Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

A Case Against Using ‘Queer’ in Organizations

Posted by Roobs on April 18, 2013


For the past two years, I served as the Chair of the California Young Democrats (CYD) LGBTQ Caucus.  When I began my tenure leading the board back in 2011, the caucus was named the CYD Queer Caucus.  One of my first acts as Chair back in 2011 was to rename the caucus.  Originally, I intended the name to be changed to simply the CYD LGBT Caucus.  But surprisingly, there was a backlash among caucus members.  Not necessarily at the renaming as a goal, but the complete drop of the “Q” or Queer.  Ultimately, I compromised to include the Q in the acronym.  But I still think this is the wrong way for a political caucus or an activist group to go.  Here is why I don’t like to include the word “Queer”.

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You’re Special Just Like Everyone Else

Posted by Roobs on August 22, 2012

In the past two months, I’ve seen as many articles by gay men who are trying to explain why all gay men are seemingly obsessed with their physical appearance, specifically their physique.  The first article I saw was back in mid-July from the internet site Gawker, entitled, The real reason gay men don’t get fat.  The most recent article was written this week for a blog called Hommemaker.  Orlando Soria writes Why gay men hate their bodies.  Both articles make the unremarkable announcement that gay men are (wait for it), into physically fit bodies.  And not only are they into physically fit bodies they are, in fact… (drumroll) concerned with their own physical fitness.  Shocking, I know.  The main problem with posts like these, from my perspective, is less on the content and more on the stereotype and over simplified statement it makes about the gay community as a whole.

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Posted in LGBT, Politics, Race & Identity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Does The WeHo Mayor Think Gays and Families Don’t Mix?

Posted by Roobs on August 21, 2011

West Hollywood has been a haven for the LGBT community  since its incorporation in 1984.  Though it has always been identified as a pro-LGBT city and area of Los Angeles County (what I like to call the Castro of LA), it has never enjoyed an official designation.  On August 18th, the West Hollywood News (aka: WeHo News) reported that the West Hollywood City Council voted to direct staff to begin looking for ways the city can begin to officially identify Santa Monica Blvd. between Doheney Dr. and La Cienega Blvd. as “Historic Boystown”.

The desire to name the strip as “Historic Boystown” has not been without controversy.  First, the Lakeview neighborhood in the City of Chicago has long been known as “Boystown” before West Hollywood was even a city.  The decision to identify a part of West Hollywood has spurred a debate between cities over who is the “real” boystown.  But now the West Hollywood Mayor, John Duran, has added himself with a gaff to the WeHo News.

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Posted in LGBT, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Identity of West Hollywood

Posted by Roobs on March 18, 2011

As a an eager young politico, I followed West Hollywood’s recent city council election last month with great interest.  However, as my previous post may have suggested, I was a little turned off by some of the rhetoric coming from the opposing candidates.  I thought the rhetoric implied that the LGBT community in West Hollywood was a monolithic group all moving the same direction with the same tastes and preferences.

As it so happened, my final report in a physical planning class I am taking at UCLA offered me an opportunity to explore a question I have had since moving to West Hollywood in August of 2010.  I could sit and argue that there is another group, another community in West Hollywood that was being ignored in this grandiose messaging but I could not prove it.  My final report for my class was on precisely that.  I sought out to prove that there are, in fact, two distinct communities within West Hollywood as evidenced by the physical environment.

I have pasted a clip from my introduction below.  Please feel free to download my report (15mb).  Critiques and counter-arguments are welcomed.

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Posted in LGBT, Politics, Race & Identity, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Losing the “Gayborhood”

Posted by Roobs on February 25, 2011

Is America losing its gay neighborhoods by out-pricing young gays or have gay men and women simply changed their tastes and preferences?

(Photo by Roobs)

Every once in a while I read an article about how traditionally “gay” neighborhoods have been becoming “less gay” or, to use some creative journalists phrase, “the graying of gay neighborhoods”.  One that has come up more often than not has been the City of West Hollywood; a 25 year old self governing city West of Downtown Los Angeles that has served as Southern California’s gay mecca. (Note: I am a resident of the City of West Hollywood).

Is this true?  Are gay meccas becoming less gay as property values rise and straight families enter with their minivans and lattes?  Many in West Hollywood would probably say yes.  But I am not entirely sure.

The following excerpt comes from the website Curbed LA:

With West Hollywood elections coming up, both candidates (three council seats are opening up), and residents are taking the opportunity to vent, particularly about development. KCRW’s “Which Way, LA” recently covered the fight, interviewing John D’Amico, a candidate for city council, and former planning commissioner for the city, who believes that the current regime is more interested in catering to developers–and their “$1 million condos” than creating an that allows younger gays to afford to move in. West Hollywood losing its culture has been an ongoing theme for quite some time. [Which Way, LA]

Again, is this really the case?  Are gay neighborhoods really becoming less gay or, perhaps, are they merely reflecting the current state of the gay community in American society?

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Posted in LGBT, Politics, Race & Identity | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Appeal of Prop 8 Ruling Set for Dec. 6

Posted by Roobs on October 22, 2010

The appeal of the August ruling striking down California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, is set for December 6, 2010.

Back in August of this year, US District Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Prop 8 violated the US Constitution and ordered it overturned.  However, due to the certain appeal process, Judge Walker granted the defendants (Yes on 8 ) a stay of his ruling, meaning that Prop 8 is still the law of the land until the appeals process is over or his ruling is reversed by a higher court.  At trial, the justices will be hearing two arguments.


First, Yes on 8 will be arguing why they should be granted Article III standing to appeal Judge Walkers’ ruling.  This is probably the big issue that could end this legal fight right then and there.  Last year, the Judge walker allowed Yes on 8 to “intervene” in the Prop 8 trial when both Jerry Brown – currently CA’s Attorney General – and Governor Arnold Schwartzenneger said they would not defend Prop 8 in court.  This is no the same as being granted Article III standing.

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Posted in Law, LGBT | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EQCA Mum on Melanie Shelby

Posted by Roobs on September 8, 2010

Equality California offers no comment on alleged relationship with former Prop 8 supporter and current Oakland City Council candidate, Melanie Shelby.

For some time I have been trying to research Melanie Shelby, candidate for Oakland City Council.  Since moving to Los Angeles to puruse my graduate education, I admit I have fallen behind.  But I haven’t forgotten.

Before I moved out of the Bay Area, I sent a request for clarification to the Melanie Shelby campaign regarding her August 4th press release following the initial verdict in the Proposition 8 trial.  I also sent a request to Equality California asking them to comment on the relationship Melanie Shelby continually says she has with them.

I first received a response from the Shelby Campaign in what one other Oakland blogger described as “psychotic”.  You can read the Shelby Campaign’s really bad, though entertaining, response as well as my rebuttal by clicking here.  It really is a great example of what a bad communications team can do for a candidate.  But that was just one side.

For the past few weeks, I have been trying different avenues to get a response from someone inside Equality California – California’s primary same-sex marriage advocacy group.  For a few weeks I have talked to individuals (off the record) and sent emails.  Unfortunately, all my requests have been unfulfilled and, as I said, my conversations with the few I have reached have been off the record.

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Roobs Does LA

Posted by Roobs on September 1, 2010

Hello all!  I appologize again for not writing anything new.  Over the weekend I moved out of the Bay Area and have now set up shop in Los Angeles as I attend graduate school at UCLA!  I will try to come back with more interesting posts, including a follow up on the Melanie Shelby-Equality California relationship.

Posted in Economic Development, Law, LGBT, Politics, Pop Culture, Race & Identity, TV & Movies, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »