SCOTUSblog picks guy in nude mesh unitard as image of Prop 8

UPDATE: SCOTUSblog has graciously removed the photo. Good for them.


SCOTUSblog, the Internet’s number one source for information surrounding the Supreme Court, a site that just won a prestigious Peabody Award, has a grand total of one photo on its Web site from yesterday’s huge demonstration outside the Supreme Court for its historic arguments over Prop 8 and gay marriage.

Is it a photo of the adorable gay married couple, Kelly and Jack, with their three adorable children Ravyn, Cardel and Raine, one of whom, the little boy on the right, when an interviewer asked his thoughts on what was going on that day, replied: “God loves everybody”?


This is Kelly and Jack, from DC, and their three kids Ravyn,Cardel and Raine. While being interviewed, the smaller boy on the right told a radio show, “God loves everybody.” Adorable. Click the “next” button above to the right, to see the next photo in the photo essay. © John Aravosis 2013


Or maybe SCOTUSblog chose the photo of Stuart and John, who are married and have been together for 25 years, and appeared yesterday just in front of the Supreme Court, for everyone to see, in their tuxedoes?


Wrong again.

Okay, then SCOTUSblog had to choose, for that one photo typifying our struggle for marriage on this most important day in our movement, the wonderful biracial straight couple who took the time out of their day to fight for the civil rights of complete strangers:


Not a chance.

No, the photo that the most-esteemed site on the entire Internet for Supreme Court news chose to represent our struggle for marriage equality was of an androgynous man with neon dyed hair in a semi-nude mesh unitard flashing his nipples and prancing around like a pixie.


There were hundreds, if not thousands, of people outside the Supreme Court yesterday and only one person – by my count, as I walked around for two hours snapping photos – looked like this.  And the one photo SCOTUSblog chooses for its entire Web site, to represent scores of gay couples across America who want to settle down, get married, have children and a family, and partake in their own slice of the American dream, the one depiction that SCOTUSblog chooses to mark the most important day in the gay civil rights movement since the Stonewall riots in 1969, was that one.  (Stephen Colbert used it last night as well – it was syndicated by Bloomberg.)

I contacted SCOTUSblog privately about this last night, to no avail.

Putting aside for a moment the wisdom, or appropriateness, of wearing nude unitards to the Supreme Court (we’ll get to that in a minute), the question of media bias, intentional or otherwise, comes to mind.

It was a common problem in the 1980s and 1990s (and is still a problem today on Fox).  Whenever the media would do a story about “gay rights,” no matter the story, they’d use a picture of a flamboyant drag queen or a guy in ass-less leather chaps, to represent our entire community and our struggle.  And while I love me a good drag queen (and have no complaints about leather), and while both are certainly a part of our larger community, they’re not representative of the entire community, so why show the same photos every single time you do a story about our civil rights?

Because they shock and titillate.

Why care?  Because such depictions risk influencing the reader into thinking gay people are “the other,” and thus less worthy of equal civil rights.  There’s a reason we don’t have our full and equal civil rights, and it’s not because people think we are just like them.  Not to mention, in a more general sense, photos like this have little to do with the underlying story, nor are representative of the people who were actually there outside the Supreme Court yesterday – there was quite literally one person in outrageous dress yesterday, of the entire throng that was there, and SCOTUSblog (and Bloomberg News) found him – so photos like this are not even journalistically accurate. Then why choose a photo that not only risks prejudicing the reader, but inaccurately depicts the underlying story?

SCOTUSblog, like a lot of us, is new on the media scene, so they didn’t benefit from the battles of the 80s and 90s.  Bloomberg, on the other hand, has less of an excuse.

Now for a word about going to the Supreme Court half naked in fairy drag.

I joined in a spirit discussion last night on Facebook as to whether it was appropriate for this particular individual to even go to the Supreme Court dressed like this.  Many were appalled, but some defended him, arguing that either the photo would have no negative impact, that “drag” is an integral part of our community dating back to Stonewall and before, and that since we embrace freedom we should also embrace the freedom to be who we are wherever we are, including at the Supreme Court.

To that, I say: If you were appearing before the Supreme Court, as a lawyer or a party to a lawsuit, would you dress like that?  Or forget the Supreme Court, would you let your lawyer dress like that in court if you were being sued?  Would you dress like that in court if you were being sued?  Would you go to work dressed like that?  Would you meet your boyfriend’s parents for the first time dressed like that?

No, you wouldn’t.  So much for freedom.

Also important, we’re not talking about someone who is transgendered, and is simply dressing according to their true gender.  Instead, someone is simply having fun.  At our expense.  And as much as folks like to make the “freedom” argument, even a defender of the pixie last night on Facebook admitted that his drag boyfriend, who is a lawyer, would never go to court dressed in drag.  So there are limits – self-imposed limits – to our self-expression.

Is it too much to ask folks to respect those limits – or at least just think about them a little – on the most important day in our civil rights movement in nearly half a century?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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166 Responses to “SCOTUSblog picks guy in nude mesh unitard as image of Prop 8”

  1. Tom Jones says:

    Qween Amor is more man than you will ever be and more woman than you will ever get

  2. bandanajack says:

    john, the question you asked is a red herring and you would never allow it with your legal training. my lawyer would be in my employ, and i would then be able to have some input in his attire. to the best of my knowledge neither us has any sense of his being present in any capacity other than his own desire. i know why you object, really, and yes, i’d rather he had not shown up dressed like that, but that simply doesn’t give me the right to challenge his attire. also, if you knew me more personally you would know that i haven’t a great deal of respect for propriety in my own attire. my clothing in the early 60’s was the bane of my father’s existence.

  3. bandanajack says:

    john, the question you asked is a red herring and you would never with your legal training. my lawyer would be in my employ, and i would then be able to have some input in his attire. to the best of my knowledge neither us has any sense of his being present in any capacity other than his own desire. i know why you object, really, and yes, i’d rather he had not shown up dressed like that, but that simply doesn’t give me the right to challenge his attire. also, if you knew me more personally you would know that i haven’t a great deal of respect for propriety in my own attire. my clothing in the early 60’s was the bane of my father’s existence.

