Monday, December 17, 2018

Transgender boy band forms; trans couple raises "genderless" child (tabloid UK story maybe)

Although I’m not directly a fan of trans or fluidity just for their own sakes, it’s noteworthy that an all-trans boy band has formed, according to LQBTNation, story by Daniel Villarreal. 

Back around early 2001, ‘Nsync actually had a song that seemed to portray gays in the military, as if to support ending DADT at the time.  The song was often played at the Saloon and the Boom in Minneapolis when I was living there. Justin Timberlake, well, has changed his body a lot since then.
A story from the UK about a trans couple raising a child as a genderless “they-by” stirred up anger on Facebook today.  But when "genderless" is complained about, so is lack of ethnicity. (Alt-something.)  It doesn’t seem quite OK to me. No video on this one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Timcast: Far leftist gays want to purge "gay conservatives" as enemies of the oppressed

Tim Pool has a challenging video today, “Left tells gay conservatives, shut the f___ up”.
Pool builds a complex narrative about a story in Deadspin by Lauren Thiesen with a picture of Trump holding a Pride flag.  He gets into well-off young gay white men (the charismatic cis types on the dance floors) as oppressing the less manly (the fluid) by refusing to hook up with them, and then telling them to compete better.

Tim actually starts out with the apology of Mika Brzezinskis’ calling Mike Pompeo (who has to date Kim Jung Un, which is rather like shaving your legs for work in “Magic Mike”, movies, July 1, 2012) a “but-boy”.
The title of my first book has the subtagline “A gay conservative lashes back”.  But I am told I am “neither” (including libertarian).

Pictures: Drag Bingo at Freddie's in Arlington tonight (Toys for tots campaign). 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Grammarians say that the use of "they" as a singular pronoun for people who want it, is OK

Lisa MacLellan writes for Quartz that the plural pronoun “they” is actually recognized now as acceptable usage in singular mode also, if the person referred to wants it (a genderless pronoun).
“He” and “she” came into mandatory use in the 18th Century. “They” was actually used during the time of Chaucer.  The German-style “it” was used in real estate documents.

I wonder what German does about this now.

My own preference is to address someone (if trans or fluid) by the pronoun “he” or “she” wants.  I have never encountered a situation where someone wanted to be referred to without respect to the possibility of gender. 
There are various posts on Facebook from the “right” that warn of a “genderless” future – overblown, but it really gets scary when “they” then talk about loss of ethnicity. 
I guess rooting for a baseball team is an example of tribalism, though.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

George H. W. Bush took his time evolving on LGBT issues

Chris Johnson writes on the first page of the Washington Blade on Dec. 7 that George H. W. Bush was unsupportive of gay rights and HIV issues (viewing them as behavioral) during his one term.  (The URL wasn’t working Sunday night; the paper online seemed to have a technical glitch.)

I returned to the DC area in July 1988.  I did not really pick up on that the time.  In a radio broadcast in early 1993, Frank Kameny reported to Scott Peck that by around 1991 (the Gulf War starts) things were getting much better with security clearances. But it would take until 1995 for Bill Clinton to end discrimination in the security clearance issue by XO, and the CIA accepted open gays in 1996. The CIA now normally has a booth at DC pride.  (It sounds tacky to say this, but sometimes you need a trans person in intelligence overseas.)
Freddie’s had a “clown show” Sunday night (Arlington, Crystal City.)

Also two more pictures:

and this.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

"Economic Invincibility" (a popular "conservative" vlogger who denies he is such) sees sexual orientation as a non-issue politically

“Economic Invincibility”, in a July 1, 2018 vlogcast, says he was repeatedly asked to address homosexuality, which he first thought was unnecessary. But he finally did, in a five-minute video.

It has a strange title, “The Homosexuality Question”.  What “question”?  That reinforces his reluctance to tackle the subject.  He pronounces the first syllable of the word with a short “o”, but I think his origin is Italian (he says on another video this English, however colorful and metaphoric, was not his first language).
He views it as a non-political topic. If you’re a grownup who supports himself (or herself) and don’t harm anyone, who cares?   In a sense, that’s the libertarian position – or perhaps a kind of Reagan free-market conservatism that wants to remain innocuous on personal issues  (I don’t know where he stands on “right to life’ yet).  If only the GOP could return to that from its detour with the alt-right.  He has also “said on other videos that he was brought up as an Evangelical protestant Christian but has privatized his own beliefs and doesn’t want to preach them.

He also is impatient with politicization, trying to teach varied gender roles or new pronouns in schools.  Just don’t need to go there at all.  No need to make up identarian groups for civil rights. 

