Also. Also. Also: Gay Allies Get a Week, Thirteen Gets a Girlfriend, Etc.

Lots of AlsoAlsoAlso this week because so many things are happening!

+Did you watch House this week? I hope so, because it had Olivia Wilde making her final appearance as Thirteen. She even got a happy ending: She rode off into the sunset with her silent girlfriend! How great is that!

+It’s Ally Week! Started by GLSEN, the movement is largely student-run, cropping up in more than 2,000 schools and in all 50 states. The purpose of the week (five days, really) is “for students to organize events that serve to identify, support and celebrate Allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in America’s schools,” which is timely and important and everything it needs to be. The GLSEN website is full of resources, including an ally pledge: “I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, deserve to feel safe and supported.” Ally love is truly the greatest love of all.

+The New York Times held a written debate about whether single-sex education is really fair or worthwhile, and the participants were all over the place. One contributor writes, “When it comes to our kids’ educations, stick to what works, like smaller class sizes, more teacher training and greater attention to curriculum,” while another argues, ”Boys and girls, taken as groups, have much in common but also have different interests, propensities and needs. No sensible person thinks of the Camp Fire Girls or Boy Scouts as gender apartheid.” It’s fun!

+The Baby Boomer generation might not understand the Occupy Wall Street movement because they had all of the advantages that the young generation is fighting to obtainone columnist theorizes. He says that they older generation is too far removed from the younger, saying, “What the Clueless Generation finds difficult to comprehend is that literally millions of highly educated and hardworking young Americans—people who followed all the rules and did everything we told them to do—are either severely underemployed or have no jobs of any kind.”

+Lemony Snicket has some pithy feelings about Occupy Wall Street, which he has observed from a distance. “Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.”I love him.

+Paula Dean is selling butter-flavored lip balm, y’all.

+International Fisting Day is October 21! We talked about it a little in NSFW Sunday that one time, but you need to be reminded of these things. Started by queer porn stars Jiz Lee and Courtney Trouble, Fisting Day is touted as “an online blogging event … with the intent to celebrate sex positive dialogue about one of our favorite sex acts.” That being said, the overall driving force behind the day is a little deeper (heh). ”Mainstream porn companies rarely shoot fisting because adult industry lawyers have advised them not to. Fisting appeared on a list of potential triggers for obscenity lawsuits,” said Courtney Trouble.

+Identical mailboxes are interesting because they’re only identical when they’re first installed. As people start to use them, they change, but they always seem to change in the same way. Look, someone made a video about it.

+Women are being told that they have to ride in the back of a public bus in Brooklyn or face harassment from Orthodox Jewish men. According to Jezebel, “The B110 … has a route number, and goes to city bus stops. However, the line is run by a private company under a decades-old agreement with the city, and since the bus is designed to serve the Hasidic community in the area, a board of rabbis sets the rules. They’ve decreed that women should sit in the back and men should sit in the front to avoid contact between members of the opposite sex.” Even so, it’s not actually a private bus, so discrimination laws still apply.

+Look, a Google-powered vibrator. Huh. (NSFW, obvs)

+The “Raman King of Hong Kongdid an interview, is amazing and successfully summed up my life in one sentence:  ”Always think about ramen. Every waking moment I just contemplate ramen.” Amen.

+A menagerie of exotic and dangerous animals escaped (or were released) from a private zoo in Zanseville, Ohio, and law enforcement are working under a shoot-to-kill order, which is sad but necessary, at this point. This series of events will undoubtedly be followed by a series of PSAs telling parents not to buy their children Jumanji games.

+Tegan and Sara Quin are doing a live Q&A session on Twitter starting today at 3 p.m. PST. I know, I know, I know you’re just dying to ask them to marry you, so.

+A group of Connecticut high school students walked out of a production of the musical Zanna, Don’t, a musical about gay equality and anti-bullying, when two male characters shared an onstage kiss. Also, because the student body was “informed of the gay kiss … ahead of time,” some parents pulled their children from school to avoid the show entirely. There may even be an official protest of the production on Friday. This is one of those cases where I feel like the message of the show is being lost on the people how need to hear it most.

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        Jokes aside, im super disappointed in the way the whole thing was handled, I know on certain occasions it was necessary to kill some of them, and that is fine, but the amount they killed is ridiculous. I wonder where was the local veterinary authority when all this happened, they should have stepped in and got everyone they possibly could with experience in darting animals to at least try and save most of them. I have a good bit of experience in darting wild animals such as lions and cheetah and African buffalo and the like and in my view it would have actually been safer to dart them rather than shoot them. This may sound odd but consider this, in order to kill a fully grown lion with one bullet, you’d have to have an amazing shot and you would also have to have a very high powered rifle. Instead most of the police used pistols, according to come sources and now unless they all have amazing shots and they hit a perfect kill shot every time, most bullets probably just wounded the animals….and what if it escaped then, now you have a wounded wild animal on your hands, which is much more dangerous than a healthy one. No matter where you hit them with the dart if you get the drug concentrations right which you bloody well should they’ll be down within 5 mins. Bah, sorry for my rant, the whole thing just pissed me off is all, it all seemed quite poorly handled from one perspective.

