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Saturday, June 25, 2016

President creates national park to remember Stonewall Inn riot Jun. 28, 1969 that inspired OSU student group

VIDEO: From the United States of America The White House, "Announcing the Stonewall National Monument," White House YouTube page, posted Jun 24, 2016 - President Obama says, "I'm designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America's national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights." (See New York City gay newspaper story by Paul Schindler, "Obama Declares Stonewall National Monument at Christopher Park," gaycitynews.nyc posted June 24, 2016)

The 1969 Stonewall Inn riot has been popularly used as the "start" of the gay rights movement in America, even though the actions by earlier homophile groups were important, including those by a former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg, who left OSU during World War II and later formed the Log Cabin Republicans organization that is still in operation today.

New York gay activists created the mythology of Stonewall to spread it nationally, including Corvallis, Oregon where it helped motivate the first gay student group at OSU to be officially recognized by the administration, which is documented by the peer-reviewed history, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," permanently stored in the Oregon State University Scholars Archives. (For a PDF copy see tinyurl.com/j3raaug or URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1957/43450)

I hope to still be alive on June 28,, 2019 for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall!

See previous posts:

Also, as an unrelated aside note, the local professional newspaper "EDITORIAL: Roses and Raspberries for Friday, June 24," gazettetimes.com posted Jun. 24, 2016 said, "ROSES to Confluence, the Willamette Valley LGBT chorus, as it heads to Denver to participate in the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival, scheduled for July 2-6. In the wake of the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, this year's international festival likely will be particularly powerful. This is the fourth go-round for Confluence at the festival, which only takes place every four years. Considering that this is the 16th season for Confluence, that's a good record. If you can't make the trip to Denver, you always can catch the chorus during one of its frequent performances in Corvallis."

Monday, June 20, 2016

State lawmakers oppose citizens voting on annexations to Corvallis for new real estate developments

letter on Corvallis development process below editorial comment GT 4/1/15

PHOTO: My letter to the editor about a proposed real estate development in my small college town. (See previous post OSU college town development politics over student housing project (4/2/15)) On the same page as my letter, the editor, while writing about the new City Manager, wryly commented, ". . .the city's fondness for (how to phrase this delicately?) a protracted public process on virtually every issue will not come as any sort of shock to his system.". My letter commented on the motivation for and the history of the Corvallis planning process as a reaction to the post-World War II Builing boom.

The City of Corvallis, Oregon suffered from a building boom after World War II due to rapid growth, which led City leaders in 1976 to pass a law requiring all annexations of land to the city, such as those intended for new real estate development, to be voted on by all citizens. The law has been in effect for four decades and it has been copied by some other cities in Oregon that wanted to control growth.

Of course the annexation voting law has never been popular with those who profit from growth, such as real estate developers and other special interest groups, and who have been challenging the law for decades. Therefore, I was not surprised to read the news that the Corvallis annexation law could be thrown out by the recently passed Oregon Senate Bill 1573 and a decision on its Constitutionality by a Court of law. (See news story by James Day, "City takes state to court: Lawsuit challenges annexation changes," Gazette-Times, Jun. 11, 2016, p. A1, A3 posted online as "Corvallis files suit over annexations law" and the Corvallis newspaper's "Editorial: Cities push back on annexation law," gazettetimes.com posted Jun. 13, 2016)

In response, I wrote the following letter to the editor to defend voting on annexations, based on how it has been a benefit to all of the City's citizens due to increased property values:

Corvallis taxpayers, especially those who are younger, might be unaware of how they could be forced to subsidize bad real estate developments, if state lawmakers succeed in taking away Corvallis voters' right to approve of annexations requests for new housing developments.

The importance of being able to vote on annexations was first taught to me in 1976 by an Oregon State University engineering professor, who was my graduate school thesis advisor, and who had witnessed the massive post-World War II building boom in Corvallis spearheaded by real estate developers cozy with city leaders who stuck taxpayers with the bill for poorly planned roads and other city services.

Of course, the Corvallis builder of the "starter home" I purchased in 1980 blamed annexation laws and onerous development codes for his $60,000 asking price, but my real problem was the typical 30-year home loan that levied a greater than 12 percent annual interest rate.

