A task force at Colorado University in Boulder is recommending that the school convert more bathrooms into unisex facilities in order to prevent discrimination against "gender queer" individuals on campus, according to the Daily Camera.
The Transgender-Gender Queer task force says more "all-gendered," multi-stall bathrooms need to be created. Currently, there is only one outside CU's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, and a handful in the dorms dorms and classroom buildings.
The new bathrooms, if they are built, will be designated by a special icon, half of which is wearing a dress and the other half wearing pants.
Apparently, according to gay rights groups, transgender people regularly face discrimination, harassment and violence in a world of sex-segregated bathrooms.
The Southwest News Herald reports that a suburban Chicago resident is upset because new stickers intended to identify cars as belonging to residents have a cross on them, which she feels is insensitive to atheists and non-Christians.
The new stickers handed out in Burbank, Ill. feature the image of a soldier kneeling next to the grave of a fallen comrade. They are intended to honor soldiers fighting in Iraq, city officials say.
But local resident Nichole Schultz said the cross on the grave is offensive and is asking that it be removed. She says she has "Muslim friends and I don’t think it’s acceptable to make them drive everywhere, including the mosque, with a symbol of the cross on their car. The city vehicle sticker is an inappropriate forum for religious or political statements."
Arab-American groups are steamed over an ad campaign for ethanol in Missouri which features a picture of an American farmer and the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia with the question, "Who would you rather buy your gas from?" reports the Columbia Daily Tribune.
The ad, sponsored by the Missouri Corn Growers Association and displayed on billboards in the state, is intended to encourage people to use ethanol-blend fuels. The ads' creators say they want to raise awareness about the choice between buying fuel from an American farmer or from foreign sources.
Arab groups call the ads offensive, Arab-baiting and racist.
"At a time when overt bigotry towards Arabs and Arab-Americans are increasingly the norm rather than the exception, I would hope the Missouri Corn Growers Association would find a more sensitive way of delivering their message," said James Zogby of the Arab American Institute.
A fraternity at William and Mary College in Virginia will change the name of its annual Vietnam-war themed party after multi-cultural groups on campus complained that the gathering is offensive to Asian-Americans, reports the Hampton Roads Daily Press.
Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity said the party has been held each year since 1964, when it was started as a send-off for students leaving to fight in the Vietnam War. It features bamboo huts, camouflage costumes and 1970s rock music.
Vietnamese students on campus are complaining that the event is disrespectful of their culture, however, because it equates their heritage to a bamboo hut.
The fraternity can't understand the fuss.
"If somebody was to have a fiesta party, or a Cinco de Mayo party, they would have sombreros. Would the Hispanic community be offended?" one wondered.
A bill currently in the California state legislature would require school textbooks to mention the sexual orientation of historical figures in order to make gay and lesbian students feel more comfortable, according to the AP.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica, is meant to prevent gay students from dropping out of school. One senator, Jackie Speier, equated learning about the accomplishments of gays to the women's suffrage movement and the civil rights struggle of black Americans.
One senator, however, wondered why texts should be required to mention someone's sexuality even when it's not particularly relevant to a person's accomplishments.
"For instance, where John Marshall of course discovered gold in California that ultimately led to the 1849 gold rush and California as a state. Now, I don't have any idea whether John Marshall was gay or transgender or whatever, but even if he was, certainly whether or not he was, doesn't add to or subtract from the contribution he made to California history," said Sen. Bill Morrow.
Call Center Complaint
A television ad for Australia's RAA auto club poking fun at Indian call center operators and promising that it's operators are all locals has been deemed racist by the country's advertising authority and ordered off the air, according to The Advertiser.
Acting on the complaint of a single individual, a sharply divided Advertising Standards Board said the ad -- which has been airing for nine months -- villifies Indian call center operators "by emphasising the Indian race and location of the operator in connection with a portrayal of poor service."
The person who complained about the ad said it purposefully used New Delhi "to show that service from India is bad compared to Australia." They also said the ad was "degrading the country of India."
For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the Tongue Tied daily edition.
Wayne G. in Ohio writes:
Ignoring the past will not make it go away. There is a move in this country to wipe out all things confederate for fear of upsetting sensitivities to the ugly parts of our history. Denying them will not make them go away. If anything, such action makes their reprise more likely.
In Germany, concentration camps are maintained and open to the public. This is not to glorify the Third Reich, but to remind the people of the world that such evil did exist in an otherwise civilized nation; that such evil can, and often is, resurrected in an otherwise civilized world.
However, the German people have made a solemn pledge at each one of these camps. Boldly, and on display, one can always find a monument on sight with words emblazoned on it. The words there appear in multiple languages. In German they say "Nie Wieder", in English "Never Again".
It would not be appropriate for the world to forget the horror that was the Holocaust. It would not be appropriate to forget the injustice and wickedness of slavery in America. Stop trying to deny they existed. In contrast, pledge your commitment to prevent their reprise by saying "Never Again."
Ed C. in New York writes:
Toleration no longer means toleration in the classic "live and let live sense." It is now a code word in the aggressive campaign for validation. It is reasonable to expect tolerance of legal activities involving any number of mutually agreeing adults. It is not reasonable to demand validation of that activity. You don't have to like everything you tolerate.
Dan M. writes:
So gay people overdo the victimhood thing, huh? Just this last weekend my partner and I had to endure the verbal assault of a group of 12 college age men in a restaurant tossing around so many derogatory names that I won't include them in this letter.
And it was so insulting to one of them that they were told how much they looked like one of the F*GS in San Francisco. This went on for at least 10 minutes. Then later that night had to sit through an oh so funny set of Brokeback Mountain jokes.
I really don't get offended much and can take jokes, but it was getting out of control. I have had people yell names at me while I was walking down the street; have had eggs thrown at my car. Luckily I have never been the victim of violence, but know it could happen just because of who I am.
I have know people who have been attacked. My partner and I have been together for 13 years and have plans to be together for the rest of our lives. We do not broadcast to everyone within earshot that we are gay. We do not show affection in public, not because we do not want to make a statement, but because it is not the place for it. We just try to live our lives. Yes we are victims. Victims of narrow-minded people who think that violence is much more acceptable than being gay.
Kevin S. in Pittsburgh writes:
As a friend of many 'little people' (I am Irish), using the term 'little' to refer to penguins instead of leprechauns is offensive. Are you trying to tell me that being Irish is for the birds?
Michael B. in N.C. writes:
Regarding the MSU controversy about the professor who emailed the Muslim Students Association, telling them that if they didn't like the West, they could return home ... and the dilemma MSU faced because they could not do anything to him for his "abhorrent" views:
Back in the late 60s, I was in college and, as were many of my fellow students, I was ardently against the war in Vietnam and by extension, anything else conducted by the "establishment." I participated in Charlotte, N.C., in the Oct. 15, 1969, local protest march against the war and then on Nov. 15 in the Washington march.
We long-haired, hippie-type protesters repeatedly heard "If you don't like America, leave it!" ("Love it or leave it" was the bumper-sticker version.)
Did our knees buckle? Did we get all weepy and go ask somebody to "make 'em stop"? Hell no. We took it and gave back as good as we got. No hurt feelings--well, we were P.O.-ed, certainly--but no mewling and puking about offensive remarks and an unwelcoming atmosphere. In fact, I begrudgingly gave the other side credit for standing up for what they believed and for telling us in plain and simple language that they were as fervent for what they saw as the right thing to do.