What Is Annoying Me in the LGBTQ World Right Now

homonationalism

What is annoying me in the lgbtq world right now, post Supreme Court marriage equality decision:

This conservative stance being publicly embraced to tell the straight white middle and upper classes “we’re just like you!”. No, we are not.

Most of us aren’t able-bodied cis white gay dudes who just needed one more right to be as privileged as straight white dudes. Most of us have a broader vision for what love and family and relationships can be and who is important to our movement. I’d rather celebrate and honor our differences with love and understanding than enforce a sameness that happens to match neatly with capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.

Queer Masculinity and Misogyny

I am so happy the insightful and brilliant writer Katie Barnes took on this topic in her article On Queered Masculinity and Misogyny for Feministing. In a lot of queer spaces you can’t talk about this because masculine women and other masc-presenting people assigned female at birth are more visibly queer than femme women. So they get more shit from straights, but they get more recognition and celebration amongst queers for that visibility. Double-edged and confusing sword there.

Because of that visible queerness, for which they are oppressed, it feels like we can’t talk about the way some queer masculinity uses misogyny to prop itself up. This Is How To Be Masculine. This Is What You Do. You need to denigrate, sexualize, objectify, condescend to, trivialize and mock femininity. The outside world may oppress you, but in your queer world, you can now oppress femmes and get your power back.

Here is what Barnes experienced:

It became more important for me to be read as masculine, and so I performed masculinity in the ways that I had been taught through media, my friends, and my family. I would often open doors for women, offer to carry items for them, and openly objectify women with my father and brother, because I was one of the bros after all and this was what bros did.

She goes on to own up to other excellent examples from her own experiences, which she takes apart and examines with excellent self-reflection.

I guess this kind of critique could sound like tired old critiques of the butch-femme dynamic. I don’t want to do that. I am not critiquing anyone’s gender identity or presentation or roles, because FREEDOM & Taste The Rainbow. So no, I am not trying to rehash old bashes of butch-femme identity. Also there is no need for #NotAllMascQueers. No need.

I am just saying queer masc misogyny is still misogyny, it is still patriarchal and male-supremacist, and it still hurts women and femmes. End transmission.

Conversations

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

Whipping Girl by Julia SeranoWhipping Girl is an outstanding book on transsexual women, feminism and trans-misogyny. Serano draws well thought-out lines from general societal misogyny to the hatred and fear of gay men, feminine men, and trans women. She blows up a lot of tired paradigms of sex, gender, gender presentation, gender identity and all that stuff. M

y main complaint is that she confuses two different definitions of class, one that refers to social/economic differentiation (as in “working class”, “upper class”, etc) and one that refers to a category or group of something (like in “class action lawsuit”). Through this confusion she mostly avoids conversation about the intersections of trans identity and class status, shielding and invisibilizing her own class privilege. The same thing happens with race- Serano is almost completely silent on how race intersects with trans identities. Once again she covers up her own privilege when in fact nearly every facet of life in the racialized US is affected by racial identity, including trans identity.

Critiques aside, there is still much to be gained from the book. I found the following quotes quite illuminating:

“[M]ost of the anti-trans sentiment that I have had to deal with as a transsexual woman is probably better described as misogyny.” pg.3

“From my own experience in having transitioned from one sex to the other, I have found that women and men are not separated by an insurmountable chasm, as many people seem to believe. Actually, most of us are only a hormone prescription away from being perceived as the “opposite” sex. Personally, I welcome this idea as a testament to just how little difference there really is between women and men. To believe that a woman is a woman because of her sex chromosomes, reproductive organs, or socialization denies the reality that every single day, we classify each person we see as either female or male based on a small number of visual cues and a ton of assumption.” pgs.51-52

“The fact that we perceive two major categories of gender enables us to view women and men as “opposites”—a premise that is founded on a series of egregiously incorrect assumptions. [I]n order for the two sexes to be “opposites,” they must first be mutually exclusive. Therefore, on a societal level, we purposefully ignore that variation that exists in sex characteristics and create the illusion that there is absolutely no overlap between the sexes.” pgs.102-103