  Really, no reason to politicize marriage either.  He also says the has encountered socially numerous gay men who are more “masculine” than most straight men (almost like the Rosenfels polarities) and definitely buys the idea that the components of gender and sexuality develop in a kind of linearly independent fashion – even if they aren’t genetic (well, maybe epigenetic – it’s simply a fact that latter born sons are more likely to be gay). I do get the impression that fluidity or gender identity issues have no relevance in his own world. 
That leaves us, however, with the fact that many of us, in my generation, had to wonder why others made my sexuality and interest their business, and wouldn’t leave us alone.  Part of it is “beholden-ness”. A half century or more ago, married couples typically needed to believe their kids would continue large lineages so that their own marriages made sense to them.  Of course, even then, there were only children (like me), or couples with no kids, and men who never married and never had kids.  But it you talked about it, you could disrupt the emotional (and marital, heterosexual) harmony of people who had provided you a world.

There was also simply the idea that the world was viewed as dangerous and challenging. For boys and girls to default on their assigned biology was to leave the risk-taking (men going to war) to others.  All of that, in my own life experience, led me to take on "don't ask don't tell" twenty-plus 

Indeed, today, a lot of the inequality comes from the fact that people with no or few kids can financially outflank those with larger families, and EI has talked about this before when he takes up MGTOW’s.  (The Southern Poverty Law Center considers MGTOW to be "male supremacy" and its page has a shocking quote about the Pulse massacre in Orlando in 2016, which logically doesn't fit the idea of men going their own way merely out of economic self-interest.) 

But EI (just like Barbara Bush in a famous 1992 speech at the GOP convention) has also said, you don’t have to be married and you don’t need to have children, and shouldn’t, unless you’re ready to be totally dedicated to your children.  In other videos, he has said that too many men (and women) just are cognitively unfit to be good parents.

He definitely believes that “you are on your own” to make it in this life.

He makes a reference to Milo Yiannopoulos, noting the emotional eof many activists to his content. 
As for looks, yes, maybe he is the perfect 10.  Maybe “the young people will win.”   That is, the "ableist" young people.  Even David Hogg has been called "able-ist" by the more extreme Left. 

Monday, December 03, 2018

Trump signs trade deal with Canada and Mexico with modest LGBTQ protections, but the agreement could set disturbing examples in other areas

President Trump has agreed to a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, called USMCA, which has informal suggestions that Mexico and Canada support LGBTQ non-discrimination in commercial employment.

However, as Washington Blade writer Chris Johnson noted in a story revision, it does not obligate the US to enforce non-discrimination as with ENDA.

The trade agreement can be potentially important for another reason, as an indicator that the U.S. could become vulnerable to product and speech policies (especially on the Internet) made by other western governments.  This would contradict Trump’s idea of “America first.” But its possible that a future trade agreement with countries in the EU could be affected by stricter copyright rules in Europe with the Copyright Directive (Article 11 and Article 13) that is likely to be done implementation in most of the EU by the end of 2019.

It's also possible in the future that privately-driven US criticism of anti-gay policies in some countries could affect trade deals. 
Investors may become more aware of these issues in the future and they could move stock markets. 
Also, tonight Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar and an Italian restaurant nearby, in Arlington VA, celebrated his half-century birthday.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Twitter prohibits "misgendering" or "deadnaming" of transgender persons; fluid not so clear

Twitter has added to its rules a prohibition on misgendering and deadnaming transgender individuals.
Deadnaming would mean referring to a transgender person by a birth name if it had been changed.  It’s not clear if non-binary pronouns can be required, such as “they” for an fluid person, when “they” would be grammatically incorrect unless plural.
Pink News has a story by Josh Jackman here

A recent copy of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy is here
However, some observers (such as Tim Pool, whose video on this I covered on the TV blog Nov. 24) do consider this to be quite an Orwellian overreach.  Christian Headlines gives a conservative reaction

There have been comments about Meghan Murphy’s expulsion, and the idea that you can’t say “women aren’t men”.

I have written about Trump’s attempted transgender ban in the military and tried to be supportive in saying the courts should resist it. 

In cases where I know a person is transgender and know the preferred singular case pronoun, I use it.  But this doesn’t come up often.

Wikipedia follows this policy in writing about transgendered persons.  If you enter “Bradley Manning” you will be redirected to “Chelsea Manning”.

However, I think that with public figures it should be acceptable to use the old name when referring to the person’s conduct before transitioning (that is, Manning’s prosecution and military jail time). 

