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Archive for July, 2009

Let’s Not Suffer Forgetfulness: Happy Birthday Hart Crane

July 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Headline, Thought of the Gay

hartToday would be Hart Crane’s 110th birthday.  However, the American poet left this world at the young age of 32.  One account of his death reads:

Hart Crane was not yet thirty-three when he removed his topcoat and jumped over the rail of the Orizaba. It was just past noon, 250 miles north of Havana, and 10 miles east of the coast of Florida. ‘Man overboard,’ someone called and the Orizaba shut down its engines. For two hours the lifeboats circled in vain, then the ship resumed its voyage.  — The Lonesome Death of Hart Crane.

It’s believed that, before taking his life, Crane made an advance on one of the male sailors and was then roughed up by the crew and left without his ring or wallet.  It’s further speculated that Crane crumbled under the pressure of his sexual orientation, leading him to alcoholism and, ultimately, his suicide.

It would be wonderful if I could say much has changed in the nearly 80 years since Crane’s death, but LGBT people are still at a high risk of suicide, largely because of groups like Exodus International, the National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage and the American [Straight] Family Association pressuring LGBT people to live a hetero-normalized life and degrading our societal worth.  I wish I could say that Bryce Faulkner isn’t being pressured in this way, or that there will never be another Carl Walker.  Unfortunately, history has a way of being forgotten.  As Crane wrote:

Forgetfulness is rain at night,
Or an old house in a forest, — or a child.
Forgetfulness is white, — white as a blasted tree,
And it may stun the sybil into prophecy,
Or bury the Gods.

I can remember much forgetfulness.

— Hart Crane

Happy birthday Hart.

Preliminary Hearings Underway for Larry King’s Murderer.

July 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

McInerneyBrandon McInerney, the teenager who allegedly murdered Larry King after King declared, “Baby, I love you,” to him, faced a day in the courtroom on charges as an adult for murder and a hate crime.  During the pretrial hearing, Oxnard Police Sergeant Kevin Baysinger, told the court:

Brandon said if he ever wanted to kill anybody, his dad had a bunch of guns and he had the capability.

He went on to say that the investigation also revealed that McInerney told one of Larry’s friends before the murder to:

Tell Larry goodbye because you’re not going to see him again.

McInerney has refused a plea bargain and entered a not guilty plea.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the defense attorneys have invoked a defense remarkably similar to the “Gay Panic Defense” previously discussed, indicating that McInerney shot Larry twice in the head because he was provoked by King’s advances.  But McInerney shouldn’t succeed because he broke the rules.  According to testimony McInerney didn’t “panic,” but committed pre-meditated murder.

Unfortunately, pre-meditated murder doesn’t always lead to a proper and just conviction.  Take Dan White, the man who murdered Mayor George Mascone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, as an example.  Defense attorneys convinced the jury that Dan White took the gun to the municipal building without any intention of shooting the Mayor or Harvey.  He was then convicted of “voluntary manslaughter” and received a 7 year, eight month sentence.

History is posed to repeat itself again in this case.  As in the case against Dan White, the jury will be sympathetic toward the teenager for the murder – after all, he’s young, straight and white.

In the News:

Boy accused of killing gay classmate bragged he had guns at home, police say | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times.

Prelim Gets Under Way For Teen Accused Of Killing Gay Classmate | KEYT.com – News, Weather, Sports for Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Oxnard | KEYT Headlines.

Hearing Starts For Teen Accused Of Killing Gay Student | On Top Magazine :: Gay & Lesbian News, Entertainment, Commentary & Travel.

Hate Crimes Legislation: Obama, won’t you buy me an F22?

July 20, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, Hate Crimes

f22The Hate Crimes Bill has, at long last, passed the Senate. Hooray! Wait, what? Obama might veto it? That’s right folks. Why? Because Republicans added 1.5 billion dollars for F22’s. Those would-be state of the art military jets.

Let me just get this off my chest first. I have no clue what those two things have to do with each other. Yet, we all know, that passing legislation is a game of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” It’s never really been about what citizens deserve. It’s all about special interests and party allegiance. What I’m trying to say is, crazy or stupid, like it or not,  this is how our government works. Heck, I’m ready to tie same-sex marriage to a new Star Wars program. Why not?

