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Archive for April, 2009

Ms. California Joins Anti-Marriage Folks – But She Doesn’t Have Michael Phelps! A rant.

April 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Ms. CaliforniaCarrie Prejean, who will forever be first runner up to Anita Bryant for the title of Ms. Gay Hater, has joined with NOM [National Organization for (straights only) Marriage].  In a statement, she advised “I was ready to be Miss USA that night on that stage, and I was faced with a very controversial question.  I had a choice to stand up for what I believe in or to compromise that for the tiara.”

But before I go into the nuances of Ms. Prejean’s new found smear Ad Campaign and the type of support she has received from the radically reducing right, I must report perhaps the biggest bit of news regarding Ms. Prejean: She is not dating Michael Phelps as purported by her grandmother.

Now, onto the support being shown for Ms. Prejean.  A quick look at the comments posted at FOXNews.com reveals the conservative opinions that we hear so often:

I admire Carrie Prejean for her support of tradional marriage. I applaud her objection to the marriage between two men. Two men getting married is in contrary to our Christian faith. Besides I believe it creates a big social problem due to the STD, and which this liberal government has funded out of our hard earned tax money.

Wow, gay marriage will promote STD’s?  I always thought encouraging monogamous relationships through civil contractual agreements was a great way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, but perhaps science is again wrong and religion is correct.

It does get worse; even though it seems the ill-informed and uneducated couldn’t go any farther into the dark recesses of the Forest of Lies and Distortions, another commenter suggests [using the common “gay phrase” of “You Go!”]:

You Go! People in America need to take a stand against this plague in our country. Back in the closet is where they belong. Swine Flu; Economy tanking; Homosexuals adopting babies; Etc. Etc. Keep on promoting immoral values America, we haven’t seen anyting [sic] yet!!

There are other groups that have referred to people as plagues on society based upon religion, race, color, immigration status, sexual orientation, etc.  They’ve included numerous hate groups such as the KKK and the Neo-Nazis.  It is regrettable that we see this movement of the “GOP” toward such intolerent behavior in the guise of religion – wait, wasn’t that what “The Christian Identity Movement” in eras past was all about too?

But wait, there’s more:

Good for her. It’s called freedom of speech, something gays don’t approve of I guess.

And finally, from the bed of lies they lay upon, the *cough* truth reveals itself in the most suspicious way:

I find it funny how liberals go berserk whenever conservatives speak out against something pro-liberal and call it freedom of speech/expression when they are bashing conservatives. Like it or not liberals, every American citizen (yes, this does include conservatives) has the same entitlement to free speech as you. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them wrong; it’s called values. If we all agreed on everything, the world would really blow. To quote Ann Coulter with regards to liberal diatribe, ‘If you must speak to a liberal, first tell them to move out of their parent’s house, get a job, and start paying taxes.’

As a “gay,” liberal, blogger, speaker, lecturer, activist, etc., freedom of speech has been something for which I have been a staunch advocate.  In fact, I have often stated that everyone has the right to free speech, but no one is required to listen.  I have even stood up for the rights of people I disagree with because I believe that all people should have the same, equal protections of the law without exception – so to accuse “gays” of not approving of equal rights is erroneous.

If any groups have ever benefited from the freedomof speech, it is those groups that traditionalists oppress.

Perhaps even more offensive and incorrect is the idea that liberals don’t think conservatives have the same “entitlement” to free speech.  I must assume that the commenter would also argue that such entitlements apply to all rights provided by the government – including the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  If so, then marriage equality would be necessitated based upon the commenters own argument as marriage is legally identified, in the famous case of Loving v. Virginia which was also argued against using religious bias and lies, as a right to “the pursuit of happiness.”

While I, a liberal, fully support Ms. Prejean’s ability to say what is on her mind, to express her opinion and to do so in a public forum, I disagree with her and the aforementioned commenter that a “value” of this county is to oppress people.  If you consider domination by way of oppression a “value;” you seriously need to rethink your own morals.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: God’s Truth Can Save Children with Gay Tendencies

April 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

God's Truth Saves Gays?When I was a child, I was taught that certain words were bad, that you don’t use them. For example, I was taught that the word “shit” was a bad word; therefore, I was barred from saying it and instead had to say, “doodoo.”

