T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

TransNation
Jacob Anderson-Minshall

05/18/2006

Gulf War vet and transwoman takes on House Majority Whip in Missouri primary




Midge Potts is a rare politician, and it has little to do with her gender status. The Missouri trans woman, running a primary campaign against Republican House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, dumpster dives, says some people should vote for her opponent and subverts her own fundraising abilities.


She has pledged to avoid special interest money, disclosing, “It’s the only way I think I could not be corrupted, when I get to D.C.” Potts transforms discarded cardboard into political signs and recognizes that her unusual campaign constrains fundraising.


“I probably won’t have more than $2000 to spend, versus the $2 million that Roy Blunt has already spent,” she says.


The 37-year-old Ozark native who lives full time as a woman but has not undergone surgery or hormonal treatments, has been surprised by the acceptance of Southwest Missouri residents and calls her grass roots support phenomenal.


The self-described fiscal conservative and Eisenhower Republican is disappointed with both political parties. “Democrat and Republican [politicians] at the national level take tons of money from corporations,” Potts says, swearing that she’d be different. “I’d be a radical Republican. I’m not going to pass anything until we stop dividing up the federal pie for bull crap and start spending money on the things that those bills are intended for.”


Potts supports the concept of direct democracy, a concept she traces back to our founding fathers. “The original idea for democracy [was] for the people to create the laws and have a say over what the policies of government are…. I don’t think it was ever intended to be a government of professional politicians. Our system isn’t working the way it is. So just because direct democracy might have problems getting there doesn’t validate the system we have right now.”


Her support of public involvement in law making means that Potts honors the Missourian law against gay marriage, even though she campaigned against it.


“I was knocking on doors [with Personal Rights for Missourians] and making phone calls in 2004…to protect the right for gay marriage. I think voters were swayed by commercials on TV and preachers preaching out of the pulpit. I’m kind of conflicted. [I believe in] direct democracy and …that we should all have equal protection under the law. If people would honor the Constitution and 14th Amendment, if it wasn’t necessary to shore up those rights — really we shouldn’t need all those extra laws. [But] unless they are going take the enumerated rights away from the other groups that are already in it, I am totally for including trans and sexual orientation.”
Potts was disappointed that the Missouri Log Cabin Republicans have dropped support for trans inclusion to increase the likelihood of getting sexual orientation added to the state’s Nondiscrimination Act.


“It’s not really Republican,” she insists. “It’s not really honest. I think they’re just selling one group short in order to preserve their majority.”


Still, she says that the majority of LGB voters in Springfield support her and in return, she supports equality for the queer community when it comes to adoption, marriage and military service. But when it comes to the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, Potts differs. “I’d suggest for people to tell and get the hell out. They don’t care if people are gay, so long as they have a gun in their hand.”


The Gulf War vet says that despite supporting a strong national defense, she’s so against the ongoing occupation of Iraq that she has been twice arrested while protesting in D.C.
“I’m a veteran and I’m against this war in Iraq. I have been an avid anti-war activist the last couple of years. What we are doing in Iraq with our military is immoral. To me [National] Defense means defense. I don’t think strong national defense is global imperialism. I think that we are wasting our resources. We are driving our country seriously into debt, which is putting us in serious jeopardy of collapse — of economic collapse. I really feel that a lot of American companies — that are really multinational corporations and have no allegiance to America — are profiting from this war. And the National Guard should never have left America in the first place. The National Guard was designed to protect us here in America and recover from natural disasters.”


“Health care is a defense issue,” Potts insists, saying that in the year 2004 over 60,000 Americans died from influenza and pneumonia. “How many people died from terrorist attacks in 2004?” She asks rhetorically. “In the last five years hundreds of thousands of people have died in America from infectious and other preventable diseases, but we’ve spent tons more money on our military than our health care. I think we have a moral obligation to [pay for health care]. Much more than we do to create this imperialistic war on terrorism.”


Trans writer Jacob Anderson-Minshall can be reached at jake@transnation.org.

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