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lesbian locker room
December 17, 2002 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Lesbian sues over locker room ban. A 14-year old middle school girl is forbidden from sharing a locker room with the other girls because she is a lesbian. Meanwhile, on the other coast (NYT link): New York gay rights bill passes.
posted by adrober (79 comments total)

 
Why don't schools just have unisex toilets and changing rooms? Because of sexual tension.

Naked boys and girls changing in the same place is considered unhealthy by our society, which believes privacy should exist between the two sexes.

Men are, generally, not attracted to each other, so it's okay to keep them together, ditto for women. If you throw a lesbian into a woman's changing room, it's not much different than putting a boy in there. Hence, the school forbade her from changing with the other girls.

Gays and lesbians pose a problem, because you cannot create a 'Gay' changing room, since gays and lesbians are, by definition, attracted to other gays or lesbians.

Of course, applying such logic to sexuality may be fruitless, but it demonstrates the way in which our society is so geared up for engrained male/female stereotypes.
posted by wackybrit at 10:33 PM on December 17, 2002


Well, if they let lesbians in the girls locker room they have to let boys in there too. They should just put her in with the boys. Works well for both parties ;)
posted by banished at 10:33 PM on December 17, 2002


What?? I thought all girls in locker rooms were voracious lesbians!

Are you telling me everything I know from porn isn't true?

Next thing you'll tell me is that girls don't go wild.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:36 PM on December 17, 2002


Stan Chin: i was on Bourbon Street three nights ago and i can confirm that girls do, in fact, still go wild.
(sadly, i can offer no such confirmation about girls in locker rooms)
posted by darainwa at 11:22 PM on December 17, 2002


Congrats to banished for being the first to the obvious unfunny one-liner.

wackybrit, that's a hell of a stretch, and a hell of a new precedent for the school board to suddenly declare as a defense. Unless the lesbain "thrown into" the mix of the previously devoid of any form of sexual tension (as all normal high school teenagers are completely devoid of, yep yes sir yes indeedy) was actively harassing or checking out the other girls in the locker room (you know, actually doing something wrong) then the only policy in any manual to handle this non-situation is "deal with it" in big red letters.

It's not even just the locker room issue that makes this so offensive, but the nature of how it came about. The school board facilitated the selection, isolation, and discrimination of a fifteen-year-old girl. They don't have even the slightest shard of a case here. Ten bucks on a bunch of school administrators making a shitload of apologies by Friday.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:23 PM on December 17, 2002


Young girl starts growing up and learns that being open about your sexuality has consequences. News at 11.

Making choices closes some doors, and opens others. Choosing to be open about your sex life will lead to a change in how you are percieved, be you gay, promiscuous, abstinant, pedophilic, or "other".

This is how society works. Deal.

>Ten bucks on a bunch of school administrators making a shitload of apologies by Friday.

After going to high-school, I strongly doubt this. These guys don't even apologise when they are wrong. In this case the principal et al. have much support (including mine) and do not consider their actions incorrect.

Again, don't like it? Don't flash it. Or protest. But if you protest, expect to have to deal with the antithesis of your opinion. If you don't want to, again, don't talk about it. This free society also includes freedom of what you say and do, too.

What I find most offensive about this situation is that a 15 year old is so soft that they can't deal with life. What kind of wussy students to schools bring up nowadays?

What sucks is what the solution will be: Taking money from where it belongs (the three Rs) and putting it into building invidual change rooms for everyone. What a waste just to protect one young girl from dealing with what her future life will be like.
posted by shepd at 11:46 PM on December 17, 2002


shepd: I think you have a good point, and it directly correlates to my opinion that she shouldn't have to put up with this since I don't think you can establish your sexuality at age 15. (This is why the age of consent is 16 or 18 throughout the 'developed world'.)

XQUZsomething said: The school board facilitated the selection, isolation, and discrimination of a fifteen-year-old girl.

Because they dealt with it in an offensive fashion does not mean the underlying problem wasn't there anyway.

Unless the lesbain [snipped editorial] was actively harassing or checking out the other girls in the locker room (you know, actually doing something wrong) then the only policy in any manual to handle this non-situation is "deal with it" in big red letters.

That's a fair opinion to hold. I believe pedophiles who have served their time should be allowed to live in peace, and not have their names and addresses released to local parents.

Unfortunately, a lot of people disagree with that too and believe parents shouldn't have to 'deal with it'. This girl should also be allowed to live in peace too, which is why she probably shouldn't have released this nugget of information at such a delicate age.
posted by wackybrit at 11:57 PM on December 17, 2002


This is how society works. Deal.

Indeed, I believe this exactly what she's doing: dealing with it the way (American) society deals with it -- namely, by filing a lawsuit.

I hope she wins.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:58 PM on December 17, 2002


What a waste just to protect one young girl from dealing with what her future life will be like.

Ah, I see. So they're actually helping her by exposing her to unecessary ignorance and predjudice at an early age. Not like school is a place filled with people we label as guides and educators who are responsible with teaching children how to cope with their lives in a nuturing environment that promotes personal growth and self-acceptance or anything like that.

What a waste just to protect a few students from the denial that someday, somewhere, gay people are going to be near them. But you said it best yourself:

What I find most offensive about this situation is that a 15 year old is so soft that they can't deal with life. What kind of wussy students to schools bring up nowadays?

Yeah, bunch of insecure students thinking being naked in front of a gay person means they'll want them.

Pity the school's in California and not the South- They could have just found some signs in the basement left over from the 60's, crossed out "colored" and written in "faggot" and hung them over all the bathrooms and water fountains too.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:30 AM on December 18, 2002


a few points...
first, the town is called Banning. pretty weak humour there, but c'mon, there's a bit.. right? right? *silence*
second, where the f&$* is she supposed to change? (and don't say the boy's locker-room, beyond being a completely asinine suggestion, shouldn't we also respect her right to being comfortable?)
third, isn't something like 10% (or 5 or whatever) of the population gay? So everyone should already be 'uncomfortable' knowing that 2-4 students in the locker-room with them are flaming queers already!
And what about all the other homos in the school (she's not the only one)? Is it some sort of don't ask don't tell arrangement they have at the school?
posted by imaswinger at 12:36 AM on December 18, 2002


Because they dealt with it in an offensive fashion does not mean the underlying problem wasn't there anyway.

What, exactly, is the underlying problem? Is she some kind of sex maniac who's likely to jump the nearest girl at the first sight of naked flesh (and unless girls' change rooms have changed a lot since I was in school, you don't see much, teenaged girls are masters of the art of changing-without-exposing)? I mean, what is the issue here, exactly? We haven't been told that there was any specific reason for this beyond her sexual orientation. Was she ogling? Making sexual comments to the other girls? Why shouldn't she be open about her sexuality? Heterosexual girls most certainly are (the age of consent has little or nothing to do with when people establish their sexuality, it's not magic, people develop at different ages, but I'd say that most people are at least remotely aware of what turns them on well before 15). And why on earth was she sent to the principal's office over this, since when is your sexual orientation something you need to be punished for? (oh wait...of course, how silly of me, carry on) I certainly hope there's a lot more to this story than contained in that article.
posted by biscotti at 12:37 AM on December 18, 2002


I think it's less about not being allowed in the locker room than it is about being banned from PE class and being made to sit in the principal's office.

From a later story on cnn on the same subject:

"'Every day that Ashly sat in the office, other students would see her there and ask her why she was there,' the suit says. 'The other students assumed she had done something wrong and was in the principal's office to be disciplined.'"
posted by faustessa at 1:03 AM on December 18, 2002


I'm very nearly speechless.

