Ann Rostow’s annual LGBTQ news quiz—summing up the past year. 2018 cannot help but be an improvement.
BY ANN ROSTOW
It’s that time again, dear readers. Quiz time! These quizzes are more labor intensive than they seem, and they oblige me to reread my last 26 columns. For the record, my most over-used word this year was “insufferable,” an adjective I applied to everyone and his cousin from Neil Gorsuch to Paul Manafort’s lawyer.
Speaking of Gorsuch, if I had to rank my most appalling lapse of judgment, I’d start with my optimistic “glass half full” reactions to Gorsuch, all of which were to be retracted in full as he joined the bench and revealed that, Surprise!, there wasn’t a drop left in the damn glass and the bottle was empty too.
Finally, I’m always saddened by the little snippets that can’t find a place in the year-end quiz. The gay crosswalk signals that Madrid installed for International Pride; the lesbians attacked in London after walking out of a pub singing “I’m in the mood for dancing;” the dismal crowd at the National Organization for Marriage antigay protest; the insufferable Margaret Court; the talking Wonder Bible. But you see, they did find a place here after all.
Have a lovely New Year everyone. 2018 cannot help but be an improvement. And now to the quiz!
1. Who are Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Marvin Garbis and Marsha Pechman?
a) They are transgender teenagers, arguing for the right to use the facilities on their high school campuses.
b) They are three FBI agents, dismissed from the Mueller investigation for protesting Trump’s immigration policies on Facebook.
c) They are federal judges, who have ruled in favor of transgender troops fighting the trans military ban.
d) They are plaintiffs in a polygamy lawsuit, now headed for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Answer: c) Federal judges. Judge Marsha Pechman’s decision out of Seattle was only announced recently so you couldn’t have read about it in this column. But you should know it anyway!
2. Which of these leaders issued apologies for their nation’s past antigay behavior?
a) Secretary of State John Kerry.
b) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
c) Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan.
d) President Trump.
e) All of the above.
Answer: a), b) and c). Did you pick e)?
Are you kidding me?
3. LGBT animals in the news this year included:
a) Gay goats that participate in yoga classes in the Sacramento area.
b) Gay lions condemned as immoral by a Kenyan bureaucrat.
c) Gay reindeer mowed down by an express train in Norway due to miscommunication.
d) Transgender coconut crabs capable of killing and eating small birds and animals in the South Pacific.
Answer: b) The lions, Simba and Mufasa are gay. The other animals mentioned were presumably heterosexual. The crabs may have been involved in the death of Amelia Earhart, who may have crashed on a remote island and been eaten by the (presumably heterosexual) three-foot crustaceans.
4. We know that Masterpiece Cakeshop will be the most important Supreme Court case for our community this session, but what will be the next one? Will it be:
a) The Title VII workplace discrimination case of a Georgia lesbian.
b) The Title VII workplace discrimination case of a dead sky diving instructor.
c) The Title IX case of a Wisconsin high school transgender student fighting for bathroom access.
d) The First Amendment case of a florist out of Washington State who declined a gay wedding client.
Answer: b) or c). The High Court recently denied review of the Georgia case, which leaves the sky diver next in line for a major Title VII review. The sky diver, Donald Zarda, killed himself BASE jumping in Switzerland, but his lawsuit lives on. It is now pending a decision by the full Second Circuit and in theory, it could wind up before the Court next session. Meanwhile, the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of trans-youth Ash Whitaker in a case that now sits on the High Court’s petition pile. Will they take it? We’ll see. As for the florist, why would they take that case when they’re already considering the same issues in the Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit?
5. Which of these stories was “fake news?”
a) The Australian beach goer whose legs ran with blood after an encounter with sea lice in Melbourne?
b) The two men who were told by a noted D.C. restaurant that they could not share a sundae, because it wouldn’t be “appropriate?”
c) Cancellation of a gay revival of the TV show Xena, Warrior Princess?
d) News that Donald Trump was diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome by military physicians.
