Monday, February 23, 2009

South Dakota Bans Sexual Discrimination


The North Dakota Senate passes a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, state and local government services, insurance and credit transactions. This legal acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community comes in the wake of the state government's attacks on a woman's right to choose.

On February 19, 2009, the Senate voted 27-19 to pass Bill 2278, which adds sexual orientation, defined as "actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression," to the list of classes protected under existing North Dakota anti-discrimination laws. Current classes include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, and status of public assistance. The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for review.

Most states do not include sexual orientation or gender identity in the classes protected from discrimination. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, by July 2008 there were seven states that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But while discrimination is illegal, North Dakota still does not have a law classifying crimes committed based on sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes. As of July 2008, Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia lacked hate crime laws to include sexual orientation or sexual identity. Five other states lack hate crimes based on any characteristics. But the majority of states - 31 states and the District of Columbia - do have hate crime laws to include sexual orientation although only eleven and the District of Columbia include gender identity. So while North Dakota is moving ahead of the nation in anti-discrimination laws, it still falls behind in protecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community from violence and crime.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saying No to Bans on Gay-Straight Alliances


The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has filed a federal lawsuit against the Nassau County (Fla.) School Board on Feb. 10, after school administrators denied students permission to form Gay-Straight Alliances at Yulee High School and Yulee Middle School.

In a letter denying access to the group, the board’s superintendent said that groups with names referencing a sexual orientation would not be recognized and that even if the group changed its name to one not communicating a gay-specific mission, approval was uncertain.

The ACLU lawsuit is alleging violations of the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act, and seeks a preliminary injunction to force school officials to allow the GSA to meet at Yulee High School while the litigation makes its way to trial.
The ACLU of Florida recently won an analogous federal case after Okeechobee High School refused to allow a GSA group to meet. The Okeechobee County School Board ended up paying $326,000 in attorneys’ fees.

“Gay and lesbian students deserve schools that heed the rule of law,” said Robert Rosenwald, director of the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project. “These students are trying to bring a message of equality and openness, and the lesson they are being taught is that Yulee High School administrators believe discrimination against LGBT students is an acceptable policy.”

The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to grant access and recognition to a GSA — and most other student groups — if the school allows any extracurricular groups to meet on campus, which both Yulee schools do. There are more than 4,000 GSAs in the U.S.

My comment: Besides the question of flouting the rule of the law, which this article clearly points out, the issue of clamping down on open debate is also at stake. As a teacher, I have seen this happen far too often, even in colleges. Administrators fear for their lives when teachers try to engage their students in frank discussions of thorny or touchy subjects, sexuality included. Schools sometimes seem to prefer that their students live under coconut shells, and never embrace the world as their oyster. It's all so archaic, so backward looking. Without open debate, modernity is stymied, and progress dies. So come on--give your youngsters the power of knowledge.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to Get Laid in Japanese

Look at the list below of must-know terms in Japanese, necessary for one's survival in the gay land of Cherry Blossoms. VIsit this country of bizarre contradictions--from the sale of soft porn in grocery stores to "nooner" hourly rooms, from centuries tradition of bowing to kimono-clad geishas.

Like gay scenes anywhere, the Japanese gay scene has its own lingo. Let's look at a few of the most common phrases heard amongst Japanese gay guys.

gei pronounced "gay". An easy start to the lesson.

kotchi = family: The word kochi or, with a lingering lilt on the "ch," kotchi ("cot chee") literally, and quite simply, means "here" or "on this side". It's not too big a stretch of the imagination to interpret it as "someone of the same group as myself," or, in English gay parlance, "family".
"Ano hito wa kotchi kana?" "That person's family, isn't he?"

okama = fag, poof: the noun kama means pot, as in a large pot used for cooking stews in, originally over an open fire - more like "cauldron," perhaps. Add an honorific "o" to the front of it, and you have the Japanese word for "fag" or "poof" - etymology unknown.
Read the list of must-know terms in order to survive in gay old Japan, should you ever have the chance to visit this country of unbridled contradictions, from the sale of soft porn in supermarkets to the hourly hotel rooms for "nooners," from the centuries tradition of bowing to frenzied passion for all things western.

nonke = straight: the roots of the word are obscure, but nonke simply means "straight".

tachi = top: the verb tatsu means "to stand". Tachi is the noun derived from that verb, i.e. "something that stands," or "a top".

ukemi = bottom: the verb ukeru means to "take, , receive, accept," thus uke (receiving) mi (body, party) means "one who receives," or, a bottom.

neko = bottom: neko literally means "cat". It has exactly the same meaning as ukemi, but in a slangier way.

riba = versatile. riba ("ree-ba") represents the first two syllables of the English word "reversible".

chinchin, mara = penis. chinchin is a kid's word for penis, and mara is a more hardcore "grown-up" word for it. You'll hear both, the choice of words depending on the setting.

dekachin, dekamara = huge cock: dekkai (from which deka is derived) is an adjective meaning "huge". chin is an abbreviation of chinchin (see above), and mara is just mara (see above).

kintama = balls, testicles. Literally "golden" (kin) "balls" (tama). Get it?