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- Member Extraordinaire
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- Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:01 pm
- Location: North East Scotland.
Thanks for stirring memories.
I was a skater in my mis-spent youth too and well remember being quite envious of the dresses that the girls wore.
More so, most boys wore hockey skates and the girls, white figure skates. I never saw a girl in the hockey version ever in the 15 or so years that I skated.
This was in the 1970s and it would have been unthinkable for a boy to go out on the ice in a skater skirt or dress. The boys who wore figure skates were generally expert and rated as the cool kids. Ironic in a place built on ice. Their boots would only ever have been black or brown and most also had a pair of hockey skates too.
Now, given the conversations that have taken place on the subject of boys and men fashion choices, I wonder how much will have changed at the rink.
The one where I learnt was demolished in the late 80s and I haven't skated in more than 20 years or so.
My take is that it would still take a very brave and determined boy to challenge this particular bit of societal hypocrisy.
Sadly, I have to ask, has anything actually changed over all these years?
Side note, I had a peek at your facebook page and spotted someone who was a very active patron of the Cafe some years ago too.
Nice to see that they are still thriving.
Steve/Stephen AKA STEVIE
Sorry for the late reply, I've been so busy customers and one thing after another.
Thank you for your recollection of skating, I have too much going on to elaborate on mine.
I do have another website that's more of a blog, http://TheFifthEdge.org
Not much has changed no, I had a few lessons before it fizzled out again, had a rink tell me to leave which resulted in a case with the civil rights commission. They reached an agreement with themselves and the rink, but not between me and the rink and closed the case. I have another case asking them to look into that decision.
Have some more advocacy coming up, funny how the simple things and other discrimination gets so much coverage, yet something like this is empty.
I miss the Cafe and Tom.
Hope to have more come of it,
Steven AKA Steven
Odd, I tried that background, and yes, it made it way too hard to read, so I removed it all except for the footer, well, I thought I did.
Neither Chrome or IE showed it anymore, so I thought it was gone, but after checking settings, it indeed was still set as the background.
I've removed it again so let me know if it still shows up.
I read through your posts. Interesting what you're dealing with. I didn't realize how much figure skating was a kids' sport, or how tradition focused it is. Unfortunately, as men, we get suspicion heaped on us around kids all the time. Is it fair? Heck no. But we have to learn to deal with it.
Being out of place already as a middle aged guy in a sport dominated by teen girls, you already have to watch yourself. The dresses make matters exponentially worse for you. Is it right? No. Of course not. But that's what it is.
Lawyering up never makes anyone happy, but sometimes it's got to happen. Your options were probably that, dress normal, or walk away. You chose the lawyer, and you still may get forced out. You will probably never be entirely welcome after crossing that line. I imagine at best, you may help the next guy. Not what you want to hear, I'm sure, but I'm trying to be realistic here.
You may never smooth things over, at least at your local rink. You might win in court, and still never really be welcome. And with it being a small community, your bad reputation (even if it is undeserved) has probably already preceded you across the country. I could see you patching things up with part of the community if you did something big, like open another rink, but short of that, you may be stuck.
Sorry, I know that's probably not the positive support you were coming here to find. All you may be able to get from us is commiseration...
Don't be sorry, I know what I have going on is far more unique then what most people deal with, and as such, the interaction is pretty typical.
Trust me, I didn't want to lawyer up, I went through it once before without one and that ended in a draw and I wasn't about to let that happen again.
I doubt also that things will smooth out, which is a shame as I enjoy all the things related to it. Just like when I managed the park, it was fun to see the parents and the kids having fun. Same as in skating, to watch someone working on an element and finally getting it, I was there, the excitement from that.
I've done things here and there, but yes, the cloth that's on me overwhelms any of the positive things I have done, or may do.
The end is not in sight, so until then....
In this case it looks like someone took "won't somebody think of the children" a bit far. I seriously doubt they asked the children what they thought.