In hindsight, I thank intelligent Corvallis voters for having prevented haphazard annexations over the last four decades, which has benefited all homeowners with higher property valuations.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Annexation votes help homeowners," Gazette-Times, Jun. 20, 2016, p. A7)

Ironically, the massive building boom in Corvallis literally died in the 1980's during the Reagan Recession, and this was probably due to changing demographics and high interest rates on new homes back then, instead of the annexation laws real estate profiteers liked to blame. Later, the rapid growth of the Hewlett-Packard plant in the 1990's caused some new home building in the non-controversial and upscale Timberhill neighborhood, which had already been set aside for annexation, but even this limited growth stalled out when Hewlett-Packard downsized and moved most of its operations elsewhere.

Today, the recent doubling in enrollment at Oregon State University has mostly caused an increased demand for student housing, which has led to several new apartment complexes that neighbors have tried to stop due to their fears of living next to a noisy nuisance.

The limited supply of new land in Corvallis has made it very expensive to buy a house or lot that is not in a student ghetto, which has forced many younger and poorer faculty members to commute to Corvallis from other cities. In fact, many of the older homes close to campus used to be occupied by faculty, but have been converted into rental houses for students -- only further exacerbating the problem. Sadly, I recall the advantages of a small town where you could walk or bike to a faculty member's house.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

OSU lavender graduation in commencement program printed by student newspaper that goes weekly next year

Lavender graduation in commencement program printed in Barometer Jun. 11, 2016, p. 15

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) The Oregon State University Lavender Graduation Thursday, June 9, 2016 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM for LGBTQ+ graduates is announced in the student newspaper's print edition, of which a copy was given out to all parents for the Oregon State University "Commencement Program: One Hundred Forty-Seventh Annual Commencement 10:30 a.m. Reser Stadium Saturday, June 11, 2016," oregonstate.edu accessed Jun. 11, 2016. (see "Commencement 2016," Oregon State University Daily Barometer, June 11, 2016, cover, p. 15 print edition on issuu.com and Angela Batista added 8 new photos -- attending Lav Grad with Susie Brubaker-Cole and 2 others at The LaSells Stewart Center. facebook.com posted June 9, 2016 and Oregon State University Pride Center Lavender Celebration posted on Facebook.com including "Some pics of Lavender Celebration from our interim Chief Diversity Office and social media enthusiast Angela Batista.") The inclusion in the print edition of the commencement program is significant because the gay student graduation event has traditionally been done in a very low key manner past years to avoid confronting the conservative parents of students.

In the same Jun. 11, 2016 Commencement issue, which was printed by the Oregon State University Daily Barometer student newspaper, there was an announcement that the student newspaper would be printed only weekly next school year, despite having been a daily newspaper for 95 years and in continuous publication for 120 years, from 1996 to 2016. (See student newspaper opinion columns by Riley Youngman, "Incoming Editor-in-Chief looks forward," Barometer, Jun.11, 2016, p. 7, posted Jun. 6, 2016, Rachel Suchan, "Outgoing Editor-in-Chief Reflects," Barometer, Jun.11, 2016, p. 7, posted Jun. 6, 2016 and Sean Bassinger, "This is (not) the end of our journey," Barometer, Jun.11, 2016, p. 10, posted Jun. 6, 2016)

The announcement of the OSU student newspaper change, from printing it daily to weekly, continues a trend toward less printed student publications, such as the Beaver Yearbook, which was recently converted into a quarterly magazine. Although I understand the trend toward digital online publications, I am still concerned that the necessary archival processes will be done so that all of this information can be accessed in the future. Clearly, this is a good topic for another post.

The new OSU student newspaper publication schedule is not yet documented in their Daily Barometer Advertise Orange Media 2016 Rates Posted: Monday, January 25, 2016 9:34 am (PDF) that is used to sell advertising in the student newspaper.

See previous posts:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Oregon bareback sex report plus Trevor Hoppe now Professor of Sociology at SUNY

Tony Valenzuela riding horse bareback on cover of POZ Feb 1999 issue on gay bareback sex PHOTO: Tony Valenzuela riding horse bareback on cover of POZ magazine #44, Feb. 1999 special issue on gay bareback sex. (For more on Tony Valenzuela and Trevor Hoppe see previous posts Tony Valenzuela and Trevor Hoppe on bareback history (8/1/09), Gay bareback sex history (8/1/09) and Gay bareback sex books (3/5/07))

Just when I thought the topic of gay bareback sex was dead, Portland, Oregon's queer newspaper recently printed the article by Monty Herron, "'Bareback Sex- Tantalizing, or Taboo?'" PQ Monthly posted Apr. 21, 2016 (also on issuu.com/pqmonthly) and the opinion piece by Jeremiah Johnson , "Op-Ed: It's Not Irresponsible to Like Bareback Sex," hivplusmag.com posted Feb. 27, 2016

PQ referenced an article by Taylor Friedman, "Pros and Condoms: S.F. Emphasizes HIV Treatment, but a New Generation Advocates Bareback Sex," sfweekly.com posted Nov 9 2011.

