Archive for March, 2013

In Just Spring

(if you just said to yourself: when the world is mud-luscious, or thought, queer old balloonman, go write your middle school English teacher a thank you note)

The brainiac Nate Silver, whose science-based and very accurate predictions for the presidential election drove Republicans batty, made some science-based and presumably very accurate predictions this week about How Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage is Changing, and What it Means. The bottom line of Silver’s many polls and graphs is this: the momentum towards approval of gay marriage is so strong that by 2020, all but 6 states in the nation will be ready to approve same-sex marriage by a majority vote.

The six outliers? Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, and…yes, Georgia.

Whatever critiques we might have about the impact of tying basic rights to an inherently exclusionary institution, it’s not a nice feeling to know that 70% of the people in your state dislike gay people so much they want to keep gays out of something as cruddy as marriage. Compare Massachusetts, where Silver predicts will be supportive of same-sex marriage to the tune of >75% by 2020. Or Rhode Island, which Silver predicts to be the first state to give tax credits and free puppies to anyone who gets gay married.

So why do we stay here? Georgia has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. The GA Legislature just voted to turn the screw on anti-immigrant laws another quarter turn to the right. Access to health care for the uninsured – and uninsured trans* people especially – is awful, with no prospects for improvement so long as Governor Deal continues to defy Obamacare’s  Medicaid expansion provisions. We could go on, but let’s not.

Really now, why do we stay here? Well, for one, because it’s spring, Read more…

Racial profiling and queerfit

(Rain in the forecast: location change at bottom)

The New York Police Department goes back to court today to try and prove that stop-and-frisk – which stopped and frisked more young black men in 2011 than there are young black men in New York City – does not racially profile.

For anyone living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Harlem, Jackson Heights, or the South Bronx, it’s totally obvious that stop-and-frisk is racial profiling, but being totally obvious isn’t enough for a court of law. So the Center for Constitutional Rights has put on a load of statistical evidence (that nearly 90% of those stopped by the NYPD were Black or Latino; that for 51% of the stops, the officer cited ‘furtive movements’ as the justification for the stop; that despite citing the recovery of concealed weapons as the reason for stop-and-frisk, only 1.9% of stops resulted in a weapon found), and will next week put on experts to parse the data. There will also be testimony about how the hyper-policing  makes those living in a targeted neighborhood feel like they are living in “an outside prison.”

“Totally obvious” + rock solid statistics is still not enough. To nail the constitutional claim that “stops and frisks are being conducted predominately on Black and Latino individuals on the basis of race” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, the CCR lawyers need to show intent. They will need to put on a witness who can testify to a supervisory officer saying to his beat officers: “I command you to go stop and frisk Black and Latino individuals on the basis of race.” It’s an inanely high standard of proof that has, for decades, protected racist institutions from civil lawsuits alleging racial discrimination.

But ah, check it – a Latino cop got so fed up about being stopped himself many times in the Bronx that he secretly recorded his supervisor’s instructions on who to stop. CCR put Officer Serrano on the stand yesterday and played his recording of Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack telling Serrano: Read more…

Jock Culture & Rape Culture

My freshman year at Emory, the varsity swim team wasn’t one to brag on. The team was club sport level – my freshman year was the first time more people showed up than there were spots on the team, giving Coach Peter Smith a chance to actually put together a team rather than just take all comers.

In swimming, there is nothing subjective about a swimmer’s best time. A 1:01.2 is faster than a 1:01.3, and that’s that. There are no ambiguities in swimmer’s best performance, making the job of putting together the best team pretty easy.

Except when it’s not.

The Emory men’s varsity team, like varsity teams everywhere was seeped in the jock culture sportswriter Dave Zirin this week crisply described as a combination of “hero worship, entitlement and machismo.” Nevermind that any of the Division I women’s teams would have handily beat the Emory varsity men’s team in a head to head dual meet. Nevermind that none of Emory’s male swimmers at the time could have even made the practice team at a Division I school. On Emory’s campus, they were studs.

And they acted the part. Saturday night post-meet keg parties were drunk, sloppy and stupid. The women’s team, me included, took part in the partying. There was at least one incident that, had there been twitter and camera phones, would have looked an awful lot like Steubenville High School. There were many others that came close. Read more…

Special location tomorrow

quick location updated: Coach “the Hammer” Shae will be running the workout tomorrow…meet at location: 660 Irwin Street, near Studioplex. Go get it done!

HarrietTubmanFit

First, shout out to the queerfitters getting down and dirty tomorrow at the Spartan race: Shae, Miyoshi, Jocelyn, Mairead, Zoe…who am I missing?  Four miles of running through mud, crawling under barbed wire, climbing over walls…Git! It!

Then a deep, hinging-at-the-hip, fist in hand amituofo bow to the baddest of the bad asses of all time, Harriet Tubman, whose presence in this world we celebrate on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of her passing. We all know the basic facts – that when Tubman was a child, she was hit on the head with such force that she suffered seizures and narcolepsy for the rest of her life; that at 29, she escaped out of slavery, and then turned right around to bring her family up north to Philadelphia with her; that for the next decade, she made thirteen trips back south to lead enslaved people into freedom; that she helped John Brown raise his army; that she served as a spy for the Union Army.

What doesn’t get talked about much is the sheer physicality of Tubman’s work. How tough was each of those thirteen excursions? Well, you can start by doing the Spartan race. Then instead of drying off and having a complimentary post-race beer, do it again twenty times. Then Read more…

Stone cold intensity

Yes we’re on Saturday morning. Don’t believe the hype about “a few flurries possible early” – it’ll be 40 degrees and sunny at 10:00. And if it flurries, it flurries. We meet at the usual spot. Then for Long Run Sunday, J-Star is taking you on a road trip to Stone Mountain. Carpool leaves out from the Charis Books parking lot at 12:30 on Sunday. 

Be prepared Saturday for intensity. After Jennifer “I volunteer” Lawrence beat out Quvenzhané “I’m the man” Wallis for the Oscar in a movie I’d never heard of, I had to go see the movie. Silver Linings Playbook put Bradley Cooper, playing a young man recently diagnosed as bipolar, together with Jennifer Lawrence, playing a young woman also with a recent (albeit unspecified) diagnosis. The two of them act their hearts out to convince us that mental illness = screaming very loudly at each other for two hours until you fall in love. It was a lot of intensity. So much that I had to go home and take three Advil. 

The whole point of queerfit is intensity, but unlike this hot mess of a movie, our intensity is intentional, scientifically based, and produces real results. There will be no screaming, but you will fall in love. Bundle up and see y’all tomorrow!