How do I feel about this? How does the LGBT community feel about this? Here’s what I feel. Rational? I have no clue. I feel tired of waiting for this legislation. I’m straight, white, not disabled, not part of a targeted group of any kind. I just believe in protecting people who are targets. Even people I disagree with, like the religious right. Violence isn’t an answer.

Does the military need F22’s? I don’t know. Are there F22 pilots, sitting around, “plane-less”? Well, not if they are gay with 18 years of spotless service and they’ve been outed. Will F22’s hurt the LGBT community? Hmm. Seems unlikely. It will make jobs for people who make F22’s. Can we use them for night time surveillance of high crime areas? Can we give them to gay pilots?

Obama, won’t you buy me an F22? My enemies fly bombers, and you know what they can do. Worked hard for equal rights, so close to the end. Obama, won’t you buy me protection for my friends?

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. Check out her LGBT Science blog.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Straight Ally? Wear Blue. It’s What You Can Do.

July 19, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

LGBT Lessons blueAre you straight? Do you have straight friends and family? Send ’em to me, the straight girl blogging on a gay man’s website. I want to have a little chat with straight people. I’m here to recruit you. I’m here to turn you blue.

Over Independence Day, jaysays had a poll. What could help move gay rights forward? Was it scientific? No. Did we get thousands of responses? No. Still, one of the top thoughts was enlisting more straight allies. What could we do? We came up with blue.

I believe there are a lot of straight people out there who support rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. But you, the straight folks, aren’t sure what to do. Maybe you think you are not welcome in this movement.  When a referendum comes around, you vote. You may have other causes that you are dedicated to. Or – it never occurred to you that your voice could help.

My straight friends. Your voices can help. There’s no place like the Internet to show your true colors. To stand up for your beliefs. Doing the right thing has never been easier.

We noticed the amazing response on Twitter when folks turned their images green to support Iran. The idea spread like wildfire. I was reminded of when the Nazi’s went into Denmark. They demanded that the Jews wear an armband with a Star of David. The good people of Denmark protested by wearing the same armbands. Now everyone is Jewish. Brilliant idea. The Nazi’s? Eventually, they gave up. People on Twitter identified themselves as being from Iran. Amazing how human compassion works, isn’t it?

Hmm.  Can I, one person, get straight people to show their support for LGBT rights? I needed a simple idea. I contacted Blue4Equality and they responded with an enthusiastic yes. Their idea is a simple one. Put a blue light in your window to show your support for gay rights. Well, on the Internet, our images, our icons, our avatar’s are our own personal window. I liked it. We all know that a rainbow is the symbol for LGBT rights and pride. Why not use blue as an metaphor of straight supporters? After all, together, we can reach the sky. And it just happens to be blue.

Make a simple statement about your values. Go blue. Shade your image blue, take a photo of yourself against a beautiful blue sky,  put on a blue bow, a blue ribbon, a blue shirt, a blue hat, color your hair blue. Use your imagination. Write a limerick or a poem. Tell us, here at jaysays, why you support gay rights. You don’t need to donate money, go to a march or even reveal your real name. Stand up straight for what you believe in. Support equal rights for all people.

Editor’s Note: As a young gay man, I often felt very isolated and alone.  After coming out of the closet, I quickly learned who were my “true friends” and who were convenient friends.  Many of my straight friends abandoned ship.  In fact, one of them told me, “Gays are like cockroaches, you don’t know why, but you just want to step on them.”  Obvioiusly, it was a crushing moment for me, and I began believing that there were no straight people that could be trusted – all of them would prefer to step on me.  I’m happy to say that, after many many years, I’ve learned that there are numerous straight allies; however, many of them don’t know how to show their support of the LGBT community.

Jude, a straight ally, started bouncing ideas around via emails and, with the help of another vocal and steadfast straight ally, Jane Wishon, blue was born.  Jane also sells straight ally merchandise on her cafe press site to help bring awareness about the inequalities faced by LGBT people. She has also graciously offered to help people go blue – the color of the sky that holds the rainbow.  She can be reached via twitter.

If you prefer not to go blue, but still want to show your support for human rights, you can download one from here. Simply right click the icon of your choice and save it to your computer.  You can then upload the icon to any website where you wish to show your support:

rainbowally straight ally 1

straightally BLUE

Gays aren’t the only people that come out – and the more straight allies that come forward, the more visibility, support and safety we will find.  Together, we can build a better future for all people.

