This essay first appeared on Cliterati on March 31st; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.
One of the best things about country life is being able to have as many animals as one likes, and for me that includes chickens because I absolutely love having a steady supply of fresh eggs. I most emphatically do not love chickens, however, and if I had to do much more than give them food and water, collect the eggs and clean out the henhouse every once in a while, I probably wouldn’t bother. Those who have never kept chickens generally think of them as comical (if they think of them at all), but in reality they are stupid, filthy, cruel beasts. The expression “pecking order” is a reference to that cruelty; they establish their dominance hierarchy by pecking one another, and if they collectively decide for some unaccountable reason that there is something wrong with one of their number, that pecking is both merciless and, often, terminal.
Late last month I lost one of my white leghorns to this horrid behavior; she had always been a nervous, timid bird even by the low standards of poultry, and though I knew she was at the bottom of the pecking order I had no inkling that I would go out to close the henhouse that evening and find that she had been killed by the others sometime earlier in the day. She wasn’t pecked to death exactly; her physical injuries were not fatal in and of themselves, but hens are extremely susceptible to stress and she had essentially died of ill-treatment. My friend Grace (a great lover of animals) was very angry at the others, but as I pointed out they were only acting according to instinct, rejecting a member of the flock whom they had decided did not belong. Chickens have extremely tiny brains and can’t exceed their programming, but humans have no such excuse; that makes this story (which broke earlier that week) all the more disgusting:
A transgender teacher…is believed to have committed suicide after her case appeared in the national media…in an email…sent to a supporter before her death, Lucy Meadows describes how she had to dodge waiting reporters and photographers as she went to work…Her decision to undergo gender reassignment in December was reported in a number of national newspapers and was the subject of a controversial comment piece by…Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, who accused the popular teacher of “putting his (sic) own selfish needs ahead of the wellbeing of the children”…
Those who persecute sexual minorities just love to pretend that they’re acting “for the children”; I reckon they can’t admit that their behavior is actually on the same moral level as that of barnyard fowl. Even worse, they imagine that encouraging those same “children” to participate in this kind of barbarism is totally acceptable:
…Destin Holmes, a 16-year-old lesbian, said that…students and teachers…[at Magnolia Junior High School in Mississippi referred to her] as an “it,” “queer,” “freak,” “alien,” “dyke,” and “he-she.” Holmes was also denied access to the girls’ bathroom. In one of the most shocking incidents, Holmes’ teacher degraded her in front of the entire class when she divided it up into boys vs. girls for a trivia game, but left Holmes in the middle. “She told me since she didn’t know what I was, I should be on a team of my own,” Holmes said…when she went to the principal to complain about the harassment, the principal allegedly replied, “I don’t want a dyke in this school.” Ultimately, Holmes left the junior high after one semester last year and is now being home-schooled…
Though it is now socially unacceptable to openly express hatred for others because of race, religion, disability and a number of other factors, it’s still “open season” on a few sexual minorities, including sex workers and transgender people. But while it’s become fashionable to cloak anti-whore rhetoric in the pretense of wanting to “save” women, anti-trans sentiments are right out in the open. Legislators and judges openly persecute them; one Tennessee representative defended his bigotry with, “Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk.” Reporters make up for their lack of legal weaponry by humiliating them in the media instead, and the vitriol hurled at them by radical feminists is little short of nauseating. Hateful people think of their targets as monsters, subhuman beings to be hated and ostracized, and want the rest of us to feel the same way. But the true monsters in these situations aren’t the targets but rather the perpetrators, people who are no better than chickens mindlessly attempting to peck others to death for the offense of being different.