I've seen people say on Twitter that they will unfollow anyone who says "I will not date a trans person".  Some people (as Milo Yianopoulos has pointed out) view a statement that one does not view a person with a particular aspect as ever potentially sexually attractive as itself a form of hate speech.  Is that next? 
The “Left” has been quite combative in trying to stop “disrespectful” references to members of previously oppressed minority groups. 

Ben Shapiro says it all well on "Twitter v Science" on Dailywire. Go back to high school biology and take another final exam.

Jack Dorsey might want to look up the Selective Service System rules, which require registration by males according to biological sex at birth and which would "deadname".

Update: Nov. 30

Parker Molloy, a trans woman, argues for the New York Times how Twitter's policy promotes free speech -- for certain persons.  She also says that the context of "Men aren't women" was "trans men".  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Trump wants to bypass appeals courts and send transgender ban to SCOTUS, breaking accepted procedure

Both “conventional” gay rights activists and constitutional scholars are alarmed by President Trump’s (through his DOJ) asking the Supreme Court to rule on overturning officially the “Mattis” policy on transgender persons in the military, without hearing the cases before the DC Circuit and Ninth Circuit.
Adam Liptak explains for the New York Times here

It’s of concern that Trump wants to bypass usual SCOTUS procedures and tell SCOTUS, like an authoritarian, what cases to hear.  It doesn’t work that way.  Trump seems to have no regard for separation of powers. 

Trump wants to take advantage of having effectively replaced Kennedy with Kavanaugh, but Roberts, as Chief Justice, in his recent excoriation of Trump, is starting to sound more centrist and moderate than maybe Trump expects.

The arguments that transgender troops affect military readiness and cause expense are probably frivolous because the actual number and percentage is quite small.

Trump has so far shown no particular concern over Obama’s repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and the ban on open cis-gender gays in the military (who are much more numerous but generally inconspicuous –even as there have been a few gay weddings in military chapels). But Trump had gay candidates on “The Apprentice” and acts OK with this.

Of course, the worst case might have been the security leak from Chelsea Manning. 
On the other hand, we have Kristin Beck, who became a female after retiring from special forces as a male, and has detailed military intelligence expertise that would befit service in the Pentagon today, and would include running for office.

Update:  Nov. 26

This op-ed in Rewire by  Katelyn Burns seems relevant to Trump's claim that the supposed mental health problems associated with transitioning affect military readiness (in response to a NYTimes piece).  Maybe it would even be relevant if included in a court brief.  I hope Lambda Legal sees it. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Russian asylum claims in the US, driven by 2013 anti-gay law, hit 24 year high

Radio Free Europe has a story by Carl Schreck back in May 2018 noting that asylum applications from Russia had hit a 24 year record in early 2018, link

Much of the migration had been prompted by the 2013 law in Russia banning “propaganda” of “non-traditional sexual relations”, even though sodomy per se has been legal in Russia since 1993.

The article notes that there is considerable gay migration to other countries, especially Germany and Canada.  But under Trump, it is getting harder for people to pass credible fear interviews or win later. 

The article pays special attention to the horrific problems in Chechnya (which is where the Boston Marathon perpetrators had come from).
And the reason for Russian homophobia has nothing to do with rationality; it’s more dictators’ exploiting pure tribalism.  But the low birth rate in Russia certainly figures into Putin’s own ideology.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving at DC Center Global, with rapidly growing awareness of the political complexity of the asylum issues

I did have Thanksgiving Dinner today at the DC Center at 14th and U St. in Washington, with an emphasis on Center Global (for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers).

About thirty people attended, with Food and Friends supplying the turkey and stuffing and veggies;  some people (myself included) brought pies purchased from FF.

Everyone introduced the self.  One young man from Nigeria described very poor conditions there (Anthony Bourdain had documented riverboat homes and entrepreneurialism in a society with poor law and order), as well as the inability to “be who I am or who I want to be.”

I described myself as an “independent journalist” in “retirement’ and that got a reaction – awareness of the political climate, abroad as much as here, with right (and sometimes left) wing populism, and the recent dangers posed by the extreme right and anti-Semitism.

There was varied awareness of recent news, with Trump’s policy on asylum seekers at illegal entry struck down in court in the 9th Circuit, triggering the exchange with Justice Roberts (Trump reportedly threatened to close the border today).  There is also some awareness that the media is sending very mixed accounts of the caravans in Mexico.  There is some recently growing awareness of independent news outlets reporting on the issue (News2Share and Tim Pool), with different facts depending on location. The Washington Post, as noted earlier, reported LGBTQ asylum seekers as among the first to appear.

