The Curt Schilling case: a closer look

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
— Evelyn Beatrice Hall/Voltaire
Last week, numerous media outlets, including The Hartford Courant published stories detailing some outrageous comments made by former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling and the fallout from those comments.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher turned ESPN analyst, lost his job at the sports network after making some disparaging comments on Facebook.
According to published accounts, Schilling re-posted or “shared” an offensive image and caption mocking the transgender community. Then he reportedly added his own opinion saying, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

Although the material has been deleted, Schilling has stridently defended his right to express his opinion, and lashed out at his critics.

I Do Have A Dog In This Fight

Personally I find Schilling’s comments extremely offensive. I think most people do. But unlike “most people” I do have a dog in the fight. For those of you who don’t know, my ex-husband, Adam, is transgender. He fully transitioned after we divorced, and is now Audrey.

Book Cover

I told my story in my memoir, Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey. As it turned out, the book is a brutally honest account of how I met, fell in love with and married the man of my dreams, only to find out that he self-identified as a woman — and what happened after I learned the truth.

Quite frankly, a lot of people haven’t appreciated my honesty — probably because it doesn’t jive with their politically correct expectations. They probably wanted to read a happy story about a spouse who instantly accepted her husband’s true identity and acted accordingly.

But that’s not the way it was. Not for me. Finding out that the person I once considered my soul mate had kept such a devastating secret from me wasn’t easy to accept and it wasn’t easy to understand.

So I wasn’t always kind to my ex. In fact, I said some pretty cruel things after we got divorced — and I wrote about it. Granted, I am human and that cruelty was born out of resentment, hurt, anger and a colossal sense of betrayal.  That’s not an excuse or justification for my behavior. There is no excuse.

Having said that, I must also say that I am fiercely protective of Audrey. Before she completed her transition, I told her  that I would never, ever hate her because she is transgender. I never have and I never will. So if anyone has issues with her — or anyone else in the transgender community–  they can come straight through me. And trust me, I am an extremely formidable opponent.

Having said that, I would love to give Schilling a piece of my mind. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not angry at him. If anything, I’m sad. Clearly this is an extremely ignorant individual. Clearly this is someone who lacks the ability to express his opinion in an acceptable manner. Clearly this is someone who has no qualms about engaging in what is easily perceived as hateful rhetoric. Clearly this is someone who is emotionally and intellectually incapable of wrapping his head around the concepts of diversity and tolerance.

Piling On Doesn’t Help

Clearly Schilling is paying a hefty price for all of that. He’s lost his job and his reputation is once again taking a beating at the hands of the “polite police.”

While I’m hardly about to condone his behavior or pretend to understand it, I will say that piling on doesn’t help. Castigating people like Schilling doesn’t do a damn thing to change them. If anything it makes them cling to their beliefs even more. It makes them even more defiant. It causes more resentment, more bitterness and yes — more hate.

Instead of wasting considerable time and energy trying to turn Schilling — and those like him — into pariahs, we would be much better off if we simply viewed these incidents as chances to engage in an open and honest dialogue about the important issues at hand.

Here are some talking points:

  • What is the clinical definition of a transgender person?
  • How does a transgender person differ from a transsexual?
  • How many transgender people are there in the United States?
  • How many transgender people are victims of hate crimes in the United States?
  • What is the suicide rate for transgender people in the United States?
  • Do people really “choose” to self-identify as the other gender or are they literally “trapped in the wrong body since birth?”
  • My son or daughter has a classmate that is biologically male/female but identifies as the other gender and wants to be treated as such. How do I explain this to my child?
  • I know someone who enjoys cross-dressing. Does that mean he or she is transgender?
  • Does everyone who self-identifies as another gender fully transition to that gender?
  • What does “transitioning” entail?
  • What is a “bathroom bill?”
  • What do the laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi really say?
  • How do we best balance the transgender population’s rights to access the public restroom of their choosing with the general public’s right to privacy?
  • How do we combat misconceptions about the transgender community without alienating the general public?
  • How can the transgender community and the general public come together to promote greater tolerance and understanding?

Obviously some of these topics will make people uncomfortable. But then again, making progress is never easy.

To learn more about the issues facing the transgender population visit:

The Human Rights Campaign


The Trevor Project



Bathroom bill boycotts: getting to the bottom of it

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These days it seems you can’t turn around without hearing about another bathroom bill boycott.

It’s almost as if every rock star on the face of the planet has refused to perform in North Carolina. Several governors have banned all but essential state-funded travel there. Even the corporate world has contributed to the backlash.

Yes, the reaction to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law — known during the legislative process as House Bill 2 or HB2 — has been swift and harsh. And if a recent Huffington Post article is accurate, the “punishment” meted out by these groups has already proved costly.

Acceptable Protest Or Something Else?

Yet there is a question that remains unasked — at least in the mainstream media, where the politically correct narrative always rules the day. Is all of this economic pressure an acceptable form of protest — or is it something else? Specifically, is it an acceptable form of extortion?

In order to answer the question, we must first find the legal definition of extortion. It is: The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

So by the strict reading of this definition alone, the answer is “no.” The bathroom bill boycotts cannot be classified as extortion. No property has changed hands — and as far as I can tell, there has been no “wrongful use of actual threatened force, violence or fear…”

However, an explanation of the term on also includes the following: Other types of threats sufficient to constitute extortion include those to harm the victim’s business… Many statutes also provide that any threat to harm another person in his or her career or reputation is extortion.

Depending on how you look at it, that either muddies the waters or clarifies things a lot. We know the bathroom bill boycotts are designed to deprive North Carolina and its individual municipalities of income. One could also argue that they are designed to damage or inflict further damage on the state’s reputation. Although they are not directly targeted, North Carolina businesses are also being harmed as a result of the activity.

So based on that, the bathroom bill boycotts are an accepted form of extortion. But of course the politically correct crowd will never admit it.

It Is What It Is

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Don’t get me wrong. Clearly discrimination against any individual or any group is unacceptable. Clearly hate and ignorance are unacceptable. Clearly people should stand up for groups that are unfairly treated.

So if you want to engage in civil disobedience, fine. If you want to organize a rally, great. If you want to start a petition, fine. If you want to write to the governor, that’s fine, too. If you usually vacation in North Carolina and you are so upset by the anti-LGBT law that you literally don’t want to go there, awesome. Cancel your reservations and go somewhere else.

If you happen to be an entertainer or a corporate mogul or a politician and you want to engage in glorified extortion, that’s your decision. Just don’t call it a bathroom bill boycott.