Posted by: Catherine Lugg | March 25, 2014

Tomboy gets expelled by Christian School

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | January 18, 2014

Trans woman DARES hateful pol to stone her to death

In December, the Shreveport Louisiana City Council passed an ordinence that banned discrimination against LGBT people. Then, citing the Bible, City Councilman Ron Webb proposed a repeal of the ordinance, citing his religious objections. PLEASE check out what happened at the next Council Meeting.

(Alas, it’s not on YouTube, so you’ll need to hit the link).

Pamela Raintree, a transgender woman, has ENORMOUS courage. And she called “BS” on Webb’s use of G-D as his sock-puppet for bigotry.  Ms. Raintree is totally awesome!

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | December 21, 2013

Michelangelo Signorile on “Duck Dynasty” bigot

Just go read Michelangelo Signorile, who is on righteous FIRE. Here’s a key point: 

Is it really OK to group gay people with people who engage in sex with animals, and with mass murderers who plot attacks on innocent people? Do we really think there should be no ramifications from an employer for such speech if you say that as the star of a television show? And if it was said about any other group, like Jews or blacks — grouping them with pig-f**kers and terrorists — would we see so much defense of it? (And let’s not forget that Robertson did make ugly racial comments as well, saying that blacks were better off under Jim Crow America — “they were godly” and “they were happy” — and his defenders are just ignoring this defamation.)

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 7, 2013

Academics, anatomy, and the Nazis

Emily Bazelon has a terrific, and terrifically terrifying, historical essay on German academics and their access to the bodies of murdered German political prisoners. It opens with,

In 1941, Charlotte Pommer graduated from medical school at the University of Berlin and went to work for Hermann Stieve, head of the school’s Institute of Anatomy. The daughter of a bookseller, Pommer had grown up in Germany’s capital city as Hitler rose to power. But she didn’t appreciate what the Nazis meant for her chosen field until Dec. 22, 1942. What she saw in Stieve’s laboratory that day changed the course of her life—and led her to a singular act of protest.

Stieve got his “material,” as he called the bodies he used for research, from nearby Plötzensee Prison, where the courts sent defendants for execution after sentencing them to die. In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only “dangerous criminals.” But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them.

Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen.
Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen
Courtesy of Kelisi/Creative Commons

On one table lay Libertas Schulze-Boysen, granddaughter of a Prussian prince. She’d been raised in the family castle, gone to finishing school in Switzerland, and worked as the Berlin press officer for the Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She joined the Nazi Party in 1933. On a hunting party, she flirted with Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, the German air force. But in 1937 Schulze-Boysen joined the resistance with her husband, Harro, a Luftwaffe lieutenant. They helped form a small rebel group the Nazis called the Red Orchestra. When Libertas started working for Hitler’s movie empire in 1941, she gathered photos of atrocities from the front for a secret archive. Harro was transferred to Göring’s command center and with other dissidents started passing to the Soviets detailed information about Hitler’s plan to invade Russia. The Gestapo decoded their radio messages in 1942 and arrested Harro at the end of August. They came for Libertas eight days later. Both she and her husband were sentenced to death for espionage and treason.

Just go block out an hour and go read the entire piece. And then think about how various countries have failed to address their participation in crimes against humanity. The quest for “normalcy” is invoked as the justification to erase horror and moral culpability.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 4, 2013

Kids react to the realities of “Gay marriage.”

Here is a dandy video of kids’ reactions to gay marriage proposals. It’s really a fabulous video.

Given the new legal environment in NJ, my partner Mary and I will be getting married later this month. Since it’s been a bit of a scramble, the blog postings will continue to be light.  This will be our “fourth time” since we’ve always tried to have some form of legal protections in place. To wit, we have: A Vermont Civil Union (2001); a New Jersey Domestic Partnership (2004) and a NJ Civil Union (2007). Of course, given the US Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, and subsequent federal regulations, the federal government will ONLY recognize marriage

So, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan (oh the irony!), here we go again. But it’s a very happy time.

I’ll be back in a few weeks.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 17, 2013

Rolling Stone does it again.

Rolling Stone has been doing some heroic work detailing the lives of queer youth in the US. This month there is a story by Alex Morris regarding the experiences of LGB youth who attend Christian schools. These schools have bans on queer identity.

Since many states are moving towards “neo-voucher schemes” these schools may be running afoul of Title IX (discrimination on perceived gender and sexual orientation), since they are receiving public monies. If religious organizations are receiving public monies, they should comport with public policies. This how religious schools were forced to desegregate in the late 1970s.

But a major hat tip to Alex Morris and the editors of Rolling Stone for being so persistent in their reporting on Queer American youth.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | September 25, 2013


A very sad update to the post on Cassidy Lynn Campbell, the trans homecoming queen.  According to John Aravosis, she’s been the subject of absolutely VICIOUS YouTube bullying. Her video is just heart breaking….