One person from the Ukraine, now a software developer, seemed very aware of the emergence of populism in parts of the former Soviet Union.  He indicated that in Russia, people and politicians simply don’t think about things in terms of libertarian-like individualism. Politicians simply scapegoat groups (including LGBT) in order to arouse emotion and loyalty in an economically backward base.  There is varying opinion of how much ordinary citizens should involve themselves in politics;  but without doing so, you get the “president” you “deserve”.  A world where “moderate” people leave politics is left to the extremes, who (on either the right or left) will gravitate toward authoritarianism.  There was even some discussion that tech companies are lkely to stop doing business in some countries, like Belarus, and that leads into the discussion of the European Union politics and Copyright Directive, which could chase US companies out of Europe. 
An Amazing afternoon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

LGBT adults less likely to own guns at home than the general population

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reports that LGBT adults are less likely to own guns at home than heterosexual adults, as in this study. 

Still, 19% of gay adults did report gun ownership. There is indeed a group called “pink pistols”.

Gun ownership may be less common because of living in relatively modern urban settings.
Gay bars generally have less violence than straight bars (as long as it does not come from the outside, as with Pulse).  People are, thankfully, more willing to just let rebuffs or disagreements go.  I have witnessed fights in gay bars only twice, in Hawaii (in 1980) and London (1982).

Monday, November 19, 2018

An "alt-right" anti-gay group reported within the Catholic Church

Corky Siemaszko has an article on NBC News describing a virtual “alt-right” within the Catholic church, particularly in Pennsylvania where there is a big distraction with grand juries and abusive priests.
A vocal small minority within the Church is harassing gays and even making threats, the report says.  Much of the incentive seems to come as a reaction to Pope Francis and his more accepting tone (“who am I to judge”?)

Back in 1986 a previous memorandum had called even latent homosexuality an “objective disorder”.
But the church surely knows that men who are less competitive with respect to women and less motivated by the idea of lineage will be attracted to the priesthood.  The church acts insulted that the celibacy rule attracts gays, but it is probably just reality.
So, let priests marry and have (and adopt) children, and the problem largely goes away. Yes, you could allow same-sex marriage and adoption (not surrogacy).

By the way, while we know about the Trump administration’s desire to recognize only binary gender (going against the best science), it’s well to remember that a federal appeals court in February 2018 had indeed interpreted federal Civil Rights law as normally including sexual orientation in most situations. There seems to be a real risk that the current Supreme Court with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would reverse this, and rule that Congress must explicitly say so if it wants civil rights law to mean that.  (Masterpiece Cakeshop was a much narrower ruling.) 
There can be unintended consequences for legitimate speech online if the idea of (intersectional) protected class is overused, and the Trump DOJ says it is trying to protect such speech and personal religious practice, in a  libertarian sense.  That risk will surely get the attention of SCOTUS.  There will be more posts about this later.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"No Gays Allowed" billboard above Times Square in NYC calls attention to putative hate group

There is a shocking light billboard above Times Square in NYC these days that reads “No Gays Allowed”, which is an ironic message trying to get attention to the group called “Alliance Defending Freedom”, or ADF.  Julie Compton reports here. The SPLC labels them a hate group, but the SPLC is capable of overusing this label.

Carlos Maza explains in the video above.

The NBC story goes so far as to claim that the group has tried to defend sodomy laws, especially push them in Africa, and wants to shove LGBT people (or people who do not marry traditionally and have their own children) into formal second class status to encourage more men to raise families (like Russia).

Laura Ingraham (so reduced to scale by David Hogg) took to defending the group after lashing out at the board, sort of, on Fox, ThinkProgress story by Addy Baird. 
On another matter, Fareed Zakaria introduced Serbia’s lesbian prime minister (since 2017), Anna Brnabic, typical story by Andy Humm in Gay City Times.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

LGBTQ leadership fears Whitaker could undermine DADT repeal (let alone trans)

The Nov. 15 and 22 issue of Metro Weekly has a disturbing article on p 24, “The Feed”, titled “Bad Trade”, of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for acting AG Matthew Whitaker, without Senate approval, here

Whitaker lobbied heavily against repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2010 (let alone the transgender ban today) as well as for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman later. This is the first credible article in the gay press during the Trump years that raises the idea that the DADT repeal could be undone.

