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Archive for July, 2009

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Be Honest.

July 31, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationSame sex marriage: Are there any original thoughts left on this topic? I can’t believe how many times I have read, and seen refuted, the arguments against same-sex marriage. I still cannot find one that is reasonable. The Iowa Supreme Court could not find one that was reasonable. Neither could the California Supreme Court. The judges were interpreting laws regarding equality. For that, their punishment is to be called activists judges.

I am too tired to go into all the arguments. Everyone has heard them. So I’m going to try this angle. What marriage really is.

Marriage is a legal contract that provides at least 1138 protections under the law. It protects the right to inheritance, sharing property, parental custody, tax deductions, signing legal documents for one another including health care and power of attorney. You are automatically the next of kin. In addition, many employer benefits are extended to spouses.

Let’s get something straight. Gay people are not seeking the right to be married in the eyes of any church or religion. Why? Because getting married in a church doesn’t get you a marriage license. It’s a ceremony, not a legal event. That’s right, you blew $10,000 when all you needed is to shell out the money for the license and have two witnesses. Plus gas money.

Marriage is not about procreation. What law requires that married people procreate? God’s law? That’s not law. That’s religious scripture and has no legal standing in the courts.

Marriage is about two people making a commitment to each other. A commitment so profound, that they are willing to share their financial wealth, protect and care for one another, commit to providing for each other. It’s a big deal and is not to be taken lightly.

Marriage is also about receiving support and blessings from one’s families and friends. This is the social aspect.

Gay people can and do have children. Of course they can procreate. They aren’t born sterile for goodness sake. So what if they use artificial insemination or surrogate mothers? Straight people do too. One thing is certain. When a gay couple has a child, that child is wanted and loved.

We all love and want to be loved. Why on earth would we oppose two people making a serious, monogamous commitment to each other? What is more conservative than wanting to be married and have children? Gay people are not going to stop being gay. Straight people are not going to stop being straight.  Gay people  are not going to stop falling in love. Neither are straight people. Gay are not going to stop having sex outside of marriage. And believe me, neither are straight people. Gay people are not going to stop being born.  In fact, most of them come from straight people. We can’t make who they are and what they feel illegal.

So why do some people oppose same sex marriage? Let’s just say it. They don’t like it. It could be any number of reasons.  They are uncomfortable with it. They think about what gay people do in bed and it upsets them, repulses them, seems unnatural to them. They believe stereotypes about gays. They believe lies put out by groups like NARTH, Focus on the Family, Jerry Falwell and Republicans. They don’t know anyone who is gay or if they do, they really have not figured out that that person is human and has the same feelings as everybody else.

So from now on, every time I hear the same tired arguments against same-sex marriage, my response is going to be this.

Just be honest. You don’t like the idea. Admit it. Say it. Own what you really feel instead of hiding behind religious texts or your lack of knowledge about biology. Because that is the real answer. You don’t like it. And that answer is not enough to deny two individuals the right to be married.

I’m here. I’m not queer. Love is love. Get used to it.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Geekgirl (Jude) is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

U.S. Military Accused of Executing Iraqi Gays

July 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

fofTwo Iraqi refugees recently made a shocking presentation at an HRC sponsored event geared toward assisting LGBT people who have sought asylum to the U.S. from Iraq.  In their presentation, the two refugees presented photos of U.S. soldiers allegedly lining up gay men to execute.  One of the presenters, identified only as Hussam, showed upwards of 80 photographs depicting beheaded men alleged to be victims of U.S. Military executions because they were or were perceived to be gay.  Hussam has since refused to turn the photographs over to media outlets.

Hussam further alleged that U.S. Service Members were placing signs on the barracks stating, “Fuck Off Fags.”

While its been easy for U.S. citizens to acknowledge that the the Sunni and Shia militias as committing such executions, the shock of allegations against our own service members has produced numerous skeptics, and rightfully so.  Defense officials cannot confirm the allegations and had no reports until the allegations by Hussam of U.S. Military participating in the Iraq execution of gays.

The U.S. Military has had many past episodes of human rights violations including forcing prisoners of war to masturbate for the camera, placing them in collars and otherwise humiliating them.  We must go forward with these latest allegations with the highest degree of skepticism.  Although it is my greatest hope that these allegations are utterly false, they cannot and should not be ignored.

See: U.S. military accused of atrocities against Iraqi gays – Washington Blade.

