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5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Sexism as Policy

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Sexism as Policy

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Sexism as Policy

From the Carolinas to Oregon to the interwebs, sexism and homophobia run rampant.


Welcome back to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of anti-LGBT rhetoric to grace our news feeds in the past seven days. This week we're taking a bite out of the latest trend in sexism — the tendency to "mansplain" simple things to us women-folk so we can better understand why it is that we don't deserve the same treatment as the ever-better men in our life. Read on to see what's outraging us at the moment, but expect a healthy dose of snark in the following pages — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

5. NOM Valiantly Defends 'Traditional Marriage' When Elected Officials Deem It Unconstitutional

Or at least, that's how the antigay National Organization for Marriage sees it. 

Less than 48 hours before opening arguments in the federal challenge to Oregon's voter-approved ban on marriage equality were to be heard in a Eugene courthouse, NOM filed a frenzied motion to intervene as the official defendants in the case. 

Why? Well, mostly, because there wasn't anyone else willing to do so, it seems. Seriously — no group or individual had filed a brief with the court arguing in favor of the existing antigay law, meaning Oregon's Measure 36 was doomed to show up for its day in court without any representation. (The state's Democrat attorney general and governor both declined to defend the law, saying it was patently unconstitutional to deny equal marriage rights to one sect of the population.)

Enter NOM, that ever-holy bastion of "liberty."

In a blog post published Monday evening, NOM president Brian Brown said the organization wants to step in as a defendant in the case, Geiger v. Kitzhaber, "to protect the interests of our members in Oregon who support traditional marriage, including government officials, voters and those in the wedding industry, who will be directly impacted by this collusive lawsuit which the state has refused to defend."

Naturally, the haters at Washington, D.C.-based NOM weren't content just to beg the court to let them intervene in a case where they obviously have zero standing, they thought it wise to take a swipe at the federal judge presiding over the case, who happens to be a partnered gay man raising children. 

"These recent news reports suggest that Judge [Michael] McShane is in the same position as the two gay men challenging the marriage amendment, raising troubling questions about his impartiality," NOM's chairman John Eastman (pictured above, right) said in a statement Monday. "But regardless of what judge eventually hears this matter, it is wrong that a challenge to Oregon's marriage law would proceed in federal court with no meaningful defense of the constitutional amendment adopted overwhelmingly by voters. Their interests, and the particular interests of those involved in performing or celebrating wedding ceremonies deserve a defense. If our motion to intervene is granted, we intend to fully and aggressively defend the state constitutional amendment."

In an unsurprising turn of events, judge McShane declined to delay the scheduled hearing Wednesday, instead announcing that he would consider NOM's motion at a separate hearing on May 14. If, by some fluke of logic, reason, and legal precedent, NOM is found to have some legitimate legal interest in the case, the opening arguments will be remade following that decision. 

4. N.C. Girl Kicked Out of Prom For Not Wearing A Dress

Just to be clear, this girl didn't show up naked — she just went to prom in a pair of red skinny jeans, with a hat and leather jacket. (How very fashion-forward!)

But that apparently violated the unpublished, unspoken dress code at Cherryville High School's prom on Saturday night, according to Charlotte's news outlet WBTV. "The teacher tapped me on the shoulder and said she had a problem with what I was wearing," 17-year-old Shafer Rupard told WBTV. "I thought it was because of the hat or the leather jacket and I was like well I’ll take those off and she was like no, it’s the pants."

Rupard's mother, Shawn McQuaige, said she's outraged by the blatant disregard for her daughter's freedom of expression. She contends the jeans — and indeed, the whole outfit — were perfectly appropriate for the prom. 

"It’s just the way she’s always been and she wanted to feel comfortable in her own skin," McCuaige told WBTV. "We want to put out the message to all teenagers that you should be allowed to be yourself."

And we're willing to venture a guess that there were male students at the dance similarly decked out. Despite searching the school's handbook for any kind of guidance around prom attire, Rupard and her friends couldn't find any reference at all. So it appears the school is enforcing an unwritten, unequal policy — and it has thus far refused to apologize, or even address, Rupard's complaints. Watch WBTV's report below. 

Find more outrageous news on the following pages...

3. S.C. Town Scrambles to Support Lesbian Police Chief Fired by Homophobic Mayor

After the unapologetically homophobic mayor of Latta, S.C. outright fired the town's well-liked police chief — who happens to be a lesbian — the town is fighting back. 

Mayor Earl Bullard last week presented former police chief Crystal Moore with seven reprimands, then fired her. Since Moore had never received a written reprimand before during her 23 years on the force, everyone's bullshit-meter was triggered when he claimed that her ouster had nothing to do with her being a lesbian. 

