Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chicago poor-bashing (or "continuous CTA riders")

(from Bitch PhD)

Chicagoist alerts me to some new signs that have gone up in a few CTA stations around town. Apparently, the CTA is trying to crack down on what they call "Continuous Riders." If you have a brain, you know that "Continuous Riders" means "homeless people."

And Mike Doyle of Chicago Carless contacted the CTA, which gave him some standard evasive answers and flatly denied that the new signs are directed at targeting the city's homeless.

The real question here is: what's the penalty? Let's say that someone is "caught" by CTA personnel about to enter the train going to opposite direction, without exiting and re-entering. What then? Do they get arrested? Fined? Both? The Chicago Police already have a slew of regulations to help fight against the city's homeless, and give them a way to boot them off the CTA. Which, believe me, they use on a regular basis. The CTA ordinance (pdf) contains a provision that prohibits sleeping or dozing "where such activity may be hazardous to such person or others or where such activity may interfere with the operation of the CTA's transit system." So, it's against the law to sleep on the train? It's news to me, considering that the summer I worked downtown I fell asleep on the train basically every day both to and from work. And even missed my stop a few times, which means I have also committed the DREADFUL ACT of getting off and getting on another train going in the opposite direction without paying an additional fare.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No more job aps!

Except for an unlikely position whose materials aren't due until January, I'm done the job apps for 2008. If anything else comes up in the next two weeks, it will have to be extremely intriguing (or extremely easy to apply for.) I'm also sending the CEM for A Flash of Hex off tomorrow, so that's one more thing to cross off the list. Now I just have to finish a draft I'm working on, as well as psycho-reading for Christmas holidays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama names 7 gays to transition team

(from Washington Blade)

Officials with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team this week named at least seven openly gay people to transition panels assigned to review federal departments and agencies.

Three of the seven gays named to the transition panels — businessman Fred P. Hochberg, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and labor attorney Elaine Kaplan — held high-level positions in the Clinton administration.

The Obama officials also named President Bush’s former ambassador to Romania, Michael Guest, to a transition panel assigned to review issues pertaining to the State Department. Guest became the nation’s second openly gay ambassador when Bush appointed him to the Romania post for a term lasting from 2001 to 2003.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stu Rasmussen

(From LA Times)

Reporting from Silverton, Ore. -- Stu Rasmussen promised a new administration if he was elected, and he's as good as his word: Silverton residents not only are getting a new mayor; they're also getting a new Stu.

Rasmussen, longtime manager of the local cinema, was also elected mayor in 1988 and 1990, and served four years -- but that was when he was wearing slacks and sport shirts to council meetings. The new Rasmussen -- who got breast implants a few years ago and began calling himself Carla Fong -- wears skirts, lipstick and high heels.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

California Supreme Court

From the L.A. Times:

"The California Supreme Court today denied requests to stay the enforcement or implementation of Proposition 8, and at the same time agreed to decide several issues arising out of the passage of Proposition 8. The court’s order, issued in the first three cases that had been filed directly in the state’s highest court challenging the validity of Proposition 8, directed the parties to brief and argue three issues: (1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution? (2) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution? (3) If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?"

Protests Over Rule to Protect Health Providers

(NY Times, Nov 17 2008)

WASHINGTON — A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that enforces job discrimination laws.

The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and drugstores from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” financed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Tired. of. applying. for. jobs. gaaaahhhh.



Trek Hotness

New Star Trek trailer! Unbearable Vulcan hotness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Protests on Youtube

Say what you want about Perez--he's certainly stepped up as a kind of queer historian and archivist for the grassroots movement against Prop 8. His site has archived Youtube videos of nearly every protest yesterday across the United States.

Click here and cut/past the links into your browser to watch the videos!

Wanda Sykes on Prop 8

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Protest Signs

From Athens, GA, Denton, TX, and Denver, CO. I think it says a lot that 120 people showed up to protest in Denton, TX!

