Oscar watching parties

And the Oscar goes to…

From area venues:

*Barbara’s is having an Oscar party!! Watch the Academy Awards on the big screen. Fill out a nominee list with the ones that you think are going to win. The person with the most correct winners wins a great prize. We have the list for you to fill out, and all entries must be in before start time. And of course, you can wear your evening dress or tux if you would like to.

DEETS: Barbara’s Pavilion, 325 Centre St. 7:30 p.m.

*Movie Awards Viewing Party brought to you by the 5013c Oak Cliff Foundation and the  Oak Cliff Film Festival! Come watch the spectacle unfold before your eyes on the big screen. Of course this is a fine opportunity to dress to the nines and party like a star! Enter the Pick the Winners poll for $3. Winner will be announced at the end of the night and will get 2 free badges to the 2012 Oak Cliff Film Festival.

DEETS: The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. 6 p.m. TheTexasTheatre.com.


—  Rich Lopez

HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: Last minute gifts and stocking stuffer roundup


Whether you need to give to the coworkers, neighbors or just add to the gift stock pile by stuffing the stocking, these might help out on your decision making.


Moon Mountain vodka makes this holiday season more “green” that is certified organic by the USDA. Made in America, the artisanally crafted vodka is made from Midwestern corn, but in small batches creating the right taste to make it the perfect spirit to toast the season. The vodka is priced at $19.99.

Available at major spirits retailers.


These Biscoff cookies are a surprisingly addictive treat, that it may be hard to give away. The crispy biscuits with the caramel flavor are ideal with coffee or even on their own. And a welcome alternative to usual holiday sweets with their light touch. Made from Belgium, these treats are vegan and contain 0 grams trans fat and 0 cholesterol per serving. So your recipients will be quite happy about these. Coming in a variety of counts and packages, these Biscoff Cafe Totes house eight packages of two. So you can get one for yourself and then try to give the other one away. You could leave them out for Santa but try not to eat them before he does. Ten percent of the purchases of this item go toward Teach for America. A set of three is priced at $16.95.

Available through Biscoff.com.


For the Star Wars gamer geek — er, loved ones — comes this quirky stylus set. Made for Nintendo DS products, Star Wars fans can have their very own Clone Wars with these character-designed stylus lightsabers.  The stylus can be used for DS Lite, XL and 3DS and is for ages six and up. Priced at $9.99.

Available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other major video game retailers.



Breaking Glass Pictures has made gift giving for your LGBT movie fan rather enticing. The company that distributed the locally-made Ticked Off Trannies with Knives is offering a 30 percent off purchases made during the holiday season. Stack up on indie gay movie faves like Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical and the 30th anniversary edition of the gay classic Taxi Zum Klo. Head to the site withthe promotion code “holiday” and snag a bargain on the films. Hey, you might even get one for yourself.

Available at BreakingGlassPictures.com.





Expect an eye roll if you give kids a toothbrush, but once they start handling his Arm & Ammer Spinbrush Proclean, they might get more on board. The battery-operated brush is a simple, but effective way to keep those pearly whites, um, white, with the appeal of being a whirring gadget. Don’t talk about how better it is than a manual toothbrush and dental health. Yawn for days. Hype up the dual action technology, the durable body style and what a grown-up “toy” it is. Because, of course, adults can use it to. Retails between $8–9.

Available at retailers nationwide.


—  Rich Lopez

‘Perform or provide’

DADT repeal gives progressive chaplains a chance to counter evangelical clergy in the military


CATCH-ALL CHAPLAIN | Chaplain Chris Antal (Lt.) attended the meeting of the Forum on Military Chaplaincy at Cathedral of Hope in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
When a soldier recently came to Chaplain Chris Antal, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard in New York and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and asked if he’d pray with her even though she was a pagan, he said he replied, “Of course I will, but you’ll have to show me how.”

Several weeks later, when he saw her again, she told him that the day she had come to visit him, she had hit rock bottom. He had, she told him, saved her life that day.

But Antal said he was only doing his job — helping any soldier who comes to him.

“I’ve earned the nickname, the Catch-all Chaplain,” he said, explaining that it means he takes everyone the other chaplains don’t want to deal with.


Capt. Tom Carpenter (ret.) and Col. Paul Dodd (ret.)

Being there to help a soldier in need is what it’s all about for a military chaplain, said Col. Paul Dodd, a retired chaplain who now lives in Austin.

“The duty of a military chaplain is to perform or provide,” said Dodd, adding that he once sponsored an Islamic conference.

Dodd said that no chaplain can perform every service needed by every member of the military. But if a chaplain can’t perform the service requested, he or she must provide that soldier with a referral to someone else who can.

Antal said that chaplains who enlisted knew what they were getting into — to some extent. But none of them really expected the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And for many, that repeal was a game changer.

In October, a group of active and retired chaplains and military personnel and other people of faith, such as the Rev. Steve Sprinkle from Brite Divinity

School in Fort Worth, met at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to begin looking at ways of addressing the issues that arose for military chaplains around DADT repeal.

Dave Guy Gainer said The Forum on Military Chaplaincy is not exactly new. It formed in 2005 as a project of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and worked under the radar until DADT was repealed.

Sprinkle said people in the Pentagon, up through Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew about their work and considered their statements throughout the DADT repeal process.

