Also.Also.Also: Laverne Cox Needs Our Help and Other Stories We Missed This Week

Hello, Seahawks! I’m calling you that because you’re winners or something. I don’t really get how football works, but let’s take a peek at the stories we missed this week while I was trying to figure it out. (I didn’t.)

Pee Wherever The Fuck You Want, Y’all

Maine: The Bathroom Equality State.

The Maine Supreme Court has delivered a significant victory for transgender students. In its interpretation of the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA), the Court ruled that trans students have the right to use the bathroom with which they identify and cannot be forced to use a separate restroom.

The case involved a fifth grade student who had already been fully identifying as a girl for several years and was using the girls’ restroom at Regional School Unit 26. Another student’s guardian objected, and a media firestorm prompted the school to begin forcing her to use a solitary staff unisex restroom. Eventually, the student’s family had to remove her from the school and move to another part of the state so that she could go to school safely.

Though the decision was not unanimous because of one justice’s concerns about how the law was written, the court did unanimously agree that the student deserved equal access to the girls’ restroom.

Don’t F*ck With Panti

Don’t ever tell a drag queen that you know homophobia better than they do.

A video by Rory O’Neill – also known as drag queen Panti – on homophobia in Irish society has gone viral, with more than 100,000 views in less than two days… In the video, Panti fights back over the use of the word ‘homophobia’ which he says has been appropriated by other groups since The Saturday Night Show interview.

“For the last three weeks, I have been lectured to by heterosexual people about what homophobia is and who is allowed to identify it,” he told the audience. “People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives… have told me that unless I am being thrown into prison or herded onto a cattle truck then it is not homophobia – and that feels oppressive.”

Vanity Fair’s Best Cover Yet

Vanity Fair’s 20th annual Hollywood Issue has a three-panel gatefold cover, and unlike every other year in their history, a black person is on the actual cover of the issue this year rather than folded inside the magazine for second glimpses. OUT OF THE FOLD AND INTO THE STREETS, Y’ALL.

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Jerry Seinfeld is The Least Funny or Aware Person on Earth

Jerry Seinfeld, the man who thinks his own life is funnier than anyone else’s, just doesn’t get why comedy needs to be diverse. I mean, don’t we all relate to him and his weird-ass life? ISN’T IT ENOUGH THAT HE GAVE US A SHITTY SITCOM LIKE TWENTY YEARS AGO?

In a recent sit-down with  BuzzFeed Brews with CBS This Morning, Seinfeld said it is “anti-comedy” to approach the genre like it’s “the census.” Seinfeld was asked why he featured so many white men in his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and seemed to become irritated at the question.

“It really pisses me off,” he said. “People think [comedy] is the census or something, it’s gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?”

 ”Funny is the world that I live in. You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested,” he said. “I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.”

It Ain’t Easy Being Queer Anywhere

+ But it might be a little better in Latin America:

Latin America’s gay rights revolution has highlighted the ingenuity of gay activists and the leadership of politicians like Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. In July 2010, she became a gay rights heroine when she signed Latin America’s first same-sex marriage law, over vigorous opposition from the archbishop of Buenos Aires (today Pope Francis). But the celebration of activists and politicians has overlooked another hero in this campaign: the region’s high courts. Their embrace of gay rights has been nothing short of audacious, especially in contrast to recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

+ In Russia, 77% of LGBTQ people don’t trust the police – and the queer community is being overwhelmed by violence that no cop seems to care about. But Happy Olympics!

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+ For queer folks coming to seek asylum from South Africa in America, safety isn’t always that easy to come by.

For The Marriage Crowd

+ Next up in the #MarriageEqualityWars: Wisconsin.

+ Gigi Chao doesn’t wanna marry a man – and since her dad doesn’t get it, she appealed to him in public. (He has since rescinded his dowry offer.)

A week after Hong Kong tycoon Cecil Chao doubled his 2012 offer of $64 million to any man who could marry his gay daughter, Gigi Chao has publicly rebuked him and urged her dad to accept her partner of nine years.

“There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me,” she wrote in an open letter published by two Hong Kong newspapers on Wednesday. “It would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of [girlfriend Sean Eav], and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.”

+ DOMA being struck down didn’t just change one moment in history; it continues to change our history.

+ Blue Cross Blue Shield is really sorry to all the North Carolina homos who waited too long for family coverage health insurance.

