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The News You May Have Missed


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Pallbearers & Pole Dancers

The Chinese Ministry of Culture is launching a campaign to crack down on stripteases and other lewd shows that have become popular at funerals in rural areas (Associated Press, Apr. 23). Many Chinese country folk believe that a large attendance at funerals is a sign of honor for the deceased, and they put on shows to attract more people and to display their family’s prosperity. The funerals are also a rare occasion for crowds to gather, as villagers living as migrant workers in industrial centers return home to bury the deceased. In the last several months, people who have returned to their rural homes for funerals have complained on social media about lewd shows, remarking that troupes hired to play dirges suddenly changed their tune and began to peel off their clothes, in full view of the children in attendance. The ministry warns that those responsible for these vulgar acts will be punished. “Such illegal operations have disrupted local entertainment markets and corrupted social mores,” it says.

A Safe Space for Genderfluid Scouts

In a first for the Utah Girl Scouts, a new local troop is now accepting boys — at least those who identify as girls (KUTV.com, Apr. 14). “As long as a youth identifies as a girl or with girls, even if they are genderfluid on the day that they registered, then they can become a Girl Scout,” said Shari Solomon-Klebba, outreach coordinator for the Girl Scouts of Utah. The troop held its first meeting at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, which, according to director Sheila Raboy, opened its doors to the troop to offer a safe space for children and those grappling with gender identity. The meeting was held in a game room that had a box of condoms on a table and signage that read, “Some boys have vaginas.” Leaving the items in the room was an oversight, Raboy said, noting they would be removed for future meetings. The troop’s first meeting included five girls, ages 6-10 years old, all of whom were born female. No boys who identify as girls attended.

Disarming Directive

An Ann Arbor Catholic priest, criticized for urging parishioners to carry guns due to a spike in crime in the area, has announced that his parish will no longer hold Concealed Pistol License classes (Detroit Free Press, Apr. 21). Fr. Edward Fride said he’ll abide by the directive of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea, who said such classes are not appropriate on church property. Earlier, when some parishioners protested the concealed-carry classes, Fr. Fride responded with an extensive e-mail letter entitled “We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto.” Following the bishop’s correction, Fr. Fride joked on Facebook about the press coverage he got in British media: “Maybe I can get a job as a security guard/chaplain at Downton Abbey,” he said, referring to the television series about the wealthy castle-owning family of a British lord in the early 20th century.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the State of California to pay for a sex-change operation for a biologically male prisoner that could cost as much as $100,000 (Agence France-Presse, Apr. 3). U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar ruled that Michelle-Lael B. Norsworthy, who was born Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy, should undergo gender-reassignment surgery at the state’s expense “as promptly as possible” to ensure that his constitutional rights are met. Norsworthy, 51, imprisoned since 1987 for shooting an acquaintance to death, began identifying as a woman in the 1990s and was diagnosed in 2000 as having gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder. “She is seeking access to the medical treatment prescribed by her treating provider and denied for administrative, rather than medical, reasons,” said Judge Tigar. A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the state was reviewing all options, “including whether or not to appeal.”

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