This decent discussion on gay bareback sex made me recall Michael Shernoff, author of a book about gay bareback sex, "Without a Condom." Shernoff died a few years ago. (See article by Paul Schindler, "Michael Shernoff, Gay Psychotherapist, Activist Dies at 57," Gay City News, June 19, 2008, and a review of his book, "Crystal, Barebacking in Perspective - Two front-line warriors for public health offer balanced assessments of risks facing gay men," Volume 5, Number 1, January 5 - 11, 2006 gaycitynews.nyc accessed May 15, 2016 plus "Crystal, Barebacking in Perspective. Two front-line warriors for public health offer balanced assessments of risks facing gay men," Volume 5, Number 1, January 5 - 11, 2006 gaycitynews.nyc accessed May 15, 2016).

I also recalled a discussion of bareback sex on Trevor Hoppe's blog, which I was following until a few years ago when I was sorry to read his "final" post: Trevor Hoppe, "I Bid Thee, Adieu! (And My Greatest Hits)," posted Nov. 14, 2011, in which reiterated his disgust with HIV prevention campaigns based on fear and stigmatization. He also described his disappointment and flagging interest in public health, and his desire to shift his focus to social justice. At that time, he was working on his doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. (See previous posts Trevor Hoppe sees public health gay bareback sex politics and quits blogging *12/16/11) and OSU LGBT Services Jeff Kenney replaces Steven Leider (6/2/12) for possible connection to former director of OSU Pride center)

Seven years ago I commented, "It is clear to me that Trevor Hoppe represents the next generation of queer academics and gay activists. I cheer him on and hope he has a long and successful career. My only worry is that his desire for bareback sex will lead to harm. It will be interesting to read his analysis a decade from now, independent of his HIV status at that time." (See previous post Trevor Hoppe, bareback, bottom theory (4/29/09))

It is now 2016, not quite a decade later and my questions are being answered, Trevor Hoppe is doing fine and he is now a Professor of Sociology, sexuality, HIV, and the law at the University at Albany-SUNY where his work touches social justice and the more recent issues of mandatory HIV disclosure laws. (See recent Trevor Hoppe interview by Stateside Staff, "Stateside for Tuesday, April 5, 2016,"michiganradio.org (12 minute long segment at start of 45:51 long program) posted Apr. 5, 2016 and some highlights from his Curriculum Vitae resume below)

  • born in Columbia, South Carolina on May 11, 1983
  • Assistant Professor, University at Albany, SUNY Albany, NY Department of Sociology (2015 - Present)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at Irvine Irvine, CA Department of Criminology, Law and Society (2014-2015)
  • Ph.D. University of Michigan (2014) Ann Arbor, MI Sociology and Women's Studies Dissertation: From Sickness to Badness: Michigan HIV Law as a Site of Social Control
  • M.P.H University of Michigan (2011) Ann Arbor, MI Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
  • M.A. San Francisco State University (2007) San Francisco, CA Human Sexuality Studies
  • B.A. University of North Carolina (2005) Chapel Hill, NC
(Quoted from "Trevor Alexander Hoppe, Curriculum Vitae" (PDF) trevorhoppe.com (updated: March 2016))

See previous posts:

Bareback sex is often wrapped up in the top vs. bottom role playing that many gay men do, which Trevor Hoppe has clearly researched. This social concept is often telated to the dominant/submissive or masculine and feminine gender roles widely adopted by humans. For example, see the gay magazine article by Brenden Shucart, "My Eyes Are Up Here. A recent study suggests that the whole world knows I'm a bottom -- and they can tell just by looking at my face," The Advocate, April/May 2016, p. 24 posted online March 02 2016 as "STUDY: Can You Tell He's a Bottom Just by Looking?". (See previous post Academic paper on recognition of tops vs. bottoms goes viral (3/16/16))

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Men's sandals previously deemed 'too gay' featured in 'Businessweek' fashion spread

Men's sandals fashion spread in Businessweek, May 23-29, 2016, p. 68-69

PHOTO: A major business magazine recently featured a two-page fashion spread on men's sandals for the summer: "Stand by your Mandal, Fashion: The much derided 'mandal' is actually the perfect summer sneaker alternative," Businessweek, May 23-20, 2016, p. 68-69. This is remarkable because only a few decades ago, the standard "dress for success" advice given to businessmen was never be seen wearing sandals, except on the beach, in order to avoid being stigmatized as being 'too gay.'