“Cissexuals may want to believe that their genders are more authentic than mine, but that belief is dishonest and ignorant… [T]he major difference between my life history as a woman and theirs is that I have had to fight for my right to be recognized as female, while they have had the privilege of simply taking it for granted.” pg.169-170

“Not surprisingly, no aspect of my social transition has been more difficult for me to adjust to than the way I am treated by some (but certainly not all) men… On an intellectual level, I knew that I would sometimes be dismissed or harassed once I started living as female, but I underestimated just how frustrating and hurtful each one of those instances would be. Words cannot express how condescending and infuriating it feels to have men speak down to me, talk over me, and sometimes even practically put on baby-talk voices when addressing me. Or how intimidating it feels to have strangers make lewd comments about having their way with me as I’m walking alone at night… [W]hile I had numerous run-ins and arguments with strange men back when I was male-bodied, I’d never before experienced the enraged venom in their voices and fury in their faces that I somtimes do now—an extreme wrath that some men seem to reserve specifically for women who they believe threaten their fragile male egos.” pg.223

“[T]hose who patrol the gates of women-only spaces are often dead set on discriminating against me, driven by the ridiculous belief that my girly little estrogenized penis is somehow still pulsating with hypermasculine energy.” pg.229

Normal Life by Dean Spade

Normal Life by Dean SpadeEverybody should probably go and get a copy of this book right now. The long title is Normal Life – Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law. Spade criticizes mainstream gay politics and suggests a more radical, less marginalizing politics that centers poor trans people of color. The book is amazing.

Best quotes:

“Lesbian and gay organizations have also generally followed a model of governance and efficacy based on private sector norms rather than social justice values. The most well-funded organizations have pay scales similar to the private sector, with executive directors often making three to four times the salaries of the lowest paid employees. Pay often correlates to educational privilege, which again means that the greatest share of resources goes to white employees from privileged backgrounds while the least goes to employees of color and people without educational privilege.” pg.67

“Trans populations are disproportionately poor because of employment discrimination, family rejection, and difficulty accessing school, medical care, and social services. These factors increase our rate of participation in criminalized work to survive, which, combined with police profiling, produces high levels of criminalization.” pg.89

“Three concerns about law reform projects permeate many sites of resistance. First, these projects change only what the law says about what a system is doing, but not its actual impact. Second, they refine a system in ways that help it continue to target the most vulnerable people, while only partially or temporarily removing a few of the less vulnerable from its path. And finally, law reform projects often provide rationales and justifications for the expansion of harmful systems.” pg.92

“The myth of legal equality in the United States is supported by the narrative that US laws used to exclude people on the basis of race and gender but now they do not. Supposedly, all is now fair and equal. However, our nation itself was built by the establishment of population-level systems of property and labor regulation that created and utilized racial and gender categories from the beginning. The population-level programs that were mobilized from their inception by explicit race and gender exclusions continue to do the work of distributing security and vulnerability along race and gender lines, just under the auspices of race and gender neutral criteria.” pgs.116-117

“[L]egal inclusion and recognition demands often reinforce the logics of harmful systems by justifying them, contributing to their illusions of fairness and equality, and by reinforcing the targeting of certain perceived “drains” or “internal enemies,” carving the group into “the deserving” and “the undeserving” and then addressing only the issues of the favored sector.” pg.124

“For those who have long articulated opposition to state incentivization and reward for heteropatriarchial sexuality and family structures and punishment for others, the idea that lesbian and gay people should seek marriage recognition rather than aim to abolish marriage and achieve more just methods of distribution is…problematic.” pg.126

“[O]ne might observe that the lesbian and gay rights agenda primarily operates to restore privileges of the dominant systems of meaning and control to those gender-conforming, white, wealthy gay and lesbian US citizens who are enraged at how homophobic laws and policies limit access to benefits to which they feel entitled.” pg.60