Closet Talk: Jay’s Story | I’ve Been To Paradise

July 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkTonight, Closet Talk flipped on its head with guest host, Tammy Defoe of tamfastic.com taking the reigns and interviewing me.  Before the show, Tammy and I talked and I asked her to come up with questions about my coming out and my life.  What I wasn’t prepared for was her asking me about was my death – or the possibility of it.

Listen as I falter a bit when asked about the possibility of my demise at the hands of those that oppose LGBT equality and realize the effect that the possibility has on those I love:

Terroristic Attack at OutGames Labeled Hate Crime

July 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

OUTGAMESThe OutGames, a type of gay olympics, are taking place in Copenhagen.  As is usual when gays gather, the games have been tarnished with protests and acts of hate.  This most recent event marks the second “hate crime” to occur since the games began.  The first involving the brutal beatings of three men participating in the events.  This time, a 31-year old man threw a bomb onto the track and field of one stadium, then, less than an hour later, threw another bomb at a second event.  Police were ultimately able to detain him.  It is believed the sexual orientation of the participants spawned the attack.

Copenhagen, the Danish capital,  is generally believed to be one of the most LGBT friendly places in the world.  These events clearly indicate that LGBT people have a long way to go before they can be safe from such terrorism.

Imagine though, that a man were to start throwing bombs at an Olympic or similar event not geared toward the LGBT community.  Within the hour it took for the man to throw a second bomb, every major news organization would be on scene and a banner would be scrolling on the bottom of every news station screaming “BREAKING NEWS: Terrorist Attack at Olympic Games!” Every talking head in the world would be lining up obscure guest experts to discuss terrorism and event security.  Within days, a book recounting the event would be on a lone shelf at the front of every Borders book store.  But that’s not the case.  In fact, as of the time of this post, only 15 articles appear under a Google news search related to the event – compare that to the more than 3,000 articles published after Sotomayor’s confirmation or 500+ within an hour after a speech about health care by Obama.

I can hear it now from the U.S. opposition of LGBT equality – it’s not a “terrorist” attack, he wasn’t Muslim (their bias, not my own)!!! Before you go there, consider the definition of terrorism:

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

— terrorism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 29 Jul. 2009. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/terrorism>.

It’s sad when people only care when it happens to them, isn’t it?

A Reminder To Myself: Human Rights Include Everyone.

July 28, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Atheists for JesusI’ve been reading through a Homophobia and Religion Forum on thinkatheist.com, and felt the need to jot out my thoughts least I forget them – perhaps I’ll need this reference point in the future, although I hope I won’t.

I’m gay, an atheist, and the grandson of a Church of God minister who, in the 40’s/50’s, preached that black people didn’t have souls. It was the Curse of Ham – they weren’t human, were sexually provocative, degraded the good christian society, etc. etc. I remember hearing all of this as a child and thankfully, never bought into it. It made no sense to me.

I also remember talk of the “juke joints” and the sexually provocative nature of those establishments, which later came to represent (at least to those that wished to degrade a segment of the population for their own egotistical purposes) the entire community.

When I tell people about how I was taught to look at black people as a child, they are shocked. Obviously, I don’t feel the same way as my ancestors, although I admit that my understanding of “Black Man 101” is limited by my perceived “whiteness.”

What will we teach our children next? Who will be the next evil doer? Who will be the next class of people to make us feel better about our own failings and desires. Who will we choose to hate next? Muslims perhaps?

I already see a trend now. I regret I’ve even been guilty of it on occasion. We are bashing all those that are “Christian.” We generalize them – they are all Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and *God Forbid* Fred Phelps. Christian is becoming synonymous with “hate” and it is because of a vocal minority within Christianity. I may never understand why people believe in the great puppeteer, but they do. They exist as I exist and for that reason alone, I should defend the group, not attack them.

Perhaps its human nature to need some group of people to belittle. Perhaps its a mechanism designed to protect our own fragile sense of worth. I don’t know. I do hope though, that I will be smart enough, wise enough and kind enough to recognize when it is happening to someone else, and that I will remain strong enough to step forward on their behalf. If I fail, then may I be reminded of all those heroic straight allies who have come to my side to defend my rights and find inspiration in their strength.  I guess I really am an atheist for Jesus.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gay Rights Aren’t Important Enough So Shut Up and Wait

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

Stupid Things People Say About GaysRecently, a Prop 8 Summit was held to gauge the reaction of LGBT activists to placing an initiative on the ballot to overturn Prop 8 as early as 2010.  The options, generally, were: (1) Put it on the 2010 ballot; or (2) wait until 2012.  I won’t argue the points here as they are exhausting and, ultimately, pointless.  The fact remains that a majority has taken away the rights of a minority and the minority should do everything in its power to regain the rights it once had.

