23 July 2009

[liff in oregon] Good Lord, Man, Put On A Shirt, Willya?

2166.Looks like Stu Rasmussen's in the news again.

Stu, owner of the Palace Theater movie house and Silverton's elected mayor, has made national news for being perhaps the first transgendered (a term which includes gender-reassigned people as well as transvestites who dress as a means of self-actualization rather than arousal) elected official in the USA, is a well-known and popular public figure (no pun intended) in Silverton, winning the popular vote desipte of (or maybe because of) his out desire to dress as a woman.

He looks pretty damn good doing it too. Seriously.

Another interesting thing about Stu (and an excellent argument against a broad-brush approach to any group of people) is that despite dressing and expressing himself in personal style as a woman, Stu is still a "he". He promotes himself as Stu.

Stu, as assayed through the reports on him I've seen in the media, does have a singular sense of style. He tends toward rather brief fashions – miniskirts, high-heels, decolletage, all of which he carries off rather well. It, in an unexpected way, suits him.

However, Brenda Sturdevant (according to this KGW report complete with really really tiny video), Silverton Together manager, thought that an outfit he wore to a recent talk to school kids put a little too much of Stu out there:

Silverton Together Now manager Brenda Sturdevant filed the complaint alleging the city dress code was violated when Rasmussen wore "high heels, a very short skirt and some sort of halter top revealing much of his bosom, shoulders and back" to the meeting of the Apple tree group.

Now, this is the thing that really has me rather pleasantly amused about it. They didn't complain because this was some dude dressing as a woman; they complained because the style of dress was inappropriate. This is, I think, the same sort of complaint that a bio-woman would have faced if she had been similarly dressed!

Silverton, how the hell did you get so cool? Why couldn't you have been that way when I lived there?

In his defense, Stu said it was hellishly hot (how hot in Silverton on a hot day? Take whatever temprature you got in Salem and add 10F to it. Trust me on this) and equally humid (also true). The chief objection was that the outfit should have been a little more business-like, and less … well, hot.

The Silverton City Dress Code actually (like many businesses and similar organizations) has a bit to say about that. It specifies, amongst inappropriate female clothing, Midrift (sic)/Tanktops and Miniskirts. So, as far as the dress code goes, Stu is standing on shaky ground there.

Again, he responds quite logically that he thinks the dress code is silly and unnecessary.

Who knew that this sort of battle would be joined over a transgendered mayor … in little ol' Silverton? Who says life is entirely dull?

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