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          I agree with you; it was probably unnecessary for them to kill as many as they did. I’m not defending what they did by any means, but I know just about every article I’ve read about it has said something about Jack Hanna saying that killing them was the right thing to do. He also did an interesting interview on CBS this morning about it. I still think there was almost certainly a better way to handle the situation, though.

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          Hmm, I dont know…”you see them shooting animals that Jack Hanna’s trying to save” well, I dont know but I felt like he spoke a lot but didnt say much in that interview. I just think that more could have been saved, im sure he’s great and all, but with 4 guns and 35 animals in that one space, all those 35 didnt need to die, but unfort they did. I’ve been at mass captures of all sorts of animals, most dangerous of which was the darting of 20 African buffalo with only 2 guns and it took 10 minutes, from the injection of the first buffalo till the 20th went down, so it certainly is possible! And I know this involves mainly carnivores, and to be totally honest I can see how the police panicked, especially when the animals inevitably started becoming irate when the shooting began, an angry lion making a lot of noise is one of the most terrifying sights on this planet, and sheer panic by the people with the guns would have led to the death of some of the animals, I totally understand that, but way too many died in this case, such a shame. But at least it led to a review of the exotic animal laws!

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          I really feel the situation was handled correctly. This was in rural Appalachian Ohio and I doubt the sheriff’s office was well equipped and trained with tranquilizing supplies.

          Even if they were, these are bred exotic animals, most likely inbred, mixed bred, etc, and of no value to endangered species conservation efforts. They were owned by a likely drugs and arms dealer and horribly mistreated. They would never be safe in the wild or a zoo.

          It totally sucks that this is how it had to be handled, but I’m really thankful that no person was hurt by this. Hopefully it will result in reasonable laws in my state. The fact that this guy, after spending a year in prison on an illegal weapons charge and being cited nine times for letting the animals out could still own them legally is ridiculous.

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      A monkey with herpes sounds totally ridiculous/laughable, but they meant Herpes B, which kills 80% of people it infects.

      Ironically enough, when I heard about this, I was in biosafely level III training also hearing about the woman who died after exposure to fluids from a rhesus macaque (it was one of the examples as to what NOT to do).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_B_virus

      http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/research/biosafety/herpes.html

      So yeah, the idea that the monkey was the one unaccounted for is pretty flipping terrifying. I might rather have the tiger.

      anyway. SCIENCE.

      *the more you knowwwww

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    Yesterday, an fifteen year-old Ottawa boy called Jamie Hubley took his life after being relentlessly bullied for being gay.

    This sounds so familiar it’s sickening, but it’s the first suicide of this kind (that we’re hearing about) to happen in Canada. Could we please have some coverage on this?

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    The bus thing happens frequently in parts of Israel, from what I’ve been told from friends traveling there and read on various websites, including imamother.com (members only orthodox jewish woman’s website).

    And there was the bike lane controversy, too, where extremist Orthodox Jewish leaders wanted bike lanes removed because they brought immodestly dressed women to their Brooklyn neighborhood.

    There was also recently a video of an Orthodox Jewish group screaming and getting violent at another Orthodox Jewish (but less strict than their sect) girls school on the edge of their community in Israel.

    I really think extremist Orthodox Jewish groups are getting more attention lately for sexist shit, and I’m glad for it. I tend to focus on extremist Christians more because I’m more familiar with that arena, but as No Longer Quivering shows, sexism comes in all sorts of religious flavors.

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    Single-sex education isn’t very much fun if you’re trans and female, or even gay and male. Boys can be threatening to people who don’t display “expected” masculinity, which is itself warped because it’s all about avoiding perceived femininity and homosexuality.

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    The ally week thing strikes me as bullshit. Where’s that picture of a cookie with frosting letters that read “meets minimum standards of being a decent human”?

    Allies are fine. Allies can handle themselves. It’s people who are actually personally hurt and/or erased on a day-to-day basis that actually need worrying about. (I am especially thinking of trans* people who have been frequently screwed over by the straight and the LGBQ populations and get tossed under a bus or erased at least half the time.)