I’m one of those people that tends to read comments on blogs and news items to get an idea of what other people think about things before just taking the author’s words for it.  I was halted when I stumbled upon this comment:

I am probably one of those 10% swing voters who probably could be persuaded to vote for gay marriage.

But with everything else going on now in our culture and government disasters I really don’t care to see or hear about it for awhile. You folks need to give it a rest and revisit it later when society calms down. I and many others of similar political leanings (right of center) want nothing to do with more Liberal agenda items and will vote against it in 2010 as we did in 2008.

If it is about the customer as a previous poster said, then realize your customer is worn out and tired of being called a bigot, homophobe, racist and troglodyte over your little issue. Realize that in the big picture of our society it is a little issue and needs to go back to the end of the line and wait your turn again. [chasejj on SFGate: Politics Blog : New straw poll of gay marriage leaders: Overturn Prop 8 in 2010, emphasis added]

Essentially, this potential “swing voter” is saying that the rights of humans to participate in contractual agreements are “little issues” compared to other events, and the gays should shut up. If we shut up, we get his/her vote, if we continue, we don’t get the vote.  I loathe ultimatums.  I have a rule because of them – you give me the ultimatum, you lose.  So chasejj: I’m not going to shut up – in fact, I’m going to speak out more now thanks to you.  You’ve inspired me to be as loud as possible… louder than I was before… louder than those that outnumber me.

What infuriated me most about the comment, is that it illustrates exactly what it is to be a majority.  It represents power and ego.  The so-called “swing” voter has told me that they rule us.  They have control over our lives, lives which do not affect them, and because our lives do not affect them, our lives are of no importance to them.  We are nothing more than a liberal agenda item; we are inhuman.  Further, we annoy them and because we annoy them, they will vote against us.  They will vote against us just because they can.  They will vote against us and flex their muscles and stand atop the mountain and shout down, “YOU ARE NOTHING – I RULE YOU!”  But you know what?  You annoy me too.  You are on every billboard, every T.V. commercial and every magazine cover and I’m sick of hearing about your heterosexuality.  Why do you have to flaunt it?

But seriously, this defines exactly what this entire marriage debate is about – we are a minority group subjected to the majority’s opinion about how we should live our lives.  We are not asking them to participate in our lives, we are only asking that they allow us to rule our own lives.  In so doing, we have become nags.  We are annoying and, because they are annoyed, they are going to continue to deny us our lives, our choice, simply because they can.

Imagine if suddenly all benefits of marriage were taken away from the majority.  Suddenly, they could no longer purchase a house together without some sort of document indicating that they are jointly or severly liable for the mortgage – like a business or joint tenancy agreement.  They buy the house together, form the business and have the business hold the asset.  Now, they can’t get a homestead exemption on their taxes because, rather than a family home, it is now an asset of a business.

Imagine that, after their marriage is abolished, their paycheck is reduced because now, the U.S. Government gets to tax them on their former spouse’s medical benefits.

Imagine that their former wife/husband goes into the hospital.  In their rush to get there, they neglect to grab an original Power of Attorney for Health Care so they are denied access – after all, they’re just friends now.

Would it then be a big enough issue?  Would it then be a country in crisis?  Would YOU shut up and wait?

But LGBT people aren’t the majority.  We can experience that pain, that torment, that degradation and it is not a national crisis of any importance to anyone other than LGBT people and those that are smart enough, sympathetic enough and willing enough to align themselves because they get it.  We are at the whim of ego and it’s a finicky sort of foe, isn’t it?  So, to those of the same opinion as our commenter: I won’t call you a “bigot, homophobe, racist and troglodyte,” as those terms don’t really fit – instead you win the label of egotist.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (July 11, 2009 – July 24, 2009)

July 27, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsCanada Health Collective Rx Denies Transgender (July 11, 2009)

A new pharmacy opened in Vancouver, Canada – operated by the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. The pharmacy however does not offer its services to Transgender or Transexual women. A group called the “Femininjas” went to the pharmacy during the hours posted on the Collective’s website and found the doors locked. A statement which appears on the Collective’s website reads: “We feel that it is essential that a woman be born a woman and have the physiology of a woman and the psychological experiences of living as a girl and a woman in order to embrace the work of the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective.” The “Femininjas” are not the first group of ladies to be denied service.

