Month: March 2017

Not All People with Vaginas Are Women

You heard me. I said it.

Not all people with vaginas are women.

I recently read an article about a pastor who was protesting the Texas bathroom bill on the grounds that “God is transgender.” The article featured a photo of a woman holding a handwritten sign that read:


The sign was clearly promoting the idea that some transgender women (i.e. men identifying as women) do not have vaginas and that some transgender men (i.e. women identifying as men) do have vaginas. The idea is that a vagina does not make either of them any more or any less woman, depending with which gender they are identifying.

My natural reaction was disagreement and disgust at the perversion of gender in our culture–at the idea that gender could somehow be a “spectrum” and a “choice.”

And then I realized, that the sign was completely accurate.

Not all women have vaginas. True.

Not all people with vaginas are women. True.

My mind is changing about the concreteness of gender. False.

Let me explain something.

When a woman with gender identity disorder wishes to begin identifying as a man, she is still biologically a woman. Although relatively uncommon, if she wishes and can afford it, she can undergo sex reassignment surgery in which her breast, ovaries, and other female organs are removed, her urethra is extended and rerouted, and a penis can be constructed out of tissue from the forearm or elsewhere.

When a man with gender identity disorder wishes to begin identifying as a woman, he is still biologically a man. More common than female-to-male sex reassignment surgery, men can undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in which most of the penis and testes are removed, the urethra is reduced, and a semi-functional vagina is fashioned.

The process of gender identity change or sex reassignment surgery involves many preliminary steps including psychotherapy and hormone treatment as well as post-operation requirements and risks.

But the truth is that no matter how advanced and “successful” sex reassignment operations become in the U.S., no matter how many men get vaginas and how many women lose their boobs, no matter how much testosterone you inject into your buttocks, no matter how much body hair you start to grow, no matter how deep your voice gets…

Your gender is not determined by whether you have a vagina or a penis. Your genitalia is a result of your already-decided gender, not the determinant of it. Let me make this clear: ovaries and breasts and low vocal registers and oodles of body hair and wide hips do not make you a man or a woman. They are simply an external manifestation of an internal biological reality that CANNOT be altered.

Often forgotten, there are a few letters at the end of the alphabet that are used to scientifically denote a biological fact. The 23rd pair of chromosomes in the human body determines whether a person is male or female. Your mother’s egg carried an X chromosome, and you father’s sperm carried either an X or a Y chromosome. If you are a man, your father’s Y chromosome sperm paired with the egg; and if you are a woman, your father’s X chromosome sperm paired with the egg. Your sex was determined the instant you were conceived.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot change your chromosomes. They define your gender. It is science no matter how much you want to deny it, no matter how many people march with signs, and no matter how loud your voice and how adamant or “open” your mind.

So no, not all women have vaginas because some women want to be men and have had them sewn together. They are not any less woman. And no, not all people with vaginas are women because some men would rather be women and have exchanged their penises for vaginas. They are not any less man.

The time has come to think critically, people. It is no longer acceptable to let your open mind be ransacked by impulsive emotions and fanciful feelings and iconic movements. I like puffy glitter paint as much as the next girl, but just because a protest sign has puffy glitter paint on it doesn’t mean the ideas it conveys are true.

And no matter how much time passes and how many people stop believing it, the truth always holds up. Always. 

Truth holds up infinitely longer than a pithy cardboard sign about vaginas.

The Fight Against Opioid Abuse in Wisconsin

Opioid and heroin abuse are growing matters of concern across the United States, particularly in the state of Wisconsin. Data analysis has revealed an expansion of prescription and non-prescription opioid-related drug abuse; and the devastating results on Wisconsin families, correctional systems, law enforcement, healthcare providers, first responders, and others is astounding.

In response to the alarming rate at which opioid abuse had metastasized, Representative John Nygren first took action in September 2013 when he introduced seven bills that laid the foundation for his Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) Agenda. H.O.P.E. received unanimous bipartisan support, and ten additional bills targeting prescription opiates were added to the H.O.P.E. Agenda in 2015 and 2016. In September 2016, Governor Walker began assembling an Opioid Abuse Task Force, co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren. The other eighteen members of the Task Force were announced on October 25, 2016, and the first task force meeting was held three days later on October 28, 2016.

Just over two months later, on January 5, 2017, Governor Scott Walker’s Opioid Abuse Task Force issued a report that communicated the alarming figures associated with opioid-related abuse and the immediacy of taking action to reverse the current trends. According to the report, from 2003 to 2014, opioid-related fatalities more than tripled. Although extensive research on the causes of the increase is limited, analysts have concluded that the rise in fatalities may be due to any combination of the following: the rise in use and abuse of pain killers with opioids, lowered prices and readily-distributed heroin, new developments in heroin abuse demographics, and reduced need for heroin injections due to a rise in the prevalence of pure heroin. In addition, more deaths have occurred as a result of drug overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, colon cancer, suicide, firearms, HIV, or influenza.

