I found this video to be informative, passionate and otherwise remarkable. It says it all:
Archive for January, 2009
I never thought I’d be posting a Stupid Things People Say About Gays based upon comments made by… well… gays!!! The lack of information our own people have regarding their rights and gay stereotypes shocks me beyond measure. I will include portions of a chat transcript from gay.com between myself and a room full of gays (for the sake of my, and your sanity, I have removed several lines of commentary about Margaret Cho and public sex – NOTE: That is not about Margaret Cho having public sex):
Me: any of you doing the Marriage Freedom thing on the 12th?
travistx16000: this may sound awful
travistx16000: but the GLBT community want marriage as part of equal rights tomorrow
travistx16000: and they forget that less than 100 years ago you’d be considered mentally insane
Marksatx23: I just think we need to fix so many other key things about this country right now, gay rights are doing okay for the time being– focus should be on the much more PRESSING issues right now…
Marksatx23: Str8 people don’t get in our face about their sexuality
Me: they don’t?
travistx16000: no, because if they do, i disassociate with them
Marksatx23: but this world will never be perfect, and that 100% acceptance you dream of will not be here till after we are all gone…
Marksatx23: most fags can’t keep a relationship for a week… so MOVE ON
Marksatx23: and they will STILL be at the clubs snortin coke after the wedding!
Marksatx23: HOORAH! GAY MARRIAGE!
During the course of this chat session, I was also told that it is a waste of time to fight for equal rights. That we must change the perception that straight people have of us – I find this odd considering these commentators apparently have a very negative view of homosexuals (excluding themselves), note the last three lines. Homosexuals were also called “butt bangers” by Marksatx23 (who is 29 not 23) and many other derogatory comments were made about homosexuals – BY HOMOSEXUALS.
I also noted the conflict that exists within my community. On one hand, they blame the lack of participation on their reason for not participating:
travistx16000: this town has no true club culture
travistx16000: gay pride here was glazed over
travistx16000: but there?
travistx16000: they came out in droves
travistx16000: the beach was covered with the GLBT community and those accepting of who we are
travistx16000: you ask me to stand up for a legal document there? i will
However, others felt that their lives weren’t affected by the lack of civil equality:
SethAllen: I have been in a 20 year relationship, raised 3 boys, been to all the sporting events, school funtions and have never felt out of place.
And others still felt they were the only ones that matter in the world:
Marksatx23: I live my life for me
Marksatx23: and only me
Marksatx23: I have to go to sleep with it
Marksatx23: I have to wake up to it
And still others recognized, in some form, the importance of civil equality:
Falkore: The biggest argument about gay marriage is simple. Equal access.
Falkore: However if I was married to a woman, all I ned to do is say I’m her husband.
Falkore: No paperwork needed
I’d like to say these people (those voices of dissension) changed my mind, but selfishness, isolation and apathy have never been my strong points. Perhaps the comment that caused me the most confusion was with regard to bullying and hate crimes. When one person brought the subject up as it related to them, Travis had this to say:
travistx16000: i’ll be the one there when you’ve nowhere else to turn
Well, Travis – we need you, where are you now?
I left that room feeling very weak and sick to my stomach. I copied the entire transcript so when I could truly think through the comments, I could try to see another point of view. I’ve read it four times and now I do see something I missed that evening. I realized LGBT people are taught to hate themselves by, mostly, religion and that myopic education results in many of us sliding into a world where self-loathing is welcomed and acceptance is subject to your participation. It’s the world of the club, the drugs, the alcohol, the anonymous sex and the assumption that we are gods and no one is worthy but ourselves. It’s a world in which we may be unhappy, but we feel safe. It’s a world I’ve personally known and to which I almost lost my hope.
I also learned that many of us are playing the victim card. Statements made indicated that we are victims of the gay men at the clubs, and we are victims of the environment in which we live – never mind that we ARE the gay men at the clubs and we ARE the environment in which we live. We must take on that responsibility regardless of the weight of it. It is time that we stop being victims and start being heroes, time to be the change you expect in others.
