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Archive for November, 2009

Gay Student Beaten Because Administrators Ignored Pleas for Help

November 19, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

hateeducationI don’t expect a lot from our public school system, particularly in Texas where they teach to the test. However, this takes the cake for irresponsibility.

Jayron Martin, a 16 year old freshman at Langham Creek High School, was told by a friend that a group of kids were going to attack him.  He advised the administration and was told they would call the group into the office, but they didn’t.

Jayron shared a bus with the group threatening him and advised the bus driver of the situation.  When Jayron got off the bus, the group chased him.  In fleeing for his life, Jayron ran into a neighbor’s home, the attackers followed and one of the teens began beating him with a metal pipe.  The beating lasted about 7 minutes.  The neighbor came down stairs with a shotgun and threatened the attacker, but he kept beating Jayron – until the neighbor cocked the gun.

Jayron’s attacker is now being charged within the juvenile court system with charges of aggravated assault.

Jayron’s mother, Lakenya, told KHOU: “I’m disgusted.  I’m sorry, after the fact, doesn’t do it.  The school district let us down.  I mean, let all of us down because it could have been any one’s kid.”  But it wasn’t any one’s kid, it was Lakenya Martin’s son.  She has to fight this battle now – will you fight with her, or wait until it’s your child?

Equality Florida’s Orlando Office Vandalized – Yeah, I’m Pissed

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

It’s not uncommon for LGBT groups and organizations to suffer at the hands of ignorant, bigoted, hateful people who wish nothing more than… dare I say, fags to die.  If you doubt that these hatemongers teach that to their flock and families, just take a look at the messages scrawled on the walls at Equality Florida’s Orlando Office and the results of the anti-gay movements battle against us becomes clear.  They want us dead.

Go to hell

That’s just one of the photos from Equality Florida’s website.  Other messages were more on point, including the scrawled Swastika, a symbol now associated with the persecution and murders of hundreds of thousands of people during German occupation – and yes, that included us “fags.”  Another message for the queers from our fun loving fellows, “”Die Fags.”

Am I angry?  Yes, but not at the vandals.  I’m angry at every single person that votes against our families, our marriages and our rights.  You have told these people that it is ok to brutalize us, degrade us and promote the murder of us.  By refusing to treat us as equal citizens, you are granting a free-pass to those that would harm us – you have given them a reason and an excuse.  Your lack of humanity and decency is appalling.

Now, here’s what we get to do.  We get to send more money to help Equality Florida clean up the mess and install a security system.  That money could be used to help feed families over the holiday season, give gifts to our loved ones and be thankful. So, when you say your Thanksgiving Day prayers and thank God for your family, I hope you consider my family – the one you keep voting against – a family that continues to have to sacrifice so that you can have your ego trip.  Oh, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Restore Equality 2010: When They Fight, They Give Us Hope

November 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Headline, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Restore Equality 2010Perseverance may will pay off in California next year.  Restore Equality 2010 officially launched its petition drive along with a social networking site, today.  The statewide group is a coalition of organizations committed to repealing the unconstitutional Proposition 8 which narrowly passed last November, damaging thousands of families in the state and destroying what could have been the election’s most prized lesson: prejudice and discrimination are a thing of America’s past.

Restore Equality 2010 has not been without critics, including some within the LGBT community.  Many large, well-funded state and national groups have taken the position that a 2010 ballot initiative won’t give organizations and activists enough time to prepare.  However, the passion, enthusiasm and promise of the people behind Restore Equality 2010 remind this blogger that “…there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.” — Harvey Milk

According to Jeffrey Taylor, spokesperson for Restore Equality 2010, “This is the moment activists across our great state have been waiting for. Restore Equality 2010 is thrilled to mobilize in support of SignForEquality.com and Love Honor Cherish’s inspiring and unwavering stand for the immediate restoration of marriage equality in California.”

Proponents of the ballot initiative have until April 12, 2010 to gather approximately 1 million signatures.

LGBT Life in the UK: Yours in Solidarity

November 15, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Rainbow BritishRecently, I was lucky enough to meet Daniel Pitt, human rights champion & equality campaigner, also known as myinfamy on Twitter. Daniel is from the UK and often has interesting Tweets. I found myself realizing that we focus so much on equality in the United States, that we only notice other countries when something terrible happens, as in Iran, or when a country legalizes same sex marriage and we feel even more behind. I asked Daniel if he would be willing to tell us about LGBT life across the pond. I’m delighted to say that he agreed and wrote an awesome post.

Away from the insultingly ignorant stereotypes of a femme, happy life as a gay guy in Britain, I just wanted to pitch some statistics to make you really think about how difficult LGBT life can be in the UK. One in five LGBT have experienced a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years. One in eight have been a victim in the last year. Three in four of those experiencing hate crimes or incidents did not report them to the police. Only six per cent reported them to third parties. Only one per cent of all victims report that the homophobic hate crime or incident resulted in a conviction.

A third of victims do not report incidents to the police because they do not think the police would or could do anything about it. Modern living still allows these prejudices to exist and ignoring the issue at hand won’t make it flee. We need to be taking a stand for LGBT equality – the exact opposite of doing nothing, allowing these intolerant bullies to win whilst continuing to damage our integrity.

