Letters for the Week of December 4

Readers sound off on punishment for hate crimes, BART's general manager, and compensation for musicians.

“Transphobia,” Feature, 11/20

Need Nuanced Response to Violence

I’m a transmasculine person who has appreciated the TransVision clinic as the only place in Alameda County where low-income residents can see a doctor for trans-specific health care including hormone prescriptions. I greatly respect Tiffany Woods and her staff’s work for outreach and community support, including organizing annual Transgender Day of Remembrance events in Oakland, which I have attended for several years. Everything in the article expressed by trans community members and their loved ones I’m behind.

I’d like journalists to realize it’s unnecessary and unhelpful to use a trans person’s birth name. Readers could understand Maria Moore recalling her sister having a different assigned gender with “one of my fondest memories of [Kayla] was” and a simple statement of “then known by another name.” I also find it unhelpful for the author to solely quote Rebecca Kaplan’s spokesperson on the issue of legal response to the burning Sasha Fleischman recently experienced, as it implies all trans community and allies are in agreement with it.  

Having been a partner of someone early in transition to female, who sometimes took local public transit, wore skirts, and experienced harassment and threats daily, my first reaction to learning of Sasha’s injury was fearful and defensive of the assessment of it as a ‘hate crime,’ thinking, “that could have been my girlfriend or other loved ones.” As a person with disabilities who is also gender non-conforming, I feel for Sasha and am glad they got support keeping them from becoming more injured. Yet I don’t agree that “the fact that the perpetrator in the case was swiftly charged—with hate crime enhancements—’demonstrates how far we’ve come,'” and I’m not the only one.  

Someone who is sixteen and suddenly lights on fire the skirt of a sleeping person on a public bus clearly needs help. I don’t believe it’s an appropriate response to potentially sentence him to life in adult prison, which the charges with enhancements could do. As Janetta Johnson notes, prison is a hard environment to survive. Actual social justice for Sasha, Richard, and all of us requires more nuanced response to violence than what the currently proposed criminal justice framework offers.

Seeley Quest, Oakland

“BART’s General Manager Should Resign,” Seven Days, 11/20

Remove Crunican Now

Thanks, Robert. Crunican must go. So what can we out here, the BART riders and Express readers, do? I’m writing emails and old-fashioned letters and sending them to each and every BART board member to strenuously urge them to fire her. And I’m writing one directly to Crunican to tell her directly that I am not happy with her performance or her behavior, that she should be fired and we, the people, will work to make sure she’s dumped out. What else would be effective to remove her and do that now?

Michele Horaney, Alameda

“The High Cost of Free,” Music, 11/13

Charge Corporations, Not Listeners

This issue should be a hotbed of controversy. As an artist myself, I can appreciate one’s desire to make a living creating music. The problem is everyone wants to become filthy rich from a one-hit wonder and live happily ever after. That is not reasonable! The general population works hard everyday hacking out a living. Why should artists demand a life of luxury on the backs of the listening public in return for their craft? That is so absurd. Why do lawyers charge $350 an hour? Get real! We all contribute an important element to society if we honestly invest genuine effort and passion in what we do.

What makes us artists so special? When others make money off of our art, that is where the boom should fall! I say let the listening public share freely our creations among themselves in a kind of advertising/promotional sense. Then hit the TV/movie/corporate entities mind-blowingly hard! Charge those greedy bastards through the roof.

If we are really gifted as songwriters, then we should practice our craft daily and be prolific and earn a decent living as do others in this world doing what we love. If corporations latch on to what we do, then some of us will become wealthy. So be it.

James Maher, Oswego, Illinois


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