SCLC Works to Overcome Oppression in Order to be Oppressive

July 17, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

SCLCAsk just about anyone on the street if they support civil rights and they will likely say yes, but ask specific questions and you’ll hear a wide variety of responses.

Rev. Eric P. Lee, the President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (“SCLC”) has come under fire by members of the purported civil rights organization.  The scrutiny isn’t because Rev. Lee is against civil equality, which would be expected from a so-called civil rights organization, but instead, because he supports civil equality.

The SCLC was formed in the late 50’s in response to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  The group, popularized by Martin Luther King, Jr., has been a leadership organization for civil rights for decades.  Their work has inspired my own admiration, until now.  Unfortunately, SCLC national leaders and many members don’t seem to believe in civil equality for all people.  In fact, many members of the SCLC have called for the resignation of Rev. Lee because of his vision of a fully equal America.  National leaders of the SCLC  went as far as to summon Lee to Atlanta and advised him that, if he failed to show, he would be suspended.  Lee did not show because he couldn’t afford a last minute trip, but he did advise the group that he could appear via telephone.  The group did not respond to that offer, but did send a warning to Lee when he didn’t show advising him to reschedule the meeting and appear in person or face removal from the SCLC.

Because of the Southern Christian Leadership Council’s mostly silent and dismissive stance on gay rights, it is clear that they are no longer a civil rights organization.  I civil rights organization would align itself with ALL human rights issues in order to secure dignity, fair treatment and equality under the law for everyone.  Instead, they are becoming the very people they once stood against.  They have become the oppressors.

Rev. Lee has stated publicly:

Any time you deny one group of people the rights and privileges that other groups enjoy, it is fundamentally and unequivocally a denial of their civil rights.

Obviously, he gets it.  Perhaps instead of a suspension, members of the SCLC should promote Rev. Lee to a national position – since he is truly a civil rights leader.

Related Links:

Los Angeles Times | Civil rights group threatens to fire local leader for gay marriage endorsement.

CQ Politics | Gay Marriage: What Would King Do?.

rainbowzine.com | SCLC and Marriage Equality.

The Gaytheist Agenda | Reverend Eric P. Lee Threatened With Firing over Same-Sex Marriage Endorsement.

How to Get Away with Murder: A Guide to the Gay Panic Defense

July 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

panicGetting away with murder when investigators are using advanced forensic science such as DNA testing isn’t easy these days, but where there’s a will, there’s a way – as they say.  Because murder is not as big of a sin against God as being gay (so it seems), we’ve prepared the following guide which will assist you in carrying out a murder – and getting away with it.  The guide was prepared after a careful analysis of several cases wherein the “Gay Panic” defense was used.  Those cases will be discussed at the end of this guide.

Step 1. Be a heterosexual male.

This is the most important aspect of carrying out the remaining stages.  If you are not a heterosexual male, you can attend some sort of conversion therapy, declare yourself heterosexual, find a woman to be your girlfriend and then continue to step 2.  If you are not a male, gender reassignment will be required before moving on to Step 2.

Step 2.  Choose your victim.

When choosing a victim, it’s much easier if they are a confirmed homosexual; however, there really is no requirement that the person you murder be homosexual.  If they are, it will make the defense of the matter much easier on you.  If they are not homosexual, you must first set it up to show that they “secretly” were homosexual (i.e. photograph of them in a public restroom with a senator/minister).  Once you have completed this step, proceed to step 3.

Step 3. Take the victim somewhere private.

In recent cases, the private place has been the victim’s home.  This is optimal as, in later steps, you can say you were lured to their place.  It is not recommended that you take the victim to your own house as you will have to substantiate why you took a gay person home with you.  Should you have no other choice but to use your own home, have a ready excuse like: We stopped by to pick up my fishing rod.  Make sure your excuse is innocuous and has no gay undertones.

Step 4. Murder the victim.

You may think that murdering your victim with a gun will be the cleanest way to do it, but this is sure to get you thrown into prison.  Instead, you must murder them violently.  In recent cases which were successful, stabbing or bludgeoning have lead to acquittals or reduced charges.  Therefore, murder your victim in a gruesome and violent manner.

Step 5. Rush to your girlfriend’s place.

