Posted by: Catherine Lugg | April 16, 2018

On the immolation of David Buckel

On early Saturday, April 14, 2018, David Buckel, a long-time litigator for civil rights and environmentalist, set fire to himself in Prospect Park. He left a note saying his death was a political act to protest the world’s use of fossil fuels.

I had long admired Mr. Buckel’s work as a litigator: From Bradon Tenna’s heirs, to Jamie Nabozny, to marriage equity in Iowa and New Jersey, he constantly worked to make queer people recognizable under the law. He did heroic work, critical work, and both my personal and professional lives are far better for it.

And yet….. I remain appalled that he thought suicide would be a stronger political act than litigation. Especially during a time of conservative assault, when a whole slew of people would happily dance upon our queer graves, suicide seems unthinkable. Perhaps I have been working too long in the field of queer politics, but the last thing I want is to do want the Mike Pence’s of this world want: for queers to vanish, i.e., to die. Our very lives prove that the homophobes are lying.

I remain profoundly sad and deeply angry for David Buckle’s passing.

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Posted by: Catherine Lugg | March 3, 2018

Back in the saddle again

It’s been a long year, with lots of adventures in adjusting to a new work assignment and a crazed presidential administration (which has had me scribbling away). The work assignment is drawing to a close, so I plan to start posting more regularly. Clearly, queer people, and especially trans people, are deeply hated by the current presidential administration.

And it’s clear that our cult of gun ownership is FINALLY being seriously questioned. So, for as scary and brutal as things are at the moment, I am cautiously optimistic.

Stay tuned….

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | March 14, 2017

Penn State, again

Finally, Tim Curely and Gary Schultz, the disgraced former Athletic Director and Vice President pled guilty yesterday to the charge of child endangerment. Originally, they were also charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. The plea deal, where they copped to misdemeanor charges, probably means they will not serve ANY jail time–though they could be sentenced to at least 5 years.

But, let’s get real. It’s Penn State football and these guys are white elites. And even though their lack of action meant that poor young boys were raped, these guys aren’t going to jail. Heck, Curley and Schultz aren’t even convicted felons, so they’ll keep their public pensions and any professional licenses.

We’re getting a loooooong lesson on just how is held accountable when those in-charge engage in long-standing felonious behavior. Not.at.all, in the end.

 

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | February 23, 2017

Trump legalizes trans hate

Yesterday, the Trump administration reversed an Obama administration’s “guidance” concerning the rights of trans students attending public institutions. Under the Obama’s administration reading of Title IX, trans students were to be permitted to use the bathroom and locker facilities that are congruent with their identity.

Trump just killed all that citing “states’ rights.”

So, using the neo-Confederate reasoning straight out of the White Supremacist reaction to  desegregation, the Trumpsters are throwing trans kids to the literal wolves.

For those of us who care about social justice for all kids, we’re going to be very busy over the next few years, litigating this at the federal level, but also working at state and local levels to pass trans protections in locales that don’t have them, and to be sure they are enforced where we do (like NJ).

BUT, we also need to throw the “states’ rights” justification back in their faces if the feds start demanding information on our undocumented students, etc. etc. If they believe that states *ARE* sovereign in ed, policy, okay. It should cut across every single domain that touches upon public schools.

Stay tuned……

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | February 14, 2017

Working, working, working

I apologize for the protracted radio silence, but the Trump administration’s foolishness has been keeping me VERY busy with my day job. Let it suffice that we’re seeing the rage of Nixon combined with the brain of Reagan.

As a country, we’re in deeeeeeep trouble. The resignation of Michael Flynn should NOT be a surprise, since he never should have been in that position anyway. He was totally compromised by the Russians….as is Trump.

We live in VERY interesting times…..

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 4, 2016

Rachel Bloom’s go vote video

It’s not safe for work, but it *IS* laugh out loud funny, if you’re an out queer. Just sayin!

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/11/04/rachel_bloom_elizabeth_banks_and_more_sing_anti_trump_song_video.html

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | June 13, 2016

On the Orlando Massacre

On Saturday night, a violent man came to a queer night club with a weapon of war and slaughtered 49 of my queer sisters and brothers. While I WILL have more to say about all of this, right now I am too shocked to say much except homophobia continues to kill. And now, we have machine guns for the haters to use on us.

 

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 5, 2015

Too queer for PFLAG

A dear friend just contacted me. It seems her local PFLAG group, for which she was volunteering on their board, decided that she was too queer to belong. In fact, the non-queer folks running the group are really UNCOMFORTABLE with the adult queers who are also part of the group.

