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Archive for September, 2009

The Face of Hatred – A Hate Crime Survivor

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

Michael was beaten on August 14, 2009, because he is “gay.”  I can’t say it better than Michael:

I thought it was very important that I do this video right away because I need to let people know that even though there is that much hatred in the world, I will continue to do good things for people.

Vandals Attempt to Silence Pro-LGBT Messages.

September 28, 2009 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Former marine, Tim Smith, is one of the many who have risked their life to defend this country’s freedom.  However, in spite of his heroism, he was discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy.  Having served in the marines, Tim Smith is no stranger to fighting.  Rather than just roll over in the face of his discharge, he chose to become the face for a Memphis area billboard:MGLCCprevandal

Unfortunately, this particular billboard was attacked by vandals on Friday night. All that remains visible are the faded faces of past messages:

MGLCC

This act wasn’t the only bit of vandalism that occurred this weekend. The Equality Texas offices were attacked as well. Vandals left the office contents, but shattered the facade:

vandalism

In spite of the efforts of vandals, our message remains. We are still standing and we must continue the fight for civil equality until we can proudly change our message to a victory cry: “Mission Accomplished.” We too shall overcome.

Equality Texas is seeking contributions to help pay for the damage to the center.  While insured, the coverage is for contents only and a lease exclusion makes the organization responsible for damage to glass.  If you can help, please donate to Equality Texas.

Gearing up for the National Equality March: 11 Things You Can Do.

September 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe  National Equality March is just around the calendar corner, Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Washington D.C. Actually, there are events planned all weekend.

We know that there are many people who are going to the march. We also know that there are many people who would like to go to the Equality March but can’t. Either the timing is bad, they can’t afford it, or it’s too difficult to make the trip.

There are still ways that you can help. This message is for everyone, gay or straight. In honor of the eleventh of October, which is also Coming Out day, we have eleven ideas for you. Because ten ideas is so straight.

  1. Send a donation to Equality Across America where your donation is tax-deductible.  or your local Equality Now group.
  2. Subsidize a friend who wants to go. We at Jaysays have supported three people. Don’t know anyone? Donate to “Give Up Your Morning Coffee for LGBT Equality”
  3. If money is a problem, there are many groups offering low cost transportation and lodging. Look at the Equality Across America webpage. Find a friend to share a room with.  Get a group together and drive to Washington DC.  Check out Priceline, Hotwire or other sites known for cheap rates.
  4. If you live near a university or in a larger city, check out your local LGBT groups. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, students can take a bus round trip to Washington, DC for $60.
  5. Save money by being more frugal. You can do it! Bring a lunch, give up your latte, don’t go out to dinner or the movies, no new CDs or video games, take those unused items to a consignment shop, or sell things on Craigslist or eBay.
  6. Tell your parents, significant other or friends, including your Facebook friends, that going to the Equality March is what you would like for Christmas or your birthday instead of a present. What better present can you get than the kind that gives all people equality?
  7. If you are going, offer to put the name of someone who cannot go on your sign. Represent others who cannot attend. Better yet, wear a White Knot for each person you are representing.
  8. Write to the president, your Senators and Congressional Representatives before the March, telling them what equal rights means to you.  You can do this by email and it is free. Also contact your state and local representative asking for equal rights in your state.
  9. Write to your local news stations and national news stations and ask them to cover the March.  Most networks have a website with a contact button.
  10. If you are at a college campus, participate in the Chalk Messages Project. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper before the march. Yes, people do read newspapers, especially people who do not read the Internet.
  11. Speak up whenever you hear someone make a degrading comment about LGBT individuals. Not just for this march. Do it year round. Because silence equals agreement. It’s really easy to say, in a nice voice, “I’m sure you don’t mean that because it could hurt someone. I have gay friends and it hurts me.”  You may not be able to change the world. But you can change the world within your reach.

We hope to see you at the march, but even if you can’t go, you can make a difference.

