TV & Radio
Posted on Mon, May. 15, 2006
Fighting to become who they've always been
BY SARAH LINN
Knight Ridder Newspapers
There's a perpetual dialogue in the transgender community:
What if you could take a pill and be perfect - the girl you've always been, buried beneath unwanted body hair and testosterone, the man trapped in a female body? An instant, painless transformation.
What if it meant losing your job, alienating your friends and family members? Turning your back on the life you've always known? Would you do it?
"That's the dilemma that we all find," says Michelle Mara, who was born male but identifies as a woman. "That's what tears us apart mentally and makes us into wrecks and drives us to suicide."
More than 50 years after Christine Jorgensen fascinated the world by becoming one of the first to successfully undergo sexual reassignment surgery, questions about gender, sex and the nature of personal identity are back in the public eye.
"Transamerica" star Felicity Huffman won a Golden Globe this year for her portrayal of the born-male Bree, who discovers a long-lost son a week before the final surgery that will make her physically female. The movie comes out on home video May 23.
Members of the transgendered community say "Transamerica" reflects the confusion of being born in the wrong male or female body - torn between who society expects them to be and who they really are.
"It doesn't matter how hard you try to be a man (or woman)," says Lorelei Simone Monet of San Luis Obispo, Calif. "If you're not a man, you don't fit ... You don't belong. And sometimes it gets awfully hard trying to belong."
Growing up male in rural Oregon, Monet remembers her mother's anger at discovering her son playing dress-up with a neighbor girl. When the young boy asked for a Raggedy Ann doll, he received Raggedy Andy. Instead of a pink kitten toy, he got a blue puppy.
"I knew there was something wrong for wanting them," says Monet, now a 58-year-old woman who flaunts her femininity with magenta nails and colorful skirts and blouses.
"I tried to be a boy, and I wanted to be," she adds. "But I also knew that I didn't know things other boys knew, and I didn't have an interest in things that other boys did."
Monet struggled to make friends, always feeling uncomfortable with other boys fascinated by cars and sports. The youngster tried out for football one year only to spend most of the season warming the bench.
Then, in fifth grade, Monet read a Sunday newspaper supplement about Christine Jorgensen, who was making the interview rounds to discuss her physical transformation from male to female. Concepts like transsexualism and "gender dysphoria," as some psychologists call it, had yet to enter the cultural mainstream.
"I knew then that's what I was," says Monet, who remembers hiding the article under her mattress. "And then I worked very hard on not being that."
Alcoholism became the way Monet hid her transgendered identity through a year with the U.S. Navy and more than a decade at male-dominated high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley. She married a woman and divorced six years later, constantly clouded by depression and thoughts of suicide.
"Everyone was a man, except me," Monet says. "I just pretended to be one."
Finally, Monet says, she knew "that guy" - her male persona - "had to die." She had to sober up. She had to transform into a woman.
Mara also spent years repressing her desire to dress and act like a woman - disguising her feminine side with sports and hunting trips for wild pigs, bears and mountain lions.
Her first exposure to Christine Jorgensen's story came at age 18 or 19. She was a freshman at California Polytechnic State University living with conservative parents who made it clear "this was the kind of thing you buried," Mara says.
Around the same time, she attended a human sexuality class that identified transvestism - and transsexualism by proxy - as a mental illness for which the most successful treatment was shock therapy.
"I was terrified that anyone would find out that I was as disgusting a creature as this," Mara says. "I made the choice that I would rather keep it buried and repressed and deny it, even to myself."
If it went any further, she adds, "I thought suicide was a lot easier, cleaner, quicker, better for everybody involved."
Shocked by the revelation, Mara dropped out of college and spent nearly a decade working in a traditionally masculine job that required hard physical labor in the harsh outdoors. Around 1981, a friend introduced Mara to her future wife.
"The first thing that went through my mind was, 'Well, it's all been a mistake. It was wrong. ... Just put it behind you and let it go.'" Mara says.
Setting emotional concerns aside, she re-devoted her life to living as a man, a husband deeply in love with his wife. She fathered two children, got a new job and moved the family into their first home.
But after eight years of marriage and family, the psychological torment returned. She had recurring dreams about having a picnic with her wife while dressed as a woman.
Distraught, she'd hide behind their upscale house and cry "so hard I'd make myself sick.
"You can't imagine what it is to look in the mirror and have a severe case of self-loathing," she says.
During sleepless nights, she started searching on the Internet and found an online group support group for hundreds of transgendered people like herself.
"Here I was out there making myself sick because I was the only one in the world suffering from this and I didn't want to do this to my wife," Mara says. She told her wife the truth two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"We were sitting in bed having coffee when the two towers got hit," Mara recalls. "She told me, 'See, what's happening to you is not terrible. This is terrible.'"
"Her love was so deep for me that it was beyond gender," Mara says with a smile.
Mara couldn't be more fortunate to have a partner who accepts her transgendered status, Doug Heumann says. He was a woman living with a female partner when he first announced his desire to transition into manhood.
"I knew I had to at least face the fact that I was more than a lesbian," he says. "What I did about that was still up for grabs."
For Heumann, who grew up female in a devout Catholic family in suburban Illinois, girlhood as Debra was a turbulent time. He fought constantly with his parents about wearing dresses and resisted getting a bra.
At the same time, Heumann found himself drawn to other girls.