  4. hollywoodstein says:

    All god’s children.
    All the time.

  5. hollywoodstein says:

    That’s the next war. Sad to say so many Will and Grace fans still want them in the closet.

  6. hollywoodstein says:

    And it’s nice to see all the faithful have internalized the Will and Grace good gay model of trim six packs, witty wit, tasteful track lighting, and the innate ability to cater or at least throw a party. God forbid middle America learn we are pudgy, middle America, and also too pink unitards.

    Sad to see this blog be so backwards. You know why? This war is already won. Sure, Obama’s DOJ argument may delay the inevitable for everyone for awhile, but stick a fork in it.

    What worries me is how fast everyone is ready to close their checkbooks and go home.

    Cuz you know what? We still have to pull someone else who has helped us over the finish line.
    That’s right.
    The trannies.

  7. hollywoodstein says:

    scalia could even be a vote for except his Opus Dei buddies wouldn’t allow his revived dead body to float up into heaven. seriously.

  8. hollywoodstein says:

    maybe next time the HRC and Americablog can tell the trannies to keep a lid on it lest Alito look out his curtains and change his vote against our interests.

  9. hollywoodstein says:

    Actually, not so sure you’re not wrong on both counts. Not sure how unitard guy is not representative of the gay community except merely his choice of clothing. Not sure how Phelps and company are so different from the bigotry of the Republican party. Seem to be closer than apart.

  10. hollywoodstein says:

    Now there’s an idea. Maybe someone should have spoken with him? Maybe someone with a blog?

  11. hollywoodstein says:

    even if there is a law against it, it is still a matter of personal opinion.

  12. hollywoodstein says:

    If there is a time and a place for you to be transgressive, then you are not being transgressive.

  13. hollywoodstein says:

    Did they explain the switch?

  14. hollywoodstein says:

    FWIW, some of the most fearless advocates for our cause have been Mr.Pixie pink unitard guys. One person I knew wore only hot pants and unitards and platform shoes for three years. Did not own any other items of clothing even to church, even to court, even worse when parents came to town.
    Had tires slashed, brick through windshield, brick to forehead, was beaten up repeatedly, stabbed, shot at.
    Still wore hot pants and unitards. Performed epic rave set looking worse than Jesus H. Christ in Mel Gibson Christian porno Passion of Christ after being beat up and went to ER after to get stitches.

    Cops didn’t arrest perpetrators, instead told Miss Thing she should not shove it in everyones face by wearing unitards and hot pants. Turned out deputies were in on it all along. No consequences, of course.

    Area now has three gay bars, men walk in the local mall arms around one another, lesbians hold hands and kiss. No one throws bricks anymore. She now sits at end of bar in sweater vest.

    Some of us putter around the halls of power passing for straight, some of us wear pink unitards and push the Overton window.

    All god’s children. All the time.
    One world, one love.

  15. hollywoodstein says:

    I suppose it could still be done, but I guess that’s why team woodstein doesn’t blog. It sounds like too much werk.

  16. hollywoodstein says:

    I think that might have been interesting, at least more interesting than a one sided judgmental post.

  17. hollywoodstein says:

    Ask Mr. Pixie why here why now why pink unitard, why don’t you think you are changing Alito’s vote against us?

  18. hollywoodstein says:

    Use the new fangled google machine and/or the DC gay mafia ( same thing?), who Mr. Pixie was and interview Mr. Pixie cum Queen Amor.

  19. hollywoodstein says:


  20. hollywoodstein says:


  21. hollywoodstein says:

    You know what would have been interesting? If when John saw, Mr. Pixie, who was an outlier amongst the throng he asked Mr. Pixie in a non confrontational way what Mr. Pixie was thinking.

  22. hollywoodstein says:

    Mr. Pixie? Is that the PC way of calling him a fairy?

  23. hollywoodstein says:

    So that’s the reason HRC lost the T during ENDA…

  24. gfd6754 says:

    It doesn’t matter what photo a website chooses to show or what statement it chooses to make. Either way, it doesn’t define a truth. The Truth defines itself. And it has for thousands of years. Billions upon billions of people over time have known that living a gay life is bad for the world. The more liberated the world becomes, the sicker it is. Atheism is growing. More people are suddenly thinking they are like robots. When you die, your dead. That’s all. They believe this. Gays are a catalyst. They are a major gate for eradicating morals and values from the planet. many wise people through many generations have known this to be true. Yet, we have political entities who are trying to convert the world into Logan’s Run. A large bubble that removes people from the truth. They will only know what they are told. To lust for one another and live in pleasure. Take it easy. Have a good self indulgent life. There are no virtues. No hardships. No wisdom. Just dumb, stupid fools who follow each other around.

    That is the gay life. Right now they are design and create an alternate “family” lifestyle and they make sure cameras are around for all to see. They want to sell their agenda to all. In the meantime, they tell little johnny its okay to suck a dick if he wants to.

  25. hollywoodstein says:

    how quaint…

  26. hollywoodstein says:

    They did not graciously change the photo. They put it up thinking it was a good idea to pick an unrepresentative picture. They took it down only after their bias was outed. and their more evolved audience was offended. There is no graciousness here. Perhaps a late growing awareness of their stupidity, but lets not make angels out of them, just because fux news wouldn’t correct.

  27. hollywoodstein says:

    Sounds like a closet to me.

  28. hollywoodstein says:

    A time and a place…

  29. hollywoodstein says:

    Chad Griffin could use to loosen up a bit.

  30. hollywoodstein says:

    Clearly, you’ve never been to court with the woodstein.

  31. DavidPun says:

    The closer I look at this, I am wondering whether this was not just someone with the hate mongers and ‘I hate fags’ crowd trying to ridicule they gays.