Despite the decades-old "dress for success" advice for businessmen not to wear sandals, except on the beach, in order to avoid looking "too gay," I can clearly recall in the 1950's how common it was to see men, of all economic classes and races, wearing sandals in the Deep South of America because few buildings were air conditioned back then and the hot, high humidity climate made it a practical thing to do. Of course, upper class businessmen would wear dressier leather sandals with black socks, instead of wearing the standard rubber flip-flop sandals worn by the commoners. In addition to the lack of air conditioning, many men in the Deep South justified wearing sandals for the medical reason of avoiding aggravating their foot fungus problem they acquired serving as military infantry men in World II or Korea.

Sep. 1980 photo of Jack and Mike wearing sandals p. 152 of their book 'Wedding Heard 'round the world,' and book jacket

PHOTO: A Sept. 1980 photo of gay marriage pioneers, Mike and Jack, wearing sandals, while remodeling their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is shown on p. 152 of the book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016. (See previous posts Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15) and My notes on autobiography by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker gay marriage activism (2/14/16))

When my family moved to Minnesota in 1960, which has a milder climate than Louisiana where I grew up, the only sandals I saw Minnesota men wearing were typically the rubber flip-flops on the beaches of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. By the 1960's sandals had become negatively associated by the public with the beatnik generation and then with the 1960's peace movement and free-spirited "hippies." As a result, sandals on men went out of fashion.

Likewise, I can clearly recall my father warning me that only gay queer guys wore sandals, by telling me how everyone would beat up any guy wearing sandals when he was a boy in the 1930's.

In fact, during the 1970's in Minneapolis, most of the men I saw wearing sandals was either in a gay bar or clueless about the stigma surrounding sandals making a man look effeminate and gay. Indeed, women's fashion has always included sandals, although men also wore sandals in Greek and Roman times, perhaps partly because they were easier to make than a shoe or boot.

During the 1980's in the mild rainy weather of Oregon, I quit wearing any type of sandals and started wearing mostly the new Nike running shoes that were first designed by Nike's founder and the former University of Oregon track coach Phil Knight, forty miles south of OSU.

One thing I first noticed, after moving to the West Coast in the 1970's, is the fact that on the East Coast, everyone called the Nike style of shoe a "sneaker," ala the old rubber sole Ked shoes that were popular back then. However, people on the West Coast of the U.S. called this type shoe something else, such as athletic shoes, "tenny runners (short for tennis shoe)," or running shoes, etc. I still hear people on TV today using the word "sneakers" Back Rast, but some other word if they are from the West Coast.

In the 1990's the Teva sandal (the Hebrew word for "nature" pronounced with a short "e") quickly became popular out west in Colorado, where I was living at the time, because not only could they be worn for river rafting in the mountains, but they could be worn without or without socks as a fashion statement. Of course, at the time, many people considered it to be a fashion no-no to wear socks with sandals. The Teva is one of the sandals featured in the Businessweek fashion spread shown in the photo above.

In the 1980's, I was living in California when I first saw high-quality leather flip-slops instead of the usual cheap rubber ones. These made sense for the mild California climate and could be worn during most of the year. These expensive leather sandals were popular with California men and I was not surprised to find out that most of them were being made in Hawaii, where the weather is also perfect for wearing sandals all year long.

Recently, while looking for a replacement for my Nike and Scotts Hawaii leather sandals, which I bought in California over 20 years ago, I discovered another Hawaiian leather sandal maker, OluKai Sandals. (See OluKai FAQ page that says, "The Polynesian culture is an oral history, passed along through storytelling. Naming our products with Hawaiian words is our small way of spreading and preserving the culture for future generations.")