Young girl starts growing up and learns that being open about your sexuality has consequences.

...she probably shouldn't have released this nugget of information at such a delicate age.


Where, exactly, did the article say she announced her sexual orientation to the school? Perhaps she did, or maybe she discussed it with a single big-mouthed friend. Maybe someone asked her about a rainbow sticker on her notebook and she didn't feel like lying. Who knows.

And what about all the other homos in the school (she's not the only one)? Is it some sort of don't ask don't tell arrangement they have at the school?

It may well be, imaswinger. The article said her town has 25,000 people--about the same as mine. And while the atmosphere in California may well be different from that of Virginia, I can tell you that the only support for queer students at my 800-person high school came from the openly lesbian Latin teacher. Over my four years, there were no openly queer girls, no openly gay boys, and no public queer relationships. The three admittedly bi guys got away with it by having attractive girlfriends and avoiding contact with each other. One person was truly open about his bisexuality--and he quit school three months before graduation because he got tired of football players spitting on him in the halls. Harassment of students simply suspected of being queer was just as bad. I'm sorry to provide only anecdotal evidence, but it's important to remember that high school is not easy for queer kids, and administrative policies that treat them as dangerous are not going to help.
posted by hippugeek at 1:24 AM on December 18, 2002


What, exactly, is the underlying problem? Is she some kind of sex maniac who's likely to jump the nearest girl at the first sight of naked flesh [?]

Probably not. But the majority of boys wouldn't jump some girl in a unisex changing room either.

Boys and girls have separate changing rooms because it's likely that they'd feel embarassed to change around one another. Many boys feel embarassed to change around each other, so changing around girls would be even worse. Similarly, some girls might not like changing around someone who could be sexually attracted to them.

As a heterosexual man I can admit that if I were allowed in the women's changing room, I'd probably have a good peek even if I weren't particularly attracted to anyone there. I doubt lesbians are overwhelmingly prudish in this regard.

This girl has rights, but so do those who have to change with her. Clearly one of them didn't like it, so they shopped her.
posted by wackybrit at 2:17 AM on December 18, 2002


Yeah, bunch of insecure students thinking being naked in front of a gay person means they'll want them.

That's the argument we hear all the time. It doesn't matter however if it ALMOST NEVER happens. But it DOES happen... it has to. You can't claim a certain sexual biology and then turn around and suggest that it can be turned on and off under varying circumstances.

If a man is attracted to men (read: gay), then a gay man is likely to find a sliver of attraction when surrounded by other gay/straight men changing their clothes. Surely it works the same way for lesbian women.

Simple fact is, I would prefer to have a woman taking a peek at me than I would a gay man. But I'm sure that makes me some kind of homophobe or something. Alas, I have to change with other men... even the gay ones that I don't even know are there.
posted by Witty at 3:50 AM on December 18, 2002


Obligatory Onion links.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:01 AM on December 18, 2002


This is the administrative equivalent of taping a giant "KICK ME" sign to a 14-year-old's back. Public schools have an obligation to look after the safety and security of their students and this administrative action definitely undermines that lesbian student's security.

A lesbian in a women's locker room is completely uncomparable to a man in a women's locker room (or vice versa), because a lesbian girl would have had previous experience showering or changing with girls. Thus, she is not going to get out of joint when seeing a naked girl, because she already knows what a nude female body looks like. All she has to do is look in a mirror. The same thing applies for a gay man in a men's locker room. The discomfort that some adolescent girls might feel that a lesbian might desire them is nothing compared to the harassment that the lesbian student is going to face while the school board tattoos her with a "scarlet L." Even among straight people in same-sex locker rooms, things can get homoerotic as people try to dominate or humiliate others in a sexual manner. Guys will "moon" each other, flash each other etc. I have no experience in girls' locker rooms, but think about the opening scene of Carrie and you can also see some homoerotic elements, even though the girls are putatively straight.

Did we learn nothing from the Columbine massacre? Harris and Klebold were taunted incessantly as "faggots" and they weren't even gay. In Banning, California, it looks like the school doesn't merely turn a blind eye to this kind of ostracism of nonconformists, but gives it an administrative seal of approval
posted by jonp72 at 4:03 AM on December 18, 2002


Funny, I was thinking about this the other day in relation to the women-only section we have at the gym. I don't particularly feel the need to use it and wondered why others do. Why don't men have one?

I think there's two issues:

1. Men and women are brought up to feel uncomfortable in each other's company and with each other's bodies. If the genders were mixed at all times from birth, I doubt if the sexual tension thing would be a problem.

2. One man in a women's changing room would be a laugh. A whole group of them would be embarrassing. Groups are different from individuals. How is one lesbian threatening? It's more likely that the situation is threatening for her. If there was a group of lesbians that were acting aggressively that would be different. But that's very, very unlikely to happen at a school. They'd be slaughtered.
posted by Summer at 4:05 AM on December 18, 2002


[snip] the women-only section we have at the gym. I don't particularly feel the need to use it and wondered why others do. Why don't men have one?

Probably because the women who run the gym like checking out the men's abs :-) Really though, it's segregation, and I bet if a 'Whites Only' area was created, there'd be an uproar.

Because women have been 'oppressed' for hundreds of years, many women feel it is okay to 'get men back'. Luckily I feel the same way as Germaine Greer. She claims feminism has gone too far, and that woman are not only trying to be equal, they're trying to get things better than men too.

Groups are different from individuals. How is one lesbian threatening? It's more likely that the situation is threatening for her. If there was a group of lesbians that were acting aggressively that would be different.

This is the best point made for the defence in this thread so far, and one that has forced me to reflect on my opinion. If a single guy was put into a woman's changing room, he would probably be the embarassed one, since he would be outnumbered.

Still, it seems as if one/some of the other girls were uncomfortable with having this other girl about, or had some sort of vendetta against her, otherwise the school wouldn't have cared. And I'm almost certain that it was a vendetta.
posted by wackybrit at 4:32 AM on December 18, 2002


soon the day will come when dweebs, geeks, tards, gays, lesbians, the "ugly", the non-athletic, the noncompetitive, the sensitive and the myriad other kids who don't fit the accepted mold - will enjoy the freedom to learn and those who persecute them (primarily other students) and those who turn the blind eye or defend the status quo (primarily adults earning a living in the system) will be banished from the process until they get with the program. i can't wait.
posted by quonsar at 4:38 AM on December 18, 2002


Okay... I resisted...

I have to say that I believe that there should be no segregation at all between sexes in changing rooms. I also believe that there should be no rules about public nudity as long as a man can avoid being erect and a woman can avoid being openly arroused.

Don't get me wrong - I 'm not a hippy / nudist / perv but I've worked for 3 years in the porn industry and I've become truly desensitised to it. I look at pictures of naked women most of the day and it doesn't do anything because they are just women who happen to have no clothes on rather than being objects for sex. We seem to have lost this distinction.

In the twine42 utopia there's no dress code, no stress about sex and sexuality, and therefore less worry about LGB issues and many fewer sexual attacks.

Yes, I'll go back to my dreamworld. ;)
posted by twine42 at 4:53 AM on December 18, 2002


for the record, having been openly gay in high school, i can tell you that this is only a problem if you make it one. i used to change with all the other guys in the locker rooms, and nobody ever had any problems or felt uncomfortable, and if they did, they sure didn't tell me. if anything, there was some good natured "teasing" to reduce the tension ("like what you see?", etc).

the trick is that i never made a big deal of it. i made a point of never staring, and just pretending i was "one of the guys". as i mentioned, i never once had a problem.
posted by cyberbry at 5:09 AM on December 18, 2002


A note on the "women only" area of a gym: my college had women's only P.E. classes -- the reason was actually to accomodate female Muslim students. Due to modesty requirements of their religion, wearing shorts around men would be unseemly; wearing their normal long dresses or pants got in the way of running 3 miles. This was only for a couple of required P.E. courses though - swimming basics, and basic P.E. (running and weight-lifting).

