Wednesday, August 31, 2016

School district in VA wants Supreme Court to look at transgender bathroom policy

The school district in Gloucester VA wants the Supreme Court to take a case where the 4th circuit, normally conservative, sides with a female-to-male transgender teen who wants to sue the men’s bathroom, as in a front page story in the Washington Post Aug. 31, by Michael Balangit, link
The school district had tried to solve the issue with a gender-neutral bathroom.  The story doesn’t seem to deal with the question of changing gender on a birth certificate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Former New Jersey lesbian guidance counselor sues Catholic school for firing her after she marries

A New Jersey newspaper (Newark) is still following the lawsuit by Kate Drumgoole, against the Paramus Catholic High School in the Newark Archdiocese, who had worked as Dean of Guidance and girls’ basketball coach, after she was terminated for entering into a legal same-sex marriage. Story by Allison Pries here.

I’ve always wondered about the wisdom of working for parochial schools that have these policies.  On the other hand, I would wonder why the school feels so trapped that it has to keep enforcing its own myths.  Here, the undercurrent is a female role model who will not submit to men and give them children.  Whatever religion says, I guess that’s threatening to many men.

I recall, when I worked for Univac in Montclair starting in 1972, often walking past a Catholic school nearby.  I thought, those students are being indoctrinated to serve the ends of others.  It always works that way.
And I’ve encountered numerous gay men who worked in Christian schools in the past, and wondered why they took the jobs,

Monday, August 29, 2016

Maryland paying more heed to issues with LGBT youth placed with hostile foster parents

Maryland is making more effort to help LGBT youth placed with foster parents who turn out to be hostile, according to a Metro section story in the Washington Post on Monday, August 29, 2016 by Denit Nirappil    One parent paid an effeminate boy to show up only when a case worker appeared.  Maryland does not yet require LGBT training for prospective foster parents, but a few states do.

Should gay couples consider serving as foster parents specifically for LGBT teens?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gay newspapers starting to cover the gay asylee issue in more detail this summer; see Blade story

The Washington Blade has published a somewhat detailed story about DC’s  Center Global and the need to find housing for LGBT immigrants seeking asylum.  They can stay here legally why applications for asylum are processed, but they don’t get the social services of other refugees.  The story (Aug. 18) by Jimmy de la Cruz is here.

Curiously, I could not find the story in the print Blades either Aug. 19 or 26.

lBut Chris Johnson has a story on p.. 11 of the Aug. 26 B;ade, about denial of asylum for a “bisexual Jamaican felon”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Maryland school district won't reveal transgender students in intimate settings; does privacy protect transgender status?

The Washington Times has a front page story by Bradford Richardson on Aug.24, “Transgender students in bed to be kept secret from parents; Schools cite privacy as the reason”, or, online, “Md. School district: Don’t tell parents if transgender males bunk with daughters”, link.
This was in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (a good school system which produced the brilliant Andraka brothers).  Of course, TWT uses the term “male” according to biological gender, not identity.  Personally, I think the school district is being too radical and too far into identity politics.  It’s still reasonable to expect students to make their gender identity change official in some way first (even if in private records, or even if not online).  That is, do transgender students have the right for others not to know what their biological gender was – that they are transgender if they claim a new identity?

Nevermind, Major League Baseball will have a transgender pitcher some day.  Bound to happen.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Texas judge blocks Obama "bathroom" policy on transgender students in public schools for entire nation

I wasn’t aware that federal judge can issue a nationwide injunction about anything, but Reed O’Connor in Texas issued such an order to bar the Obama administration from applying Title IX of the Civil Rights Act in a way to include gender identity, if it differs from gender stated in a birth certificate, when applied to school districts enforcing “bathroom bill” rules.

Ariane de Vogue has the story and video for CNN here.
Personally, I think it’s reasonable to require a birth certificate change as long as the state doesn’t put barriers in the way (including cost).  But parents could block the gender identity change declaration of minor children.  As a matter of common sense, it seems too radical to object to that requirement.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Revisiting MCCDC in Washington DC

This Sunday morning, I visited Metropolitcan Community Church of Washington DC for the first time in maybe three years.
I was a member in the 1990s and even accompanied piano there once in 1992 (when still ar 415 M Street).

MCCDC  has offered hosting to the Unity Fellowship Church of Washington DC  (which normally worships at 3 PM) and today swapped pastors for sermons.

The Fellowship says it was founded in 1982.  I do recall that there was a gay church in East Dallas in 1980 called the Unity Church which was the focal point for volunteers offering housing or services (referred from MCC Dallas) to the Cuban refugees and asylees associated with the Mariel Boat-Lift.  I don’t know if there is a connection to the 1982 church.