Defendant in NY Murder Charged with Hate Crime (July 12, 2009*)

They were just attending a party – that’s all. It was last November on a Friday night. Lateisha Green, a Transgender woman. She went to a party with her brother – but wanted to avoid problems – so she dressed in male clothing. During the party some of the guests decided differently. These particular guests decided that she and her brother were gay – and started yelling “profane and vulgar comments” – according to police reports. So Lateisha and her brother Mark left the party – and just decided to sit in their car for a few minutes. While they were in their car – one of the party goers came out of the house with a .22-caliber rifle. According to police, “without a word, Dwight DeLee fired a shot. The bullet grazed (Mark) Cannon’s arm and with a deadly thud hit (Lateisha) Green, 22, in the chest.” She died. Her father, Albert Cannon said, “I’m hurt. Angry, upset. Mostly, I’m upset with society. How do we let our kids get this angry this young?” Dwight DeLee – is 20 – has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

*An update to this news item – (July 18, 2009*)

Dwight DeLee has been tried and found guilty of his crime. He has been convicted of “manslaughter as a hate crime for killing a Transgender woman he shot outside a party last year.”

Cleve Jones LGBT Activist on a Comeback in CA (July 12, 2009)

This is a man who has experienced and seen a lot – and is now becoming energized once again. Currently he has a labor union job (hotel union) and is organizing a march on Washington this coming October. Cleve Jones is also the person who created the AIDS quilt – which humanizes lives lost to AIDS. The quilt has 47,000 panels – which he weaved together after they were submitted in memory of those who died. He is working on organizing the march as well as an LGBT army. He is seeking an army of activists from each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts. Cleve Jones words best describe his intentions. He said, “We got locked into this pattern of fighting for fractions of crumbs – ‘Oh please, sir, in this country could we please not be fired for being Gay if it’s all right in this country for you to evict us for being Gay? It’s been this ping-pong with our basic civil rights….If you are a free and equal people, why would you settle for this?” The article also includes a great photo of him at his home in California. This is a great time for Cleve to re-energize our community!

Episcopal Church in U.S. Votes to Affirm Gay Clergy (July 13, 2009)

Since 2003 when V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was consecrated as an openly gay bishop – there have been a lot of tensions within the US Episcopal Church. At that time, “the Episcopal General Convention … passed a resolution that urged restraint by dioceses considering Gay candidates for bishop.” Recently Bishops gathered at the Episcopal General Convention voted to end the temporary restriction. It seems that more LGBT Episcopal clergy are able to live their lives openly – and possibly Bishop Robinson will soon be one of the many.

Police in UK Appoint Gay Liaison Officers (July 15, 2009)

The Suffolk Constabulary have created GLOs “… to increase and improve the trust and confidence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people who work within the Constabulary and also those who live in Suffolk.” The idea is that these officers will be based in locations throughout the county – and provide guidance and references to support agencies and groups. Rod Flory is the diversity officer for Suffolk Constabulary – he is hoping this new addition to the police will give victims as well as witnesses the “confidence to report incidents.” The article did not mention specific incidents or crimes which might have led to this decision – but this seems to be a good decision. Hopefully this creation of the Gay Liaison Officers will lead to better relations and understanding between the LGBT community and the officers who are there to protect all. Then possibly also police departments here in US locales will be open to a more successful and productive similar relation to LGBT communities.

San Diego Pride Honored with Proclamation – Prior to Fest (July 16, 2009)

