Monday, September 22, 2008

Brain Freeze

Transgendered Woman Wins Sex Discrimination Case


A transgendered woman, who lost a job offer because of her sexual status, has won a potentially groundbreaking federal sex discrimination lawsuit.

Diana Schroer
A federal court judge ruled today that Diane Schroer, a transgendered woman, was discriminated against when the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., offered then rescinded a job because of her sexual status.
(Diana Schroer)

A federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the Library of Congress discriminated against Diane Schroer when it offered her a job and then rescinded it after learning she was transgendered.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Schroer, said Judge James Robertson's ruling is the first to hold that the federal sex discrimination statute, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, applies to transgendered people.

Other courts that have considered the issue have said Congress only intended for the anti-discrimination statute to protect men and women, but not people who change their sex, the ACLU said.

Robertson disagreed, saying Schroer's case "was discrimination based on sex."

"It is tremendously gratifying to have your faith in this country, and what is fundamentally right and fair, be reaffirmed," Schroer said. "I very much hope that this ruling will help to eliminate the all-too-pervasive discrimination against sexually nonconforming people in all areas."

She added, "I hope, too, that employers, family members, friends and co-workers will begin to understand variations in sexual orientation and identity from a basis of knowledge and not fear."

Schroer said she applied for, and was offered, a job at the Library of Congress as David Schroer.

When David went to his first meeting with his soon-to-be boss, Schroer told her that he would be transitioning to a female before starting the job. The next day, the job offer was rescinded, Schroer says.

For more than 25 years, David Schroer was a star in the U.S. Army, rising through the ranks to become a Special Forces commander while leading a classified anti-terrorism unit involved in covert operations.

That all changed when Schroer abruptly retired from the military and made a shocking announcement that stunned both his colleagues and family. He would no longer be Col. David Schroer, because he is now Diane Schroer, a transsexual.

In a 2005 interview with "20/20" Deborah Roberts, Schroer explained why, after decades of service in one of the most dangerous and macho lines of work, she became a woman.

"Does seem a bit of a disconnect," Schroer acknowledged. But, she says, she has struggled with her gender identity -- privately -- since childhood.

"Something was different since even before I can remember. I was always enthralled with things the girls were doing. ... Whenever my parents were gone, I would experiment with my mother's makeup. And wondered why I enjoyed doing that ... Wondered why I couldn't carry a purse," Schroer said.

Painful Internal Battle

Her lawsuit may be precedent-setting, but Dr. George Brown, a military psychiatrist, said Schroer's story is not unique. He said he's treated hundreds of soldiers who are transsexuals. Brown described transsexualism as "a sense that there's been a biological mistake -- that the body doesn't match who you are as a person inside."

Schroer says it was apparent to her from the time she was a child, growing up in Oak Lawn, Ill., just outside Chicago. Her brothers, Gary and Bill, only remember a happy childhood with their little brother, however.

"I think it was probably very much ... the typical American family, three boys growing up. We played baseball. We played in the neighborhood. We rode bikes. We pretty much did what other kids did in the '50s," said Bill Schroer.

Schroer's siblings never knew their little brother was suffering quietly, never daring to mention the anguish inside.

Schroer says growing up as a boy left her feeling uneasy and deeply conflicted about who she really was. "When I hit adolescence, it was, at times, consuming. ... So, I did everything I could to push that out of my mind," she told Roberts.

When David Schroer entered Northern Illinois University, he was in full denial of his gender crisis. He worked as an auto mechanic, an electrician and joined ROTC. After graduation, he entered Special Forces and somehow thrived in the most dangerous of military careers. He even fell in love with a woman and got married.

"We had a normal sexual relationship," Schroer said. "Although, I would say that I would often think of myself being on the other side of the relationship."

Ending Years of Denial

Schroer managed to keep up the act, rising through the ranks of the military. By his mid-40s, he was a Special Forces commander, leading a classified anti-terrorism unit and managing an $8 billion budget. He even briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on secret missions.

But he grew tired of denying what he believed was his true sexual identity.