And now, with repeal complete, the group met to “come out.” At their meeting in Dallas, forum members considered ways to become an independent organization helping to ensure newly out service members receive the pastoral care they need while serving in the military.

Susan Gore, principle of The Mentor Group and editor of the book Coming Out In Faith, moderated the Dallas conference. She said the group started with several retired military officers “who wanted to push back against the far-right skew.”

Sprinkle has been part of the forum for four years and said he was recruited to participate because of his work on hate crimes.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sprinkle said, more and more members of the Chaplain Corps have come from just one school — Liberty

University, founded by far-right evangelical Jerry Falwell. Today, Sprinkle estimated, one-third of military chaplains come from Liberty University.

“They instituted a program that barely meets minimum requirements,” he said of the evangelical school. “It’s an online course.”

And, Sprinkle said, Liberty University’s goal is to take control of the Chaplain Corps and use the military as a pool for religious recruits.

“This is fertile ground to bring people to Jesus at taxpayer expense,” said Tom Carpenter, a retired Marine captain and one of the forum’s founders.

“I’ve heard stories of them holding the hand of someone who’s dying and trying to bring them to Jesus.”

And although such actions contradict military policy, no one in the corps has been disciplined or dismissed for it.

“They give chaplains a lot of leeway,” Carpenter said.

Gainer said the military is looking for well-rounded ministers who bring experience with them to the military.

According to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., candidates must be endorsed by their denomination or faith group and be “sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.”

But Sprinkle said that Liberty University is transparent about its goals, and those goals do not line up.

“They’re not committed to pluralism or serving all the troops,” he said.

Gainer said that the greatest opposition to repealing DADT came from the Chaplain Corps because military chaplains answer to two groups — the military and their denomination. Those chaplains that didn’t adhere to a strict stance of maintaining the ban on gays and lesbians were threatened with losing their accreditation from their endorsing religious body — and with it their livelihood and their pensions.

But that contradicts the stated goals of the Chaplain Corps.

“Someone has to say, ‘Either you comply and serve all the troops all the time or get out,’” Sprinkle said.

Gore said that one of the goals of the newly public forum is to “rebalance the Chaplain Corps by bringing in more mainstream faiths.” She said that for many who come from more liberal traditions, questions of what’s a just war make it hard to serve in the military. Antal, for example, is one of just four Unitarian Universalists in the Chaplain Corps.

During its push for repeal of DADT, members
said, the forum had several successes working behind the scenes.

Despite the assumption of confidentiality between parishioner and clergy, that wasn’t always the case between gay soldier and chaplain. Dodd said that a number of discharges under DADT occurred after a soldier talked to a chaplain and the chaplain turned them in.

In fact, he wrote a white paper on the practice. After he submitted it, the military tightened up on chaplain confidentiality, Dodd said.

Carpenter, an attorney, wrote an amicus brief for the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit against DADT. The court found in favor of declaring DADT unconstitutional, but Congress repealed the law before the decision could be enforced.

Carpenter said that the repeal allows gays and lesbians to serve with no protection. The legal decision, had it not been vacated upon repeal, would have allowed gays and lesbians to serve equally.

Now that DADT is gone, the forum is examining how to ensure LGB personnel receive the same services as other troops from chaplains.

Dodd said that right-wing chaplains charge that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military will force them to act in ways that go against their beliefs. Some have said they would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

Dodd called that ridiculous. Chaplains are never asked to perform duties that go against their religious beliefs, he said.

“I turned down weddings,” he said. “An officer came to me who wasn’t divorced.”

He said the officer tried to pull strings and force the issue, but Dodd wasn’t going to discuss marrying someone who was still married to someone else.

“But we’re insisting chaplains have the authority, if it’s in keeping with their faith, to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal provides no family benefits. For some issues, Dodd and Carpenter suggested work-arounds.

Issuing ID cards would be extremely helpful, especially to same-sex couples with children, Carpenter said, noting that “That way either parent could get on base to get a child to the hospital.”

In another example, joint assignments can be offered at the discretion of a commanding officer, and married couples are often assigned together when they both qualify for positions that are available at the same base. Same-sex couples could be given the same priority.

As the forum looks ahead, rebalancing the Chaplain Corps with members from a more diverse background to reflect the membership of the military is a priority.

“And we need to take care of our trans brothers and sisters,” Carpenter said.

The repeal of DADT did not address any transgender issues and does not allow transgender men or women to serve in the military.

Gainer believes representatives of the forum need to sit down with far-right members of the Chaplain Corps and agree to disagree. He said that before the repeal of DADT, they talked to people at Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While both groups testified against the repeal, they met with some success.

“The president of the VFW in Pflugerville said it was the right thing to do,” Gainer said.

That dialogue, he believed, would help chaplains perform or at least provide a useful referral, rather than doing more damage to a soldier seeking help.

Gore thought that the focus of discussion should be with the majority of chaplains “who want to do a good job and are part of the moveable middle.”

“We have to convince administrators and educators in divinity schools to encourage some of their best and brightest to serve,” Sprinkle said. “So many schools dropped what they were doing during the Vietnam era.”

Antal thinks that gays and lesbians will gain more acceptance as they tell their stories in non-confrontational settings and others see “their identity as professional service members is primary.”

While the work of the forum will concentrate on helping LGB military personnel, creating a more diverse Chaplain Corps may help a majority of service members. Recent polls show that a majority of troops find the chaplaincy irrelevant.

