To The Editors:
I was featured in Sam Boykin's article about Trans-people in Charlotte ("Right Sex, Wrong Body," March 13). I wish to comment in response to the way Boykin, as well as photographer Chris Radok, portrayed me and other Trans-people in general. First, the cover photograph depicted a man and someone who appears to be a woman standing side-by-side, using urinals. I understand that the photographer's goal was to make an attention-grabbing image to convince people to read the newspaper. What I saw, though, was another comical jab at people who truly do have gender dysphoria. True transsexual people would not use the restroom of the gender they do not feel they are.
Then, I was astonished at how Mr. Boykin described my manner and demeanor. Someone who does not know me would have easily imagined I was some confused young boy who developed into a weak, Marilyn Monroe-eqsue fragile twig of a woman who could barely speak above her breath. I assure you this is very wrong. For the last four years, I have been avidly involved in queer youth advocacy, and have been successful doing so for the very fact that I am outspoken. Mr. Boykin failed to articulate my pro-active way of thinking and action in my current stage of life, sacrificing it for too much talk of the confusion and mental weakness I went through as a younger person. He also focused much more on my sexual orientation (the fact that I am attracted to men) as opposed to the fact that I am gender-different. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things, often confused for one another. Gender is more than anything innate, not developed over time.
Mr. Boykin also included the fact that I had made a comment about "finding a sugar daddy" to take care of me. He then added that I "flippantly" made that statement, but as I read it, his style of writing suggests that I was potentially serious. I didn't appreciate that, as it seemed to cheapen my candor. I think that most people who are 20 years old, with no family support and few friends, would definitely be more prone to seek out others who could act as a proverbial "rock" for them. He also ventured to reveal my main source of income, which is Social Security that began when my father died. I was terribly embarrassed by that, and I hope in the future, Mr. Boykin will exhibit more tact in deciding which personal facts to include and omit in his articles.
The small picture you see attached to this article is one of myself that I chose to include in this letter, because I, as well as those who know me personally, concur that the one in the original article was not at all representative of how I look. If anyone has any further questions or comments to make to me personally regarding this article, please email me at Elizabeth_McLaren@yahoo.com.
I Got Your Facts, Right Here
To The Editors:
Regarding David Jimerson's letter (CL, March 13) regarding my column "Evil Is As Evil Does" (CL, March 6):
Yes, indeed, freedom to criticize does imply the responsibility of getting the facts straight. I would not consider submitting any article for publication unless I had done the proper research to ensure some degree of historical and political accuracy. I know for a fact that my father landed at Salerno Beach in 1943, and that my husband's uncle piloted a B-24 and was shot down over Ploesti during WWII. I also know that the Nazi Party started as a "small right-wing organization that met beginning in November of 1918" (Website, Sam Wiesenthal Learning Center), that Adolf Hitler was only the 54th person to join the German Workers' Party, and that, in 1920, when he and Drexler drew up their 25 points, which were virulently anti-Semitic, there were only 3,000 members in what would become the Nazi Party. Hitler was able to seize control of the party through the formation of the SA (Stormtroopers), and publication of propaganda through his own newspaper, Volkscher Beobachter. Even then, in 1921, only 500 members of his own party voted for him. It is clear from all accounts that I have read that that the Nazi Party started out as a "small group of people" that were ripe for scapegoating and ethnic cleansing after the close of WWI, and who managed to spread it to a nation on the brink of economic and social ruin.
Perhaps Mr. Jimerson needs to check his own facts. That would seem like the responsible thing to do.
Assistant DA's OK By Me
To The Editors:
Regarding "Acquitted Rapist Arrested On New Rape Charges" (by Tara Servatius, March 6), Amanda Mingo is an aggressive, zealous advocate for the State of North Carolina. As a resident of Charlotte, I sleep well at night knowing she is a prosecutor in Mecklenburg County. Ergo, the disparaging comments as to Ms. Mingo's efficacy as an Assistant District Attorney were most upsetting.
I am a criminal defense attorney who regularly fights battles against Ms. Mingo in court. Contrary to Tara Servatius' comments regarding "botching" the Donnie Rodgers case, I have always found Ms. Mingo to be one of the best-prepared prosecutors in town.
Put simply, Prosecutor Mingo hates to lose. She is aggressive, steadfast and prepared to win. When preparing for a trial against Ms. Mingo, I warn clients about her attention to detail. I tell them they're facing one of the toughest prosecutors in Mecklenburg County.
Although I think very highly of Tara Servatius on a personal and professional level, she couldn't be more wrong about the effort Ms. Mingo expends on each of her cases. It clearly was a difficult fact scenario; yet, acting as an armchair quarterback after a trial is simply unfair.