At age 18, he says, it finally clicked. He wasn't merely a woman attracted to other women, but a heterosexual man in a woman's body.
"I didn't have the courage to step out of my family's influence," the 53-year-old says. "I didn't have enough self-belief."
Heumann turned to alcohol to deal with the confusion, finally quitting as an engineering student in Missouri. He moved to Los Angeles to work for Lockheed Martin in 1983 and then to San Luis Obispo for a Caltrans job in 1991, convinced "I was moving to Nirvana and I'd be so accepted out here."
Feelings came and went. But when Heumann read "Stone Butch Blues" in 1994, he knew he had to follow novelist Leslie Feinberg's lead and transform physically into a man.
A year later, he was in Los Angeles meeting with other transgendered men seeking to transition.
"They told us we were going to lose most of our gay and lesbian friends and we would, without a doubt, lose our partner," he recalls.
Heumann's partner worried about how she would break the news to her children, her co-workers, her family. She wondered if they'd have to move to L.A. or San Francisco - or "go back into the closet" entirely.
"When it got down to three or four years of going back and forth like this, it was like, 'When would I stop worrying about what other people thought? When did I start basing my life on this?'" Heumann says.
Transitioning - moving beyond behavior and dress to take the physical attributes of the opposite sex - was the next step.
"As you get older, the more time you spend having this wrong body, the more you want to get rid of it," Monet says.
The transformation is harder for middle-aged people who grew up in a society largely ignorant of transgendered issues, she adds.
Under the standards established by the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, people seeking to transition into male or female must first undergo psychotherapy, take hormones for a year and spend at least one year living like their chosen gender.
Only then are they eligible for breast surgery, castration, phalloplasty and other procedures, which, like hormones, are rarely covered by insurance policies. Full surgery can cost $60,000 to $100,000, Mara says.
Some measures may come too late. For instance, men with male pattern balding may never be able to take full advantage of estrogen-induced hair growth.
And there are health risks - infection in the case of plastic surgery, liver damage due to hormone use.
Those making the transition from male to female have the added cost of painful and pricey hair removal, which can take years to complete.
"(Transition) would be a wonderful goal if the price wasn't so high," says Mara, in her late 50s.
It's not only the cost of surgery and hormones that she's worried about, but also her job, her friends, her family. Bullies would torment her 15-year-old son if she publicly identified herself as a transgendered woman, she says.
Still, little changes reveal the slow transformation from the "hard-ass" drill sergeant to the bangle-loving redhead with the easy laugh - long, manicured fingernails; plucked eyebrows.
"Do I feel whole? No. Do I think about transitioning? Several times a day," Mara says. "But is it an overpowering, overwhelming thing like it was before, when I was completely denying myself to be in touch with my feminine side? No."
Monet, with her modest income may never be able to afford to make the full physical transition to womanhood.
She says it's enough to be "Lorelei 24-7," to go shopping for cute shoes and cry at movies.
"I've been living my life in such a dark place," Monet says. "I can walk down the street as Lorelei in the daylight without hiding anymore. ... As hard as it is - and it is hard - it's worth it."
ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙早版ヘッドライン（15日付） (ロイター 2006/05/15)
The New York Times
May 15, 2006
Conservative Christians Criticize Republicans
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
WASHINGTON, May 13 — Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.
"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer.
Mr. Viguerie also cited dissatisfaction with government spending, the war in Iraq and the immigration-policy debate, which Mr. Bush is scheduled to address in a televised speech on Monday night.
"I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," Mr. Viguerie said. "I have never seen anything like it."
In the last several weeks, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential Christian conservatives, has publicly accused Republican leaders of betraying the social conservatives who helped elect them in 2004. He has also warned in private meetings with about a dozen of the top Republicans in Washington that he may turn critic this fall unless the party delivers on conservative goals.
And at a meeting in Northern Virginia this weekend of the Council for National Policy, an alliance of the most prominent Christian conservatives, several participants said sentiment toward the White House and Republicans in Congress had deteriorated sharply since the 2004 elections.
When the group met in the summer of 2004, it resembled a pep rally for Mr. Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill, and one session focused on how to use state initiatives seeking to ban same-sex marriage to help turn out the vote. This year, some participants are complaining that as soon as Mr. Bush was re-elected he stopped expressing his support for a constitutional amendment banning such unions.
Christian conservative leaders have often threatened in the months before an election to withhold their support for Republicans in an effort to press for their legislative goals. In the 1990's, Dr. Dobson in particular became known for his jeremiads against the Republican party, most notably in the months before the 1998 midterm elections.
But the complaints this year are especially significant because they underscore how the broad decline in public approval for Mr. Bush and Congressional Republicans is beginning to cut into their core supporters. The threatened defections come just two years after many Christian conservatives — most notably Dr. Dobson — abandoned much of their previous reservations and poured energy into electing Republicans in 2004.
Dr. Dobson gave his first presidential endorsement to Mr. Bush and held get-out-the-vote rallies that attracted thousands of admirers in states with pivotal Senate races while Focus on the Family and many of its allies helped register voters in conservative churches.
Republican officials, who were granted anonymity to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the situation, acknowledged the difficult political climate but said they planned to rally conservatives by underscoring the contrast with Democrats and emphasizing the recent confirmations of two conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Midterm Congressional elections tend to be won by whichever side can motivate more true believers to vote. Dr. Dobson and other conservatives are renewing their complaints about the Republicans at a time when several recent polls have shown sharp declines in approval among Republicans and conservatives. And compared with other constituencies, evangelical Protestants have historically been suspicious of the worldly business of politics and thus more prone to stay home unless they feel clear moral issues are at stake.
