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Archive for the ‘Gender Politics’ Category

In an anticipated, but still disappointing compromise between Democrats and Republicans, the House passed the Employment Nondiscrimination Act that makes it illegal for an employer:

“to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.”

While on its face this law might seem like a kind of civil rights triumph (certainly Nancy Pelosi believes so), omitted from this legislation is language that would protect employees on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity. The New York Times reports that Democrats initially included the language for gender protection in ENDA, but removed it to garner Republican support and the chance of Bush withholding his veto. ENDA also includes language that allows religious institutions a blanket exemption from the nondiscrimination policy.

Democrats insist that progress in this civil rights area must be incremental for change to happen at all, but fail to admit the unlikelihood that a protection for gender identity could ever be passed on it’s own without tying it in with a broad base of other protections. Comprehensive legislation that is deferred until all provisions can be included would force the Republicans to lose face on this legislation as many state governments and large corporations already incorporate these protections and support them for promoting justice and economic prosperity. Thankfully the Senate still has to introduce its own version of the legislation, which many hope will restore the gender identity provisions. If you are looking to volunteer with phone banks or otherwise help organize around this issue, there are two organizations active in or near Brooklyn who support Transgender inclusion in legislation.

The Audre Lorde Project:

5 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11217-1607
Phone: 718.596.0342 Fax: 718.596.1328

About the ALP:

The principles guiding the work and development of The Audre Lorde Project as a progressive organiztion seeking social justice are as follows:

Recognizing the full diversity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, and Transgender (LGBTST) people of color, and our collective histories of struggle against discrimination and other forms of oppression, the Audre Lorde Project has been established to serve as a home base that LGBTST peoples of African / Black/ Caribbean, Arab, Asian & Pacific Islander, Latina/o, and Native/Indigenous descent can use to organize, support, and advocate for our diverse communites.

As such, ALP seeks to work with LGBTST people of color organizations and communities across differences of race/ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and life experiences (e.g. class, immigration status, HIV serostatus, health status, etc.) in order to develop and implement culturally specific and effective programs and services reflecting the needs of our communities.

Volunteer at the ALP:

Have you ever thought of getting involved with the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), but weren’t sure how to plug in? Are you looking for an opportunity to discuss and learn more about the critical issues facing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) People of Color communities?

Then come by and help out on our new volunteer night! The second Tuesday of each month! This Tuesday, November 13th 6:30pm! Learn about opportunities to volunteer at ALP. Help create general information guides and fun safer sex kits. We’ll provide the food and fun. Metro Cards provided upon request.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center:

208 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212.620.7310 Fax: 212.924.2657

About the LGBT Center:

Established in 1983, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has grown to become the largest LGBT multi-service organization on the East Coast and second largest LGBT community center in the world. Every week, 6,000 people visit the Center, and more than 300 groups meet here. In addition, our myriad meeting rooms are booked months in advance, indicating the community is as hungry as ever for a place to call its own.

We provide groundbreaking social service, public policy, educational and cultural/recreational programs. We also serve as an incubator for grassroots groups that meet here. Indeed, we were the birthplace of organizations such as the AIDS activist group ACT UP and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the principal organization combating homophobia and stereotyping of gays in the media.

Volunteer at the LGBT Center:

An enriching, rewarding, and fun way to participate and to contribute to the community is to volunteer. Nothing takes place at the Center that does not require some level of volunteer energy and expertise. Volunteers fuel the Center’s engine by building community and family. Some come with specific knowledge, such as architects, bankers, lawyers, teachers, painters, parents, event planners and producers, activists, archivists, editors, photographers, and builders. Others come with patience, time, and the willingness to provide whatever support is necessary so long as it benefits the larger community. We, the Center, could not survive and could not serve the community without volunteers.

Sign up to be a volunteer here.