There are truly some stupid, evil and just HATEFUL people out there.  Telling a 16 year-old to go kill themselves is despicable. But I guess that sort of bile makes some folks feel like REAL men. Ick!!! This reaction gives lie to the notion that the US is the “land of the free, home of the brave.” Well, in this case, not so much.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | September 23, 2013

CA trans teen crowned homecoming queen

I’ve always been underwhelmed by the endless heterosexist pageantry of US high schools. I might have to rethink that one.  Cassidy Lynn Campbell, who is transgender, has just been elected homecoming queen of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California. From the LA Times: 

“If I win it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender I always felt I was,” Cassidy, 16, told The Times before the election.

“But with all the attention, I realized it’s bigger than me,” she said. “I’m doing this for the kids who can’t be themselves.”

On Friday, at Marina High’s homecoming pep rally, the field of 10 homecoming queen candidates was thinned to five — Cassidy among them.

At halftime, school district spokesman Tom Delapp said, the five finalists were called up and balloons were released from a box to announce the winner — white for the princesses and bright yellow and blue for the queen.

“She was stunned. She kind of broke down on the podium,” Delapp said of Cassidy. “She was shocked. She cried a lot.”

Students started chanting her name and then ran down to give her a hug, he said.

Please check out the entire story. It’s a GREAT way to start the work week. Three cheers for Cassidy Campbell and her FABULOUS classmates. They are OUR future and, in many instances, our present.


Posted by: Catherine Lugg | August 20, 2013

Jose Sarria has passed

One of the giants of the queer rights movement died yesterday, Jose Sarria. Sarria was the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in either the US or Canada, doing so in 1961, when he ran for Supervisor for the City of San Francisco. This was at a time where being “openly homosexual” risked being thrown in jail and/or the looney bin. Sarria, a bar tender at the gay bar, “The Black Cat,” was sick and tired of the bar raids and the unrelenting police harassment of queers. So, he decided to do something, which was to run for public office as an openly gay man–an extraordinarily brave act. While he lost by a landslide (it was 1961, after all), he helped jam the closet door open for other would be queer activists and politicians.

Sarria was legendary for his activism–which was campy and totally “in your face.” As a bar tender, when closing time came, he would invite the patrons of the Black Cat to stand up and sing “God Save Us, Nelly Queens. Below is a video of him singing this in 2010.

The more conservative members of the queer communities are probably having kittens and puppies, but the reason we have strong and vibrant queer communities in 2013 are thanks to the heroic leadership of the “Nelly Queens” and the “Bull Dykes” of the mid 20th century.

Rest in peace, brother.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | July 10, 2013

Good news from the US Department of Education

Almost three years ago, I was part of an AREA-sponsored meeting on LGBT issues in education. A portion of that meeting was spent on building better data infrastructures including the USDOE’s various databases. At the time, I observed:

Yesterday, one of the sessions was beyond depressing. John Easton came in from the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences where he is the Director. A good chunk of the session was spent discussing data infrastructure needs (building large datasets). Most of this would be a snoozer for me since methodologically I’m a historian. But when Dr. Easton was pushed to include a mere few questions regarding a student’s sexual orientation and gender identity on the survey behind the database, he quickly slapped down that suggestion. Furthermore, the entire manner in which that idea was throttled was incredibly condescending. Various scholars brought up the issue of the high rate of suicide with queer youth and just getting a baseline number of “how many” would be helpful. Second, it would end arguments that, “we really don’t have any queer kids in our district or state.”

Of course, the larger issue was and is one of federal recognition. As I later noted:

The Institute for Education Science’s refusal to even consider including queer identities as student indicators on their national surveys makes US queer kids officially invisible, non-entities, non-people. This is a conscious moral choice by the federal government to devalue young American queers. Historically, in the US, if you are important, you get counted, if you’re not important, well, you’re invisible, voiceless–you literally don’t exist. This lack of federal recognition means that some school district and state leaders can claim “we don’t have any” queer kids (much like Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). In turn, educational researchers are denied critical information like the actual number of self-identified queer kids in the US and their experiences within public schools. Without federal data, it makes it extremely hard to make informed policy judgments from the federal department of education to your local public school.

So, imagine my stunned delight when I received the following missive from GLSEN this morning.

For those who have not heard yet, we got word last month from the U.S. Dept of Education that they are planning on collecting LGBT-related data on three of their data collection systems – which is HUGE news. The three are:

- Dept of Ed Office of Civil Rights Data Collection: the mandatory questionnaire completed from all school districts about incidents of bullying will now include questions about bullying/harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation (it already includes similar questions about victimization based on race, gender, and specifically including gender stereotyping and gender nonconformity)

- High School Longitudinal Survey: adding sexual orientation and gender identity/trans status items (note: glad to hear they will be doing their standard testing process to see best ways to ask these items with this population for this survey and the school crime supplement below)

- School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey: adding sexual orientation and gender identity/trans status items

Now, this is just a start, a critical start. But the horrible intransigence from 3 years ago is now GONE!

Thanks to ALL of the queer educational activists and scholars, and our allies, who have worked so heroically (especially the folks at GLSEN) to see that the feds *ARE* counting everyone.

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