"When a president is in a reasonably strong position, these kind of leaders don't have a lot of leverage," said Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst. "But when the president is weak, they tend to have a lot of leverage."
Dr. Dobson, whose daily radio broadcast has millions of listeners, has already signaled his willingness to criticize Republican leaders. In a recent interview with Fox News on the eve of a visit to the White House, he accused Republicans of "just ignoring those that put them in office."
Dr. Dobson cited the House's actions on two measures that passed over the objections of social conservatives: a hate-crime bill that extended protections to gay people, and increased support for embryonic stem cell research.
"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dr. Dobson said, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."
According to people who were at the meetings or were briefed on them, Dr. Dobson has made the same point more politely in a series of private conversations over the last two weeks in meetings with several top Republicans, including Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser; Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader; Representative J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the House speaker; and Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the majority leader.
"People are getting concerned that they have not seen some of these issues move forward that were central to the 2004 election," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who attended the meetings.
Richard D. Land, a top official of the Southern Baptist Convention who has been one of Mr. Bush's most loyal allies, said in an interview last week that many conservatives were upset that Mr. Bush had not talked more about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
"A lot of people are disappointed that he hasn't put as much effort into the marriage amendment as he did for the prescription drug benefit or Social Security reform," Dr. Land said.
Republicans say they are taking steps to revive their support among Christian conservatives. On Thursday night, Mr. Rove made the case for the party at a private meeting of the Council for National Policy, participants said.
In addition to reminding conservatives of the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, party strategists say the White House and Senate Republicans are escalating their fights against the Democrats over conservative nominees to lower federal courts, and the Senate is set to revive the same-sex marriage debate next month with a vote on the proposed amendment.
But it is unclear how much Congressional Republicans will be able to do for social conservatives before the next election.
No one expects the same-sex marriage amendment to pass this year. Republican leaders have not scheduled votes on a measure to outlaw transporting minors across state lines for abortions, and the proposal faces long odds in the Senate. A measure to increase obscenity fines for broadcasters is opposed by media industry trade groups, pitting Christian conservatives against the business wing of the party, and Congressional leaders have not committed to bring it to a vote.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and another frequent participant in the Council for National Policy, argued that Christian conservatives were hurting their own cause.
"If the Republicans do poorly in 2006," Mr. Norquist said, "the establishment will explain that it was because Bush was too conservative, specifically on social and cultural issues."
Dr. Dobson declined to comment. His spokesman, Paul Hetrick, said that Dr. Dobson was "on a fact-finding trip to see where Republicans are regarding the issues that concern values voters most, especially the Marriage Protection Act," and that it was too soon to tell the results.
Continued from NYタイムズ・マガジン：「ラ・ファム（女性）」セゴレーヌ・ロワイヤルの特集記事 1/2
Royal's legend has grown apace. Like Nicolas Sarkozy — minister of the interior, abrasive leader of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement and a likely presidential candidate — she would not toe the party line. "I will guard my freedom of speech to the very end, come what may," she announced to yet another magazine reporter. Like the current prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, she harbored a sense of destiny: "I am ready," she told one and all. And unlike the others, she listened. On her Web site, Désirs d'Avenir (Wishes for the Future), she invited visitors to express their views rather than offering pensées of her own. But she could spit nails if she needed to. When I asked Royal whether her success had blunted the attack from the left, she shot back: "It's getting worse, because they're afraid. They've invested so many years themselves that they think my popularity is an imposture, ephemeral, unwarranted, undeserved, dangerous — as if a democracy of opinion is worth nothing."
It is the democracy of opinion that Royal is offering the French people. She had, she told me, laid out her credo in the draft of the first chapter of a book she has begun to write, also to be titled "Désirs d'Avenir." She sent me the piece, which was called "The Democratic Disorder" and which barely touches on France's place in the world, the consuming preoccupation of her rivals' manifestoes. Royal writes instead about the relationship of politicians to voters, arguing that diminishing turnout, the ominous popularity of the far-right-wing National Front and even the repudiation last year of the E.U. Constitution are all symptoms of a deep national disaffection from, and disgust with, mainstream political culture. These protest votes, or nonvotes, spring from citizens who are deeply pessimistic about their prospects, who feel that France is adrift. She argues, in the manner of centrist Democrats courting red-state voters, that the "nostalgia for 'traditional values' " that many National Front voters cite is less a harbinger of protofascism than a rejection of value-neutral politics. The answer, she claims, is a new kind of politics, respectful of public opinion, modest in its claims, transparent, accountable and, above all, "concrete" rather than abstract. Her book, which is to appear in September, when the Socialists draw up their official list of candidates, is unlikely to narrow the gulf between Royal's popular following and her standing in the party's inner councils.
By the time I arrived in Paris, in mid-March, Ségomania had been temporarily supplanted by the nationwide furor over précarité, a word most usefully translated as "insecurity." The French regard the protection of job security as a fundamental obligation of the state. But France's unemployment rate, which has not gone below 8 percent for years and now hovers around 10 percent, is usually ascribed to the reluctance of firms to hire new workers whom it will find prohibitively burdensome and expensive to lay off. Young people with only ordinary credentials, including a college degree, often find it extremely difficult to break into the labor market; unemployment among the young is estimated to be as high as 22 percent. The employment system that has evolved in recent decades looks and feels very much like an American university, where junior faculty members scramble desperately to find a position, their passage upward blocked by the ponderous mass of tenured faculty, secure for life.