National Equality March Song Competition Finalists: Vote Now!

September 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

NEmThe National Equality March is fast approaching.  Organizers launched the National Equality March Song Contest weeks ago and four finalists have been chosen and I must say the finalists are as diverse as our community.  In them you’ll here the influence of show tunes, blues, jazz and new age.

Here’s your chance to vote for your favorite. Voting will end at 5:00 p.m. PST on October 1, 2009.  You may vote via YouTube or Facebook simply by rating the song on YouTube or giving it a thumbs up/thumbs down on Facebook.

Congratulations to all finalists.  Great songs!

“Stand for Love” by Toby Madigan:

“Courage of Our Convictions” by Julie Cox:

“Equality” by Todd Fernandez:

“Our Time Has Come” by Sean Chapin:

Closet Talk: Nathan and Johnnie Discuss the Atlanta Eagle Bar Raid

September 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkIn a scene reminiscent of this summers bar raid in Ft. Worth, Texas, on September 10, 2009, police raided the Eagle in Atlanta after an anonymous complaint from a neighboring residential building claimed the bar was promoting public sex and drug use. Police entered the bar and made patrons lay on the floor, some for over an hour, while they illegally searched their pockets and refused to state why they were detaining the bar goers. Since the raid, many rumors have found their way into the conservative and liberal blogosphere.

Witnesses Nicholas and Johnnie joined me on Closet Talk to discuss the raid, the reaction and what was said.  Johnnie confirmed perhaps one of the most terrible comments overheard by police which I had hoped was a sick rumor: “… this is more fun than raiding niggers on crack.”

One officer was overheard saying, “I hate gay people” while stepping over the crowd that was forced to lie on the floor while being illegally searched.

Other derogatory comments were made by police as well.  Find out from those attending what happened that night:

wp-content/uploads/2009/04/closettalk11.png

Join In and Spread the <3 | 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project

September 22, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

youarelovedStarting at noon on October 5th and ending one week later on October 12th, students at colleges and high schools across the country will write messages of love and equality on sidewalks using chalk. The timing is meant to coincide with Coming Out Day, which is October 11th.The students at Drew University started a tradition of writing messages of equality and love to LGBT individuals. Jen Dugan has taken on spreading this tradition to other schools, creating the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.

For those of you unfamiliar with chalk messages, they are a time honored tradition at many schools. Chalk messages were written on sidewalks to protest the Vietnam war, to announce campus events and to make relevant, political statements for at least 40 years now.  It’s good to know that something as simple as a piece of chalk and a sidewalk can send a message.

Please encourage your school’s Gay Straight Alliance, LGBT Union or other student groups to participate.  You can find information on how to participate in this project at the end of this blog. We would like to share with you the following message from The Chalk Message Project”

Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) community are far too often the subject of hateful rhetoric. From slurs to jokes to anti-gay sermons spewed around the country – society often tries to tell us that GLBTQ individuals are evil or strange.

Despite the incredible strides being made with equality – GLBTQ individuals are still often made to feel isolated and alone. Anywhere from 25-50% of GLBTQ youth are initially rejected by their families. An estimated 60% of GLBTQ youth feel unsafe in American schools due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. GLBTQ youth are still four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

It’s time to combat the influence of hateful rhetoric that seeks to isolate members of the GLBTQ community. It’s time to remind our community members that they are never alone.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, students at Drew University began penning inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that read, “You are loved,” “You are wonderful,” and “You are beautiful.”

These chalk messages quickly became a familiar quirk around Drew’s campus – popping up every Coming Out Week and Day of Silence to remind members of the GLBTQ community that they are loved – and that their love is appreciated.

In April of 2009, a member of Montclair State University’s Spectrums approached one of the original authors of the chalk messages. She asked her if the initiative could be made statewide.

Why stop at statewide?

This year, we are asking colleges and high schools everywhere to participate in the chalk message project.

