E.J. Graff

Masculinity Patrol Strikes Again

Oh lordy no, not another gay teen suicide.

Have you noticed that these are almost always boys? I believe it's because of the masculinity patrol, which can be, quite literally, deadly.

Blame the Supreme Court

Dahlia Lithwick explains that "Blaming Congress for the corporate takeover of American democracy is only half the fun; blaming the Supreme Court is almost better." But Occupy Wall Street is lacking in ambition, she suggests, if it only focuses on Citizens United, she explains:

Comings & Goings

The New York Times has posted a riveting graphic representation showing where Americans are moving to and from, by race. I noodled around this spot for awhile, finding out some surprising things, but you could find more. Manhattan has become 22 percent more white--okay, housing prices have pushed out most people, and whites are richer than everyone else, while the Bronx has become eight percent less so, and has gotten much more Latin. My own county of Middlesex, Massachusetts has become -- at long last -- six percent less white, gaining both blacks and Hispanics.

DADT Repeal Not the End of Discrimination

Since "don't ask, don't tell" has been repealed, all's peachy for lesbians and gay men in the military, yes? Umm, no. Serving openly has made it much clearer all the more subtle ways that lesbians and gay men are excluded from full participation -- particularly, the fact that the military does not support its gay service members' families in the same way that heterosexual service members' families are supported.

Lost in Detention

What happens to you when you sneak into the U.S. without papers, hoping for a better life? You might make a living working at jobs that the native-born wouldn't take, supporting your family back home. Or you might end up in indefinite detention. On Tuesday at 9 p.m., PBS's Frontline airs Maria Hinojosa's in-depth, year-long investigation of this system, Lost in Detention. As you may know, Hinojosa's powerful journalistic career has been dedicated to telling the stories of social injustice and exposing the machinery that perpetrates it. I suspect this will be powerful and disturbing. Here's what her production house, Futuro Media Group, says about this show:

Jane Austen Lives!

Jane Austen lives -- in India. Once upon a time, the course of your life was determined by the status you were born into. As cheeky as Jane Austen could be, she knew perfectly well that each character's income and background determined their marital fates. The young lady of the manor better not run off with the dashing blacksmith, because marrying him would cast her out of all "polite society." You might say that things aren't really so different today; if a Yale Law graduate married a janitor, the rehearsal dinner might be a bit tense. But if the janitor magically put herself through law school -- and it does happen, despite the many barriers -- allowances would be made.

When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?

Here in the People's Republic of Cambridge, you occasionally see street signs declaring that the city is a "domestic violence-free zone." Those always make me feel a little snarky: Does my city really believe that we've ended coercion, control, and violence between intimate partners and family members? But while I might roll my eyes at this symbolic gesture, I am proud that the city announces that it takes violence against women and children seriously. I remember, as a child, watching the Jackie Gleason show. His character, Ralph Kramden, would regularly threaten his TV wife with a punch that would send her "to the moon, Alice!

First They Came for Abortion ...

Do not miss Katha Pollitt's latest column, which begins:

First they came for abortion, but I didn't care because abortion was for sluts. Then they came for sex ed, but I didn't care because the kids can learn all they need to know at home. Then they came for birth control, but... Wait a minute! Birth control? They're coming for birth control?

In brief: Yes. Read the column for details.

Thanks, Frank, for Everything

So it appears to be the week for visionaries and pioneers to die. Last night, at age 86, Frank Kameny died at home. Kameny was the genuine article: a trailblazer in gay rights, suing the federal government -- in the 1950s -- for firing him for being a homosexual, back before we all graduated to being called "gay." From the Washington Blade's obituary:

Kameny, born and raised in New York City, served in combat as an Army soldier in World War II in Europe. After the war, Kameny obtained a doctorate degree in astronomy from Harvard University.

The Masculinity Patrol

Over at The Huffington Post, Soraya Chemaly absolutely nails one of the great injustices of childhood (and adulthood, although it's less visible by then): the masculinity patrol. She makes a fabulous proposal: National Let Your Boy Be a Girl Day:

Because every other day of the year they have to make sure they are NOT girls. Because if a boy acts like a girl the national press gets involved ...

What's Up With Brewster County, Continued ...

Earlier this week I wondered what was up with Brewster County, Texas -- waaay down on the Mexican border, which according to the census has 8.2 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households. While that doesn't approach the numbers you find in some of the more famously gay-friendly regions, that's almost as high a density as Dallas County (8.7), although not quite as many as Austin (11). Why?

Texas expat @AmandaMarcotte was kind enough to tweet me her answer (in six parts):

Paula Ettelbrick Dies

Another reason to grieve (and to read Hopkins): Paula Ettelbrick is dead. She was a fierce and important LGBT advocate, working in the movement for her entire adulthood, in just about every capacity, including Lambda Legal, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Stonewall Community Foundation. I didn't know her personally, although I debated her in print -- we disagreed -- but I deeply admired her dedication and feel the loss keenly. More here.

Obit Day

Today is obit day. The nation lost three visionaries, as you’ve heard by now: Steve Jobs, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, and Derrick Bell. Others have said what there is to say, brilliantly. But such a day of losses made me think of a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem I try to say to someone every autumn. Close your office door and read it aloud. 

Spring and Fall

to a young child


MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving

My Body, Myself

(Homepage photo credit: Georgia O'Keeffe, Grey Line with Black, Blue, and Yellow, 1923. Houston Museum of Fine Arts.)

So you've been watching those early '60s nostalgia shows in fascinated horror -- oh lord, women really had to live like that -- and wondering: How in the world did that world change into this one?

Where Are All the Same-Sex Couples At?

Thanks to the tireless demographer Gary Gates of UCLA's Williams Institute, NPR has an interactive map of where in the U.S., according to the census, the most same-sex couples live. (Or at least, where you can find same-sex couples who feel safe enough to tell the census that they're together.) As you'd imagine, every state has an outpost where the lesbians and gay men flock if they want to get a little bit away from their unwelcoming small town or family -- but not so far that they can't go home to visit the nephews or help with Thanksgiving.