“We must not only refuse reforms that require dividing and leaving behind more vulnerable trans populations, but also try to assume that the most easily digestible invitations to be included are the very ones that bring us into greater collusion with systemic control and violence.” pgs.161-162

“[T]he legalistic approach of [law reform projects] has been linked to concerns about an unjust distribution of power and leadership, especially when the work is funded and directed largely by white, upper-class professionals who inevitably create an agenda that centralizes the concerns and experiences of people like themselves.” pg.172

“[A] challenging dynamic has emerged: social welfare has increasingly become dependent on private businesses and foundations. Corporate funders have become the sponsors and benefactors of social services… The situation translates into overreliance by many organizations on income from corporations and accumulated wealth stored in foundations.” pg.173

“Nonprofits serving primarily poor and disproportionately people of color populations are frequently governed almost entirely by wealthy white people with college and graduate degrees. Staffing follows this pattern as well, with most nonprofits requiring formal education as a prerequisite to working in administrative or management-level positions. Thus, the nature of the infrastructure in many social justice nonprofits often leads to concentrated decision-making power and pay in the hands of people with education, race, gender and class privilege rather than in the hands of those bearing the brunt of the systems of maldistribution… “This dynamic leads to the reproduction of the very same systems of maldistribution that organizations are purportedly targeting. Inside those organizations, white elites determine the fates of the vulnerable and get paid to make decisions about their lives while people directly impacted are kept out of leadership.” pgs.176-177

“Nonprofits are one way that wealthy people and corporations avoid tax liability. Most of the money that gets redirected out of the tax system by philanthropy does not go to social justice.” pg.179

Isis King & Janet Mock Lay Down How to Be Awesome People

This is essentially an instruction video on how to be awesome. Isis King, best known for being the first transgender woman on America’s Next Top Model, and Janet Mock, an editor at People Magazine, interview each other. Seeing these two accomplished trans women of color talk TRUTH is invigorating!

See for yourself:

Crap like this is why I needed to see some positive representation of trans women right now.

Everyone Panic! Octomom’s Children Aren’t Gendered Enough!

Shamefully, I recently cast my eyes upon Yahoo News’ “OMG!” section. Yes, that is a real thing. Which I would normally not admit to doing, except for a tidbit I found there.

I noticed an article about Octomom’s allegedly poor housekeeping & parenting skills (her kids were barefoot! they got dirty!). Apparently her hairstylist was so disturbed by Nadya Suleman’s household that she reported her to the police. But what this stylist, going only by “Stephanie”, and the article both highlight as the *most* problematic and troubling aspect of her parenting is interesting. Says Stephanie:

“The boys have girls’ clothes on! I go over there and cut the kids’ hair for free because you can’t tell which ones are boys and which ones are girls, they all look the same!”

EVERYBODY PANIC! It’s worse than we thought!

Straight People Don’t Organize Around Their Sexuality…

The Book: Becoming a Visible ManSome excellent thoughts from Jamison Green’s book, Becoming a Visible Man.

“Transsexual people are everywhere: in corporate board rooms; in prisons; in academia; on HIV wards in hospitals; on factory floors; preaching from pulpits; litigating in court rooms; working as nurses, artists, managers, research scientists, sex workers, software engineers, architects; sitting near you on an airplane or in the movie theater; and riding on the subway. We are in schools as students and as teachers or administrators. Some of us are very old, some are very young, most are everywhere in between. Some are attractive, beautiful, handsome; some are average; some are unattractive; we are all human beings.” Pg.214

“[S]traight people don’t organize around their sexuality unless they’re intent on separating themselves and protecting themselves from anyone different from themselves.” Pg.157

Catholic Church Evicts Hate Crime Victim

So this happened:

Alexis Alison Lancaster, 39, was approached at an RTA Red Line station and verbally harassed with antigay slurs as she excited the train on November 19. [T]he suspects… beat and kicked the victim, allegedly stealing her cell phone and leaving her bruised and unconscious.

