Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bathroom Battles

“Gender identity is our internal response to a social construction that attempts to make a connection between a person’s biological makeup and their eventual role in society.”  Sam Killermann, “The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender

At one time a bathroom battle likely involved whether to leave a toilet seat up or down.  The latest red herring used by religious nuts to oppose ordinances offering equal rights based on gender identity is to conjure up the specter of m to f transgenders with penises showering with impressionable girls. Ten Republican governors, including Hoosier blockhead Mike Pence, want to take the federal government to court for releasing guidelines protecting the rights of transgender students.  In California and elsewhere gender-neutral bathrooms have been functioning smoothly for years. The last thing most transgenders want is to be the center of attention.  In Osaka, Japan, men’s bathrooms have no urinals and walls that separate the toilet stalls from floor to ceiling.  The first time I used one, a woman was inside, assisting an elderly man.
 Heath Carter with mic, Post-Trib photo by Kyle Telechan; below, Tom Cotton, NWI Times photo by Rob Earnshaw 

Valparaiso City Council voted 5-2 to approve a civil rights ordinance that includes gender identity.  Two Republican opponents sought an exemption for businesses with fewer than ten employees.  Supporting the proposal was Councilman Robert Cotton, 11 years old in 1969 when his family became the first African Americans to reside in Valpo.  Cotton has visited the Archives to research the liberal group that facilitated the family’s relocation from a Chicago housing project.  History professor Heath Carter, who chaired the Advisory Human Relations Council, said: “I am extremely proud of our city.  It has been remarkable throughout this process to see neighbors of many different persuasions treat one another with such respect and care.”  Echoing those sentiments, Mayor Jon Costas, a Gary native, stated: “Members of the LGBT community are our neighbors, our co-workers, our family members and family citizens and why would we want to deny them basic civil protections?”
 Transgender flag designed by Monica Helms
Twitter response to a Time multi-colored toilet paper cover was all over the map, from “this is a gay pride flag, not a trans pride flag” to “who the fuck thought it was a good idea to imply we should wipe our ass on a pride flag?”  Mirah Image pointed out that the toilet paper is hanging the wrong way.  And those were just from LGBT supporters.  Showing more perspective, Chokladboll noted: “No one is dying from this cover.”

Chesterton library is giving away Indy 500-related items.  I spun a wheel and won a red “Big Finger” inscribed “Go Graham.”  Son of 19876 Indy winner Bobby Rahal, Graham races for David Letterman’s team.  My favorite late night host, letterman now sports a Santa Claus beard.   The only years I’ve taken more than a passing interest in “The Race” was when Danica Patrick was at the wheel.  Bowling teammate Melvin Nelson has attended the spectacle for the past 30 years.  Kirsten Bayer-Petras and friends go every year; three days ago Kirsten even took her mom and kids to time trials.
The first line in John Irving’s “The World According to Garp” (1976) goes: “Garp’s mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater.”   A soldier’s kept sitting next to her despite her changing seats four times.  In other words, he deserved what he got.  On the twentieth anniversary of “Garp’s” publication Irving wrote: “The principal point about Garp’s mother is stated in the first chapter: ‘Jenny Fields discovered that you got more respect from shocking other people than you got from trying to live your own life with a little privacy.’”

A New York Times crossword puzzle clue asked which longtime Indiana Senator was defeated in 2012.  Answer: Richard Lugar in the Republican primary by a Tea Party jerk who claimed nonconsensual rape victims couldn’t get pregnant.  After a talk with Robert Blaszkiewicz, I crossed over and voted for Lugar, who worked for many years on nuclear disarmament.

In Arusha, Tanzania came photos and this post from granddaughter Alissa: “Scored a lefty goal on the Tanzanian team.”  Earlier, she reported from the Serengeti that nine year-old bushman kids in sandals had slaughtered her group. Meanwhile, back in Gary, Indiana, Samuel Love explored the Calumet Lagoon near Gary Works.

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