Why? Oh, it might be because of these minor remarks the mayor made, captured on tape: "I would much rather have, and I will say this to anybody’s face, somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children," the super-ethical mayor told a Town Council member. Also, he promised he's "not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it."

Needless to say, the town of roughly 1,400 was more than a little suspicious of the mayor's motivation. After turning out en masse to support Moore and call for her reinstatement last week, the Town Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to postpone a new hire for 60 days. That will give residents time to vote on changing the town’s form of government to give the council more power and the mayor less, so that the council could rehire Moore. The referendum is set for June 24. The council also adopted a symbolic resolution praising Moore.

As for Moore, she is understandably devastated by the unexpected loss of her livelihood. 

"That’s crushing," Moore told Myrtle Beach TV station WMBF. "My lifestyle has nothing to do with my job. It’s not a lifestyle to me. I’m in a loving, committed relationship, and that’s what it is, it’s my personal life — it should have never been brought to work."

Funny how it wasn't Moore who brought her sexual orientation to work — but rather a definitely-not-homophobic mayor who just wouldn't allow someone like Moore around his children if she dared to hold her longtime partner's hand in public. Gasp! 

2. Neb. School Tells Kids Not to Snitch on Bullies

A principal at Zeman Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., apologized to parents earlier this week after 5th-graders were sent home with a flyer instructing students to "not tell on bullies."

The flyer included nine "rules" that encouraged students to "turn bullies into buddies." Key steps to making this magical switch? "Refuse to get mad," because then you become the bully's "puppet and the bully controls you."

Other sage advice includes: "Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you," and "be grateful and think they really care about you."

And no matter what, "Do not verbally defend yourself." And if "someone physically hurts you?" "Just show that you are hurt; do not get angry."

But most importantly, "do not tell on bullies," because that's apparently "the number one reason bullies hate their victims." (It's definitely not a misplaced projection of internal struggle or deep-seated fear of personal inadequacy, right?) Because no one is going to be your friend if you "tattle" on them.

In other words, don't be a bitch, right?

The flyer is apparently based on the teachings of Izzy Kalman, a psychologist who works with schools and students. Kalman said he has not been supportive of conventional antibullying tactics, but the flyer is a version of his program that has been completely stripped of context.

"It's impossible to understand what I teach based on that flier," he told the Lincoln Journal Star. "It's bare-bones, it's a skeleton. The intentions were good, but it's not the proper way to present what I teach."

You think? And by the way, if what you teach is that victims shouldn't report their harassers or they'll lose all their friends, you sure as shit aren't doing anything to combat the epidemic of bullying and sexual harassment that a staggering number of women consider just a regular part of growing up

Find the most outrageous story on the next page...

1. Gay Editors Think It's 'Hilarious' to 'Parody' a Trans Woman's Murder

In the latest volley in the ongoing saga-that-doesn't-really-have-to-be-so-black-and-white of drag queens vs. trans women, the editors at Huffington Post's Gay Voices thought it was a great idea to share a tacky, poorly produced video from a drag queen that portrays a transgender woman — caricatured as the "language police" in a bad wig and with a mustache — getting shot in the head by an enraged drag queen. Granted, the "shot" fired is from what appears to be a hairdryer, but it certainly includes a none-too-subtle graphic depiction of a bullet hole in the activist's head. Which the drag queen then proudly celebrates by dropping a transphobic slur.

Because if there's one thing that's sure to bring in the lulz, it's simulated violence against a group of people who are plagued by such violence in real life at a rate exponentially greater than the rest of us. Hi-larious. 

The video came from former RuPaul's Drag Racecontestant Alaska Thunderfuck, and, according to the since-redacted comments of HuffPost Gay Voices editors, "dives into the recent controversy about language policing in regards to the show."

For those unfamiliar, that controversy revolves largely around the use in popular and drag culture of words that many transgender women — and GLAAD — find offensive, including "shemale" and "tranny." The Advocate's Parker Molloy has been an outspoken critic of such language, and has given voice to the many activists who have been asking the community to refrain from using language that directly contributes to violence against trans women. 

That advocacy has raised the hackles of activists in the drag and gay communities who feel that such a request amounts to language policing, leading to this not-so-subtle allusion to Molloy as "Joy Less" the trans activist and blogger who ultimately dies at the hands of Alaska's fury. 

For a spectacular dissection of this latest implosion, take a look at Mari Brighe's piece at TransAdvocate.

Full disclosure: Parker Molloy writes as The Advocate's trans issues correspondent, and the author of this piece serves as Molloy's editor.

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Sunnivie Brydum

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>