Then Lancaster did some of her own police work, but alas:

Lancaster says she was able to track down her cell phone with the use of its GPS, but that police were not interested in following up.

And as a result of this hate crime:

Following television news coverage of the attack, Lancaster was evicted from the apartment she lived in for 13 years. The apartment is owned by the Catholic church.

Smooth move, Clevand Catholic leaders.

H/t ES

Planned Parenthood is Turning YOUR Child into a Homosexual Sex Addict as We Speak

The American Life League (the same people who brought you the fetus jack-o-lantern) has produced a STUNNING video revealing troubling “facts” about Planned Parenthood. Like:

When most people think of Planned Parenthood, they think of the babies it kills through abortion.

See for yourself:

I can’t pick a favorite quote, but here are some of the golden nuggets of factual information and solid wisdom offered up by the man in lavender:

1. “Age appropriate” is a standard concocted by Planned Parenthood itself so that it can sell pornography to kids as science.

2. Just as the goal of a drug dealer is to make drug addicts, Planned Parenthood’s goal is to make sex addicts.

3. Planned Parenthood’s gateway drug is masturbation.

4. Planned Parenthood tells vulnerable teens stimulating and intimate things about sex.

5. What Planned Parenthood education booth would be complete without a fisting kit for homosexual college and teenage students?

And I simply had to catch this precious flowchart for us all to admire:
American Life League Planned Parenthood flowchart

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

Canadian Law Makes It Awfully Hard to Travel if You’re Trans

I appreciate this op-ed by Kyle Knight at the Huffington Post.

Trans people are often denied basic rights by governments around the world, including “western” or “first world” governments. Governments force trans people to carry inaccurate ID and prevent them from making sure the gender/sex marker reflects their true identity. At any point in one’s life where one must show identification, problems quickly arise.

Why government is in the business of enforcing gender categories, I don’t know, but apparently the state has a compelling interest, like fighting terrorism, or some such nonsense.

H/t KB

An Intersex Mayor in Australia

Tony Briffa, mayor of Hobson's Bay, Australia
Hobson’s Bay has elected a new mayor, Tony Briffa. This interests me because Briffa is open about being intersex.

He tells his story in depth on his website. In part, he writes:

I feel very comfortable having accepted my true nature. I am not male or female, but both. I am grateful for the years I lived as a woman and the insight and experiences it gave me. I am still “Antoinette” and have now also incorporated and accepted my male (“Anthony” or “Tony”) side. I feel whole. I’ll continue to live as Tony but I feel I am now at a point in my life where I can celebrate being different.

He also provides a long list of links relating to media surrounding his journey. He discusses the mistreatment that the medical status quo visited upon him as an infant:

They diagnosed me with an intersex condition called “Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome” and the treatment paradigm – likely elsewhere in the world – dictated that I was to be raised as a girl, any male physical attributes had to be surgically removed if possible, and I was not to be told the truth about my condition.

Doctors castrated him, told his parents to raise him as a girl, and to never reveal the truth to him. Some doctoring.

[I] lived as a woman until I learned the truth about my condition and sought to find out who I would have been had the medical profession not sought to “normalise” me.

This (mis)treatment is common for babies born intersex. Western medicine has a pathological need to force cultural beliefs about gender onto non-conforming infants’ bodies. THE GENDER BINARY MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL COSTS! Even if that cost is medically-unnecessary infant genital mutilation.

To learn more about what happens to intersex babies and children, I recommend the website of the Intersex Society of North America. Their definition of intersex is quite good.

Politician Blames College, Marijuana for her Brush with Same-Sex Pedophilia

Linda Wall is running for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates as an Independent. She would like you to focus on her qualifications for office, such as her strong anti-gay and ex-gay credentials, and not pay too much mind to her little “mistake”: that one time when she sexually molested a female middle school student while she was a gym teacher.

