Archive | August 2012

Shocking News: Gay Couple Sue Airline For Removing A Dildo From Their Luggage Causing Emotional Distress.

Baggage Carousel

A dream vacation turned into a nightmare for a Virginia-based gay couple after airport staff allegedly removed a dildo from their luggage, smeared foul-smelling lubricant on it and taped it to their top of one of their checked bags before placing it back on the baggage carousel.

The Bilerico Project’s Michael Hamarreports that the couple — who were returning from a vacation in Costa Rica to Norfolk at the time of the alleged May 2011 incident — are now suing United/Continental Airlines for “intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and negligence.”

The couple, identified by Courthouse News as Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger, are reportedly seeking punitive damages.

“Plaintiffs’ bags were sent to the baggage carousel where plaintiffs discovered, to their horror, that a private sex toy had been removed from one of their bags, covered in a greasy foul-smelling substance and taped prominently to the top of their bag,” the lawsuit states, according to Courthouse News. “Plaintiffs experienced extreme shock and horror when they observed the above-described bag and when observing the surprised and/or laughing faces of numerous onlookers in the baggage claim area.”

Borger, who said he was the first to spot the bag, told NBC News, “I was absolutely and utterly shocked and embarrassed and humiliated and I didn’t even know what to do at the time.”

Added Bridgeman: “I absolutely, fervently believe that this was intentional. It was very sick and it was very wrong and it was just maliciously taped to the top and targeted because we’re gay.”

The case mirrors that of Jill Filipovic, a writer (who has penned pieces for The Huffington Post among other media outlets) who found a handwritten note on a TSA form encouraging her to “Get [her] freak on girl” in her checked suitcase, which contained a $15 vibrator.

Still, Filipovic told Forbes that although she was “grossed out,” she found the situation “hilarious.”

“I’ve had that Missy Elliott song stuck in my head all day,” she told Wired.com.

New Days of Our Lives Gay Storyline Clip: Sonny & Brian Grow Closer & Will Is Jealous.

I love this episode of the gay storyline on Days of Our Lives because finally Sonny’s mother Adrienne and uncle Victor get to meet Brian.

It is so sweet Brian and Sonny giggling and talking to each other in the coffee house.

In another scene, Will admits to Abigail he gave Sonny mixed signals.

At the end of the episode, there is some angst because Adrienne tells Will at the Horton Square that Sonny and Brian are “hitting it off.”

However, I am disappointed that Sonny turned down Brian’s invitation for a date.

Brian was so sweet though he leaves the tickets on the table and he tells Sonny to just call Will. After Brian leaves the coffee house Sonny calls Will but he doesn’t

answer.

National Post Article: Locked Out Quebec Students Sue The Quebec Government For Losing Semester.

 

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul ChiassonStudents yell and gesture to members of the riot squad as student block an entrance to the Universite de Montreal Monday, August 27, 2012 in Montreal. Some classes are being disrupted during the return to school of Quebec universities as students disobey the back-to-school law.
  • MONTREAL — A class-action lawsuit is being organized by young Quebecers frustrated because they say they were hurt by the province’s student strikes.

The motion to sue 25 universities and junior colleges, as well as the Quebec government, was announced Thursday by students and their lawyers.

The plaintiffs say not enough was done to let them have access to their classrooms and complete their courses.

One says she will get her nursing diploma six months late, which will cost her financially.

“I incurred losses and I’m just asking for a reimbursement,” said the nursing student, Kim Laganiere.

“This will delay my entry into the job market by six to 12 months.”

REUTERS/Olivier JeanA flag of Quebec is seen as thousands of demonstrators march against student tuition fee hikes in downtown Montreal, August 22, 2012.

The group’s lawyer is not setting a figure on the amount requested, saying the financial impact varies from one person to the next.

The damage includes loss of salary, lost work experience, lost tuition fees and lost summer jobs, according to lawyer Michel Savonitto.

“These amounts aren’t necessarily very big in some cases but if you add them up it becomes astronomical… A court will evaluate the amount of the damages at the appropriate moment.”

The case may wind up determining whether the right to strike, as laid out in the Labour Code, applies to students. Savonitto said he will argue that there must be some distinction made between the rights of workers and those of students.

The Charest government’s Bill 78 was designed to force classrooms to be reopened and, in most cases, classes are indeed carrying on. But students in a minority of faculties are continuing to strike, and the law is being ignored in some cases.

The issue was expected to dominate the current provincial election, but has played only a minor role.

The Coalition party’s Francois Legault pushed it closer to the forefront during a radio interview Thursday, where he referred to some of the protesters as “thugs.”

Days Of Our Lives: Will Is Jealous Of Sonny & Brian’s Friendship.

Is Sonny insane? Why would Sonny turn down Brian’s invitation to go on a date just because he’s waiting for Will. I know Will and Sonny are going to eventually end up as a couple. However, it is disappointing to see Sonny reject Brian’s advances. Will Horton is a closet case he’s  self absorbed brat he’s immature, has a bad attitude, and he is extremely selfish. Will also takes Sonny for granted he hasn’t demonstrated that he loves him.  Meanwhile, Brian is out and proud to be gay he’s the perfect guy for Sonny.