  32. DavidPun says:

    Was this guy actually with the gay community. It looks to me as if he was parading around with a bunch of people holding hate filled posters. Perhaps he was just trying to ridicule they gay couples there.

  33. DavidPun says:

    I agree, let the “freeks” be free, but that doesn’t mean to say that they are not being free to make total idiots of themselves. Freedom and intelligence/ responsible behavior are not synonymous.

  34. ronbo says:

    Is that the same group who gave a Nobel “Peace” prize for a President who reduced the number of troops while dramatically increasing the number of “military contractors” AND increased spending on wars AND increased military actions AND enhanced Drone Wars AND started assassinating American citizens WITHOUT consulting the Constitution (which mandates due process… some Constitutional Scholar)?

    Manipulation shouldn’t be rewarded. Inflamatory photo or lying awards.

  35. ronbo says:

    Phone number please! If you are going to post…then be courtous and look it up for us lazy pontificators.

  36. ronbo says:

    She’s on the dark side. The “Judy” game is taking a shot every time she needlessly insults someone, anyone, everyone! Bet you can’t make it to the first commercial without being blind drunk. Wrinkled wreck is the drinking game for “chef ramsey” – same rules.

    Television often pushes horrible people upon us, degrades everyone and insults anyone but the 1% (their owner’s and masters).

    Sorry to go tangential. But I LOVE to despise those in power who over-reach and are rewarded for their evil.

  37. ronbo says:

    Imagine a pro-lifer mocked up as a fetus being excised. Or… a black person with watermellon and chicken… or a woman in skimpy bikini. All of which is stock footage on FOX mews.
    The site must obviously share a few of their bigots with FOX. That’s my SCOTUS!

  38. hollywoodstein says:

    yet again.

  39. hollywoodstein says:

    Sorry for pooping in the punch bowl.

  40. hollywoodstein says:

    For shame.

  41. hollywoodstein says:

    It would be historic. Law schools that survive the global apocalypse would teach it for millennia.

    And can we please get our fierce advocate off the t-vee saying it is a good debate “folks” are having about whether gays should have the right to marry?.
    It is never a good debate when an injustice is knowingly countenanced. Was it a “good debate” when slavery was debated? Was it good when Jim Crow was debated?
    I wish Sasha and Malia had written the brief. Then maybe we would have had some words that could be written in marble some day.

  42. hollywoodstein says:

    For shame.

  43. hollywoodstein says:

    Get it Get it a thousand times. Get it more, dare I say, than you get it. And I am glad Scotusblog had the editorial contrition to reevaluate their misrepresentation of the crowd.
    Having said that. I disagree.
    I am glad the pic ran. We don’t complain when rambunctious, ardent fans at a basketball game get on tee-vee for looking more extreme than the normal, conformist, slightly pudgy alumnus.
    I have no problem with the asymptote representing what is freedom. The extreme is spinning on the dizzy edge of freedom.
    And yes, if it were my case to argue before Scalia and friends, I would certainly show up in ass-less chaps with a c-ring. And when Scalia lobbed his contemptible Loving v. Virginia ? , and then got bothered that he asked a question that was answered with a question that he knew the answer to anyway I would have shat on the floor and pissed in it and said that his argument and Kennedy’s state’s rights argument, and Obama’s states rights argument for rank injustice would be viewed as less valid in twenty years than the steaming wet pile on the floor, and people of good conscience would shake theirs head in shame wondering why learned men in robes congressed to even discuss the question of whether naked bigotry should continue to be the law of the land.

  44. hollywoodstein says:

    or in a suit and a tie.

  45. hollywoodstein says:

    I know that that ain’t allowed.

  46. hollywoodstein says:

    some peanut butter,

  47. hollywoodstein says:

    It bestirs.

  48. hollywoodstein says:

    Beirut, early eighties.

  49. hollywoodstein says:

    ARTIST: Talking Heads
    TITLE: Life During Wartime
    Lyrics and Chords

    Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
    Packed up and ready to go
    Heard of some gravesites out by the highway
    A place where nobody knows
    The sound of gunfire off in the distance
    I’m getting used to it now
    Lived in a brownstone, lived in a ghetto
    I’ve lived all over this town

    This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
    This ain’t no fooling around
    No time for dancing or lovey dovey
    I ain’t got time for that now

    Transmit the message to the receiver
    Hope for an answer some day
    I got three passports, a couple of visas
    You don’t even know my real name
    High on a hillside, the trucks are loading
    Everything’s ready to roll
    I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime
    I might not ever get home

    …This ain’t no mudd club, or CBGB…

    Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
    Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?
    You oughta know not to stand by the window
    Somebody see you up there
    I got some groceries, some peanut butter
    To last a couple of days
    But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones
    Ain’t got no records to play

    Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
    Gonna be different this time
    Can’t write a letter, can’t send no postcard
    I ain’t got no time for that now

    Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
    We blended in with the crowd
    We got computers, we’re tapping phone lines
    I know that that ain’t allowed
    We dress like students, we dress like housewives
    Or in a suit and a tie
    I changed my hairstyle so many times now
    I don’t know what I look like

    You make me shiver, I feel so tender
    We make a pretty good team
    Don’t get exhausted, I’ll do some driving
    You ought to get you some sleep
    Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks
    They won’t help me survive
    My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
    The burning keeps me alive

  50. Ninong says:

    Anyone, of any sexual orientation, who showed up at the Supreme Court in that ridiculous carnival costume would be regarded as an exhibitionist jackass!

  51. Ninong says:

    “Non-Monogamous people whose struggles with oppression won’t be suddenly all better” are well represented across the entire population and always have been. I don’t think sexual orientation correlates well with any particular sexual orientation.

    The questions before the Court concern equal marriage rights, not equal rights to sleep with as many different partners as you can. That right already exists. You don’t have to be in the NBA to exercise that right, and since the Lawrence decision, it doesn’t matter if you sleep with a different same-sex partner every night. So go ahead. Knock yourself out. Wear one of those red fishnet outfits if you choose, just don’t wear it to the Supreme Court or people will make fun of you regardless of your non-monogamous “orientation.”