You see, she was under the influence of “college” and “marijuana”, and, well, now she’s a Christian, and we all know Christians never molest children or have same-sex orientations. So your daughters are safe around her now. She even alludes to this incident on her campaign website:

[W]hen I went away to Longwood College, I allowed liberal professors to destroy my Judeo-Christian upbringing. I guess one could say I became the “prodigal daughter”. But when my rebellious years came to a close I knew it was the Lord that I needed.

I mean can you really blame her after what she must have went through? She added: “You do that out of college sometimes. Some people do, some people don’t.”

Yeah, some people (statutorily) rape children out of college, some don’t. Six of one, half dozen of the other, ya know? And now that she has done time fervently lobbying to restrict gay’s and women’s rights, we can all forget about this, right?

As an aside, I would like to offer a helpful tip for confused news reporters: statutory rape of a child is NOT a “lesbian affair”, as I have seen reported in several headlines. It is child molestation, aka pedophilia. I know it is easy to confuse consenting relationships between grown adults with one adult taking advantage of a child in their care, but with some deep thinking I’m sure you’ll be able to sort out the difference.

Previously, Wall had admitted that she “was in the lifestyle for a decade“. Perhaps in penance, she has spent much time in recent years working on criminalizing LGBT people by guaranteeing that gay sex remains a state crime (except when she commits it, apparently), preventing gay people from obtaining legally-recognized unions, protecting gay-bashing as *not* a hate crime, and making sure Virginia schools Don’t Say ‘Gay’, like a similar law in Tennessee. In her thorough witch hunt, she personally uncovered “the homosexual agenda”:

“When I started investigating this thing, I saw that there was definitely an agenda out there to indoctrinate children into homosexuality. … There is no gay gene, people aren’t born homosexuals, so the only way to get people in the lifestyle is to recruit them. That’s how you spread your agenda.”

Well, she’s one to know, as she clearly did little recruiting herself when she was “in the lifestyle”. But she’s Christian now, so it’s all cool.

NY Daily News Adds Insult to Murder

The NY Daily News, a newspaper of ill-repute, recently published an article entitled Gilgo Beach victim was a man wearing women’s clothing, possibly working as prostitute: authorities, written by Matthew Lysiak and Rich Schapiro. Yes, they did. Let’s dissect.

Police released sketches Tuesday of two victims found at a suspected serial killer’s beachside dumping ground – one of them a gap-toothed man who was dressed as a woman and likely turning tricks.

They know this person identified as a man? Amazing detective work. They don’t even know who zie was, so how can they possibly be aware of hir gender identity in 2000, the year they believe zie was killed? Also, “likely turning tricks”??

Gilgo Beach Victim Sketches

Even the police sketch appears to misgender this person.

The composite sketches were made public along with pictures of jewelry worn by two of the victims – the first new details Long Island cops have put forward in months in the puzzling, creepy cases. The bizarre discovery of the cross-dressing Asian man found near Gilgo Beach led cops to theorize he may have been a prostitute – like five of the other 10 victims.

BIZARRE?? Have the writers, Lysiak and Schapiro, never heard of transgendered people before? Are they unaware of the centuries-long history of people dressing differently than the gender assigned them at birth? I wonder if they know gender is socially-constructed. Um, probably not. Is the “bizarreness” factor heightened by the victim’s race, in the minds of these writers? Do they know that calling minorities — whether racial, sexual or otherwise — “bizarre” is incredibly offensive?

Also, I appreciate the automatic yet subtle association of “cross-dressing” (i.e. gender non-conformity) with sex work.

He was estimated to be between the ages of 17-23 and stood about 5-feet-6, authorities said. He had poor dental health, missing both top and bottom molars and one of his top front teeth.

Nice assumptive use of “he”. You know what “poor dental health” often indicates? Poverty. Just saying. No mention of that being a common thread in these murders, though I have a strange suspicion the victims shared a common economic class in addition to a common gender presentation. Huh. Nothing to see here. Moving along…

Investigators believe he was killed between five and 10 years ago.