Montreal Prop 8 Protest TODAY

On Saturday, November 15, Queer McGill invites all Montrealers (queer or not) who care about civil liberties and equality under the law to join the peaceful demonstration against these reactionary outcomes. The gathering will begin in front of McGill's Roddick gates and will conclude in front of the American consulate at Rene-Levesque and St. Alexandre. Though Canada granted same-sex unions equality under the law in 2005, Canadian queers recognize that the struggle for recognition and respect continues, and that "change" cannot truly advance if entire groups of society continue to be oppressed.

When: Saturday, November 15th at 1:00pm
Where: Start---McGill's Roddick Gates (rue Sherbrooke and ave. McGill College)
End--- The United States Consulate (1155 rue St-Alexandré)

The path of the protest is as follows (Google Maps).

Check out the Facebook event.

Dan Savage on CSPAN

Savage vs. Tony Perkins with Anderson Cooper moderating. Buh-yah!

Protest Against Prop 8 Today

Join The Impact is staging protests today in every U.S. state. Check out their website to find an event near you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

California Ballot 2010

Gay rights organizations in California may take the issue of gay marriage back to the voters in just two years if legal challenges to the ban fail to reverse the outcome of the Proposition 8 vote, reports the Associated Press.

Three separate lawsuits have been filed with the state’s supreme court arguing that a simple majority of voters alone do not have the legal authority to change the constitution to restrict the rights of a minority group.

But if the lawsuits fail, Equality California executive director Geoffrey Kors said supporters of gay marriage would mount a signature drive in 2010 for a ballot initiative to overturn the ban. (Advocate)

Memphis Trans Woman Killed

Duanna Johnson, a transgender woman who was suing the city of Memphis, Tenn., for alleged civil rights violations, was shot and killed execution-style on November 9, according to WPTY News.

"It's horrible timing,” said Murray Wells, Johnson’s attorney. "She was going home. The federal indictment was coming down. The lawsuit was going to be filed. And now all of that is on hold. So I find it ironic, at least."

Johnson was arrested on prostitution charges in June. During her time in jail, two Memphis police officers brutally beat Johnson while using transgender slurs. The officers were fired after investigators reviewed the beating on tape, and Johnson sued the city for $1.3 million.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, is calling for an official investigation into Johnson’s murder. (Kandice Day, The Advocate)

Why do we protest?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black."

- George Clooney

Rachel Maddow on Prop 8

The ACLU in California has already filed a petition to overturn Prop 8. Even Arnold says that "this isn't the end." LGBT folks are organizing grass-roots protests using Facebook, text messages, and online chat-rooms. This is history in the making.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keith Olbermann

This is quite powerful--Olbermann on Prop 8. I love how he actually tries to talk critically about love as love.

Kids of LGBT Parents VS Prop 8

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama on LGBT Marriage


Transgender man elected mayor of Silverton

10:45 AM PST on Friday, November 7, 2008


This election marked the first African-American President. The first time in 40 years an Oregon Senate candidate beat an incumbent Senator. And in tiny Silverton, Oregon, residents have elected the man who's believed to be the first ever openly transgender mayor in the United States.

Click for full article

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thoughts on Obama and Prop 8

It took a while for me to gather my thoughts, both on the election and on the passage of Prop 8, so this post is late. Also, I was in Wyoming, looking through boxes of files on the killing of Matthew Shepard. Oct 12 marked the 10th anniversary of Matthew's death, and Laramie, WO, had already been descended upon by writers and reporters. That will have to be a separate post, since I have a lot of thoughts about the research and my short time in Wyoming.

I was watching the election results with my friend Keith, and we both turned to each other at the same time, and basically said: "This is our generation's Kennedy." Barrack Obama's win is without a doubt one of the most significant events in the history of social justice that's occurred in the last 50-75 years. Perhaps even the most significant single event, given the timing of his election and the vast array of cultural terrain that his new presidency represents. He mentioned both LGBT folk and disabled folk, in the same sentence, in his speech in Chicago. And he, without a doubt, has the power to challenge and eventually overturn the passage of Proposition 8.