"I think when I learned enough to understand what it was that I was really feeling ... I could either hide that, or I could acknowledge to the world that I was, in fact, a woman. And receive their acknowledgement back," Schroer told "20/20."

Schroer told his wife first, even hoping there might be a possibility they could stay together. But the couple decided to separate.

Schroer's marriage was over, but he found fulfillment for the first time. He began openly dressing as a woman and calling himself Diane. Schroer was retired at the time, and didn't have to break the news to Washington's top brass. But he began telling his Special Forces buddies, including retired Lt. Col. Dan Bernard.

"The way she explained it to me was by showing me some photos that had been taken of her as a woman in a business kind of setting, wearing makeup and with a big wig and women's clothes. ... And I didn't get mad and I didn't storm out," Bernard said.

"I explained to him about being transgendered and what that meant, and he sat back for a moment and said, 'You really had me scared. Wow, I thought you were going to tell me something bad.' ... It was a tremendous relief," Schroer recalled.

Now, Schroer was confident enough to tell family, nervously breaking the news to Bill and Gary -- still dressed as David.

Even though the news was, and continues to be, difficult to accept, Gary Schroer said there was never a question in his mind about being supportive to his younger brother. "It's still tough. But support and acceptance are two different things," he said.

Schroer then began the long and painful process of becoming a woman, undergoing intense therapy and taking female hormones under medical supervision. He also started wearing makeup, and underwent extensive cosmetic surgery.

In 12 hours of surgery, Schroer said, doctors gave him "a scalp advance, a forehead revision, nose reconstruction, upper lip revision, jaw and chin reshaping, and a tracheal shave." In a tracheal shave, the surgeon reduces the cartilage in the throat to get rid of a masculine-looking Adam's apple.

The genital reassignment surgery would come later. But in the meantime, Schroer was already looking more feminine and beginning to envision a new relationship.

But Schroer wasn't envisioning a sexual relationship with any men. Schroer is interested in dating women. "I would say I am, in fact, a lesbian," she said.

Schroer's desire to be with women is not uncommon for transsexuals. Brown says gender identity and sexual preference are two entirely different things.

"If sex and gender were the same, then that would make no sense at all. Sexuality is who you're attracted to. Gender is who you are as a person, male or female. So, the surgery and the transition is all about matching the mind with the body. It has nothing to do with sexuality," Brown said.

At Center of Landmark Gender Discrimination Suit

While Schroer is grateful to have the acceptance of her family, she has encountered challenges in her public life. While still transitioning to become female, Schroer applied for, and was offered, a job as a terrorism analyst at the Library of Congress late last year.

Because she was still legally David Schroer, she did not reveal her plans to her prospective employer during the interview.

She decided to tell the woman who hired her that she would begin work as a woman, not a man. Schroer said it seemed as though the woman took the information in stride and that the hiring was going forward as planned.

But the following day, Schroer said she was told that she was no longer "a good fit" for the position. Schroer and her brothers were furious.

The Library of Congress first agreed to an interview with "20/20," but then declined, citing Diane's lawsuit. In an e-mail, they wrote that they "acted appropriately and complied with the law" and that "claims such as those raised by Ms. Schroer ... are not covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act" or the U.S. Constitution.

While waiting for her day in court and looking for a full-time job, Schroer's deepest fears concerned her family who had yet to see her as a woman. In July, Schroer allowed "20/20" cameras to film her first visit as a sister with her family in suburban Chicago.

The family was understandably surprised by the dramatic change in her appearance, but before long, the brothers were reminiscing about their childhood. For Gary and Bill Schroer, the memories are bittersweet as they feel, in a sense, they've lost a brother while gaining a new sister.

For Schroer, the childhood memories have a far different meaning. She's always known that inside that little boy lived a little girl who longed to grow up and become a woman. "What's great about my life now is that it's unified, it's focused and this huge distraction that was in my life is now gone."

Original here

7 Classic Kid's TV Shows Clearly Conceived on (Bad) Acid

By Kristi Harrison

Most children's TV producers know that to get kids to watch, you have to terrify the little bastards. Looking back at the weird-ass shows they've cranked out over the decades, it's a wonder that we all grew up to be such, stable, well-adjusted adults.