It was the Union for a Popular Movement Party that opened the Pandora's box of insecurity. Responding in part to the riots that tore apart the country's suburbs the previous fall, Dominique de Villepin had introduced the "first employment contract," known in French as the C.P.E., in the hope of increasing employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Workers under 26 holding their first full-time jobs would have, in effect, a probationary period of two years during which an employer could lay them off without having to endure the elaborate judicial process to which employees can otherwise resort. This was a rather timid and piecemeal approach to labor-market reform, and for that reason it appeared to single out younger workers for punishment rather than increasing opportunities for them. Worse still, by presenting this immensely controversial measure as if he had received it from a whirlwind atop Mount Sinai, thus precluding all debate, the magisterial Villepin only confirmed the worst suspicions, which is to say that the center-right government was in league with "the bosses" to keep workers in a state of serfdom. And when students and union members predictably took to the streets, the Socialists just as predictably endorsed the call to virtually shut down the country until the law was withdrawn — which President Chirac ultimately agreed to do, in a humiliating rebuff to Villepin.
It was as quintessentially French a melodrama as, say, the battle over Terri Schiavo's fate was an American one. Revolution is the only form of political activity in France that feels fully legitimate; so even the deeply conservative demand for security takes the form of insurrection. And the French still speak of "the bosses" as a class of bloodsuckers. As Alain Touraine observes: "The main French idea is that there is an absolute contradiction between social good and economic interests. Where else do you hear this, besides maybe Belarus?" The historic destiny of the left is to use the power of the state to protect the people from the ravages of the marketplace; the loneliness of the endeavor only increases its nobility. As Nicolas Domenach, a political commentator and an editor of the cheeky, leftish magazine Marianne, put it to me: "One could be arrogant, that is to say French, and say that someone must guard against the omnipotence of liberalism. But I would argue that France is not the exception but rather the avant-garde. If we talk again a year from now, you will see counterliberal movements across Europe."
Yet this sense of moral superiority, and the reflexive horror at the unleashed energies of the marketplace, have plainly been losing force as France's per capita wealth falls behind that of countries like Ireland and Britain. Editorials in the center-left Le Monde lambasted Villepin for his high-handed manner but acknowledged the need to reform labor markets. Scholars and journalists routinely speak of a crisis, or a paralysis, gripping the country. Gérard Grunberg, a leading scholar at Sciences Po, told me: "There is no liberal tradition on either the left or the right; there isn't even a place for a social-liberal party, because it would imply an acceptance of labor-market flexibility. It would imply that the state isn't the sole guarantor of the collective interest, which is entrenched in French culture. It is the state that embodies and guarantees the collective interests; the rest is selfish individualism." And this antimarket, antiglobalist posture, Grunberg argues, "resounds among the people, because the people are afraid."
The Socialist Party, perhaps wisely, harvested the growing public outrage over the C.P.E. without offering any alternative of its own. As party head, François Hollande led the attack on Villepin and the ruling party. Ségolène Royal kept mum, as she has done on almost all major subjects. But she was tempted to separate herself from the herd. In early February, just as the debate over the labor law was heating up, she was quoted as saying: "I think Tony Blair has been caricatured in France. It does not bother me to claim adherence to some of his ideas." She even praised his policy of promoting employment among the youth through increased flexibility. This was sacrilege: flexibilité is the fighting word of French employers, and thus the symbolic opposite of précarité. Royal, trying to cover her tracks, explained that she had in fact used the word "souplesse" — suppleness — and that of course she, too, abhorred flexibilité. But she had opened herself to charges of apostasy. Laurent Fabius, addressing a crowd of 1,200 supporters, declared that the Socialist Party would not succeed by "cultivating I-don't-know-what politically ambiguous position" — a reference meant to be lost on no one.
In fact, Royal seems innocent of any taint of economic liberalism. She regards Villepin's peremptory imposition of the new law as a sign of a systematic failure to listen to ordinary people; but she does not view the national suspicion of market forces as a comparable source of paralysis. I was surprised, I said during our interview, that someone whose entire life constituted a triumph over adversity would join the campaign to insure against précarité. It was early afternoon, and Royal had ushered me into her large, sunny office, whose elegantly rusticized furnishings — a veined leaf pattern repeated in leather and cast iron — offered a cosmopolitan nod at provincial motifs. Politicians, in my experience, generally like to crowd into your space, but Royal took up her post behind her big glass desk, while I sat a distance off, a placement that lent itself more to the issuing of dictums than to the politics of proximity. Royal countered my observation with a familiar refrain: "The problem is that everybody isn't subject to insecurity. Do you see businessmen being fired for incompetence? The young see politicians, who also have a stable and secure job, being civil servants, lecturing others on insecurity. So the young graduate will say, 'In the name of what am I going to sign an insecure contract?' "
Then the conversation took an odd turn. Royal asked me, with the air of someone pulling out a trump card, "Are you in an insecure situation?" Actually, I explained, as a contract writer for this magazine, I have little security.
Royal wasn't going to be put off the scent that easily. "Yes, but how many years does your contract last?"
"I sign a new one every year."