  52. Russ says:

    Well, as announced on SCOTUSblog’s own website, they just yesterday won the Peabody Award for Outstanding Journalism, for starters . . . but I’m glad to see they took down the stupid pic.

  53. Amanda, do you dress up for a job interview? If so, then you’re guilty of assimilation and oppression too. Probably because of your privilege, rather than the simple fact that life as an adult is full of compromises balancing what we want to do and what we think we should do. And just because bad people lecture us about what they think we should do, doesn’t make “should” a dirty word. Otherwise you’ve learned a peculiar less about manners, ethics, and morality.

  54. Bobby P says:

    I have to agree with John here, and I’ve been gay my whole life. There’s a time and a place for most everything, and that is often dictated by mere common sense. Apparently this guy lacked the basic understanding of this notion.

  55. Skeptical Cicada says:

    When you get finished living in the past and refighting some long dead battle about diversity at pride parades, let us know. Maybe then we can have a discussion about what is appropriate at a court hearing and about what is self-indulgent mugging for attention. Until then, enjoy setting up and knocking down straw men that you’ve drawn from 30 years ago.

  56. Skeptical Cicada says:

    What group is he a member of, dear? As far as I can tell, the only group he’s a member of is people who have a compulsive need to show up at court hearings in pink mesh unitards in order to make spectacles of themselves to satisfy a need for attention. Any suggestion that his carnival attire and mugging behavior are some deep identity that forms part if his everyday existence is absurd. It was a performance, not an identity.

  57. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Oh, please. The objection is not that the guy was effeminate or transgender. The objection is that the guy showed up in a pink mesh unitard–obviously for the sole purpose of making a spectacle of himself for attention. Can’t “assimilate”? What, is the pink mesh unitard sewn into his skin and his craving for publicity genetic? A court hearing is a grossly inappropriate time for carnival behavior. And if you find being serious on a serious occasion so oppressive, you have an emotional disturbance.

  58. MyrddinWilt says:

    They are both completely fringe to the issues and the parties.

    Unitard guy does not represent the gay community any more than Phelps and co represent the Republican party whose bigotry is on display here.

  59. Stratplayer says:

    What does the 1st Amendment have to do with this? You may have a 1st Amendment right to dress and behave in ways that do not befit a given occasion, but that does not immunize you from being criticized for it. You also know, do you not, that criticizing other people’s fashion choices is not exactly unheard of in the LGBT community? Please.

  60. Papa Bear says:

    Well, not “rich” Republicans…

  61. Bachelard says:

    Thanks for posting that link. Notice that the reporter spent more time with the Westboro people — the freaks. Somebody direct me to a site where better-behaved opponents of gay marriage are upset that the Westboro people are making them look bad.

  62. Bachelard says:

    LOL! I’m a bully because I call John’s complaining about one character at a demonstration “whining.” I’d say your comparing me to a bully is, well…you know.

    No, one off-the-wall character at a demonstration does not affect our “movement.” I recall hearing the same thing about characters in Pride Parades (which is why I mentioned them) and even heard it repeatedly during ACT UP’s day. We people in the streets just made all gay people look so bad with our theatrics. Never mind that we convinced the FDA to change its rules to permit use of experimental drugs while everyone else was tip-toeing around.

    Skeptical and John, will you please give me an example of where such a character skewed the progress of the gay rights movement, or any other movement for that matter. Your personal embarrassment does not make your claim true. I had the same argument over and over again with the “After the Ball” types and I don’t recall a single person coming up with an example.

    Perhaps there’s a poll somewhere proving that people oppose the gay civil rights movement because of gender-transgressive imagery. This is the same crap we hear about trans people stalling gay civil rights legislation.

    If you think the media doesn’t stereotype straight people, tune in next year’s Super Bowl and Mardi Gras coverage. Girls Gone Wild=all women are sluts?

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the media using such an image. It’s one picture in one blog and I can promise you people have not revised their opinions on gay marriage because of it. Freedom of speech works that way. Maybe Skeptical can start a charm school for inappropriately dressed, noisy queers.

  63. admanda says:

    “Is it too much to ask folks to respect those limits – or at least just think about them a little – on the most important day in our civil rights movement in nearly half a century?”

    The most important day in YOUR civil rights movement… Have you examined the connections between the “limits” you wish those OTHER people would respect, and the limits we are told we should respect by proponents of traditional marriage? They may seem different to you since your privilege makes assimilation attainable, but they are pretty well aligned from the perspective of queer, transgender, and non-monogamous people whose struggles with oppression won’t be suddenly all better when marriage is begrudgingly given to same-sex couples.

  64. I’d say anyone who is into drag or dresses as the opposite gender should appear as someone of the opposite gender would appear at the supreme court. Guy or girl, pink mesh isn’t appropriate there. So we can just pull drag/transsexual right out of the mix, there.

  65. Sweetie says:

    “There is a time and place for transgressive sexual expression but that place was not in front of the United States Supreme Court Building where the occasion called for some semblance of maturity and dignity.”

    And that is a matter of personal opinion unless there is a law that is constitutional to say otherwise. The thing is, we have the 1st Amendment.

  66. Sweetie says:

    I knew you wouldn’t miss an opportunity to post a pot shot. lol

  67. Adrienne Fabulous says:

    Uh, maybe the problem is an anemic vision of civil rights in this country, in which members of privileged groups demand that members of marginalized groups be just like them in order to “earn” civil rights, instead of understanding that civil rights are something that people deserve by virtue of being people. Maybe the problem is that Americans, by and large, fail to understand that they can learn something valuable from people who are different from them.

    Nope, never mind. Let’s blame the guy in the unitard, and complain that there aren’t more images of normatively gendered middle class white guys on the internets.

    (On a side note: anybody know where I can buy that unitard?)