+ In Oregon, gay marriage is one thing. But helping make gay weddings awesome? That’s another.

Free CeCe: The Documentary You Could Make Into A Thing

Just f*cking do it.

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I began researching this story with Laverne Cox when I was the Series Producer of the public television show, In The Life. When In The Life ended, in December 2012, this project stayed with me. It seems each month there is a new headline of a bias crime against a transgender woman of color. I became committed to producing and directing this powerful, feature-length film that confronts transgender bias crime with both rigor and humanity. I wanted to hear the voices of victims who were all too often silenced by brutality; I wanted to produce a useful film that sensitizes the audience and amplifies the authentic voices and lives of trans people.

Acabeymia

Rutgers is offering a class on Beyonce. I have no words for this situation as it leaves me blindingly optimistic for our world.

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Carmen is the Feminism and Straddleverse Editor at Autostraddle, meaning she helps expand your mind and your queer girl clique. She's mother to the most adorable dog on Earth and hates paying more than one dollar for a good slice of pizza. At times, she self-identifies as "the baddest bitch." You should follow her on Twitter and Tumblr because it makes her feel good about herself when people do.

Carmen has written 611 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Thumb up 7

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    So so glad Panti made it on here! She’s such an inspiration and that speech completely blew me away. I also love the fact that an attempt at censorship and an effort to dictate the language available to the oppressed by our national broadcaster has blown up and turned into a global issue. Yay for the internet and for solidarity and for non-conventional means of communication! :)

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      Exactly Anon, my thoughts also. I happen to love Seinfeld, especially George Costanza’s character, and to chain comedy to arbritary criteria to make a comedian “funnier” and more “resonant”, such as not only does the comedian have to tell the truth with love and humour, but they also need to be able to be a chameleon who can be African American, Chinese, American Indian, who also does a side line in sometimes being trans, and gay, and bisexual, and lesbian, with access to a trust fund, below the breadline poverty, and no health care.
      Comedy is in the eye of the beholder and as Jerry Seinfeld said, and I agree, that funny is funny, and to enable the funny people among us to entertain us. The funniest people of any background transcend their background with their performance to resonate with the audience, that in my opinion, is the beauty of comedy.

      • Thumb up 1

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        What I mean to say is the funniest people transcend their background because the message/story of their comedy communicates to and resonates with, the audience, who as fellow people, can resonate and relate to the story. The comedy is bigger and more significant than the comedian’s or audience’s biology.

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        I thought Seinfeld was a great sitcom, and agree with him that funny is funny. I do not, however, agree that one shouldn’t care about things like gender and race. He certainly shouldn’t put unfunny comedians on the show just because they represent some demographic (and for him to imply that anyone asking about the race/gender representation is suggesting exactly that is totally disingenuous on his part), but he’s in a position to give exposure to hilarious people who ordinarily have very little access. Not to mention the seemingly obvious point that lesser-heard voices can bring fresh kinds of humor to the industry.

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          I agree with you on that. Why not take the opportunity to highlight less famous comedians?

          Part of that is so far, as I understand his shown, it is with comedians who are already famous. Aside from a handful of comedians of color, I don’t believe there are that many who are prominent.

          The format of his show may change however to include less prominent people.

          I don’t think he is being disingenuous in replying as though he should get more diverse comedians on the show, at the expense of them being less funny. I think that is often insinuated and it is probably frustrating to have to deal with.

        • Thumb up 0

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          Back up a minute….
          What power does Jerry Seinfeld currently have, that is threatening to up and coming future comedians?

          Does he have a current show, I have read the article, I have not watched the video sound bite of him attached to the article….

          Can I make an assumption that his show “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee” is still a current show? I thought that that had finished ages ago. Either way, I had no idea it is still current. I have caught some of “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee” ages ago when it played in my country, and I thought that it was chock full of white guys.

          I didn’t realise that Jerry Seinfeld is in a position of power to bring in new comedians who aren’t white, straight or male. I thought that Jerry Seinfeld was just being targeted for disagreeing with an obligatory ruling to meet requirements for human diversity in comedians in comedy generally speaking, I didn’t realise he IS in a position to positively influence that. Ok, that has changed my opinion of Jerry Seinfeld to go in the cocksuckers box. Sorry I had no idea that this was a concrete applicable idea. I am all for bringing diversity in if one has considerable influence in determining which human beings get airplay.