Slim Goodbody

Slim Goodbody was a friendly Jewfroed health nut who saw nothing wrong with showing you his innards in a way that is both intimate and vomit-inducing.

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

If you ever found yourself wondering what a Steve Gutenberg/Horshack hybrid would look like on the inside, this is the show of your dreams.

Slim Goodbody is here to force you to make good nutrition type choices, or he'll feed you to his robot-man.

Don't get us wrong, we're pleased when the neighborhood exhibitionist takes a unhealthy interest in vulnerable children. The scary part is when the animated picture of the red-track-suited man magically bursts into a nude man who utilizes an inappropriate wide-legged stance.

Note the shiny animated highlights to accentuate the fact that yes, this man has shed his clothes to teach you about love and life.

And we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic? Slim Goodbody utilizes his lumpy flesh-covered unitard to teach all the terrified children of the world why they should eat as much as possible, in order to cover the monstrosities which lurk beneath their skin.

Pay close attention to the part where the animated Goodbody goes through the trouble of turning around to show his half-muscularly-buttocked backside. We contend this visual assault subconsciously prompted millions of children to eat uncontrollably, as they never, ever wanted to be as healthy as Slim Goodbody. Never. Ever.

You know you want some of this lower intestine that is covering my private parts.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

Let's see if you can make it past :16 of the intro without collapsing into a scared little ball of tears and urine.

Nice how they suck you in with the jaunty little sailor theme, then slam you with the nightmare fuel.

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

The "Sigmund" in the title is a sad little lettuce heap of worthlessness who, in the course of the tune, is literally beat out of his home by his abusive family. The sea monster dad tells Sigmund to "go out and scare some humans, or you're through!"

No doubt traumatized by his parents' death threat, Sigmund makes a pathetic attempt at scaring some unsupervised children. The children mercilessly taunt Sigmund, laughing as his limp little tentacles attempt to catch a ball they callously fling at his googly eyes. Watch them mock as they force the little blob to hula hoop. He has no torso, you dicks.

Deserving of your sympathy.

Let's all thank the show's creators for turning a disgusting family dynamic in which the parents beat and deride their monster kid out of the home into entertainment. Entertainment for children.

Of course these same children grew up to believe their abused and neglected offspring would become the playthings of laughing beach goers! Hooray! Hooray for deadbeat dads and emotionally abusive moms! Your children are hilarious!

The Osmonds

Meet The Osmonds, a clan of sex-crazed Mormon children with extraordinarily large heads.

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

The decade of the Seventies owes the universe a serious apology. In this instance, it's for defying the laws of nature and presenting the many, many Osmond boys as cartoony Jonas Brothers-type sex symbols. Which is ridiculous as soon as you take a look at the size of their ginormous heads or the way they sadly flail their arms and legs around in what has to be the worst animated dancing ever created.

Maybe the most shocking thing about this program, however, was not the audacity of presenting the Osmonds as sex symbols, it was the reality that the Osmonds were sex symbols. Seriously. These guys had your mamas having all kinds of wicked, dirty thoughts back in the day:

Yes, these guys.

We'll pause for a second so you can go wash that little bit of vomit off your teeth.

Not only were the Osmond boys major sex symbols in what will forthwith be known as "The Most Retarded Decade of the Twentieth Century" ("TMRDTC" for short) but they rubbed our noses in it by showing the toothy seven on their knees trying to woo all the women of the world while they fly around in their psychedelic airplane.

Memo to Mormon Church: don't let your little boy members animate themselves wooing the hands of many, many little girls from all over the world. It doesn't look good, you know, on the whole "polygamy" thing. And PS: floating detached heads of little girls in the sky doesn't look good either.


There are no words to prepare you for what you are about to see. This is the type of thing only the Japanese have words for.

