Oxford University Changes its Dress Code to make life easier for trans* students

Students sitting exams at Oxford University must wear formal dress: skirts and stockings or suits and bow ties. Formerly, female students were required to wear the skirts and stockings, and male students the suits and bow ties. But trans* students may still be registered with their previous gender, and would therefore be required to cross-dress back as their previous gender while sitting exams. This, understandably, added stress to an already stressful situation.

After a petition from the students’ LGBT Soc, the regulations have been changed to make no reference to gender.

The Guardian‘s reporting of this is positive, but does include some awkward and inaccurate phrasing around trans* issues:

If a transgender student wanted to wear subfusc of the opposite sex they had to seek special dispensation from university proctors, who had the power to punish those who breached the rules.

Presumably trans* students faced problems when they wanted to dress as their own sex, because in many cases they were still registered as being the opposite sex. (I’m not actually very fond of the phrase “opposite sex” either, given that there are more than two genders, but it’ll have to do.)


Christian boys are easy …

Or, at least, that’s the inevitable conclusion I draw from the drivels of right-wing radio talk-show host Scott Vorhees.

Vorhees was told that the UNO CRU Christian group had cooperated with the UNO Secular Student Alliance to put on a debate. He responded that there was only one reason why the Christian group would work together with the atheist group:

You know why the Christian kids helped you out in your debate? Because atheist chicks are easy. And a lot of them are Goth and hot.

Yeah. The only reason for the debates was those good Christian lads looking for easy sex. And that’s totally not a problem. At all.

(Seriously, casual sex is not a problem, people!)


Neil Gaiman interviews Terry Pratchett

On the publication of Snuff, Terry Pratchett was interviewed by his one-time collaborator Neil Gaiman. Lovely reading.

On Sam Vimes,

Coppers are easy to write for; they tend to run on rails.

On favourite books and research,

I did a lot of interesting work for Monstrous Regiment in lesbian book shops.

On characters who should return but haven’t,

Somewhere in the back of my mind there is a plot where the hero is Evil Harry Dread.

And on Victorian reference books,

Did I not tell you that in Hay-on-Wye I picked up a collection of very large books with the series title ‘London Then And Now’ and realised that the ‘now’ was in fact 1880? There was even a lovely woodcut of Primrose Hill when it had primroses on it. It really is wonderful stuff. Small things that people might not notice but to me are like a fly to a rising trout.


US NAD Supports Marriage Equality

There are interesting parallels between the Deaf experience and LGBT experiences. The Deaf are a distributed minority, and have to actively form a community. Most Deaf people have hearing parents. And, as is mentioned in the video, at one time Deaf people were discouraged or prevented from marrying (in Ireland, this went so far that boys and girls were taught different sign languages!). Nowadays, parents are often taught to sign, but that was not always the case.

I’ve seen Deaf publications drawing parallels between Deaf culture and queer culture.

Anyway, in the US, the National Association of the Deaf is now supporting marriage equality.


Hating, and Hating the Messenger

“The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.”
— C.S. Lewis

Former Conservative posts a stunning example of close-minded bigotry. A picture was doing the rounds, purportedly of Christians killed, burnt alive, by Muslims in Nigeria. On Facebook, some people were exclaiming about how horrible it was. A friend of FC interjected to point out the facts: the picture of burnt bodies is actually from a horrible accident: a fuel tank explosion. Whoever added the caption about Muslims killing Christians was lying.

As you may have guessed from the quote at the top there, this didn’t go down well.

Faced with this crossroads, the people on Facebook double down. LOL you must be a liberal or something. Of course. Anyone who cares about the truth, it seems, is a liberal.

Perhaps that’s not what they meant to say.

FC’s friend continues, posting a link to Exodus 23:1,

Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.

The response comes again: ok so you are a leftist. Only leftists quote Exodus.

Conservatives do live in a strange parallel universe, don’t they?


Jay Smooth, Rick Perry, and Superman

I love Jay Smooth’s take on Superman.

While Rick Perry was running for the presidency of the USA, a nine-year-old boy asked him,

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Perry responded that Superman was the best fit. Jay Smooth reminds Rick Perry exactly who Superman is (an undocumented alien immigrant, for starters). He also predicts Perry’s failure.