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Friday This & That: Open Thread

It’s an open thread! Pleeeeease feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread… Emoticon: Autumn Sandeen, snarkily shifting her eyes right-to-left-to-right

Image: Bookworm Bob, the cartoon 'sockpuppet' of Autumn Sandeen'sSo, this is what my cartoon sockpuppet Bookworm Bob have been looking at since our last This & That post.

Bay WindowsHong Kong judge: Transgender woman can’t marry man:

A transgender woman lost a legal challenge Tuesday, Oct. 5 against Hong Kong marriage rules that prevent her from marrying her boyfriend.

The plaintiff underwent sex change surgery from man to woman in 2008 and obtained identification documents listing her new gender. But Hong Kong’s Marriage Registry only allows couples who were men and women at birth to wed.

The woman, who is in her 20s and can only be identified as “W” under court order, argued her rights to marry in the constitution and Bill of Rights were violated.

Hong Kong’s constitution says freedom of marriage of Hong Kong residents should be protected by law. The Bill of Rights says the right of men and women to marry should be recognized.

High Court Judge Andrew Cheung ruled that he saw no evidence to support “a shifted societal consensus in present day Hong Kong regarding marriage to encompass a postoperative transsexual.”

I know I say this over and over again: marriage equality is very much an issue for transgender people, transsexual people, and people who identify as both transgender and transsexual. The reasons why marriage equality is an issue for trans people are often very unalike from the reasons why marriage equality is an issue for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. But, the commonality of experience — where trans, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people don’t have the freedom to marry whomever they love — is why marriage equality is an issue for all of these minority populations.

“W”, mentioned in the Bay Windows article above, isn’t trying to enter a same sex marriage, but nonetheless the marriage she wants to enter into is being treated as a same-sex marriage by Hong Kong’s government. The situation, to me, is detestable.‘s piece by Amanda Hess, entitled Starbucks gender-neutral restrooms: No plans to expand beyond D.C.:

Last week, Starbucks locations across the District of Columbia began the process of making their restrooms gender neutral. Fifty-two District coffee shops will be removing the “Men” and “Women” signs on their single-stall facilities this month in order to comply with gender identity protections in the D.C. Human Rights Act. Bonus: San Franciscans are already jealous of our coffee chain toilets!

No Or Both Gender Male Female Restroom Sign - Gender Neutral Restroom Bathroom Sign“Should’ve happened here first,” declared SFist‘s Jay Barmann, before congratulating D.C. LGBT activists on the win. “[I]t’s a little surprising this didn’t happen in San Francisco first, given that we have one of the largest and most concentrated transgendered populations in the country.”

Not really: What San Francisco doesn’t have is a law mandating gender-neutral facilities in the city’s public accommodations, like coffee shops.

And that’s precisely why Starbucks is switching out 52 restroom signs in D.C. instead of San Francisco. “When we became aware that our bathroom signs did not comply with the District of Columbia law regarding gender-neutral restroom signage, we took immediate action to change them,” a Starbucks spokesperson told TBD. “We appreciate the Office of Human Rights’ willingness to work with us to make sure our stores are in compliance with the law and that all our customers feel welcome.”

And these bathrooms aren’t just for transgender people, but this kind of bathroom signage is also for disabled people with opposite sex assistants, and parents, guardians, and childcare givers with small children of the opposite sex.

Laws matter. Mandating the availability of  gender neutral restrooms at businesses that  have public restrooms seems to me to be — at least in most cases — a really good idea.

• A Times Daily letter to the editor, entitled Where’s empathy?:

I’ve been appalled by recent news of suicides among young people who have been bullied because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or because others perceive them to be.

…All students deserve to attend safe and welcoming schools. Students cannot learn when they feel unsafe.

Our local school districts need to take immediate steps to protect all students and make sure they have a safe learning environment. I heard someone say, one child dying is a tragedy, more than four children in a month dying is an epidemic. If these kids were straight, would there even be a hesitation to do something? What if it were your brother, sister, your son or daughter? What has happened to empathy?

Empathy does seem pretty much lost to those who state they disapprove of “the homosexual lifestyle.”

Dallas Morning News‘s North Dallas High School principal blocks transgender student’s bid for homecoming queen:

Andy Moreno says she wants to be homecoming queen, not king, at North Dallas High School.

“It’s something I started thinking about last year, and my friends have encouraged me,” she said after school Thursday.

One problem: The school’s principal doesn’t want a male identifying as a female reigning as queen of the homecoming court.

“The principal said, ‘You are a male and males can run for king, not queen,’ ” said Jon Dahlander, a school district spokesman.

Dinnah Escanilla, the school’s first-year principal, was unavailable for comment. Sandra Guerrero, a DISD spokeswoman, said the district has no policy on gender requirements for homecoming royalty but supports the principal.

“Every principal has the discretion to make that decision, and it is a campus-based issue,” she said.

When just out of High School I was looking into Libertarian political thought, one of the concepts I was exposed to was the fill-in-the-thought query of “Should _______ be a function of government?” It’s a question related to keeping government out of areas where government should perhaps not have a role.

So, it seems wrongheaded to me in this case of North Dallas High School Principal Dinnah Escanilla using her taxpayer funded position to enforce societal sex and gender roles — specifically in deciding eligibility related to the sex and gender of homecoming king or homecoming queen candidates. The question that should be asked appears to me should be “Should enforcing sex and gender roles in student body elections for homecoming king and queen be a function of taxpayer funded school systems?”

In my mind, the answer should be “No”; what the principal did shouldn’t be a function of government. The principal’s action seems an overly intrusive reach by a government employee, specifically because the state really doesn’t seem to me to have a compelling justification for enforcing sex and gender norms in school elections.

• Our Wiener Story Of The Day: ABC2 News‘s PETA hands out ‘not’ dogs for lunch:

Motion graphic: Cartoon of Mustard being applied down the length of a hot dog; Link To Pam's House Blend Tag 'Wieners'BALTIMORE – PETA says it’s time for Baltimore to ditch the ballpark staple hot dogs, for what it calls ‘not dogs.’

PETA says Charm City is one of the fattest cities in America. To shed some pounds, it wants more people to switch to a vegan diet.

To wet your taste buds, PETA’s Lettuce Ladies handed out free ‘not dogs’ to people walking along the streets today.

But as always, “The weenie tempts you!

So anywho…It’s an open thread! What are you thinking about today, or what books or articles have you been reading the past few days? Wanna share?

And again, please feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread because…it’s an open thread! Woo-hoo! Emoticon: Dancing happy face character

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen