Friday, March 31, 2017

First visit to a new row-hours club in the U Street area of DC

I attended a “Go Gay DC” (including AGLA) social this evening at a new club, the Uproar, on Florida Ave between 6th and 7 sys NW in the U street area of Washington (about three blocks from Town, near the Howard Theater).

There are three levels, with the top level having a small dance floor.

There was a raffle and television drag party (I wasn’t sure of what the show was) that became quite packed in Happy Hour with cis "

I had brought the "conservative book" "The Perils of Privilege" by Phoebe Maltz Bovy, and it made a nice conversation piece, with all the bad sensational news showing up on our cell phones from CNN, while eating bar food and vegan burgers.

Another picture:
U Street (with Nellies Sport Bar about three blocs away, too, among new apartment builidngs) has become the popular Happy Hour spot, with the emphasis on entertainment rather than drinks.

I’ve won only one raffle, a Starbucks gift card, that I still have to remember to take with me.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Census will not keep track of sexual orientation or gender identity in 2012

The US Census Bureau will not include questions on sexual orientation or gender identity in the America Community Survey after 2020.  Some groups are outraged, according to various stories, such as NBCs here.

I worked for Census on the diennial survey in the spring of 2010, and then for the Current Population Survey for eight months in 2011.  I do not recall any questions on gender identity or sexual orientation, except indirectly as to housemates in a household.  But it was common to find young adults living in rented homes out of economic convenience.
I also received an American Community Survey by mail, which I filled out on 2012 online.  I don’t recall any such questions.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

North Carolina to vote March 30 on "repeal" of HB2 under threat of banishment by NBA

North Carolina’s Democratic governor and gerrymandered GOP legislature will vote Thursday morning on a repeal of HB2, the “bathroom bill”, under threat of the NCAA to boycott the state for five years unless the bill is repealed by March 30.

The bill would leave the state in administrative control of public restroom laws and schools, prohibit local ordinances on the matter until 2020 (not clear if this could affect other discrimination) and would continue to allow birth certificate change under medical supervision.

The Charlotte Observer has a detailed story here.

As Vox's German Lopez writes, this is not a real repeal. It's a "bait and switch" to use the words of Barbara Ehrenreich.

Update: March 30

The repeal has passed both houses of the legislature and heads for the governor, Post story.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

CTRL party at Town in DC

Last night Town Danceboutique held its CTRL party.

Couples, mostly male, did photos on a green screen (maybe for Metro Weekly). 

There were some bizarre lyrics in the hard rock disco music that reminded me of “Walk on the Wild Side”.  Something like “shave your arms”, something Jake Gyllenhaal did for four or his last five films. 
Brief disco

Remember John Travolta "Staying Alive" back in 1985?

For all the political currency of gender fluidity, what you tend to see among younger men in discos (at Town especially, and especially white men) is cis-gender and relatively clean cut, much less use of body art than, for example, has become popular in the rock-n-roll community.  At a personal level, Milo rules.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bill proposes banning discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity in federal jury selection

Congress is considering proposed federal law that would prohibit discrimination on sexual orientation in choosing jurors in federal courts, according to this Blade story by Lou Chibarro, Jr.

The measures were introduced in the House by Susan Davis (D-CA) and Senate by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Vollins (R-ME).

I was chosen for juries twice in Texas, for local service, and was a foreman in a weapons case in Dallas in 1982.  The judge recognized me because I had sat in on a case in 1980 over a trial resulting from police harassment in gay bars at the time.

Neil Gorsuch, in confirmation hearings as a Supreme Court appointment to replace Scalia (and he is only 49) did say that gay marriage is settled law, but admitted there were some controversies over applying it in a religious freedom context in some unusual business settings, and he said he would not share his personal views, LGBTQNation story by Alex Bollinger here. Gorsuch also said that he made no promised to Trump on Roe v. Wade, which he does see as somewhat vulnerable given advances in fetal medicine and knowledge of unborn personhood (in answering bachelor Sen Lindsey Graham). .

Monday, March 20, 2017

YouTube apologizes for over-protecting parents from LGBTQ-associated videos

YouTube has been criticized and has apologized for placing some LGBTQ videos on “restricted mode” which can require parental approval for viewing. The CNN story is here.

Some videos with LGBT in the title were restricted, as were all on some channels by LGBTQ artists.

There was some concern that this was designed to appeal to advertisers, some of whom don’t want controversial subject matter at all.  That could have the potential to affect Adsense if done with blogs.
Trailers for independent R-rated movies often require sign in and warn about adult content.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tennessee bill tries to outflank gay marriage, adoptions

The house in Tennessee has introduced legislation to require words “husband, wife, mother, father” to have their “natural and ordinary meaning”,  This is HB 1111, and is construed as an attempt to deny same-sex marriage licenses, benefits, and probably adoption applications.

The legislation was reported by Bill Palaski on a site called Freedom for All Americans, link.
If the law could interpreted as stopping gay marriages, it could obviously attract litigation and get quickly struck down.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

RyanCare could lead to increased HIV disease; gender-fluidity is "replacing" transgender as the current big view

Chris Johnson has a detailed article in the Washington Blade Friday on the devastating effects that “RyanCare” could have on some in the LGBTQ world.

