God, I love Vermont

May 25th, 2007 | Uncategorized

For many reasons, but here’s a new one: our stoatlike Republican governor just signed a transgender identity bill. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen.

46 Responses to “God, I love Vermont”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Stoatlike? Explain please?

    Awesome news, though! I, too, love Vermont.

  2. Um, he just has a kind of weasel-like demeanor that I find somewhat repellent. I know it’s wrong, but this characteristic has become fused for me with his conservative ideology.

  3. Pam I. says:

    This degrades stoats.

  4. jay in chicago says:

    Yay! to the bill
    but Boo! to people vandalizing the LGBT center’s office.

  5. Ginjoint says:

    First I did a Google image search of Governor Jim Douglas. Then I did one for stoats. And yeah, jeez, what do you have against stoats? With bigots like you running around, Alison, the stoats will need their own bill.

  6. I think it’s the hands.

  7. louise says:


  8. Ginjoint says:

    Point well taken. Though I think it’s the beady, shifty(yet somehow weak) eyes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, stoat or not, at least he signed the bill. Yay!

    Actually, in those pictures you posted, the stoat looks like she’s contemplating making a snack out of the governor. Perhaps he has a walnut-like hardness to his head.

  10. j.b.t. says:

    You all should see Gov. Pawlenty in Minnesota – now there’s a weasel! Beady eyes, pointy features, right-wing meanness….

    And for those interested in small furry carnivores in politics – the state capitol building in Wisconsin (Madison) has enormous stone statues of badgers (realistic faces and front paws – with fierce-looking teeth and claws) in each of the 4 wings of the building. It’s a fun field-trip.


  11. elteegee says:

    I’ve been advocating for years that Western Mass. should secede from Mass. and join Vermont. We have way more in common with Vermont than Eastern Mass. and things became even more compelling when Vermont became the first state to pass civil unions. ‘Course now we got bona fide marriage here in Mass. and other states have jumped on the bandwagon as well, so that’s cool, but I still think we are more culturally and spiritually aligned with Vermont.

  12. D.F. says:


    and i must say, stoat rights notwithstanding, the resemblance *is* uncanny … thnx AB for the great graphics.

  13. jay in chicago says:

    I lived in Madison for two years (what a great town, btw!) and no one ever told me about badger statues. Well, at least I have a reason (besides vegan treats I always pick up at Mother Fools) to go back now.

  14. kate says:

    it’s really all in the perspective. we had a long conversation about stoats (gosh, i’d never even heard that word before–this blog is sort of like the dictionary.com’s word of the day) and decided he must really look this way for you to say that (as now evidenced by your pics).

    As someone else pointed out above, at least he signed the bill (which doesn’t exactly fit with my idea of what conservative ideology might be, at all). Look at you Allison–first you’re up in arms about moviemakers and now stoats–who is next?

  15. Elisablue says:

    Had to go to my dictionary for stoat.

    It’s feminine in french, “une hermine”, which oddly makes sense for me …

    But well, whatever, somebody called Douglas in Vermont, and who now in my brain is known as l’Hermine, has signed a bill which ” protects transgender Vermonters from discrimination in banking, employment, education, health care, housing and public accommodations, and provides them some legal recourse if they are discriminated against”.
    And that makes me feel good this morning.

    Merci l’Hermine.

  16. xckb13 says:

    In Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, stoats are always the bad guys. I think it does have to do with the shifty eyes, that and the fact that they’re carnivorous and presumably have barely-suppressed urges to eat the cute little mice and voles, etc., that are the protagonists in the series.

    At least he signed the bill, though. Albeit on the SECOND time around.

  17. Sophie says:

    I had never seen the word “stoat” either. L’hermine in France is far from being reviled, it was even included as a symbol of nobility in several portraits, the most famous being here:

    On another note, what saddens me is the reactionary comments on the article page… “now all we have to do is protect the straight white male” kinda shit. Jeez.

  18. Josiah says:

    Stoats are also the bad guys in The Wind in the Willows, along with weasels: they take over Toad Hall while Toad is incarcerated.