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If you are like me and still have a latent attachment to Yahoo! Mail for Facebook notifications or the occasional email from your mother, you may come across the prominently featured dating advice articles that inhabit the front page. In Yahoo’s lifestyle section one finds articles extolling the virtues of letting your partner flirt with other men and women, advice on how to make long distance relationships work, and never ending updates on how members of the opposite sex (sorry LBGTQ folk!) can communicate with and understand each other. Today’s Yahoo! feature focuses on the “11 Things Women Don’t Know About Men.” Written by Evan Marc Katz, the article embarks on a thorough and deep analysis of the fragile male psyche that has yet to be apprehended by women everywhere. Since Evan realizes the truth is likely to be either too enraging or complicated for women to handle, he thankfully includes this headshot of himself at the beginning of his piece to engender empathy among his readers.

Typically it is acceptable to judge a book by it’s cover, but we should be charitable with Evan’s plunging neckline as it indicates his willingness to get to the heart of the very matters that have divided men from women for so long. Here are a few excerpts from his 1.5 page manifesto:

1. Getting angry at us for not reading your mind is like getting angry at yourself for not being able to fly. It’s not just futile, it’s physically impossible.

Mel Gibson aside, I think Evan is spot on here. Women are entirely too upset about their inability to fly commercial aircraft. At least be content that you have a disproportionate amount of flight attendant jobs.

8. There should a statute of limitations on stupid things that we said that can come back to haunt us. I propose 24 hours.

Although one might think this is a pathetic cry for a woman’s charity, the Bible advises that adopting Evan’s proposal is an endeavor in self preservation:

“Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”*

12. Your nice guy friends are the most reliable source for telling you if your new boyfriend’s a jerk. And he probably is. (By the way, you might want to consider marrying that nice guy who’s giving you advice about the jerk.)

I thought there were only 11 of these, but this one is arguably the most insightful. As 90% of sexual assault is perpetrated by persons known to the victim, it is more than likely that a woman’s “nice guy friends” will know how to identify their partners in crime…

*Note that the gendered language of this passage does not require reciprocity. Tough luck, broads.

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I have already expressed my ceaseless, violent anger at the terms “Daddy Party” and “Mommy Party,” but now political gendering has gone a step further. Salon.com posted an article last week called “Hillary is from Mars, Obama is from Venus,” which basically argued that Obama is a bigger girl than Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she has ovaries. Admittedly, Brooklyn Skeptic is guilty of regularly reinforcing gender stereotypes, but we’re just trying to be cute. The rest of the world is not cute.

Michael Scherer writes for Salon.com,

Throughout history, American presidents have been men’s men who puff their out chests against evil. Think Teddy Roosevelt on safari, Jack Kennedy in PT-109, Ronald Reagan on his horse, or George W. Bush with a chain saw clearing brush. If leaders show any slackening of testosterone, especially in wartime, they are quickly derided as wimps (George H.W. Bush), a Frenchman (John Kerry) or weaklings (Jimmy Carter). But on the Democratic campaign trail these days, where the first woman in U.S. history is making a serious run at the White House, gender roles are being swapped.

He cites Clinton’s tough-as-nails demeanor and Obama’s exultation to dream together as evidence of their misplaced genders.

I think we’re all just missing the boat here and being lazy with our lexicon. A person who believes he or she should rightfully be the president of the United States is going to have a particular set of personality traits that are not necessarily common in all people. These traits, I suppose, would be a dominant personality, with some delusions of grandeur, egoism, ambition and obstinance. One could also rightly suspect that the candidate would be uncommonly intelligent, personable, charismatic, and good looking. However, these second-ranked traits are not required to be president, and are easier to fake with the right staff.

As our political arena becomes ever-so-slightly more accessible to non-white-and-male Americans each year, we are beginning to see that these traits are exclusive neither to one gender nor to one racial background. Politicians, like members of every other profession that I can think of, can be basically anyone, assuming they have the above mentioned personality traits. So when Scherer talks about the flipped gender roles of the leading democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, he, too, is being lazy. Scherer quotes Clinton saying that she is “not running because [she is] a woman. [She is] running because [she thinks she is] the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.” While Scherer interprets this as another masculine move, downplaying her femininity and underscoring her ambition (so unladylike), I see this as just another example of the presidential power trait (patent pending, jerk). Clinton believes she knows a better way and she thinks she should lead the county there.