All that is required is a simple piece of sidewalk chalk – and a couple of your own inspirational, positive quotes. Write these quotes all over the grounds of your campus – for everyone to see.

We also highly encourage schools participating to write an opinions piece to your school newspaper explaining the meaning behind the project. Let’s educate society on the need for loving dialogue rather than divisive hate speech.

What: 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project
When: Monday October 5th, 2009
Where: College campuses and high schools everywhere
This project will continue to occur annually at the beginning of Coming Out Week

For more information, please email Jen at chalkmessages@gmail.com or at the group’s website http://dreamsuntitled.tumblr.com/

Please send us an email if your school plans to participate!!!!!!

Note: Some campuses have rules against using sidewalk chalk. If your school would like to participate but is encountering red tape, please send us an email. We will contact your school and explain to them that this is not graffiti. This is part of an equality project.

~*Help us spread the word. Invite all your friends*~ Click here to  join the Facebook group

Please share the message and invite your friends to their Facebook group.  Also, we’d love to see photos after the event, so be sure to upload them and send us a link!

On September 30, 2009, Jen Dugan will be the guest on Closet Talk at 8 pm central time.  Please join us and learn more about Jen and the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.

Maine No On 1 Campaign: You Can Help From Home – No Credit Card Required

September 22, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Headline, LGBT Action Alerts

noon1Perhaps the most annoying thing about helping protect marriage equality has been the state by state battles.  The LGBT community at large has human resources available, but many of us can’t just get on a plane and fly to Washington, Maine or California to help our brothers and sisters.

Protect Maine Equality has come up with a wonderful way for all LGBT people in the U.S. – and I suppose even abroad, to help fight against those that oppose full civil equality – virtual phone bank!

It’s only going to take a few hours of your time, it won’t cost you any money and you have a chance to have your voice heard – so get on the phone and help spread the love in Maine.

Supporters of equality are asked to donate 2.5 hours of our time to call voters in Maine on Sunday, September 27.   All that’s required is that you have a phone and a computer with internet – you won’t even have to pay those pesky long distance fees!!!

Sign up now my friends.  Together, we can protect ALL families in Maine.

Why My Driver’s License is More Powerful than a Marriage License

September 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Texas SealI love my driver’s license.  It gives me the ability to get in a car and go just about anywhere in the United States.  It’s gotten me on board aircrafts to virtually every state in this great country.  I’ve seen the big sky of Montana and the roaring waters of Niagara, in large part, thanks to my driver’s license.

My driver’s license has a state seal on it, bearing the markings of the State of Texas and it has a 10 year old picture of me on it (shh, don’t tell the DMV!).  I often admire my driver’s license for all the power it gives me all over the United States.

In spite of all my travels here and back again, I’ve never once had my driver’s license questioned.  No cop, airport security official, custom’s agent or bartender has ever told me that they wouldn’t honor my driver’s license.  It is all powerful and grants me the ability to drive in states where I might not even know the laws.

I remember one time I was somewhere in or near New England.  I’d been bouncing around the country a lot and my GPS led me astray.  I found a safe spot and did a u-turn, something completely legal in Texas.  The red and blue lights came flying up behind me and a rather kindly police officer took a look at my Texas driver’s license before explaining to me that it was illegal in that state (whichever it was) to do a u-turn.  He then sent me on my merry way with no penalty at all – other than a few minute delay.

That’s why a driver’s license is more powerful than a marriage license.  Every state in the United States, thanks to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, will accept that I can legally drive, drink or board an airplane.  Unfortunately, marriage licenses aren’t that powerful.  Thanks to the admittedly unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, states have the ability to say to me, “Nope, that license isn’t valid here, you aren’t married.”  Of course, that only applies if you are gay.

A little ridiculous don’t you think?

Why My Driver’s License is More Powerful than a Marriage License

I love my driver’s license. It gives me the ability to get in a car and go just about anywhere in the United States. It’s gotten me on board aircrafts to virtually every state in this great country. I’ve seen the big sky of Montana and the roaring waters of Niagara, in large part, thanks to my driver’s license.