    I had an earlier post which disappeared into the ether about the status of a transgender rights bill here in Connecticut: it’s passed the state Senate, and is awaiting a vote in the House. Our Republican governor (who is more reptilian than stoatlike) will probably sign it if it passes.

    I also attempted a link to the recent Newsweek cover story about transgender issues. It’s remarkably sensitive (using the appropriate pronouns without making a fuss about it, for example), and gives only one paragraph to the reactionaries. Pretty cool.

  19. psychofogqueen says:

    This is off topic, but so far I have been unable to find the link to the do-it-yourself comic site.

    If anyone remembers what I’m talking about could you email the link to me at fogmental-at-yahoo-dot-com.

    I’ll tyr to check back here too. Thank you.

    BTW: I love KNOWING that Vermont is there, not sure I want to live there though. 😉

  20. little gator says:

    The hands look like Monty “Mr.” Burns.

  21. Doctor E says:

    I only know the word “stoat” from Monty Python. Also “vole.” I looked them up several times before it sank in, but i now recall that stoats are like weasels and voles are more like rats.

    For what that’s worth.

  22. van says:

    LMAO at the side by side pics. Yep, we really needed the labels to get them right. Hee!

  23. Jaibe says:

    weasles are weasily recognized, but stoats are stoataly different.

  24. meg says:

    o little gator, astute observation!

  25. Sophie says:

    Jaibe, when I make puns like that, my friends groan and roll their eyes. Maybe we could start a support group.

  26. Josiah says:

    Apparently stoats are slightly larger than weasels. Which makes sense — the name goes to the lesser of the two weasels.

    (I’ll join that support group!)

  27. louise says:

    1) you guys are nerds, I love you
    2) The painting that Sophie linked to is my desktop wallpaper now

  28. xckb13 says:

    I used to know someone who had a tattoo of that painting on his back. Not really sure how that worked, logistically, but it looked pretty good.

  29. xckb13 says:

    Also, speaking of stoats and royality (quite a juxtaposition there), stoats turn white in the winter, and their pelts are then known as ermine. Many pictures of any royal worth his or her salt include the obligatory ermine-tail cape.

    The ermine came to be a symbol of virginity and purity in the Middle Ages because it was believed that the animal would die rather than allow its white fur to be soiled.


  30. thistle says:

    I can’t resist doing my law-geek thing here, and pointing out that the extra-beautiful thing about this bill is that it prohibits discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or “gender-related characteristics.” Which is terrific news for an incredibly broad group of people, including but by no means only transgender people.

  31. --MC says:

    Just a note to say that I was leafing through “Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress” by Harry Katz in the bookstore, and therein is reproduced an original DTWO4 episode, signed and everything.

  32. Rick says:

    Man, I wish I lived in Vermont. I’m terrified of telling anyone at work I’m trans for fear that they’ll mysteriously find some reason to fire me. ‘Bout the most I’ve done is put an “I’m Gayer Than I Look” pin on my backpack. The shame, I know. But I’m working on my backbone! Maybe I’ll move to Vermont [good lord, I just imagined myself drawn by Alison] [kinda cool, actually].

    Never knew about stoats. Learn something new every day.

  33. pd says:

    Johnny Hart, creator of comic strips “BC” and “The Wizard of Id” died May 26.

    Hart suffered a stroke Saturday while working at home in Endicott, N.Y., and “died at his storyboard,” his wife, Bobby, said Sunday.

  34. pd says:

    Oops. That was Saturday *April 6*. Just found out about it when my local paper started running candidate strips in his spot.

  35. Jana C.H. says:

    Johnny Hart was that rare being, conservative and funny.

    I still wish he’d given his female characters names, though.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Steve Young: You can change my mind at the drop of a fact.

  36. nurseingrid says:

    I dunno, Wizard of ID and B.C. could be funny sometimes, but Hart could be rather right wing and NOT in a funny way. I will never forget a strip he did once that involved a kid being thrown in the dungeon for “praying on government property” (just praying by himself, mind you, which is NOT illegal ANYWHERE –despite the common myth to the contrary, perpetuated by those who really want to instigate ORGANIZED prayer in public schools).