Scherer shows Obama

[Singing] an empowerment ballad on the stump that would make most lady folk singers proud. “The decision to go to war is not a sport,” he tells crowds, rejecting the male metaphor. “We can discover the better part of ourselves as a nation,” he says. “We can dream big dreams.”

Sadly, under all of this inflammatory gender comparison (singing vs. sports), what is ignored is the actual power behind his words. While he isn’t clearing brush or womanizing, he’s calling for revolution of our political system. I don’t know if that’s “feminine,” but it certainly betrays his presidential power trait. He also knows a better way. He thinks he should be the one to lead the U.S. out of this shitshow we’re in. There’s no way that any of this is masculine or feminine. This is nothing but total politician. We need a third gender when we’re talking about politicians. Maybe it’s the presence of two assholes instead of typical male or female genitals.

So what? So maybe we should start listening to the actual ideas and strategies and stop trying to put every fucking thing into these circumscribed categories of acceptable gender behavior. No Mommy Party and Daddy Party. No bitch. No man’s man. No brush clearing. No Indigo Girls.

**Update: Scherer responds to readers tearing him a new one…

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I think we can agree that a man hitting on a female bartender is basically going to be a fruitless pursuit. Yes, we’ve all heard the urban legends of incredibly dashing gentlemen who somehow cracked the chastity armor of an adorable bartendress. But the fact of the matter is that lady bartenders are the target of far too much drunken flirting/sexual harassment. They’re going to be nice to everyone, but you have to remember that it’s their job.

As an example of an experience that would make such a phenomenon exist: On Sunday, several Skeptics went to P.J. Hanley’s on Court Street for some al fresco drinking. This is generally a super-douchey bar, but one we often patronize because of its enormous outdoor seating area. But anyway, at another table were two drunk douchebags who were falling over a lot and breaking a seemingly endless number of glasses. At one point, one of the douches gets up to leave and walks to his motorcycle to drive away. The bartendress, a lovely young lady, follows him down the street to suggest he not drive while so fucking inebriated and to ask him if he’d like her to call a cab for him. She even offered to hold the motorcycle inside the bar overnight. His response was something along the lines of “unless you’re coming home with me, get the fuck away from me.” Superlative gentleman. Really.

But of course there are a thousand other reasons why it’s just a bad idea for men to hit on women ‘tenders. This brings me to my real question: What do we think about women hitting on male bartenders, and more specifically, women giving male bartenders their numbers?

One of the lady Skeptics may or may not have left her number for a bartender last night, scrawled in hastened script on a beer coaster. It may or may not have been done with all the care of ripping a band-aid off. It may or may not have been incredibly scary and possibly inappropriate.

So I open this debate to the Brooklyn Skeptic panel of experts – ladies gettin’ all up on the jock of a local bartender: yay or nay?

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I will admit my interest in politics, especially here on the blog, is not based on the need to know what’s going on in my government. Basically it’s just reveling in the soap-opera of it all.

And luckily Alberto Gonzales keeps on giving. The best part of his hearing on Thursday was his terse exchange with Senator Specter. These two guys are roughly on the same team, and so Gonazales thought this would be a great time to just let his annoying-ness shine. Read more for my in depth analysis of Gonzales in his finest hour:

(more…)

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From: xXGeorgieBushieXx@hotmail.com
To: KarlRove19283@yahoo.com

“OMG!1 Dude, man…Gonzo is being friggin’ ripped to shreds. They want to interview you man, but LOL I’m the pres-E-dent. LMFAO. I’ll show them !!one!1!!!11!. Hold on, I’m sending more troops to Iraq.”