In middle school and high school, quite a few girls were embarrassed to change around other girls, not because they thought people were ogling them, but because they thought their bodies were deficient in some way. Those who were embarrassed went into the toilet stalls to change. And then there were the girls who were expert at getting changed without exposing any extra flesh (it doesn't take much practice to learn how to change shirts without flashing anybody). I don't see why these girls can't do the same thing if they're feeling uncormfortable.
posted by meep at 5:21 AM on December 18, 2002


wackybrit: "This girl has rights, but so do those who have to change with her. Clearly one of them didn't like it, so they shopped her."

So, why not just let the girl(s) who complained sit in the principal's office? Or, better yet, attend a class on respect, tolerance, and human sexuality? Obviously these teenagers are not getting taught that at home.
posted by ?! at 5:50 AM on December 18, 2002


Luckily I feel the same way as Germaine Greer. She claims feminism has gone too far, and that woman are not only trying to be equal, they're trying to get things better than men too.

Mmmm. Doesn't sound like the Germaine Greer I know.
posted by Summer at 5:56 AM on December 18, 2002


BOY BANNED FROM HIGH SCHOOL FOR ROVING EYES - "He was pointedly staring at the behinds of all the girls", said one witness. "Some of them didn't like it, and they complained."
posted by troutfishing at 6:12 AM on December 18, 2002


According to the LA Times article I read this morning (it's in the "California" section), the girl was asked about her sexuality by the girl next to her in the locker room, then pulled aside by the gym teacher and told not to talk about it. The next day, the teacher sent her to the principal's office, with no explanation. It would appear from the article that the harassment was prompted by the actions of the teachers and administrators themselves.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:40 AM on December 18, 2002


Seems the principal's principle principle of locker room gender separation is to deny ogling. That is, you change your clothes with the people you (not they) are least sexually attracted to. Which seems to me to be fairly perverse, certainly more perverse than the ordinary human activity of 'checking out' other human beings.

Perhaps a solution would be some 30 individual changing stalls, each containing one shower head, one toilet, one rack of hooks for clothes-hanging, and one bench. However, this brings up the question of voluntarily sharing shower-space. Again an entirely healthy activity, but the prevailing cultural meme is against it.

So, the principal's secondary principle is that the students should change in company, to monitor each other's compliance with the proscription of sex.

These principles, together, don't handle the problem of a lesbian student very well at all. One might almost suspect they weren't thought up with lesbian students in mind. Indeed one might suspect that neither principle makes a lot of sense, and more sensible principals might decide on more sensible principles and hence a new course of action. Personally, I recommend a unisex changing room. A group of young men doesn't pose a threat to a group of young women unless they're thoroughly de-socialized, and in any case the teachers are easily close enough to be summoned by screams.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:00 AM on December 18, 2002


Who's soft? The 15 year old girl who was called out of gym class on a technicality, or the perceived homophobia of the rest of the female student population?

So, uh, what happens with bisexuals, then? Where do they get to change?

I wonder if the parents in these communities are prepared for the tax hike they will surely experience in order to facilitate the staggering amounts of money needed for all these different changing rooms. Snerk.

Yeesh.
posted by wells at 7:11 AM on December 18, 2002


Re: women's only gyms. They tend to be different from unisex gyms, focusing on equipment more commonly used by women and classes over things like weights. I don't have to wait in line for one of the two stationary bikes, there are a dozen of them, small differences like that.

Personally, I hate unisex gyms. It seems like a small percentage of the guys assume that anyone there is there to meet people and flirt, not to workout. That tiny percentage is more than enough to ruin an entire gym for me. When I go I'm there to work out and leave. I don't want anyone flirting with me, I don't want anyone explaining to the "little lady" how a complex piece of equipment like, say, a stairmachine, works. If I take a step class I don't want a group of men to be lined up in the back of the room watching everyone's ass. (and yes, that does happen- some clubs even have all glass walls around the rooms classes are just for people who want to watch).

I go to an all-women's gym and these problems are instantly gone.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2002


kellydamnit - the gym I go to is generally unisex but has a women's only area. It's a huge gym so there's no problem getting a bike or a running machine. Classes are also in separate studios so there's no ogling - not that there would be anyway, this being England. So I don't really understand the women-only area. I suppose if you're very, very body conscious it makes sense.
posted by Summer at 7:48 AM on December 18, 2002


If there were any such thing as a bisexual, then you might have a point wells. Bisexuality is a behavior, not a sexuality. It is a trendy sexual game played by people who haven't a clue.
posted by Witty at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2002


Mmmm. Doesn't sound like the Germaine Greer I know.

In that case, you might be more in tune with 'burn your bra' Greer of the 60's. I think Greer has certainly come into her element lately, with her theories on reverse sexism and how feminism is going too far. She has certainly become a pillar of sense and I'm one of her biggest fans for it too.
posted by wackybrit at 7:55 AM on December 18, 2002


Luckily I feel the same way as Germaine Greer. She claims feminism has gone too far, and that woman are not only trying to be equal, they're trying to get things better than men too.

Wackybrit, let me know when women make the same pay as men do for the same work, and then we can talk about feminism going too far.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:05 AM on December 18, 2002


Bisexuality is a behavior, not a sexuality. It is a trendy sexual game played by people who haven't a clue.

Oh...wow. I guess they need some educatin' from you then:

Everyone...everyone...please gather round and listen to Witty explain why your sexuality isn't as legitimate as his.
posted by thewittyname at 8:22 AM on December 18, 2002


I have no experience in girls' locker rooms, but think about the opening scene of Carrie and you can also see some homoerotic elements, even though the girls are putatively straight.

Hate to break it to you, but that scene from Carrie was a male director's fantasy. Females of any age do not strut around naked in change rooms and run their hands caressingly over themselves in open showers. They hide in corners and change as quickly and modestly as possible.

I can think of no practical solution for this situation that will satisfy everyone. Unless we're prepared to put separate changing stalls in schools (and this would take a generation to fully implement), the best we can do is keep the changerooms divided by gender as formerly and expect everyone to behave considerately regardless of their sexual orientation. After all, this is really what we've been doing all along and it's worked pretty well.

A group of young men doesn't pose a threat to a group of young women unless they're thoroughly de-socialized, and in any case the teachers are easily close enough to be summoned by screams.

For God's sake, aeschenkarnos, when in high school I was subjected to enough boorish behaviour by as yet insufficiently socialized teenaged boys while fully clothed. I can't imagine how humiliated I would have gotten if I'd been forced to change in front of them too. You can't seriously think this is a good idea.
posted by orange swan at 9:22 AM on December 18, 2002


kellydammit:

I don't want anyone flirting with me, I don't want anyone explaining to the "little lady" how a complex piece of equipment like, say, a stairmachine, works.

do people really come up to you and do these things? i've been going to a unisex (college!) gym for 3 years now, and i see flirting rarely. unprovoked explanations of cardiovascular exercise machines -- never.

If I take a step class I don't want a group of men to be lined up in the back of the room watching everyone's ass. (and yes, that does happen- some clubs even have all glass walls around the rooms classes are just for people who want to watch).

this does happen where i'm at. the exercise room has only a couple of doors, so there's not much visibility, but everyone in the room across (which, ironically or not, is the freeweight room) always looks up into it when they can. i suppose the class could flip around, so that you face the other way, but then the guys would gawk at your breasts instead. there's not much to be done -- people have a right to look where they will -- though one might avoid the all-glass workout areas.
posted by moz at 9:53 AM on December 18, 2002


Everyone...everyone...please gather round and listen to Witty explain why your sexuality isn't as legitimate as his.