But before I begin, to offer a full disclosure: I know very little about the inner circle of figure skating. I admit to never really bothering to look up the customs, rules, and expectations of the figure skating world and community, so as I share my opinions, keep in mind that they are just that- opinions, and far be it for me to challenge long standing traditions on different matters that do not, nor have ever pertained to me personally.
On that note, I do pose a question, a curiosity of mine. I wonder if there may be a strict dress code with regards to figure skaters such as we may find on a country club golf course? I also know of several clubs and "nite life" places that have strict dress codes in place for men particularly. I have seen signs posted outside of a Drake's Restaurant in Bristol TN regarding a dress code specifically for men only, the women's dress code was much more lax. There is also another "up down" restaurant I noted in Johnson City TN that also had such a dress code.
Currently, my only form of protest on these discriminatory practices is to simply avoid the establishments. I don't, and I won't visit places that make me feel less human on account of the fact I was born with male anatomy. But to be frank, it doesn't seem like those establishments are missing out of my money anyway... At any rate, I have never really been a "nite lifer" or country club kind of guy. I love the national forest, lakes and streams, romping through the woods on old trails and paths... Mother Nature has never told me I wasn't welcome just for wearing a skirt.
As for businesses in general, pretty much every "ma and pa" establishments always seem hospitable and grateful for my business, many of them even strike up friendly conversation with me. Virtually all major businesses (Walmart, Target, Grocery stores, etc) are friendly. Food Lion is by far the friendliest of them all, with the Walmart in Lebanon Virginia coming in a strong second (surprisingly). Of course, then again, Walmart and eccentric shoppers are practically an American cliché. Indeed, freaks were welcome at Walmart long before we were welcome anywhere else.
All this being said, knowing how society distrust eccentric men in particular, I have always endeavored to avoid public parks and other areas where children are present. We even cut our camping trip short by a day due to the very unwelcoming vibe we were getting from the surrounding families, all of which had several children who stare at us along with parents that would give us the stank eye at every turn. I have never had a desire to go to local festivals or events, mainly due to the ugliness of people ruining any good time we may attempt to have. About the only major event we may visit might be an LGBT event somewhere or another, but as for everywhere else, we avoid. Not because we are scared or anything, but people are just too damned mean!
My job works me long hours with "on call" that rolls around VERY often. In other words, I have VERY LITTLE time to myself. I simply choose to not spend what little free time I have being bullied by the world. Thus I prefer smaller crowds and solitary walks in sparsely populated areas and woodlands.
To the blog post (quotes are in italics and are pulled from post linked to about):
Even my first coach, Jean Kendo Weigl, was not immune to the bigotry I faced as they themselves were blacklisted and harmed for their choice in teaching me. My second coach, Leslie C. Shackelford-Rinicella, says she faced the same hassles from others. Other coaches like Chris Martin just flat out refused to teach me unless I conformed to their standards while their female students were not faced with the same constraint, others just outright lied. Most however just said no or hung up and/or stopped responding to my emails after they knew who I was. Shaker from what I heard even changed their rules to deter my participation. And why is it that those who knew of what was going on and could influence and effect change did nothing?
To answer your last question, I'm afraid I do not know, I could only speculate. I do know that in my experience, when confronted with a blatant injustice on account of the clothes I wear, many "friends" of mine have left me to fight my own battles alone. Honestly, and not to sound ugly or mean, but I think these so called "friends" don't want to get caught on the side of someone that the general public views as a "perverted faggot". Men who dabble in female gender roles are some of the most despised people on the planet. These so called "friends" value their reputation more than their friendship.
That being said, it sounds like you met some good people along the way, such as Jean Kendo Weigl? Chris Martin sounds like your typical American ass.
My picture used to hang on the wall at Skaters Edge in Cleveland and Dale used tell me that people would call him to take it down before coming in.