Sprinkle called the work of the forum a gift from the LGBT community to the nation.

“You wouldn’t think we’d be the ones opening the doors so that all troops will be served with dignity, integrity and respect,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.


—  Kevin Thomas

Defining Homes • Ask the EXPERTS

With the economy still in a wicked mess, reports are that the latest trend in homebuying is not buying. Renters are on the rise. But are they? Real estate source Inman reported in January that it is cheaper to buy in the majority of the country’s larger cities. Keith Jurow reported last year on World Property Channel that a Harris Interactive survey found renting a better option. So which is it? We asked locals in the industry how the trends are swaying the Dallas housing market and the frustrations behind them.


Michael Litzinger

Michael Litzinger
William Davis Realty Uptown

The trend has affected my business significantly. The firm I recently moved to seems to be more in tune with today’s market. Their streamlined, online process requires less paperwork which makes it better for the client, a much quicker turn around for me and better for the environment.

Leasing does move property these days, and I am just glad the industry moves in some fashion whether it’s leasing or selling.

I do think the trend has affected us locally somewhat, but not nearly as severely as in most other areas. I still feel good about the Dallas market.  I know Realtors in other areas that can’t say the same.

Buyers are decreasing to some degree. Even with low interest rates, I’ve had a lot of buyers come to me and then disappear.



Derrick Dawson

Derrick Dawson
Texas Pride Realty

As an active and producing Realtor also working in property management, I’d say the rental trend has picked up significantly, but that doesn’t mean it’s been ideal for property renters/owners or for the multi-family industry. The rental market has been stable but faces some challenges based on broken leases due to financial hardship or unemployment. Many are playing it safe by downsizing or combining rental homes based on economic conditions, being fearful of keeping their jobs and saving for the future.
Today is a buyer’s market and an ideal time to get out of the rent race. The downfall to the buyer’s market that I have seen personally is buyers and investors taking advantage of desperate people in today’s markets, possibly causing detriment to individuals or families in their time of need but also bringing down values in those areas making it harder for others to sell.



Dan Flynn


Dan Flynn
Dave Perry-Miller InTown

The trend of leasing over buying has changed the way I preview properties in my area. Leasing is so hot now, I’ve looked at rentals and try to know the different apartment communities close by. Now I am much faster to respond to leasing needs.

I process far more leases to build my future list of clients. I try to educate and prepare them for the buying process down the road. Using a Realtor to find the perfect place to lease makes a lot of sense for those wanting to buy in the future but also for those who don’t really want to do the legwork.

I recently represented a seller who could not sell his property for the amount he was hoping for. Finding qualified buyers in his market and price range wasn’t easy. Another Realtor’s client was interested in leasing the property so

I had to have that conversation with my seller. The seller decided to go with the lease. While sales are still going strong, leasing has increased. While this really is the time to buy, I think all the media attention scares buyers. Potential buyers need to know that the market is stable here and we are one of the cities leading the nation in sales right now.  Go buy a house now or pay more for it later both in price and interest rates.


Keith M. Thomas

Keith M. Thomas
1111 Apartment Locators

Although the economy has definitely affected us here, it is worse in other areas of the country. Dallas continues to grow and so I feel the trend’s impact on Dallas has been positive.

My company is a fully licensed real estate brokerage company and we handle all residential and commercial real estate transactions yet, our primary business is apartment locating. We want to maintain focus on renters, but we’ve created strategic partnerships with other real estate companies and have a referral program with them. We work closely with our clients to help with all of their real estate needs.

For homes that have reasonable mortgages there is good news. In Dallas, the rental market has significantly gone up, especially from 2010 to present to a  94-97 percent occupancy rate.

Buyers become renters for two reasons: First, they are able to get a nicer home for a lower monthly payment. And second, it doesn’t make sense to buy unless you’re planning to stay. However, buyers are increasing, oddly enough. MetroTex Association of Realtors reported that last August 2010 there were 1,223 properties sold and this August 2011 there were 1,485.

It’s a landlords’ market. Rents are at a premium and good ones go fast. When I show my clients rentals, they want to think about it, I encourage them to act quickly, because the unit is gone within a day or two. Why should homeowners take a loss on waiting for a qualified buyer, when they can rent quickly and hold out for the market to improve?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 04.29.11

By Jack Fertig


Lesley Gore turns 65 on Monday. Much has changed in music since singer Lesley Gore recorded her biggest hit “It’s My Party” back in 1963. But maybe it was Gore who “changed” the most. The iconic singer came out as lesbian in 2005 and stated she knew in her late teens that she was attracted to women. Now we have to go back and listen to all her lyrics again.



Uranus, newly in Aries, cranks up spontaneous individualism and assertion. The sun is in Taurus, semi-square to Uranus provoking a lot of stubbornness. Don’t challenge others with an uppity, obstinate attitude; look for creative new ways to show loyalty and resilience.


TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Life’s tough blows have been piling up, but don’t let it give you piles. Much as people depend on the solid, reliable you, you need to be able to let it out and lean on someone else.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your friends are only human. Don’t take disappointments to heart. Cutting off communications is a big mistake, but so is over-talking the problem. A short break may be best.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Your friends’ ideas fare too much from the heart, not enough from the brains. Going along with them could hurt your rep and your wallet. Thank them for their ideas and change the subject.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
In your ideal relationship you’re the star married to your agent or manager. That means you can’t always be the boss! Arguments are normal but listening remains more important than speaking.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Novel sex techniques are a blast but require some safety. They also open up a lot of suppressed feelings. How well do you know your partner? Just be sure that he or she can be trusted.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
You and your mate have a great time exploring kinky new fun. Anything from silk scarf bondage to cattle prods is open to testing. Slow, careful and easy is the best approach, at first anyway.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You are part of a team and everyone else is as important as you. As much as your special talents do contribute to the team, cultivate humility as one of those talents.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Argue about movie, art, sports, anything fun or creative; you’re sure to find amazing new ideas. Keep your mind and ears open and respectful of other notions. Be polite with the idiots.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Livening up your home life should be a fun creative challenge, not a painful economic one. Unleash your dark side in planning changes, but not in how you treat housemates.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Criticism of family, housemates or your community is surprising in its harshness. If you can’t be kind, give your loved ones a break and look for schmucks who deserve your wrath.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Financial surprises work your nerves. You need a break. Try something new and different even if it’s just a quiet stroll in a park or country road you’ve never trod before.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
The cost of living force some choices in how you unwind. Look ahead 10 years and imagine what friendships, talents and skills you’d like to have developed through your hobbies.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

If a Congressman ‘bulldozes away’ ‘screaming, profane gays’ and no one’s there to film it…

…does it still make a sound?

We ask, because there’s no record of the following recount actually happening. Not from Iowa’s mainstream press. Not from bloggers. Not from YouTubers who filmed the events. Not even, up to this point, from anyone in the conservative movement — a movement filled with folks who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to exploit any and every chance to make gays look aggressive.

But leave it to Congressman Steve King (Very Far R-Iowa) to all of a sudden remember some sort of militant, radical, profane gay aggression that’s gone wholly unreported for a matter of months:

REP. STEVE KING: “I went on the judge bus tour with the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, and I climbed off of that bus into the heart of the screaming, profane gays that met us at nearly every stop, and I took them on directly, and in some cases actually — not direct violence, but physical. Yeah, so, and then, I went back down and sat down in the radio studio —

POLITICAL CORRECTION: “You were physically — they, like, physically tried to —”

KING: “Well here’s the extent of it. They get right in your face and they scream profanities right at you. And you have to stand there and deliver it. I finally, as my voice gave out, I turned it over to Connie Mackie who is a verbal pugilist of the first order, and they even crowded tight around her, so I turned my back to them and just, I backed up into them. I kept bulldozing them away from Connie Mackie because they were so intimidating and so threatening and so profane.

Rep. Steve King Proudly Recalls Confronting “Screaming, Profane Gays” [Political Correction]


So produce a tape, Congressman! And by “produce,” we don’t mean commission the firm that did NOM’s “Gathering Storm” ad to CGI some “intimidating, threatening, profane” gays into stock video of a rally. We mean “produce” as in cough up the tape. As in show us where any of this happened. Because we know people who were there on the ground in Iowa — and none of them saw anything even close to resembling an altercation.

So seriously, dude: Show us some documentation of how you boldly saved Connie Mackie from the de facto burning building that is the equality movement. Until you can, we’re gonna stick with our own memories from this tragically misguided tour:

Good As You

—  David Taffet

♪ My gift is my song and this one’s for [raising a Brink’s truck of cash to beat Prop 8] ♪

Elton John-2A good move from the Piano Man, as reported by The New York Times:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — He walked on stage in sunglasses, an earring glittering in one ear. The days of jumping on piano benches were presumably behind him. Still, in 16 songs that lasted more than 90 minutes Wednesday night, Sir Elton John offered a robust private concert to a relatively intimate audience gathered under a tent on an estate in the Hollywood Hills on a cool California evening.

The cause for this fundraiser — extravagant even when measured against Hollywood events — was the legal fight to overturn Proposition 8, the California voter initiative that banned gay marriage. At the end of the night, as the crowd headed to a long line of waiting limousines and shuttle vans, Rob Reiner, the director and a leader of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, announced that the event had raised million.

KEEP READING: Elton John Plays Calif. Benefit to Back Gay Marriage [New York Times]

(H/t: Towle)

It’s of course great that we’re raising these funds. But once again, we can’t help but be astounded by the ever-escalating zeroes that are so indelibly written on marital bias’ price tag. mil here, a couple more million there — it’s craziness! We’re talking about something that should be as free as it is fair!

The mental expenditures, the ancillaries that come with having to protect our families through alternate means, the opportunity cost of putting other things on hold to fight this fight, and of course the literal monetary asking price. That’s a lot of toll for a “culture war” so bereft of purpose.

Good As You

—  admin

Maggie’s been stage-managing a marriage morality play for eons. Yet we’re the inauthentic ones?!

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a contrivance that politicians had to put into the law if they wanted to prevent the federal rights that would obviously and fairly be granted to same-sex couples once marriage equality became a reality in America. And now, those of us who are seeking DOMA’s overdue demise are asking the courts to determine if this legislative contrivance can pass a constitutional smell test, as we believe the 1996 nam is as flawed as it is artificial.