My driver’s license has a state seal on it, bearing the markings of the State of Texas and it has a 10 year old picture of me on it (shh, don’t tell the DMV!). I often admire my driver’s license for all the power it gives me all over the United States.

In spite of all my travels here and back again, I’ve never once had my driver’s license questioned. No cop, airport security official, custom’s agent or bartender has ever told me that they wouldn’t honor my driver’s license. It is all powerful and grants me the ability to drive in states where I might not even know the laws.

I remember one time I was somewhere in or near New England. I’d been bouncing around the country a lot and my GPS led me astray. I found a safe spot and did a u-turn, something completely legal in Texas. The red and blue lights came flying up behind me and a rather kindly police officer took a look at my Texas driver’s license before explaining to me that it was illegal in that state (whichever it was) to do a u-turn. He then sent me on my merry way with no penalty at all – other than a few minute delay.

That’s why a driver’s license is more powerful than a marriage license. Every state in the United States, thanks to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, will accept that I can legally drive, drink or board an airplane. Unfortunately, marriage licenses aren’t that powerful. Thanks to the admittedly unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, states have the ability to say to me, “Nope, that license isn’t valid here, you aren’t married.”

A little ridiculous don’t you think?

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gays are the Most Vengeful, Hateful Segment of the Population

September 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysCarrie Prejean recently claimed that God chose her to stand up for her Christian values which include reducing human rights to theocratic laws.   But Carrie Prejean, in spite of all the stupid things she’s said about the gays, is not the subject of this Stupid Things People Say About Gays.

Instead, it’s one of her supporters, “ES165,” who wrote this in response to Carrie’s push for theocracy:

She [Carrie Prejean] simply disagrees with one of the most vengeful, hateful segments of our population. This is not her story, it’s about how hypocritical the extreme left and gay population are. Their relentless attacks are totally despicable.

I’ll be the first to admit that many people have said some very negative things about Carrie.  We’ve attacked her breast implants, her child pornography years and her bleach blond hair.  We’ve attacked her view point and discussed her arguments against gays (many of which were feed to her by Maggie Gallagher and friends).

But there’s something that we haven’t done to Carrie, we haven’t called on voters to make her illegal.  That is what Carrie’s message is about, it’s about legislating a group of people that don’t share the same beliefs she shares.

So, although we condemn the message Carrie spreads, remember this ES165: its the liberals who would protest along side her if her message were made illegal; it’s the gays who will best understand should voters/legislators decide that people with breast implants can no longer marry; it’s the vengeful, hateful segments of the population that would fight tooth and nail to prevent laws against Carrie’s pursuit of happiness.

After all, if you won’t fight for all human rights, you don’t deserve any.

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

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: All Pornography is Gay Porn.

September 20, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysToday, I opened up one of my favorite blogs in my feed, Foolocracy to discover something I’d missed.  My instincts were to smack myself in the head and declare myself a bad gay blogger for letting this wonderfully perfect “Stupid Thing People Say About Gays” nearly slip past me. But instead of focusing on my inadequacies, I thought I would first give Glenn Church, author at Foolocracy, a few praises. He is an exceptional political blogger and I always find his humor and insight refreshing.

According to his article and the supporting video on his site, Sen. Tom Corburn’s Chief of Staff, Michael Schwartz, is of the opinion that:

…all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.  via » Coburn’s Chief Of Staff: “All Pornography Is Homosexual” Foolocracy: Government by fools, silliness and unintelligent people.

Now, rather than focus on the excellent points Glenn made, here’s something else to consider:  If all pornography is homosexual porn, then it would stand to reason that everyone in America is a homosexual – or at least the vast majority of Americans who have watched porn are homosexual.

So then, Sen. Corburn and Mr. Schwarts, why don’t gays have equal rights?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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