San Diego Pride has already held their Pride Fest – but even before it took place there was an even greater honor. A proclamation was awarded by city councilman Todd Gloria – which declared July as Lesbian-Gay-Bixsexual-Transgender Month. City councilman Carl DeMaio added, “And this proclamation is standing in line with proclamations on Cesar Chavez, for Martin Luther King.” Many members of the LGBT community were in attendance and thanked the council for their support of the coming Pride festivities. There were also some folks present who spoke out against allowing the festivities to take place. One person in particular became so disruptive during the meeting that he was escorted out after yelling at the council – but then he was allowed back in. “… and sat silently in prayer as the council unanimously supported the proclamation.” Another man was very vocal in his opposition – his name is James Hartline. Mr. Hartline lives his live as an “ex-Gay” and said, “The reality is that I was involved in the homosexual life for 30 years. I live in the homosexual community now and so I am day-in and day-out there.” He is now living as a heterosexual man with HIV. There are many in our community who come out later in life – and are just beginning to enjoy their lives. It is unfortunate that he has felt it necessary to retract from his true identity – and put aside his true sexual identity. Sadly he is trying to take the rest of our community with him. But – I do want to give a big “Thank-you” to the San Diego city council – and a great big “Congratulations” to San Diego Pride and the LGBT community there! Congratulations San Diego Pride !!

Univ. of Pune LGBT Course Growing in Depth in India (July 16, 2009)

The University of Pune in India started offering an LGBT course in 2007 – it was not the first. The University of Hyderabad had already started course offerings. The UoP was required to add a disclaimer that all students are welcome in the courses – they don’t “have to be gay.” Now there are students doing advanced degree research in LGBT studies. Recently two professors from outside Pune visited UoP and suggested that a workshop be set up for college-level lecturers – on the LGBT course. Raj Rao is professor at the UoP – he persisted until the course saw “the light of day.” Now he is hoping that with the recent amendment to Section 377 – that more universities will adopt the courses. Some students have decided that the LGBT coursework is a good source for advanced research – because other topics have been “done to death”. I highly encourage you to take a look at the article – including the picture showing Professor Raj Rao with a small pile of the books used in the courses.

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) Hates Homophobia (July 16, 2009)

My fellow readers – my fellow Harry Potter fans – I decided to add some fun to this post. Now I do remember reading/hearing speculation about some who think certain of J.K. Rowlings’s characters might be Gay. I have absolutely no problem with that – in fact I smiled and gave a little “yeah” of my own when I first heard/read that. Now Daniel Radcliffe has publicly said that some people think that he is Gay – and in fact his friends keep telling him about blogs which say it is so. Daniel said, “It’s wonderful. I grew up around Gay people my entire life, basically, that’s probably why I’m quite camp, and some people think I’m Gay when I meet them, which I think is awesome. It’s always good to keep them guessing. I don’t go on any blogs or chats or anything, but my friends are demons for them, and apparently someone said ‘Daniel Radcliffe is Gay. He’s got a Gay face!’ I really don’t know what a Gay face is.” (Please notice that I quoted all of that directly from the article – partly because I think his own words work so great.) Actually I am aware of Gaydar – but I also don’t know what a ‘Gay face’ is either. Enjoy the pictures in the article if you like. There have been so many negatives within our community that it felt good to report on something nice like this.

Simple Kiss and Hug Shared Between Couple in Salt Lake Brings Police (July 17,2009)

Matt Aune and his partner Derek Jones had decided to go out for the evening to simply have some fun. They eventually ended up at the Plaza near the Mormon Church – and were relaxed and happy so they shared a casual kiss and a hug. The men had seen other (heterosexual) couples doing the same and so they felt comfortable. Immediately two men in suits rushed up to them – with no identifying marks on the suits – and detained them. The couple were told to leave – but had absolutely no idea that the men wearing the suits were security or that they were on private property – so they declined to do so. What followed has led to a local “kiss-in” protest at the site – and now a growing national protest is being organized in many locations. The Nationwide “Kiss-In” is meant to protest this and other situations when same sex pairs exchanged a simple kiss (even on the cheek) or held hands in public – and police were called. The national protest will be held August 15, 2009. Please see the article if you would like to read a copy of the police report of this incident in Salt Lake.

Lesbian Couple in FL Celebrates 70 Years Together (July 19, 2009)

The couple originally met and became a couple in New York. Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu met at a party in New York back in 1939. They dated for a while – then moved in together. Although some very close family members knew about their relationship – for the most part the couple kept it very quiet. Ms Leto’s niece grew up believing the ladies were sisters – and referred to them as aunts. This continued until one family party when Ms Leto (just a little bit tipsy) confided in the niece – their little secret. The niece Patricia Dillon said, “She mentioned they got married. I was so happy, but then I got sad thinking that all that time they really couldn’t be upfront about it.” In 1996 Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu registered as domestic partners in New York City. Some years later they decided to move to Florida – and used the opportunity to get more involved in LGBT events. In 2006 Ms Magazzu published their story in a book titled “An Unadulterated Story: Young and Gay at 90.” I did find some really good reviews of the book too! Congratulations to the couple of 70 years. Another wonderful example of just how same-sex marriage does not hurt the “sanctity” of heterosexual marriage.