Why bother? Witty's the one who's confused.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:14 AM on December 18, 2002


[group of men to be lined up in the back of the room watching everyone's ass. ]

Hey, guess what? Men like to stare at women's asses, if they're nice and tight. What do you think you have cleavage for? It's to make them titties look more like a nice ass! All so we men will stare at them! You should be proud...

On a less aggressive note, I don't understand why women get so pissed off at men doing instinctual things. When someone is checking me out, I strut, dammit!
posted by hellinskira at 10:20 AM on December 18, 2002


I don't understand why women get so pissed off at men doing instinctual things

I'll field this one ladies....

Because "instinctual" things like ogling can often be followed by other possibly instinctual things like catcalling, unwnated attention, getting followed to your car, and being called a bitch because you don't want to give some slack-jawed hardon with legs your phone number. I'm not saying I can't take a compliment, even from someone I might not want to date, but it's a tough line to draw. Just because it's instinct doesn't make it right. Learning to control your instincts is an important part of living in a society, and so is acknowledging that your idea of a good time isn't everyone else's.
posted by jessamyn at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2002


the reason why you strut when someone looks, is because it almost never happens, so you relish in it. If it happened constantly, and usually when you didn't feel like it, it would get real tired, real quick.
posted by imaswinger at 12:03 PM on December 18, 2002


I'm disappointed in almost all of the opinions here.

Groups are different from individuals. How is one lesbian threatening? It's more likely that the situation is threatening for her. If there was a group of lesbians that were acting aggressively that would be different.

This is the best point made for the defense in this thread so far, and one that has forced me to reflect on my opinion. If a single guy was put into a woman's changing room, he would probably be the embarrassed one, since he would be outnumbered.


Well, I'm glad after telling you verbatim to think of it from someone else's perspective you are capable of doing so, I suppose.

How much trauma is done to the heterosexual changing with 35 other heterosexuals in the locker room with one gay guy? Not much. Will he look at you? Possibly, but you know what, deal with it. It doesn't even compare to the amount of harm caused by segregating this single homosexual, and differentiating him for more abuse than he is already taking. There is a 100% chance that the kid was being teased before by other gay people who were not out and/or less effeminate. This will only make it worse.

To think that a gay person going into a men's locker room is even remotely like a straight guy looking at female porn is asinine. Maybe with Summer's remarks you actually thought about it. Think: Looking at porn that will beat you up if it suspects you're looking at it.

To segregate this poor girl causes her an incredible amount of pain and humiliation, to keep her in the same locker room causes maybe a few girls some comfort. It's hard for me to believe this is even being debated. As I stare at a reminder of a hateful, ignorant comment in the Trackback post...
posted by rhyax at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2002


Wackybrit, your theories about why we have separate changing rooms are only that: theories. This might be obvious, but in this sort of quasi-legal context if there really was a specified reasoning behind the system then that would be used in determining how to generalize the old rules to "new" situations.

I was really saddened to see that this happened in my home state. This is just bullshit. Shepd, I think you're on crack. You wrote "What a waste just to protect one young girl from dealing with what her future life will be like."

Is this in another language that uses the characters and words of English? In the rest of the fucking world men and women use changing rooms and bathrooms without any regard whatsoever to sexual orientation. Have you ever been to an airport? Did you see the "lesbian" bathrooms? (OK, bathrooms are kind of different, but maybe some airports have gyms.) If your point made any sense then it would have to be that the other girls should get used to the real world where they have to deal with different kinds of people.

I'd vote for any law or amendment that would protect the equal rights of gays, and anyone that won't can (and will) go to hell. Of course, we can't even get an ERA, so this will take a long time.
posted by Wood at 12:36 PM on December 18, 2002


I posted this last night and came back this afternoon to see all these (mostly shocking, disturbing) comments. What's wrong with you people!? To me (and my lesbian roommate who e-mailed it to me) this case represents an egregious violation of civil rights. It is exactly like---as mentioned above---crossing out "COLORED" and writing "FAGGOT" over the water fountain. She, like all other minorities, should be entitled to the same civil liberties that you and I enjoy...

And I'm gay, and I pee at urinals next to real live straight men all the time and---wouldja believe it?---I can control my OVERWHELMING desire to watch their unerect, floppy penises slosh pungent, yellow urine onto that oh-so-erotic porcelain.

Sorry for the graphic nature of that, but I'm trying to point out how absurd it is to assume that gays---any more than straight people---can't control their hormones in non-sexual contexts. Should there be no more gay doctors, because they get titillated giving hernia tests? No more gay lifeguards, ambulance drivers, film directors, actors (ya right!) because they might get turned on in the dressing room?

And should we exclude blacks from all department stores because they--if we subscribe to the awful stereotype--tend to shoplift more? Or Jews from banks because they love money?

No. And unless you subscribe to the awful, inaccurate stereotype that gays are uncontrollably sex-minded, then you CANNOT exclude (and ostricize and humiliate) a young girl from a locker room for being a lesbian.
posted by adrober at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2002


"I can control my OVERWHELMING desire to watch their unerect, floppy penises slosh pungent, yellow urine onto that oh-so-erotic porcelain."

Dammit, I flaunt it as much as I'm able without tinkling on my toes. What the hell more do you want from us straights?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:42 PM on December 18, 2002


(Come to think of it, I've yet to have a queer hit on me. I think I'm a handsome, slender, and oh-so-sexy hunk o' meat. The ladies seem to agree: I've had several of them after my ass.

What the hell's wrong with you gays? I know I look at every woman like a potential screw: what'sa matter that you're not looking at me the same way?!

My confidence in being one sexy mofo is being eroded. I... I... I'm deeply hurt!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:49 PM on December 18, 2002


Orange Swan: For God's sake, aeschenkarnos, when in high school I was subjected to enough boorish behaviour by as yet insufficiently socialized teenaged boys while fully clothed. I can't imagine how humiliated I would have gotten if I'd been forced to change in front of them too. You can't seriously think this is a good idea.

Well, I'm not prepared to push it to the point of being nutty about it, but I do sort-of think it's an idea with some good consequences, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the 'civilizing influence' of mixed-gender groups. Boys are nicer when girls are around. Sure, it's basically to impress the girls, but it's still true. Boys alone can treat each other fairly badly. Secondly, even if it is more stressful, I'm inclined to think the kids of both genders would be more likely to quietly and quickly get changed, facing the wall.

My point isn't really that mixed-gender changing rooms are a brilliant idea. I'm saying that single-gender changing rooms aren't a brilliant idea either, and mixed-gender changing rooms might actually be better.

If British-descended cultures weren't afraid of nudity and sexualize it so much (of course other cultures, like those of the Middle East, are far worse in this regard, but let's confine our ambit of discussion for now), this wouldn't be an issue, and on that point, I'm curious about how Japanese, Danish and French high schools handle the issue of changing rooms. Anyone know?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:28 PM on December 18, 2002


Witty: Rubbish, it's the non-bisexuals who haven't a clue. A person may act in a way that conforms to their chosen sexual identity, but unless they are very unusual, they will in the course of their life be attracted to many people. Some of those people, usually a small proportion, will be of the same sex as the person, and for cultural reasons they will usually not act on these attractions. If that proportion is more than, say, 40% or so, they may for social reasons consider themselves 'gay' and deny any sexual attraction to the opposite sex. Our culture is, at the moment, making this an easier choice, and the ill-informed opinion of people like yourself is to blame.