If your girlfriend is a pretend girlfriend as discussed above, this step will be easier on you emotionally.  If it’s your real girlfriend, you may feel a little guilty, but a murder has to do what a murderer has to do.  When you get to her house, bang on the door.  As soon as she opens the door, grab her and kiss her as passionately as possible.  Stop and immediately fall to the ground screaming about a man who lured you to his apartment under false pretenses and then made sexual advances toward you.  Once she is clear on that point, in spite of your near senseless babbling, say, “I killed him… oh my god, I killed him. I snapped when he tried to touch me.”  At this point, your girlfriend should call the police.  Depending on how much she loves you and whether or not she is a decent person, you may have to coax her a bit into calling the police, but don’t make it obvious.

Step 6. The police.

Don’t talk to the police.  You have a right to remain silent.  Your girlfriend will tell them what you said, but it’s important that you not say a word to them – rely on your attorney.

Step 7. Go to jail.

Don’t worry though, you won’t be there forever – just until trial.  Prosecutors may attempt to plea you out, but don’t fret – no jury would send a man to his death for murdering a “faggot.”  Use that word a lot to your lawyer.  Say things like, “That faggot tried to rape me.”

Step 8. Trial.

You are now relying on your lawyer.  Sit back and look as straight as possible.  Try to be “normal” in the eyes of the jury.  It’s important that they see you as a healthy, normal straight man that couldn’t take the disgusting idea that a man would make a pass at you.

Step 9. Jury verdict.

You don’t have much control over this, but if history is any indicator, you have nothing to worry about.  In fact, you’ll likely even get a full acquittal assuming your lawyer used phrases like, “family man” and “normal society” often enough.

Recent cases in review.

Provocation defense in gay banjo bashing murder ‘stupid’: NZ gay community – news – LIVENEWS.com.au.

In this case, the murderer flawed – he did not rush over to his girlfriend’s house and declare his masculinity threatened prior to the arrest.  Therefore, he was not fully acquitted.  Instead, jurors found he was “not guilty” of murder, but guilty of “manslaughter.”

Man Who Stabbed His Gay Neighbor 61 Times Acquitted Using Gay Panic Defense « Unfinished Lives.

This guy did it right.   Jospeh Biedermann went to a bar and got extraordinarily drunk.  So drunk, in fact, that the bar refused to serve him any more liquor.  A neighbor, Terrance Michael Hauser, who Biedermann alleges he never met, invited Biedermann over to his place for drinks.  While there, Biedermann stabbed Terrance 61 times, resulting in Terrance’s death.  Biedermann stuck to the rules above and, in spite of the fact that it cannot be disputed that he killed Terrance, a jury acquitted him.  Why?  He was straight, the victim was gay and he declared Terrance made sexual advances toward him.  He also went to his girlfriend’s house, dripping with Terrance’s blood.  There was so much blood, in fact, that his girlfriend brought bowls out in which Joseph was to place his clothes to prevent dripping.

Gay Panic: From Manslaughter to Assault.

Results such as those achieved by Biedermann are atypical.  In most cases, persons do get charged with something; however, the reduced charge is a slap on the wrist compared to a murder charge.  In another recent case, Robert Lee Hanna was indicted by the grand jury for a misdemeanor offense of assault after murdering 17 year old, Tony Randolph Hunter.  Hanna entered a plea of not guilty and advised he only hit Tony after Tony grabbed his buttock and crotch – thus, Hanna obviously was justified in the murder.

The Gay Panic Defense.

The Gay Panic defense was popularized in 1995 after Jonathan Schmitz, a guest on the Jenny Jones show, murdered Scott Amedure, who confessed he had a crush on Schmitz during the show.  Jonathan was not successful in the defense because there was no immediate response.  This means Jonathan should have immediately murdered Scott to get off on the murder charges, instead he waited three days.

Disclaimer.

While the Gay Panic defense has a remarkable success rate, the results of using this guide are not guarenteed.   Further, this guide is not intended to encourage you to murder people.  Murder is bad, no matter why.  This guide is merely intended to instruct you on how to get away with murder, not to instruct you to murder.  It is intended as a satirical piece illustrating the effects of a corrupt and immoral justice system which, although purportedly blind, sees sexual orientation as a motive – an important note considering those against Hate Crimes Legislation argue that it criminalizes thought and is based upon motive.  It’s sad that I feel obligated to say that this is satire – I do so because history has shown us that this sort of action does result in reduced charges or acquittals – meaning that people actually do this!!!  We are shameful when we award murder and penalize love.

Gay Activists Kicked out of Council Hearing on Rainbow Lounge Raid.