    He also managed to work in a reference (in the same strip) to an organization he called “Planned Childlessness” — ugh! Not to sound humorless, but that is just nasty and mean-spirited.

    And, I’m sorry to say, I’m pretty sure the woman in B.C. was actually named “Fat Broad.” Correct me if I’m wrong…

  37. kate says:

    i’ve always wondered about ermines. you see you learn so much from this blog.

  38. Doctor E says:

    The B.C. Women were Fat Broad and Cute Chick. Those don’t sound like names to me.

    They are, however, indicative of Hart’s attitude toward women.

  39. B says:

    Bit late to fit this into the general flow of the conversation conversation, but I stumbled across it and couldn’t resist.

    “I can still see our heads together, our eyes and our mouths, intent and pretty and serious as stoats.” – Ali Smith “The theme is Power” from Other Stories and other stories (1999)

  40. carol p says:

    speaking of useless politicians: our vice president was asked to step down while he was being had up for rape. in the court case he admitted to unprotected sex with the woman who is HIV pos and said that ‘he would not contract the disease as he took a shower afterwards’. this is the example south african politicians give the youth today! not sure if I would call him a weasel as I rather like animals. he is now being had up for arms dealing and corruption, and I too would love to live in Vermont!

  41. Sir Real says:

    Josiah – I agree there’s alot to be said for the Newsweek article… I’d say it’s trans 101, and a smattering of trans 201, even, as it gets into details on biology.

    Of course, it’s an ughy position to be in, to be gladdened by mere accuracy in an article…

    However I was dismayed that the accompanying photo slideshow, and the related articles, were about 90% about trans women. Also, in the first 2/3 of a long article, all the examples of actual individuals were of transwomen.

    The `Western’ culturally influenced public almost always thinks of transwomen when referencing the word “transsexual”. That may be because transmen are more often able to `pass’, and certainly because of ingrained cultural horror/fascination when a male person apparently eschews the `superior’ male-men’s biology and social position.

    However, I’ve heard various experts say that as far as is known there are nearly as many adult transmen/trans-masculine/FtM folks as there are MtF… (Has anyone else data, besides my hazy recollection, on that statistic?) so I’m dismayed that this article reflects the common preoccupation.

    A friend pointed out a radical concept from the article. After trying to determine who is what, for the Olympics, ‘”We found there is no scientifically sound lab-based technique that can differentiate between man and woman,” says Arne Ljungqvist, chair of the IOC’s medical commission.’

  42. xckb13 says:

    Lynn Conway has a long article on the prevalence of MTF transsexualism on her excellent page: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

    According to her figures, as many as 1 in 500 biological males in the US has “untreated intense MTF transsexualism,” while approximately 1 out of every 2,500 has undergone full SRS (vaginoplasty, etc.).

    I have also heard that there are approximately as many FTMs who have undergone some form of sex-reassignment surgery (phalloplasty not being necessary for inclusion in that group) as there are post-op MTFs, which would mean that there is one transman among approximately every 2,500 biological females. The number undoubtedly gets significantly larger if you count guys who are on T but do not wish to have any surgery, but I haven’t seen any figures for that. Maybe it approaches Lynn’s figure of 1:500 for “untreated” MTFs, since as Sir Real said, it’s so much easier for FTMs to pass with no or minimal medical treatment.

    In any case, there must be many more of us out there than the stupid 1:30,000 “women” and 1:10,000 “men” figures that I hear all the time, because I can’t even find anyone to shock anymore!

  43. pearlgyrl says:

    Is that why you chose to become a ftm? To shock people?

  44. xckb13 says:

    Um, no. It was what you might call a fun side effect of a necessary and yet painfully expensive, energy-draining, never-ending process.

  45. pearlgyrl says:

    Well, I’m glad you found some fun in it, although the way you describe it reminds me of a bad marriage.

    Maybe what was formerly shocking can turn into a pleasant surprise. It’s easier on the system.