There are many other problems with Whitaker, regarding separation of church and state, and even respecting “Marbury v. Madison”.
While I’m at it, I’ll give another Riley link whose suggestion I am not personally ready to live up to right now.  But you can say why not. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

LGBTQ asylum seekers among the first to reach the border from the caravans, at Tijuana; unclear if they will be allowed to "apply"; litigation expected

The Washington Post is reporting that LGBTQ asylum seekers are among the first to reach the border, at Tijuana Mexico (south of San Diego), in this story by Sarah Kinosian and Joshua Partlow. 
It appears that the administration may have closed off all “legal” entry for now, which according to Trump’s recent announcement, would create a Catch 22 preventing asylum claims from being filed. 

 This development will quickly be challenged in court if so.
This will surely lead to more calls for donations and assistance, but it is not clear what can work.
Tim Pool reports (late Friday afternoon, today) some clashes between migrants and residents in Mexico, but it is unlikely these are the same people.
This Quora answer from a libertarian seems very comprehensive and interesting.

Wikipedia attribution:
By miguemike - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lambda Legal calls out gun violence (as with Tree of Life incident in Pittsburgh)

Lambda Legal has called out the Tree of Life gun massacre in Pittsburgh, and indicated that the event was part of a week of white supremacist violence, suggesting that an event in a sports bar north of Los Angeles might have been similarly motivated, press release. 

I visited the memorial in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh Sunday night.

The clubs in Pittsburgh are mostly downtown along the Allegheny River (which has a spectacular bridge crossing on the PA Turnpike farther north). Driving in Pittsburgh is so confusing that I didn’t get around to checking them out.  I finally figured out how to get to the lower road (route 51) on the South Bank (below “Mount Washington”) to Station Square, and contented myself with a sports bar that allowed smoking (I thought everything in the US is non-smoking now).
I think that the whole topic of LGBTQ rights is getting more tribalized, with trans and fluid breaking off into its own intersectional groups.  Libertarian arguments seem much less welcome.  Everyone is seeing other groups as an enemy, now that some see white supremacy as a re-emerging political threat which must be met since the president has, by default, appeared to legitimize it and now journalists have to report it, further keeping the ideology in circulation.
When to personal tastes in what one would want in a partner become a political issue?  Milo Yiannopoulos is always warning that this is already happening.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Jared Polis elected nations first openly gay governor (Colorado)

Jared Polis was elected as the nation’s first “openly” gay governor, of Colorado, more or less a purple state.

His partner is Marlon Reis.  They are raising a son and daughter (don’t know if by adoption).
In 1996, Romer v. Evans had overturned Colorado’s Amendment 2.  I remember learning about the decision when I ran into sailor Keith Meinhold (pre DADT) on 17th Street in DC. 

In New Hampshire, two transgender women were elected to the state house of representatives, and one to the federal House (Blade).

There are some unmarried male politicians:  Jerry Brown, Lindsey Graham, even James Mattis. 
Pikes Peak Picture:  By Hogs555 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link   I drove it in 1994. 

Sunday, November 04, 2018

On "set the clocks back" night, the photography question comes back

For “Set the Clocks Back” with its extra hour one Saturday night (the first Saturday of November) every year, I tried Pitcher’s last night, first time on a Saturday, post World Series, post Boston Red Sox (and pre-signing of Bryce Harper). It's a good chance to see who survived Halloween intact. 

I did see the new women’s bar on the lower level, and there were plenty of men.

Almost every room was packed.

There was a little incident. Recall the Sunflower submarine hat that I bought during my 1993 visit in Norfolk early in the gays in the military debate.  I lost it in the move to the condo, so I bought a replacement on Amazon that says “U.S. Submarine Service: Boomer”.

I got a question even from the bouncer if I had served.  Later in one of the upstairs rooms (not the dance floor) a young man (familiar) accompanied by several women asked the same.  He tried it on.  
He took it off.  I snapped a quick cell phone photo.  Totally dressed, no nudity, nothing erotic.

About five minutes later another girl suddenly popped over and practically took the iPhone from my hand. “Did you take my friend’s picture?  That is so not O.K.” 

I’ve checked tonight. It is not on my iCloud.  (There is an earlier picture of the person who I will not identify, or where, on my harddrive.)

I interpreted his activity as giving me permission for the one headshot. 

I don’t know if this is tribalism (I’m not part of the in-group), or “safe space”, or “Me Too” as if I reminded her of Kevin Spacey.

It is indeed much less acceptable today to take photos of people in bars than it was ten years ago.  (A few bars have no-photo policies, as do some circuit parties.) Facebook is part of the reason, especially now, with all the privacy scandals.  And a smartphone photo can be exchanged on Snapchat so fast – except that I don’t have Snapchat or use it.

So for anything like a closeup, you need verbal permission.  I think I had it.  The person has to be >= 21 since the ID’s are checked.