July 15, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Headline, LGBT News

While there is no reason the average person should watch the entire 6+ hours of the City Counsel meeting during which the Ft. Worth raid of the Rainbow Lounge was discussed, it does have its dramatic moments. City Council Woman, Kathleen Hicks, delivered an eloquent speech around the 0:13:50 mark.

As a council representative of the club in which this unfortunate incident took place and as an African American female who experiences discrimination every day of my life, I fill it is incumbent upon me to stand up, not only for the citizens I represent, but for all.  I want to thank each and everyone of you that have emailed or called me regarding this incident.

***

I also feel very strongly that not only the police, but all city employees, including myself, must receive education on diversity and inclusion and acceptance of all within our community.

Thereafter, District 9 Councilman, Joel Burns, advised that he has received over 1,000 emails and telephone calls indicating concern over the raid.  While he believes the Chief Police is doing a thorough job, he agrees an independent investigation is necessary.

But the real fun began shortly after the 25 minute mark when the mayor attempted to move away from the Rainbow Lounge talks and continue with the agenda items.  Much to the dismay of many present, the City of Ft. Worth had placed the Rainbow Lounge raid last on the agenda.  Audience members, frustrated that LGBT issues are last again, interrupted the mayor to request that the Rainbow Lounge Raid be moved to the front of the agenda.

The mayor advised that there are many other important things on the agenda that must be discussed prior to the alleged human rights violations.  A review of the agenda indicates that an Agreement for Auction Services, the purchase of a truck, veterinary supplies and other such items took precedence.  The LGBT activists present then began chanting, “Hear us now!”

Discontent amongst those present continued to esculate and ultimately resulted in the removal of two men from the meeting by marshals.  The request to move the Rainbow Lounge discussions to the front of the agenda was denied.

Upon being asked to apologize for a man [Chad Gibson] being hospitalized.  The mayor responded by saying:

If you want an apology from the mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what happened in Fort Worth.

Three hours later, Jonathan Nelson, a Ft. Worth attorney, opened the discussions on behalf of the LGBT community.  He began by reading an email he received calling him a “meth head” and “fudge backer” which email further asked how he can find time to sodomize his partner while doing interviews with the Dallas Voice, working with the LGBT Chamber and picking up “rent boys.”  He explained:

That is what it can mean to be gay in Ft. Worth.

Many more speakers followed, all with their own stories and experiences.  The investigation into the incedent is still underway.

Since the raid, Officer Sara Straten has been appointed as a liaison to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.  Perhaps progress is being made.

VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE MEETING:


Launch in external player

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (July 4, 2009 – July 12, 2009)

July 14, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsAustralian Sailors Competition Under Investigation (July 4, 2009)

Australia is not the first country to be embarrassed by its military – the US has had a couple of investigations of its own. This time it’s Australia’s turn. A vessel of the Australian Navy was docked in Singapore this past May. While the vessel was in port there – something along the lines of a contest was discovered. It seems that a group of sailors on this ship had a contest (with cash prizes) for bedding their female colleagues. That’s right. There was an extra (cash) incentive for bedding or sleeping with an officer (female), or a Lesbian or having sex in an unusual place (pool table). The name of the ship is the HMAS Success – no my fellow readers I am not kidding. That is the true name of the vessel. The Success has a crew of 220. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that the allegations are “disturbing.” Hopefully all those involved will feel full and appropriate justice for their “alleged” contest.

LGBT Feel Life Better in Iraq with Saddam (July 6, 2009)

The life of a homosexual individual in Iraq has been dangerous for a very long time. When Saddam ruled – 1979 to 2003 – the LGBT community lived in fear of their lives. Since the overthrow of Saddam our brothers and sisters have seen things go from bad to even worse. Yes there are still arrests and killings – but since 2003 there has been horrific torturing and even violence against the dead. There are accounts of partners being removed from their homes and murdered – then the bodies found at a later time – further mutilated. A team for the BBC – is creating a documentary “Gay Life After Saddam”. They have been granted permission to speak with individuals in an Iraqi safe house run by an organization based in London – and the documentary will air at a later date. The safe houses are managed from London by the Iraqi Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group. Please be aware that the article contains very graphic information about torturing – and about mutilation of bodies of the deceased.

Death of Seaman Provost at Camp Pendleton in CA (July 7, 2009)

Seaman August Provost was from Houston – and was standing duty as a guard at his base. (I personally have driven past the road to Camp Pendleton many times and there is no easy access for those who do not belong on the base.) While on duty he was shot and killed – then the guard shack where he had been on duty was burned down. Seaman Provost had been telling members of his family that he was being harassed – but that he could not report it to his superiors because he wanted to continue to serve. Many wonder if he would still be alive if D.A.D.T. had already been repealed. According to a senior Navy officer, “As it stands right now, we have no indication that there is any tie to what may or may not have been his sexuality. He did suffer gunshot wounds, and there was a fire in a pretty clear attempt to destroy evidence. But he was not bound, he was not gagged and he was not mutilated.” At this time the investigation is continuing. Local LGBT activists planned a candlelight vigil outside the gates of Camp Pendleton – Friday July 10, 2009 several hours after memorial services were to be held near his home in Texas.

Events in Maine to Honor Slain Charlie Howard (July 7, 2009)

On July 7, 1984 Charlie Howard was badly beaten and tossed into a stream – solely because he was Gay. He was 23-years old and he drowned. Some good has come from his untimely death. His death did lead to an anti-discrimination ordinance in Bangor – and a state hate crimes law. This year – on the 25th anniversary of his death – Maine passed a bill allowing Same-Sex couples to marry. Mr Howard has been remembered in many ways this past week – and memorial has been dedicated near to where he was drowned.

Superheroes Publicize LGBT Protection Laws in Colorado (July 7, 2009)

Our community has so many concerns about safety and legal protections that when the laws are there – we need to let everybody know. Well that’s exactly what the GLBT Community Center of Colorado has done – using superheroes. With the help of Peak Creative Media the campaign is being rolled out – “with a series of online ads, bar napkins and coasters, and videos and publicity events at GLBT Pride festivals”. They have been working to put the laws into a format which is more attention getting – and understandable. Jim Jonas of Peak Creative Media said, “That’s why we came up with the superhero theme. It’s an engaging, fun, entertaining and yet informative way to get people to become familiar with the laws.” “The five laws, passed from 2005 through this year, support second-parent adoptions and designated-beneficiary agreements for unmarried couples; provide enforcement against hate crimes; and prohibit job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Please – I highly encourage you to take a look at the superheroes and what they represent – located just below the article itself. What a great idea GLBT Community Center of Colorado! Seems like a good inspiration!!

El Paso Restaurant Ejects Gay Men For a Kiss (July 8, 2009)

A group of gay men had decided to stop at a Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Tx. While they were there two of the men exchanged a simple kiss on the lips. This was not at an hour when very young or impressionable children would have been in the restaurant – it was at about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 29th. The security guards approached the men and instead of maybe alerting the men that customers complained and asking them to refrain from any more displays of affection – the guards began a verbal assault. Carlos Diaz de Leon called police “when he feared he and his group were targets of discrimination.” The security guards waited until the group sat down and then said, “they didn’t allow that faggot stuff to go on there.” Then – according to Mr. de Leon – they were made to leave. Approximately one hour later a police officer arrived – after several calls from both the security guards and from Mr. de Leon. The officer (just one) refused to listen to the group of men until he had spoken with the security guards first. Then, the officer told the men they could be cited for homosexual conduct. It is unfortunate that the officer – and possibly the El Paso police department – doesn’t keep up with revisions in the law. But then the US Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional back in 2003 – but maybe they have gotten a little behind in their reading.

Gay Man Visiting New York Beaten in Hate Crime (July 10, 2009)

Joseph Holladay had already moved away from New York to Boston – but he had to return to New York on business and stayed with a friend. It was around 4:15 a.m. and he left the apartment briefly to help another friend hail a cab – then stopped just long enough to have a cigarette. “Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was attacked by some men, they were calling me faggot,” he said at a July 1 press conference. “They beat me hard, and unconscious, leaving me laying in a pool of blood.” When he woke up he was in the hospital being given multiple stitches in his head. Fortunately there were witnesses to this horrible attack – and most fortunately Mr. Holladay survived. Once the investigation truly got underway – the authorities realized that there were at least five more cases in which the same perpetrators were very involved. The investigation is still underway and they are actively pursuing the suspects. The article includes a photo of Mr. Holladay at the press conference – just a few days after the beating. The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has been assisting both Joseph Holladay and the New York City Police – to arrest those involved in the attack and also link them to the other attacks to which they apparently have been linked. Please join me in wishing Mr. Holladay – and the others – a full and safe recovery from their injuries.