Now she was frankly incredulous. "You could be fired every year?" For all her own experience, Royal apparently viewed précarité as a kind of socioeconomic stigma rather than the price you might choose to pay for freedom. Or maybe you could say that for her, as for the left generally — and not only in France — market liberalism and globalization have the status merely of fact, which is categorically inferior to a right. This is no less so if the fact appears to obviate the right. "The global economy shouldn't be supported by wage earners," Royal insisted. "They have to be able to build a future, like any human being." Royal is not actually opposed to labor-market reform; she advocates the model the Danes call flex-security, in which the state guarantees lifelong training, job placement and unemployment insurance, so that workers can easily move among jobs. But since she is also on record as advocating giant public-works projects, she may be more devoted to the job insurance than the market-sensitive side of this approach.
Some of Royal's supporters take the optimistic view that her empiricism, her disdain for ideological litmus tests, will ultimately lead her away from the party's hermetic dogma. One of her most celebrated and least likely advocates, Daniel Cohn-Bendit — Danny the Red, when he manned the barricades of 1968 — suggests just this possibility. Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the Green Party and a rebel to the last, has outraged compatriots old and new by describing himself as a liberal. Cohn-Bendit admits that he has no reason to believe that Royal shares his views, but he also feels, as did so many of the people I spoke to, that French politics has reached a dead end. "You have to create a situation where you're ready to debate your proposition," Cohn-Bendit contends, "where you say, 'We together will decide to take this risk, because there is no easy solution.' " Royal has, he says, the inner freedom to take this route. What's more, he says, "To think of a president with four children and not married — it's a revolution!"
Seated beside Royal as she was driven back to Poitiers after an annual awards dinner at a sports club, I mentioned that we hadn't yet discussed some of the major issues she would face as president. What about terrorism? And Iraq? Royal responded with a surprising question of her own: "Would you ask this of a man?"
"Of course I would."
"If you were interviewing Laurent Fabius, you would never ask him, 'Can you lay out your planetary vision in 15 minutes?' "
I pointed out that she was, after all, hoping to be president of France. Royal said that it wasn't the right moment; she would present her vision when she was ready. I pressed her. "You're saying it's too early?"
Apparently I had asked once too often. Her smile vanished, and she said: "I refuse to be infantilized by being asked questions which imply that I know nothing, that I'm the result of a media bubble. I haven't heard Fabius or Sarkozy explain their vision of the world and of interplanetary coherence."
Royal's reaction felt so hyperbolic as to be either a cynical ploy — which I doubted — or evidence that her astonishing record of success had barely touched her inner sense of beleaguerment, of victimization. This, too, has become part of the Ségolène legend. Two weeks after our conversation, "Les Guignols," a popular television show that satirizes France's leading political and cultural figures, had a sketch featuring a puppet Ségolène. An interviewer asks, "Are you truly a Socialist candidate?" and Royal, her smile never faltering, shoots back, "You would never ask such a question of a man." At lunch, the waiter suggests "an excellent sole," and she retorts, "You only recommend fish because I'm a woman, and you assume I have to watch what I eat." And when she comes home to François, complaining about the obstacles she must clear as a female politician, her partner, ensconced in his reading chair, soothingly says, "Ah, Ségolène." She cuts him off: "Would you call me Ségolène if I were a man?"
She never did discuss her planetary views. The French do, in fact, expect their president to cut an impressive figure at global meetings, and this weakness, if it is a weakness, will be mercilessly exploited by her rivals in the party, not to speak of those in the Union for a Popular Movement Party. Has she thought seriously about international affairs, or European integration or the questions of identity and immigration that now beset France and all of Europe? The paper trail is almost nonexistent. Daniel Bernard, her biographer, says that he canvassed her colleagues both from Élysée Palace and from Jospin's cabinet to learn what she thought about the issues of the day; none had any idea. These days she often gives the impression that "having views" is itself an expression of political arrogance. She, by contrast, will tap the wisdom of the ordinary voter. "The citizens are refined, cultivated and very political," she informed an interviewer who had accused her of abandoning political debate itself. "I believe in the legitimacy of their participation." Yes, but then what? She's still listening, she says. In fact, her advisers say that she won't stake out any positions before June, when the party platform, which she is helping to shape, will be published. In the meantime, she fires off one round after another of thunderous blanks, vowing to deliver "just order" and "real equality" and "sustainable security." It's all rather abstract for the candidate of concreteness.
But then, maybe what the French want is not a new set of views but, as Royal plainspokenly puts it on her Web site, "another way of doing politics." And it's easy to recognize her political talents. At the sports-club dinner, she handed out every award, chatted with every bashful volleyball player and stayed until the bitter end, while her chief of staff anxiously fiddled with his BlackBerry. She showered her lovely smile on one and all. Afterward, in the car, I said that her political style was very American. "Oh, yes?" she said absently, thumbing through a pile of papers. "Is that a compliment?" I said that I had meant it as one. I asked if she admired American politicians.
"That I know of? No, not personally. But I'm going to meet Hillary Clinton in June."
In fact, the two briefly met in 1998, though it seems not to have left much of an impression on the Frenchwoman. They would, at least if they have a language in common, easily recognize themselves in each other. They are both tough-minded women, cultural icons known by first name only. They inspire deep loyalty and deep mistrust. And they want to be president. A few years from now, it could be Hillary and Ségolène sharing a joke at the G-8 conference. Whom are they laughing at? The old boys, of course.