The Town (as did the Apex, the Velvet Nation, and Tracks) had a balcony that made long shots possible, and no one objects to those (and lens closeups are possible. 

But the established gay media has a legacy market on up-close photos, especially Metro Weekly. So this is turning into a micro problem about independent journalism (see my main blog post today). 
There are plenty of photos from Town's last party on sale legally (don’t know the price per image, maybe $10, and if that gives posting rights.)

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Draconian anti-gay crackdown reported in Tanzania; Bolsonaro (Brazil) said to be anti-gay

There are horrifying reports coming out of Tanzania (essentially the same as Tanganyika in many atlases) about an unprecedented crackdown on homosexuals, including forced outing and spying on private lives, using informants.  NPR has a typical story here

BBC mentions Dar es Salaam in a story here

Anti-gay policies, especially in Africa, are a huge problem for employers who must do business in these countries and send domestic employees there. 
There are a lot of concerns about the new right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, story. 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Corporate America castigates Trump on his transgender policy proposals

56 (now probably more) major US companies are warning Donald Trump to back off his war on transgender or fluid people, or it will be bad for the economy and earnings.
Chris Johnson has a story in the Washington Blade. 
This story appeared on the same day as a story about protests at Google demanding equity and apparently quotas in highly paid positions (see IT Jobs blog).  Libertarians like meritocracy and equality, but not forced equity.  (That was like the “No bunts except for Boushka” on the third grade playground back in 1951.)

But today the story is also about what happened to my comment.  I noted that the Blade should look into the Selective Service System rule on registration requirement by “birth gender” as binary male. I noted that activists have overlooked it.  The comment is in pending status, but when you click on it, you see every comment I have ever made on any site using the Disqus system.  (I use Blogger’s own here, and the Wordpress system on other blogs, along with Akismet).  I don’t mind at all, but it doesn’t seem appropriate the (Blade) site should behave this way! I had thought the Blade used WP, but maybe that isn’t the case.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

DC High Heels: a break after a week of terrible national news

I went to the early portion of the High Heels Race on 17th Street in Washington DC Oct. 30.  The event was a break from all the demonstrations and dire political news and tragedies.  

The parade started around 7:10 PM and was longer than I expected.
There were several marching bands.  This was a “mini pride”.

It was mild, around 60 degrees F.

I don’t think these Halloween costumes were particularly about fluidity this time.  But this year's is especially important for the trans community given all the political controversies from Trump. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

A smaller Halloween party Saturday night

I tried a smaller penultimate weekend Halloween Party this year, just at Freddie’s, Oct. 27.

The plasma screens on the porch are down, but the TV’s are in the bar, and yes, the Boston Red Sox attracted attention in the top of the ninth inning with their outburst.
There were some karaoke singers, and not as many costumes as usual.  I learned of some interesting things in conversation, like one man who does extreme sports and skydiving and does instruction in it.  (I actually know of another, who does Shaun White stuff.)

Then there is the issue of how much the LGBTQ community should focus on its own identity and equality issues, and how often it should speak to bigger problems, like anti-Semitism, and gun violence (Chris Johnson story, Blade). 

For example, AGLA can only bring speakers to deal with the narrower issues.  But after the elections, a lot of us will probably want to hear speakers like David Hogg and his friends.
I just now put my polling place and voter ID on my phone for Nov. 6, before uploading this post!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Washington National Cathedral holds memorial service for interment of Matthew Shepard twenty years later

Friday, the Washington National Cathedral held an internment service for Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in Laramie Wyoming in October 1998.

The family had been afraid to bury the ashes in a conventional fashion out of fear of desecration.

Here is the link for the entire program. 

Here is the video, for the nearly three hour service.

The Right Reverent V. Gene Robinson presided.

The musicians included the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC, the Rock Creek Singers, and Conspirare.  A major musical item toward the end is a setting of Samuel Barber’s Adagio.
Shepard has been remembered in film (“Anatomy of a Hate Crime”, 2001, and “The Matthew Shepard Story”, 2002). 

There was a major outdoor service in Loring Park in Minneapolis in October 1998 when I lived there.

I have heard the Beethoven Solemn Mass in D, played at the Cathedral (back in 2007).  The Cathedral sustained damage from the earthquake in August 2011.  
I have visited Laramie, WY once, in August 1994.

