Friday, April 24, 2015

Vox tries to explain society's hang-ups on gender conformity


Vox media published a 9-point primer today on the transgender experience, and covered the terms “gender non-conforming” and “gender queer”, a piece by German Lopez, here ("Nine questions about gender identity and being transgendered you were too embarrassed to ask”). In my Army days, we called these "hangups."  Please, no more of "all that body-shaving". 
     
The most critical point is the “Symphony #8” (G Major if it’s Dvorak), “why does society who don’t follow gender norms such a hard time?”   While Lopez talks about the idea of perceiving “deception” (almost as if from a polygraph).  My own experience, in the 50s and 60s (especially with William and Mary, NIH, and the Army) was more that gender non-conformity (the closest model to describe me) could result in others taking up the slack of the risks that we all had to share.  In the collective, society seemed to depend on faithfulness to gender roles.  I was criticized for over-dependence and "getting out of things", even potential physical cowardice.  Of course, this can happen with gender conformity, and I seemed to embrace the view, ironically, that masculinity in men was a virtue to be earned.  And we've had at least one Navy Seal who later turned out to be transgender (Kristin Beck). 
    
Right now, on Meredith Vieira, the panel is talking about “dressing gay” (as not really necessary).  
   
And tonight ABC will air a 20-20 special about Bruce Jenner. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

College students still protest remnants of MSM blood donation ban


The Daily Tar Heel, in article by Katia Martinez, reports on a mild protest at the University of North Carolina (UNC) campus over the policy barring MSM from donating blood, link here
    
Apparently that policy is still in force, despite an announcement by FDA in December 2014 to life the ban for MSM abstinent for at least a year and still HIV- by all tests.  Vox Media had panned the idea, that the new policy worked only for gay men who don’t have sex (often elderly).  
   
Another article, by Madison Flager, in the same UNC paper, talks about LGBT college students, and reports a bizarre finding from a UNC survey “only 51.4%” identified themselves as heterosexual, link here.  If that were really true, population demographics really is in trouble.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A retrospect on DADT while "on the road"; another route to Town


A long day trip this week brought back memories of the “Don’ Ask, Don’t Tell” battle of 17 years.
  
I happened to pass by the Carlisle Barracks and Army War College in PA.  I think there was a case with a female officer attending there about twelve years ago.  Again, it’s hard to see much from the road.
  
So much of my moral thinking in those days hinged on the idea that people have to be prepared to respond to adversity as imposed by others.  In my case, it was the whole issue of fitness for the Vietnam era military draft, and the idea I had to prove I would not be a (physical) coward, when sometimes I was.  Much of the narrative in the first DADT book concerned the concern over security clearances and eligibility for military service after my William and Mary expulsion. It also concerned the use of the deferment system.  And here I am, a half century later.

I got off at the “wrong” Metro exit, the Howard University stop on the Green Line, on the way to Town last night.

But it’s about as close as the U Street exit, and the walk gives a view of the Howard Theater.

The patio is open. 

Update later today:



A lemonade stand, across 23rd ST S in Arlington VA (near Pentagon City) from Freddie's Beach Bar (and the AGLA brunch today). benefit for an abused animal shelter, a mother and son running it.  Remember, Donald Trump had started out "The Apprentice" in 2004 with selling lemonade (before, a few episodes later, Troy McClain got his legs waxes as he "took one for the team").   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Florida's governor mum on signing gay adoption ban repeal despite appeals court ruling


The Washington Blade (Michael Lavers) is reporting that Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has declined to say whether he will sign the bill repealing Florida’s legislated ban on gays and lesbians adopting children, story here
   
But the state has not enforced the ban since 2010, when a state appeals court struck it down.
   
Equality Florida has a drive to urge signing the law, here saying that the horrible history started by Anita Bryant is over.
Rosie O’Donnell, as I recall, had moved away from the state for this reason.

Equality Florida is warning about HB 7111, another bill which would allow private adoption agencies to continue discrimination in various ways, even if getting state funds.
   
When I was working on my book centering on the military ban, back in the 1990s, I started encountering more interest in the parenting and adoption issues even then.  In the mid 1990s, Kenneth Morgen’s book “Getting Simon: Two Gay Doctors’ Journey into Fatherhood”, taking place in Maryland, was an important book.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Large law firms don't want to defend anti-gay-marriage laws or precepts


The country’s top law firms don’t want to defend older DOMA-type laws, according to a front page story today in the New York Times by Adam Liptak, link here

 Liptak has also previously reported that the Supreme Court has been urged to “look abroad” for guidance on same-sex marriage.
  
Smaller law firms will still take up the socially conservative arguments (that sound surprisingly collectivist as well as “religulous” and often contradictory to other ideas in conservative philosophy).  But bigger law firms normally work with larger corporations that feel that society has turned to corner on gay equality and that need to embrace the concept to grow their markets as well as attract talent. 

Some firms say there is still a difference between talking about good policy and maintaining that the Constitution would compel it.

In another direction, the Huffington Post reports that Marco Rubio will appear before an anti-gay group, the Florida Family Policy Council, story here. And the article has a slide-show, "Anti-Gay Protesters Getting Owned."  
    
As they say, times have changed, and surprisingly quickly.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

GOP is forced to become more pragmatic on gay equality, and follow libertarian reasoning


Metro Weekly columnist Justin Snow notes “The Red Divide: Religious freedom bills pit social conservatives against corporate America” this week, link here , an article I noticed while having brunch at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington a while ago.
  
In other words, corporate America has largely followed the thinking of libertarian interests:  anti-gay bias will hurt business, even in Bible belt states.  Companies follow the thinking of the Cato Institute, and Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty, GLIL, not very active today but influential in the 1990s.  They follow the reasoning of Richard Sincere, David Boaz, and me.
   
Snow has an article about Rand Paul’s neglect to mention LGBT concerns, as does the Washington Blade this weekend.  But on CNN, Paul told interviewers he is a “leave me alone kind of guy” and that he thinks gay couple should get the same benefits as straight couples, but that this is still up to the states, and that “marriage” for him is still more a religious than legal word.  Well, don’t say that in a community property state, like Texas.   

Monday, April 06, 2015

Billy Bean is Major League Baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion


Recently (in February) the MLB Network aired a special about the career of Billy Bean, the first openly gay player in Major League Baseball, who came out in 1999. USA Today has a story with clips from the special here.  He played, as a left-handed hitting outfielder, for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.  The USA clip shows his first major league home run.
  
Billy Bean was hired by MLB as Ambassador for Inclusion in July 2014, was reported in Outsports here .
  
Bean is the author of “Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in Major League Baseball”. 
   
Bean should not be confuses with Billy Beane, Oakland A’s owner, who is sometimes viewed as the subject of the movie “Moneyball”.
  
Today, of course, is Opening Day for many teams,  It is common for teams to have LGBT fan days.
  
The Washington Post reports Monday, in a story by Marc Fisher, that baseball is losing fans to other sports, especially soccer, link here 
   
I grew up “suffering” with the Washington Senators who played in old Griffith Stadium, now the site of Howard University Hospital, and not far from the Town DC and 930 clubs.  As kids, we played backyard softball and wiffleball and made cardboard stadium boardgames, especially in summers in Ohio.  I got to know the Cleveland Indians and the old Municipal Stadium on Lake Erie pretty well