mall, with a business called The Family Puppy. Cute name, eh? Sounds so innocent.

Yet, with some research, we find that The Family Puppy is getting their dogs from some very questionable sources, who are not adhering to directives from federal inspectors or following rules as mandated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA):

  • In 2012, The Family Puppy’s largest supplier, Marlin Bontrager of Rome City IN, was cited for direct veterinary care violations and when the inspector returned there were six more violations including more veterinary care related violations.
  • Two other main suppliers, Lavern Whetstone of Goshen IN and Verlyn Weaver of Topeka IN, were cited for not seeking veterinary care for animals that were in pain and suffering. Whetstone was told by the federal inspector to seek veterinary care and the kennel instead had a “non-professional” remove the membrane of a dog with cherry eyes. Weaver was cited for a pregnant dog with a build up of thick dark crust on her teeth. The store continued to work with both breeders despite these continued violations.

Here in my area, there is even an attempt to initiate a City Ordinance which would ban the retail sale of puppies. Here is where my conservative values clash with my liberal views. The conservative in me says that businesses have a right to sell what they want. The liberal in me says that shelters are the way to go when choosing an animal. And then the conservative in me also looks at the issue of this business costing the city more in the long run, when they will eventually contribute to the pet population that winds up at the shelter. So what is the answer? Let The Family Puppy run their business. But use my conservative and liberal right to free speech to not support their business and encourage others to do the same.

Bottom line: if you want a dog, go visit a shelter. Do some research. Don’t make an impulse purchase. Wait. Exercise patience. The world will be better for your restraint. And if you expect my friendship after supporting a business like The Family Puppy? I don’t think so.

By the way… here is me and Zipper. I wanted a Papillon from a shelter. Almost impossible. So, I waited. And waited. And waited. About 18 months went by… and then I saw him smiling at me on my local shelter’s Facebook page. The wait was worth it.

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Kate Gosselin is a Racist, too. Where is the Paula Deen outrage?

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Yep. There’s Kate Gosselin. Wearing a geisha-style wig and pulling her eyes back.

Yet, where is the Paula Deen-style media outrage over this?

Oh, wait. Now I remember. Because there is a double-standard.

I realize that Ms. Gosselin doesn’t really have a job that she can be fired from, like Paula Deen. You can’t fire someone from Twitter, after all.

But I expect more from our media. If you’re gonna hang one celeb for being a racist, then you need to hang ’em all. But I guess it’s all about which race they’re offending.

 

 

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