In August and November 2011, members of the Wassmuth family participated in ‘social justice’ harassment against me as I traveled through Montana and Idaho (see report Operation Hat Trick). None of these fine people has ever invited me to dialog about my views. So I’m extending an offer to them.
This is the family of Bill Wassmuth who is believed to be the father of Richard Dahlstrom the senior pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle (see report Bethany Community Church). Dahlstrom is half-Jewish and has a particular fondness for Bible passages that describe driving enemies from the land and driving Gentile swine to suicide. Bill Wassmuth relocated to from Idaho to Seattle and formed the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment (NCAMH) http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/30/us/bill-wassmuth-61-an-ex-priest-who-fought-white-supremacists.html.
BACKGROUND: In October of 2010 members of Dahlstrom’s church including pastor, Scott Sund, swarmed me in my neighborhood park. The were identified after anonymous staff members from this church viewed my LinkedIn profile. After I attended a church service on 10/17/2010 to see what these people were about, I received death threats and on 11/16/2010 members attempt to stage an accident with me on the corner of my street.
What got me listed for harassment was my support for immigration reform in 2003 and complaint letters I wrote in 2007 and 2009. My views are not mean spirited. I’m not uneducated or unfamiliar. I’m not influenced by inflammatory propaganda. My views and my complaint are based on my earnest concerns about what I personally experienced and observed.
The following is the general gist of my 2007 complaint to the Seattle Civil Rights Commission regarding Hammond House Women’s shelter and and Kimberly Anne Thiesen, a MTF with a known history of harassing women. This is a Lutheran shelter but most shelters had similar policies. The commission censored references to gender and then dismissed the complaint. Other stories were also included in the original complaint to present a scope of the problem. The events listed in the report occurred within a 6 month time span.
The complaint came about as the result of an ordinance passed by the City of Seattle requiring people to refer to transgenders by their chosen gender and to treat them as such. This means that men are being housed in women’s shelters, often these shelters have open dormitories with limited options for space for changing clothing and a limited time to get it done and out the door least we be locked out the next night.
- Pre-Op Thiesen at Cascade: I’d known Kimberley Thiesen from a previous shelter. At that shelter she’d asked me to help her hang a picture because she couldn’t reach and was too heavy to stand on a table. When I looked back she was looking up my skirt. When I relayed this story to other women I was told about complaints of her walking around the shelter sporting a boner and basically living there with a female girlfriend. I’m generally a live and let live person, but I felt that Thiesen had a provocative personality disorder and was not really a transgender but more of a bosom buddy who got a ‘charge’ out of being in places normally forbidden to men. I resented her taking up a bed in the shelter that should have gone to a woman who truly needed safety and shelter. Furthermore, being forced to refer to her with feminine pronouns made me feel like I was being forced to sexually role play with her.
Pre-Op Thiesen at Hammond: When I transferred to Hammond House, I was aware that there was a group of about 6-10 MTF there that either lived there or came by for meals. Because the facility was an open dormitory I wanted to send a strong message for them to keep a distance from me so I was intentionally rude to Thiesen. The night I arrived she made a bee line for me remarking, “you wish I was looking up your skirt.” When she announced that there was mail for me, I took her olive branch and snapped it, “my mail is none of your god damn business” she said, “Cascade told me to tell you so it is my business…. You’re just mad cause i chose Laurie over you! You want it and you know it!” I reported her for sexual harassment but they would not accept the report unless I re-wrote the gender pronouns to female. While I argued with staff, Thiesen threatened that she would report the shelter to the Seattle Civil Rights commission. The staff person phoned the LGBT coordinator who gave the order to throw me out. I was thrown out on December 27th at 11:30 pm.
- Pre-Op Thiesen and the born again Christian: Women who report sexual harassment, fear and intimidation by MTF transgenders are forced to refer to them as female in their complaints or be thrown out. Even when they use the chosen gender pronoun such complaints were being ignored. However because of a zero tolerance stance on pronouns, women were thrown out even if they make a mistake. This actually happened to a born again Christian who was on friendly terms with Thiesen. Horrified, Thiesen pleaded to no avail to prevent it. As the shelters are usually not open during the day, this means women are being thrown out into the street in the middle of the night.
- Pre-op Schizophrenic MTF and the college student: In an effort to protect a young woman with from a schizophrenic MTF who had sexually fixated on her, I ended up approaching a group of MTF who had befriended her and insisting that they send a message to the MTF to leave the woman alone. She was a petite red head from Iowa with permanent brain damage from a failed suicide attempt. The MTF spoke in tongues and would stand in front of women and gyrate sexually. We were all afraid of the her and there were rumors a woman she’d been in conflict with had been murdered by an unknown assailant taking a blunt object to her head.
- Post-op Ex football player and me: this 6’4, 300 lb Hispanic was aggressive towards women she felt she was in competition with. I’m only 5’0″ tall and when I first met her, she sat glaring menacingly and looking as if she were about to lung out of her seat at me. Other women in the room assured her that I was ‘cool’ and really nice…
- Post-op Ex football player and the retard: A mentally slow woman he’d called a retard was evicted when she responded by calling her ‘sir’.
- Post-op with Spiked Dog Collar: liked to challenge anyone to say ‘she’ was anything but a ‘woman‘. Lets just say it was more challenging to remember to use feminine pronouns with some of the MTF transgenders than with others.