MCC Washington was pastored by Rev. Larry Uhrig, who passed away from AIDS in 1993.  He had penned a sponsored-content essay in the Washington Blade back in 1991, “There Is No better Half.”  I was somewhat a libertarian call for individualism and taking care of self first before becoming too concerned about what you “get” in a relationship.
MCC Washington also has a plaque from Whitman-Walker.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Benefit at Freddie's; U Street Corridor seems to be surviving Metro weekend midnight shutdown

I’m not big on drag shows for their own sake, but early Friday evening I did attend an AGLA scholarship benefit ($10) at Freddie’s Beach Bar (in Crystal City, near the Pentagon).

Some of the performers did not “blend genders”.

AGLA has videos of the event on Facebook here.

It turned out you needed a reservation for dinner or else you sat at the bar to eat (as if you were Bryce Harper at Ted’s Bulletin).

I came back and then tested how well DC’s U Street Corridor is dealing with the loss of Metro. Post midnight weekend service.

I took Uber right to Town DC.  The driver came immediately, was a “nerd” like young white male, and drove extremely carefully, defying all the stereotypes of young men.  We passed a DC Circulator bus on the way in.

At town, the upstairs dance floor seemed to be open right at 10 PM, as if starting earlier was a good idea (follows Bear night).  The drag show was about as crowded as usual, as was the upstairs until about 1:30 AM when I left.  The downstairs dance floor was not as crowded as usual.  There was a minor accident upstairs – a girl fell down and appeared passed out.  Two college-age men lifted her up and she regained consciousness and appeared OK, and I don’t know what happened afterward.  I’ve never seen this happen before.

When I left, I saw a regular Metro Bus at the Florida Ave – U Street connect.  Does that mean that Metro has replaced the trains with meaningful bus service to help employees of the businesses?  I hope so.  I don't think it has provide bus service into Arlington after midnight, but it could consider running Rt 38 from Farragut Square to Ballston.

I got a cab on U Street before trying to dial Uber.  But Uber is a lot cheaper.
I you are willing to share, you can probably get to Town and back from Uber from Arlington for little more than the cost of parking in a garage.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rubio attends apparent anti-gay "Christian" event in Orlando

The Orlando Sentinel reports Marco Rubio’s appearance at what is called an “anti-LGBT rally at the Hyatt Regency, the “Rediscovering God through America Project”, story.

The Task Force Action Fund sent me this press release:

"Washington, DC, August 9, 2016—Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) will be speaking this week at a campaign training hosted by the Liberty Council, an extremist hate group monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ discrimination efforts. The two-day event is set to take place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando (9801 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819) this Thursday,August 11, less than two months after 49 people, mostly LGBTQ Latinos, were killed during a shooting at the Orlando Pulse nightclub.

“Holding this event is an insult to the victims and families of those innocent people who were murdered barely two months ago. Decent people everywhere will be appalled. Stirring up homophobia and islamophobia is wrong at the best of times but to do so when the entire Orlando community is still grieving and recovering from the Pulse tragedy, is beyond distasteful. Donald Trump may have mentioned the LGBTQ community in his acceptance speech which some people interpreted as a positive signal to our community — despite the vehemently anti-LGBTQ views of his running mate Mike Pence and the Republican Party platform. But now Donald Trump and Marco Rubio plan to breathe the oxygen of publicity into an openly anti-LGBTQ event, joining some of the most notorious anti-LGBTQ people out there. Haven’t the people of Orlando had enough?” said Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

Among the speakers expected at the event include: Mat Staver, who has represented Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and has denounced memorial gatherings for the victims of the Orlando massacre as “homosexual love fests;” David Barton, an anti-LGBTQ extremist who thinks HIV/AIDS is a “divine penalty;” Maine pastor Ken Graves who claims that LGBTQ people can’t raise happy families because they are “depressed;” and David Lane who believes that basic rights for LGBTQ people will lead to “utter destruction” and “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Des Moines."
No question, that such an even happens in Orlando is insulting.

The Washington Blade has a story by Michael Lavers reporting where a mother of a Pulse Club victim slams Rubio, here.

"Little Rubio" was belittled by Donald Trump despite starting out fairly well in the Republican Primaries, but now is running for another term in the Senate.  He recently reportedly said that he did not think abortion should be allowed in cases where pregnant mothers were infected with Zika virus, raising the risk of severe birth defect and mental retardation. On the other hand, Rubio is quite accomplished to rise to the position of US Senator as a first generation son of working immigrants. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Article in new gay magazine slams body fascism, says dating apps are starting to deal with it

Remember how, back in the 1970s, a lot of gay personal ads would say “no fats, no fems”? 
The Unleashed Voice (and “Tuvmag”) has an article by Martavius Hampton on p. 24, “No Fats, No Fens, No Old Heads, Preference or Prejudice?”  The best online link I could find was this PDF.  The magazine was handed out at Outwrite DC this past weekend.

I could add, maybe, “No Old Souls.”

The article uses a new acronym, SGL, for the “same-gender-loving” community.