I ended up looking at OluKai Men's sandals, and all OluKai Men's sandals Size 10), before buying two of their model Olukai Nui (noo-ee) Translation: Greatest in color tan/tan for $85 each. (NOTE: Please NOTE that this blog is NOT a paid advertisement -- I am just a happy customer!) The description says, "Decorative stitching on foot bed, hand-sewn whip stitching, soft nylon toe post, embroidered logo. Non-marking rubber and gum rubber outsole with island inspired pod design. Compression-molded EVA footbed topped with premium full-grain leather. Anatomically correct contour for a personalized fit and sustained comfort over time. Our thermoset rubber is a compound of natural and synthetic rubber that will not leave marks or 'scuffs' on surfaces of any type. Our gum rubber outsoles, as a natural material, will always naturally be non-marking."

I also looked at Men's Sandals llbean.com, Men's Sandals Flip Flops llbean.com that has Men's Teva Lux Terra-Float Flip-Flop.

Of course, I also had to check out the very gay Abercrombie & Fitch men's leather flip-flops at "Mens Flip Flops" abercrombie.com accessed Mar. 9, 2016. These were very popular with college fraternity boys a few years ago. (See previous post Gay CEO of Abercrombie goes out of fashion but I still love his leather flip-flops (1/25/15).)

Specifically, I looked at the Leather Flip Flops $48 Shown In dark brown that is described as: "Soft and comfortable, Footbed and upper are genuine nubuck leather. Slimmer foot bed silhouette with new composite for overall comfort. Super soft micro-fiber elastic on back of upper." I noticed that this isn't real leather like previous pair that I owned, would be OK for wet rainy Oregon, but would ot as comfortable as wering leather soles.

Bruce Weber is the fashion photographer behind the very successful look and feel of the Abercrombie and Fitch mail order catalog and store display photographs. Young gay boys were the first to latch onto the A&F fashion before it became so mainstream in every mall in America that it lost its fashion appeal. Despite A&F being going out of fashion, there are still gay men today who subscribe to the A&F catalog just to get the erotic pictures of hunky guys.

For years, the CEO of Abercrombie personally famously wore the leather sandals he sold, even to company boardroom and business meetings. (See article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, "The man behind Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries turned a moribund company into a multibillion-dollar brand by selling youth, sex and casual superiority. Not bad for a 61-year-old in flip-flops," Salon.com posted Jan. 24, 2006 and previous posts Bruce Weber Chop Suey movie and book (8/24/09) and Gay CEO of Abercrombie goes out of fashion but I still love his leather flip-flops (1/25/15).)

I didn't spend any time looking at Birkenstocks, which are a lesbian staple in the college town where I now live. Businessweek says, "Birkenstocks have been sold in the U.S. since 1966, when a woman named Margot Fraser started importing them after discovering the shoes on a German vacation. The business has had few ups and downs, with the exception of a faddish bump in the 1990s. Since then sales have been stable, buoyed by hippies, preppies, and Vermonters who stuck with Howard Dean after the scream. But in the past two years, something strange has been happening to Birkenstocks: They've gotten kind of cool." (See story by Kurt Soller, "Birkenstocks, the preferred sandals of hippies, have risen again. This time, the company has a plan to keep them on top," bloomberg.com posted June 26, 2014)

Men wearing sandals may have been considered gender-bending at one-time in certain parts of the U.S., but men wearing high-heels has always been considered to be queer, which is why the campaign poster of Jack Baker wearing high-heels caught the eye of many University of Minnesota students circa 1971:

Circa 1971 campaign poster for Student Body President showing openly gay candidate Jack Baker dressed in high heels and male clothing. It was very popular with the University of Minnesota students who elected him. PHOTO: Jack Baker used this poster, circa 1971 that made fun of the stereotype that all gays are drag queens, during his successful run for student body President, using the campaign slogan, "Put yourself in Jack Baker's shoes," to become the first openly gay person elected to be the University of Minnesota student body president. See my previous posts Gay U of M student body presidents Chris Armstrong and Jack Baker (10/3/10), Life Magazine 1971 gay liberation story (7/20/08), Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08), and Jack Nichols, Gay Pioneer" biography (3/19/08)