Other words I was taught to be “bad” included, “hell” and “damn.” Both words completely off limits. But I realized something, I realized that although I wasn’t allowed to say those words, religious folk were allowed to use them relentlessly.

But there is a word I wasn’t taught. In fact, I was well aware of the word “shit” long before I’d ever heard the word “faggot” uttered.  Once I finally heard that word, it wasn’t long until it was being used to refer to me.  I remember walks home from school which resulted in other children throwing rocks at me and screaming “fag” or “faggot” at me with no provocation.  I remember people I thought were friends eventually turning to those words as well.  The prime difference, as I see it, between calling a “straight” kid “faggot” or calling a “gay” kid “faggot” is that the gay kid believes you.

Much debate has been centered lately around “bullycide” after two 11 year old boys took their lives because of harassment at school for perceived sexual orientation.  We may never know the truth of why this kids decided to take their own lives.  It could be because they did know they were “gay” in spite of not identifying as such at that time and could not bear the harassment of “coming out.”  But on another hand it could be that these kids were heterosexual and just couldn’t tolerate the bullying any longer.  Either way, it’s a tragic and needless loss of life.

Upon review of message boards about bullying in school, I found the following comment:

Kids who have homosexual tendencies need to be surrounded with godly counsel and godly folks. They need to know GOD’s truth in love before its too late. We need to make them aware that homosexuality is not GOD’s way.

I immediately flashed to the story of Bobby Griffin as told in the book and made for T.V. movie, Prayers for Bobby.  Bobby Griffin was surrounded with these so-called godly folks who believed that they were helping Bobby by leading him away from his “homosexual tendencies.”  Bobby still took his own life.  Comments such as these are ill-informed and mortally dangerous.  To think that you can “cure” a child of their homosexual tendencies sexual orientation is the most repugnant form of attempted brain-washing, aside from raising your children in environments of intolerance and hatred.

The author of the comment seems so very sincere and earnest in her comment that it is obvious that she believes she is helping these children by telling them that God will save them from homosexuality, a conversion therapy.  Although science has never been a concern of religious zealots, medical providers, including The National Association of Social Workers, The American Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Counseling Association, and The American Academy of Pediatrics, have stood up against such therapies.  In fact, The American Psychiatric Association has described such efforts as ineffective and damaging to an LGBT person’s well-being.

Darlene Bogle is one of the people who participated in such conversion therapy.  She often appeared on television talk shows preaching that “gay” can be cured and that she successfully converted from lesbianism.  She even wrote books on the subject, Long Road to Love and Strangers in a Christian Land, which described her successful conversion and how it came about.  In April, 2007 Bogle and two other high-profile ex-gay ministers, Jeremy Marks [formerly of Courage U.K.]  and Michael Bussee [co-founder of ex-gay ministry, Exodus], held a press conference to “apologize for exposing LGBT Christians to such indoctrination.”  In the press conference Bussee stated:

Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates.  We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations.

From The Advocate:

Ex-gay survivor Eric Leocadio was on hand to witness the official apology in Los Angeles. As a high school freshman Leocadio ingested two fistfuls of pills, hoping to kill himself so that he would not have to struggle with his sexual orientation. ‘When I survived,’ said Leocadio, now 31, ‘I realized that God wasn’t done with me. There was so much more that God had planned for me.’

Leocadio went on to explain, “I received a lot of mixed signals from the church. Everyone gets unconditional love from God but only conditional love from the church, based on the concept of ‘wholeness.’ ”  He left the ex-gay ministries in 2006 and now states:

What I knew about Christianity was the only thing I was taught. I decided to take a step back and learn more. I met other gay Christians who had a genuine faith and love for God. Through meeting them, I have been able to truly learn the love of God and own it for myself.

So it seems everyone who wishes to find truth in God’s love can find their own truth, a truth void of intolerance, hatred, bigotry and spite.  This blind, unrelenting belief that God hates gay people is the cause of symptoms such as bullying and hate crimes, yet we continue to treat only the symptoms.  Perhaps its time we look to the cause and teach those who preach against gays, blacks, women, Jewish people, obesity, etc.,  a real truth.  This is the tangible world, not the surreal one.