James Traub, a contributing writer, last wrote for the magazine on the possibility of a Democratic victory in this year's midterm elections.
The New York Times Magazine
By JAMES TRAUB
Published: May 14, 2006
There's a reason that the leaders of France's Socialist Party are called "elephants": They live forever. Among the elephants now vying to become the party's candidate for president in next year's election are Laurent Fabius, who served as prime minister 22 years ago, and Lionel Jospin, who served as Socialist Party leader a quarter-century ago and suffered a defeat in the last presidential election so devastating, both for himself and for the party, that you would have thought prudence alone would dictate political retirement. But in France, politics is a profession; once you arrive, you stay.
No one has thought to call Ségolène Royal an elephant. For one thing, it would be unbecoming, since she is a woman — and a woman who, when she works her smile up into her eyes, bears a passing resemblance to Audrey Hepburn. Royal is, remarkably enough, the first truly présidentiable woman in French history. But what is most striking about her candidacy, which so far consists of a highly orchestrated media seduction, is not the fact that she is a woman but rather that she has positioned herself as a nonelephant, indeed, almost an antielephant. She is, in effect, running against France's political culture, which is to say against remoteness and abstraction, ideological entrenchment and male domination itself. And that culture, which is embodied by her own party, has struck back, ridiculing her as a soap bubble borne aloft by a momentary gust of public infatuation.
Earlier this spring, I visited her in Poitiers, the seat of government for the Poitou-Charentes region, south and west of Paris, of which she is the elected president. France was in the midst of one of its periodic re-enactments of the revolution, or at least of the Commune, with students and union activists pouring into the streets to protest a law permitting employers to hire and fire first-time employees without some of the myriad protections generally afforded French workers. But Royal had little interest in joining the fevered national debate over "social protections." Royal has distinguished herself by focusing on the sort of issues — schools, child rearing, the effects of popular culture — that have come to preoccupy many American politicians but generally fall beneath the regard of the bien-pensants of Paris and of the more deeply wrinkled of the elephants. "Trivial things," as Royal put it to me, sarcastically. "Whereas for the people, these are the most important topics."
To the obvious consternation of Fabius, Jospin and the other elephants of the Socialist Party, polls have consistently shown Royal to be the most popular figure in the opposition and possibly in the country. She is the darling of the mass-circulation weeklies, appearing on the cover of four of them in the first week of April, and on daytime television shows, a lowbrow medium where the colleagues who mock her wouldn't be caught dead. She is the only important political figure in France whom everyone refers to by first name. And her popularity seems to rise as the image of politicians in France collectively sinks. "The political class is becoming increasingly alien to the people," says Alain Touraine, a grand old man of French social theory. "When you vote for a woman, it's a symbol of, 'I want to get rid of you' — because the system itself is completely male."
Even to call politics in France a profession puts the case too weakly; it's more like a mandarinate. The French view the state — l'État, always capitalized — with a reverence that can seem anachronistic in a world in thrall to the marketplace. The national educational meritocracy funnels the brightest boys and girls into the great preparatory institutions in Paris, above all the Institut d'Études Politiques, known as Sciences Po, and the École Nationale d'Administration, or ENA. Practically everyone in the upper echelons of French politics attended Sciences Po and went on to become an "Énarque."
Ségolène Royal is a rare insider-outsider who managed to get her ticket punched at all the mandarin way stations without ever appearing to join, or even to aspire to join, the old boys' club. She had to fight her way in; and the fight has never left her. Royal was born in colonial Senegal, the daughter and granddaughter of military officers. Her father, Jacques, was a rigidly conservative martinet with a shaved head and a monocle. Life for the eight Royal children, first in Dakar and then in Lorraine, in eastern France, was joyless and harsh, according to accounts Royal has freely offered. Whatever was not demanded was forbidden. Her brothers were beaten for even tiny infractions; she and her three sisters had the advantage of being ignored. "My father always made us feel," she later told one interviewer, "that we, my sisters and I, were inferior beings." The story of the monstrous father has imbued Royal's life with the improbable flavor of a Grimm fairy tale, and when I asked about her childhood, she said, "Well, it was a bit exaggerated." But in the next breath she explained that her early years had shaped her "in terms of resistance and resilience."
We were sitting in the back seat of a chauffeured car one spring evening after a few local events of the sort that she both enjoys doing and encourages journalists to watch her doing. Royal, who is 52, was impeccably turned out in a short cocoa-colored jacket and matching flared skirt. Her manner was straightforward, with few of the girlish high notes that even highly successful French women have a way of striking. At times she laughed; but although in public she could hold a smile for an hour without faltering, in conversation she did not bother with the instruments of beguilement. (Our discussions were in French; she says that she understands English, but cannot speak it.) I was struck by Royal's verbal economy: she didn't watch her words so much as dole out as many as needed, and no more, which felt almost like parsimony compared with the performative flourishes that make French politics such a delightful parlor game.
Like so many miserable children, Royal was saved by school. I asked if anyone had encouraged her studies.
"Yes, my teachers."
"Anyone in your family? Your mother?"
