Thursday, March 11, 2010

Queer Notes From all Over (Equal Rights for All Excepting Bisexuals, But They Don't Count Division)

RICHMOND, Virginia, March 11 - The governor of the great state of Virginia has shown that, when it comes to equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgendered people, he is, well, all for equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgendered people. 
   There was no mention made of bisexuals, who, as usual, got the short end of the stick, but who, being attracted to persons of both genders, have twice the chance of getting a date on Saturday night, according to filmmaker and former comic Woody Allen, who made that joke, like, seven hundred years ago.
   Gov. Bob McDonnell yesterday directed state agencies of all sizes, stripes and orientations not to discriminate against gays and lesbians, the Associated Press reported today. 
   State Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who, not that this matters, is a Republican, sent a letter last week to state colleges saying they lack authority to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and ordered them to rescind any anti-discrimination that include protections for gays and lesbians. 
   It is admirable that Atty. Gen. Cuccinelli sent a letter. Letter-writing is, alas, a lost art, what with emails, texting, Twitter and the general decline of literacy in America, not to mention the fact that the U.S. postal service is considering stopping Saturday service as a cost-cutting measure. 
   That said, it is the content of the letter with which we must concern ourselves, and that content is, in a word, stupid. 
   Apparently, Gov. McDonnell agreed, in essence if not in word, and that is why he issued his directive. His directive trumped that of the Atty. Gen., because he - the Gov. - has much more power. 
   Before the Gov.'s directive reached far and wide into the psyches of Virginians everywhere, the Atty. Gen.'s letter had occasioned no little amount of agitation among, predictably, gay rights groups and, predictably, Democrats. 
   College students - who, by dint of their youth, vitality and idealism, are the Hope for the Future - rallied, but in a very modern, by which one means troublingly virtual, way. 
   The Washington Post, quoted in the Associated Press report, which was run on the Huffington Post news site - one apologizes, but one is simply too tired, at the moment, to track down original sources - reported that 3,000 people joined a Facebook page titled, "WE DON'T WANT DISCRIMINATION IN OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES!" 
   While that sentiment is to be applauded, the use of all capital letters and an exclamation point is not. 
   The Post further reported, according to the AP by way of the Huffington Post, that one protest was organized by a group at William and Mary College, in Williamsburg, Va., the second oldest college in America, the motto of which is: "We're different, and we like it that way."
   The group, called Queer & Allied Activism, launched a social media campaign, the Post wrote, "urging students to protest on Cuccinelli's Facebook and Twitter pages, and to sign a petition organized by the group Equality Virginia." 
   The group's acronym - QAA - has no meaning, and therefore cannot be called, even by a stretch, clever, but its use of an ampersand is alluring. 
   One certainly applauds the students' efforts, but one is alarmed to hear that students are now protesting from the safety of their laptops while, perhaps, sitting around their dorms or frat houses in their pajamas. One is all for lounging in sleepwear, but one also remembers the days when students actually ventured out of doors to protest injustices. 
   Alas, it is a new day. The thought occurs that maybe the weather was bad. Protesting in the snow, while offering the opportunities, during dull moments, to create snowmen, or even snow penises, can be trying.           
   But recent weather reports, you see, say temperatures have been in the high fifties and low sixties. 
   That's practically balmy for Virginia winters, or seems like it should be. One doesn't know; one has never been to Virginia in the winter or even in the spring, summer or fall, if memory serves, which it generally does not. 

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