So, you can keep your “religious morality.”  I don’t want to go to the heaven you believe in, it sounds like a cruel and viscious place.  [NOTE: I use the term morality very loosely when connected with religious.]

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Hate Crimes Legislation Will Protect Incest and Pedophilia

April 28, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysI haven’t done a “Stupid Things People Say About Gays” in a while.  Lots has been happening, but there’s certainly no shortage of stupid things people are saying.  Here’s the latest from the AFA (American [heterosexual only] Family Association):

Congress is set to give legally protected status to 30 sexual orientations, including incest. Because of pressure from homosexual groups, Congress has refused to define what is meant by sexual orientation in H.R. 1913, the “Hate Crimes” bill. This means that the 30 different sexual orientations will be federally protected classes.

Come on now… how much more ridiculous can you get.  Someone call Bullshit already…. ok, “BULLSHIT!”  Here’s the actual text of the bill, which states what a “Hate Crime” is:

[A Hate Crime ] is [a crime] motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.

Now, because I like to play God’s Advocate and show this in a more telling light, I’ll be the first to admit that “sexual orientation” is not currently legally defined by the Hate Crime’s legislation; however, to argue that “incest” is a sexual orientation rather than a sexual act is completely bogus, speculative and would never hold up in any legitimate argument – not that the AFA is renowned for “legitimate” arguments.  Generally, when the law fails to specifically define a term, the term is given its “usual and customary meaning.”  In this case, sexual orientations usual and customary meaning is:

One’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.  [sexual orientation. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved April 28, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sexual orientation]

One may note that neither the word incest nor bestiality is referenced in the usual and customary definition of sexual orientation.

The AFA has also made claims that the Hate Crimes legislation would prevent preachers from preaching homosexuality as a sin in church; however, they obviously have not read the bill which is very specific in defining hate crimes as a “crime of violence” a term defined by Section 16, Title 18 of the United States Code:

The term “crime of violence” means:

(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or prop­erty of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Therefore, unless the preacher specifically uses, attempts to use or threatens the use of physical force against a person or their property, they can say whatever they want.  If you are a member of a church that does use, threatens to use or attempts to use physical force against ANYONE, I highly suggest you realize that only SATAN would allow such treatment and consider a new church that has not been infultrated by Satan in the guise of God.  Remember, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

More from fellow blogger, SistersTalk.

Thank You For Being A Friend, Ms. B.

April 25, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

Bea Arthur’s passing shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The brilliant actress and comedienne was 86 years old after all, but her death has rocked me to my core.  Perhaps I’m already sensitive after losing one hero this month already, my dear friend and companion, Crystal Quiroz, or perhaps its because Bea Arthur was more to me than just a star on TV or stage.

I grew up with Bea.  My mother and I spending countless nights watching the Golden Girls.  Even to this day, we catch the re-runs and talk gleefully about the shenanigans of those women.  Each year during cold session when my voice would go an octave lower I’d gleefully proclaim, “I sound like Bea Arthur.”  Truth be told, I sounded more like Harvey Fierstein than Ms. B, but I knew her first and always appreciated the laughs.

For all the late night, munchy-filled occasions when you and your crew of lady friends on television lifted my spirits after a long day, thank you for being a friend, Ms. B.  You will be sorely missed but fondly remembered.

I’m Rubber and You’re Glue: Anti-Gay Harrassment in School

April 25, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay, Youth Issues

It’s never really mattered if you are gay or not, just the perception of homosexuality has been enough to cause peers to harass and bully you for your “faggot-ness.”  The unfortunate and untimely deaths of Carl Walker-Hoover, an 11 year old 6th grader in Massachusetts, and Jaheem Herrera, and 11 year old 5th grader in Georgia, have brought to the media’s attention what LGBT activist have been saying for years, “We must protect our children.”