Also, yesterday I noticed a YouTube video (I won't give the link) from a young pastor who advocated a "humane" death penalty for homosexuals.  I don't report content for censorship; in a few cases I have reported emails to the FBI (this happened a few times from 9/11 until 2005). This sounds like maybe a TOS problem, but the radicalization "risk" to the public is minuscule. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Paglia's controversial video on transgenderism and culture; Caitlyn slams Trump on trans issues in op-ed

In 2016, Camille Paglia made this video where she expressed the opinion that transgender mania is a sign of “cultural collapse”.

At least, minors should not be trying surgery or puberty-delaying hormones. 

Although maybe this is more about others not wanting to see gender norms diluted as role model examples to follow.  The same culture now may regard cis-male gay athletes as fine as role models.  (Not sure where Rippon fits, then.)

There are other YouTube videos that say reversing a trans decision is no big deal.

At least I thought this was interesting, given Paglia’s reputation.

Caitlyn Jenner, who had announced she was a Republican, has an op-ed in the Washington Post. “I thought Trump would help trans people. I was wrong.” 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

In an era when lesbian bars close, two (or three) new ones open in Washington DC

The Washington Post, in a story by Marissa J. Lang, discusses the disappearance of gay bars and especially women’s or lesbian bars around the country, mostly to gentrification of neighborhoods.

But two new lesbian bars have opened in Washington DC, XX+ in Shaw, and a League of her Own in Adams Morgan.  Furthermore, in August, Pitchers designated a portion of its floor space to women, called ALOHO.  I have not noticed that on my two visits to Pitchers, where there are multiple sports bar video screens (like the World Series now), and where many women do come to the dance floor.

But there were always many women at Town, even if the dance floor had a reputation as a bit male “preppy”.  Cobalt (which redid its upstairs dance floor in 2012) has sometimes reserved “ladies nights” certain Saturdays, but I don’t know if that continued when Town closed.

The article discusses the closing of Phase One on 8th St SE;  Phase had also operated a women’s bar on the site of the old Apex on 23rd St, which closed in 2007 but which had been a good dance club.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tim Pool blasts New York Times for intentionally creating confusion on Trump administration's reported plans on the political definition of "sex" for federal purposes

Tim Pool has a video today very critical of the New York Times story on the “transgender erasure” which led to all kinds of demonstrations.

He claims that the NYTimes deliberately confused the words “sex” and “gender” and that the Trump policy is very limited in what it actually would mean. 

By the way, it's worth remembering that Selective Service Rules on mandatory registration of males is based on this same definition of birth sex.

Update: Oct.  26

This piece in the NY Times by Anne Fausto-Sterling on the science of how sex develops and why it is not always binary, seems very relevant.  The article notes that Orban in Hungary wants to shut down gender-identity studies and insist that only binary gender be recognized, and important idea on the right for patriarchal control. 

The Economist also has a similar article Oct. 30 (paywall, easy to find in print), questioning haste by youth and kids. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trump administration wants to limit sex-related federal discrimination law to biological gender only -- transgender and fluid no longer will exist

Erica Green, Katie Brenner and Robert Pear of the New York Times write today that the Trump administration could define “transgender” out of existence. 

  The story was also carried yesterday by Bearing Drift in Charlottesville.  Here is HRC’s storyThe National Center for Transgender Equality does not have a story yet. 

The proposal is supposedly inspired by a recent federal court ruling. The rule would limit HHS and DOJ interpretation of federal civil rights law to limit the term “sex” to biological gender assigned at birth.

The proposal is criticized as running against scientific opinion on transgenderism or even fluidity, and fails to recognize that biological intersexism at birth sometimes does happen.

It is not apparent that the proposal would hinder states and school districts from allowing gender changes on driver’s license or ID cards, but any litigation would stay in the respective states.  

Presumably the states would be required to keep record or original biological gender.

The Trump administration (along with conservative judges) can say that if Congress wants to include sexual orientation and gender identity in comprehensive civil rights protection, it can simply pass a law saying so. That’s sort of the same duck-and-cover Trump uses with the Dreamers – and goes back to Congress with “do your job”.

Trump seems to behave with some personal hostility to transgenderism and gender fluidity or ambiguity, although not to conventional cis male homosexuality or lesbianism itself (he had gay candidates on The Apprentice and had no problem with it, even admiring it on the male side – he does have a problem with Rosie O’Donnell).  However German Lopez has a rather sobering piece on Trump’s (and his administration’s_ attitudes on the matter today. Lopez mentions a legal case Oncale v. Offshore (1998) which could counterweight Trump's plans with a precedent (if Kavanaugh honors it). 

The transgender military ban is still in litigation and it could wind up in SCOTUS with Kavanaugh on the Court (Oct 9).

