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5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: 'Rapebait,' Unpaid Harassment, Vandalism and American-Imported Homophobia in Russia

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: 'Rapebait,' Unpaid Harassment, Vandalism and American-Imported Homophobia in Russia

Last week was a doozy when it comes to absurd, heinous, and downright hateful rhetoric.


Last week was a doozy when it comes to absurd, heinous, and downright hateful rhetoric. Luckily for you, SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days aims to eviscerate the most crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT and misogynist news. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

5. Antigay Texas Councilwoman Takes Her Bigotry Statewide

San Antonio city councilmember Elisa Chan made nationwide headlines when a former staffer released secretly recorded audio of Chan calling LGBT people "disgusting" while discussing an LGBT-inclusive update to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance. Chan was by no means the only city councilmember making homophobic and transphobic comments, but she's the only member to subsequently turn in her resignation. 

But not from backlash over her antigay rhetoric. On the contrary, Chan continues to defend her comments as constitutionally protected free speech. Chan turned in her resignation from San Antonio's City Council to announce… a state senate bid. Chan will square off against Tea Party favorite Donna Campbell in the GOP primary for Texas Senate District 25. That's right — Chan is likely to be the more moderate Republican candidate. I'll be steering clear of Texas, thank you very much. 

4. Russian Antigay Hate is an American Export

Out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow dove into the spate of antigay laws proliferating in Vladimir Putin's Russia, noting that the former head of the KGB might have received some not-so-subtle inspiration from one of the most vitriolic antigay voices stateside — Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. At the State Duma's (Russian parliament's) invitation, Brown traveled to Moscow for a conference on "traditional families" and offered strategies to maintain "Christian values" to Russian lawmakers. Lo and behold, the very next month, the State Duma unanimously passed two anti-LGBT bills: One banning any same-sex couples — or even any single people from nations with marriage equality — from adopting any of Russia's estimated 600,000 orphans, and another nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships" visible to minors. 

Sadly, American bigots exporting their hate to far-flung nations isn't anything new (see: Scott Lively vs. Sexual Minorities Uganda), but what really riles my feathers is the fact that LGBT Russians have been arrested, beaten, and harassed for simple, nonviolent demonstrations where they unfurled a rainbow flag in public spaces… But Olympic torch-bearers are welcomed and celebrated, wearing (presumably) Kremlin-issued rainbow snowsuits? Seriously? It's no wonder that torch couldn't stay lit. Watch Maddow's important report below. 

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3. Atlanta Feminist Bookstore Vandalized with Antigay Slurs

Cheris Books & More has been an institution in Atlanta for nearly four decades. The shop is no stranger to controversy — the GA Voice reports Cheris opposed anti-immigrant legislation and offered the shop as a safe space for undocumented folks to gather — but on Thursday evening, after hosting an event, some assholes tagged the purple building with graffiti with a series of antigay, lesbian-phobic comments.  

And just to put the icing on the homophobic cake, the vandals couldn't even be bothered to spell their slurs correctly. The graffiti read "Fuck Dikes," "Eat Mor Dick," "Creep," and a truly elementary illustration of a penis. Classy, dudes. In case we weren't sure which head you were thinking with when you vandalized this business. 

On the up-side, supporters of Cheris banded together to paint over the graffitti last weekend, and the shop has received an outpouring of support from the community. And store executive Elizabeth Anderson clearly adopted the right mindset when she told the Voice, "I am from the school of thought that if they are gunning for you then you are doing something right. It means politically you are valuable."

2. Only the Salaried Can Only Sue for Sexual Harassment

The latest in the ever-increasing exploitative nature of the unpaid internship comes directly from the federal government, which declared through a district court in New York City that a former intern can't sue her former boss for sexual harassment. Not because he didn't harass her, but because he didn't pay her while doing so. 

That's right. ThinkProgress reported on the scream-worthy saga of Lihuan Wang, a former intern at Phoenix Satellite Television, who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in January alleging that her supervisor invited Wang into his hotel room, where he put his arms around her, tried to kiss her, and squeezed her ass in 2010. She rebuffed him and believes she was not offered a job because of that. 

But the district court essentially told Wang tough shit when it declared that "in order to be protected under the Civil Rights Act interns need to receive 'significant renumeration' such as compensation or benefits," according toThinkProgress

Of course, there are unpaid interns all over the country — as a member of the much-maligned Millennial generation, I've had my share of unpaid slave lab- er… unpaid internships — but the court decided Wang didn't have the right to sue because "the New York City Council has had several opportunities to amend the law to protect unpaid interns but has declined to do so," according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Well, I sure am glad those New York City councilmembers clearly have their eye out for the young, disenfranchised, and underemployed who are more likely to be exploited, both physically and professionally. 

And the most outrageous thing that happened last week was…

1.Frat Offers Brothers Instruction Manual for 'Luring RapeBait'

This story doesn't have a particular LGBT angle, but the level of misogyny in it more than qualifies it for inclusion among our top five most enraging occurrences last week. A frat brother — apparently the the social chair at the Virginia Tech chapter of Phi Kappa Tau — thought he'd take his social chair duties really seriously, and wrote down a manual called "Luring your Rapebait." Despite the single reference — IN ALL CAPS! — exhorting brothers "NO RAPING," the email unapologetically lays out the steps Phi Kaps should take to make sure they're bagging mad vadges. Ick. I apologize for writing that - BroSpeak is not my native language.

I won't recount the entire rapey instruction kit here, but if you've got the stomach for it, Total Frat Move posted the entire email early last week. Here are some repulsive highlights, though: 

On Dancing: "Here is how to dance: Grab them on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick. After that slowly alternate between just putting your hand across their stomach, but make sure don’t to go to high (keep it under the boob) or too low(dont try to finger her… yet). ALWAYS USE YOUR HANDS OR ARMS TO GUIDE THEIR DANCING in order to maximize your pleasure. If she starts putting her hair over her ear, THAT MEANS SHE WANTS A KISS. " 

Right. Or that she has hair and it's falling in her face from all that super-sexy and non-consensual dancing-slash-groping. Anyway, here's the crowning piece of advice, after describing the basics of making out (tongue on tongue guys, in case you were confused) and the classic "butt grab (outside or inside the shirts)" — and here I'd been wearing my shirts on my torso instead of my ass — "IF ANYTHING EVER FAILS, GO GET MORE ALCOHOL." Yes. Because when you can't get consent, just go for the Cuervo. The only silver lining to that tactic might be that adding more alcohol is likely to soften the would-be-rapist's ever-hard penis. In sum, these frat boys are just as awful as we always suspected they were. 

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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>