People calling to take a picture down off a wall? That is the most ridiculous, childish, and dare I say, almost fascist thing I think I could think of at the moment. Perhaps those callers could heat their homes this winter by burning books too? How DARE we allow people just to be who they are and mind our own business?!?! Da-fuk is wrong with those people?? Offended over a completely clean, photo of a man who just has the audacity to wear a dress?? Damned snowflakes!
For the most part however I was able to skate, but mostly on the outside of the skating community.
Oh yes, God forbid we have the nerve to proclaim the world isn't flat....
Not a week goes by that one doesn’t hear about some kind of discrimination, be it race, gender, or sex. Even though what I endured was blatantly obvious, nobody did anything about it. When I talk about it, people at first don’t even believe me as certainly a white cisgender male couldn’t possibly be discriminated against. When I show them my picture, the typical response is that I should just wear pants. Another person argued that I couldn’t claim discrimination as a dark skinned person couldn’t easily change their skin tone to avoid it while I could just wear pants and be treated normally. Telling me to leave shows that bigotry and discrimination is far more diverse then black and white.
This paragraph is one that I have devoted a lot of thought to today.
First of all, nobody did anything because you're not trans*, and thus you're not in a protected class, and frankly, nobody gives a sh!t. I could go into detail as to why, and one on one in person I'd be happy to, but as it stands this is a public forum, and I don't feel like some passerby screen shoting what I might have said and trying to have me fired from my job and otherwise "canceled" in the world.
So you show them a picture and their response is to just wear pants. Hmm.. wonder how that would go down if some sexist bigot called out a woman in the work place for "just wearing a skirt".
To the other person that argued that you couldn't claim discrimination because a dark skinned person couldn't choose to change their skin tone, and YOU could just avoid this by wearing pants normally...
True BUT, you can't help the fact that you were BORN A MALE. Had you had been BORN A FEMALE, YOU'D HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE! You are being told you CAN NOT do something SIMPLY BECAUSE OF HOW YOUR CREATOR MADE YOU! Oh, I GET IT, you have to become trans* to be able to wear a dress? Is that how it is?
To that I could argue that the whole concept of "Jim Crow" was "Separate but equal". I wonder if those people might have said that the blacks could have just chosen to ride in the back of the bus, stayed in their underfunded schools, continued to drink from the "colored" water fountain...? To segregate people was wrong then, and it's wrong now.
I guess it's ALL YOUR FAULT for checking the "male" box when GOD ASKED YOU WHAT SEX YOU WANTED TO BE BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!!! You should have known better!
So no... BIGOTRY isn't always based on color.
Speaking of color, yes, your story has gotten my red up today...
Justice Robert H. Jackson
I can't say how much I appreciate your words, very few people put such an effort into a reply.
And I'm sorry I don't have a vast reply at the moment as I'm still digesting your words.
Sad to say that I've gained a fair bit of weight since that picture was taken, maybe one day I'll be able to wear it again, even if I have to have one made in my new size.
As for children, that it seems is the predominant argument, but I say, if I did something to a child, do you not think that anyone there could describe me to a "T"?
As for kids, they have treated me far better then most adults ever have.
Taken at the Petit, the only other rink I've been told to leave, supposedly from a later correspondence I had with them is that my "bulge" was visible.
I argued back that the speed skaters that were skating there had a more defined bulge then I had, of which ended that argument.
As opinions and overall attitudes have hardened over the last several years, I don't expect much in the way of major change BUT, perhaps persistence is key.
Fact: You're not doing anything wrong or immoral, and you're also not hurting a single soul with this practice. The issue is prejudice on their end, full stop!
We must continue to call out the hypocrisy when we see it. We chip away at this mountain one strike of the pick at a time.
Leave it to Moon Shadow to raise holy hell...!
Frankly I'd like to know if any skirtcafe members would like to have a road trip to Ohio to see Mr. Steven skate? Bring the kids too!
Justice Robert H. Jackson