Baker marriage on N.Y. Times front page May 17, 2015

PHOTO: The May 17, 2015 Sunday New York Times newspaper featured the 1971 marriage of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell on the front page in a news article by Erik Eckholm, "Same-sex marriage? Done That, Back in 1971," New York Times, Sunday edition (as printed in Seattle) May 17, 2015, p. 1, 15 also published online as "The Same-Sex Couple Who Got a Marriage License in 1971" nytimes.com posted May 16, 2015. (See previous post Baker marriage hits N.Y. Times front page only 4 decades late (5/17/15)) NOTE: The above is an original photograph taken by Thomas Kraemer (c) 2015 who grants limited copyright permission for it to be reposted by others provided a link and text citation is provided to this blog post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Transgender bathroom politics today is similar to anti-gay politics of 50 years ago

Transgender headline front page Barometer May 19, 2016

PHOTO: The front page of the Oregon State University student newspaper featured a headline story by Marcus Trinidad, "'Victory for transgender community' Oregon Department of Education publishes new guidelines for schools to support transgender students," Barometer, May 19, 2016, p. 1, 3. The Oregon Department of Education published a 15-page document to allow students to use their preferred names on official documents such as transcripts and diplomas, while not requiring any form of verification of someone's gender or preferred name. Oregon State University currently provides an option for faculty and staff to use preferred names for work purposes, but a similar option is not yet available to students. (issuu.com)

Republican groups have been purposely raising the transgender bathroom issue as a strategy for political gain, which has led to a public discussion about transgender rights. (See OSU student newspaper coverage by Luuk Van Hoomissen, "Oregon State University has over 200 gender inclusive on campus with plans for even more," Barometer, posted Jan. 29, 2016 - it quotes Steve Clark, vice president for university relations and marketing, saying, "In 2008 there were less than 30 gender-inclusive restrooms on campus that we can identify by records. Today there are 200." and see previous post OSU 'gender inclusive' bathrooms hit front page of student newspaper (2/3/16))

A couple of days before the Barometer's May 19, 2016, front page story on transgender rights (shown above) was printed, an Oregon State University student editorial columnist also joined in to comment on the bathroom discussion: Sean Bassinger, "Transgender, gender non-conforming rights: It's about more than 'just' bathrooms," OSU Barometer posted May 17, 2016. Bassinger noted, "On May 6, The Daily Barometer published an article titled "Making restrooms a safe space," which focused around buttons that read "#IllGoWithYou" in support of transgender safety and rights on college campuses." (Note: I can't find the May 6 story he references, but see previous post OSU 'gender inclusive' bathrooms hit front page of student newspaper (2/3/16))

All of the above newspaper pieces, in addition to the wider public discussion on transgender rights, prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

The recent public debate, concerning which restrooms transgender people should use, focuses on so-called "biological sex" instead of acknowledging how a similar debate, fifty years ago, was misused to justify discrimination against both lesbians and gay men, based on how restrooms and locker rooms were used by gay men who are cisgender (i.e. their male gender identity matches their male biological sex).

Historically, a few closeted gay men loitered in men's "tearooms" while "cruising" to hookup, or occasionally to "service" a heterosexual man, which led to laws prohibiting this type of "lewd" public sex behavior.

It wasn't until I was old enough to be involuntarily drafted into the military, when I first learned why my parents never allowed me to go unaccompanied to the Greyhound bus station bathroom or the YMCA gym in the city where I grew up.

I have no problem with transgender individuals using the restroom of either sex, provided they follow the same social customs and laws against lewd behavior that gay men have been successfully obeying for decades.

My Swedish Grandmother used to scoff at the prudishness of Americans by bragging how in the 19th Century she saw entire families naked in Sweden's public baths.

Thomas Kraemer
Founder, OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "On Transgender Issues," Barometer, May 23, 2016, p. 7 posted online as "Letter to the editor: In regards to transgender issues," May 23, 2016)

I intentionally toned down the sexual language in my letter, to avoid causing any discomfort to some students, in order to better make my basic point that instead of prohibiting transgender people from using the restroom of their choice, the public discussion should be on how to fairly and equitably prohibit any bad behaviors, such as "lewd and lascivious behavior" by a purported "male" in a women's restroom. I believe most females are in fear of being attacked by a male in a deserted restroom, but in my experience, their deeper and unspoken fear is having a male stranger looking at them lecherously while they are undressed. I believe that very few people like peeping toms and this is why laws against voyeurism exist. Similarly, very few people want to be exposed to any unwelcomed sexual advances or activity, which is why laws have been passed against lewd behavior. Although these laws, by themselves are fine and easy to support by most people, there is a shameful history of these laws being unequally enforced to discriminate against marginalized groups, such as gay men. Of course, this issue has always been dependent on the context of our times and culture, just as my Grandmother taught me, because nudity is more or less threatening to different people, at different times, and in different cultures.