Lisa Ling had done a "This Is Life" segment on CNN about gender fluidity (as transgenderism and even a-genderism) on Sunday, Oct. 7 (TV blog); maybe this turned out to be provocative.

Truth-out (along with its repeatedly hysterical fund-raising appeals) offers this piece by Deane Spade, "Right-wing fantasies about gender are killing trans people."  While he makes a lot of good points, he could have mentioned that Selective Service Registration is done by birth gender.  The Left never thinks of mentioning this.

WJLA7 has videos from the demonstrations at the White House today.  The new hashtag is "#Wontbeerased".

Alejandro Alvarez at News2Share also reports on the demonstrations.

The City of Philadelphia PA announced an event Tuesday on Facebook, here

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Finally, for me, Saturday night at DC Eagle; gay interracial couple; Adam Rippon still in view

Saturday night, I finally made it to the DC Eagle when the dance floor was open, for the event, this time called “BrutBear”.

I had no trouble getting there by Uber, or catching Uber when I was leaving (out at Minnesota Ave).
The admission to the bar was free, but the dance floor show as expensive, $30.

Inside, the d├ęcor rather reminded me of the Burning Man “no spectators” even east of Reno NV every September.

There is no mandatory leather dress code, but maybe two thirds of the people were from that community, compared to more preppie discos.  The music was almost all percussion.

The Washington Post today has a “Retropolis” story (Justin Moyer) of a gay male interracial couple that spent over 40 years together and had met in 1965.

There is also an article om the Washington Post Magazine “Adam Rippon Wants to Stay Famous”, by Nora Caplan-Bricker, photos by Marvin Joseph, with the display of some chest hair “allowed” for the first time ever (after some months ago he was in a YouTube video on body shaving, Sept. 6 post). Rippon had a chance to play political peacemaker at the South Korean Olympic Games, and I don’t recall that he ever met with Pence. But during that time Trump finally decided to gradually dial down the rhetoric on Kim Jong Un, which has turned out to be very important for all of us.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

OK, plenty of entrepeneurs in the gay community follow Nicholas Taleb's advice and put their "Skin in the Game"

Had my first dinner, salmon, at Fredericio’s Ristorante Italiano, the restaurant Freddie Lutz bought a few doors down from his Beach Bar in Crystal City in Arlington VA. 

Freddie certainly follows Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s edict “You must start a business” in his “Skin in the Game” book.  The bar and restaurant business is locally risky, and the gay bookstore business is even riskier. Local independent bookshops seem to thrive now, however, and that deserves a look.
Earlier I had tried to go to the cookout at DC Eagle that was supposed to happen at 4 PM (according to its own website).  The crowd was small.  The bartender said he did not have the materials to do the event.  Odd.  At least the Halloween decorations are up.  And, yes, there is some parking on the premises now (but usually you have to do Minnesota Ave. Metro and take your Smart Card).  The neighborhood around it is slowly gentrifying and looking better (which means prices go up).  People seem to be buying condos and rowhouses around Union Market and East.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Gay candidate for Congress issues cease and desist when her video is misused with misleading excerpts by opponent

The Victory Fund does help manage fund raising for LGBT candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

Texas candidate Gina Ortiz Jones apparently issued a cease and desist to the campaign of US Rep William Hurd to stop excerpting one of her videos to send a misleading message, which would be copyright infringement.
The Wind City Times reports the cease and desist here

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Why Trump's attempted transgender military ban could wind up with SCOTUS fairly quickly

The Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara (which I visited personally in February 2002) has issued a statement “Implications of Supreme Court Review of Transgender Military Policy”. Oct. 

Apparently the case is before the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. If the Ninth Circuit denies the Trump administration’s motions it could wind up before the Supreme Court (with Kavanaugh and Goresuch) pretty quickly.

The Palm Center notes that there is a logical contradiction in the government’s contention that transgender people can serve as long as they remain in their original biological sex and don’t attempt change while in the service. 

However, there have been cases, such as Kristin Beck, where people did that and served even in Navy Seals as a male before transitioning after retirement and becoming compelling public figures in DOD policy debate.

In 1993, radio host Scott Peck interviewed a self-declared male-to-female trans person who was discharged from the Navy as an intelligence officer, but allowed to have almost the same position as a civilian employee after transition.

The arguments that transgenderism is heavily genetic are controversial (Forbes article from early this year). 
So far there is not much talk about undoing the “don’t ask don’t tell” repeal from 2011.  This was done by Congress and DOD, not the courts. Kavanugh doesn’t matter on that one.
There is also a troubling story from Stafford County, VA about a transgender student and an emergency drill, details on NBC Washington here.