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      I definitely agree that trans people are often screwed over, but dedicating a week to allies has the potential to give wider coverage to people who are fighting and donating huge chunks of their lives to helping the lgbtiwtfbbq cause. You might say it’s their duty as human beings to fight for us, and I’d respect that opinion, but people have their own lives to live. Anyone who helps is worth honoring, and publicizing that gratitude is a good way to expand awareness. When people see crowds of their peers, their HETERO peers, it helps to normalize the fact that THERE ARE LGBTQIETC PEOPLE and IT’S TOTALLY COOL GUYS, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
      Yay allies! Yay cookies!

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        Ally Week is not about slacktivists who pay lip service to support for gay rights and little else, they’re about people who dedicate a great deal of their time, money and effort to the cause, everything from marching in rallies and donating money to pro-marriage campaigns, to ally teens who stand up to anti-gay bullying in the hallways in school, and so on and so forth.

        The unfortunate truth is that a lot of people do not listen to LGBT people because they’re not LGBT and so it doesn’t affect them, so why should they care? They need other straight, cis people to explain to them why everyone should care. There’s also a lot of people who won’t say or do homophobic things in mixed company but will say or do those things when they’re only around other straights because they think they can get away with it. Straight allies who are offended by homophobic words and actions can ensure that those people DON’T get away with it ANYWHERE.

        So it’s easy to just say “allies aren’t important, you don’t get cookies, we shouldn’t have to appeal to them” but we DO. Straight people are most of the people in power and making decisions today. If we want to see any real change, we have to learn how to talk to the unconverted. Allies are essential for doing that.

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      Here you go: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22789525@N00/3455427220/

      Couldn’t agree more. Maybe I’ve just run into too many internet “allies” who were only in it for the asspats and the tingly feelings of self-righteousness, who constantly talked over actual queer people and shut us down if we said anything that implicated them in their own privilege, but I’m pretty well over giving allies cookies for taking time out of their day to address basic civil rights.

      Sure, I’m glad allies, true allies exist, we’d be numerically fucked without them, but the real allies are big kids, and the ones who aren’t… I don’t particularly feel like rewarding.

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      In places that are sufficiently anti-gay, though, allies are also putting themselves at risk by being outspoken in their support for gay rights. A lot of homophobes will assume anybody who is supportive of LGBT rights is secretly gay themselves. Even if they don’t, they may perceive pro-gay straight people as “betraying” the family or whatever. Remember how in Harry Potter the Death Eaters saw “blood traitors” like the Weasleys as almost as bad as Muggle-borns themselves? Yeah, it tends to work that way in cases of real-life bigotry, too.

      Also, a good number of the cases of anti-gay bullying are toward kids who are actually straight, but assumed to be gay because they don’t fit within the gender binary or they’re outspoken in their support of gay rights (like joining the GSA), or both. Remember the article we had on anti-gay bullying in Michele Bachmann’s district? One of the girls who killed herself was straight, but people assumed she was a lesbian because she was tomboyish and a member of the GSA.

      So while allies rarely risk as much as actual LGBT people do, I wouldn’t assume that there are no risks involved. It all depends on the context.

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    While i understand the argument that girls and boys need to learn to interact with one another, as a graduate of an all women college, I am convinced that until sexism is nonexistent (which unfortunately I doubt will ever be the case) same sex education is a huge opportunity for women, life changing. After atteding my college and then otros i noticed that many (not all) women of other colleges, co-ed colleges, were more reserved, giggly, started comments in class with “i don’t know but” or “i could be totally wrong but maybe…” Personally after spending 4 years in a high school where immature boys cracked jokes when girls correctly or incorrectly answered questions, mocked anyone who was smarter than them and in general made life difficult for anyone who did not bend over backwards to please them (read: if you weren’t “hot” and spending all your time fawning over the boys they were relentlessly cruel), a same-sex education was a breath of fresh air with few classroom distractions.

    Lesbian opportunities aside, I really feel that for some women the best place for them is a school with no male students. Obviously not the best place for everyone.

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      These are exactly my feelings about my women’s college! It might not be the right choice for everyone, but it certainly was for me, and now in graduate school I notice the difference between my behavior in class – willingness to answer questions right or wrong, state my opinion as an unassailable fact, and challenge other students’ or even professors’ ideas (things my male colleagues do all the time) – and the behavior of my female classmates.

      We all had great undergraduate educations, but especially the women who went to colleges with a very greek-focused social life are less confident about their work. Don’t even get me started on the importance some of them place on their appearance. (I know, I know, generalizations, etc., and there are exceptions, but in my experience at least, this is a very noticeable trend.)

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    Is there a way to write to the school district we support that production? It sounds like they’re not letting the haters get to them, but regardless, it would be nice to send them some support.

    These kids walking out should be reminded that they’re following in the footsteps of people who walked out and protested in front of schools when they were integrated. They’re not the courageous ones, they’re the cowards, and their children and grandchildren will be ashamed, not proud, of their actions.

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