Now some positive assertions: I believe people have the right to have sex with whoever also wants to have sex with them, and it's nobody else's business. I also believe we have the right to put constraints, like an exclusive relationship (including a marriage) around our own sexual behavior. The issue of pregnancy raises responsibilities when exercising one's sexual rights. So do STDs. So do the emotional needs and attachments of yourself and your partner(s). Balancing rights and responsibilities, what you want to do and what the consequences are, is part of maturity.

And this is why I have an ambivalent view of the 'gay community' and 'gayness' and 'lesbian-ness'. I don't dispute a person's right to define themselves however they want, within reason. I don't dispute the political need to have a group with an interest in defending same-gender sex rights. What I do dispute is the "but you're gay, you can't have sex with a girl!" thing. The expectation that a gay man or lesbian will be exclusively attracted to their own sex, to the point that an opposite-sex attraction will cause them qualms of 'heterophobic' identity crisis. The presumption--for political reasons--that any man who ever has sex with another man is really gay, and his attractions to women are just fooling himself, irks me even more. Both of these result from a vacuum of politics, for purposes of drumming up supporters. I reject the "are you gay or straight, please tick ONE" view of sexuality, because it is contrary to general fact, and psychologically unhealthy for individuals.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:54 PM on December 18, 2002


5FF: I know I look at every woman like a potential screw: what'sa matter that you're not looking at me the same way?!

I doubt it. This is the easy logical argument against "bums to the wall" homophobia. I expect that you don't find every woman attractive, and if you run the numbers it's probably 10-30% of women. Even of those women you do find attractive, you normally hit on them only if you're reasonably confident of a positive response. Granted, this confidence can arise internally from Being A Complete Jerk rather than any good source. :) But most non-jerk heterosexual men don't hit on many women at all. Why assume homosexual men behave more boorishly? Not that I accuse you of making that assumption, 5FF, I'm only presenting the argument against it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:54 PM on December 18, 2002


Bisexuality is a behavior, not a sexuality. It is a trendy sexual game played by people who haven't a clue.

i, for one, am all for starting a collection plate to buy Witty a clue. anyone else?
posted by deborah at 7:56 PM on December 18, 2002


Well expressed, aeschenkarnos. Thank you.

I'd be interested to hear how people propose dealing with transgendered students. A unisex changing room would make it a non-issue, but that's not the current reality of most schools and public places. Should these kids be required to share a locker room with those of their biological sex or with those of the sex they live as? Or should they get to pick? I don't think any of these are very good solutions (though picking seems the least-bad). Anybody have any better ideas?
posted by hippugeek at 8:16 PM on December 18, 2002


A lot of you aren't understanding what I'm saying.

This is a free country. Just as you are free to express yourself on your sexuality, others are free to comment on that.

The fact you hate their freedom to do this is irrelevant. It can and will happen.

The only time anyone has any business (if ever) telling you that you should not be commenting on someone is if it is something that is obvious. ie: Being white, black, orange, whatever. This isn't something that others know immediately about you when they see you.

Others cannot tell what your sexual orientation is unless you flaunt it -- it's just like your religion -- PRIVATE. If you decide to flaunt it, you must deal with the consequences of doing so.

For example, being an intelligent atheist, I do not go about and ensure everyone knows I am atheist. Why? I don't want to deal with the changed attitudes towards me from others. I have better things to do. If others inadvertently find out, etiquette dictates for them to ignore it.

Being that this girl has decided to let the world know about her sexuality makes it an issue others have the freedom to comment on. If she didn't like that, it was her business to have not talked about it in the first place. Instead she wants the world to know about it, so she will have to deal with the way the world perceives at her.

How about this example: If you were to walk into a washroom and take a piss in the stall beside me and throughout your break you tell me of your gaity, I promise you, you WILL get a different attitude from me than anyone else pissing beside me. And that's life. If you used the can and upon exiting told me you screw 10 ladies every night I will give you a dirty look and probably won't even use your stall.

That's life, and if you can't deal with it, you are not free to force me to be quiet about it. So you had better change your attitude instead if you don't like mine.

And, again, that's why I don't tell everyone on earth private things like that. Because I want people to treat me like a normal everyday person, not like some sort of God-hating maniac. It's all about perception.

If this girl had kept her mouth shut (why the hell does she need to tell people that she's gay at 14? is she planning on being an idiot and having sex at that age?) she'd have kept changing in that locker room with the other girls and everyone would be happy. Because she used her freedom to choose to tell others about her sexuality, others have now used their freedom to judge her (yes, you have the freedom to judge others -- you just don't have the freedom to do much about your judgement). The other girls have told the principal they aren't comfortable with her being there. He is simply reacting to that. If he doesn't, then I assume the other girls will use their freedom to shun the gay girl. Wether that is right or not is irrelevant. They just will.

In the end, this girl is learning an important life lesson, which is that you cannot change the attitudes of others towards you without encountering many hardships along the way. That what people perceive is what you tell them. And she'll soon learn another lesson: She might legislate herself the freedom to change in that room, but she can't force the movement of others into that room with her. She is effectively choosing to isolate herself from society, and this is infact the issue we are dealing with.
posted by shepd at 11:04 PM on December 18, 2002


"why the hell does she need to tell people that she's gay at 14?"

Well, according to this post earlier in the thread, referring to a NY Times article, she was asked by another student. And I can tell you from personal experience, as a guy who "outed" himself at the age of 15, that you get tired of lying very quickly.

You're correct that nobody can change the attitudes of the girls who said they're uncomfortable changing with her. This is not the issue. The issue is that the school's reaction is to remove her from one of her classes.

"If this girl had kept her mouth shut"

Yeah, if only all those gays would just keep their mouths shut. Then we wouldn't have all these problems.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:56 PM on December 18, 2002


A lot of you aren't understanding what I'm saying.

On the contrary, I think most of us understood it quite well. But thank you for furthering clarifying your point, in case someone missed the fact that you are advocating lying about a central part of one's life simply to avoid the ire of ignorant bigots.

You, sir, are an ass.
posted by hippugeek at 12:05 AM on December 19, 2002


Excuse me, that last was completely unnecessary. I'm just getting a wee bit frustrated with your self-centered and amoral approach to the issue.
posted by hippugeek at 12:22 AM on December 19, 2002


According to aeschenkarnos, we should all be screwing each other regardless of gender or sexuality. Apparently, there is just one overall sexuality er sumthin'. I'm not buying it.

...they will in the course of their life be attracted to many people. Some of those people, usually a small proportion, will be of the same sex as the person, and for cultural reasons they will usually not act on these attractions.

What? Gimme a break. I won't deny that I can recognize an attractive man when I see one. If the guy is good looking, then he's good looking. But that doesn't imply a sexual attraction. And it certainly doesn't imply that I don't act on this phantom attraction simply because societal norms tell me not to. Please.

I don't have sex with men because I'm wired not to... I was put together correctly.
posted by Witty at 12:58 AM on December 19, 2002


[unintentional irony alert]

I was put together correctly.

[/unintentional irony alert]

I look forward to waking up to a nice crackling fire. Do oblige me, ye Mefi gods.
posted by hippugeek at 1:13 AM on December 19, 2002


caveman witty: ook oook - u wooooman , me man , we do it
cavewoman : i need to put some clothes on

you are called a TOSSER for a reason
posted by dprs75 at 2:50 AM on December 19, 2002


Mmmm. Doesn't sound like the Germaine Greer I know.

