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    Ann Rostow: Where’s My Line?

    1-Ann-RostowBy Ann Rostow

    Where’s My Line?

    I’ve spent the last ten days or so uncharacteristically avoiding political coverage on TV, because I could not bear to contemplate Trump’s improving chance for victory. After Monday night, I breathed a sigh of relief. I know I have a Hillary bias, but even taking that into account, I just watched the most lopsided political debate I can remember.

    Naturally, Mel, our friend Claire and I were conducting a drinking game, so I was slightly tipsy. But still, I had a couple of moments of wondering exactly how many drinks I might have had because I could not understand what the hell Trump was talking about. It was like having two glasses of wine and standing up during a 4.0 earthquake. Woah! I didn’t think I had that much but the room is spinning! Was he speaking standard English? What was that about Rosie O’Donnell? Did he just brag about not paying any taxes? Did he just confirm that he saw the great recession as an opportunity to profit off depressed real estate? Sean Hannity? Who weighs four hundred pounds? What was the question?

    And I know that none of the commentators really went there, but the initial combination of his staccato speech patterns combined with the sniffs had me seriously wondering what went on in the Trump green room just before the debate. Honestly folks. Those weren’t simple “sniffles.” He started off upbeat, talking fast, and then he drifted downhill, both physically and mentally, as time went by. His sniffs became less frequent and went away. In other words, the cocaine wore off. If not that, some other powdery drug. What are the kids using these days anyway?

    Who knows? In a way, I’m trying to be kind to the man by giving him an out. Have you noticed how pinched his face can get? Pinched face and pursed lips. Then, in an instant, his mouth goes rubbery in that weird wide clown smirk. It gives me chills of repulsion and I beg the Fates to deliver us from the specter of his presidency.

    All of this is to say that I am back to my cable news addiction and am feeling much better!

    Here’s to New York Hedge Funds

    Did you notice that GLBT rights are a non-issue this election? For that matter, abortion hasn’t exactly risen to the top of the priorities lists and we haven’t heard much about Jesus or the Bible, with the exception of Trump’s erratic visits to Christian Conservative venues. Is a new Enlightenment at hand?

    I suppose we should be agitating for attention, but it’s something of a relief that we do not have to defend ourselves this time around. We’ve also tipped over into a world where candidates suffer more for being antigay then they do for favoring equality. And it’s taking some people a lot longer than others to recognize the new balance. Did you read the GOP platform this year? Don’t bother unless you’re in a masochistic mood.

    Interestingly, big business has in many ways led the march towards progress over the last decade or so. When the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference recently decided to boycott North Carolina, it was a decision borne of business considerations, not athletics. As most of you know, dozens of other businesses have withdrawn from the Tarheel state or limited their involvement in projects in response to the passage of HB2, the antigay and anti-trans bill scrambled into law in one frenetic day last March.

    Now a group of some sixty investors representing managed assets of over two trillion dollars have demanded that the legislature repeal the bill. In response, embattled governor Pat McCrory called them hypocritical New York Hedge Fund billionaires who, by implication, have no right to interfere with state affairs.

    McCrory, who is roughly tied with the Democratic state attorney general in his race for reelection, recently said he would call a special session to repeal HB2 if the city of Charlotte would first agree to repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance, which (prior to HB2) had sought to protect GLBTs against bias in public accommodations among other things, was the reason the legislature passed HB2 to begin with!

    Six months ago, panicked at the thought of Charlotte’s ordinance going into effect on April 1, lawmakers called themselves into session and created a bizarre mishmash of a statute that not only forced transmen and women to use the bathroom of their abandoned gender in state facilities, but also repealed the Charlotte ordinance and forbade Charlotte and other cities from passing civil rights laws covering GLBTs in the future. The law went even further and banned citizens’ ability to bring discrimination lawsuits in state courts. And the whole thing was written, introduced, passed and signed in a single day.

    The notion that Charlotte should now repudiate her own support of equal rights so that the legislative toads in Raleigh can have an excuse to backtrack from their disastrous behavior is laughable. And indeed, Charlotte laughed. (Cue: Female alto: HA HA HA HA!)

    Pain and Suffering, Anyone?

    While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, you should know that a federal judge in Ohio, Algenon Marbley, ruled September 26 that an 11-year-old transgirl has the right to use the girls bathroom in her Morrow County middle school, dismissing the arguments about “privacy” and “safety” advanced by the Highland Local Schools. He also told the district to respect her preferred name and pronoun.

    “School districts that have encountered these very issues have been able to integrate transgender students fully into the academic and social community without disruption, and certainly without the doomsday scenarios Highland predicts, such as sexual predators entering an elementary-school restroom,” wrote Marbley, adding there was no evidence the girl posed a threat to the safety of her classmates.

