The Rostow Report by Ann Rostow

… My happiest recent story was the one where Ruth Bader Ginsburg had lung cancer surgery and now seems fine. Oh my God! I would not be surprised if Ginsburg got hit by a freight train and emerged with a few cuts and bruises. This woman is indestructible, knock on wood.


It’s not the first time something like this has happened, but it’s still a sweet story with which to begin the year. In Barrington, Illinois, someone stole the rainbow flag from Casey Handal’s backyard pole and replaced it with the stars and stripes. Handal, who is about to marry her partner Zadette Rosado, had moved to the Chicago suburb with Rosado and their two daughters last May. She posted the news on Nextdoor, and within a short time her neighbors had acquired several dozen mini rainbow flags and soon virtually everyone was displaying one on their door, house, or mailbox in solidarity. In addition, as news of their upcoming marriage circulated, the neighbors started dropping off gifts and congratulations. 

Stories like this one give me a little hope for a future which is soon to be darkened by ugly Supreme Court precedents, enshrining disdain for local gay rights ordinances and antigay interpretations of federal statutes into law. Who knows? It’s possible that majority support in this country will mitigate such disasters in some way. 


In Perth, a glory hole has been preserved for posterity and will be installed in a West Australian museum as a monument to the area’s LGBT history, which frankly strikes me as odd.

The archivists removed part of a toilet stall in a train station parking area in order to save the precious aperture from demolition. Old timer Neil Buckley told the Perth Voice: “I am sure this exhibit will bring back a lot of fond memories for many of the men who used beat culture as a way to meet other gay men to form a friendship, partnerships and a quickie.

“Beats were an important part of gay social life and culture: they were a great place to meet, make friends and have a great anonymous sexual experience. Beat culture is not often talked about, but most of the gay community has done it at one time or another. Sadly this culture has now disappeared with the installation of automated toilet cubes and gay pick up apps like Grindr [and] Scruff.”

Guys? I have no idea what “beats” refers to, but is it really “sad” that the practice of sticking your dick through a hole to be greeted by who knows who or what on the other side has been replaced by face-to-face encounters between openly gay men? Maybe not openly gay, but you get my point. And how can a scuzzy public toilet be considered “a great place to meet and make friends?” Never mind, don’t answer that. I know what you’re going to say. Perhaps you’d like to save a branch from that special tree you used to lean against at two in the morning in your favorite park. You rascal!


I just discovered a list of happiest LGBT news items of 2018 on the UK-based PinkNews, and in the interests of starting the year in good spirits, I’m going to summarize them. But first, my happiest recent story was the one where Ruth Bader Ginsburg had lung cancer surgery and now seems fine. Oh my God! I would not be surprised if Ginsburg got hit by a freight train and emerged with a few cuts and bruises. This woman is indestructible, knock on wood.

In other good tidings, we have a student, Finn Stannard, who came out during an assembly in a Catholic school in Sydney, and was greeted with a standing ovation from 1,500 schoolmates. (There’s a video.)

Then there’s Molly Pinta, age 12, who planned and organized the first Pride Parade in the city of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, also with video. And one of my favorites, the 27-year-old who was returning on foot from a trip to the art store in Manchester when a driver shouted “faggot” at him for reasons unclear. Nick Hurley caught up with the two men at a red light and, by his own account: “In a moment of white hot create rage I emptied a tube of glitter into their car through the passenger window.” Nick reported that the men seemed confused and drove off without further comment when the light changed.

Another video shows 16 month-old Willum meeting a drag queen at a grocery and being so struck with delight that he ran from his mother to greet her. Adorable. We also have a homophobic dad who changed his ways when his son came out, and a Scottish gay bash victim who posted a bloody selfie “to the wee cunt that called me a faggot” and beat him up. “Trust it to be someone insecure with his own sexuality trying to take it out on someone secure in himself. Wish you well.”

And now we return to our regularly scheduled depressing news.


But first, did you read about the monk seals in Hawaii that are being plagued by eels crawling up their noses? It’s a mystery, with one researcher speculating that the seals may be “naturally attracted to getting into troublesome situations” and that juvenile seals are copying each other much as human teens compete to inhale condoms or swallow laundry detergent pods. 

“We have no idea why this is suddenly happening,” said seal maven Charles Littnan in the Washington Post. “You see some very strange things if you watch nature long enough, and this could end up being one of these little oddities and mysteries of our careers that 40 years from now, we’ll be retired and still questioning quite how this happened.” The seals, whom Littnan described as “stoic,” recover quickly once (and if) the eel is removed, although the same cannot be said for the eels, who do not survive the trip through the nasal passage. 

I’m struck by the image of Littnan and his colleagues ruminating about the phenomenon in the year 2058, perhaps over Cognac in the Home for Retired Seal Researchers. And as one observer remarked: (Sing with me) “When. The. Nose of Seal, Has Been Stuffed With An Eel, That’s a Moray.”


I thought I had more space to write about, Kevin Spacey (weird video, court date looming), Mika Brzezinski (since when is “butt boy” a gay slur? It’s a slur that happens to be gay), and the absurd ads for “coravin,” (which lets you drill a hole in your wine cork in order to save the bottle for weeks or longer. Who does that? Our wines don’t last an hour after we open them.)

But alas, we have reached our word count. The new year awaits. Good luck to us all.