OUTrage: Homecoming, Beauty Queens, and Women's College Deans

These are the stories that had us screaming at the screen this week.
By: Sunnivie Brydum
September 24 2013 6:36 PM

Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Each Monday, we'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

Dean of Women's College at Rutgers Is A Leading Feminist — Who Apparently Doesn't Like Lesbians 

A former employee at New Jersey's Rutgers University alleges that she was fired because the dean of the women's college there doesn't like lesbians. Laura Federico, an out public relations executive, told the Home News Tribune  that she was fired last October because Jacquelyn Litt (pictured), dean of Douglass Residential College, "felt that women who had men behind them were stronger and better employees."

Federico's complaint, filed in New Jersey Superior Court January, claims that because Federico "made no secret" of her sexual orientation and kept a photo of her wife on her desk, Litt targeted her for termination. In a statement, Rutgers denied any wrongdoing, and said Federico was fired because she couldn't meet deadlines and her work required substantial re-writes. The Tribune notes, ironically, that Litt, who's been dean of the women's college since 2010, has a reputation as a leader in the ongoing fight for gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Just apparently not in PR. Get the whole story here

Calif. Trans Teen Wins Homecoming Queen — Then Haters Rain All Over Her Parade

When Cassidy Cambell was named Homecoming queen at Marina High School in Long Beach, Calif., last week, she cried tears of joy. The transgender 16-year-old said she was "so proud to win this, not just for me,  but for everyone out there and for every kid — transgender, gay, straight, black, white, Mexican, Asian." Campbell's mother told the Los Angeles Times she was "amazed" and "so proud" of her daughter's victory.

But in a video posted to her YouTube channel Saturday, Cambell was decidedly less joyful, after fielding what she called "mean," "ignorant," and "judgmental" comments from some peers and online commenters rejecting her gender identity, using transphobic slurs, and invalidating her win. 

"Why is it that I fucking won homecoming queen but I’m not happy?" Campbell cries in her almost nine-minute video. "I’m so sad, I’m so distraught, and so broken down, and so upset, and so deteriorated, and so tired of the world." Watch Campbell's video here

Miss America Pageant Crowns First Indian-American Winner — Racists Take to Twitter to Insult Her

When Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America in the annual pageant on September 15, she knew she was making history. She's the first Miss America of Indian descent, and for her talent offering, she performed an elaborate Bollywood dance — the first time the beauty pageant's stage has ever seen such multiculturalism. Despite the fact that Davuluri, who is undoubtedly beautiful, and smart to boot as a medical school student, had already been crowned Miss New York, racists jumped on the chance to degrade Davuluri. Comments on Twitter moments after Davuluri was crowned called her a "terrorist," claiming she was Islamic and/or a Middle-Eastern anti-American radical (because those types always put themselves on stage in front of the American public for such harsh scrutiny). Other class-acts on Twitter called her "Miss 7-11," and generally implied that Davuluri couldn't possibly be American. As no stranger to the pageant world, Davuluri was undoubtedly — and sadly — prepared for this backlash, and has handled the striking racism of the American public with the charm and grace befitting a beauty queen. Her platform is even called "Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency," an eerily prescient move, given that she selected the platform three years ago when she began running for Miss New York, according to the Washington Post. Get additional context on Davuluri's historic victory from SheWired's columnist Victoria Brownworth here

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