There is a belief (rather parallel to “Twitter etiquette”) that your dating range is supposed to br +- 7 years.  I don’t know if the dating sites or apps use this idea.  (That makes my range sound like a basketball score, 80-66;  it’s too late to play football).

People are, in a libertarian world, free to experience their own preferences in intimate relationships.  There’s a physiological, dopamine-related process involved.  But sometimes when something is “OK” at an individual level, there is a herd effect for the group, which collectively gets known as "body fascism" (way beyond "lookism"), which can eventually have political consequences for a group.  At the end, the writer says, “it does become troubling when a preference turns into a statement that blatantly disqualifies a group of people from datability before any aspect of their actual character has ever been brought into consideration. Thank goodness that some of the app companies and advocates are slowly trying to address this problem.”  

I'm reminded of an episode of "Mistresses" (TV, July 5, 2016) where a character says she would never date a transgender person.

Update: Aug. 15

Distantly (or distally) related is this Vox article by Jennifer Desmond Harris on the odd religious reasoning behind old objections to interracial marriage. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

"Queer Brown Voices" reading at Out Write is quite inspiring

The readings at 5 PM today for “Queer Brown Voices” at Out Write DC were indeed quite interesting.

I have ordered the book on Amazon and will be better able to identify the speakers when I review it on Wordpress.

The point was made that many LGBT people who fought hard for gay rights in the early days were people of color, especially Latinos.  The speakers noted that after the Pulse attacks, some media outlets were slow to report that Pulse had been popular with Latinos.

Likewise, LGBT people were quite active in resisting Castro and communism in Cuba, as evidenced in the Mariel Boat Life of 1980, which foreshadows todays asylee and refugee issues, which are now quite subtle (other posts).

Friday, August 05, 2016

Outwrite DC starts book fair; Uganda unrest, asylum issues mentioned

Outwrite DC started its LGBTQ book fair in Washington DC tonight.

I attended a panel discussion with Kevin M. Cathcart and Leslie J. Gabel-Brett, editors of “Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America”   Jennifer C. Pizer also spoke. I will review the book soon on a Wordpress blog.

Before the discussion, the situation at Uganda Pride, which exploded yesterday, was mentioned.  There is a Blade story by Michael Lavers here.

There was also mention of the asylum situation.  The Blade has a story here by Michael Lavers about a Gay Syrian refugee at Vancouver Pride.  It was mentioned that there are about 30 refugees or asylees in the mid-Atlantic area needing some kind of assistance, but there were no specifics. Center Global (July 28 posting) addresses the issue which will be covered in more detail later as details develop (especially on my new Wordpress news blog). The group is said to meet once per month at DC Center now.

Later, there was another panel discussion.  Facebook has more details here.  There was one speaker who read an essay “Equality is not liberation.”  Indeed, “equality” implies specific norms, just like the religious idea of “rightsizing”.  Michael Moore’s idea of moral bankruptcy or moral shallowness (“I’ve got mine” or “I have needs too compared to you”) was compared to more demanding ideas in the writing of David Brooks, as to whether “liberation” needs to erase social moral norms.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Northern Virginia Pride has a birthday party

Northern Virginia Pride held a birthday party (like “Boys in the Band”) at Marble and Rye, in south Arlington VA on Columbia Pike this evening.

There was a trivia game with a lot of current events questions, some of which seemed to come from my blogs!

There was also a series of questions on abbreviations and eponyms, one of which was “AED”, or “Automated external defibrillator”, a device which anchors a critical backstory of my own screenplay “Epiphany”, based on an earlier screenplay “The Sub”, where a character patterned after me has a cardiac arrest and gets defibrillated by a student with whom he later has a relationship, or sorts.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Bail-bond industry involved in litigation over charity that seems to help some gay refugees in central Virginia

The Washington Post Metro section has a shocking story by Justin William Meyer Tuesday August 2, 2016, “He wanted to fix a broken bail system; then Hitler emoji came his way” .

The print headline informs us of a lawsuit, “Va. Charity hounded by bail industry and officials, suit alleges.”  The plaintiff is Michael Donovan, who founded a charity “Libre by Nexus” in 2012, to help impoverished people make bail, most of all, in some cases, possibly illegal or undocumented immigrants, some of whom may be gay men seeking refuge from gangs in countries ranging from El Salvador to several countries with anti-gay repression in Africa (probably Nigeria is a the top of the list now). The plaintiff claims that people from the Augusta County sheriff’s office and others in that county have hounded him, especially sometimes about the gay angle. The defendants allegedly are trying to protect the business model for the “for profit” bail system.

Augusta County straddles the Shenandoah Valley, with Staunton as the county seat.  Ironically, I was there recently, visiting the Woodrow Wilson museum.  Remember, the museum hardly mentions the way Wilson had defended the WWI military draft with “sedition” laws.