BREAKING: Transgender girl not a finalist for homecoming queen despite enough votes

SISTERLY SUPPORT | Andy Moreno, left, has her family — including sister Daisy Moreno, right — and her friends backing her up in her bid to be the 2010 homecoming queen at North Dallas High. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)
Andy Moreno, left, and her sister Daisy Moreno

Trangender student Andy Moreno wasn’t among the three finalists for homecoming queen at North Dallas High School announced Monday, according to her sister, Daisy Moreno.

Daisy Moreno told Instant Tea that according to poll watchers and friends on the counting committee, Andy received more votes than at least one of the three finalists. However, based on the principal’s previous decision, school officials didn’t allow votes for Andy to count.

Another transgender youth who also identifies as female was nominated for homecoming king and won, Daisy Moreno said. The school allowed the other youth to run for king because she was born male. Students will choose the homecoming king and queen from among the finalists on Friday, Oct. 15.

Queer LiberAction is reportedly planning a protest of Andy’s exclusion from the ballot.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company saw the story about Andy’s homecoming bid on Dallas Voice’s website and interviewed her Monday afternoon. The report is scheduled to run on NPR in the United States.

It’s unclear whether Andy would have a winning case if she brought legal action against the school or the district, according to Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal in Dallas.

Upton said recent federal court rulings have supported students’ right to dress consistently with their gender identity in other contexts, but he couldn’t recall one that dealt specifically with homecoming. In Indiana, for example, a school district recently changed its policies and settled a case brought by a trans student who wasn’t allowed to wear female attire to the prom.

“In this type of a situation, there would probably be some federal arguments you could make,” Upton said. “It would depend a lot on the circumstances of the homecoming event, and whether it was truly just extracurricular or whether it was related to the curriculum of the school. But as a general rule, the federal law has been in some cases protective of students who kind of buck the gender norms or bend the molds and administrators don’t like it.

“I think it’s something we’re seeing more and more of, because students are increasingly becoming comfortable in their own skin in situations where five or 10 years ago, they would have been scared to death to be themselves,” he said.

Upton added that regardless of the legal implications, he doesn’t understand the school’s motivation.

“What’s the harm?” Upton said. “Especially in the context of proms or homecoming, I always wonder, what really is the objection? And that’s the question that I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to. You [the school district] might win a lawsuit, but why would you care, and why would you expend so much energy on something like this? You’ve got bigger problems.”

Online editor John Wright contributed to this article.

—  David Taffet

In case you missed it, This American Life examines APA's definition of homosexuality

Today (actually right now) on NPR, This American Life re-airs the episode “81 Words” looking at the American Psychiatric Association’s decision in 1973 to no longer consider homosexuality a mental illness. Or you can go here to catch the show in its entirety.

—  Rich Lopez

'Don't ask, don't tell': don't repeal

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter
Former Rep. Duncan Hunter

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter was interviewed by NPR. The intro to the interview is wrong. Hunter did not serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, as Melissa Block said in the intro. He served in Congress from 1981 to 2009.

That’s kind of an important little detail. It makes it sound like he has current military experience that other members of Congress do not.

However, he did serve in Vietnam in 1970-71. (Don’t worry. His district is now ably represented by his son, Duncan D. Hunter). During the Vietnam War, there was a draft and being gay was not a reason to get a deferment. I know. I tried. It was a reason to be drafted, get the most dangerous assignment in Vietnam, and if you came back alive, get a dishonorable discharge.

Here are some of Hunter’s arguments against allowing gays and lesbians to serve:

And I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.

When you are out of arguments, you lump everyone together. He left out pedophiles, necrophiliacs and people who want to marry animals.

Its going to be like civilian life and the I think that that would be detrimental for the military.

Because gays in the military means opening gay bars on army bases.

—  David Taffet

Morning Edition-NPR-KERA complicit in promoting Uganda genocide

This morning, KERA ran an NPR story on the impending gay and lesbian genocide. Before the story they ran the warning that the following story had adult content.

Adult content?

There was no adult content in the story other than the mention of gay and lesbian. Did they run that disclaimer when they did stories on the Rwandan genocide? Do they run that warning in the Darfur genocide?

No. Absolutely not?

Why not?

Because NPR does not see gay and lesbian Ugandans as the victims of bigotry, hatred, ignorance. By warning us before the story, they are implying sexual orientation is a choice.

—  David Taffet

Moby at the Palladium Ballroom Oct. 4

Doh! Sorry ladies and gents. If it wasn’t for NPR’s Bob Boilen, I wouldn’t have remembered to post this video of Moby live at the Palladium Ballroom earlier this month. It’s an interesting thing to watch Moby capture his electronica music with a full band. Here he performs his chill groove, “Porcelain” to a surprisingly nice effect.

Yesterday, Boilen posted Moby’s full Berlin concert to listen to (not watch) on the All Songs Considered site. It’s a sufficient hour and 44 minute post. So if you close your eyes and have some strudel, you might can imagine being right there at the show.

—  Rich Lopez

StoryCorps records gay grandfather's tale of coming out

I woke up to this bit on NPR this morning. Tony Perri tells his story about living his “straight” life until deciding to come out. I won’t say much more because I hope you’ll listen. It reminded me a lot of Ray Boltz’s story where he talked about living the life he thought he was supposed to only to let years slip away.

The story was being recorded for StoryCorps, a nonprofit agency with the mission of recording an oral record of American lives. The recorded conversations are then archived in the Library of Congress. It was hard to tell if it was coincidence or great timing but it was a nice way of starting off this Pride weekend.

—  Rich Lopez

In case you missed the NPR piece, 'Where's The Change? Gay Activists Ask'

You can read it here. Even though today we heard good news from Vermont giving same-sex couples the right to marry, Liz Halloran details the slow moving actions of the Obama administration regarding LGBT rights.

But despite the historic gains made by the nation’s gay community, this year has largely been one of disappointment for many whose hopes were pinned on President Obama’s promise of change after two terms of an openly hostile Republican administration.

It sort of bursts the bubble of excitment from today’s news but Halloran gives a good review. It could practically be used as a guidebook for the work still needed to move forward.

—  Rich Lopez