MaggieBut leave it to the National Organization For Marriage‘s chairman to ignore that reality so as to instead act like it’s the pro-equality side that is “inventing” something here. This from The New York Times:

Maggie Gallagher, the chairwoman of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, said court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act showed that gay rights advocates “continue to push a primarily court-based strategy of, in our view, inventing rights that neither the founders nor the majority of Americans can recognize in our Constitution.” [NYT]

So wait, again: Politicians made a mid-90s choice wholly based on hostility for LGBT equality, and yet it’s those who are seeking to restore the constitution to its original intent (or at least to recognize its 142-year-old 14th Amendment) who are supposedly going against the founder’s intent?!? And the rights-thwarting mob rule of a “majority of Americans” is presented as a constitutional principle?! Yea, mmhmm, right, Mags.

Not to mention: Maggie didn’t even really like DOMA all that much back when it came into existence. She found it too timid:

Screen Shot 2010-11-09 At 10.14.36 Am


Because Maggie wanted and wants more. She wants a complete ban — an even more contrived amendment that would strike right at the heart of the constitution, turning it, for the first time in history, into a weapon against certain kinds of tax-paying citizens. Maggie wants an invention of the far-right think tanks that have given her a career.

So the NOM chair can go ahead and paint us as mad scientists in an anti-constitutional lab all she wants. The patently obvious fact is that its her own decades of work twisting and molding the political landscape so that it turns against the benign, easy, should-be-non-controversial concept of folding ALL Americans into the fabric that is the truly inorganic factor at play here. Peace would need to battle plan, if not for the far-right’s carefully orchestrated “culture war”!!

Good As You

—  admin

Which Pejoratives Do We Put To A Vote? Apparenlty Antitransgender Ones

For those of us who don’t watch Glee or The Jersey Shore much, we might have missed the use of the pejorative tranny (which will henceforth be referred to as tra**y in the rest of the piece) being used in both shows.

GLAAD reported about Glee‘s use of the pejorative tra**y in their glaadBLOG piece Glee Episode Hits The Wrong Note. They noted:

The show’s inclusion of the word “tra**y” was made all the more confusing by the decision to change the word “transsexual” to “sensational” in the song “Sweet Transvestite.” As many commentators have pointed out, it seems strange that Fox would want the word “transsexual” cut from a well known song, but find “tra**y” acceptable.

This inclusion of this slur is particularly alarming given last season’s powerful episode in which Kurt’s father chastised Finn for using the word “f*g.” That episode sent a powerful message to the show’s young fan base that words have power and they can hurt.

Image: Jersey Shore Cast; Link: glaadBLOG's 'MTV Apologizes for Transphobic Jersey Shore Reunion Segment'Jersey Shore was a far worse example of transphobia, in that it was real people making bigoted, derogatory comments about trans people while using the pejorative tra**y. From glaadBLOG‘s MTV Airs Disturbing Transphobic Jersey Shore Reunion Special:

MTV’s hit reality show Jersey Shore featured one of the most blatant examples of transphobia seen on television during its Reunion Special Thursday night.

The offending incident began with a montage of clips from a previous episode, in which Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is shown flirting with an unidentified club patron, followed by his castmates repeatedly claiming the person was “a tra**y,” and that “if you have to think about it, it’s a tra**y. Stay away.”

However the instance was made much worse by both the show’s host and producers, who intercut with shots of cast member Ronnie Ortiz-Magro wearing a dress and MTV’s own footage of a large man in a bikini and a Halloween mask in an attempt to add more “humorous” context. Host Julissa Bermudez started off the interview segment by making fun of Ronnie for wearing a dress, and asking Mike Sorrentino, “Who was that tra**y?! What was up with that?!”

The segment can be seen here and the full episode is here. WARNING: This video is extremely offensive.

MTV has since apologized; the glaadBLOG reported on the apology in their piece MTV Apologizes for Transphobic Jersey Shore Reunion Segment. Text of the MTV apology:

We appreciate GLAAD voicing concern about the “Jersey Shore” reunion special. The segment in question was certainly not meant to be insensitive, but in retrospect we realize that it was offensive to some viewers.  We sincerely apologize.

GLAAD‘s comments on both shows was in alignment with it’s mission statement, which states:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality.

For me, another disturbing part of this story has been how some media outlets have turned GLAAD‘s efforts over the use of the word tra**y into a question to the public — Is tra**y really a derogatory word? Three examples of this tact are found in Entertainment Week, PopWatch‘s GLAAD vs. ‘Glee’: Is ‘tra**y’ a bad word?; Inside Blip‘s Did ‘Glee’ Cross The Line With ‘Tra**y’?; Gay rights group up in arms, but is this much ado about nothing?, and SodaHead‘s Was ‘Jersey Shore’ Wrong to Use the Word ‘Tra**y’?

SodaHead Poll: Was 'Jersey Shore' Wrong to Use the Word 'Tranny'? (screenshot November 5, 2010, 12:30 PDT)SodaHead actually has a poll up on their question, which was posed by someone in their staff. The three answers are 1.) No, there was nothing wrong with it; 2.) Yes, that was offensive; and 3.) Undecided. As of 12:30 PM PDT, seventy-five SodaHead voters thought there is nothing wrong with using the term tra**y, while thirty-nine voters thought the term is offensive — twenty-five voters were undecided.