In that case, you might be more in tune with 'burn your bra' Greer of the 60's. I think Greer has certainly come into her element lately, with her theories on reverse sexism and how feminism is going too far. She has certainly become a pillar of sense and I'm one of her biggest fans for it too.


Perhaps you can link to these statements of Greer's that feminism is going too far? I don't recall them and I've read nearly everything she's published.
posted by Summer at 4:32 AM on December 19, 2002


...you are called a TOSSER for a reason.

Ahh yes, the crime of heterosexuality. Lemme go find a cute guy to rub up against so I can be more likable... like homosexuals and bisexuals... the truly enlightened ones.
posted by Witty at 5:17 AM on December 19, 2002


Witty: According to aeschenkarnos, we should all be screwing each other regardless of gender or sexuality. Apparently, there is just one overall sexuality er sumthin'. I'm not buying it.

That's because you don't get it; not because you can't, but because you prefer to hold another opinion. Which is your right, although that opinion is factually refuted by the existence of even one bisexual person in the entirety of human history.

No, we shouldn't be screwing each other regardless. My point is that we should be allowed to screw each other, assuming we are both consenting and capable, if we decide, given our mutual attraction and willingness, that we would like to. Without people like you poking your noses in, demanding to know why and what for and how long and so forth, none of which you need to know, or making suggestions about whether we 'ought to' or not, which is none of your business. Or making sweeping generalizations that contain implied insults.

What? Gimme a break. I won't deny that I can recognize an attractive man when I see one. If the guy is good looking, then he's good looking. But that doesn't imply a sexual attraction. And it certainly doesn't imply that I don't act on this phantom attraction simply because societal norms tell me not to. Please.
I wouldn't presume to tell you what you really think. You may be one of the minority who are exclusively opposite-sex attracted. In any case it would be your perfect right to only have sex with women, or your own left hand for that matter, no matter what your attractions are. But look into the results of sexuality research over the last 50 or so years, and that is what they show: most people occasionally experience same-sex attraction, most usually between puberty and mid-20's, when a person's sexuality is most flexible.

I don't have sex with men because I'm wired not to... I was put together correctly.
I doubt it. You have to breathe, and eat, and shit, and you experience headaches and muscle pain, your bones will break at a degree of pressure that you might be reasonably expected to experience during life, you will get slower and more fragile as time goes by, and someday you will die, perhaps of cancer or something similarly unpleasant, debilitating, and painful. None of us is "put together correctly". There is no "correct". We are all humans, none of us are "correct" or "incorrect", merely more or less able depending on the task at hand, and there is a great degree of variance in our physiology and psychology. I recommend you reassess your digital, binary, judgemental worldview to take into account more of the analog, complex, chaotic nature of the real world.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:28 AM on December 19, 2002


Ahh yes, the crime of heterosexuality. Lemme go find a cute guy to rub up against so I can be more likable... like homosexuals and bisexuals... the truly enlightened ones.

I think that you're confusing the crime of heterosexuality with the crime of appalling ignorance.

What a dick.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:31 AM on December 19, 2002


You're not being criticized because you are heterosexual, Witty. You're being criticized because you are being flippant and rude, and you are reacting to attempts to engage you in discussion about sexuality as though they were criticism of your own personal sexuality. I repeat, it's not about you, it's about people in general. You made the bizarre assertion that people were either hetero- or homosexual, and that people who were bisexual were playing some kind of clueless game. That's what we're arguing with. We don't dispute, or care, that you are heterosexual. For what it's worth, I'm up the heterosexual end of the spectrum too. You seem to be denying the spectrum's existence, and to accept that I want to see something a whole lot better from you than snarky remarks!
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:40 AM on December 19, 2002


Did we learn nothing from the Columbine massacre? Harris and Klebold were taunted incessantly as "faggots" and they weren't even gay

Jesus Christ. These two fuckwits are truly becoming the poster boys for ignorance of all sorts, aren't they? Those two little spoiled brats were going to kill people no matter what.

Because "instinctual" things like ogling can often be followed by other possibly instinctual things like catcalling, unwnated attention, getting followed to your car, and being called a bitch because you don't want to give some slack-jawed hardon with legs your phone number.

Not to stereotype all men or anything. Wouldn't want to do that. No sir, no way. And women never ever show off their bodies in order to solicit comments. No sir.
posted by owillis at 5:52 AM on December 19, 2002


shepd: "why the hell does she need to tell people that she's gay at 14? is she planning on being an idiot and having sex at that age? "

Because:

Being "gay" is not just about sex. Especially at 14. It's about realizing you probably aren't accepted by a large segment of your peers. It's about hearing your pastor tell you that normal feelings are sinful. It's about looking for role models and finding few if any. It's about dating a member of the opposite sex just be accepted. It's about finally saying "I'm gay," or just feeling like you'll have to lie your entire life.

Because at 14 everything is changing and every slight is a *big thing.* Because at 14 sometimes you don't have the stamina to lie any more.
posted by ?! at 5:54 AM on December 19, 2002


I have simply stated the facts. If you talk about something there are repercussions. If you don't want to deal with that, then you have your choice not to talk. Use it. Or, as I would bluntly put it (people who talk to me IRL get used to my very blunt perspective on things -- at least they don't view me as a fence sitter) "put up or shut up". That might be offensive to some, but IMNSHO it's something that's best learned early on in life.

Now, most (all?) of us cover up many parts of our lives that we have no interest to make public, or we keep them private with certain trusted individuals.

If what people have said on here is a show of anything, it is that being gay makes you want to tell everyone about your sexuality. Does being gay limit your inhibition center of your brain? I think not. It's simply that the gay culture has (for whatever reason) made being gay something to be proud of. Something to fly in everyone's face. I may not believe in God, but I do believe in the seven deadly sins, and I'm pretty sure pride is up at the top...

Well, guess what, in life you'll get adverse reactions to that short of showmanship. And not necessarialy for being gay, either. If I were to drive a flashy car and spent time talking to people about how flashy my car is and that I like flashy cars, and I prefer people with flashy cars, then I'd be called an ass (but hey, I can deal with that).

Instead I get called an ass for calling a spade a spade. Well, I'll deal with that. You know why? Hopefully someone read my post and learned something: Everything you say to others changes their perception of you. Choose your words carefully. You can be open and experience the full effect of how others feel about your ideals, or keep things on the quiet and have fewer problems. If you feel that it's easier to "come out with it" and tell everyone who you are, that's fine. But to do that and expect no adverse reaction is asinine.

And, interestingly enough, you've all clearly proven what I've said. Since I've pointed out the truth of being too open about things to you (which some of you admit) some seem a little sore about it, and so therefore your perception of me has changed. Which is fine with me, since when it comes to opinions like this, I'd rather people treat me truthfully.

[Oh, and those who are mighty pissed off at me when it comes to this, feel free not to talk to me anymore. It's all your choice, and if you perceive me as an ass for it, I really don't care two hoots. Again, I put up when I don't shut up.]

Shall I mention that religion is in fact more central to one's life than sexuality? It seems to me that most religions reccomend praying far in excess of mating. So, what religion are you, hippugeek? Or do you all of a sudden not want to change people's perceptions of your most central part of life?

Note that at no point in this thread do I say that being gay is wrong (although from my first comment I suppose one could make that assumption, but I think I've more than clarified my stance on this), which is what it appears some of you have assumed I think, again, probably (sorry, I suppose I'm assuming here now too) due to a perception that allowing people to freely express what they want about gay people is not right. It appears many here would want to limit our freedom of expression, and would rather not have people tell the truth of what they feel on this issue.

And, IMHO, that's far sadder than a 15 year old who can't change with other ladies.