- Pre-op MTF caught at the Mecca: A MTF was allowed to live her year as a woman and save up for her operation. After about two weeks she was caught in a local restaurant lounge drinking at the bar by a coordinator from the administrative offices. Normally women are thrown out no exceptions. However Mecca was given a two week suspension and allowed to return with a story about sudden death in the family. A couple months later women in drug rehab programs were complaining bitterly that Mecca was walking around swishing vodka in a 7-up bottle. I point out to staff that if Mecca were to have ‘regrets’ about the operation she’d be able to sue everyone in a 5 mile radius because everyone knew she had a drinking problem. The staff person’s eyes got big as saucers. Mecca had to restart her year demonstrating strict sobriety. This transgender person was taking up a bed intended for homeless women, she was putting women trying to kick serious drug habits at risk (one woman had been become addicted to heroin at 14 via her addicted parents… another woman’s parents had owned a bar and this was the only life she knew. Both were in their mid 40’s fighting an epic battles for their lives. Had I not been able to point out a risk to the shelter staff they would have continued to put their ideology ahead of the welfare of these women. Mecca had no drug or criminal record that I knew of and was a presentable and personable IT professional. She should have approached LGBT groups to help her find a benefactor landlord wanting to help this cause.
For more information about this story see 2007 Seattle Civil Rights Commission.
The female staff and volunteers in these shelters were in no way equipped to help us if one of these people became violent, which defeats the purpose of woman’s shelter in providing a safe place for women.
Ironically, when they first brought MTF into the shelter and women were upset and I was one of the those that tried to smooth things over by saying, “well, this is transitional shelter.” I now realize that although my intentions were good I actually helped facilitate a situation where women would be made to feel unsafe and victimized with no recourse. The more conservative women had better instincts.
Issues of concern:
- Because staff and residents alike feared being accused of intolerance by LGBT in management, problems were being under reported and not responded properly when they were.
- When problems did arise, it was the women complained that were being thrown out of the shelter and not the offender.
- When Thiesen was eventually asked to leave, another excuse was found. This created false and misleading documenting of problems caused by MTF and ultimately hid problems arising from public policies from policy makers and the community sponsors of the shelters.
- Thiesen was known for antics such as walking around the shelter in a powder blue negligee sporting a boner and had been forced out of at least one other shelter where FTM transgender staff member referred to her as a sexual predator.
- As a result of my complaint I was harassed in the workplace. The woman who appeared to be directing the harassment was discovered to be a fellow church member of the subject of my complaint. Other members of this church have also harassed me. This church is 10 miles and two cities away from my home in Bellevue, WA and located in the predominately gay neighborhood of Capital Hill in Seattle (see report Protocol Team).
- So far, no LGBT I’ve spoken to about this situation has ever shown concern for the women. Instead they rationalized about the gender identity. This inability to put politics aside when it comes to the safety of women is highly concerning.
- LGBT should not head social institutions. I’m not saying they shouldn’t work in them or rise to management levels, but they should not head social institutions like shelters, schools, community centers and the military. Would it be different if people were able to openly discuss problems when they arose without retaliation? Until and unless we can discuss these issues we’ll never know… I’m guessing that research will show that no matter how open the culture is to discussing these issues or how accepting they are of gays having them in power will inevitably upend social norms. The only other groups that would promote ‘open’ policies are those who benefit in someway directly or indirectly from them.
- Question authority: If respected high profile people like Pat Bucannan can’t address these issues earnestly in public with risk to career and women in shelters can’t talk about these issues in the safety of a women’s shelter without being thrown out into the street in the middle of the night. Then it’s a good bet that Behavioral Science researchers can’t talk about these issues either. Conservatives need to fight this issue not just on the grounds of religious doctrine, but should question the research itself. Research on human behavior and the evolution generally validates conservative values for producing successful socially complex offspring.
- A third gender designation should be designate: so then everyone can speak their truth and be acknowledged while protecting women and children and providing transparency for data collection and reporting. No one should be coerced into affirming gender identity. This affirmation is used to validate radical medical procedures that result in high levels of suicide.
- It should be illegal to censor complaints for any reason particularly when bullying or sexual harassment is being reported. If it’s an okay thing to allow MTF into women’s shelters then it should be an okay thing to openly talk about it.
- Sacrificing for the cause: Straight employees confronted with these situations defer to LGBT supervisors to make the final call which reveals the discomfort of straights and the indifference of LGBT and their willingness of LGBT to put in danger the women they are charged with protecting. This makes LGBT dangerous to women in shelters and to soldiers in the military. Instead sacrificing women to their cause LGBT should to the honorable thing and sacrifice themselves by going to work at men’s shelter.
- Extremism in general: It seems that whenever a new social issue arises American take a predictable path of unproductive extremes. Perhaps the real change we need is to learn respect for intellectual balance and how to confront special interests that attempt to silence dissent by stigmatizing people.
* Long-term follow-up of transsexual persons undergoing sex reassignment surgery: cohort study in Sweden. (2011) By Cecilia Dhejne, Paul Lichtenstein, Marcus Boman, Anna L V Johansson, Niklas Långström, Mikael Landén, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Journal Article: PLoS ONE (impact factor: 4.41). 01/2011; 6(2):e16885. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016885. Abstract: Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/50250857_Long-term_follow-up_of_transsexual_persons_undergoing_sex_reassignment_surgery_cohort_study_in_sweden