Media outlets wouldn’t be asking if the n-word is offensive to African-Americans; we wouldn’t be asking if the b-word or the c-word is offensive to women; we wouldn’t be asking if the-other-f-word is offensive to gays. Somehow though, Entertainment Weekly, Inside Blip, and SodaHead believe phrasing a headline to ask if a antitransgender term is really offensive when used in television shows is acceptable behavior on their parts. And bisarrely, Inside Blip indicates in the text of their article that it’s not the responsibility of Glee to point out that the term tra**y is seen by many trans people as offensive — That somehow this is appropriate commentary in a climate where anti-LGBT school bulling has become a national issue.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Franich appears to speak from cluelessness regarding trans community in his comment, where he stated:

[C]an we meet in the middle somewhere? Do you think that “tra**y” is a bad word? More to the point, do you think that Glee’s use of the word was offensive?

I’m sure I’m not the only trans person who believes “No, we can’t meet in the middle; yes, tra**y is a bad word; yes, Glee‘s use of the word was offensive.” Did he even reach out to meet with transgender activists before writing that statement of his? Somehow, I doubt it.

I am aware that there are drag performers that use the term tra**y to refer to themselves, and I am aware that there are transgender-identified people who use the term tra**y to refer to themselves, often working to reclaim the word just as many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community work to reclaim the word queer. But just because some African-Americans use others in their community by the n-word, and just because many women refer to themselves by the b-word…Well, that doesn’t mean white Americans should use the n-word to refer to African-Americans, and doesn’t mean that men should be referring to women by the b-word. Pejoratives such as the n-word, the b-word, and the-other-f-word are used to dehumanize people; so is the word tra**y.

And, there is doubt that as the term tra**y as used on Glee and The Jersey Shore, was meant as a derogatory, dehumanizing term — which is why the GLAAD Media Reference Guide refers to the term tra**y (along with a few other terms) this way…

Defamatory: “she-male,” “he-she,” “it,” “trannie,” “tranny,” “shim,” “gender-bender

These words only serve to dehumanize transgender people and should not be used.

It’s bad enough that tra**y was used as a dehumanizing term in these two television shows, but having a few websites put that term up for a vote — a vote as to whether or not the term is a pejorative and/or offensive — is just incredibly insensitive to trans community, and indicates that these websites feel they should be able to dictate to trans community which words are antitransgender pejoratives and which terms are not. Because, of course, trans people are too ignorant and too stupid to recognize for themselves what terms are used as antitransgender pejoratives.

[Below the fold: Responding to the usual derailments of posts on antitransgender pejoratives — especially tra**y — before the derailing begins.]

For those who wish to put up some standard arguments as to why my writing on this subject seems to be unnecessary, let me pre-give some Derailing For Dummies answers for you to consider before posting a comment. Trans people are used to these arguments when we bring up our issues — even within the broader LGBT community.

You’re Being Overemotional:

It is very likely that the whole reason the Marginalized Trans Person™ in question is debating with you is because they’ve made a conscious decision to speak out about these issues, despite the pain and heartache it can often cause them.

Therefore, the “you’re being hostile” bomb can often lead to an increase of anger and/or hurt. Sometimes it just leads to greater emphasis and exasperation in the argument.

It really doesn’t matter, because you can still use it against trans people by accusing them of being overemotional.

You may wish to use the word “hysterical” or “mentally disordered” instead of overemotional. “Hysterical” or “mentally disordered” are words laden with negative connotations, so these terms can be particularly effective. Using these in discussions with trans women is often effective, as the opinions and feelings of trans women have historically been denied as mere “hysteria” or as an outgrowth of “Gender Identity Disorder.” A great one to use with trans women as well is to ask them if they’re taking estrogen — yes, it’s an oldie, but it’s a classic.

Implying people have mental health issues is a great way to dismiss their concerns; it’s also insensitive to people with actual mental health issues — such as depression, bipolar conditions, or schizophrenia.

After all, proper “intellectual” discussions always involve detachment and rationality. What is “rationality”? It’s a way of approaching emotional matters devoid of sentiment, particularly prized by Privileged People® as it enables a continuing inequity of power that favors them. After all, if Privileged People® aren’t emotionally attached to this topic of antitransgender pejoratives by way of Lived Experience©, it is easier for them to be “rational” on the subject

You’re Just Oversensitive:

This is very similar to You’re Being Overemotional, but this one has a slightly different nuance. What you’re implying is that Marginalized Trans People™ are looking for offence where none exists.

Here, you can disown any of your own responsibility in minimizing or dehumanize trans people — and minimizing and dehumanizing any marginalized people and de is absolutely the crux of any derailment. So no matter what, none of this is your fault — nothing you or anyone else has said that was hurtful, offensive, bigoted or discriminatory.

No one apparently is really to blame here except Marginalized Trans People&#8482, because anything that was said was said in innocence.

After all, what reason have you ever had to examine your ingrained prejudices? Why should you start now?

This is a means of telling Marginalized Trans People™ that you believe the responsibility is all theirs – if they weren’t looking so hard for offence, everything would be a lot more pleasant…

But just for you — not Marginalized Trans People&#8482.

You Just Enjoy Being Offended:

This is closely related to the above point. A privileged Person&reg: may make sure the Marginalized Trans Person™ knows that people more privileged than Marginalized Trans People™ consider trans issues to be completely trivial. It’s insensitive in the extreme – it also exemplifies a lack of awareness and empathy.

