A heartfelt proposal to the Merry Widows

We enjoy the Mardi Gras parade and appreciate the Merry Widows Society of Nevada City and all their contributions. I wrote about their efforts to raise scholarship money to assist single parents who are going to college.

Now this group has an ideal opportunity to help mend fences in our town.

The Union cartoonist RL Crabb describes the recent flap in his own words: “I recently got called out for sharing a meme on Facebook, not something I created, but something that struck me as humorous. It was a photo of a police officer struggling with how to describe a suspect who is a gender-fluid male who identifies as a female but considers her species to be a mountain panda.”

“The comments that followed were aimed at the species aspect, and a few that wondered how such gender cases would be handled in the real world. There wasn’t anything I would call trans-bashing.

“But Adela Wilcox did take offense, even though I tried in my feeble mansplaining way that my profession was contingent on pointing out the absurdity of the human condition, and that this meme seemed to fit the bill.”

Here’s a thought: The Merry Widows could invite our local LGBT groups to march with them in the Mardi Gras parade on February 17. It would be a wonderful show of unity and a real highlight of the festivities. I would be happy to make a generous donation to support that effort.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

10 thoughts on “A heartfelt proposal to the Merry Widows”

    1. I don’t think you get it. The idea is to reach out to the local LGBT community, not publish a phone number and “looking for a few good women … or cross-dressing men.” I love small towns, including ours, but thank goodness for my passport (which I’ve been using a lot lately and will continue to use regularly in the New Year — out of SAN FRANCISCO airport , no less). It can be stifling around here. The good news: It is changing SLOWLY 😉

      1. Hope this definition helps the Merry Widows and/or R.L. Crabb understand the difference between “cross dresser” and transgender: “Cross-dresser
        While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite”. AND

        Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the person. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way.
        https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

  1. Hi Jeff,
    I think you’r takin’ the long way around the barn here. Why do you think it’s Bob’s responsibility to ask the Merry Widows to invite the local LBGT comunity to walk as part of a a society that his wife belong to? Bob is not a Merry Widow. Inviting the LBGT community to join our group in this year NC Mardi Gras parade is a lovely idea. As you can see by the ad posted in the 2017 Merry Widow Gazette we Merry Widows have been open to inviting gender fluid folks to join us for a while now. If this issue is extremely important to you Jeff, I’d appreciate your help is reaching out to the LBGT community. That’s my phone number in the ad. A donation to the Merry Widow Scholarship Fund would be appreciated as well.

    1. Hi Mary Ann, I don’t think you read my post very carefully. It said: “The Merry Widows could invite our local LGBT groups to march with them in the Mardi Gras parade on February 17. It would be a wonderful show of unity and a real highlight of the festivities. I would be happy to make a generous donation to support that effort.”

      I never said it was Bob’s “responsibility.” Bob took it upon himself to respond — sort of. The ad posted in the 2017 Merry Widow Gazette reads that the group is open to (and this is a direct quote), “Looking for a few good women, or cross-dressing men.”

      Huh? Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the person. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way.
      https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

      I can’t speak to the term “gender fluid folks”; I honor the advice “use the term preferred by the person.” And that is never a term I’ve heard by my friends and former co-workers who have been transgender.

      When I was at CNET, I was proud to help in this case. It’s worth a read: https://sierrafoothillsreport.com/2016/11/10/lets-hope-the-trump-administration-honors-lgbt-professionals-as-obama-did/

      Ina remains a dear friend and has visited us in the foothills and met our son. It is always good times.

      I would be happy to help the Merry Widows reach out with the LGBT community if you want. Sure, I can call you but it no doubt would be meaningful to the LGBT community if you reached out to them. The Merry Widows would be setting a great example. Here is some contact information: https://www.mynevadacounty.com/802/GLBTQ-Teens

      To be sure, we can all do better when it comes to being inclusive.

  2. The invitation is meant to be open to anyone. The ad was published before this became an issue. Hope this clarifies our invitation.

  3. Hey Jeff, I am sorry but you do know that the mere act of connecting Bob’s ‘offense’ with his wife’s involvement in a civic organization is a subtle form of sexism right?

    When I do something for which I feel I should apologize my wife is not only not responsible but she deserves the respect as an individual in her own right of not being compelled by others to do so.

    1. Steve, I never connected Bob’s “offense” with his wife’s involvement. In fact, I never mentioned his wife. What I wrote about was that the Merry Widows had an opportunity to show unity in the upcoming parade by inviting our local LGBT groups to march with them in the Mardi Gras parade.

      1. Nonsense. You know Bob’s wife is very involved in the Merry Widows, you directly mentioned their role in ‘mending fences’ and you mentioned both the Merry Widows and Bob’s mea culpa in the original post. That is ‘connecting’ them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s