Former Tennis Pro Jan Michael Gambill Vacations With Elton John, David Furnish, & A Gay Porn Star In South Of France.

Elton shopping with his entourage in the South of France over the weekend.

Who made up his crew of toned men? Four were identified by various blogs and websites:

Who? Jan-Michael Gambill
Profession? He is an American tennis player who never found love on the VH1 reality show,Tough Love.
Connection to Elton? According to Daily Mail, Jan-Michael is a long time friend of Elton’s and has competed in charity tennis tournaments for the singer.

Who? Dolph Lambert
Profession? Dolph is a gay porn star.
Connection to Elton? Unclear. Though, according Queerty, Elton has been known to throw parties for the stars of Bel Ami films.

Who? Andy Lehmann
Profession? He is a professional model and actor based in California.
Connection to Elton? Unknown. Though, Andy appears to know other seaman, Rod Thomas.

Who? Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light
Profession? He is an up-and-coming Welsh singer/songwriter.
Connection to Elton? The openly gay musician is represented by Elton John’s management company.

Who? Unidentified hotties

Elton’s men at sea.

David having his way with Jan-Michael’s nipple.

Jan-Michael leading the crew into town for a day of shopping.

Feminist Writer Peggy McIntosh Incendiary 1988 Essay White Privilege Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”

Peggy McIntosh

Through work to bring materials from women’s studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women’s statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women’s studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?”

After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don’t see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow “them” to be more like “us.”

Return to the top of the page

Daily effects of white privilege

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

Return to the top of the page

Elusive and fugitive

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.

For this reason, the word “privilege” now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.

Return to the top of the page

Earned strength, unearned power

I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.

We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their “Black Feminist Statement” of 1977.

One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

Disapproving of the system won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a “white” skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems.

To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988), by Peggy McIntosh; available for $10.00 from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a longer list of privileges.

This excerpted essay is reprinted from the Winter 1990 issue of Independent School.

Return to the top of the page

Indie Wire Cool News: James Franco Is Going To Remake Classic 1980 Gay S&M Film Cruising As An Art Project!!!

BY OLIVER LYTTELTON

Is it just us who find it increasingly hard to get enthused about James Franco‘s new projects? We appreciate his broad-mindedness; the way he can go from blockbusters like “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” to cheap action movies like the  Jason Statham vehicle “Homefront” to indies like “About Cherry” to his own experimental directorial efforts like “Sal.” But it’s partly the sheer volume of the announcements — with something new coming every few days, seemingly — and partly how obscure some of them sound, that’s given us something close to Franco fatigue.

Still, it’s hard to be too cross about someone with such adventurous tastes, and his latest project might be his most eyebrow-raising to date. According to our colleagues at the Indiewire mothership, Franco has teamed up with avant-garde gay porn director Travis Mathews for “James Franco’s Cruising,” an installation/film inspired by William Friedkin’s controversial 1980 Al Pacino thriller “Cruising.”

Apparently, the project began with Franco wanting to remake the Friedkin film (which involves Pacino as a cop delving into the gay S&M underground scene to track down a serial killer), but he was unable to get the rights. As such, he sought out Mathews, whose earlier films like “I Want Your Love” have featured explicit sexual scenes, to co-direct a film that would focus on a recreation of the 40 minutes that were cut out of the original film (and have since been destroyed), as well as being “an examination of people trying to make sense of Franco as star figure,” according to Mathews, making it entirely different from all the other self-regarding, navel-gazing projects Franco’s made (let’s not forget, it’s barely a week since the actor decided he was going to make an art film about himself and Lindsay Lohan, and on Monday a Samsung commercial directed by and starring the actor was revealed).

Partly reconstructing the content of the scenes by interviewing extras from the original film, the project came together at lightning speed; it’s only two months since their first conversations, and yet Mathews recently delivered a cut to Franco, and is likely to debut it at a gallery show next month, before prepping a longer cut for the festival circuit in early 2013. The director told Indiewire “He knew he wanted real gay sex in it. His people went looking for a filmmaker who had filmed real gay sex, and I suspect someone who would complement his vision. We talked about why we would be interested in still looking at this film.  We talked about his interest in the film and his interest more broadly in so many gay-themed stories and visionaries. He’s worked with so many in front of and behind the cameras over the years.”

Again, we admire Franco’s forward-thinking nature, and the way in which he’s able, as an A-lister, to engage with gay subject matter, but we can’t help wishing he’d engage with the world around him, rather than using these projects to continually examine his own star persona in a way that isn’t particularly interesting to anyone that isn’t James Franco. Hopefully his currently-casting-up adaptation of William Faulkner‘s “As I Lay Dying,” or his wrapped take on Cormac McCarthy‘s “Child Of God,” will be more of a step in that direction. In the meantime, we cautiously await the debut of “James Franco’s Cruising” sometime early next year; we’re sure Disney are thrilled it’s landing so near to their megabudget family-targeting Franco vehicle “Oz The Great & Powerful“…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 274 other followers