Yeah, so could we please treat this murder victim with a modicum of respect? Instead of writing a very public article mocking and insulting hir, much, I’m thinking, as the killer(s) probably did?

The Exciting Times V.10 & RIP Kenneth Harding

San Francisco Police Gun Down Black Teen in Broad Daylight for Not Having Bus Transfer
Kenneth Harding’s story is even worse than it sounds. Please read it and send to friends. Racist police violence is really getting me down.

When police stopped a teenager stepping off the T-train yesterday to show his transfer as proof he’d paid his fare – $2 at most – he ran from them. They shot him as many as 10 times in the back and neck, according to witnesses. For many long minutes, as a crowd watched in horror, the boy, who had fallen to the sidewalk a block away, lay in a quickly growing pool of blood writhing in pain and trying to lift himself up as the cops trained their guns on him and threatened bystanders.

Here is a video filmed by a witness right after the shooting:

Fraudulent Documents Still Used to Steal Families’ Homes
Banks, some of whom received taxpayer stimulus funds, are still using forged documents to foreclose on families’ homes. Even though they totally promised not to do it anymore. But they don’t really have any motivation to stop. Not only do they get their hands on thousands of delicious houses to feed their insatiable appetite for the misery of others, BUT the state governments around the country are working out immunity for banks regarding suspicious foreclosures! Yayz!

More CIA Blacksites Uncovered! This Time in Somalia!
More extraordinary renditions! More filthy cells! More tortured interrogations!

Lesbians Told to Stop Being so Dykey
Whether visiting Dollywood in Tennessee or an exhibit on lesbian writer Gertrude Stein in San Francisco, lesbians just need to remember that they don’t enjoy the same freedoms as straights, because they are gay, which is gross and ungodly.

Beyond Androgyny
OH MY GOD GENDER IS ENDING! Everybody panic!

If you need a little lift after all of that, here is the theme song from Cannibal the Musical:

Equality Does Not End at Gay Marriage

Kenyon Farrow, ex-Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, wrote an amazing article recently. It dives more deeply into the meanings of New York’s passage of marriage equality and its effects on future politics.

He points out that, “[m]any progressive queer activists have long argued that the marriage equality movement is fundamentally a conservative movement,” and goes on to write:

If the same-sex marriage advocates, straight or queer, can use a family values framework, then what is to stop large-scale incorporation of gay and lesbian identity into social conservative logics, especially if LGBT people who desire to have their relationships (which is to say, sexuality) defined by the norms of the mainstream, can continue to demonize people whose bodies and sexualities have always been seen as deviant (black people, street-based urban queer communities, non-monogamous couples, transgender and gender nonconforming people, etc.)? Many of the gay donors who raise money, even for LGBT equality organizations, are “progressives” only because of marriage, and actually do not support most of what the rest of us would call a left agenda (single-payer health care system, collective bargaining, public education, and end to massive imprisonment, reproductive justice, etc.).

Farrow also asks the question: “What does it mean when so-called progressives celebrate a victory in large part won by GOP-supporting hedge fund managers, Tea Party funders and corporate conglomerates—the oft-spoken enemies of progressive causes?”

I’ve been wondering myself. The day after the passage of New York’s marriage equality legislation, the New York Times ran this photo:

NY gay marriage signing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a same-sex marriage bill into law late Friday in his office at the State Capitol. Photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times.

Not the most progressive-looking crowd. And the accompanying article was quite illuminating.
“[T]he billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb” were successfully lobbied by Governor Cuomo’s aids to “cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.”

The article adds:

[B]ehind the scenes, [legalizing same-sex marriage] was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

When it comes to brass tacks, I personally do not trust financiers, social or fiscal conservatives, or the organizations of wealthy white gays to have my interests at heart. For a host of reasons, in this specific instance, and as Farrow points out, a specifically conservative instance, our goals may match. But I can imagine few other times they will. I think plenty of non-marriage relationships are valid and should not be treated as less-than because they do not involve 2 married individuals. I think everyone should have access to things like health care, not just the spouses of well-off gay workers. I think single parent households still deserve community approval and support. And I think trans and gender non-conforming people need more support in combating discrimination and archaic laws that prevent their access to basic human needs such as housing, health care, and dignified work.

