Republicans I Have Fucked

Republicans I Have Fucked

The Nixon Supporter

The Trophy Wife

The Nazi

The Catholic Schoolgirl

The Military Men

The Guy with a Condo in Bellevue

The Former Governor of Alaska

The Pastor from Renton

I Have Never Fucked a Republican

Fuck the Republican Party

The Republican Hypocrites Hall of Fame

The Homosexual Agenda

O kaay, so I've never fucked this trans person, but I've fucked other trans people.* And I've been obsessed with Donna Milo ever since she announced her candidacy in Florida's Republican primary for a seat in Congress. Because, damn, it's fun to watch Republicans squirm when their best candidate is a transgender woman.

If Milo makes it through the primary, she'll be up against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic darling considered reasonably secure in her seat (the district has been controlled by Democrats since its creation in 1990). It doesn't seem like Milo will break any congressional glass ceilings, but she sure is shaking things up for queers and Tea Partyers alike.

For a business-owning Cuban American living in southern Florida, her politics aren't atypical. Her first vote was for Reagan. She rails against Obama and his "socialist" taxes and health-care policy. She still supports offshore oil drilling, arguing that if liberals hadn't pushed drilling out into such deep waters, we'd have a nice shallow shoreline spill to clean up instead of this doom. She believes that the shared "Judeo-Christian values" of this country should guide our policy with Israel. Et cetera.

But unlike most Republicans whose identities or circumstances soften their hearts toward those of us at the margins, Milo's conservatism doesn't stop with fiscal and foreign policy: Though she supports domestic partnerships, she feels that marriage is a religious institution and should be between a man and a woman. And she thinks that "traditional families" should be given first priority in adoptions. When reporters ask her to address these views—views that seem to clash with her identity—she dodges, generalizing about the influence of her Catholic upbringing and redirecting the conversation to broader Tea Party talking points.

In addition to flabbergasting the queer community, Milo has thrown Floridian conservatives for a loop. Last month, The Shark Tank, a local conservative blog, posted clips from a debate between Milo and the other two people running in the primary. As conservative commenters try to wrap their heads around the mixed messages—words they like coming out of a body they don't understand—Milo seems to be coming out ahead:

That was a brave, bold thing to do, what Donna Milo did last night. To stand there, in a room filled with the members of a Party that (more often than not) are not kind to people like her, exposed and willing to stand or fall on her political beliefs because that is what her conscience is telling her that she must do, required more valor than I possess... I stood in that room and watched people who in the prime of their lives had never heard the word transgender, flocked to Donna Milo to shake her hand, and express their admiration for her performance last night.

Another comment:

Until I read this article, I had no idea who Donna Milo was, or her history. I firmly believe that one's sexuality is genetic and not a choice. Someone who was born with the "right" sexual identity can't possibly understand the emotional turmoil of someone who is not comfortable in his or her own skin. I would never presume to know how that feels. Ms. Milo's "sexual identity" is and should be none of our business. The fact that Ms. Milo used to be a man is about as important as the fact that Mr. Lowry used to be a Democrat. Neither should even be an issue in this race.

Clearly these Republicans are stumbling a bit trying to figure out how to talk about Milo (gender isn't really a "sexual identity"), but other publications aren't faring much better. Most writing about Milo so far tends to toe the journalistic line for stories about trans people. There's an unwritten style guide that goes something like this: Provide birth name and details about genitals and gender presentation. Make sure to mention surgery. Delve into intimate family details. Reveal irrelevant personal information. Make snide, belittling remarks based on gender ("If she wins the primary, Milo will likely face the Democratic incumbent—and female from the beginning—Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz").

Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good snide remark—I work at The Stranger, after all. But this relentless song and dance only makes things worse for us all. Gender is fluid. And trans experiences are vast. Some trans people change their bodies to find comfort and/or safety in this world. Some trans people find a place between or outside of the genders we tend to think are available to us. Reporting that follows and reinforces the narrative that there's only one trans story—born in the wrong body, have surgery/use hormones, and live happily ever after on the other side of the fence—skews the reality.

"The vast majority of trans people don't ever have surgery," says Dean Spade, an assistant professor of law at Seattle University and founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a nonprofit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. And because of the work of people like Spade, identity verification laws are slowly shifting away from the emphasis on surgery—just two weeks ago, the U.S. State Department announced that "sexual reassignment surgery" is no longer a requirement to change your gender on your passport. (For a thorough Trans 101, go here: www.srlp.org/node/123.)

Don't get me wrong. Representative Donna Milo would be horrible for this country. If she made it to Congress, she'd work to squelch the rights of my friends and family, dig our nation into an even deeper ecological hole, and further state-sanctioned violence and imperialism around the world.

But if a Republican ever wins that seat, I want it to be her. recommended

* I know that sounds like "I have black friends," but it's not like that. I'm part trans. The part that loves working in a place with gender-neutral bathrooms, the part that enjoys confusing people on the street, the part that is in the process of legally changing my name to finally shed the gendering syllable I've rejected since age 10. And, of course, there's the part that's watched people I love go through hell and back living in a world that demands gender conformity. So step off.