In that chat room, I was the one to take the blame for their unhappiness with their own lives because I invaded their world and asked if they would stand beside me. I asked them to leave their comfort zone for something I believe will result in a greater good. They just are not prepared to walk out on the world they have created and still hate and into this world. I expected too much and I was regrettably wrong. They are exactly where they are supposed to be at this stage in their lives. I hope they find the happiness they seek within the walls they have built and I owe these people a great “HOORAY” for making me feel like my life’s work is meaningless, that gay rights are unimportant and that although they won’t fight with me, they will continue to reap the rewards of the fight:
Marksatx23:we will never have a perfect world, but in the area of Gay rights… we have come a LONG LONG way in a short amount of time
Yeah… I wonder how we got this far.
I recently realized (after a few people pointed it out) that in all the Gay/Lesbian politico talk, I forgot to be funny. It’s true, the gays stole my funny! My sense of humor is why many of my readers have stuck around.
After debating whether I should stick to the serious job of gay rights or start to be funny again, it occurred to me that I was blogger blocked. I couldn’t think of anything funny… that’s not like me, normally I have a lot to say. I’ll I could think about were the countless men, women/womyn and non-descripts who are being discriminated against and why that is happening and how to discuss that issue in an intelligent and non-hateful way. Finally, I decided on my topic: Gay Rights. So, without further ado, I’ll give you an analytical story which illustrates just how “alike” gay and straight folks are:
Each night, my partner and I crawl into bed. It’s the time of the evening where we are both exhausted from long days of work so we chat about what was in the news or what “unusual” thing happened that day – and often, we each pull out the book we are reading and sometimes read interesting passages to each other. The night before last, things went a little differently. Christopher, my partner, was reading his book and I had already relaxed back and started drifting slowly off to sleep. Rather suddenly, Christopher reached over and grabbed my crotch and immediately said, “You need to make this thing grow.” Being a man, the size of my genitalia is directly proportional to my self-worth, but it has never, in our 11 years together, come into question.
“Excuse me…” I said it not so much as a question but as an accusation. I was floored. Did he really just make reference to my penis not being “big enough?”
Christopher immediately started laughing as he realized how his statement had sounded – not like a “hey, wanna make love?”, but a – “this is too small and I want a big one” sort of way. He stumbled for words as he tried to explain, “I meant erect.”
It was too late. I was trying to go to sleep and would spend the next half-hour feeling “de-masculinated” and… well… small, a first for me and hopefully a last.
I realize the story is not something shared in polite conversation, but I noted, after some consideration, that many couples experience uncomfortable moments in the bedroom with each other. I’ve heard many such stories from heterosexual and homosexuals alike. By sharing those moments, we can laugh at each other rather than hate each other. I thought for a moment – isn’t it funny that the one thing that makes us “gays” so much different from our heterosexual counterparts still has a commonality – it can be embarassing, funny, romantic and beautiful, and if you’re lucky, no one gets hurt.
A 32 year old woman, Kristen Boyne, was assaulted on her way to the Rainbow Foods grocery store on Thursday, January 22 by two men using derogatory slurs about Kristen’s sexuality. Kristen survived the attack with a severe concussion and was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center and later released.
This is the first such hate crime in recent memory for the Uptown area of Minneapolis, a generally progressive neighborhood. The surprise of the community is due to the breach of the “safety” bubble many in gay communities have built. We now have “gayborhoods” and LGBT districts where we feel safe. This crime shows that even within the safety of the “walls” we’ve created, we are not safe.
Police are asking for help in solving this crime. If you have any information, please contact Sgt. Bruce Kohn at 612-673-2941.