The report included the bills presented through the H.O.P.E. Agenda as well as recommendations to the Governor from the Opioid Abuse Task Force. The recommendations were divided into three categories including Legislation and Statutes, Funding and Programs, and Executive Actions.

In response to the recommendations made in the report, Governor Walker took immediate action and signed three executive orders. The orders contained the following directives:

  • Executive Order #228 directed state agencies to take added action to combat opioid addiction and abuse based on the recommendations made by Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch and Representative Nygren of the Opioid Abuse Task Force.
  • Executive Order #229 directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to apply for funding from the federal government made available through the 21st Century Cures Act. The Act makes up to $7,636,938 available annually for two years through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant for opioid crisis response programs.
  • Executive Order #230 called a session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to assemble at 11:00 a.m. on January 5, 2017, to discuss the following legislation:
    • LRB-1026, relating to opioid antagonist administration in schools
    • LRB-1327, relating to treatment and diversion programs and providing funding
    • LRB-1323, relating to limited immunity for persons who receive first responder care after experiencing a drug overdose
    • LRB-1325, relating to requirements for prescriptions for certain Schedule V controlled substances
    • LRB-1328, relating to the civil commitment of persons experiencing substance abuse addiction
    • LRB-0639, relating to the University of Wisconsin System chartering a recovery school
    • Legislation relating to the rural hospital graduate medical training program and $63,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium for additional fellowships
    • Legislation relating to $1,000,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium for grants to support new medically assisted treatment centers
    • Legislation relating to $500,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium for a consultation service for medical professionals to access addiction medicine specialists
    • Legislation relating to $420,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium for four additional criminal investigation agents at the Wisconsin Department of Justice focused on drug interdiction and trafficking
    • Legislation relating to $100,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium to expand the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training program offered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

On January 5, 2017, in a weekly radio address, Governor Walker stated: “The orders I signed today are another step in the right direction, and build upon our previous efforts including the H.O.P.E., or Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education legislation we signed into law late last spring . . . Chances are we all know someone who has been personally affected by a drug overdose. Together, we will work to save lives and eliminate this public health crisis.”

Governor Scott Walker, the Opioid Abuse Task Force, Wisconsin agencies, and other individuals are dedicated to fighting against opioid abuse in Wisconsin one step at a time until the problem is resolved.

Dairy Strong 2017 is Story Strong

     “It is time for conservatives to bring the narrative,” said former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino at the Dairy Strong Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, last week.

Perino, best-selling author, and current co-host of The Five on Fox News, delivered the opening keynote last week at the annual conference for players in the Wisconsin dairy industry. As expected, Perino brought a savvy political edge to the conference. In addition, as a former rancher in Wyoming and Colorado, she also brought relevant personal experience that resonated throughout the room of hard-working Wisconsin farmers.

Perino exposed problematic political habits adopted by both liberals and conservatives. Above all, she questioned the data-oriented approach taken by the vast majority of outspoken conservatives concerning public policy and debate. She warned against using data and statistics exclusively while neglecting the value of stories and emotional appeal.

Perino charged: “It doesn’t matter if you have all the data, facts, and figures to support your position. Somebody else will come along with a heart-wrenching story, and suddenly nobody cares about your statistics.”

Her message connected with the audience as they identified with her story, and many nodded in agreement. Small-town farmers and other business professionals were faced with an explanation for their vanishing voices in public policy.

In a later interview with Dairy Strong, Perino advanced her ideals. “Human beings actually learn from each other best through storytelling, and it’s one of the thing you have to keep in mind when you are thinking about influencing policy or public relations,” she stated. “You have to give them something to hold onto, and in the Ag community there are so many great stories to tell, but they tend to be a little reticent to tell them . . . If you’re not telling your story, somebody else is telling their own, and you will miss the opportunity.”

Opening her keynote with childhood ranching nostalgia, ending with remarks on Trump’s inauguration, and touching on everything in between, Perino impacted a number of Wisconsin farmers and others in the agriculture and dairy industries. Other elements of her keynote included advice for American voters, stories of President George Bush’s exemplary integrity, and stories from her time with Fox News—all woven with wisdom, grace, and Dana’s timeless political repartee.

Abby Bell, a young dairy farmer and conference attendee, commented: “Dana Perino is an excellent role model. She definitely has a great tale to tell, and it has inspired me to start telling my story too.”