In an eminently sensible decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled this week that a dude doesn’t have any legal basis for being offended by the trademarked name Dykes on Bikes.

Someone opposing a trademark has to show “a reasonable basis for a belief that he would be damaged,” the court said in a 3-0 decision. McDermott, being a man, couldn’t be harmed by a group’s decision to call itself “dykes,” the panel wrote.

Not that McDermott, who claims the name is “disparaging to men and is scandalous and immoral,” didn’t do his best to convince them he had been irreparably aggrieved. Or that all men are. Or could be. Or something.

In the arguments he filed with the patent office and in court, he stated his opposition to any trademark for a group associated with the annual Dyke March, which he called “the Annual Illegal San Francisco Dyke Hate Riot.”

He said he and all men are subject to criminal attacks and civil right violations during the march, and that the word dyke is associated with a “deep obsessive hatred of men and the male gender.”

Don’tcha just love someone who can accuse the Dykes on Bikes of obsessive hatred while, without the merest hint of irony, referring to their pride march as a hate riot?

Anyway, this decision is significant in that it means “one person totally unrelated to a trademark or the use of a trademark can’t stand in the way.” We likeys anything that makes protecting their undeserved privilege a lot harder for the civil rights zero-summers, who believe something is inevitably being robbed of them if rights are extended to include others.

[H/T to Bluestockingsrs.]



Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

22 responses to “Vroom

  1. Ha. Suck it, baby, suck it?

    That doesn’t sound quite right, but if this is going to get off the ground as a catchphrase, we have to use it wherever we can, yes?

  2. Kate217


  3. Actually, Jessica, I think that’s the perfect use for the newest catch-phrase. πŸ™‚

  4. Fritz

    Ya know, I’ve been involved in the gay community for 30 years and I’ve NEVER met a dyke who hates men. Ever.

    I have met quite a few who resent being discriminated against.

    It always amazes me that so many men confuse not wanting to have sex with men and hatred of men. Sex is not love. Disinterest is not hate.

    I’m willing to bet that there are many more women who hate their cheating, lying, misogynist husbands than lesbians who hate men in general.

  5. Can we just point out that men march in such marches? Hell, this year one of the organisers of the Chicago Dyke March was a guy (dude could seriously employ a bullhorn). It’s just the minor quibble of if a guy is going to march, that he has to kinda, you know, respect women and their sexualities, and be supportive of dykes of all stripes.

    [there was one black woman along the march route here in Chicago that was yelling loudly in a strong caribbean accent at us out of her car window that we were all going to hell, and a bunch of the women starting kissing I think, in response … I was there with the Chicago NOW contingent]

    I think this guy’s been though is that we’ve apparently taken away his slur for us, and he hates that yelling it at us tends to provoke a “Yup” response* … damned female queers and not knowing their place.

    Yet again, another Christian claiming that we’re infringing on his rights to impose his beliefs on us.

    *of course, I know it’s actually not like that all the time, that word thrown with hate behind it still drives fear inside you.

  6. I’m betting this will be O’Reilly’s top story, he’ll report it as an injustice by “activist judges” or something like that.

  7. IME, the most male-hating and male-dismissing phrases I’ve ever heard have come from straight women.

    To which I’ve wanted to reply: “You suck your boy-friend’s dick with that mouth?”

  8. I can’t believe this case ever made it to the federal appeals court. It’s too bad the judge can’t toss this moron in jail for wasting the court’s time and the other party’s money.

  9. Can we just point out that men march in such marches? Hell, this year one of the organisers of the Chicago Dyke March was a guy (dude could seriously employ a bullhorn). It’s just the minor quibble of if a guy is going to march, that he has to kinda, you know, respect women and their sexualities, and be supportive of dykes of all stripes.

    Actually, Dyke March came out of the fact that Pride had become all about men. It is meant to be women-only event, because it was designed to protest the male focus of Pride parades (not to mention corporate America), because they are no longer marches, though they used to be.

    In SF, men are welcome as sideline supporters, and many turn out, but they are asked to be allies during Dyke March rather than participants.

    As for dykes that hate men, as a dyke, I value the men in my life that I have a personal relationship with, but even here in the bay area, I am surprised when I encounter a man who is pleasant and treats me like a human being. I enjoy the dominance of women in my life, and seek women’s company nearly exclusively.

  10. In SF, men are welcome as sideline supporters, and many turn out, but they are asked to be allies during Dyke March rather than participants.

    Hmmmm, is it a generational thing bluestockingsrs? Because the organisers of the Dyke March here in Chicago are almost universally of an age quite a bit younger than me, like a decade or so at least (and I’m only in my early 30s) and so tend to have a rather fluid conception of gender.

    Personally I am not really in favour of events like this being women-only (although I am not against other women-only spaces), because its perfectly reasonable to be able to include men and yet remain women-focused, and also because women-only events do tend to get rather oppressive and fascist themselves (witness MWMF).

  11. Well, I doubt it as the Dyke march here is only fifteen years old or so. And my ex-gf was there at its beginning and she is only seven years older than me (I am 32).

