- August 2023
Pausing for a moment's reflection as I report on Florida to remember how Rev. Pat Robertson blamed Hurricane Katrina on gay people and hoping he's nice and toasty in Hell. Amen.
At my work we handle the financial affairs of those who died without having appointed an executor. Consequently we receive a lot of mail for decedents.
Today Maria started flipping through a newly arrived magazine whose cover was partly obscured. "It's gay men," she said, and handed it to me, as I'm considered the arbiter of all things LGBTQ.
I took a good luck at the cover, and recognized it instantly. "Oh," I said. "It's Out."
"Out?" Maria replied, starting to laugh. "I thought it said Cut!"
I've lived in the state of Washington for over 20 years, but I'd never heard of a town called Dayton. Now I can't forget it.
The Seattle Times reports the "one-stoplight farming community" in Washington's southeastern corner is home to the only library in Columbia County. Voters this November might shut that library down.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you why. But I'm going to.
About a year ago, parent Jessica Ruffcorn spotted a book called "What's the T?" on display in the young adult section. Ruffcorn and a few others objected to this teen guide on all things trans as being "not age appropriate." Then more offerings for children and young adults drew their ire, books on consent and race. They wanted them moved; the library director, then the library board, declined.
So Ruffcorn and friends started going to the monthly board meetings, which suddenly became better attended than the county fair. Ruffcorn accused the library director of being "a groomer," writing on Facebook that he "invites vulnerable children to the library as a safe space."
Ruffcorn changed her Facebook cover photo to these words: "Let men be masculine again. Let women be feminine again. Let kids be innocent again."
That's what they're dealing with in Dayton, a bully hot to inflict her gingham-and-ruffles worldview.
The library director resigned. His interim replacement moved all young adult nonfiction books to the adult section, but that didn't pacify Ruffcorn, whose hit list swelled to 165 books, all dealing with gender, sexuality or race.
Ruffcorn went full scorched earth, asking for the resignation of the library board chair and for the library to withdraw from the Washington and American Library associations. And she secured enough signatures to put the survival of the library on the ballot.
If voters side with her, the library in Dayton would be the first in the nation to close because of a brouhaha over which books are on the shelves. Not exactly a bragging point for the state of Washington.
Ruffcorn has opposition, and the Times story presents the women leading it. Deb Fortner is a fourth-generation wheat farmer who prefers to "live under a rock." But when even she heard about the library battle, she decided to download "What's the T?" and listened to it over two days as she drove her John Deere combine, reaping and threshing and winnowing.
"It was a lovely book," said Fortner. "There is nothing offensive in that book."
People like Ruffcorn make it easy to dismiss rural Washingtonians as rubes. I know better, but I needed Fortner to remind me. May Fortner and her allies reap what they sow in November.
And may Ruffcorn get plowed under.
I work for a company that occasionally handles the disposition of estates. We've just taken on the case of a single gay man who died unexpectedly.
I can't go into details, but I'll say his family rejected him long ago over his "lifestyle." Upon hearing of his passing, they gained entry to his home and whisked away his wallet, checkbook, tax records, the works.
They abandoned him for being gay, but all signs indicate they're only too pleased to benefit from his death.
I've already warned my colleagues that, should I cross paths with this family, I might display all the emotional equilibrium of Rudy Giuliani.
After watching the dramatic and painful loss of the US Women's National Soccer Team to Sweden in the World Cup, I went online to read some expert assessment.
Unfortunately, the first thing Google showed me was a tweet by someone named Benny Johnson, whose expertise isn't in soccer, but he's a whiz at conservative fanaticism.
Johnson crowed over the the "Woke US Women's Soccer Humiliation," declaring that "Team USA's downfall was delivered by anti-America, anti-woman activist Megan Rapinoe's EMBARRASSING free kick here," and he included the video.
I assume Johnson called Rapinoe "anti-woman" because she supports transgender women athletes, from whom conservatives these days are giddily trying to "protect" cisgender girls and women.
But how can anyone actually accuse an out lesbian of being opposed to women? I guess it's news to Johnson that a deep emotional and erotic connection to women are lesbian ground rules. It says so in my handbook.
As usual during June, the Rancho Peñasquitos branch of the San Diego Public Library created a special Pride display of its LGBTQ offerings.
But then criminal elements staged—cue the dramatic music—a booknapping. Two locals emailed the branch manager to say they had checked out nearly all the books and wouldn't return them unless the library removed this "inappropriate content."
Okay, it's hardly the Lindbergh kidnapping, but it does underscore how emboldened and obnoxious the conservative book-banners have become.
However, they didn't win the day. Following a newspaper account of the hostage-taking, the library began receiving new copies of the purloined publications, and people donated $15,000 to San Diego's public library system. The city plans to match these funds, which will go toward LGBTQ materials and programming, including—cue the Cher tune—drag queen story hours.
As if this ending to the story wasn't ignominious enough, the book burglars returned the tomes they took. They were willing to anger the queer community, but clearly pissing off a bunch of librarians was just too scary.
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