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Gender-specific restrooms are wholly unnecessary.

Gender-specific restrooms actually cause more problems than they “solve” and while some of those issues are minor inconveniences (like me being mistaken for a woman in the men’s room) others are quite serious (like the father in Utah who was just beaten up this weekend for taking his daughter into the men’s room).

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This is how a public restroom should look:

Gender-specific restrooms actually cause more problems than they “solve” and while some of those issues are minor inconveniences (like me being mistaken for a woman in the men’s room) others are quite serious (like the father in Utah who was just beaten up this weekend for taking his daughter into the men’s room).  Genderless restroom facilities do away with all of that because there is no expectation of gender when you enter.  There’s no shock at seeing someone of a different gender presentation because they’re expected to be there.

As y’all might remember, I had a cute sundress moment over the weekend with an updo and some gladiator sandals.

Nothing I was wearing was all that feminine – just flowy and bold – but definitely outside of the normal presentation for a Black man in NYC, so a few people throw quick side eye.

I care not.

While we were at brunch, I went to the bathroom and when I was washing my hands – with my back to the door – this guy came in, immediately said “oops, sorry ma’am” and backed out, thinking he was in the men’s room because he saw a dress and a french twist.  Minor inconvenience, but wholly avoidable if the restroom was a genderless facility.  You’d have no reason to only see a man washing his hands at the sink, and if you saw a woman (or what you perceived to be a woman from the split second you saw them from the back), you’d just proceed to a stall and do your business.

On the other end of that scenario we have the not-so-polite guy who just goes “oops, sorry ma’am.”  We have the Genital Police who feel it’s their duty to protect the bathroom space from…other genitals being in the same place with them I guess.

Christopher Adams said his 7-year-old son, Kyler, and 5-year-old daughter, Emery, both had to use the restroom Sunday when their family went shopping at the Clinton store for blinds and storage bins, so he took them both into the men’s room, reported KSL-TV.

They were quickly confronted by a man who did not think a girl should be allowed to enter a restroom designated for men.

“This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal,” Adams told the TV station. “Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the F-bomb — and what he was freaking out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.”

The man told Adams that it was “inappropriate,” and then shoved the father after he gave him a terse response.

Adams tried to move his children away from the man — who then escalated the conflict.

“When I turned back around, I got sucker-punched right here,” Adams said, pointing to his bruised left eye.

The man punched Adams several more times and kicked him in the knee multiple times, until the father was able to push his attacker out of the restroom and subdue him.

(cont.)

A couple of things to note.  One, Utah is one of the eleven states who just filed suit against the Obama Administration for its directive regarding trans people and public restrooms.  The directive isn’t binding by law, but these 11 states still felt the need to file suit against what basically amounts to a suggestion on how to be a decent human being.

Two, my mother and I were joined at the hip when I was little and I was always in the women’s restroom.  If I had to go pee, she’d take me in with her to do my business because, really, what’s the other option?  Let a four-year-old boy use the restroom alone in a closed room with grown men?  How safe does that sound?  Kudos to this dad and all parents who supervise their kids regardless of the whispers of strangers. But what I really wanted to point out is the fact that I was probably going in the women’s restroom with my mom up until at least late elementary school and never did I see a breast or a vagina on display.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around how these folks can pretend bathroom laws are about protecting the children.  Protecting them from what?  Seeing a woman with a penis?  Is she just going to whip it out on the sink while she does her make-up?  What kinds of bathrooms are these people using?

What they’re really afraid of is predators, and small-minded people are very good and making predators out of non-existent threats if that threat is something they don’t understand or don’t agree with.  Trans people are not a threat to anyone in a restroom, but these laws are supposedly protecting the children from predators.  Meanwhile, we have this father catching a beatdown in the men’s room for bringing his daughter in to pee because some idiot thinks it’s inappropriate for a girl to be in there.  Why?  Because obviously he feels she could be in danger.  Nevermind the fact that men can follow women into the women’s room if they want to commit an assault.  Nevermind the fact that by bringing his daughter with him, this father is actually protecting her from harm.  The Genital Police has a problem with a little girl being around all those grown men with their dicks out because one of them might take it upon himself to commit a crime.