State of Massachusetts Sues Feds Over D.O.M.A. (July 11, 2009)

The state of Massachusetts now has another first – to the benefit of the LGBT Community. The state was the first to legalize same-sex marriage – and now it is the very first state to sue the U.S. government over a law which “interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define marriage as it sees fit.” Cheers for the state of Massachusetts !!! The lawsuit – filed in federal court in Boston – “argues the act ‘constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law’.” Approximately 16,000 Same-Sex couples have been married in Massachusetts since it became legal in 2004 – and the lawsuit says that they are “unfairly being denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.” Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley said, “They are entitled to equal treatment under the laws regardless of whether they are gay or straight.” The federal lawsuit also addresses issues such as eligibility for Medicaid benefits and veterans burial benefits – among others. This could become just the catalyst President Obama needs to start the repeal of D.O.M.A. Hopefully other states will follow. Thank-you very much Massachusetts – for taking the time and energy to care!
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: Transgender = Attention Starved Homosexual

July 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysIf you want to get technical, the title of this blog series, “Stupid Things People Say About Gays” doesn’t fit well when discussing Trans-Issues.  Not because Trangender people aren’t part of the LGBT community (after all there is a T in there), but because most Transgender people don’t identify as gay.  Therefore, before we get too far into this horror story of gender discrimination and hate, I must admit to using the term “gay” as an all inclusive pass for my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied friends – that includes our straight allies (isn’t it lovely being gay?).

As previously reported, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (“SEPTA”) sales a riding pass, referred to as a “transpass” to those wishing to avoid the use of tokens to ride the rail.  SEPTA issues the pass with a sticker, either “M” for male or “F” for female, in order to prevent people from sharing the pass with family or friends.  This is obviously a valid rationale for gender discrimination considering no females have female family members or friends and no men have male friends or family members – thus the SEPTA stickers have effectively prevented the sharing of the passes (do I need to note the sarcasm?).

The stickers have stirred up a bit of confusion, not only for enforcement officials, but passengers as well.  In 2007, Charlene Arcila purchased a transpass from SEPTA.  As a trans-identified female, her sticker was appropriately labeled with an “F.”  However, Charlene was denied use of her pass by one rail employee.  To prevent the future trouble, Charlene got a new pass, this time with an “M” label; however, she was again denied use of her pass.  There is also an unconfirmed report of a non-trans woman being denied use of the pass as, in SEPTA’s opinion, she did not appear to be a woman.   Since that time, the group Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) has formed to take on SEPTA and their gender stickers.

However, as often happens with the virtual anonymity of the internet, many stupid things are being said about transgender people.  Perhaps one of the most unaware authors wrote what lead me to the disclaimer of the all inclusive word, “gay” at the beginning of this post:

Transgender = Attention Starved Homosexual. – “Edith Bunker

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing.  A biological male who identifies as a female is not necessarily attracted to men, nor is a biological female who identifies as male always attracted to women.  Sometimes transpersons are “homosexual” and sometimes they are “heterosexual,” just like everyone else.

Wait!  Did I just say transpeople are just like everyone else?  Perhaps I should have said that transpeople are as diverse as everyone else, unlike implied by this comment:

I say they let the weirdos have the “Trans”passes and they make a “NonTrans”pass for us normal people who still have our original parts. – “Amen

I love when people consider themselves “normal” and everyone else “weirdos.”  It’s particularly enchanting when they attempt to combine offensive humor with there normalization technique. That’s when the lyrics of a song from one of my favorite movies, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, came to mind:

She’s the king, she’s the queen
All hail of the freaks, all the freaks on the scene
From the Bows of the Bowery to the bustle of Bombay
She’s the bearded lady of Avenue A
That’s the way God planned it
That’s the way

— Freaks.

As I’ve said on many occasions, and now seems as great a time to say it again as any, “Everyone’s a freak to someone.”  No one is safe from being labeled a freak or weirdo.  No one is “normal” to everyone.

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

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: The Dangerous Science Agenda of the Christian Right.

July 13, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Headline, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationI ache inside. I ache that I live in a world where people who have never made friends with a gay person, never bonded with one, think they know what is best. The only scientific research they believe in is the research funded by their own biased groups. The Family Institute, who currently wants to make gay sex illegal and punishable offense, wants to cut off funding for HIV, wants to give everyone gay therapy (and let’s not forget that gays molest children and live much shorter lives). All this danger from a supposed 2% of the population. The Family Institute page does a great job of making it look like they do legitimate unbiased science. But they don’t. Their agenda of doing privately supported research in the framework of a “Christian view point” is clearly stated on their website. Talk about an agenda of dehumanizing and criminalizing homosexuality.

