Formal Statement by the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire,
Regarding the transphobic article by Benjamin Paige
March 15, 2008
From the files of an investigative report by Lynn Conway
Columnist Benjamin Paige, a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire (ICRME), recently published one of the most hideously transphobic screeds we've ever seen in the GayZette Denver.
In response to escalating criticism of Paige's column, Tom Japhet the President of the Board of ICRME e-mailed me on March 9th, expressing mere "disappointment" with that article and saying that he'd be "discussing it" with Paige. Since that time the Board of Directors has been discussing the matter, and has just issued the formal statement below.
In that statement, the Board reports that Paige is still a member of the board, although he has been reassigned as an "at large" member. The statement goes on to proclaim that the ICRME is welcoming of all and has a wonderful reputation as being supportive of the trans community, etc.
If this is the only action taken by
the Board of Directors, it will be seen as a whitewash and a slap in the face by
the trans community.
Regarding the rhetoric about "Everyone is welcome" at ICRME:
Note that the welcomed classes do not include "gender identity". Once noticed, this omission is as blatantly obvious as if "sexual orientation" wasn't there. It's a clear signal of ICRME's cluelessness about transgender issues.
Furthermore, the words "Everyone is welcome" at ICRME have been revealed to be untrue by the recent reports from Dana Yost and Jazmine James - reports to which the ICRME has chosen to ignore and not respond to.
That is the issue now at center stage:
This is no longer just about Paige and his column. Paige's column was merely the tip of the iceberg, and has exposed the darker side of ICRME looming below. ICRME stands exposed as engaging in a pattern of emotional wounding and social ostracism of those members who transition, and this goes to the very heart of what it means to be a member.
For the ICRME to extricate itself from this mess, it not only demand Paige's resignation from the BOD, but must also make thoughtful responses to the reports from Dana and Jazmine regarding steps to be taken to improve its internal climate.
There's still time to do this, and
the Board of Directors meets tomorrow to consider further action. However, if
those further steps are not taken, the ICRME will be forever stained as an
The Rocky Mountain Court System,
Incorporated (RMCS, Inc.) doing business as the Imperial Court of the Rocky
Mountain Empire (ICRME) does not condone or approve of language which attacks
any segment of the GLBT Community. Specifically, the ICRME does not approve or
agree with any statements suggesting any sort of discrimination based on gender
or sexual orientation.
The ICRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community foundation that raises money to support local organizations. The mission of the Corporation is to conduct projects of a public service or charitable nature to benefit legitimate charities, and in so doing, to provide social activities for the express benefit and/or pleasure and entertainment for the community. Our organization is completely volunteer run with no paid staffing.
Our organization is open to anyone and everyone. Our members represent every aspect of society. A person's gender, ethnicity/race, background, sexual orientation, or lifestyle has no bearing on acceptance within our organization. Everyone is welcome.
During the past 17 years, the Imperial Court has worked with Denver's Transgender Community with a number of its members being participants of both organizations. One of our three upcoming candidates for Empress is a member of the Transgender Community and the ICRME was named by the Gender Identity Center of Colorado as its organization of the year last year.
The ICRME has raised funds for the Transgender Community for some of its events and will do so again in the future as the need arises. Our organization through its members opposed the ENDA Bill once the amendment was included which removed the protections from members of the Transgender Community.
As with any organization constituting the variety of membership involved with the ICRME, there are individuals with various opinions and viewpoints and we respect the rights of those individuals to voice their opinions, however, these individuals do not have the authority to speak on behalf of the organization.
This organization does not approve or agree with the statements that were made by Benjamin Paige in the March 2008 Article and fully supports our Transgender Friends.
The Board of Directors understands that this article was an attempt at satirical humor, however, the article failed in its attempt at humor and a significant portion of the GLBT Community has felt attacked and threatened.
Benjamin was not acting as an officer of this organization, making statements on behalf of this organization, nor making statements which reflect a majority of our organization but rather was speaking as an employee of the Gayzette. It is our understanding that the Gayzette has issued a full apology for this article and has retracted the article from its website.
We apologize to those members of the Transgender Community who have felt attacked and threatened by the article in the Gayzette and would encourage the paper to consider the impact that statements and articles that are carried have and whether they are beneficial or detrimental to our Community.
Because of our concerns associated with this matter, the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire has made a determination not to advertise at this time with the Gayzette.
Benjamin has submitted his resignation as Corporate Development Officer on our Board of Directors effective immediately, however remains as a member at large of the Board of Directors at this time.
The issuance of this statement does not constitute the finality of our actions. We will be holding a special meeting of the Board of Directors on Sunday to discuss this matter and other issues that have been raised as a result of the discussions that have arisen.
We will continue to work with and support the Transgender Community and welcome those individuals to participate in our events and participate in our organization.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
LynnConway.com > TS Information > Trans News Updates > Benjamin Paige hideously mocks trans child > ICRME Formal Statement of 3-15-08