Bottom line: if you are straight and voted yes on Prop 8, for whatever reason, you are responsible for altering the US Constitution in order to directly strip human beings of their legal rights. You are voting for equality and justice for some, not all, and you are spitting in the face of the last century's worth of work on social justice and civil rights. What were your reasons for voting that way? Let's summarize:

1. Gay people make you uncomfortable.

Too fucking bad. Your homophobia is irrelevant. What makes you uncomfortable and squeamish is irrelevant. You're talking about the civil rights of human beings, American citizens, Californian citizens. You just voted to politically disenfranchise American citizens, because...the idea of two people of the same sex holding hands, kissing, and fucking, makes you wrinkle your nose. Good job. A six-year-old who thinks broccoli is gross basically shares your political opinions. And Bitch PhD's son, PK, who's still in elementary school, wanted to vote no on Prop 8. This kid is light-years more advanced than you. Congratulations.

2. You think marriage should only exist between a man and a woman.

When has this been a global historical reality? Marriage has meant different things to different cultures around the world for the last two-thousand years. Utah--which voted prodigiously for Prop 8 and donated millions of dollars--has the highest rate of polygmay in the western world. You don't know what marriage is. You don't have a clue. And if a social institution is so incredibly sacred and atemporal and the province of a God, maybe, possibly, might God not be able to deal with gay marriage, without the foundations of the afterlife crumbling? Don't you think s/he might have a plan that encompasses nontraditional relationships, and, most probably, centuries of religious amendation and interpretation--in favor of civil rights, at times--might be able to 'handle' gay marriage?

3. You don't have anything to do with 'these people.'

Wake the fuck up. Someone in your family is gay. Probably more than one person. You just voted to negate their civil rights. Have fun at Thanksgiving, you idiot.

4. You don't want your kids 'exposed' to gay marriage.

Your kids have the right to make their own informed decision, free of parental pressure. It's their decision, not yours. And you just took away their right to choose, eventually, how they'd like to see their own world structured. Remember how we're supposed to want what's best for our children, for them to inherit a world that's somehow different from ours? You just prevented that from happening. That makes you a bad parent.

5. You think gay people are pedophiles.

That means your aunt or your brother or your mom is also a pedophile. Remind me not to invite myself to your Thanksgiving.

6. You're afraid of gay people, because their very existence makes you doubt your own sexuality.

You just took your own civil rights away. You just disenfranchised yourself. Doesn't that make you feel better as a human being? Doesn't that make you feel safer?

I'm ready to fight this, and you. And I'm going to win. Because I'm smarter than you, and I have friends and family who love me, and I don't lose. I've never met a gay person who wasn't intelligent. I've never met a gay kid who didn't have fight in her, who wasn't strong, who wasn't armed with knowledge. So we're going to win.

At least I can feel good about that.

Melissa Etheridge on Prop 8

"Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don't mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We're gay!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

On my way to Laramie, WO, to do research at the American Heritage Center, particularly in their Matthew Shepard Collection. I've been planning this trip for almost two years now, and I'm really excited that it's actually happening. Every time I tell someone I'm going to Wyoming, they give me this flat, puzzled look, like, "maybe you meant San Francisco?" As if it's unfathomable for a queer Canadian academic to visit a Southern state. But, in my experience, a lot of the most innovative and desperately needed research on equality and human rights comes out of the South. Necessity is a crucible for producing immediate strategies and solutions for dealing with racist, sexist, homophobic policy-making in both the United States and Canada.

Plus, one of the best interviews I've ever experienced was in Manhattan, KS, population 30,000. There was the sense that queer and global-feminist academics were really needed there, that their work mattered and resonated.

As I sit in Trudeau Airport, mentally translating the French announcements (to the best of my ability) while writing in English, about to cross two distinct borders--Quebec and the US--I'm reminded of what Gayatri Spivak says about the ethical necessity of learning new languages. The strategies for translating your body and culture, not just your grammar. I'm enmired in learning/improving my French right now, anticipating beginning to learn Spanish in the next 2 years, and it's hard fucking work, but it also seems necessary in so many ways.

It better not really by -8 degrees when I touch down....