Senate Okays Bill – is it Still The Hate Crimes Bill? (July 19, 2009)

A bill called the Matthew Shepard Hates Crimes Bill has been approved by the senate. Some see this bill as progress for our community – while others do not. Part of the concern is that the bill was passed as an amendment to a defense bill. The bill it was attached to adds additional funding to the military defense budget – plus funding for the F-22 fighter jet. The next step for this bill will be in a conference committee. There “Senate and House negotiators reconcile the chambers’ separate versions of the defense-authorization bill, which delineates Pentagon spending for fiscal 2010.” Since there are still decisions to be made – there will be further updates in future news happenings posts.

New LGBT Olympic Pride House for 2010 in Canada (July 19, 2009)

Usually at each Olympics there are Houses for each country – for socializing and having fun. In 2010 there will be a first for the LGBT community. At the Vancouver Olympics there will be place called Pride House – complete with a Pride flag hanging out front. This marvelous idea came from Dean Nelson – an Olympic gold medal winner. Pride house will be for Gay and Lesbian athletes and their friends and families. Nelson said, “It has never been done. It’s sort of a taboo subject that everyone is a little afraid to touch. But since we’re touching it, everyone is like, ‘Yea, you run with it.'” Mark Tewksbury won a gold medal in swimming – he came out in 1998. He is planning to be there – “And I’ll pull a few of my big-name Olympic friends with me.” Pride House will be located on the ground floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel in Whistler Village.

India Court Affirms Decision to Drop Section 377 (July 20, 2009)

It is really true. The recent joyous announcement that Section 377 had been overturned was celebrated – many rejoiced. Some were still a little concerned – the Supreme Court had asked the government to review the decision and file a report in six weeks. Well – the final decision has come down and “Attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati said there was no need for a stay on the high court order.” More celebrations were in order – and the hope is now that other states will feel even more inclined to overturn Section 377.

Ft Worth Seeks Fed Inquiry – Rainbow Lounge Raid (July 22, 2009)

This is a follow-up to a previously reported story. Several news items have shown up about what really happened that night at the Rainbow Lounge. Now it seems that some progress is being made. The City Council has officially requested a federal investigation into the police raid. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is also investigating – but in essence they are reviewing their own record. The Feds will hopefully be more thorough. One officer (involved in the raid) has been named specifically. Officer Jason R. Ricks – has previously had difficulties. His participation in the raid will be part of the investigation into what happened that night. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will be involved in the investigation as well.

Women From Salt Lake Walk U.S. for LGBT Homeless Youth (July 23, 2009)

Chloe Noble came out to her parents and was then forced to leave home when she was 20 years old. She struggled with being homeless for the next 10 years or so. Her parents were “very loving” – but they were LDS and in their perception being Gay or Transgender was a “mental disorder”. Fortunately she has been in a good relationship – she and her partner have shared a home for almost five years. Chloe identifies as “gender queer” – and she is traveling with her best friend Jill Hardman. They are walking across the nation for the benefit of LGBT homeless youth. When it is time for sleep all that matters to them is that “it’s a safe, dry place to sleep at night.” Ms Noble said, “We want people to really understand what kind of suffering they endure. We want to leave a lasting impression so people will look at this epidemic and want to do something.” Even though only about 5 – 8% of youth and young adults are LGBT – “they comprise 20 – 40% of the homeless youth population. These figures are according to the National Coalition for Youth. The article includes some fabulous photos from their journey – still in progress – definitely worth a peek.

Sailor Charged in Murder of August Provost at Pendleton (July 24, 2009)

Capt. Matt Brown is a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest. Capt. Brown announced that prosecutors have charged Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Campos – during a crime spree. Mr. Campos is also charged with several other crimes – leading up to and after the date when Seaman Provost was killed. He is facing charges “including murder, arson, unlawful entry, theft of military property and wrongful possession of a firearm. He’s also charged with soliciting a civilian in San Diego to kill another sailor the day after Provost’s slaying.” The Navy is denying that this is a hate crime. The charges have been filed and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Campos has been arrested for allegedly committing these crimes. It may never be known whether or not this was a crime of hate – because Seaman Provost was quietly Gay – but maybe in this case it is better that way. A crime was definitely committed – and those closest to him have suffered a loss. Possibly at this point it is best to make sure the right person is in custody – and that the survivors of August Provost receive every benefit they are entitled to. For those interested in additional details related to the charges – you will find them in the article – along with a picture of August Provost.