  68. karmanot says:

    I appreciate your idealism. I was thinking politically.

  69. karmanot says:

    That must be it!

  70. karmanot says:

    Thank you, but you are wasting a perfectly good paranoia on me. I never read your comments up or down.

  71. Actually, it does the opposite. Live and let live does not mean you get to interfere with or denigrate others’ lives, and certainly not to enshrine that into the laws.

  72. Ninong says:

    Maybe he thought it was Halloween?

  73. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    And yet there are men wearing dresses on the bench.

  74. Skeptical Cicada says:

    My point, though, is that the Tea Party is hardly any model. In just a matter of a few months they managed to drive their approval rating down to about as low as Congress. They’re toxic now.

  75. Skeptical Cicada says:

    OMG I so shocked that you support oppressing him by keeping it illegal to ejaculate on the court bench! And here I thought you supported individual freedom of expression. Guess not.

    Oh, please. The problem isn’t that the guy was “faggy.” It’s not like he showed up in effeminate street clothes and spoke with a lisp. He was deliberately making a big cartoonish spectacle of himself to get attention.

  76. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Ever wonder why defendants show up cleanly shaven and wearing nice suits for their trials? Yes, it is certainly an interference with their freedom of expression to lose the swastikas, bandanas, gang symbols, etc. I can’t imagine why on earth they degrade themselves by wearing those business suits!

  77. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You exactly sound like someone who isn’t capable of responding to an argument without setting up and knocking down a straw man.

  78. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I think you calling legitimate criticism “whining” is you replicating a tactic of anti-gay bullies.

    Pride parade? This was NOT a pride parade. It was a court hearing. Prop. 8 managed to get 52% in 2008 in part because one mayor made one snide remark (Gavin Newsom saying people have to accept gay marriage whether they like it or not) and because one teacher invited school children to her wedding ceremony. Notwithstanding your dismissive attitude, these things most certainly can matter. And, no, heterosexuals have the luxury of not being reducing to cartoons because they don’t harbor ignorant, negative stereotypes about themselves.

    When your decision to show up at a deadly serious event and make a big gay spectacle of yourself threatens to negatively affect the movement and everyone who depends on its success, you most certainly DO have a responsibility to the entire gay community, whether you like it or not. And we’re not somehow forbidden by some kind of big invisible gay natural law from criticizing you for it.

  79. UncleBucky says:

    John! You said, this is a person simply having fun. Well, here’s a question.

    DO WE KNOW THIS PERSON? (Not that I want FB ID or Name and address, no!) But had anyone such as yourself or other important members of the community ID’d him as LEGIT? Was he legit or was he kind of an enemy “plant” to draw attention, such as a James O’Keefe?

    Maybe someone wrote about this already, but I’m kinda interested in who this feller is? And maybe even in seeing an interview with him asking questions such you did at the end of your very good and provoking article. Thanks!

  80. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Is “self-reflective” what you call it when you’re being a rubber stamp?

  81. mwdavis says:

    Yes, John. I fully understand. I cringed when I saw the photo. I don’t think the problem with the photo was the subject, however. I think it was the misrepresentation of the event. There will always be deviants among us . . . as once were we all in the eyes of those around us.

  82. mwdavis says:

    I’m glad scotusblog removed the picture . . . might indicate that they understand their misrepresentation and will exercise more forethought in the future. I don’t know if the gay fashion police are as . . . er . . . self-reflective.

  83. Stratplayer says:

    Honest to Pete, John, I do not understand why so many people in this thread are stubbornly refusing to grasp your point here. It’s obvious and elementary. The concept of “dressing for the occasion” should not be controversial.

  84. Stratplayer says:

    But I fear you are continuing to miss other people’s points.

  85. Sorry, I don’t believe. If your lawyer dressed like Mr. Spock with Vulcan ears and a Star Trek uniform you wouldn’t hire them, and you sure as hell wouldn’t take them to court with you. Nor would you put on your Spock ears, especially for a jury trial, even if you really liked them and didn’t like to conform.

    We conform all the time for lots of reasons, and when we ask people to conform when our civil rights are on the line, and the world is watching, suddenly they get offended. But when their personal ass is on the line, in a job interview for example, suddenly it’s okay to put on a suit when you’d normally not wear one.

  86. You conform when you shower and wear a suit to a job interview and you wouldn’t normally go out like that if you had a choice. You conform when you wear nice clothes to court when you’re being sued, or charged with a criminal complaint. People choose to conform all the time, and we don’t call them sellouts, or compare them to gaybashers. Why is that okay, but it’s not okay to ask people to conform when it’s the most important day for our civil rights in 47 years?

  87. They graciously changed the photo, as I noted in the update above.

  88. I find it confusing that people think the media screwed up, but at the same time there’s nothing with what the guy himself did. If the guy did nothing wrong, and his actions couldn’t possibly harm us, then what’s wrong with the media using his photo?

  89. Stratplayer says:

    See my comment above in response to Thomz0rz.

  90. Stratplayer says:

    I absolutely do NOT buy into the “‘guy dressed unlike the norm is other and bad’ thought process” in any way, shape or form. I have publicly expressed myself in transgressive ways in the past and I am likely to do so again in the future. There is a time and place for transgressive sexual expression but that place was not in front of the United States Supreme Court Building where the occasion called for some semblance of maturity and dignity.

  91. All that really proves is that protests of any sort these days are really more of a game than anything else, or maybe a pleasant way to spend the day. Does anyone really, seriously think that a protest in its current style has any effect on anything? Of course not. It’s just another expression of tribalism, reassurance that you’re in solid with the right crowd. Back in the day I attended a few anti-war protests back when Bush the Lesser was busy with his plans to fuck Iraq over again and it was a total joke every time. An excuse for wearing tie-dye and participating in drum circles really, and the assuaging feeling that you’re making a difference even though the effect is nil.

  92. Sweetie says:

    pardon me… I mean karmanot.

  93. Sweetie says:

    Oh, pardon me. I got SC confused with karmanot. Too many posters confused about gay issue have confused me. lol

  94. Sweetie says:

    Yes, Cicada, I didn’t expect you to like my comment, as usual.

  95. I ain’t got time for that now.

  96. karmanot says:

    Na, Republicans don’t do Folsom.

  97. Bachelard says:

    This is a ridiculous argument. The man wasn’t going to court, so the concern about an attorney dressing that way is not analogous. Nor do individuals have an obligation to become PR reps for the entire gay community.

    To say that people will generalize gay people’s image on the basis of this one guy is a 20-year- old “After the Ball” screed. Do you also think people will generalize heterosexuals’ image on the basis of the Westboro protestors? The picture’s value is its contrast of the foreground figure to the background idiots. I think it’s pretty funny.

    That’s a different issue from the media’s choice to highlight stereotypical characters. My own observation is that they’re not doing it anywhere near to the extent they used to. And I think whining about this is sooooo yesterday. Thousands of straight people go to gay pride parades these days, for example,, and they enjoy the sights without concluding that we’re all cartoons. Lighten up, for god’s sake.

  98. Sweetie says:

    “I think you’re finally getting the point!”

    I wouldn’t count on that. SC has a history of expressing heterosexist attitudes and lashing out at me for critiquing them.

  99. BeccaM says:

    I noticed just a little bit ago that yes, the photo was gone. Good for SCOTUSblog.

  100. Sweetie says:

    Scary thing, the 1st Amendment.

  101. Sweetie says:

    I remember how gay men were portrayed as sex-crazed mentally ill animals when the AIDS crisis finally broke. The one image I have of gay male identity from the 80s, the one and only, is a bunch of guys dancing at a bar in ass-less chaps. Although I didn’t have a problem with seeing guys’ asses, I did have a problem with the message the media was sending. I could decode that as a young kid, though, so I assumed that’s not what all gayness was about. I did also realize that that’s what the media wanted people to think (chilling effect).

    I’d rather the media show guys dancing in ass-less chaps, though, than glorify more warmongering.

  102. karmanot says:

    Fruit in mesh should stay in the produce section of the grocery store or at a Pride Parade.

  103. Sweetie says:

    It’s just what Greenwald talked about when he said gay identity is being coopted by the establishment in order to shut down another area of independence and dissent. I compared it with the recent banning of nudity in San Francisco.

    Make war not love is the establishment motto, which is why we have a war on the body. A war on nudity. A war on sex.

    Quick! Everyone back to the 1950s!

  104. BeccaM says:

    I actually concur. I guess my point is there will always be jackasses who make any group look bad. I’d imagine many of the Tea Baggers don’t like it when their own loonier contingent shows up in embarrassing costumes, or when the overt white supremacists try to join in.

    I’m on the same pages as John: There were dozens if not hundreds of perfectly ordinary gay and lesbian couples there. Quite a few of them had entertaining and clever signs. But SCOTUSblog went with a photo provided by Bloomberg prominently featuring freaks — the ‘God Hates Fags’ crowd and a solitary narcissistic gay man. Both groups completely irrelevant to the serious case being argued in the buildings behind them.

  105. Sweetie says:

    That’s a very bad comment, but I doubt you’ll figure out why.

  106. karmanot says:

    Simple answer—nope. Bloomberg is about entertainment not journalism.

  107. karmanot says:

    Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle.’

  108. nicho says:

    And, of course, the other side doesn’t “support” my right to marry whom I choose.

  109. BeccaM says:

    We were there in SF in 2004, too. We didn’t have to spend all day, but we did have to push our way through crowds of chanting anti-gay bigots bused in from southern California.

    We still have the raised-seal copy of our license, even though it’s meaningless from a legal perspective.

  110. karmanot says:

    “one should “live and let live,” an old phrase now, but it covers a lot effectively.” What it covers is States right to continue institutional bigotry.

  111. karmanot says:

    “inappropriate for a highly-acclaimed journalistic outfit” Highly acclaimed by whom? They’re pushing bigotry clear and simple. There’s no journalistic appropriateness there, just visual hate propaganda. I’m surprised they held back on doing a major feature on the Phelps thugs. .

  112. karmanot says:

    I go for the editors who know bigotry sells. Maybe if Pixi had worn a smurf suit? I doubt it would have raised an eyebrow. The pixi drag deserves a kick in the ass for feeding the lot of us into the hands of our enemies at a time when our civil rights are being picked apart by those vultures on the Supreme Court.

  113. basenjilover says:

    I fired off that email to person posting the picture. I was super pissed yesterday. My partner and I had our marriage license revoked and refunded after we spent nearly all day at SF back in 2004.

  114. karmanot says:

    Where is Judge Judy when we need her?

  115. AdmNaismith says:

    Fabulous wins, every time. It may not always be appropriate, but like Gay, it can/will/should not go away.
    Conformity is overrated.

  116. karmanot says:

    Maybe Pixi thought it was an audience for the Jerry Springer show.

  117. Ninong says:

    I agree, except that I would find it impossible to decide who gets the most blame in this instance. Let’s just say that all of them — Bloomberg, “Mr. Pixie,” and SCOTUSBlog — acted like exhibitionist juveniles! “Mr. Pixie” is seriously fucked up and Bloomberg and SCOTUSBlog picked him because of their own internalized bias against all gay people.

    “Mr. Pixie” can dress like that all he wants for appropriate venues but that wasn’t the time or the place to behave like a jackass!

  118. Ninong says:

    You’re right! That has happened before, so it’s a possibility. I wonder if the Bloomberg photographer even bothered to find out anything about him?

  119. Thomz0rz says:

    That’s right, doing something that’s actually illegal in a completely different setting would be legitimately upsetting and problematic, as opposed to being too faggy in front of straight people.

    I think you’re finally getting the point!

  120. Ninong says:

    “Mr. Pixie” is seriously fucked up! No one in their right mind dresses like that in public unless it’s for Mardi Gras!