I'd just like to clarify one little word here that flies around far too often at metafilter: bigot. Does one not notice the irony here? The fact that intolerance is again being exchanged for more intolerance?

I suggest people who use that word look it up before using it as an insult. Because to insult is to be intolerant, and simply makes using the word a form of self-deprecating humour.

Anyways, those of you who feel my opinion that flaunting one's sexuality will lead to a change in perceptions, and possibly and change in attitude of those around you, which you may or may not like, I am very willing to discuss your difference on this issue. In this, I do not feel bigoted, and if you have reasonable evidence to show that what ones says and does doesn't affect how one is treated, I will most certainly change my opinion. It's just that right now my psychology books say something very different...

Boy that's a big post. Anyways, I'm thinking that ?! has it right.

[BTW: Since I want to stick to the facts, I am attempting to keep general value judgements out of this, except for specific users who feel I'm wrong. I will say, though, that most people do feel it is wrong to treat others differently based on their known opinions, but that these same people are often hypocrites and will do exactly the same thing when their turn comes up. And that's just life. I very much doubt that anything other than a rewiring of human DNA will make any difference on this.]

Okay, so I do want to say more. When I was at high-school I flaunted the fact that I was a computer geek, and I got teased a hell of a lot more than this gay lady. And, would you believe it, I GOT BANNED FROM USING THE COMPUTERS (multiple times, they thought that my being a geek meant I was a hacker). At least this girl can still change at the school, for crying out loud. I put up with it and was more than happy to have learned my lesson about keeping my mouth shut at an age where it doesn't cost me. This girl should take this learning opportunity and embrace it. So yeah, I do have some experience in this field. And that's what I'm talking from. From the heart. One that's been hardened by the same lessons as this girl is now learning. And I feel I'm better for the fact that I didn't go ape-sh*t about it and sue the schools.
posted by shepd at 6:05 AM on December 19, 2002


My point is that we should be allowed to screw each other, assuming we are both consenting and capable, if we decide, given our mutual attraction and willingness, that we would like to.

I never suggested otherwise. Please, feel free... do whatcha like.

Without people like you poking your noses in, demanding to know why and what for and how long and so forth, none of which you need to know, or making suggestions about whether we 'ought to' or not, which is none of your business.

Have I done such a thing? I'm not interested in your sexuality or anyone elses, for that matter... my own and my partner's is all I need to know. People like me? Like me what? I'm just participating in the thread with everyone else.

...You're being criticized because you are being flippant and rude,...

Review the pattern of posts if you will. I first commented directly on the FPP. Then I made a comment about not believing in bisexuality. There are at least a half dozen rude and sarcastic comments in response to that. I even got a trackback post (my first... Wheee!).

...I want to see something a whole lot better from you than snarky remarks!


I made a sarcastic statement based on a post of yours that I read. Then the name-calling kicked in. Say what you will about my posts, but it's my lack of belief in the bisexuality phenomenon that's got everyone in an uproar.

I never thought for a moment that this thread was about me. I know what it's about. I don't doubt that there are people in this world that have some kind of chemical imbalance that causes them to be, feel, think (whatever it is) sexually attracted to both sexes. What I believe this to be however, is confusion in coming to terms with ones homosexuality (except for the heteros who are doing for the kicks).

There IS a bisexual fad going on these days with young people. There were no bisexuals when I was a teenager (I know, I know). Now, they're everywhere. 15 year old girls coming out of the woodwork claiming bisexuality (and there are reasons for that)... but I don't buy it. I think many of them are confused and/or trying to garner attention. There's enough awareness out there about other sexualities that many young people think "it's ok to give it a shot". I'm not saying it isn't. What I AM saying is that in most cases it just isn't there... it's a phase, it's experimentation for many levels... few of which are actually related to sexuality.

Most teenage "bisexuals" will simply grow out of it. With those people, bisexuality is indeed a behavior and not an actual sexual orientation. Just because you've done it, doesn't mean you are.
posted by Witty at 6:34 AM on December 19, 2002


Did we learn nothing from the Columbine massacre? Harris and Klebold were taunted incessantly as "faggots" and they weren't even gay

Jesus Christ. These two fuckwits are truly becoming the poster boys for ignorance of all sorts, aren't they? Those two little spoiled brats were going to kill people no matter what.

I wish I could say that Harris and Klebold are an isolated example of "two little spoiled brats," but when you see similar school shootings where the shooters had similar grievances, I think it's much harder to dismiss. The casual cruelties that you or I may have grown up with in high school are simply no longer acceptable in this day and age. This also applies to the homophobia in a lot of high schools, which can victimize all kinds of students, whether they are gay, straight, or somewhere in between.
posted by jonp72 at 7:39 AM on December 19, 2002


Shepd writes (sorry, I don't know how to do the funky italics thing): "Since I've pointed out the truth of being too open about things to you (which some of you admit) some seem a little sore about it, and so therefore your perception of me has changed. Which is fine with me, since when it comes to opinions like this, I'd rather people treat me truthfully."

I think that answers why any 14-year old, 30-year old or, in my case, 23-year old comes out. We don't want to "flaunt" our sexuality (that's such an awful word)... we want to be treated truthfully. And many of us live with the presumption that we are straight. So when I did come out, it was because I was tired of my male friends asking if I thought such and such a girl was hot, and tired of my parents asking me why I didn't have a girlfriend. You can't compare gayness to atheism or owning a fancy car because people don't constantly make presumptions about your beliefs, and if they did---with atheism, for example---if your parents were like, everyday "Isn't God great? Don't you love God? One day you will die and live with God" and your friends were like "What's your favorite aspect of God? If you could ask God a quesiton, what would you ask him?" and this went on for the large bulk of your life, you would---very much---want to "enlighten" everyone so you could be treated truthfully. At least I did, and I've NEVER regretted it.

[And this does NOT give the school board permission to treat this girl horribly because this is what her future holds. You can rationalize any form of bigotry by saying "I'm just showing them what their future holds"---think of applying this to other identity stereotypes (see my above post) and how awful that would be. And I strongly believe that her future isn't any less or more bleak than yours or mine because of her sexuality.... now I have to brush my teeth and fly home.]
posted by adrober at 7:46 AM on December 19, 2002


jonp72: The casual cruelties that you or I may have grown up with in high school are simply no longer acceptable in this day and age.

Don't know about you but I graduated from HS a mere 8 years ago. I'm not thinking the world is that different. Harris/Klebold along with the other school shooters perfectly fit the profile of spoiled little brat whose parents did a shit job raising them, and who callously took out their "rage" on innocent people. Pardon if I'm not crying over them. Thousands of us are picked on for one reason or another, 99.999999999% don't commit mass murder.
posted by owillis at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2002


aeschenkarnos: joking!

adrober: Did you laugh? I was hoping you'd laugh. Sorry if I offended; it was risky humour, I know.

shepd: "Shall I mention that religion is in fact more central to one's life than sexuality?" Say What?!? Yer outta your nut. Speak for yourself, godboy, and leave the rest of us out of it.

witty: You might also believe that the sky is a particularly pretty puce, but that doesn't mean your beliefs even correspond to reality. Reality is that human sexuality spans a wide, wide range of behaviours. Your assertion that "there's no such thing as bisexuality" is simply a false assertion. There is no debate involved, just as there's no debate re: the true colour of the sky.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 AM on December 19, 2002


There were no bisexuals when I was a teenager...

