Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY Bathroom De-Gendering Spreading at Colleges

Students at Wesleyan University followed the lead of students at Brown University to relabel traditional bathrooms as gender neutral. A Slate writer defended the move, describing bathrooms as a "social construct" and personal comfort as a "privilege."

The relabeling campaign is easy to organize: only a handful of activists are needed to obtain some signs for free and then relabel bathrooms on their own.

It is important to note that some places in America now require gender-neutral bathrooms, including Philadelphia and a county in Oregon. However, these locales have not replaced traditional bathrooms but have rather added a third, gender-neutral option.

Those initiatives do not go far enough, according to Slate writer Izzy Rode. Although the author is only an intern, her (Rode describes herself as "female-bodied yet androgynous," so it is unclear what pronouns would be appropriate) piece defending gender-neutral bathrooms is one of only two pieces the Slate editors have chosen to publish (along with a piece arguing that monogamous marriage and families should not be encouraged).

Rode clearly sides with the students at Brown and Wesleyan, who want to eliminate all gendered spaces. If the ordinary channels of advocacy do not bend to the will of this minority, then the activists may turn to vandalism and destruction of school property. The Wesleyan campaign openly shares its extreme objectives in an interview with campus media. Highlights include:

"Do you want to eliminate all gendered bathrooms, or just have a more even distribution of gender-neutral vs. gendered bathrooms?

P: Because binary-gendered bathrooms exclude by decree and become dangerous/inaccessible spaces for trans*/gender-non-conforming people, yes, the elimination of all gender-segregated spaces on campus is necessary. There is no reason that trans*/gender-non-conforming people should put up with cisgender supremacist coding of “public” spaces.

Would you be willing to discuss permanently changing bathrooms to all-gender bathrooms with the administration, or do you view them as a lost cause?

P: Yes – in fact, we are talking to various administrators already. But I do know that we’re not going to wait for the glacial pace of policy and law reform to claim safe space bathrooms all across campus....

P: A friend of mine put it this way: ”What does it reveal about how our lives touch when your ‘vandalism’ is my ‘Liberation’?”
L: ...Valuing property over the humanity of oppressed people is f***ed.

Do you think that this direct action approach could backfire and harm future dialogue with the University and/or with other students about changing the bathrooms?

P: Frankly, peaceful and civilized “future dialogue” is not our priority here."

Ultimately, self-described trans* activists are doomed to fail as long as they continue to fixate on radical ends, coercive means, and resentment towards the vast majority.


White boys in Britain are failing in schools because of immigration, says Labour spokesman as he admits party got the figures badly wrong

Poor school achievement from white boys is linked to immigration from Eastern Europe according to Labour's shadow education secretary.

Tristram Hunt, who is a former television historian, said that more must be done to train British youngsters for skilled jobs.

He claimed that change was essential as more people from the EU continue to arrive to compete for jobs.

Mr Hunt also branded Conservative education secretary Michael Gove a 'zealot'  with a ' highly aggressive investment-banker model of school.'

The comments were made in an interview with The Fabian Society which will be published next week.

They come days before migrants from Romania and Bulgaria will be granted the unrestricted right to live and work in the UK.

And Mr Hunt said that the previous Labour government got their immigration forecasts 'badly wrong'.

The Telegraph reported that Mr Hunt said: 'What we can do in the education sphere is to [show] that there is a growing issue of white British boys not getting the education they want.'

And when asked if he thought that poor attainment in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and the Kent coast is because of high levels of EU migration there, Mr Hunt said: 'Exactly. And that comes back to the supply side, we have to get in there.'

He added: 'In 1997 the focus was on standards and expansion of the higher education sector.  'We all thought the knowledge economy was the answer and that financial services would keep going forever.'


University apologises to students in Mohammed and Jesus T-shirt row

The London School of Economics has apologised to two students who were forced to cover up T-shirts with images of Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed on.

Professor Paul Kelly admitted he got the ‘judgment wrong’ after the pair were told by student union officers that displaying the images may constitute religious harassment.

Chris Moos and Abhishek Phadnis were threatened with being thrown out of the university’s Freshers Fair if they didn’t cover up the images, as they manned an Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society stall at the event.

Prof Kelly, pro-director at LSE, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was a difficult judgment and I quite accept I called it wrong.”

The T-shirts featured a picture of Mohammed prohibited under Islamic law.

Prof Kelly dismissed claims that the decision was made on the basis of freedom of speech, but said this was based on a dispute between students. He said they had to take into account the views of everyone at the event, which sees students from hundreds of different countries across the world attend.

He also said they had received both oral and written complaints.

He added: "This was a complex event because it's a welcome event. It's when students from 130 countries arrive in the UK all together. Freedom of speech still applies there, but it wasn't the same as us objecting to a student society event or a public lecture, or if Christian – as he later did – hosted an event where students wore the T-shirt. That's fine."

But Mr Moos said that he had received only "positive" responses to the T-shirt on the day and had never been shown any evidence of complaints being made.

He said: "I think this was a very straightforward decision. It was simply two students exercising their right to freedom of expression that they have as much as any other student who might wear religious symbols or T-shirts expressing their faith. It is extremely shocking that LSE try to justify their decision.

"We've always said we support freedom of expression within the law. If somebody is wearing a racist or violent or gory T-shirt, that would be a totally different situation. But (it's different) when you are wearing an innocuous T-shirt that does not offend or harass anyone, not even by the most stringent standards."

The students formally appealed to LSE on November 12 and received a public apology from Professor Craig Calhoun, director of the LSE. He wrote to the pair to confirm that wearing the T-shirts did not constitute harassment or break the law.

A statement released by the university said: “LSE takes its duty to promote free speech very seriously, and as such, will discuss and learn from the issues raised by recent events.”

At the time Richard Dawkins, a high profile atheist, branded LSE student union officers “sanctimonious little prigs” over the incident.


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