  121. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I think he should have gone in and ejaculated on the bench in front of Scalia during the oral argument. That would really have offended and annoyed someone who already hates us.

  122. Skeptical Cicada says:

    They also spew racism, and I don’t support emulating that either.

  123. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, no, you see, you’re “oppressing” him if you dare even to say he shouldn’t be allowed to go ejaculate on the court bench during the oral argument. You’re never, ever allowed to say “no.”

  124. basenjilover says:

    Well glad this was mentioned. When I saw this red mesh clad dude prarading around, I was pissed. I don’t care if this is “freedom”, this is NOT appropriate way to dress. Villify, feather and tar me all you want for saying so but get that effing dude outta there. June Pride isn’t here yet.

  125. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Stupid queers ought to know the difference between the time for fun and the time for seriousness.

  126. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Really? He was at the court while attorneys were asking the court to recognize his right to marry and form a family. It was completely irresponsible, and it’s not oppressive to point out that there is a time and place for fun and a time a place for seriousness.

  127. Brings to mind the naked guy in the Obama mask at last year’s Folsom fair. While his ‘Outfit’ was appropriate to the Folsom Fair, the fact that he was wearing an Obama mask made me suspect he was a republican trouble-maker…

  128. Thomz0rz says:

    Damn queers ought to keep it to themselves right? It’s disgusting is what it is. There should be a law against it!

  129. PeteWa says:

    I have no issue with how people other than myself dress.
    I do have issue with those who are claiming to be reporters using the most (and seemingly only) outlandish group, the Phelps H8ers featuring Photobomb Pixieface®, as some sort of representation of what was happening there.

  130. Thomz0rz says:

    SO.. saying that someone has a right to dress how they want in a public space = saying no one should dress besides that?

    You sound exactly like the right wingers. “God, can’t this faggot keep this in the bedroom? I mean, it’s fine if he’s like that in private, but why does he have to shove it in everyone’s face?! Won’t somebody think of the children?!?!”

  131. Thomz0rz says:

    Are you kidding me? The protest – while delightful to see – is essentially meaningless. The supreme court does not make decisions based on protesters’ outfits. I would bet this guy wore his outfit based on the fact that it would offend and annoy people who already hate us, in much the same way that I might stage a kiss in at a rally being held to honor Michelle Bachman or someone like her.

    I think it’s hilarious that people in the LGBT community are starting to buy into the “guy dressed unlike the norm is other and bad” thought process that we criticize the mainstream culture for.

  132. dula says:

    This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.

  133. BeccaM says:

    I put most of the blame where it belongs: SCOTUSBlog, and yes, we should give them hell for their appalling choice of imagery.

  134. SkippyFlipjack says:

    In three-corner hats, regimental frocks and mesh unitards.

  135. nicho says:

    For all those people trashing this guy as inappropriately dressed, please check out how the Teabaggers dress when they’re “protesting” at events.

  136. bandanajack says:

    key word should. sorry, i promised long ago i would not should on myself or anyone else…

  137. SkippyFlipjack says:


  138. bandanajack says:

    john, i’ve been around for a while, as you well know, and as important as this is, he who has been dubbed mr. pixie , has the right to be distasteful, and disrespectful, if hs so chooses. we are not the propriety police. the issue here is and always was that a presumably serious source of insight into the workings of the court has tarnished its own image by choosing to publish only that picture, and without commentary indicating it was an humorous aberration at a serious gathering.

    lets leave the propriety policing to others…

  139. benb says:

    In the pict, Queen Amor is posing in front of the Westboro Baptist “Church” clan. A bit more on this at:

  140. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Really? He was at the court while attorneys were asking the court the recognize his right to marry and form a family. It was completely irresponsible, and it’s not oppressive to point out that there is a time and place for fun and a time a place for seriousness.

  141. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I guess he’s just confused. He can prove he’s confused by wearing a three piece, double breasted , gray pinstripe to a Pride festival.

  142. txiconoclast says:

    It looks like Scotusblog has removed the photo from the post.

  143. rf7777 says:

    CNN used a similar photo.

  144. Russ says:

    Give ’em hell, John. Pixieface can dress as she pleases – there’s somebody in every crowd who has no damn sense of what’s appropriate and just has to show off – but it’s totally fucking inappropriate for a highly-acclaimed journalistic outfit to use that outrageous photo in the way they did. They know that’s completely misleading, and also trivializes the weighty issues before the court. Call/write Scotusblog again and make them accountable, and don’t stop till they own up to their mistake, and apologize. It’s 2013, not 1973.

  145. A W says:

    “when even you would admit that you’d put limits on your own dress depending on the situation” I haven’t admitted anything like that. I will admit that guy was outside and even if he’s a lawyer, he wasn’t practicing law when that picture was taken. I admit I fight a mighty struggle every day to face the world with the face I have which may not be the face you want me to have. I admit if I needed a lawyer and she dressed like Captain Janeway I’d be scared to death but if she did her job well then I would be happier she dressed like that and defended me competently than if she had done so while hiding herself away.

    I see the world as big enough for both of us John, do you?

  146. RC says:

    It is not impossible that the individual in question is a “paid performer”. Such techniques have been used in the past to set up and discredit demonstrations. The right wing has been known to do that sort of thing. Follow the money.

  147. mwdavis says:

    Uh, he wasn’t going to court.

  148. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You sound like every law student who has a tantrum when told she can’t wear a tube top to court.

  149. BlueIdaho says:

    I agree. This person does more to reinforce the stereotypes the haters have of the gay. We are all sex crazed drag queens swinging from the chandeliers. Sometimes these photos are all a lot of people see and yes it influences how they perceive us. I love all the drag queens at the San Francisco gay pride celebration–on the steps of the Supreme Court, not so much.

  150. mwdavis says:

    There are two entirely separate issues here.

    (1) How this guy is dressed.

    (2) How a media outlet chooses to portray an event.

    I don’t care how he dresses. Freedom for you is freedom for me.

