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    Ann Rostow: It’s Hard to Believe Another Year Has Come and Gone


    By Ann Rostow

    It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone, and even harder to believe the shocking turn of events that befell us, and continue to befall us, in its waning weeks. I was just trying to offer an optimistic silver lining, but I can’t seem to come up with anything. “It’s only four years” doesn’t really cheer us up now, does it? I suppose we can look forward to the mid-terms. Maybe.

    Look. Previous generations of Americans have survived revolution, crossed the wilderness and fought a civil war, plus two world wars abroad. Surely we can survive a few years of Trump.

    Meanwhile, it’s the holiday season! Football, airports, candy, shopping malls, good movies, Cognac and our yearly news quiz.

    Here we go:

    Q1. Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman and Melissa Klein won headlines for:

    a) Winning state legislative races as openly gay candidates

    b) Litigating their right to refuse to bake cakes for gay couples

    c) Refusing to use the restroom of their birth gender in North Carolina

    d) Contesting custody of a child born to Klein and Stutzman using Phillips’ sperm donation

    e) Gay bashing a couple of men in downtown Philadelphia

    Q2. Transgender job bias plaintiffs technically have a better legal position than gays under federal law because:

    a) They may be heterosexual

    b) Sexual stereotyping has already been outlawed by the High Court

    c) Being gay is a behavior, while being trans is an identity

    d) There are many more anti-gay precedents than anti-trans precedents

    Q3. The biggest threat to the GLBT community from the election of Trump is:

    a) The possibility of antigay Mike Pence pulling the strings or becoming president

    b) The possibility of a conservative majority on the High Court

    c) The reversal of pro-gay attitudes in cabinet departments and federal agencies

    d) The destruction of the known universe

    Q4. One Million Moms got their knickers in a twist over:

    a) Proctor & Gambles’ announcement that Mr. Clean “might” be gay

    b) A civic award bestowed on gay pandas, Micky and Silver, by the city of Richmond, Virginia

    c) A jewelry commercial that included two lesbians getting married

    d) A rainbow chip pride packaging promotion by Frito-Lay

    Q5. Trump said the anti-trans North Carolina law, HB2:

    a) Was a “self-inflicted wound”

    b) Did not go far enough

    c) Was nothing more than “common sense”

    d) Was a matter of state policy and should be left alone

    e) Was “no big deal”

    Q. Gavin Grimm is:

    a) A transgender teen fighting for bathroom access in his Virginia high school

    b) An Indiana teacher arguing a workplace bias case before the full 7th Circuit

    c) An intersex Lambda Legal client trying to obtain a passport without selecting male or female on the application

    d) A high school football player charged with 69 misdemeanors for exposing his genitals in his yearbook’s team photo. (From a back row)

    Q7. In Australia:

    a) The parliament voted for a marriage equality referendum, which will take place in early 2017

    b) The parliament voted against a referendum, but planned a free vote on marriage equality in early 2017

    c) The parliament voted for both a referendum and planned a free vote on marriage equality

    d) The parliament delayed marriage votes of all sorts

    e) The parliament voted against a referendum, but has not scheduled a free vote

    f) No one cares what these guys do because it’s too confusing and they can’t manage to pass equality, even though majorities are in support and the country remains a decade or two behind the rest of the world

    Q8. The Michigan legislature reinstated its sodomy law because:

    a) Lawmakers wanted to make a symbolic antigay statement

    b) It was the only practical way to ban bestiality

    c) The legislative clerk made a typing error in the official record

    d) State officials were planning a test case against Lawrence v Texas

    Q9.  Which of these events did not happen in 2016:

    a) Clinton said she would release government files on extraterrestrial aliens if elected

    b) Scientists said men might someday be able to give birth without women

    c) High school kids started drinking hand sanitizer to get high

    d) GLBT physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland were subjected to antigay emails and bullying at work

    e) The Republican governor of South Dakota vetoed an anti-trans law after meeting with transgender men and women

    f) Two lesbian women crashed their cars on a deserted highway in Nevada and realized while exchanging information that they had both had affairs with ex-lovers of the same person

    Q10. Our country has reason for optimism because:

    a) The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice

    b) We are hitting rock bottom and have only one way to go from here

    c) The non-Trump majority will grow as it faces adversity

    d) We have alcohol

    e) Our national institutions are strong and will survive a few years of chaos


    Q1: b) Phillips has petitioned the High Court. Stutzman is waiting for a ruling from the Washington Supreme Court. Klein is (reportedly) broke.

    Q2: b) The High Court’s 1989 ruling in Price Waterhouse v Hopkins made it illegal to discriminate based on gender norms. Courts have started to put the precedent to work in the last decade or so.

    Q3: c) All of the above are threats, but the biggest threat is behind the scenes in the attitudes of the Justice Department, the Department of Education and their respective agencies, moving from strongly pro-equality to strongly antigay. The implications will be insidious. d) is hyperbole. Honestly.

    Q4: c) It was Zales. For the record, P&G says Mr. Clean is not gay. He was found on a farm as a baby, and as he grew “so did his love of cleaning.” The rainbow chips were in 2015.

    Q5: d) First he said a) but then he flip flopped to d).

    Q6: a) Grimm’s case, which he won at the Fourth Circuit, has been accepted by the Supreme Court for review this session. The Indiana teacher is Kim Hively.

    Q7: e) and f).

    Q8: Answer: b) If they had tried to remove the now-moot sodomy ban from the text of their animal rights amendment, they would have triggered an antigay sideshow

    Q9: f) That could never happen!

    Q10: Answer: d)

    See you next year!