I don’t want the government to define acceptable relationships and genders. I want the freedom to be me, I want to contribute usefully to society, and in return I want society to protect me from indigence should American capitalism fail me.

The Exciting Times V.9

More Hispanics Identifying Themselves as Indians

“Hispanic is not a race, ” said [activist and blogger Carlos A.] Quiroz, whose ancestors were the Quechua people, of the Central Andes. “Hispanic is not a culture. Hispanic is an invention by some people who wanted to erase the identity of indigenous communities in America.”

Sarah Nyakuoth William

Sarah Nyakuoth William

South Sudan war widow: ‘I will have a country at last’
On the occasion of South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan, Sarah Nyakuoth William said, “I knew we’d get here in the end, but I didn’t know if I would ever see the day. Finally the day is here. I’m happy, happy for the future for my children, and all of South Sudan.”


No “boys” and “girls” at gender-neutral preschool in Sweden

At the “Egalia” preschool [in Stockholm], staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

Kansas Sued Over Nonsensical Abortion Clinic Guidelines
…which seem oddly more intended to prevent women from accessing abortion than making abortion safer. Huh, how about that.

Under the new requirements, the three remaining clinics in the state would have to make enormous structural changes to their buildings and obtain new certifications in just two weeks or face possible closure.

Lawsuit pending!

NYPD Celebrates Gay Pride by Raiding a Gay Bar Minutes After Gay Marriage Victory
The Eagle patron Christopher J. Borras said, “I find interesting the timing. I would just like to know from the police: `Why did they do that?’ To me, it is a blatant sign of intimidation and harassment, I mean, 42 years after the Stonewall riots and we still have to live in fear of the police disturbing our quiet enjoyment of life?”

Rainbows Banned at Ontario Catholic Schools

That’s how much Ontario Catholic leaders hate fun: they banned images of rainbows in their schools because they are associated with — excuse me as I choke back vomit — gayness.

First, some students wanted to form a Gay-Straight Alliance. President of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, Nancy Kirby, said “It won’t be a gay-straight alliance. When I look at a gay-straight alliance, I see an activist group. We are answering the students’ request for support and assistance, not for activism. Students don’t want to become activists…”

Halton Catholic District School Board Chair Alice Anne LeMay said the board “doesn’t allow Nazi groups either. Gay-straight alliances are banned because they are not within the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Then students at St Joseph Catholic Secondary School decided to name their club Rainbow Alliance instead. But their principal Frances Jacques said that was “too LGBT-sounding.” She instead mandated the name “Open Arms”, which completely obscures the purpose and actual membership of the group.

One student, Leanne Iskander, has tried to start some sort of LGBT group at that school, and already has 40 members. Of the Open Arms name, she said, “There’s no point having the support there if students don’t know it’s there, so the name is important.”

She reports that members of the group have been victims of homophobic bullying. Her group tried to set up an information booth.

She reports: “We brought signs and posters with rainbows, and we were told that we can’t put them up. They said rainbows are associated with Pride. There’s so many other things that a rainbow could be. It’s ridiculous.”

Since rainbows couldn’t be displayed openly and proudly, the students baked rainbows into the cupcakes by dying the batter in a rainbow of colours.

Leanne Iskander and Taechun Menns

Leanne Iskander and Taechun Menns setting up the rainbow cupcakes at St Joe's Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. (Meagan Smith of St Joe's)

You can find some of Iskander’s own words about her experiences at the Torontoist.

Show your support and keep up-to-date on the students’ struggle by joining the St. Joes Gay-Straight Alliance Facebook group.

H/t to Autostraddle.