Physician Who Identified AIDS Epidemic Dies in L.A. (July 24, 2009)

Dr. Joel Weisman died at his home at the age of 66 – on Saturday July 18, 2009. His partner – Bill Hutton – said he passed away from heart disease and that he had been ill for several months. He was one of the first doctors to recognize the combination of symptoms along with the pattern – as the beginning of an epidemic. His practice was in Sherman Oaks in 1980 when “he began to notice a troubling pattern: He had three seriously ill patients with the same constellation of symptoms, including mysterious fevers, rashes, drastic weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. All three were gay men, whose health problems seemed to stem from defects in their immune systems.” Dr. Weisman decided to refer two of the patients to Michael Gottlieb – an immunologist at UCLA. Dr. Gottlieb also had a Gay male patient with a similar combination of symptoms. Dr Weisman and Dr. Gottlieb wrote a report – which appeared in the June 5, 1981 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – a publication of the Center for Disease Control. “That report signaled the official start of the epidemic of the disease that the federal agency later named Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” Dr. Gottlieb said in an interview, “Joel was a very astute physician. He had a sense that something out of the ordinary was happening.” Dr. Weisman’s partner of 10 years – Timothy Bogue – died of AIDS in 1991.
mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gay Couples are “Allegedly” Denied Rights.

July 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysA conservative columnist,  Calvin Freiburger, recently took on Wisconsin’s Domestic Partnership legislation in what he claims is a “reasoned argument” against the legislation (which is available not only to gay couples, but straight couples as well).

In his article, Mr. Freiburger makes many observations, including that the 30 day of living together requirement to qualify for Domestic Partnership benefits is “scant.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Freiburger apparently has not reviewed what is required in Wisconsin to obtain a “marriage license,” including the facts that: (a) once applied for, the license only has a 6 day waiting period before being effective; and (b) that only one person need reside in Wisconsin for at least 30 days.  Thus, the “scant” requirement to obtain Domestic Partnership benefits in Wisconsin far exceeds the requirements to obtain a marriage license and more benefits than provided by the Domestic Partnership laws.

Speaking of benefits, Mr. Freiburger also makes this claim:

Many of the so-called rights gay couples are allegedly denied, such as hospital visitation and power-of-attorney related issues, are either already available to gays, easily achievable without creating new government relationship statuses, or were created to aid couples raising children on just one parent’s income, and are thus irrelevant to gay couples as well as to dual-income straight couples. [emphasis added] || State’s same-sex partnership law violates ban on gay marriage | fdlreporter.com | Fond du Lac Reporter

Apparently, Mr. Freiburger neglected to review Wisconsin law at all prior to formulating an opinion as inaccurate as the above.  Wisconsin’s anti-marriage amendment includes a ban on any relationship between same-sex couples that is “similar to” marriage.  Thus, when the initiative was placed on the ballot, the Attorney General of Wisconsin included this note:

A ‘yes’ vote [for the marriage ban] would also prohibit recognition of any legal status which is identical or substantially similar to marriage for unmarried persons of either the same sex or different sexes. The constitution would not further specify what is, or what is not, a legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage. Whether any particular type of domestic relationship, partnership or agreement between unmarried persons would be prohibited by this amendment would be left to further legislative or judicial determination.

It can be argued that powers of attorney, wills and other such documents between same-sex couples create a relationship “similar to marriage” and thus would be invalid in Wisconsin (along with other states such as Texas that have included the “similar to” language).

What Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research fails to mention, acknowledge or otherwise contemplate is that same-sex couples wishing to provide these benefits to their spouses through wills and powers of attorney not only pay far in excess of the average $80.00 fee for such services, but may not reap the benefits of the documents.

Perhaps the worst thing Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research said in his so-called article was this:

…one principle should never be up for debate in a constitutional republic like America: the rule of law.

Well, the rule of law is always up for debate – particularly when the law violates other laws, like”equal protection clauses of the primary source, The United States Constitution.  It’s clear our disgruntled conservative friend armed himself, not with fact, but opinion.  As jaysays.com contributor, Jude, would say, “The only things that must be straight are your facts.”