Both Carl and Jaheem were taunted and harassed with words such like, sissy or faggot by their peers.  Neither had identified their own sexual orientation.  However, according to a 2005 report by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Harris Interactive, LGBT kids are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual contemporaries.  The Religious Reich makes all sorts of outrageous claims (as they often do) that this is caused by the child’s own self-loathing for his/her sexual or gender identity.  But where does that self-loathing stem from – perhaps from society telling these children that they are inferior, worthless and “sinners.”

When we are very young children everyone asks us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Most answers are things like, a doctor, a fireman, a chef, a teacher or an astronaut – children never respond, “I’m going to be disliked by my peers, taunted publically, discriminated against by my government, rejected by my family and somehow still find the strength to wake up every day and face these horrors again.”  No child dreams of that future, but that future comes anyway for many kids.  It came for Jaheem and Carl, in spite of the fact that neither publically self-identified as anything other than children, and regrettably they both felt the only way out was to take their own lives.

These children, as well as the countless others who become victims of bullycide, did not take their own lives, the Religious Reich and social neo-conservatives who think that somehow the sexuality of these children were relevant to their own lives, took their lives.  They murdered them by teaching that it is “ok” to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning people.  This is how they purport to protect our children.  To that, jaysays: there has got to be a better way.

Upcoming Closet Talk Episodes

April 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach

Closet TalkHere’s a line up of the upcoming episodes of Closet Talk with jaysays.  Remember, if you are interested in being a guest on the show, please visit the Closet Talk page and complete the form!

Closet Talk: Kyle’s Story – 4/29/2009: 10:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM PTCloset Talk

In this episode of Closet Talk, jaysays talks with Kyle Levinger, a 22 year old gay man who came out at 19 years old. Kyle grew up in Idaho but moved to California 3 years ago. He is an artist whose work can be viewed at http://www.kylelevinger.com.

Closet Talk: Preston’s Story – 5/6/2009 : 10:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM PT

Preston Parsley, a member/organizer for Join the Impact San Antonio, will be sharing his story with jaysays during this episode of Closet Talk. Preston came out at 16 years old and received a mixed response from his closet family members. Although he misses his family, he recognizes the familial relationships available to him within the gay community.

Closet Talk: Becky’s Story – 5/13/2009: 10:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM PT

Becky is a heterosexual; however, her son recently came out of the closet as “gay.”  In this episode, we will be talking about Becky’s own “coming out” as a parent of a gay child and how it has impacted her life and relationship with her son.

What if Science Told you Your Child Would be Gay?

April 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Gay KidOne of the blogs I follows, itisalwaystoday.blogspot.com, is written by a molecular biologist, self proclaimed hippy, heterosexual gay-activist that I’ve come to admire and respect very deeply.  Recently, she discussed the potential for science to find a “gay” gene in her blog post, “Is Being Gay A Birth Defect? What if We Could Treat It?”  Because I found it brilliant, I repost it here in its entirety (with permission).  I encourage you to check out more of It Is Always Today – I’m sure you’ll find it refreshing and thought provoking.

In the last week, a news story came out about a seven year old girl who has a Y chromosome. It was found during an amniocentesis and the child was determined to be a boy. Everyone was surprised when, voila, a girl was born. Physicians examined the child and determined that she was a fully equipped girl, with normal female genitalia. So how did this happen? A gene on a non-sex chromosome (meaning, not on the X or Y chromosomes) was defective. The protein made from this gene is involved in starting the development of male genitalia. This interesting story clearly shows that the development of gender is not simple, nor is it restricted to the chromosomes that we typically associate with gender; X and Y. Details on this story can be found at:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16934-girl-with-y-chromosome-sheds-light-on-maleness.html

I’m curious. Will this little girl grow up to be a straight girl? Transgendered? A lesbian? Is the development of genitalia related to our sexual orientation? Clearly, there is already evidence that being gay is influenced by genetic, biological and developmental factors in the womb.

How is gender determined? How is sexual orientation determined? Is there something different about the brains of people who are gay? As a biologist, I have always been fascinated by the human brain. It is, without a doubt, the one organ we understand the least. And arguably, our most important organ.