The “right-wing” have often *defended* themselves from LGBT people using ridiculous claims like gays are pedophiles and if you allow gays to get married, gay sex will be taught to elementary students, etc. It’s a topic I’ve covered a couple of times here because I find their comments so ridiculous that repeating them only illustrates how insane their claims are. But the claims all have one thing in common, they are meant to belittle, insult and oppress LGBT people. They are purposeful in illustrating the “evil” of LGBT people. They intend to make us look like wretches and non-productive members of society, and if they could, they would draw images of us with horns and tails and proclaim us to be direct descendants of the devil (but most haven’t gotten that ridiculous yet).
In response, the LGBT community has largely attempted to eradicate these arguments by illustrating that we are actually ordinary people in ordinary jobs and live rather ordinary lives. We are constantly trying to show gay couples in loving and committed relationships and raising beautiful children. These images are generally accurate of some LGBT people, but not all. The purpose of our “campaign” showing these people is to defunct the arguments that we are all sex crazed lunatics. What we haven’t done is launched our own “smear” campaign.
Imagine a world where instead of saying Hate Crime when a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person is attacked, raped, murdered, etc., we call it what it is – Domestic Terrorism. Hate crimes are often committed by small groups of people who are biased or prejudiced toward LGBT people. They generally consider themselves to be superior and generally condemn LGBT to hell. I’ll admit, not all of these crimes are “terrorism”, but many are motivated by the same thing that motivates terrorist – instill fear in a group of people in order to coerce them away from what it is they represent.
Although there isn’t an internationally recognized definition of terrorism, some definitions include:
The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear. Link
The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda. Link
The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. Link
When the group “Bash Back” stormed a gay hating church and disturbed the congregation, the right-wing was quick to label the group as terrorists, yet when a group of men brutally raped a lesbian woman in California for being a lesbian or some insane person sent threats of toxic exposure to gay bars, people didn’t call them terrorists, but they are. They intend to intimidate and coerce LGBT people into submission. They try to invoke fear in us to silence us or send us back to the closet. What they don’t know is that although we are a diverse people, we are a strong people. We have been attacked and beaten and deemed unworthy and unequal our entire lives and that has not stopped us, it has made us stronger. Together we will overcome these terrorists and their supporters. Although we may be afraid, we are courageous.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave. ~Ambrose Redmoon (aka James Neil Hollingworth)
January 21, 2009: A 44 year old Bolingbrook, IL man was charged with aggravated battery and a hate crime after beating up a 15 year old boy while making derogatory remarks about the juveniles sexuality. The boy, who had apparently gone to the house to visit a friend, refused medical treatment; however, he did report the assault to his mother who contacted the police.
These are the sorts of crimes that make the passage of federal hate crimes legislation so important. Many states do not currently have hate crimes legislation and a large portion of these crimes go uncounted. HR 1592, (commonly, The Matthew Shepard Act) is written to expand current hate crimes legislation to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Although the law has been circulating through congress since 1999, it has never passed. Upon approval in 2007 by the House of Representatives, then President George W. Bush indicated should the Act pass Congress, he would veto the measure. The new President Obama has indicated that he supports the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act. Please write to your senate leaders and explain the importance of this legislation. To find out how to contact your senator, please visit the United States Senate Contact Page.
My hope for enjoying the inauguration as an American and citizen of the world was lost when, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation was not aired due to a “misunderstanding” between HBO and the Obama administration. The Obama inauguration committee apparently “mistakenly” advised HBO (the network with exclusive broadcast rights) that this very politically charged invocation by Robinson which was seen by many as Obama’s effort to include the gay community, was part of the pre-show and should not air. I was sick. I kept imagining how such a mistake could be made in the spirit of inclusion. Tuesday came and, having took the day off work for the inauguration, I sat myself in front of the TV to watch the event and hope for some sort of “apology” and recognition of all of us as part of this country. Instead, what I received was a message of equality and diversity, in Black and White.
By now you’ve all heard the controversy regarding Rick Warren’s invitation to deliver the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration. Many LGBT activists and their allies called the Obama administration out on his invitation to Warren. Warren, who compared gay marriage to pedophilia, incest and polygamy, did deliver the invocation. In true religious hypocracy, he said:
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.