    • Thumb up 4

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      Actually, Seinfeld (the show, but I guess that must also include the person) was the blandest, smuggest, and least funny show I’ve ever had the misfortune of being forced to watch.

      I’m glad someone finally called a shitty spade a shitty spade.

      Just because straight white men like Seinfeld get all the money thrown at them and are handed opportunities those in charge would never give to minorities simply because they are minorities, doesn’t mean they get to pretend their own brand of comedy is somehow “transcendent” and universal. All comedy, indeed all forms of story telling, are rooted in culture. Comedy so often comes from subverting expectations, and where do you think those expectations come from? Sure, lots of people can enjoy comedy (and other forms of storytelling) from all sorts of different cultural contexts. But the straight white male context doesn’t get to pretend it’s the best, just because other straight white men give them more money and exposure than anyone else.

      • Thumb up 1

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        You are the only one saying this, and I agree, I didn’t say that straight white male comedy is the best, you are scripting interpretations into my communication –

        “But the straight white male context doesn’t get to pretend it’s the best, just because other straight white men give them more money and exposure than anyone else.”

        I agree with Jerry Seinfeld, and like him, you think his comedy is bad, great, but he has acknowledged that comedy is comedy, no matter what colour one’s skin/heritage/sexuality/class/wealth. I think that you acknowledge this too,

        “Sure, lots of people can enjoy comedy (and other forms of storytelling) from all sorts of different cultural contexts.”

        I never said or implied that (refer to quote below)

        “Just because straight white men like Seinfeld get all the money thrown at them and are handed opportunities those in charge would never give to minorities simply because they are minorities, doesn’t mean they get to pretend their own brand of comedy is somehow “transcendent” and universal.”

        All I said was is that comedy,
        *appreciation depends on the listener/participant*, so don’t assume I’m claiming that straight white male comedy such as Jerry Seinfeld’s is transcendent. Far from it, I can think of plenty of others who are transcendent, but that’s opinion.

        I meant, in any case if I phrased it ambiguously, apologies, I meant to say that comedy in its ability to communicate truth and love with humour, can reach out and help resonance, identification, empathy between comedian and audience. I hope this has clarified what I mean.

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          No need to apologize, I was the one who was unclear. I was responding more to what Seinfeld said about “funny is funny,” which is totally disingenuous and really ignoring A LOT of what goes into who decides what goes into deciding who even gets the opportunity to show their comedic skills.

      • Thumb up 5

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        What Raksha said. But also, there are a lot of hilarious people from all kinds of backgrounds. A lot of them are even pretty well known and not that hard to find. The fact that his show overwhelmingly features white men rather shows that his “funny is funny” stance is disingenuous, even if you agree with it in principle.

        Also, I really detested Seinfeld the show. I thought it was smug and mean spirited. I mean, wasn’t that sort of the point? They were awful and cruel to everyone around them and somehow that was funny or cathartic to a lot of people in a way that mostly just made me feel gross. Which isn’t a judgment on people who did like the show, nearly everyone I know loved that show. I like to think though that a lot of them would be less entertained by calling a woman “man hands” if that show aired today.
        I’m pretty thrilled that there are others who agree. Autostraddle, validating my hatred for popular cultural touchstones like Seinfeld and the Great Gatsby.

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          I like it, I just didn’t realise that Jerry Seinfeld was still doing his new show with comedians cars and coffee.
          It doesn’t play in NZ as far as free tv goes…

          Anyhow, I was under the impression that Jerry Seinfeld was being irrationally attacked for disagreeing with what I thought was a speculative diverse comedian ratio dictum, aimed from some shady council who dictates things, to others, somewhere, and I was also under the impression that why was only Jerry Seinfeld being charged with being an undiversity supporting arsehole without power, when so many “old” “rich” “straight” “white” “men who are also comedians” fit this demographic. I didn’t know that Jerry still had a show that people still watched that could have comedians of diversity (read, not old rich already famous straight white men) on it.

          I still love Jerry Seinfeld’s work in Seinfeld when it was written by Larry (Curb your enthusiasm Larry I forget his last name), but I now feel that Jerry could find some comedians of diversity hereafter known as “COD”, whose humour sparks off of Jerry’s own. It still has to be funny. I am sure that there are Jerry aficionado’s in the “COD” ranks.

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