It’s a legitimate scientific question, worthy of objective, controlled studies.
I won’t be providing the references for these studies as that would make this blog so long, I don’t think anyone will keep reading. So look forward to visiting Blogging For Truth
http://bloggingfortruthmay2009.blogspot.com/2009/03/blogging-for-truth.html during the week of May 25-31st, when this blog will be dedicated to the scientific research in this area.

To highlight a few studies that support that being gay has biological origins:

· Birth order – having older male siblings increases the odds that subsequent male children will be gay. This is thought to be due to maternal antibodies that feminize the brain.
· Identical twins have a 50 to 70% chance of being gay. Side note – some people argue this proves that being gay is not genetic. These people lack an advanced understanding of genetics and development. Being gay is not controlled by one simple gene. If it was, that mystery would have been solved.
· There are correlations to being left handed.
· Fruit flies can be made gay by changing a single gene. Note: Humans are not fruit flies.
· Being gay occurs in many animals, most notably penguins in zoos that mate for life and will not convert to heterosexuality, no matter how many fabulous looking female penguins are presented.
· Women with gay children have higher fertility rates.
· If two brothers are gay, there is a higher rate of other family members being gay.
· Pheromones – straight women and gay men are attracted to a pheromone produced in the sweat of men. Gay women and straight men are attracted to a pheromone produced in the urine of women. This study was done using PET and MRI scans, looking at areas of the brain that reveal sexual arousal, not the opinions of the participants. It was also published in a very prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Now let’s explore one study in a little more depth. I have taken an excerpt from an article that can be found at:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/gay-brain-science-homosexuality-a-birth-defect/

“Scientists at the Karolinska Institute studied brain scans of 90 gay and straight men and women, and found that the size of the two symmetrical halves of the brains of gay men more closely resembled those of straight women than they did straight men. In heterosexual women, the two halves of the brain are more or less the same size. In heterosexual men, the right hemisphere is slightly larger. Scans of the brains of gay men in the study, however, showed that their hemispheres were relatively symmetrical, like those of straight women, while the brains of homosexual women were asymmetrical like those of straight men. The number of nerves connecting the two sides of the brains of gay men were also more like the number in heterosexual women than in straight men. “

Where science leads, technology follows. Two years ago, scientists in Oregon reported an attempt to “interfere with defeminization of adult sexual partner preferences” in sheep. Their method, as they described it, was to alter hormonal inputs in pregnant ewes “during the period of gestation when the sheep brain is maximally sensitive to the behavior-modifying effects of exogenous testosterone.” When the attempt failed, they concluded that the dosage should be increased.

Would hormonal intervention work in humans? Should we try it? Some thinkers are intrigued. Last year, the Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote: “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use.” Mohler told the Associated Press that morally, this would be no different from curing fetal blindness or any other “medical problem.” The Rev. Joseph Fessio, editor of the press that publishes the pope’s work, agreed: “Same-sex activity is considered disordered. If there are ways of detecting diseases or disorders of children in the womb … that respected the dignity of the child and mother, it would be a wonderful advancement of science.”

If the idea of chemically suppressing homosexuality in the womb horrifies you, I have bad news: You won’t be in the room when it happens. Parents control medical decisions, and surveys indicate that the vast majority of them would be upset to learn that their child was gay. Already, millions are screening embryos and fetuses to eliminate those of the “wrong” sex. Do you think they won’t screen for the “wrong” sexual orientation, too?”

(And now back to geekgirl) Here we are. We’ve arrived at the intersection of science, ethics and morals. We are already capable of treating many conditions while the baby is still in the womb. Most of these are structural defects corrected by surgery. For some children, this is a matter of life and death. For others, it improves the quality of their life. Hearts can be repaired, bone marrow transplants, a closed urethra can be opened. I doubt that any of us would argue that this is unethical. We view it as a triumph of modern science and helping an unborn person.