For example, I vividly recall my fear of entering the 7th grade because this was when my school first required all boys to undress in a locker room, put on a jockstrap and gym clothes before gym class, and then shower naked afterward in a gang shower full of boys. Adding to my fear, the swimming lessons were held in a pool while stark naked, in each boy's birthday suit, in order to avoid having to dry any swimsuits. The reasons for my fears were validated the very first day when I witnessed one boy get an erection and then the other boys viciously beat him up for it while calling the boy a queer (in fact, this boy was not gay, but like many adolescent boys he was prone to getting spontaneous erections.) Worse yet, instead of defusing the situation, the adult male gym coach looked the other way and retreated to his office that had a window, where I hope he was at least watching to see if the violence got out of hand. It was only years later that was I able to talk to other men, both straight and gay, about their fears of getting an erection in the locker room. Nobody wanted to talk about it.

Similarly, I had my first experience of both fear and disgust when I received an unwelcomed sexual advance from a lecherous old man (the older man was as probably 60 years older than me) when I was 14 years old and I was just aimlessly wondering around the streets of a big city by myself for the first time. This experience made me wonder why some boys, who were the same age as me, said they were very attracted to the same old men that disgusted me -- these boys told me they liked the more mature masculinity of these older men much better than their twink adolescent peers.

I was never comfortable with talking to anybody about my fears and disgusts, because I assumed other people would make fun of me. It was only much later in life when I realized how my silence, due to being intimidated by others, actually enabled bad peoples' ability to manipulate others and coerce them into doing sexual things, which they might regret afterward.

See previous posts:

Kraemer letter on trans issues Barometer May 23, 2016, p. 7

PHOTO: The OSU student newspaper print edition of my letter: Thomas Kraemer, "On Transgender Issues," Barometer, May 23, 2016, p. 7 posted online as "Letter to the editor: In regards to transgender issues," May 23, 2016 -- In the letter, I note how, fifty years ago, a similar bathroom debate was similarly used to justify discrimination against both lesbians and gay men. (issuu.com)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bend, Oregon Subaru ad in local gay newspaper supports Gay Pride celebration

Astoria Gay Pride headline over lesbians featured in Subaru of Bend Oregon ad in gay newspaper PQ May/June 2016, p. 4

PHOTO: Display ad for Subaru of Bend (Oregon) www.subaruofbend.com that claims to be the "West Coast's Oldest Subaru Dealership" at 2060 Ne Hwy 20, Bend, OR 97701 was printed in an Oregon gay newspaper, PQ Monthly, May/June 2016, p. 4 (May/June 2016, p. 4 (issuu.com)). On the same page was an article by the newspaper's editor, Marco Davis, "Astoria's Inaugural Gay Pride," PQ Monthly May/June 2016, p. 4, scheduled to be held in June in the small town of Astoria, Oregon that Marco moved to in 2008. Marco says, "I recall my first Pride experience in Manhattan, 1994. I was terrified. I had images of what I always had (by always, I meant since 1991, when I had my first taste of gay) heard happened at Pride celebrations. In my conservative Catholic mind . . . Many years later, while at school at the University of Oregon, I went to the Pride gathering at Alton Baker Park, and while a bit more a part of this community, I still found myself lurking in the shadows, not feeling strong enough to love the gay part of myself. Why?"

I have heard many lesbian comedians joke about the popularity of the Subaru automobile with the lesbian community, who are also often associated with having a dog in the back of the Subaru. As a Subaru owner, who is not a lesbian, I can only guess the reason is because Subaru cars are gender queer in the sense that they have a little bit of masculine -- all-wheel drive that allows you drive in bad snowy weather to athletic events popular in Bend, Oregon -- and a little bit of feminine -- they are small enough to be parked in a normal garage or parking place and they do not require a ladder to climb into as some of the more masculine full-size four-wheel drive off-road vehicles require. Subaru cars work perfect for weekend gardening and their hatch back end is set up to take the abuse of wet ski clothing, or a wet dog.

See previous post Why do I own two cars despite being too blind to drive anymore? (11/23/15) - My 2016 Subaru Crosstrek all-wheel drive automobile is shown and I'm not a lesbian!