"No." Her mother came from a bourgeois background and read books and newspapers. But girls were not to furrow their brows with too much learning, she told me: "We were simply supposed to get married." Royal not only escaped from her suffocating father, she also defined herself in opposition to him. The dark fairy tale is central to her own narrative of resistance and resilience. She has long told the story that one day her father simply rode away on a bicycle and abandoned the family; in fact, her mother told a biographer, it was she who at long last left her husband. But while Royal repudiated her father's reactionary politics and machismo, she inherited his rigor and perhaps also his icy clarity of purpose. "I see a goal, I organize myself accordingly, I evaluate, I achieve it," she said. "It's very military."
Like Bill Clinton, Royal is a true champion of the educational meritocracy. She had never even heard of the grandes écoles, but when one of her sisters mentioned a preparatory program for Sciences Po, she signed up. And soon this hungry young provincial arrived in Paris, prepared to adapt and conquer. She kept to herself, worked with the diligence and resolve of a soldier's daughter and entered ENA in 1978. There she met her future partner, a wry and amiable intellectual named François Hollande. Both were recruited to work on François Mitterand's presidential campaign; when Mitterand, in 1981, became France's first Socialist president in more than 30 years, both Royal and Hollande were inducted into Élysée Palace as policy aides. In just such a manner does the Énarque convert intellectual capital into political fuel.
Mitterand became if not quite Royal's mentor then certainly her role model. According to Sophie Bouchet-Pedersen, then a colleague at Élysée and now one of Royal's policy advisers, "She learned from Mitterand how to govern, how politics must take primacy over technocracy; and then will — that in the end, politics is a matter of will." Mitterand was said to dote on his young aide, and she, in turn, identified with him. "He was from around here, in Charente," she told me. "He wasn't from a very rich family. He must have always had this inferiority complex of provincials who didn't sparkle in society. But he climbed the hierarchy; and he always preserved a certain joy and a popular touch." She, too, was a provincial upstart with the will to sweep obstacles from her path; she could climb the hierarchy as the majestic Monsieur le Président had done.
As Mitterand's first term was ending in 1988, Royal told party officials that she wanted to run for the National Assembly, though she and Hollande, who have never married, already had three children. She was given an unpromising, traditionally conservative district in Poitou-Charentes. As Royal has told the story, she dropped the kids off with Hollande's mother, leapt onto the train just in time to register her candidacy and began introducing herself in a region where she knew no one. And she won. Five years later, when France turned to the right and a great many Socialists were defeated, Royal improved her margin. She was named minister of the environment in 1992, and when President Chirac of the right-leaning Union for a Popular Movement Party was forced to share power with the Socialists after 1997, she served as minister of education and then of family and childhood.
These were "women's jobs," but Royal, who knew a good deal more about real life than most of her colleagues, made a virtue of her second-tier status. At the same time that President Bill Clinton was clearing political space for the Democrats by advocating school uniforms and V-chips, Royal was instituting such modest and homey reforms as requiring separate copies of report cards to be sent to both parents, in order to ensure that fathers as well as mothers were engaged in their children's education. She criticized popular culture, advocated paternal as well as maternal leave, campaigned to increase the punishment for pedophilia. Unlike virtually any other prominent member of her party, she spoke not only of rights but also of responsibilities — of parents, of teachers, of workers. She wrote books, as an ambitious French politician is expected to do, though usually on what might be construed as women's-magazine topics: "The Springtime of Grandparents," "The Baby Channel-Surfers Are Fed Up" and a memoir, "One Woman's Truth," in which she frankly recounted some of the hair-raising tales of her upbringing.
Royal's crusades may actually have lowered her standing among her own colleagues; the books vanished without a trace. What endured were Royal herself and the strikingly new feminine persona she was delineating. She was a leftist who stood up for old-fashioned values, a chic cosmopolitan who was imbued with a respect for tradition and order. She was unmarried but monogamous and, more important, a mother. She was photographed in bed with the youngest of her four children, surrounded by both work and the clutter of motherhood. Her femininity never faltered; neither did her air of omnicompetence. There had literally never been anyone like her before. And yet many French women recognized themselves, or an ideal self, in Ségolène. Michèle Fitoussi, an editor at French Elle, remembers watching her at a luncheon: "She discusses policy, and then the mobile phone rings and it's her daughter, and she says, 'Yes, you have to go here and here.' It was like women all over the country. We deal with all these things at once."
And Royal had the raw ambition of the parvenu. In 1997, when Jospin and another stalwart were deadlocked in a struggle to lead the party, and thus possibly to become prime minister, Royal, at the time a mere backbencher, floated the possibility of challenging both. François Hollande persuaded her to wait her turn, but Jospin, who became prime minister, apparently never forgot the act of impertinence. Pascale Robert-Diard, who was then covering the prime minister's office for Le Monde, says that she used to ask party functionaries why they weren't sending Royal, who was so popular, out to the hustings. "Because Jospin can't stand her," she was told. But Royal was irrepressible. In 2004 she ran for president of Poitou-Charentes, a job previously held by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, then serving as prime minister under Chirac. And again, confounding expectations, she won. It seemed that she had some talent for getting people to vote for her.
But that scarcely qualified her, in the eyes of the Socialist elite, to run for the presidency. It was bad enough that she was a woman. But to be president of the republic one must demonstrate gravitas, stoic endurance, global reach, celestial grandeur. One should, if at all possible, as the journalist (and Royal's biographer) Daniel Bernard wrote earlier this year, quote "Huntington, Machiavelli, Baverez, Hegel, Jaurès, Sollers and Seneca." In his book "Les Prétendants 2007," Alain Duhamel, supreme arbiter of the French political scene, handicapped the candidates from all sides. Royal, in contrast to figures like Laurent Fabius, who lumbered far behind her in the polls, did not even make the cut. She wasn't serious. And in any case it wasn't her turn. What about her partner, M. Hollande, who by then had become leader of the party? Surely he took precedence.
