Month: September 2009

My Cousin, My Hero: Why Coming Out Matters.

By the time I was 15 years old, I had already had my first boyfriend, kind of. I had begun to accept that I was “gay,” but I had also experienced the sting of being a “fag.” Society, it seemed, disapproved. The disapproval was so great that I’d often be chased home by groups of boys on bicycles throwing rocks at me and calling me “fag.”

I remember walking home from school one day at 12 years old and coming across the one person in that small Arkansas town I thought I could call friend.

September 19, 2009 7

Our “Fierce Advocate,” Obama, Fights Against Gay Rights — Again

Last month, a U.S. District Judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer seeking to find the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) unconstitutional. That dismissal was a logistics issue, not a dismissal because the allegations against DOMA were unfounded. In the Smelt case, the Judge found that the suit “should have” been filed in federal court, not state court.

September 18, 2009 0

Closet Talk: David’s Story – Being Gay and Staying Mormon.

David is a 20 year old blogger and vlogger who has decided not to flee the Mormon church, but instead work to inspire change within his faith. I’ve used a lot of analogies to describe David, such as “David and Goliath” or a “Rosa Parks” figure refusing to give up his seat on the metaphoric bus. But when you pull away all the grandeur that I’ve bestowed upon him, you’re still left with a remarkable young man. In this episode, we discussed David’s life growing up in the Mormon church, his coming out while a member of the Mormon church and his questto remain in the Mormon church.

September 17, 2009 2

Gay & Lesbian Mormons to Hold Conference in Salt Lake City: Affirmation Conference 2009

“The View From Here” conference, hosted by Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, is being held September 18 – 20, 2009 in Salt Lake City. That’s this weekend for my Utah friends that haven’t registered.

Some of the speakers and the lineup at the conference include:

– Clay Essig
– Sarah Jordan
– Joan & Bill Atkinson
– D. Michael Quinn
– (more after the jump)

September 16, 2009 0

Lessons I Learned from a GLBT Town Hall Meeting

Tonight I sat in a room with roughly 30 other members of my local LGBT and allied community listening as Joseph Garrett moderated the conversation, asking one question, “What would you like from a Community Center?” The list started fairly humbly with suggestions such as a visitors center, or a place for groups to meet. But as the list grew, so did the dreams of a community that has so often been forgotten. Eventually we had dreamed up a community center with after school programs, a nursing home for seniors, meeting space, offices for LGBT organizations, a place for LGBTQ kids to live should they find themselves on the street and an LGBT history museum.

September 15, 2009 0

Hate Crimes Go Under Punished and Result in More Crime.

You may remember the 2006 convictions of Pete Billiot and Dwayne Adam Racine for the attack of a black offshore worker, but it’s likely you don’t. The story received some national media coverage, but as is the case with most hate crimes, it wasn’t enough. We can all grimace when someone murders another person regardless of the motivation, but when the motivation is bias or prejudice because of the persons race, creed, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s particularly painful, particularly to members of that “suspect class.” Lots of thoughts race through the minds of those that could have been attacked and/or murder because of the same violent biases.

There have been many cases wherein those that commit such crimes get nothing more than a slap on the wrist. In fact, a recent case of murder resulted in a full acquittal of the charge against the admitted murderer simply because he was motivated to kill a queer man after the man hit on him.

September 15, 2009 0

A Straight Person’s Perspective: The National Equality March and the LGBT Movement.

The National Equality March is coming soon. It’s just around the corner, October 10-11th. Thousands of people will gather together from all over the United States and many others will wish that they could attend. This coming together reflects a crystallizing moment in the LGBT movement for equal rights. The stars aligning if you will.

As a straight person who decided to start blogging about gay rights after Prop 8, I have gone through my own journey. While I had a few close friends who were gay, and I always felt quite welcome in gay social circles, I really knew very little about gay activism. And I really did not know that many people who were gay, even though I have had gay friends for over thirty years.

September 14, 2009 0

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya, a young female athlete from South Africa, is making headlines due to genetic and hormonal testing that was performed when she was suspected to be male. Setting aside for a moment that she was tested without her knowledge and that the result should not have been made public, setting aside that I wish she had not dropped out and that this is a heart breaking story, I would like to take a moment to let you know that your high school biology teacher was wrong.

September 12, 2009 0

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (September 3, 2009 – September 10, 2009)

Gay Sailor Brutalized by Own Unit and Discharged in CA – Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Rocha was brutalized for more than two years by members of his own unit in Bahrain. He was returned to CA suffering from P.T.S.D. and was forced to admit to his sexual orientation – then was discharged under D.A.D.T. Others were also brutalized and the military is investigating.
Bill Recognizing Harvey Milk’s Birthday Passes CA Legislature – Once again a bill to recognize Harvey Milk is waiting for the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – and would recognize Harvey Milk on his birthday – May 22nd. If signed – Harvey Milk would join the only three other days of recognition in the state. The link also displays a photo of Harvey Milk at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade in 1978 – five months before his assassination.
LGBT Activist Runs For Mayor in Idaho Town – Melissa Sue Robinson happens to be an LGBT activist who is also a Transgender woman running for mayor of Nampa. She was previously married for 17 years and her ex-wife now plays a major role in her election campaign.

September 12, 2009 0

Extremism and the 9/11 Terror Attacks – We Didn’t Learn.

That which we should have learned after religious extremists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania 8 years ago today, we didn’t. We should have learned that religious extremism lends to acts of violence. We should have learned that our opinions should not over power our ability to reason – but we haven’t. People are still murdering or attacking each other in violent rages because of their opinions.

Our failure to learn this simple and obvious fact is echoed in the faces of those we torment, those we push aside, those who are marginalized and those who are killed.

September 11, 2009 5