Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where is my transgender beauty pageant?

First, an explanation. I've been on the American Family Association's mailing list for a couple months now. I ended up on there because I signed up for some free stuff. A meme popped up on my friends list suggesting that people drain their coffers by signing up for as much free stuff as possible. Apparently, the AFA is still around and has responded with the cunning ploy of not sending out their free crap. At least I didn't get any, but if you did, please post a comment to this entry.

I never unsubscribed. "Know your enemy" and all that. It amused me to see what they were outraged by from week to week: Bill Maher doesn't love Jesus, Paris Hilton in that Hardee's ad, Ford Motors advertising to gays ("AFA has identified Ford as a leading corporate promoter of homosexual marriage and the homosexual agenda."), etc. Most of the time I don't even bother reading their "Action Alerts", but the subject line of the latest one intrigued me:
You just paid for a transgender beauty pageant

I did? Where was it? Why didn't I get tickets? Is there a DVD available?

The claim (and others in the same Outrage Alert) was lifted by the AFA from in a report(pdf) on spending by the Center for Disease Control produced by the office of Senator Dr. Tom "Involuntary Sterilization" Coburn (R-Oklahoma). It's called "CDC Off Center", so you pretty much know how this is gonna go.

The specific outrage in question was the 2001 Mr./Ms. "Jewel of the Pacific" pageant held by UTOPIA (The United Territories of Polynesian Islanders' Alliance) and partially funded by the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, which gets some million and change from the US government for fighting and education about HIV/AIDS. The report also mentions, hey, by the way, there was AIDS testing at the event. Gee, you think, maybe that this is the reason the pageant got funding from the APIWC? I guess I'm naive, but I would think a taxpayer-funded report with the resources of a congressional staff behind it might answer basic questions like these.

Sure, when it isn't making partisan talking points, it raises some important questions about the efficiency and accountability regarding CDC funding, but the report glosses over that in favor of an attempt to manufacture outrage over things like the "CDC-Funded Drag Contest", which is why the report itself is the true outrage.

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