So back to the restroom up top…

Gay Gilmore, one half of the husband-wife team that launched Optimism last December, says the decision to have a unisex bathroom was originally one borne of practicality. “When we were going through all the architectural planning for all of this, we found out there’s code that tells you how many toilet fixtures need to be in the men’s and women’s room,” she says. “We were like, this is just ridiculous. As a woman, realizing that there are often two toilet stalls unused in the men’s room all the time, I realized this is a tremendous, inefficient use of resources.”

Gilmore decided that she wanted all the fixtures to be made available to all patrons at all times. She said that it took weeks for the city to agree to the idea of a unisex bathroom. Then, while Optimism was still in its construction phase, the Seattle City Council passed legislation requiring that all single-stall restrooms be designated as all-gender facilities. “So I was able to say, ‘Look the mayor says this is what you need to do in the city, and I think you should consider each of our stalls as individual stalls, so you have to let me let this through,” Gilmore says..

(cont.)

Aside from being practical (and I’d probably go even a step further and install two toilets for every one urinal), Gilmore has had many patrons with trans kids tell her how safe their kids feel without having to choose.  Extra bonus?  Baby changing table is available for Mom or Dad! (because I almost never see one in the men’s room)

Obviously this layout isn’t feasible for every new business, but this is one instance where the gay bars are one step ahead of the curve.  Most of the gay bars in NYC that I frequent don’t have separate restrooms for men and women.  There is a single-occupancy restroom somewhere on the premises and then an open space layout elsewhere with a row of urinals and stalls with toilets.  The single occupancy restroom sometimes defaults to women, but the point is, they have a choice.  The drag queens have a choice.  The trans folk have a choice.  Everybody has a choice and nobody is playing the Genital Police.  This is a lot of energy being expended by lawmakers on where to go pee.  Don’t most of these states have flagging economies and low performing schools?  Find something more important to focus on.

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LGBT

Valentina Sampaio, Sports Illustrated, and trans women under the male gaze.

Trans model Valentina Sampaio is the definition of “threatening” to fragile masculinity. 

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Brazilian-born Valentina Sampaio is one of eight rookies in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit class of 2020 and she’s the first openly transgender model to grace the pages of the magazine. Since taking over the Swimsuit issue in 2015, editor MJ Day has pushed for inclusiveness in the magazine. She joined the staff as an intern in the 90s who had to sort through thousands of bikinis in a closet to send back to designers, and now she heads a team of only four SI staff-members who work for the Swimsuit edition full time. What she says goes, and she’s been going for diversity.

The inclusive spirit of Sports Illustrated’s current model lineup can be credited to the publication’s longtime editor in chief, MJ Day. Day included Graham as the first plus-size model in 2016; Halima Aden as its first hijabi face in 2019; and had Banks return at the age of 46 to dazzle on the cover in 2019, all of which has heightened the relevance of the annual issue.

(cont. Vogue)

Of course, none of those picks will draw the same pushback as Sampaio, but I think she can handle the criticism. Trans models are the bravest women in the industry because everyone has an opinion on what is or isn’t in their pants, and for the segment of the population being courted by SI, Valentina is the definition of “threatening” to their fragile masculinity.

And those last two are the crux of the issue: straight men who think being attracted to trans women is a statement on their heterosexuality.

Men who are quick to express their disgust over trans women are weak. If you were attracted to her before you knew she was trans, you still are. You don’t turn it off with a switch. You’re just pretending not to be because you think it says something about your sexuality, which is still linked with your masculinity in the minds of most people.

