[percy-l] "Lost Chapter" of Confederacy of Dunces acted out in court

marcus at loyno.edu marcus at loyno.edu
Tue May 5 08:21:46 EDT 2009

I was recently thinking that Toole's world has evaporated,
but then something like this pops into view.

Marcus Smith

Hemmed in over skirt, man sues

by Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune 

Monday May 04, 2009, 10:50 PM

Jeremy Don Kerr enjoys wearing a skirt in public. And he
wants a federal court to ensure that a man can do so in
Kerr has sued the New Orleans Police Department in U.S.
District Court over a May 2008 incident in which he says a
uniformed officer threatened to arrest him for wearing a
black pinstriped skirt, hemmed two inches above the knee,
instead of pants to Municipal Court.
"He followed me out of the courtroom yelling at me, he grabs
me by the shoulder and pulls me around, " Kerr said Monday.
"He had no right to ask me that question. You couldn't ask a
woman, 'Why are you wearing pants?' "
In a civil-rights lawsuit filed last month, Kerr describes
himself as "a heterosexual male of Scottish ancestry" who
was made a victim of discrimination by his choice of attire.
He seeks a declaratory judgment saying that NOPD violated
his rights and $1 in damages, along with court fees.
In addition, Kerr wants U.S. District Court Judge Helen
Berrigan to bar the NOPD from prohibiting anyone in the city
"unfettered access to public facilities because of sex
discrimination that is based on gender stereotyping."
Officer Glen Tate demanded that Kerr explain why he was in a
skirt, Kerr says, asking at one point if he was a woman.
"He said, 'Are you going to make me arrest you and find
out?' " Kerr recalled. "He threatened to take me out of the
courthouse and put me in Orleans Parish Prison over a simple
choice of attire."
The NOPD hasn't been served with the lawsuit and hasn't
answered the claim in court.
Kerr, 37, a native of Lake Charles, left a college teaching
career in the Midwest to return to New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. He earned a doctorate in
sociology, with a focus on criminology, at the University of
Kerr began wearing skirts in 2003 after a friend suggested
he'd look as if he were in a kilt. He prefers a skirt when
dancing at clubs along Frenchmen Street or strolling New
Orleans neighborhoods. He finds skirts more comfortable than
pants, and wears them with button-down oxfords or T-shirts.
Kerr wore a skirt to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage
Festival. "The comments are overwhelmingly positive, " he
said. "Women love it, people of all ages and all races love
it across the board."
He wears pants for his job selling scooters and motorbikes,
he said. He has been kicked out of restaurants and barred
from bars over his clothing choice, which he points out is a
practice that began thousands of years ago.
The New York and Paris runways in January featured men in
skirts, dressed by designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc
"I'm a straight man, " Kerr said. "A lot of people seem to
believe if I'm in a skirt it must mean that I'm gay. It's a
choice in clothing style. One hundred years ago women could
only wear dresses and skirts, and men could only wear
Kerr's alleged clash with the officer took place at
Municipal Court on May 5, 2008, the suit says, when Kerr was
appearing on a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.
The case was later dropped but required a second trip to the
courthouse, Kerr said.
This time, Kerr wore pants in case he ran into Tate. "I was
scared, " Kerr said. "He was there."


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