By demonstrating you have absolutely no concept of what a particular issue or point may mean to them both within their conversation with you and beyond it, you get to show off just how cocooned and protected in your Privilege® you really are. Remember how maddening this is for a Marginalized Trans Person™ — it’s a Privilege® that they don’t share and may never know. So, to witness privilege being so blithely owned and used to diminish their experience, a Marginalized Trans Person™ may just get angry.

You may even be obnoxious and hurtful enough to Marginalized Trans People™ them outright that they enjoy facing discrimination and prejudice. Enjoy it so much, in fact, that they “look” for reasons to be hurt and offended.

This is almost breathtakingly perfect as a derailment tactic, as it lacks any sort of conceivable class and humility — it goes straight to smug viciousness. The very idea that anyone enjoys being hurt and discriminated against as a daily practice is so preposterous it could only be believed by a Privileged Person® who’s never hasn’t experienced to the level of Marginalized Trans People&#8482, and have no idea what it’s like to have one’s humanity diminished every day of their lives.

The fact is, many Marginalized Trans People™ go out of their way to avoid these sorts of debates and confrontations because it’s such a painful and unenjoyable experience. Those you are encountering in this circumstance have likely made a conscious choice to confront bigotry and prejudice, even knowing it will often go badly for them.

For you to spit in the face of their choice in putting themselves on the line by suggesting it’s all fun and games for them just adds a particularly piquant insult to injury.

Don’t You Have More Important Issues To Think About?:

As with the best of all these techniques, this step operates on several levels. First of all, it communicates to Marginalized Trans People™ that you think the entire debate is trivial and below consideration, indicating you entirely disregard their feelings and emotions.

Secondly, you disown responsibility for your part in the debate and anything that you’ve said that may have been discriminatory or offensive.

Finally, you reinforce your Privilege® by suggesting that it is Privileged People’s® job to set the agenda for the Marginalized Group™. After all, how could Marginalized Trans People™ possibly know what issues they should prioritize for themselves as Marginalized Trans People&#8482 are far too inferior and stupid to figure it out for themselves

With your objective, rational Privileged® perspective, on the other hand, you know exactly what is most important, and it is definitely not confronting people who display bigotry and ignorance towards Marginalized Trans People™.

You’re Taking Things Too Personally:

Similar to You’re Being Overemotional, but with particular uses of its own.

When you say “you’re taking things too personally,” you demonstrate your ignorance that these issues ARE personal for Marginalized Trans People™.

That’s highly insulting and usually will rub Marginalized Trans People™ the wrong way. That you’re already refusing to consider their reality is giving them a pretty good indication of how the conversation is going to digress, yet the natural human need for understanding will probably compel them to try and reason with you, or at least to point you in the direction of some educational resources that will help you gain insight into their experiences. This can enable you to make a demand for them to personally educate you instead taking responsibility to educate yourself.

By denying the conversation is personal for them, you also reveal your own detachment: there’s really nothing at stake for you in getting into this argument, you’re possibly having this conversation specifically because Marginalized Trans People’s ™ issues really seem pretty unimportant to you. Marginalized Trans People™ will be all too aware of this too, and it will begin to work on their emotions.

Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone:

Straw man arguments may be used to any successful derailing of Marginalized Trans People™. You can discount the Marginalized Person’s™ experience at every available opportunity. Apart from being simply outright hurtful and demeaning, straw man arguments also forces Marginalized Trans People™ into a constant position of defense.

If a Marginalized Trans Person™ gives you a personal testament, you can immediately assume they are speaking on behalf of their entire group of people and be very quick to point out that it’s wrong for them to do so.

It’s a diversionary tactic, designed to get Marginalized Trans People™ to deny your accusation — and then Marginalized Trans People™ don’t continue to arguing their main points.

Privileged People® have routinely lumped them all together as one great big monolithic group who all look the same, act the same, think the same, speak the same, dress the same, eat the same, feel the same — you get the idea. And, of course, all of those monolithic behaviors are “other” than those of the Privileged®. Othering is a process that permits Privileged People® to consider the Marginalized Trans People™ as less than human, thereby justifying discriminative and stigmatizing behaviors against them. So naturally, it is imperative to a Marginalized Trans Person™ to make it understood their group of people are as diverse in expression and experience as Privileged People®.

So, there is a truth to stating that a issue that is very important to many Marginalized People™ is not important to all Marginalized Trans People™ — stating Marginalized Trans People™ are not all the same. In other words, after Marginalized Trans People™ have all been regularly lumped together, you can break the pattern of lumping them all together for a short period of time, and isolate out a single Marginalized Trans Person™ as not being representative of the whole. Heck, you can say that an individual Marginalized Trans Person™ is just representing their own opinion, but their opinion can’t possibly be the opinion of any sized group of Marginalized Trans People&#8482. You can even play on this concern by implying that you think a Marginalized Trans Person™ is homogenizing all trans people.

It also works to suggest to them that their experience is worthless because it doesn’t align with everyone’s — particularly the views of those that you’ve decided to favor. That is, the trans experiences you’ve heard of that — in your mind — back up your prejudices. This is belittling and offensive in the extreme as you are essentially denying Marginalized Trans People’s™ realities. Marginalized Trans People™’ personal experiences are important to them, so it’s likely they will, whilst getting increasingly hurt and upset, continue to try and defend and “prove” that their experiences are real, and that they belong to a community with commonalities.