But what about correcting being gay? Surely well intentioned parents will ponder sparing their child a life of discrimination, hatred and fear. One could even argue this is a compassionate act. But is it? If you have a child who is “different” in any way, you will know what I mean. My son is a high functioning autistic teen. (Note: I’m not comparing autism to being gay. I’m talking about what parents feel when trying to protect their children) Do I wish he didn’t struggle so with social interactions and making friends? You bet I do. But would I have fixed him in utero? I don’t know. Now that he is grown, I ask myself, would he be as smart, creative, artistic and such an original thinker? I love him as he is. He’s able to function, is amazingly logical and mature, and continues to consciously learn what the rest of us learn instinctively.

Let’s talk science first. A physician’s first obligation is to do no harm. How would we treat this? Not surgically. With hormones? How would we determine if there are dangerous side effects? Now we’re messing with physiology. Sex hormones are connected to many other systems in the body. Working out a safe treatment would require very expensive, long term research. As a scientist with a little knowledge of how the system works, I can’t even imagine what it would take to prove to the FDA that this treatment would be safe? Is this where we want our tax dollars spent? Or would we choose a vaccine for HIV, ways to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers?

If we choose to “correct” sexual orientation, why do we deny transgendered people insurance coverage to pay for hormone therapy and surgery? These are adults, who know who they are inside, capable of making their own decisions about their bodies. Certainly from a medical point of view, there is less risk than administering an in utero treatment.

So let’s say, we can’t fix it. Can we determine if a fetus is gay? Scientifically, again, this will take a lot of research. Let’s say that happens. That leads to questions of ethics and morality, the first being abortion. It doesn’t get more controversial. This is one controversy where I understand the logic on both sides. I would prefer to see abortion used only in cases of rape (better yet, use the “morning after” pill) , if the mother’s life is truly at risk, if the child has a severe medical condition that is untreatable and would result in a child with a terminal illness or so debilitating that there is no quality of life.

What are we correcting? Gay people are born with the same range of characteristics as straight people. Physically normal, normal intelligence and mentally healthy. Where is the medical condition that impairs their quality of life? There isn’t one. It is society that causes gay people to be stressed and live in fear, not their biology. If we correct being gay, what will we lose? Would Ellen be funny? Would Michelangelo have been a lousy artist? What kind of songs would Melissa Etheridge write?

Worse, would my best friend, a lesbian, be less understanding when she listens to me whine about the stress in my life? My life has been vastly enriched by my gay friends, starting with my best friend in high school – a guy. It is scary for me to think that they could be different if they weren’t gay. What would I lose? What would all of us lose? There’s a reason straight women say that all the good ones are gay or married.

Think about it. There is probably something about you that someone disagrees with. Something they don’t like. Would you want to be corrected to suit the beliefs and comfort zone of someone else? Should I propose that we find the combination that lightens the skin of black people, in the name that they will face less prejudice? Is there a biological combination that creates Republicans or Catholics? Hate, anger, or bigotry? (Ok – I admit – that one is tempting). Should we change people’s brains so they are submissive? So they don’t believe in God? Yes, there is evidence that belief in a supreme being is programmed into our neurotransmitters. That’s a whole different blog.

“Treating” being gay is the choice of a biased and prejudiced society. It is equivalent to denying people basic human rights that we see in China and Middle Eastern countries. A form of oppression. Medical intervention should be reserved for clear cut cases of improving the quality of life of the individual – treating an inherent limitation or disability, not “a disorder” imposed by the flawed belief systems of the religious right and conservatives. Leave science to scientists and the medical definition of a disorder to physicians. No, they are not always right. But their batting average is better than those with an agenda of discrimination.

Closet Talk: MJ’s Story

April 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkCloset TalkIf you missed Closet Talk last night you missed a great story from MJ (as well as some technical distractions from yours truly at the beginning of the show).  MJ, an out-of-the-closet lesbian, eloquently told her story of life before and after the closet, weaving us through her fears and feelings of loneliness but always leading us right back to where we should be, hopeful.

You can hear the archive of the show at Blogtalk Radio: Closet Talk with jaysays or using the player below:

Priority of Hate Crimes Legislation

April 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Hate Crimes, LGBT Action Alerts, LGBT News

Perhaps as if in response to the poll and post yesterday on jaysays and discussions during the 2009 Twitter Town Hall Meeting for LGBT Activists, the HRC released an action alert today which states, in part:

Congress could vote as soon as NEXT WEEK on the hate crimes bill that would give LGBT people the protections they need and deserve, and honor the memory of Judy’s son [Matthew Shepard].