And you can save the the “but I don’t like dicks” argument. I promise you she has no intention of sleeping with you, so what she does or doesn’t have between her legs is absolutely none of your business. If the only thing that stops you, a heterosexual male, from being attracted to  someone or makes you, a heterosexual male, attracted to someone is the space between their legs, then what you’re saying is, this man (Trip Richards, who does porn, so we know what his genitals look like) who has a vagina is someone you can be attracted to:

TRIPLE

And this woman, who may or may not have a penis, is someone who disgusts you:

valentina1

Let’s also be very clear: no straight man is disgusted by a penis. If he was, he wouldn’t watch porn. And porn wouldn’t be dominated by men with large dicks getting hard for other men to watch go in and out of women, sometimes alongside other men with large dicks (seriously, gangbangs and DP should make you question your heterosexuality way more than a woman who was born with a penis).

The bottom line is, if there is a trans woman in front of you and you are attracted to that woman, be secure in that attraction without commenting on what is or isn’t under her skirt. You don’t ask cis women to confirm that you like the way their vagina looks before you decide whether they can have the honor of appearing in your little fantasies, so don’t ask trans women. The only time anybody’s genitals should be of your concern is if they personally want you to experience them. Otherwise, go back to your basement and keep flipping through Sports Illustrated. I hear the Swimsuit issue is especially good this year.

 

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Fire Island said “what pandemic?”

The gays threw caution — and masks — to the wind this weekend.

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Everybody in Fire Island over the 4th of July weekend is being lumped together into the same pile of garbage because of videos like this:

So let’s break that up a little bit, because this is America and we love Labels & Boxes.

I have money and I’ve been here for weeks.

Some gays have money, some gays have friends with money, and some gays have friends who have friends with money. And they’ve been in their beach houses for weeks or months. One of my friends left the city in April and has been chilling in the sea air away from NYC congestion living his best, relaxed life. These are not the people in those videos.  These people are sitting at home playing Bananagrams.

I had a share and I couldn’t cancel it.

NYC gets tiring, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I’m going on a road trip in a few weeks to go sit in the mountains and hear sounds that aren’t fireworks and ambulances. One of my roommates is in Rhode Island right now.  I can’t speak for everybody else, but I plan to get tested the week before I go, isolate, and wait for my results so I don’t unwittingly carry anything into rural North Carolina. I definitely understand the urge to get out of this city, especially when we’ve been stuck in it for so long.

So, if you already had a share in Fire Island for the weekend that you paid for six months ago, I can understand not canceling it. Go get out of the city, breathe, see the ocean, etc.

Some of these people are sitting at home playing Uno. And some of these people are definitely at the parties showing off the Parke & Ronens they haven’t gotten to wear this year.

I literally die without seeing and being seen by hot strangers.

I’m trying to share my thoughts on this with as little shade as possible because I do not understand this impulse. However! One of my roommates is an actor/comedian and I don’t understand the impulse to be on a stage either, but I can see how not having that outlet these past few months has affected him. Some folks are just wired to be around groups of people, and I — as someone who generally hates strangers and most people — will never be able to fully wrap my head around that need. I don’t need to feel like I’m in the mix of something to be whole, so I don’t get it when some of my friends are dying because they don’t have access to this:

I don’t enjoy that, ever, so I can’t contextualize missing it so much you would risk your health and the health of others to jump back into it for a weekend. I haven’t really been missing anything during the Covid Crisis other than museums and yeast rolls, so my Risk and Reward calculation for that kind of party his High Risk and No Reward. I have friends who went to Fire Island for the weekend and some of them will have definitely been at those little parties. Their calculation is High Risk and Very High Reward.

But honestly…I trust them not to infect other people. One of the guys in my social distancing bubble decided to break the bubble and go to Fire Island this weekend. He’ll probably be partying all weekend around various bugs, Miss Rona included. His plan is to wear a mask when he’s not partying, isolate for two weeks at home when he gets back, and then get tested. The only people he’s endangering are other people at the parties who made the same Risk and Reward calculation, so I don’t really have anything to say about it. I don’t understand it, but as long as you’re responsibly making sure you don’t potentially pass anything to unwitting strangers, what more can I ask?

