think for 100 years of UTC history, [LGBTQ] students have been neglected. *** There hasn’t been any sort of homage to us in policy until recently. Now that there is, I think it needs to be taken as far as it can go. — Jefferson Hodge, Spectrum, UTC gay group
I admit the idea of local economy is potentially oppressive. To the cosmopolite it is perhaps stifling. To the everything-on-the Internet guy, it’s quaintness, a form of sentimentality. To people who have squeezed the tube of gay theory and applied a bit of solid waste upon their epidermis, the idea of local economy is a brand of microaggression which the true believer is unwilling to overlook.
Just how local economy can be a form of aggression, and its promoters bigots, is a concept that may not be readily clear. Here’s how a provocateur, active in gay theory, transsexualism and UTC’s Spectrum organization, might lay down the law about local economy and its conceits.
“Local economy is what you call lococentrism. You mean well, perhaps, and are trying to sound neutral, but you are trying to evoke us as physical beings. What you don’t realize is that you are guilty not just of geocentrism (sounds innocent enough), but proximocentrism — you think that whatever is proximate is better than what is remote. That’s lococentrism with male pride and ego at the center because it implies you are measuring and taking in lococentrism personally.
That surely is a prejudice made less excusable in our day by the fact that we have the Internet. It is a prejudice of the near over the far, as if one were really better than the other.
“Proximocentrism is a form of imperial vanity in which, in your conception, you favor people near you and distrust those afar. How can that be? The Internet makes it possible for there to be no place anymore whatsoever, and you are clinging to the idea of place — and identifying with it?
‘Snootiness’ of the here
“Lococentrism — or Noogacentrism, as you call it — is offensive to people who are far away. Even the term ‘far away’ suggests a snootiness, a haughtiness and pride that is just insufferable. How do you live with yourself? ‘Far away and ‘not from here’ and questions such as ‘Where are you from?’ are distinctly prejudicial, noninclusive, disfavorable to people who through no fault of their own are not born in the same town as you and don’t live in the same town as you and don’t have the same privileged lineage.
“Proximocentrism denies that all people are equal. The word ‘here’ is microaggressive because it implies a criticism, an unjustifiable condemnation of ‘there.’ Your use of the word ‘there’ is an oppression, because referring to another person as there denies his use of the word ‘here,’ and you clearly are using white male dominance and power politics to deny him his place and his usage. By favoring lococentrism and using the here-there distinction, you are highlighting a difference and making a value judgment. You are otherizing a person and imposing a conceptual distance between you and that person and are isolating and imprisoning him in otherness that he has no chance of overcoming. You have made human society absolutely impossible.
Cisgenderism and the now
“Local economy is a form of violence that we see at UTC all the time. Students cannot declare and be known by the names, sexual identity and sexual orientation of their choice. They have to go over the M and F obstacle on the application form — extremely painful process — and give names that were assigned to them by others in their remote past. We believe that the most basic level of self-identity is the ability to self-identify.
"Through over a hundred years of UT Chattanooga history, this fundamental personal liberty has not been afforded to students who are transgender and gender-nonconforming. In order to create an affirming, inclusive, and wholesome learning environment for all students at UT Chattanooga, we believe that the needs of our community should be meaningfully and immediately addressed.
“It is the goal for UT Chattanooga to foster a space in which all students can achieve to their fullest potential. Considering this, we ask for an inclusive policy which applies to all transgender or gender non-conforming students who seek to have their title and first name changed to reflect their chosen gender identity and expression. We wish for a campus where no more students will have to go from professor to professor from semester to semester and inform them that their chosen name may not match the name with which they were assigned at birth. We wish for a campus where no more students will have to suffer a professor who disregards their name and gender identity. We wish for a campus where the chosen names of transgender or gender-nonconforming students will be recognized.
“We wish for a policy through which students who enroll at UT Chattanooga using their legal names may be able to change their titles and first names to their preferred titles and first names which reflect their gender identity and/or gender expression. This process should be accessible and simple for the ease of an already marginalized student community. It should allow students to adapt their student IDs, email addresses, class roster names, and all related student activities.
“Do you understand why we strongly object to the idea of local economy? Spectrum is trying to solve problems by dissolving differences and uniting all mankind together. It is trying to end protocols and procedures that rob students of a fundamental right to their own name. Just as geography should not control, neither should birth names should not control.
“Your conceptions are antiquated and hostile to our cultural consciousness and offensive even to our gender identity. Prejudice in favor of your hometown is like identifying ‘Mary’ as a woman, and offering to hold the door for her at the entrance of the engineering building. It’s offensive, bigoted and — put it mildly — gives us agonies. It’s what cisgendered people do when given to thuggishness, and is highly offensive.
“Given your hostile projections of male power, you will never be welcome in our organization. Spectrum is about diversity and acceptance. Local economy is prejudicial, microaggressive, socio-imperialistic, culturally nonconforming and bigoted. Local economy is a bigoted idea. BIGOTED. Please understand. I’m being blunt so I can help you. Don’t you think you should feel sorry about being such an enemy of progress?”
— David Tulis hosts Nooganomics.com 1 to 3 p.m. weekdays on Hot News Talk Radio 1249 910 1190 AM, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.
Sources: “Respect Preferred Names for UT Chattanooga Students,” Change.org petition.
Sean Phipps, “LGBTQ group issues petition for use of ‘preferred names’ at UTC,” Nooga.com, Feb. 12, 2015.
Matt Walsh, “Sorry, but it’s your fault if you’re offended all the time,” TheMattWalshBlog.com, Sept. 16, 2014