It was, in fact, a bizarre and very touchy situation. Royal says that she would not have run against her partner, and in fact waited until it became clear that he would not be a candidate. She declared her own intentions last September in an interview in Paris Match — itself a calculated affront to Socialist high seriousness.
Worse yet, the article included winsome photographs of Royal with her younger daughter. Party leaders were meeting in the Burgundian city of Nevers when the article appeared; Royal's brazen display of comeliness, of family and family values — in short, her ragingly successful politics of the self — made the elephants go berserk. Laurent Fabius issued what must have seemed a wicked jape aimed at both Royal and Hollande: "But who's going to watch the kids?" Soon it was open season on the Socialist siren. "The presidency is not a beauty contest," groused another party leader.
But Royal's strategy, as Daniel Bernard observed, consisted of betting that the French were sick of the culture of the old guard and the narrowness and sterility of its discourse. She has behaved with calculated insouciance. Last fall, she skipped a commemorative event for Mitterand in order to fly to Chile and campaign for Michelle Bachelet, a Socialist aspiring to be the first woman to be president of that country. Royal was mocked for grandstanding — the press jeered at her for wearing high heels — until Bachelet won, and suddenly it was Royal who represented the feminized Socialist future, her colleagues locked in the Mitterandist past.
Continues to NYタイムズ・マガジン：「ラ・ファム（女性）」セゴレーヌ・ロワイヤルの特集記事 2/2
福井男女参画センター 過激な図書１５０冊排除 揺れる県生活学習館 (世界日報 2006/05/15)
Sunday, May 14, 2006
10 Questions For Mary Cheney
By MIKE ALLEN
Often seen, rarely heard and openly gay in a hive of intense conservatives--Mary Cheney was a cipher to outsiders while working on her father Dick's two national campaigns. Her new memoir, Now It's My Turn, tells how she and partner Heather Poe adapted to a spotlight they had long shied away from. Now a chief of staff at AOL, Cheney, 37, spoke with TIME's Mike Allen about coming out, campaigning for her dad and another generation of Cheneys in politics.
For years you've resisted when reporters asked you to tell your story. Why open up now? Part of why I wanted to write the book was to talk about what it's really like inside our family. The media are really good at creating caricatures, and one person who's been caricatured is my dad. He is supposedly this malevolent force, and he's not. My dad's job is to give the President the best advice that he can possibly give. I think he's been pretty darned effective at that.
You were 16 when you told your parents you were gay. Why then? I had just broken up with my first girlfriend. I was distraught and decided to drown my sorrows in chocolate and sugar. I skipped school to go to a doughnut shop and was on my way back when I didn't see the red light until it was too late and got rear-ended in my '82 Toyota Starlet hatchback. I went home and told my mom first. I don't remember my exact words. It took her a couple minutes to realize this was not just the most amazing excuse ever for a car accident. I told my dad that same day. He said, "You're my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy." It may be a Wyoming thing or a Western thing--what matters to him is the individual: Are you a good person or a bad person?
What have you learned from your parents? I'm probably a little more like my dad. But because of my mom, I never saw being a woman as being an impediment to being able to do something. She had her Ph.D. before I was born.
You nearly quit the 2004 campaign when the President signaled support for a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage. Why did you stay? I had serious reservations about whether or not I could continue working for a candidate who wanted to write discrimination into the Constitution. A big reason I stayed is my dad: I love my father, and I believe in him so strongly. When push came to shove, this election was about huge issues facing our country. Given that we live in this world where terrorists would love to attack us, I didn't have the luxury of being a single-issue voter on same-sex marriage.
The campaign's high command went into a tizzy when you scheduled a joint appearance for your mother with John Kerry's wife. Why did you pull the plug? My mom would have wiped the floor with Teresa Heinz Kerry. I'm very sad that event never took place. The [campaign's] reaction was so energetic and loud that I honestly couldn't hear all of the arguments, but the one that came through most clearly was that having my mom do a town hall with Teresa Heinz Kerry would somehow have forced the President to start debating John Kerry much earlier in the campaign cycle.
When Kerry brought up your sexuality in the third debate, you turned to the TV and said, "You son of a bitch." It was such a cheap and blatant political ploy. It was very invasive for John Kerry to try to make political points out of my personal life.
Did the campaign feel your story would be risky or could be helpful as outreach? We never had a conversation: Is this a positive? Is this a negative? It's not a political tool. It's my life.
The Vice President personally banned the New York Times from Air Force Two. Did you agree? I was very supportive of his position. There are lots of publications that want to get on the plane. Why don't we let someone on the plane who's going to give us a fair shake?
Now that your book is out, are you going to disappear again? [Laughs.] I never really was trying to be this mysterious figure. During both campaigns, I was rather busy trying to get my job done. There was a flood of phone calls that Heather and I got from reporters. My reaction was, I have other things to worry about.
Who among the Cheneys might carry on in the family business? I can totally imagine Liz [her sister, a senior State Department official] running. I think Liz would be a great candidate. Myself? I did not get the political bug.
社説：エイズ対策 的を絞って集中的に (中日・東京 2006/05/15)