It could jeopardize long term anti-retroviral therapy, which the article maintains has generally worked under Obamacare (but some other reports have said it hasn’t).  PrEP medication would not be covered (most likely), increasing the likelihood of more transmissions.  We all know what Mike Pence has to say about that.

I actually have much greater concern that the budget could slow down vaccine development that could prevent pandemics in many much more contagious diseases, leading to much more heavy-handed contact tracing and quarantining for novel diseases, and these could affect gay men especially disproportionately in some scenarios.

It is unlikely that medical procedures aiming toward gender change for trans people would be covered, meaning birth certificate chances could not happen in many states.

Time Magazine has a big cover story in the March 27, 2017 issue, “Beyond He or She”, by Katy Steinmetz.
The key concept seems to be gender-fluid, not simply choosing “being” the opposite gender in identity to biological organs.  I recall how our French teacher hammered us in ninth grade, “everything is either masculine or feminine, nothing is neuter”.  Or in-between.  Appearance changes lose their existential eventful nature.  The alien assassin character Pie ‘o’ Pah in Clive Barker’s “Imajica” is gender-fluid, as he/she actually changes physically according to desire, a very threatening idea. Gender-fluidity is not the same thing as polarity in the world of Paul Rosenfels, but that's another discussion.

I don’t really see this happening all that much in the clubs and discos, yet at least.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spicer is lukewarm in answering question on anti-gay vandalism

Sean Spicer was recently asked about a series of attacks against LGBT community centers .

These incidents include minor vandalism at the Casa Ruby center on Georgia Ave. in Washington recently.  I had volunteered there in a clothing sort activity on MLK day.

Spicer’s remarks attracted some criticism as being an insufficient answer insofar as “free speech” and “religious freedom” has been promoted by the right as a cover for continued discrimination.  Also mentioned is Trump’s removal of guidance in using Obama’s more inclusive interpretation of federal  Civil Rights laws in the bathroom bill controversy.

The Washington Blade story by Chris Johnson is here

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mr. Gay New Zealand stokes controversy over HIV+ sex

Milo reported on an article in Vice, “Stop Stigmatizing HIV-Positive Sex”, in which John Walker supports Mr. Gay New Zealand, Charlie Treadway, for his connection to “barebacking”, link .

However Walker’s article indeed gives a glowing record for HIV treatment with protease inhibitors and with PrEP.
But a New Zealand Herald editorial takes a more sobering view here.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Lake Gunn by Jocey under CCSA 2.0.

Friday, March 10, 2017

South Dakota passes religious freedom bill regarding public funds; GA lesbian loses employment case before 11th Circuit

South Dakota, which had been already reported as preparing a bill that would deny trans people the right to birth certificate change, has also passed a bill allowing adoption agencies get public friends to turn away LGBT couples if based on religious conviction.  Instinct Magazine has a story here.  This was Senate Bill 149.

And the 11th Circuit has upheld the firing of a security guard in Jameka Evans v. Georgia Regional hospital, apparently for non-conforming appearance and behavior, opinion here.

Lambda Legal has sent out fund raising literature that poses its mission in terms of "resistance" (an all too trendy term these days of Trump and Sessions).  The plaintiff may appeal to the en banc court.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Some states try to hinder birth certificate change by transgender people

Some states are trying to outlaw birth certificate changes for transgender persons, a most upsetting development.
HRC has a report on a bill in Arkansas, H.B. 1894.
And about a year ago South Dakota had passed a similar bill regarding minor students, link here.

On Feb. 23 I had discussed Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court case (to be argued March 28) and noted Virginia’s laws, which allow birth certificate change with medical supervision (and seem to presume surgery or hormonal treatment was done or at least started).  North Carolina (HB 2) seems to have a similar rule, here.
It seems common for states to require some medical approval (and an attempt at physiological change) and parental consent before allowing birth certificate change, and most school districts would normally have required such changes in the past.  Of course, some parents won’t consent, and many families could not “afford” the “treatment”.

These may have been the reasons why the Obama administration had tried to protect transgender students under broad interpretation of federal civil rights laws based on gender (under modern, non-binary interpretations of gender as recently documented in  National Geographic film. And the Trump administration, under controversial and beleaguered AG Jeff Sessions, is allowing this rule to expire and returning the authority to states and to school districts.

Trump has himself said that states ought to allow reasonable procedures to allow birth certificate change.
But in many more conservative southern and Midwestern states,, there is still a cultural bias to steer non-conforming or non-binary people to perform in life according to birth gender, as if this were necessary for the security and well being “of the group”.  That was the bias I grew up with.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

LGBTQ immigration and asylum seeking from Central America covered in new Blade story

The Washington Blade has a detailed story March 2 by Michael Lavers on LGBTQ immigration from Central America.  The migrants flee drug-related violence and lawlessness, most of all probably from El Salvador.

Some people try to arrange passage through smugglers, and then request asylum at the border and are usually put into detention.

The policies of Donald Trump certainly raise anxieties, but maybe not as much as people think – as there were so many deportations under Obama.

Central American culture is obviously very hostile to gender-related ambiguity, as the article notes.

Nevertheless, a local Arlington VA church, Mount Olivet, has in the past sent missionary groups to El Salvador.

Assistance for LGBT asylum seekers has tended to focus on sub-Saharan Africa (which is largely evangelical Christian rather than Muslim) and sometimes Russia, which passed its notorious law in 2013.