Posted by: Catherine Lugg | July 12, 2015

Up For Air

Hi Folks!

I apologize for the radio silence. I’ve been trying to finish a big, bad book on the politics of queer erasure and U.S. public schools, from the 1920s until today. So, between working on that, waiting on a potential Supreme Court decision, etc., it’s been a bit crazy, busy.

On Obergefell v. Hodges: This is one of the most important decisions for queer Americans, ever. I wasn’t not surprised that the court said that states had to recognize valid marriage contracts. In a secular state, marriage is a legally binding contract, just like credit card application–to be rather pedestrian. It is not, nor can it be, a mere matter of religion. Consequently, that part of the decision wasn’t s surprised.

The second part: Did queers have a fundamental Constitutional right to marry? THAT positive response was a happy shock and surprise. Justice Kennedy went further than I ever had hoped. And the dissent was as angry as it was incoherent (4 separate opinions? Really???). Consequently, once the door has been opened to one fundamental Constitutional right, the rest should follow.

This decision has incredible implications for U.S. public schools. It will take more litigation, unfortunately, to hammer things out for queer employees and students, but we now have a path to muuuuch better days ahead. I will be mapping these out in my forthcoming book (with Palgrave).


Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 10, 2014

And the South is a changin….

There have been scads of legal developments over the last 18 months or so. From the Windsor decision to a host of lower court decisions ruling that yes, queer people CAN get married and have our marriages recognized by both the federal and state governments. While the 6th Circuit decision seems to be an outlier, I’m not sure it will go to the Supreme Court.  I suspect the entire 6th Circuit judges will hear this case, and, will likely be overturned.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, the board of the Fairfax County Public School System has approved extended legal protections to their queer employees, including recognizing married employees and extending benefits. While one board member voted against the measure, grumbling that the nondiscrimination policy was overly broad and created a surplus of “protected classes,” the change actually brings Fairfax County into alignment with the other DC metro public school districts.

Clearly, the “old order” of state-sanctioned homophobia is crumbling, even in the most recalcitrant states. That said, I fully expect there to be more litigation in the near future. Change this critical doesn’t come all at once, but by constantly chipping away at the institutional oppression.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 31, 2014

Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski prefers queer kids to be dead

Today, my wife Mary and I are attending a social work conference on Queer Youth of Color and Suicide. ORIGINALLY, the conference was to be held at the Newman Center at Rutgers-New Brunswick. The sponsoring group has used the Newman Center for years to host social work events.

A few weeks ago, this session was unilaterally canceled by Bishop Bootkoski, without notifying the people who run the Newman center. There was no reason given. But his actions clearly indicate that he would rather have Queer Youth of Color DIE, than have his precious Newman Center be contaminated by queers and our issues.

So much for Bootkoski being pro-life. Not when it comes to queer youth of color. His stance is rooted in both homophobia AND racism.

I’m not going to let his go. Not when there are kids’ lives at stake.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | September 6, 2014

Not even I would go there…..

I have a reputation for cultivating a sarcastic tone in my scholarly tomes. But Judge Richard Posner, writing for the Majority of the Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, makes me look like a literary sissy. He applied the “Kitchen Magician” approach to legal writing, and SAVAGED both Wisconsin and Indiana for barring same-sex marriage.” Here’s but ONE delicious example:

“Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.”

Clearly, this REAGAN-ERA appointee has had it with the legal “reindeer games” played by the homophobic political leadership of certain states. The entire opinion is a harsh trip to the legal and policy wood shed. Or as Charles P. Pierce opined:

On Thursday, federal judge Richard Posner was remarkably plain-spoken in his decision that overturned anti-marriage equality laws in both Indiana and Wisconsin. And when I say  “overturned,” I mean “tore into tiny pieces, lit on fire, and fed through a wood chipper and into an acid bath.”

Bwahahahaha!!!! I think even the majority of judicial conservatives are sick of state-sponsored homophobia, and will write accordingly. Please go read his decision. It won’t be overturned, though he’s baiting Scalia to try.

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | September 2, 2014

An Open Letter to Star-Ledger Editorial Board Director Tom Moran

Please read and share. This is SPOT ON!


Dear Tom,

This week, you crossed a line.

Until now, your pieces in the Star-Ledger about Newark’s school system and the reorganization of the district have been ill-informed and reckless. You’ve ignored the warnings of teachers, parents, community leaders, researchers, and students, preferring instead to cling to recycled talking points crafted by those with scant little experience in education policy, but much to gain in profits.

You’ve paid a price: like your ridiculous attempt to walk back from your disastrous endorsement of Chris Christie, your continuing effort to support State Superintendent Cami Anderson while distancing yourself from the consequences of her catastrophic leadership has shredded any integrity you had left as a journalist. Any standing your newspaper had left as a champion of the people of Newark has also eroded: as with Anderson, no one in the city trusts you or the Star-Ledger’s editorial page anymore.

“Shame on…

View original post 1,868 more words

Posted by: Catherine Lugg | May 17, 2014

Harvey Firestein

Has a heart-breaking essay in the New York Times on the fate of one transgender child. I’m pretty hard boiled these days, but this had me sobbing in rage and helplessness.

Only those with a heart of stone will remain unmoved.

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.

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