Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Zealand Sings for Gay Marriage; Challenged Books of 2012; Transgender Banned from Store; New York's Income Inequality

Everyone broke out in song after New Zealand became the first place in the Asian Pacific to legalize gay marriage. This would make them number thirteen, in the world, to recognize gay marriage legally. One lawmaker mentioned how her own daughter took another young woman to the prom last year. She spoke with pride about this and received huge applause.

As the announcement was read out, spectators watching in the gallery spontaneously started singing the New Zealand love song "Pokarekare Ana."

It's an amazing thing to see, and you can get there by clicking this link.  You don't see that kind of emotion often.

Challenged/Banned Books of 2012

The American Library Association came out with a list of the 10 most challenged books of 2012...those that were talked about being banned. I've had a book banned myself (Skater Boy), and for reasons that were strictly related to search engine issues. I posted a lot about this when it happened. In my case, the word "Boy" in Skater Boy was considered taboo because it implied underage characters involved in sexual situations. And there was nothing like that in the book. I don't do that. It was just one single word that got me banned.

I'm surprised to see The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, and Beloved by Toni Morrison, on this list. I've read both and can't believe anyone would want to ban either of them. In fact, if you haven't read Beloved and you're a writer, shame on you.

The most challenged books of 2012 are: “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher; “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James; “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz; “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls: and “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.

You can read more here.

Transgender Banned from Store 

A transgender person was banned from a grocery store in Idaho this week for using the "wrong" restroom. He identifies as a woman and he used the ladies room. A few women in the ladies room freaked out and complained. The transgender was banned from the store.

I've actually always wondered how it worked with transgenders and public restrooms. Is there some kind of law that states he or she must use a specific restroom...male or female...and would those same laws apply to a transgender who has gone through a full change as opposed to a partial change?

"The store employees didn't want any further problems, and they chose to exercise their right to trespass this individual from the business," said Lanier. "Anyone who owns or controls their property can make that decision."

You can read more here. This is a tough one for me. As a former small business owner who owned and controlled my property, I had to exercise my right to ban certain people from my store on occasion. Though I never did this based on discrimination of this kind like the incident above, I did like knowing that I had the power/freedom to do it. Frankly, I've always wondered why there weren't unisex bathrooms designed, with completely private stalls where doors can be locked, for everyone. Maybe that sounds a little way out there to some, but I've never been too fond of urinals myself, and I rarely ever use them. And maybe men's rooms wouldn't look so awful compared to women's rest rooms.

New York's Income Inequality

The New Yorker recently published a piece about how incomes vary in New York City, and they titled it with the word "Inequality." They should have chosen another word.

I know there are variables here, and sometimes personal circumstances come into play over which people have no control. I'm also not fond of the fact that professional sports players make millions of dollars compared to cops and teachers, however, I do think that if someone works hard enough in life to enjoy the benefits of more money they shouldn't be penalized for it. And I know a lot of people in New York who do work hard, damn hard. I also know many who don't and complain about not having money all the time.

 “It’s particularly bad in New York City—according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, if the borough of Manhattan were a country,” the magazine explains in its “Idea of the Week,” “the income gap between the richest twenty per cent and the poorest twenty per cent would be on par with countries like Sierra Leone, Namibia, and Lesotho.”

It's true, and that can't be disputed. But New York City has always been like this, so it's not something new. As far back as I can recall everything was more expensive in Manhattan, and the differences between those with grand wealth and those in poverty hasn't changed all that much. But then again you can find this anywhere in the world, and this also isn't something new. So I'm not quite sure where they are going with this, but I do think the New Yorker should get over itself. If anything their own elitist attitude promotes inequality.

This article links to another article that talks about people who've lost their jobs. One in particular is about a small town sports writer who worked for his local newspaper. I have to wonder where this sports writer has been for the last ten years. I was told, about ten years ago, by editors that if I didn't make the switch to digital I wouldn't work in the future. Up until then, I'd only worked in publishing with hard copy, phones, and snail mail. I didn't even own a computer until ten years ago. But you know what? I did what I had to do in order to survive.

You can read more here.

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