This action alert forces our hand in the debate over prioritizing “Gay Rights.”  It is obvious we cannot sit idlely by and allow this bill to fail.  Therefore, HRC is encouraging all to contact their representatives and encourage them to vote “yes” on H.R. 1913, also known as the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The letter proposed by HRC (linked above) makes the following statement contradicting the lies and deceitfulness that so-called holy folk are perpetuating in a nice little nutshell:

The opponents of the bill are throwing up a smokescreen, claiming it will stifle free speech and undermine organized religion. You must reject these false, misleading arguments. To help protect our communities from the terror and brutality of hate-driven violence, please stand up for civil rights and vote for the Matthew Shepard Act.

The right, in a way that only they can distort truth and law, claims that such legislation would prevent preachers from preaching that homosexuality is a sin.  BOGUS.  The U.S. Constitution secures our right of free speech along with their right.  The legislation aims to target violent crimes against LGBT people – not ideology or mythology.  In fact, the current hate crimes act of 1994 would simply expand to include sexual orientation and [hopefully in final form] gender identity.  The current bill only applies when a person: “willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person.”  Obviously, preaching lies at the pulpit is not included.

Another argument against H.R. 1913 is: laws against violent crimes already exist, why introduce new law?  Actually H.R. 1913 is not geared to introduce “new law” per se.  The bill clearly states its intent in the introduction:

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

So, yeah.  More lies from those that believe it is a sin to lie.

Click here to read the full text of H.R. 1913 and make a decision for yourself.

LGBT Activist Debate: Which Right is Priority?

April 20, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

During the April 20, 2009 Twitter Town Hall Meeting for LGBTQ activists and allies, an interesting debate was raised, essentially asking, should LGBTQ activists put all their resources toward one right at a time such as Marriage Equality or Employment Non-Discrimination, or continue to pour our resources into all aspects of Civil Rights?

Upon discussion, the general consensus seemed to be that we should continue fighting for the repeal of DOMA, repeal of DADT, passage of a Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA], Hate Crimes Legislation, Equal Taxation, and the list goes on.

As part of the discussion, I began a poll which gauges the temperature of LGBT Activists and allies. The poll is set to close on April 30, 2009. While the poll is open, we can open the dialogue to discuss our votes. The current results are trending in a surprising results.

I mistakenly assumed that “All of the above, no one right is more important” would win; however, at this moment it is tied with 10 votes for a Federal Employer Non-Discrimination Act and 10 votes for all of the above.

Why is this current result surprising? I expected Same Sex Marriage to be the closest second to “All of the above.”  This was not an unwarranted expectation considering media coverage of the Gay Civil Rights Movement has been restricted almost entirely to “gay marriage.”

Further, it is my belief that federal recognition of same-sex marriage, the rest will quickly follow. For example, if the government says to the people, “we do not discriminate,” the people stop learning to discriminate rendering hate crimes legislation moot and ENDA inevitable [I know, utopia]. In addition, the primary cause of unequal taxation is  the lack of federal marriage recognition; therefore, for me at least, it stood to reason that most would vote for either “All of the above” or “Same Sex Marriage.”

So what are the arguments for why the ENDA is most important? Simple, passage of the ENDA would result in gays being listed federally as a “protected class” resulting in every peice of legislation and/or court ruling in favor of a protected classes being applicable to gay people [ultimately], a reasonable and sound argument.

Thus far, the arguments supporting “All of the Above” seem to only take into account that any violation of a civil right is repugnant and must be addressed. However, with this argument we must step back from our passions and consider proper strategy. Has it been strategic for us to give funds, time and effort to numerous discriminatory practices or would we be better served to “put all of our eggs in one basket?”

My initial response is, put all of our eggs in one basket, marriage equality, and allow the rest to follow; however, I’m quickly finding myself to second guess that. Therefore, as the poll continues, I will continue to examine the issues therein and encourage your feedback.