So, she has been asked to leave, indirectly. Of course, this has been done in the typical passive aggressive way: “All of the queer adults who come to PFLAG are broken, damaged, ill people who need help, which PFLAG cannot provide, and which makes them inappropriate for board positions. However, the “generous” non-queers opined that. the adult queer “ can serve as a “cautionary tale” for the straight parents who can see what horrors might befall them if they don’t support their kids.”

Right, the “poor tortured queer” meme rides again. And it was AIMED right at my friend.

Yah know, even well-meaning non-queers, can be absolutely toxic, particularly when they dive head first into “respectability politics.” If they think “obviously queer” people set a bad example, I can well imagine how well they understand, care for, and even love their own kids (NOT!)  There’s a long, long, long, LONG way to go before queers are seen as ANYTHING but, “damaged heterosexuals.”

Meh.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 1, 2015

Not seeing the racism in front of your face

One of the appalling issues confronting me has been the anti-black racism of long-time white friends who stubbornly refuse to see racism when it occurs. The latest example is from Spring Valley Hill High School, in Columbia, South Carolina, where a black female high school student was assault by a “school resource officer”–Ben Fields–for refusing to surrender her cell phone. Instead of the school administrators handling the matter, the leadership of the school escalated the entire matter, by calling in the police officer, who promptly flipped the student and her chair backwards and then dragging her across the classroom floor.

The video, which is posted at The State newspaper web site, is damning. I urge you to watch it several times, even though it’s stomach churning.

It’s hard not to see this as racial violence. The student is young, black and female, the police officer is white and male. He completely towers over her. And it is clear that she presented NO threat of violence what so ever to either the school personnel or students. But because she said “no,” the police officer, who has the reputation of “Officer Slam” at the school, felt entitled to assault her. He is lucky that he didn’t break her neck when he flipped her and the desk she was sitting in, over. This is a man who has bragged about bench-pressing 600 pounds.

The officer in question, Ben Fields,  was immediately fired the next day. Clearly, if there had been ANY ambiguity in his actions, the County Sheriff would have placed him on administrative leave (either paid or unpaid). Instead, he was fired. Just like that. The FBI and Department of Justice have also announced they are investigating the matter, since it seems he has a history of misconduct and racial bias.

Earlier in the week, I posted on Facebook about the incident as well as my own thoughts. And yet, a few of my long-time friends, stubbornly claimed it was the student who was in the wrong, that somehow, this young woman, a woman who had recently lost her family, was responsible for igniting the very violence that she received. It mattered not when I pointed out that her family had recently passed, nor when I pulled out all of the dismal data and experiences of close friends of relentless, unending racial bias. Without quite saying it, the inference was that if certain folks wouldn’t be so uppity….

No, no, no. Police officers, particularly those working in public schools, are not judge, juries and to be medieval, floggers. And the context is important. White officer, black young woman in Columbia, SC–the heart of the Confederacy. Clearly, she was NOT submissive, not meek, not accepting the demand that she relinquish her phone (which *IS* her property).  That the young woman who was brutalized was arrested, was just another injury to the ones that were inflicted on her. 

While the majority of my friends also voiced their horror, a few used this as an example of why the student in question “had it coming to her.” I failed to muster any convincing evidence that swayed their dead-certain opinions. One also went to great length in how the “race baiters” would blow this up into a bigger matter–the same person who is a huge Michael Savage fan. Supposedly, this incident wasn’t about institutionalized racism, but that the cop was reacting to an out-of-control student. And there are too many of these out-of-control students in our schools. And why doesn’t anyone report on the out-of-control white students, and and and

In disgust, I blocked the post, which was probably a mistake.

But I have learned a valuable lesson. When rebuking anti-black racism where my audience is partially comprised of the “Michael Savage” contingent, I need to be prepared for the inevitable racial trolling. And call it for what it is.

And I have ended one friendship–32 years or not–For there are some lines that cannot be uncrossed no matter how long I’ve known and cared about someone.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 12, 2015

Down the memory hole

One of the on-going problems in this internet age is the “memory hole,” or where politically inconvenient or unpopular blogs posts go….to never reappear.

Without going into much detail, this may have been the fate of some of my posts from a few years ago. This is not too surprising, though it is disappointing. The situation does underscore the fragility of critique in the internet age. Americans, in particular, are quite deft in disposing with inconvenient data.

Guess who’s back????

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