The Rostow Report by Ann Rostow

The State Department has put an end to those unfair rules that meant Americans with kids born outside the country to their foreign-born legal spouses would not become automatic citizens. Now they will, just like the kids born to straight binational ex-pats.

IS THAT A PISTOL IN YOUR POCKET?

I’ve lost track of the legislative battlefields from state to state, but living in Austin as I do,  I will mention that Texas activists have managed to kill all 13 of this session’s anti-trans bills. That’s better than most, as we golf fans like to say. And it’s also sort of remarkable coming from a state legislature that managed to pass a law that says anyone over 21 who is not otherwise barred from owning a gun can carry a handgun without a license, either openly or concealed.

According to the bill’s author, Rep. Matt Schaefer, one amendment in the bill would provide a defense to people who “just make an honest mistake” by toting their gun to a private business or park where weapons are not allowed.

I’m sorry you guys. This is not a GLBT issue, but what the hell? If I’m not mistaken, it’s still against the law to pull out a gun and wave it around or point it at someone. So what’s the point in carrying it with you? Do you just want to be ready in case you encounter, I don’t know, a bank robber or a terrorist during your daily commute? And do you really think that a Black man can wear a visible holstered gun into some restaurant or school where firearms are prohibited and then explain to the cops that he “made an honest mistake?” 


SLOW BUT STEADY 

So, it looks as if the Equality Act is going nowhere in the current Senate. That’s no surprise considering the Senate is having trouble authorizing the January 6 commission, let alone the high priority infrastructure bill. The Equality Act would require 60 votes and a whole lot of the West Wing-style deal making that seems like a thing of the past.

Meanwhile, Biden and company are doing their best for us, recently announcing that the Health and Human Services Department will enforce GLBT protections in health care based on legal language that bans sex discrimination. The State Department also put an end to those unfair rules that meant Americans with kids born outside the country to their foreign-born legal spouses would not become automatic citizens. Now they will, just like the kids born to straight binational ex-pats.

I may have mentioned previously that the Justice Department issued a memo in April stating that transgender rights are (once again) protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that bans sex discrimination in public schools and colleges. All of these policies revert to the Obama years, which are now cemented into U.S. law by the High Court’s 2020 ruling in favor of gay and trans rights in the workplace, a ruling that was ignored by Trump and company.


LETTERS R US

There’s a new GLBT Lego set called “Everyone is Awesome!” featuring eleven rainbow colored little people of indeterminate gender. The extra colors include pale blue, white, pink, black and brown “to acknowledge the diversity of skin tones and backgrounds within the LGBTQIA+ community,” the Guardian writes. Put me down as someone who has little patience for the extra letters and colors that some would have us tack onto our already cumbersome terminology and logos. I get it. GLBT doesn’t quite capture all of us. So stick on a Q if you must. But once you start with the I, the A and the plus, there’s no limiting factor. 

And adding colors to represent our multi-racial diversity is just wrong. The rainbow colors stand for “sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity, and spirit.” It’s not a list of racial or cultural features where Black and Brown have been callously omitted. Even if these original meanings have been lost to common knowledge, the rainbow itself epitomizes diversity. There are no indigo or green people being represented at the expense of other races. 

Well, the Lego set sounds nice. I’m not sure how I got lost in this pet peeve, but don’t get me started on “Latinx.” I’ll let others go there.


OH, AND HAPPY PRIDE MONTH EVERYONE!

On that note, happy pride month everyone. I guess we’re still in a semi-virtual mode, although I did see that New York is having some kind of parade, because they’ve announced that GLBT police can’t march with them for the next four years. 

New York pride organizers told the Gay Officers Action League to take a hike until 2025. “The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason.” 

I think all of us share a visceral horror, not just at trigger-happy racist cops, but at the “blue line” and the pervasive racism throughout the criminal justice system. But since when are we so sophomoric that we cannot hold onto that idea without condemning every single officer on the force, including our own GLBT Pride contingent? Fire departments were bastions of sexism and probably still are. Will we ban the GLBT fire fighters from the parade? What about evil greedy corporations! Shall we ban the employee groups from companies we dislike? 

We oppose stereotypes. We don’t traffic in them.

I liked the letter to the New York Times from Margaret Hurwitz: “Will this cycle never end,” she asked? “The oppressed become the oppressors, the marginalized become the marginalizers, the occupied become the occupiers. We see the disastrous effects of this cycle all over the world. This decision by the Pride parade organizers is shameful—nothing to have pride about.”

Finally, while we’re on the subject of cops, Mel and I have watched a ton of police procedurals this past year, and we’ve noticed that the British police have no problem walking into dangerous warehouses and fleabag apartment buildings with nothing but a flashlight, pardon me, a “torch,” while American cops need machine guns to go question a suspect at the old age home. That said, all of these agents—male or female, British or American—they all go rushing off to catch the killer all by themselves even when ordered to wait. Mel and I sit on the couch screaming: “Call for backup! Call for backup!” But they pay us no mind.


arostow@aol.com