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.