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

It Was Only a Kiss, How Did It End Up Like This?

July 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

kissinHere’s the Press Release for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In being planned nationally by the Davids (David Badash and David Mailloux) and Willow Witte.  Please help spread the word:

In response to recent events in three different U.S. cities, where gay or lesbian couples have been harassed, detained or arrested, for the simple act of kissing in a public place, two gay rights bloggers have joined forces with the national grassroots LGBT organization Join the Impact to create the Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Now, David Badash (of the New Civil Rights Movement), David Mailloux (of DYM SUM), and Willow Witte (Co-Founder and Director of Join the Impact) are seeking event coordinators throughout the United States to help organize these Kiss-In events.

“It is our goal to have as many cities or towns holding events as possible, to create the strongest statement we can against harassment of the LGBT community,” Mailloux said. “And it will be incredibly easy to put one of these events together. Most of the work involves publicity – networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, press releases to local media, and hanging flyers in and around the site of the event.”

“We’ll send written guidance and standard press releases to anyone interested in holding their own related event, to make this even easier for anyone who wishes to help,” Mailloux added.

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 2 p.m., Eastern Time (11 a.m., Pacific Time). Badash’s original vision for the event would have as many couples as were willing to participate – gay and straight – showing this simple, innocent form of affection for one another in popular public locations throughout the United States.

“Both gay and straight couples should be able to kiss whomever they like, wherever they like,” Badash said. “If you want to give your better half a kiss, or hold their hand while walking down the street, then you should go for it. Lord knows, this world could use a lot more love, and a lot more people displaying acts of love, affection, and kindness.”

Gay activists and bloggers throughout the country have said that the recent incidents involving gay and lesbian couples kissing in San Antonio, and El Paso, TX, as well as Salt Lake City, UT were entirely related to their sexual orientation.

“It’s truly shocking that – in 2009, with homosexuality decriminalized throughout the United States – we are still seeing law enforcement and other individuals harassing and detaining homosexual couples,” Mailloux said. “In two of the three incidents, the couples only kissed on the cheek. There’s nothing inappropriate about that. There’s nothing illegal about that. Kissing is a beautiful thing; it’s a timeless show of affection for our loved ones. People kiss on the cheek or on the lips every single day, in any number of public places – airports, subways, sidewalks, coffee shops. The LGBT community should be allowed that same right without consequences.”

Unlike other recent isolated kiss-in events in Salt Lake City and San Diego, the Great Nationwide Kiss-In is exactly that – it’s on a national level. While the other events have taken place on or near Mormon church property, Badash, Mailloux, and Witte all agree that the Great Nationwide Kiss-In should be as non-controversial as possible.

“These events are meant to be fun and emphasize the beauty of love and simple affection between two people,” Witte said. “People shouldn’t be made to live in fear of expressing their love! It was meant to be celebrated. We just want people to come, to enjoy the company of the LGBT community, then at 2 p.m., everyone will kiss. We want to make this statement about the beauty of such chaste affection, and the right for everyone to share that affection with whomever they choose in whatever environment that suits them.”

As of July 23, the coordinators have confirmed five events in Boston, MA; Irvine, CA; New York City; San Diego, CA; and San Francisco, CA. There are also organizers trying to get events started in Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Memphis, TN; Northampton, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; and San Antonio, TX.  If you would like to coordinate a Kiss-In event in your city or town, can join organizers in one of the above cities, or if you have other questions about the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, please contact David Mailloux at GreatNationwideKissIn@gmail.com, or call him at (617) 213-0433.

Closet Talk: Gabrielle Hermosa of MyCDLife.com.

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

Closet TalkGabrielle Hermosa joined me last night on Closet Talk.  She is the author of MyCDLife.com and was a delightful guest.  According to her website Gabrielle is:

…a crossdresser, media artist, husband, part-time blogger and psychology enthusiast. I write about crossdressing, my personal life, and mix it up with fun and humor.

It is time we got out of the 1950’s when it comes to transgendered issues.

We discussed many of the myths associated with crossdressing/crossdressers, how crossdressers fall into the umbrella of “transgender” people, her own coming out to her wife as a crossdresser, voice feminization issues and the sexual fetish of crossdressing.

We couldn’t pack all the information into a 30 minute show, so we went about 20 minutes long; however, it’s well worth it. The show was slightly delayed in going live, but the archive begins as it should. Enjoy!