That’s what I imagine the personal, secret, emails between the administration officials sounds like, since the Republican Party set up a private email server. Which sorta/kinda/mostly/does breaks a law. There’s this nice little thing called the Presidential Records Act, which is based on the idea that public/government work is public record, and that the ownership lies ultimately with the public. So it’s automatically saved. It’s part of the idea hoping for a “transparent” government. This is frightening for our current administration, because our president is scared of teh internetz and umm…accountability:

“I tend not to e-mail – not only tend not to e-mail, I don’t e-mail, uh, because of, uh, the different record requests that could happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails, ’cause, you know, there’s no telling what somebody would e-mail me and it would show up as, uh, you know, part of some kind of a story that – and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail’ – ‘But I sent it your address; how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”BUSH (youtube)

Luckily, other people in the administration use email. Rove is on the cutting edge of science. And since they were not on the government’s email system, they have to give them up (no executive privilege). Except…drats Rove accidentally deleted his emails regarding congress’ investigation into the whole GONZO thing. It’s not his fault though, the whole White House was just really confused:

“…any deletion of e-mails from the Republican accounts was sparked by confusion over a White House policy…” – CNN

Awww, poor guys. The interweb is a big scary place, especially when you throw in laws and policies in the mix. Well while they get everything straightened out, can someone buy them this book?

 

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This is part 2 in the Mets Update for Girls series. You can relive the magic of part 1 here.

Note: Regarding the title of this invaluable series, BrooklynSkeptic is not wedded (ha ha) to traditional gender roles. But there they are, nonetheless.

I love inspirational sports movies. LOVE them. It is my favorite genre after epic fantasyRudy, The Karate KidVarsity Blues, Bad News Bears, Cool Runnings, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, Miracle, Mighty Ducks, D2, D3, et cetera. Please feel free to add your own fave inspirational sports movie.

Anyway, what makes watching Dawson Leary sweat and yell and scream his team into victory so much more exciting than Michael Turner tossing around the ole pigskin?

The answer is…..

Backstory! In a movie, you get to see their trials and tribulations as the new kid in school who just can’t fit in, or the hard luck coach who just can’t get it together, or the Jamaican bobsled team who’s never seen snow before!

At this point you may be saying to yourself yes yes I’m totally with you, but what does this have to do with the Mets?

The answer is that the Mets are the only pro sports team that I would want to see in a feature-length movie. And guess what? They wouldn’t even need to cast FPJ as the All-American wonder boy or SLJ as the wisened coach. The Mets has those positions, and more, already filled by the most charming and lovable and photogenic men around!

Adorable 2006 Mets

Look at those precious poonums!

It’s not only me that thinks so. The Metropolitan Men have been getting a lot of press lately, filled with references to how much more charming and lovable they are than the Yankees.

See first the Village Voice article on Jose Reyes, “the most exciting and most handsome player in baseball”! (note: items in italics added by editor)

He is kind and adorable and loves reggaeton. Also, when you go to the games at Shea right around the 3rd Inning if you direct your attention to the jumbo-tron you will get the best Spanish lesson of your life from Profesor Reyes. Learn to say dedos or la puerta and he will melt your corazon.

 See second the NY Mag article on David Wright, who is young and handsome and corn-fed. The article explores whether David Wright is possibly too perfect. The answer? No, not really.

Here they are together:

reyeswright.jpg

There are many other talented and charming players on the team, and I encourage them to keep your eyes out for them, as I will.

So, in conclusion, when you think of the Mets in terms of inspirational sports movies it opens up a world of possibilities! When is the scene where Emilio Estevez drives out on the ice? How will we know when Rudy has finally gotten into Notre Dame? What about when, um, Kurt Russell, um, uh, uses his hatred of communism to win a hockey match? Yeah, what about that?!?

The answer is, of course, that you should to watch the Amazin’s and find out for yourself! And once you find that sweet spot, when Reyes’ every steal of a base steals your heart right along with it, then you’ve arrived and like Miss Joey Potter, you may be ready to move past that boy from the creek.

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