    I think it might be regional, as the Midwest is always a decade or so behind these things.

    As for San Francisco having a fluid sense of gender or not, I think we invented it. Also it is not a “women-born-women only” event nor did I indicate that transmen or women were excluded, anyone is allowed to march it isn’t policed in any way, but it is meant to be women centered, and exists in a more politically active space than does Pride. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask an ally to stand in support rather than march with me sometimes.

    As for the MWMF, don’t get me started –women I love and respect and who are not transphobic attend MWMF. I may not agree with the policy nor attend MWMF in protest, but I will not condemn women for wanting safe space.

    By the same token, I would defend the right of transwomen to exclude me from trans-only space, because I am an ally, and as an ally I know sometimes my absence is the best way to help.

  12. bluestockingsrs –

    I was just interested in why the difference would be, and I wasn’t saying anything about location, or the event itself, it was about the age of the organisers. There’s obviously a difference, and I was just thinking about to perhaps why.

    And we may have to politely agree to disagree on those that would attend MWMF.

  13. Spectrum Rider

    > civil rights zero-summers, who believe something is
    > inevitably being robbed of them if rights are extended
    > to include others

    Something is. Their supremacy.

  14. I apologize for my tone, Sarah.

    It is frustrating for me because I am close friends with people on both sides of this issue of MWMF. people who cannot reach any understanding of the other’s position.

    It seems to me we ought to be able to do better as a community than what we are doing now. It is heartbreaking to me to see the pain inflicted on both sides of this terribly divisive issue.

    I am opposed to the policy at MWMF, to be clear. I don’t agree about defining women by biological sex, and I believe inclusiveness serves us more than exclusiveness.

    However, having relationships with people on both sides of the expanse makes it difficult for me to reduce this issue into simple bigotry. I know often, it is just bigotry, that is abundantly clear, but not always.

    We aren’t acting as allies to one another in this situation (and others) and ultimately, that is depressing to me.

    I try to see the third way, which means I sometimes see lots of grey, instead of black and white.

  15. I agree hon, that a goodly chunk of people that are going to places like MWMF aren’t doing because they hate trans people. But for me, that becomes irrelevant, because to attend IS to participate in a very hateful policy.

    How do we ask men not to attend misogynistic things, even when they don’t support those misogynistic goals themselves, if we aren’t willing to take a stand ourselves? The only reason the policies at MWMF continue is because people attend. If they didn’t, the policies would change. We as feminists have to be better than that, we need to place ourselves in the feet of transpeople.

    I do understand that it is hard to be in the middle of something like that … hell, I’ve been in similar situations myself, so I have no doubt that you feel the pressure there.

    If it helps, one third way I look to is looking at wider social impacts, rather than on the individual level (where you merely get down to accusations of personal bigotry). Admittedly, this is difficult when the individuals involved are friends, but it has helped me understand such things as MWMF without accusing those that would attend of being bigots, while standing firm that they are nonetheless allowing bigotry to continue.

    I don’t envy you being in the middle hon.

  16. Brynn

    bluestockingsrs –

    I didn’t know you were in the Bay Area! I came out as a dyke in SF in 1982, then transitioned there in 92! Not to mention, my grandma, mom, me and my daughter were all born either in SF or Oakland. I LOVE the Bay Area! I consider it my true home.

    Regarding the SF Dyke March, it was definitely happening in the early 80’s. Also, Dykes on Bikes were leading the Pride Parade back then as now.

    This year in Dublin, we had several dykes on bikes lead our parade. The seed of a future huge contingent, I’m hoping.

    As for the hapless Mr McDermott, methinks if dykes freak him out so much, he might want to consider staying away from Pride all together.

  17. I am a native Californian, though not to the bay Area. I live in the Santa Cruz area now, which I am happy about.

    Sarah, thanks for the understanding and the suggestion, I think you are right.

  18. Brynn

    I’ve spent some of my happiest days in Santa Cruz, surfing Steamer Lane, then hanging out with dyke surfer friends at Saturn Cafe. Or lazing on the beach between the Harbor and Pleasure Point. Or my favorite beach ever: 4 Mile.

    Ah, can you tell I’m a bit homesick…?

  19. McJohn

    If I may, for a bit? Let’s look at a slightly different example: the recovery movement. AA is so monolithic that one of the rules in Al-Anon (for families and friends of) is to concentrate on Al-Anon to the exclusion of AA, treatment centers, other self-help programs, counseling, non-Al-Anon literature, and qualifiers (the folks whose drinking brings Al-Anons to the program in the first place). Without that stipulation, Al-Anon just gets buried.

    It is even so, I believe, with the MWMF. I may or may not agree on their exclusionist policy (and at one time, early on, the community debated including a rule that pregnant lesbians need not attend because, as one commentator put it, “that means the women have been fooling around with sperm and that’s disgusting to many attendees”), but I certainly understand the impulse to carve out exclusive space in a world that sets aside thirty seconds per decade to listen to your concerns.

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