    If a media outlet chooses this photo as a way to portray an event . . . well, it tells me about the media outlet. You made your case with the pictures.

    But when you go “Would you meet your boyfriend’s parents for the first time dressed like that? No, you wouldn’t. So much for freedom,” it sounds to me like every conformist pressure from grade school to god hates fags and everything in between.

    Bottom line: attack scotusblog. Let the freeks be free.

  151. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I agree with John completely. When drag rights are being litigated, bring the drag to the court.

  152. So you’d be okay with your lawyer dressing like that in court? Please answer the question. If you say yes, I don’t believe you. And if you say no, then you admit that you too oppress “freedom” :)

    And while we’re at it, let’s start a petition to have Chad Griffin at HRC dress like this whenever he does TV, since we’re all about freedom of expression and pride in community, and we’re now saying that image means absolutely nothing, and that it’s wrong to ever dress differently for different situations.

    I think it’s naive to suggest that this issue is simply about our homophobia when even you would admit that you’d put limits on your own dress depending on the situation

  153. A W says:

    John, you know as well as any other mature human being that some people WOULD dress like that in situations that the majority of people would consider inappropriate. People like Mr Pixie there would say your judgement/ disapproval is inappropriate. It is vital that we all maintain vigilance towards keeping space open for all teh Mr Pixies and Bearded Ladies because they are important. I agree that is was wrong of “the media” to use Mr Pixie as the face of us but I don’t agree that it was in any way wrong of him to dress like that and be irreverent and silly there in the middle of all that seriousness. Our struggle for equality is very serious but damit we’re human beings! We ARE silly inside! He was mighty brave that silly fag. Had he done that 50 or 40 or 30 or 20 or 5 years ago, he would have been beaten to death. We’re all so damn serious we deserve our equal rights not in spite of being queer or in spite of being silly, we deserve them because we are queer, silly, serious, beautiful, ugly, happy sad whatthefuckever WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS. I LOVE Mr Pixie and I wish my silly ass had been there dancing with him blowimg my kazoo right in everybody’s silly face, Fred Phelps’ and YOURS! :P

    “To be fair, Mesh Unitard Guy” was helping all of us and if you really can’t see that Im really sorry for you. All us clowns and faeries and superheroes and hippy chick bearded dykes and weirdo fucking witches are gonna keep right on being here being queer so you might as well love us back.

  154. HolyMoly says:

    Just KNOWING that the media seeks out the clowns in any “controversial” group to serve as representative examples of an entire community should have been enough to make anyone think twice about it. It’s harmful to whatever cause you’re standing up for. After you’ve won the battle? Fine. But before? You have to put on your combat gear, i.e., dress a little less flamboyantly.

    And it’s not just this particular issue. The same thing happened with the Occupy movement, which was overwhelmingly populated by teachers and other middle-class professionals as well as college students, all of whom had a very important, principled message to convey. Yet the media found the few who fit the “dirty hippy” profile when snapping shots.

    Anti-war, anti-nukes, you name it. Demonstrators should dress for success!

    The way I feel about it, even though people should be who they are, they should think about WHERE they are, and the impact it might have on the progress that has been made.

  155. Indigo says:

    It’s the Sports Illustrated swimsuit stereotype. Macho heteros rarely get past it.

  156. The good thing is you can check his nipples to find out.

  157. I think as more and more gay people come out, the goofy images in the press become less important. For people who don’t think they know a gay person, this is the gay person they know.

    I remember being terrified about coming out to my parents in 1993 because, up until the gays in the military battle, there were very few images of gay people presented by the media that weren’t drag queens or guys in semi-nude leather. It definitely influenced my decision to come out, though I finally did. That’s changed now, thank God, due to the Internet and due to simply the large numbers of people who are out in public places, public figures. But I don’t think we can or should discount the impact imagery has on opinion. There’s a reason PR people get paid a lot of money – images and messaging are intimately connected.

  158. I do see your point, yet for some reason I can’t bring myself to be bothered by how he looks. I’m not even bothered by Scotusblog choosing that photo. For one thing, I just don’t believe anyone would change their mind in any way about gay people based upon that photo. I can see people choosing that photo to confirm their prejudices. There are far more effective ways of making our points than how we’re dressed. I’ve never done drag myself, but I’m not really bothered by it. Yes, it is all-too-typical of media to choose the most outrageous image, that’s just the shallow way they operate. You’ve done what you should, give them your opinion and I think that will get whoever did this to think more sensibly in the future. I just think we spend too much time trying to tell everyone what’s “appropriate.” I think that’s a wasted effort, and life would be better to let that go and make a case that one should “live and let live,” an old phrase now, but it covers a lot effectively.

  159. Stratplayer says:

    For the life of me I cannot understand how anyone could be of such low social intelligence as not to grasp the difference between occasions where transgressive expression is appropriate and when it is decidedly not, especially when the stakes are so high. This ain’t no party. I can’t decide who is more at fault here, the editors who ran this image or the clueless, self-centered subject thereof.

  160. GaiusPublius says:

    Wasn’t he cold?


  161. I’m divided on that one. The word doesn’t offend me when it’s being used to show how hateful the haters are. It’s why I don’t delete all the hate in the comments, some of it is useful in an illustrative way.

    Clearly they and Bloomberg thought the photo typified the battle perfectly – flamboyant guy vs “fag” sayers.

  162. S1AMER says:

    Photographers will always home in on any freak. Nice, boring suburban two-women or two-men couples are boring, I guess.

    That said, though, did this guy not have any friends to explain to him that this week is not the time to run around in that outfit. Politics aside, it’s cold out there.

  163. MyrddinWilt says:

    Not to mention the fact that the background is a Westborough hate club demonstration with the word ‘FAG’ repeated.

    What would SCOTUSBlog have done if the hate group had been holding up signs saying ‘N…..’ ?

  164. To be fair, Mesh Unitard Guy isn’t helping anybody.

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