    By the way, I was just trying to check where Morrow County might be (it’s sort of in the middle of Ohio) and I noticed the County motto is “dolorem et dolor liberum,” which means: “pain and suffering are free.”

    What kind of motto is that?

    In related news, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked the Supreme Court not to review the case of Gavin Grimm, the Virginia transboy who won the right to use the boys facilities at his Gloucester high school earlier this year. Grimm’s victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was (inexplicably) put on hold by the High Court while the justices consider whether or not to, let’s say, mess with success. It takes four justices to agree to hear a case so it’s possible that the conservative crew will convince Kennedy to join them in a review of the status of transgendered men and women under our civil rights laws.

    Most people think such a review would be a good thing in principle, assuming it clarifies transgender civil rights. That said, let’s keep our victories intact and wait for another case to rise on appeal.

    I’m Over Down Under

    I wrote “Australia” down on my list, under the impression that the Parliament had formally rejected a national vote on marriage equality. Ironically, that’s basically what gay activists want to have happen. Everyone and their brother supports marriage equality in Australia, so marriage activists want Parliament simply to hold a vote, legalize marriage, and be done with it. They do not want to hold an expensive, time-consuming and non-binding (yes, it would be non-binding) public referendum on the subject. Such a referendum is essentially nothing more than a political delaying tactic.

    (Sort of like the Brexit vote, and we know where that got us.)

    I wrote “basically” because Australian politics now appear Kafkaesque where marriage is concerned and there seems to be the possibility that nothing whatsoever will happen and the matter will simply linger for several more years. Under those circumstances, it would possibly have been better to hold an election, maybe next spring. Assuming that the equality side wins big as most expect, that exercise would put inescapable pressure on Parliament to pass equality in short order.

    On the other hand, such an election threatens to trigger a lot of antigay politicking and decisive shenanigans. It will drain money from progressive pockets. And who knows? Maybe the outcome won’t be so great. (Sort of like the Brexit vote.)

    Meanwhile, there are all kinds of meetings and a lot of sound and fury signifying that there is zero leadership on this subject and deeply frustrating the efforts of non-Australian commentators to understand the status quo. I have no idea what’s going on, and the more I try and figure it out, the less I care.  This was all supposed to be an explanation of why I decided to skip the whole subject of Australia. But, as it turns out, I have rallied.

    Oh, and I’m not even sure the Parliament has completely ruled out the plebiscite because nothing seems clear! The bottom line is this. If you see a headline out the blue next week that announces marriage equality has come to Australia, please do not ask yourself why your most trusted GLBT news purveyor did not alert you to this pending development.

    Generation Gaps

    You know, I didn’t realize that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s parents thought he was gay because he kept posters of male body builders tacked up on his wall when he was a boy. Apparently his mother asked the doctor if something could be done, while his father beat the stuffing out of him.

    Poor guy!

    I was never a supporter, and like everyone else, I was appalled when he twice vetoed same-sex marriage. Still, I came around a bit after he did as well. According to a little piece in Pink News, one antigay guy unfriended Arnold after he came out in support of marriage and against Prop 8. His response? “Hasta la vista.”

    On a completely different subject, can I say something about generations? The baby boomers are post war through the mid-1960s, maybe 1964. Everyone seems clear about that.

    We also agree that Gen-X comes next, although some people start them in the early sixties and some in the late. Some people give them 15 years, some 20. In other words, consensus starts to dissolve and it just gets worse.

    What comes after Gen-X, you ask? It used to be Gen-Y, but that generation doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So it might be the Millennials, right? I have the impression that the Millennials are now between the ages of 20 and 35, or something like that, don’t you? That would make their birth between 1980 and 1995, which puts Gen-X between 1965 and 1980.

    I have a hard time thinking of a 51-year-old Gen-Xer, but I suppose they have to begin at some point, right?

    Now, some people have different dates for the Millennials which adds to the confusion. And I’m not sure we have all settled on a name for their successors. I’ve been reading about Gen-Z, a moniker that betrays a singular lack of imagination. But I also read that someone suggested the group born beginning in 1996 be known as the iGen.

    Personally, I think Millennials should go all the way up to the end of the century. Why end an official generation in 1996, for heaven’s sake! End it in 1999 like the name suggests. And give the next generation their full 21st century identity, complete with the designation iGen that reflects their status as the first completely computerized human cohort. That’s my view anyway.

    By the way, Millennials, you know you’re getting old when the next generation has an official name. You really start to feel it when all the articles start to fixate on Gen-Z or iGen or whatever it may be. Don’t be sad. It happens to the best of us. At least you didn’t have to compete with the “Greatest Generation.” As I’ve said before, they were “great” because they were there. We’d all have done the same thing, right guys?

    Well, actually I’m not sure about the iGen. Personally, I think they’re a pretty childish bunch.

    arostow@aol.com