Yes there were, it was just more frowned upon then, so they hid it. Just like ignorant folks who think that treating homosexuals like heterosexuals "encourages" it, "just look at all the gays out there, there weren't so many when I was a kid!", when all it is is that people are less inclined to hide. More people are starting to accept now that most of us are attracted to individual people, rather than gender, most people don't fit into the neat little boxes we've tried to put each other in for generations. And what adrober said.
posted by biscotti at 11:27 AM on December 19, 2002


shepd:
...bigot....I suggest people who use that word look it up before using it as an insult.

If you're referring to my use of the word, I sincerely apologize for the confusion. I did not mean you. You don't spew nearly enough pure hatred to be a bigot. I was referring to the fact that you seem unconcerned with the fact that this girl will deal with truly bigoted and hateful people all her life, and that the school's behavior encourages such attitudes. That failure to commit to a judgment, by the way, is also what prompted me to use the word "amoral."

It appears many here would want to limit our freedom of expression, and would rather not have people tell the truth of what they feel on this issue.

Don't be ridiculous. You are perfectly welcome to say whatever you want. Those of us who disagree will then make our opinions known, and we will have a lively little discussion on the subject.

So, what religion are you, hippugeek? Or do you all of a sudden not want to change people's perceptions of your most central part of life?

No, I don't mind at all. I was raised United Methodist and have been agnostic since eighth grade. If you are particularly interested in aspects of my identity, I would be happy to detail them for you over email, but my personal life is of limited relevance to this thread.
posted by hippugeek at 2:45 PM on December 19, 2002


Okay, well, everything seems in order here. ;-)

I think as far as my comment regarding religion being the center of one's life (should one choose to be religious) is simply what I've seen and experienced of it: To be a devout believer in a religion means to encompass it in most every decision you make. For example, you decide to open a door for someone because your religion says that is the way to treat others, you drive under the speed limit because your religion tells you to respect the law, you don't eat certain items because your religion tells you to, etc, etc. Whereas one's sexuality is really only of concern when dealing with a partner (or should be). That's why I feel that those who are religious must hold their religion as one of the most important, if not the most important, tenents in their life.

Just my two cents. I think we've beaten this horse to death.

(And hippugeek, sorry for being a little flippant there. I've gotten involved in similar discussions on MeFi, and it simply ended up turning into a Bigot/Zealot/Dictator type flamewar, which is uncool, and certainly doesn't change anyone's opinions on anything).
posted by shepd at 5:15 PM on December 19, 2002


Don't know about you but I graduated from HS a mere 8 years ago. I'm not thinking the world is that different. Harris/Klebold along with the other school shooters perfectly fit the profile of spoiled little brat whose parents did a shit job raising them, and who callously took out their "rage" on innocent people. Pardon if I'm not crying over them. Thousands of us are picked on for one reason or another, 99.999999999% don't commit mass murder.

Actually, I graduated from high school 12 years ago so we're not that far off. I never said bullying was the only cause of school shootings, but I think it's willful blindness to argue that it does not play some role. An interesting sociological paper argues that school shootings can be best understood as the result of "gay baiting," a permissive local gun culture that allowed minors unsupervised access to guns, a strong "jock culture," and unresponsive administrators and teachers who turned a blind eye to bullying. I'm just as happy as you are that Harris and Klebold are worm food, but I think that schools that allow "gay baiting" and bullying to persist are just making it more likely for violent incidents to happen. Just because Harris and Klebold are completely morally culpable for the shootings, that doesn't mean schools should be negligent in trying to stop events like that from happening.
posted by jonp72 at 5:19 PM on December 19, 2002


Thank you, shepd. I'm willing to let the horse rest in peace.
posted by hippugeek at 8:28 PM on December 19, 2002


We are all humans, none of us are "correct" or "incorrect", merely more or less able depending on the task at hand, and there is a great degree of variance in our physiology and psychology. I recommend you reassess your digital, binary, judgmental worldview to take into account more of the analog, complex, chaotic nature of the real world.

It's worth repeating. Thanks for that, aeschenkarnos.

Indeed, the whole course of human history can be seen as a constant struggle to expand the definition of who is "us" and shrink the definition of who is "them."

Also worth repeating.

Shepd, Witty, and anyone who would have heterosexuality, or the appearance of such, become a behavioral mandate for all human beings wishing to have a pleasant existence: The repression of the unique traits which are intrinsic to each of us, those that have nothing to do with harming others, does not lead to a healthier society. We have the right as humans to embrace and cultivate every aspect of our selves that does not in itself threaten the well-being of anyone.

It seems to me that we give men and women separate changing rooms in order to repress any unwanted expression of sexual desire. Around the time of puberty, the stakes are even higher than unwanted expression; they involve ridicule and embarrassment as well. We've used gender as the criterion in this instance because it's the most effective one; and we use walls as the tool of repression because we feel that no smaller preventative measure would succeed. On a smaller scale, to repress the unwanted expression of sexual desire by a single lesbian girl to a room full of ostensibly heterosexual women, a simple discreet word by an administrator informing her that these advances are unacceptable would likely be a sufficiently effective deterrent. Experience, however, dictates that the mere reality of being a single lesbian girl in a room full of ostensibly heterosexual women is probably deterrent enough. What follows then, is that if the straight girls are preemptively squeamish about the possibility of this unwanted expression, they should be informed that this deterrent is already in place.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 11:08 PM on December 19, 2002


Reality is that human sexuality spans a wide, wide range of behaviours.

Exactly. Thank you for supporting my point. Behaviors are one thing. Biological sexual orientation, or whatever you want to call it, is another.

Your assertion that "there's no such thing as bisexuality" is simply a false assertion.

It is? Where's the proof that bisexuality is something more than a behavior?

Yes there were...

biscotti: You missed the (I know, I know) in my post... which was my attempt to show that I know that at that time, homosexuals and the like were more apt to have been keeping their sexuality under wraps.
posted by Witty at 12:46 AM on December 20, 2002


MY BAD!

J. R. Little identifies at least 13 types of bisexuality, as defined by sexual desires and experiences. They are:

Alternating bisexuals:
may have a relationship with a man, and then after that relationship ends, may choose a female partner for a subsequent relationship, and many go back to a male partner next.

Circumstantial bisexuals:
primarily heterosexual, but will choose same sex partners only in situations where they have no access to other-sex partners, such as when in jail, in the military, or in a gender-segregated school.

Concurrent relationship bisexuals:
have primary relationship with one gender only but have other casual or secondary relationships with people of another gender at the same time.

Conditional bisexuals:
either straight or gay/lesbian, but will switch to a relationship with another gender for financial or career gain or for a specific purpose, such as young straight males who become gay prostitutes or lesbians who get married to men in order to gain acceptance from family members or to have children.

Emotional bisexuals:
have intimate emotional relationships with both men and women, but only have sexual relationships with one gender.

Integrated bisexuals:
have more than one primary relationship at the same time, one with a man and one with a woman.

Exploratory bisexuals:
either straight or gay/lesbian, but have sex with another gender just to satisfy curiosity or "see what it's like."
Hedonistic bisexuals:
primarily straight or gay/lesbian but will sometimes have sex with another gender primarily for fun or purely sexual satisfaction.

Recreational bisexuals:
primarily heterosexual but engage in gay or lesbian sex only when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Isolated bisexuals:
100% straight or gay/lesbian now but has had at one or more sexual experience with another gender in the past.

Latent bisexuals:
completely straight or gay lesbian in behavior but have strong desire for sex with another gender, but have never acted on it.

Motivational bisexuals:
straight women who have sex with other women only because a male partner insists on it to titillate him.

Transitional bisexuals:
temporarily identify as bisexual while in the process of moving from being straight to being gay or lesbian, or going from being gay or lesbian to being heterosexual.
posted by Witty at 12:53 AM on December 20, 2002


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