This guy is trash though.

 

 

coreyrona3

 

For every ten people who want to be as responsible as possible, there’s a pathological narcissist like Corey who is willingly putting people in danger because he made the great sacrifice of sitting in his room for 8 whole days. There are too many variables in a group, and the more people you have, the more likely it is that some of them are assholes, idiots, or both.

I hope everybody in Fire Island is having a great time and getting whatever boost they needed from this weekend around other like-minded individuals. I hope they mask up around everybody who did not sign up to be infected with a potentially deadly illness for the joy of thumpa thumpa and alphabet drugs. I hope they isolate for two weeks when they get back home and then get tested. And I hope they’ve gotten their fix for awhile so they can survive the next few months without putting communities in danger again.

 

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We’re getting our first openly gay Black congressmen — two of them.

Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year.

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There were a few elections last night (and they were a mess, Democracy is broken, the country is on fire, I hate it here, etc.) and right here in my backyard, we should see another “first” once all the votes are counted and the numbers are official.

Mondaire Jones was a lock almost from the jump.

mondaire2

New York’s 17th Congressional District is just north of NYC, covering parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. The Democratic Primary is a race between six people vying for the seat being left vacant by 89-year-old Nita Lowey who is retiring after 30 years of holding that seat (through various incarnations of the district). Whoever wins the primary will be elected, and Jones picked up a slew of high profile endorsements early on: Bernie Sanders, AOC, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro among them. Being openly gay & Black representing a suburban area had some pollsters hesitant to make a prediction (NYC suburbs can be surprisingly “old-fashioned”) but his platform alongside his prominent supporters proved to be a winning combination.

Progressive Mondaire Jones picked up more than double the votes of any of the other six candidates running in the Democratic Party primary to replace longtime Rep. Nita Lowey.

There are still thousands of mail ballots that won’t be counted for a week, but Jones’ commanding early lead has him breathing a little easier as he waits for the mail ballots to be opened.

“It was never about self promotion,” Jones told The Journal News/lohud in a phone interview. “It is instead about an idea, an idea that government has never worked for everyone.”

(cont. Rockland/Westchester Journal News)

Ritchie Torres isn’t quite the sure thing Mondaire Jones is at this point, but his victory would be much sweeter, given the opposition.

ritchie2

Come November, Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister with a long history of homophobia and transphobia, could be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the most Democratic district in the nation — but gay candidate Ritchie Torres is out to see that doesn’t happen.

Díaz is well known in New York politics; he was a state senator for years, and he’s now a member of the New York City Council. In the Senate, he voted against marriage equality, and he has said the City Council “is controlled by the homosexual community.” He considers abortion murder, and he praises Donald Trump. Yet he’s running as a Democrat, as he has for years, although he’s the epitome of a Democrat in name only.

(cont. Advocate)

Rubén Díaz Junior is a pretty decent (and popular) politician. He’s been elected borough president of The Bronx three times and his positions are in line with most mainstream Democrats, including his stance on LGBT equality. His father is an evangelical Christian who hates gays and callously uses the Holocaust in his arguments against abortion. For some reason, the ballots don’t say Rubén Díaz Senior to make sure voters differentiate him from his son, who has higher approval ratings and more name recognition. Two men in politics from same the borough with the same name should definitely have their entire name printed on the ballot to make it easier for voters, but that’s not the case, and RD Senior was polling ahead of Ritchie Torres until last night.

Torres pulled ahead early, with 30% of the vote in a crowded field with 11 other candidates.

So that’s what we woke up to here in the NYC area. Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year. It’s 2020 and we’re still having “firsts” in politics, but slow progress is better than none at all.

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