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

After being lovingly blinded by their SuperBible, two children and a toy robot thingy are sucked into a dark vortex that deposits them in Bible Times. And while they are never dropped off in the middle of Lot's encounter with his daughters, the SuperMeanSpiritedBook seems to be A-OK with forcing children to battle flying Devil Serpents. Because that's WJWD.

Initially conceived by Pat Robertson as a way to get the Gospel to Japanese children (who are historically enamored with characters who look nothing like Japanese people and also live in American suburbs) SuperBook is among the first anime programs aired in America.

That's right. Pat Robertson forever has the title as one of the guys who introduced anime to American children. We'll be sure his epitaph will read something like this:

Pat Robertson

Ultimately responsible for dirty fan fiction featuring Sailor Moon.

Rest in peace, sweet soldier of the Lord.

The Wuzzles

Behold The Wuzzles, Mother Nature's tragic mishaps:

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

Without explanation or background information, viewers are presented with hybrid freak animals that seemed to have arrived at their unholy state by twirling themselves together. No explanation, mind you, just an insistent "We're the Wuzzles!" repeated over and over.

And these so-called Wuzzles seem to live happily on an island that popped up out of nowhere (we're betting Hell) where they carry one another in their unholy kangaroo pouches and get sat on by the donkey/hippopotamus/morbidly obese rabbit creature.

The unfortunate thing on the bottom? It's half moose, half harp seal. His lower half is dragged around on a cart of half wagon, half wheelchair.

As disturbing as it is to see animals bred haphazardly through twirling, we defy any child, anywhere in the world, at any time, to watch this show and not picture a lion trying to hump a bumble bee.

Look at the bear. The one who's part flower. What toddler sees that and doesn't immediately picture that dude's mom stuffing flowers into her vagina? How else could this misshapen horror come about?

Gregor Mendel doesn't know.

The Banana Splits

They are coming for your children in the most zany way possible. Thus the sound effects and laugh-track.

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

Part of what made the 70s the TMRDTC was the fact that everyone thought variety shows were hilarious and entertaining. Anyone with middle parted hair and a brother/husband/lover to exchange witty banter with got their own good-time hour. It wasn't long before the leisure-suited studio executives came to the following perfectly logical conclusion: If the good people of America are entertained by real-life humans lip synching songs and telling Hee-Haw type one-liners, why not dress up humans in animal costumes to do the same?

After alarmingly large doses of LSD, the Banana Splits were born.

Sargeant Pepper's Furry Nightmare.

Besides the obvious question of how these creatures with non-opposable thumbs can even play their instruments, it's the subtle little touches that make these guys extra unsettling.

Look at the lion's mouth. WHY IS IT STITCHED SHUT?

What the hell? Did the lion do that to himself, while strung out on meth? Did the band do it to him as a practical joke while he was passed out in a pool of his own vomit?

To make it even worse, if that were possible, these freaks have the audacity to invade a theme park! Which is where the children are!

We're telling you right now: if ever a bunch of furries invade our favorite theme park, we'll shoot to kill.

The Tomorrow People

The future's so bright, it'll melt your brain:

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

It's Heroes, but with kids. Normal kids are born to normal humans, but then begin displaying extraordinary powers. The new evolved humans belong to a race called Homo Superiors. Seriously.

Superior Homos who are soooo not interested
in the boobs on the table. Except maybe the black girl.

So after the super future-fonted titles explode into chaos, we get a trippy hand that invites us to share in the world of Homo Superiors. This is a world populated with rapidly approaching floating fetuses...

...weird PVC pipe structures...

ambiguous galaxy looking thingys, pretty dahlias, and bell peppers. Futuristic bell peppers, so it all makes sense.

The entire sequence takes us on a journey to a realm where all rules of logic and rationality are suspended, as if everything we know and love has been eaten by the devil and farted back into our faces. It's like the scary boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where things keep getting stranger and stranger until you suddenly see a chicken get decapitated.

You know what we're talking about.

For shows that don't even have acid as an excuse, check out The 5 Most Baffling Spin-Offs in Television History. Or if regular TV isn't crazy enough for you, please meet his deranged brother in The 7 Most Insane Moments from Cable Access TV.

Original here

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