Black Friday – who is out in that hot mess?

The TV and radio commercials have been blasting non-stop since I got out of the hospital, and it’s finally here – Black Friday. The American retailers are crossing their fingers hoping those of us who are still employed have disposable dollars left to hit the stores at 3AM, or click their mice to start buying for the holidays.

Kate and I switched over to online shopping years ago, since we both hate navigating crowds and parking lots with maniacs trying to “be first.” She did say that back in the day, she and her dad used to go for “the experience” — I’m not sure what “the experience” is, since the whole thing is a big mind game. The whole point of Black Friday is that these stores get you inside by luring you to buy whatever items are deeply discounted, hoping you’ll toss impulse buys that aren’t fire sales into your cart.

Given the economy is still sucktastic in many parts of the country, it will be interesting to see how well local stores do, and whether e-tailers fare worse or better than predicted.

What I can say so far is the Gmail account that I keep just for online purchases is loaded with e-blasts about things being 30%, 40% even 50% off for this weekend, usually by the use of online coupon codes given in the email.

(BTW, my Amazon wish list is up to date, Tim, so you can’t say I didn’t think of something to get me, little brother…)

Q of the Day – are you a Black Friday offline shopper? What time did you go and what was the scene like?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Dumbest homophobic mess EVER: Indianapolis bakery offended by rainbow cupcakes

why. Why. WHy. WHY?????? Read and weep and laugh. (Change.org)

Looking for some cupcakes or cookies with rainbow frosting on them, to celebrate National Coming Out Day? Don’t head to Just Cookies in Indianapolis. The bakery, inside Indianapolis’ City Market, refused to accept an order from a gay student group at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Why?

According to the man who owns the bakery, rainbow cupcakes and cookies celebrating LGBT pride violate the values of the bakery.

“I explained we’re a family-run business, we have two young, impressionable daughters and we thought maybe it was best not to do that,” said co-owner David Stockton to a local Fox television station. He then added that it’s his bakery’s decision to decide what is obscene. Apparently rainbow colors fall under that label. “We have our values, and you know, some things … for instance, if someone wants a cookie with an obscenity, well, we’re not going to do that.”

So rainbow sprinkles, which have been around for eternity, are part of the devil’s design to spread homosexuality?

Mike Signorile and I were IMing when this blew by on Hootsuite (where I monitor Tweets and FB feeds). The possibilities for discrimination are endless for this bakery:

* he only makes white cupcakes

* chocolate cupcakes represent affirmative action

* red velvet cupcakes are Native American, if you add cream cheese frosting, does that make it Jewish?

* what about mixed bundt cakes – is that miscegenation?

You get the idea. The whole thing is mind-numbingly dumb. My brain cells are dying just contemplating someone this bigoted and stupid.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

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