Unless You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won’t Believe It:

If you can establish that trans experience is not a monolith, and just because people come from the same Marginalized Trans Community™ does not mean they will all have exactly the same thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Yet with Unless You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won’t Believe It, you can make it an essential proviso of your agreement that they have to PROVE what they’re claiming is definitively representative of a majority of their group of people.

If at this point you have a Marginalized Trans Person™ so upset and frustrated that they are not carefully articulating their points, you can distort what a Marginalized Trans Person™ means so that if you see an opening where you they’re speaking “on behalf” of all people from their group, you can go right back up to the prior point, Your Experience Is Not Representative of Everyone, and start all over again. You can repeat these two over and over again — it can increase the feelings of anger and frustration of a Marginalized Trans Person™, and then you can throw You’re Taking Things Too Personally or You’re Getting Hostile at them in the process of arguing in a circle.

Well I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees:

f, for example, the Marginalized Trans Person™ is making sense and you’re beginning to get the unpleasant feeling that you might be wrong about something, just whip up your trans friend and vehemently express how they completely and stridently support your opinions on these issues.

You must discount in your own mind though you that your friend may have internalized transphobia, or how your friend may have been adversely affected by discrimination wielded by the Privileged® that you’re unaware of. And, as established above, it is imperative that you discount the diversity of experience whilst seeming to support it.

After all, your trans friend is proof that there are different opinions amongst this Marginalized Group™ but the fact they agree with you means you don’t have to in the least give credence to ideas alternative to your own, and certainly not from the Marginalized Trans Person™ in question.

Plus it gives you that handy progressive veneer — see, all their accusations of transphobia are totally groundless because you have a friend who is a representative from that group — which shows that you are open-minded.

You Have An Agenda:

This implies that the Marginalized Trans Person™ could never be speaking from a position of integrity, or with pure intent, because they have “an agenda.”

Popular for use in discussions about homosexuality or transsexuality. For example, there’s the “The Homosexual Agenda&;reg;” — the claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people’s fight to be recognized is simply a desire to “recruit” people into the “Gay Lifestyle”/”Transgender Lifestyle” and turn them “against” the “wholesomeness” of heterosexuality.

And you can separate the “The Transgender Agenda&;reg;” from “The Homosexual Agenda&;reg;,” or “The Gay Agenda&;reg;” — or even your own personal agenda.

In this way you get to both undermine the Marginalized Trans Person™ as a human being and further subject them to discrimination through your refusal to take them seriously. After all, if you characterize the Marginalized Trans Community’s™ struggle for acceptance and equal rights as acts worthy of a comic book supervillain, and not part of the real Gay Civil Rights Movement&;reg;, you further dehumanize and demoralize trans people. Hey, it can strengthen your position.

Ultimately, you can simply dismiss out of turn any and all of Marginalized Trans People’s™ points, no matter how valid, because you can just proclaim that they “have an agenda.”

A In B Situation Is Not Equivalent To X In Y Situation:

The Marginalized Trans Person™ may attempt to be patient and reasonable by using analogy. If you are yourself a member of a Marginalized Community™ exercising privilege over the group you’re arguing with, the Marginalized Trans Person™ may use an example of discrimination towards your community and how there are parallels in discrimination towards theirs. This will be to try and appeal to your basic humanity and provide you with an experience you can relate to, hoping you will use that relation to apply compassion.

By simply becoming indignant, emphasizing that your marginalized group’s experience is absolutely and one-hundred per cent unique, and that there are no similarities whatsoever between the two situations. Be sure to be very derisive of their trans experience, thereby indicating you believe it’s unworthy of consideration. Behaving insulted will indicate their issues are so worthless that it’s deeply offensive your own would be compared to them.

Of course, the Marginalized Trans Person™ was not trying to equate the two, simply trying to provide grounds for commonality. It’s very important not to give an inch, however, so feign utter ignorance of this at all costs.

Who Wins Gold in the Oppression Olympics?:

Following on from this, if you are a member of another marginalized group, you can also exploit it to indicate to the Marginalized Trans Person™ how absolutely disdainful you are of his, hers, or hirs concerns and issues by making out that yours are far more important and imperative.

You can even suggest that your issues are more valuable than theirs, implying a hierarchy of oppression in which you always win.

You see, as a marginalized person yourself, it will be all the more infuriating to the Marginalized Trans Person™ that you’re exercising the exact same prejudices and discrimination that Privileged People® exercise against you. The Marginalized Trans Person™ will be tearing their hair out at your obliviousness and lack of perception.

You Have A False Consciousness:

In conversation, there are few things as degrading, enraging and hurtful than to tell someone their experiences are false, or that their perception of them is — You just tell transgender people that transgender identity is a false identity.

The idea behind this one is usually that oppressed people are simply too oppressed to know they’re oppressed, and therefore people who are more privileged than those Marginalized Trans People™ have to share their wisdom and insight with them.

You Have No Sense Of Humor:

This is where the Privileged Person® tells the Marginalized Trans Person™ how they’re taking him, her, or hirself too seriously, what was said was only meant as a joke, or that he, she, or ze just has no sense of humor.

Y’know, because what was said was really, really funny, and the Marginalized Trans Person™ should just recognize the humor of the situation for what it is — there was no offense intended.

So, have at it in the discussion thread; but just be aware trans people are used to being derailed regarding their issues, and the means of derailment are pretty well known and observed.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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