It’s a dictatorship, not a democracy.  It’s like a sick game of Jeopardy. Find the data to support your beliefs. That isn’t how science is done. The author, Paul Cameron, laments that the religious right is losing. Yes, Paul, people do have common sense and compassion. It’s just that you don’t. One triumph that they report is that when they interview “former homosexuals” about 2% of them become heterosexuals. Paul, that’s called… experimenting with sex. Or denial. Or sexual fluidity. Seems like a very low cure rate to me. You’d never get that past the FDA as a valid treatment.

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. The stars had aligned and two of our closest friends, a lesbian couple, were in town. One of them is also a scientist and she has been a very close friend for over 15 years. We went out to dinner, joined by two other close friends, two gay men. We joked that 32 years of marriage meant 10 years of marital bliss, the going rate being that 1/3 of the time everything is great. The joke went farther, that’s the time when we are all asleep and the best marital bliss comes on a night when you sleep in separate beds just to get some rest. Yea, gay people have the same problems we have. GASP. It’s because they are human.  You want to know what goes on in their bedrooms? Fighting over covers, snoring, tossing and turning over the same stresses that we have.

We choose our friends wisely. It’s really just a coincidence that they are gay. We’ve met gay people that we like but didn’t bond with. We’ve met Republicans we like but disagree with. We have good friends who are atheists and good friends who are good Christians.

We decided to celebrate all of our relationships at our anniversary dinner. In my mind, my friends are married. I felt too awkward, sitting there knowing that my friends are still marginalized by our government, which quite truthfully is simply held hostage by the religious right. If it weren’t for their unity as a voting block, government might get out of people’s lives. You know, that line Republicans always preach. Getting government out of people’s lives. They want small government. Small minded. Small enough to fit under the crack of a closed bedroom door.

I am sick and tired of the fact that my friends still have to be careful about who they come out too, that they have to live in fear that they will be targets of a hate crime, bullying or hidden workplace prejudice. Could you live your life that way? Everyday? My friends are intelligent, normal in EVERY way, highly educated, hard working, gainfully employed, funny, compassionate. They care about the earth, they adopt shelter pets, they are concerned about climate change, the war in Iraq, the poor and the underprivileged. They are loving and kind. They are ethical and wise. They obey the law and are productive citizens. None have cheated on their partners.  They mow the grass and help their neighbors. Their courage, their lack of anger, their deep understanding of life and bigotry amazes me. I should be so smart.

Can YOU change your sexual orientation? Why don’t straight people try to become gay? Gay people are out to recruit you? Really? When did they stop by? Where are the recruiting offices? Is there a sermon every Sunday on Going Gay? Is there a gadget that they sell on QVC? Why hasn’t anyone recruited me in the thirty years that I have known lesbians? Surely not because I’m straight and married. What, I’m not hot enough to be a lesbian? I can’t be trusted with a toaster oven?

I will admit it right here. I have a really big problem with straight people who don’t know anyone gay and are unwilling to move out of their mythical world to meet one. I have a bigger problem with people who are currently using religion and science as weapons to legitimize their own narrow-mindedness, ignorance and bigotry. These people do not have a clue how much they hurt real people. The gay community is angry. They are also hurt inside. To marginalize another human being for doing nothing wrong, for simply how they were born, is dead wrong. Hurtfully wrong. Shamefully wrong.

No one is born a bigot. That is learned. And with the ever increasing insane arguments against gay rights, the increase in hate crimes, LGBT voices will become louder, not more silent. There is a generation coming that not settle for anything less. There are more role models than ever for successful LGBT people in every walk of life. Lawyers, physicians, scientists, computer programmers, marketing people, politicians, clergy, teachers, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs and athletes.

S can stand for Stupid or Shame. Or it can stand for Straight Ally, Support or even Superhero. But it can never stand for Silent. Silent sits down. Silent hides. Silent is surrender.

Ultimately, you cannot stop the truth, you cannot stop people who want human rights, you cannot deny rights to people who are harming no one.  And that includes my friends.

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.  Check out her LGBT Science blog.