I died a little inside and the inauguration – what was supposed to be the greatest moment in my life as it relates to the greatness of the United States was now nothing but meaningless sidebar. Warren, asking God to forgive when “we fail to treat our fellow human beings… with the respect that they deserve…” while he continually fails to treat a large segment of human beings with ANY respect, reminded me of the man who beats the hell out of his wife every night only to apologize the next morning – over and over again. Stop asking God to forgive you for your wrongs Mr. Warren and start doing something to earn forgiveness from those you are holding under the water.
I then spent the remainder of the inauguration thinking too much about how the statement “equality for all” was met with such great applause – how comments about the end of discrimination and segregation were met with such great fanfare – yet people are still suffering under the foot of those that rule. We build a wall against the Latinos, we profile the migrant worker, we bash gays and lesbians and disenfranchise our transgendered brothers and sisters – all the while we celebrate our great victory in the civil rights movement, a movement which is now being defined as “black and white” rather than “we the people.”
The following is what you didn’t see:
I too have a dream.
Google, Levi Strauss and Co., H5 and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce joined forces and filed an Application for Leave to File Amici Brief with respect to the interest of these companies in the repeal or annulment of gay marriages legally performed as a result of the Court’s ruling, In re Marriage Cases decision, (2008) 43 Cal.4th 757. As you likely already know, that case required businesses and the State of California to provide gay married couples with the “basic substantive and legal rights traditionally associated with marriage…” The “Business Amici” as they are referred to in the Application, state that after the Order of the Court and relying on the Court, they:
- extended credit in reliance upon California’s laws applicable to community property and the joint obligation of married persons for community debts;
- calculated and paid withholding amounts for California income tax purposes for gay married individuals;
- revised benefit plans to expressly include gay employees’ lawful spouses;
- extended to same-sex spouses benefits under the California Continuation Benefits Replacement Act;
- took advantage of state tax reporting privileges based on married status where the business was owned by married gay couples;
- honored the State Disability Insurance and/or the California Family Rights Act by extending state mandated paid leave to married gay people
The brief examines the issue of how one’s marital status can matter in daily life and does so with a passion that is rare in the legal profession. The Business Amici go on to state:
[We] believe this presentation helps to illuminate the nature of the change in California government that Proposition 8 would have caused if it is decided here that a group of citizens can be ejected by mere majority vote from the institution of marriage, or any important institution, or be deprived of other important rights, for being different in a legally irrelevant way. It would mean minorities no longer have meaningful shelter within the California Constitution.
They go on to discuss
… the substantial and serious negative impact upon those business who were obligated by this Court’s Marriage Cases decision to recognize gay couples’ marriages and to afford those married people the same ‘basic substantive and legal rights traditionally associated with marriage… [emphasis added]
The Amici Businesses believe that the annulment of those marriages entered into prior to the passing of Proposition 8 will require them to target their gay employs by invading their privacy rights and recovering monies for health benefits provided to their spouses and children.
It is nice to see such esteemed businesses coming forward to protect and defend the rights of their employees regardless of motivation. Some motivating factors (other than the humanitarian factors) include the large amount of time, money and expense that will be devoted to removing the rights and benefits these companies have already provided to same-gender married couples. Solving this problem will require numerous administrative hours and incur significant expense further depreciating an already strained economy.
A study by the British Psychological Society has revealed that extreme prejudices are highest against gay men, seconded by lesbians, while some prejudices can be found in 41% of people polled against lesbians and 35% against gay men.
The study, being released today [January 16, 2009] at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology Annual conference indicates:
The main prejudice that was revealed related to sexual orientation. Results from the tests classified seven per cent of the participants as being strongly anti-gay and three percent as being anti-Lesbian, a further 35 per cent displayed some anti-gay predilection and 41 per cent some anti-lesbian prejudice. These negative implicit attitudes were stronger than those for age, gender, religion, disability or even ethnic origin, where 28 per cent of the sample showed some prejudice towards Asian people, 25 per cent against Black people and 18 per cent against South East Asian people.