Answer: d) The Trump story is fake. Klinefelter syndrome describes a man who carries a redundant extra “x” chromosome. Although someone marked “XXY” on Trump’s draft paperwork, the shorthand refers to draft eligibility, and has nothing to do with chromosomes. So it’s not true.
6. (Pick five answers) Would you rather:
a) Have dinner with Steve Bannon or Bill Cosby?
b) Spend a week in Chechnya or Azerbaijan?
c) Listen to a one-hour speech by Sarah Huckabee Sanders
or MSNBC ethics expert Richard Painter?
d) Read the transcript of the tax conference committee minutes or all six books of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle?
e) Dine on perfectly cooked rack of lamb with Donald Trump or eat a “rock hard” steak with Hillary Clinton?
Answer: If you ask me: Bannon, Azerbaijan, Painter, My Struggle and Trump. (I cannot stomach overcooked steak.)
7. What happened to the fight for marriage equality in Australia?
a) After a non-binding postal vote showed citizens favor marriage by a two to one margin, the Parliament authorized a formal and binding referendum for next February.
b) A non-binding postal vote, that seemed to favor marriage equality, will be certified only after the country’s top court gives the okay.
c) Following a pro-marriage postal vote, Parliament has been considering a number of draft laws, but most of them include loopholes for religious actors.
d) After marriage activists won the postal vote, Parliament promptly passed a full marriage equality law with no antigay amendments.
e) While election officials continue recount the ballots from November’s non-binding postal vote in Australia, marriage equality came into effect in Austria. Close! Only two letters apart!
Answer: d) They passed it without exceptions. Surprised? I know! I’ve been so negative over the years. I’ve painted the powers-that-be in Australia as cowardly rabbits, kicking the can down the road with their powerful hind legs. In my defense, check out the New York Times coverage which points out that the Australian Parliament has tried and failed to pass marriage equality 22 times since 2004. As they say, 23rd time’s the charm.
8. Who said it: “Of course I dress well, I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”
a) Kevin Spacey, one day prior to a press conference by a mother whose teenaged son was molested by Spacey just a few years ago.
b) Ric Grenell, Trump’s ill qualified nominee to be Ambassador to Germany, who still awaits confirmation.
c) Chadwich Moore, gay pedant who also said gays only care about “pop music and going to the beach.” He was on a family radio show, he later said, that’s why he couldn’t say “dick and meth.”
d) Joey Slivinski, a Missouri high school senior whose yearbook quote was deleted by the administration.
Answer: d) The high school senior. His principal later apologized. “In an effort to protect our students, quotes that could potentially offend another student or groups of students are not published. It is the school’s practice to err on the side of caution. Doing so in this case had the unintentional consequence of offending the very students the practice was designed to protect.”
9. The most irritating television commercial discussed in this column in 2017 was:
a) The repellent toilet paper bears with their tag line, “enjoy the go!”
b) The misguided GMC truck ads that suggest being a “good person” and a “good dad” are pathetic goals.
c) The “untuckit” shirt commercials, that rebrand an indifferent and slovenly personal style into a deliberate fashion statement.
d) The annual phenomenon in which random products are marketed as Christmas presents, best exemplified by the company that makes rubber floor mats for the car and suggests these could serve as holiday gifts.
Answer: b) GMC Truck. These others are all annoying, but the GMC ads reflect a soulless mentality. Oh, and I talked about the floor mats last year not this year, but they’re back again, worse than ever.
10. One year from now, we will have been most surprised by:
a) The historic level of the Democratic midterm wave.
b) The unexpectedly powerful gay rights victory in Masterpiece Cakeshop.
c) Donald Trump’s resignation for medical reasons.
d) The sudden and unexplained divorce between Donald and Melania Trump.
e) The nuclear stand down by Kim Jong-Un.
f) The continued expansion of the American economy.
g) The fact that nothing surprises us anymore.
Answer: b) I can’t imagine a great ruling coming out of the Masterpiece case, so that would surprise me most. I’m already dreaming about the midterm wave. Nothing about Trump would surprise me. I don’t think North Korea wants war, and I think the economy will continue to grow. As for g), that’s not a surprise now is it?