We have a large number of LGBT equality organizations, health and wellbeing centres, and so on; but we don’t mention it in sex education classes to our adolescents. Why? Because we don’t want to “actively promote” homosexuality. It is a sickening indictment that people still wish to encourage this behaviour of cloaking what their narrow minds perceive as indecent behaviours.

A 2007 report by UK gay rights organisation Stonewall found that gay people in the UK experience more extreme homophobia as young people than as adults. The research found that two thirds of young gay, lesbian and bisexual pupils had experienced direct bullying in Britain’s schools. 92% of young gay people had been subject to verbal abuse, and 41% has been physically assaulted. A 2008 survey found that 66% of gay and lesbian people would expect to face barriers due to their sexuality if they wanted to run as an MP in the UK. One in five lesbian and gay people in the UK said they had experienced bullying in the workplace as a result of their sexual orientation.

Schools have an important part to play in challenging homophobic attitudes. Lesbian and gay pupils are more likely to feel positive about school if their school has explicitly stated that homophobic bullying is against the rules. In schools that have said homophobic bullying is wrong, young gay people are 60 percent more likely not to have been bullied. Studies have shown that personal attitudes become more tolerant towards gay people if individuals are exposed to an educational programme about homosexuality, such as lectures, courses and workshops. Also, when schools respond strongly to homophobic bullying, lesbian and gay young people are more likely to feel able to be themselves, more likely to feel part of the school community and more likely to be happy. Therefore it is important to report any incidents of homophobia so that more young people are encouraged to do the same. This also acts as a deterrent to those carrying out homophobic bullying.

Until the final hurdle, the last taboo, is dead and gone, we can never call ourselves a fair, equal, tolerant nation.Homophobia needs to be tackled head-on and people need to realize that homophobia should be unacceptable in today’s society, just as racism, disablism, sexism or any other prejudice is. With patience and tireless one day following generations will feel as if being gay is not immoral or wrong. I just hope I’m around to see that magical event.

The statistics quoted in this article are from www.stonewall.org.uk , one of Daniel’s favorite LGBT websites. Daniel ended his email to me with “Yours in Solidarity”. Solidarity indeed Daniel. Equality for all humans is the ultimate goal. I hope I’m around to see that magical event.

San Antonio Man Murdered for Making Sexual Advances on Another Man

November 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, iQreport, LGBT News

gaypanicA San Antonio man was murdered in front of a local bar after he allegedly made a sexual advance toward another man. Enrique Santos, 22,  has confessed to the murder of 50 year old, Jorge Sgetelmeg, stating that a fight broke out after Sgetelmeg purchased some beer for Santos.  According to Santos’ confession and affidavit, Sgetelmeg and he were sharing the beer in his SUV.  Sgetelmeg made a sexual advance at Santos and Santos punched him several times in the face before removing a rock from his pocket and hitting him several more times – then chocking the man with a neck tie.

Sgetelmeg was found dead, but Santos’ driving was no match for his intoxication.  He crashed and was arrested by police fro driving while intoxicated and on a previous traffic warrant.  The connection to the murder was made by the detectives as witnesses had provided a description of Santos’ black SUV.

This happened in my hometown.  It’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last violent, unnecessary crime that occurs simply because someone’s ego was compromised; however, we can only hope that a San Antonio jury will not acquit this admitted murderer as other juries have done when the Gay Panic Defense has been invoked.

Closet Talk: Dr. Michael T. Schmitt – Same-Sex Marriage’s Threat to Heterosexual Identity

November 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkI was first introduced to Dr. Michael T. Schmitt’s work by way of jaysays.com’s resident scientist, Jude.  After seeing his video presentation, I knew I had to have him on the show.  Dr. Schmitt, along with Dr. Justin Lehmiller and Dr. Allison Walsh, published the article, “The Role of Heterosexual Identity Threat in Differential Support for Same-Sex ‘Civil Unions’ versus ‘Marriages'” in the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

During the show, I found myself attempting not to use the words that came to mind; words like, heterosexual supremacist, egotist, snob, etc.  After the show, I found myself thinking: “Well, if it’s a cat, call it a cat.”

Essentially, the experiments determined that the majority’s desire to remain superior to the minority results in a broader support of “civil unions” instead of “marriage”.  This determination can be exampled in current events with the defeat of a marriage equality law in Maine and the passage of a “domestic partnership” law in Washington state.  In this case, there’s no reason to take my word for it, instead, Dr. Schmitt explains it nicely:

As mentioned, Dr. Schmitt is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University.  SFU, like many educational institutions, is suffering from under funding.  Find out how you can help at savesfu.org.

Ft. Worth City Council Passes Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policy

November 11, 2009 By: texasman Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

Ft Worth EqualityThe Fort Worth City Council listened to several hours of comment on the recommendation of the Diversity Council to add transgender language to the city’s non-discrimination policy.

The GLBT community was present with well over a hundred representatives. Many spoke in support of the new change in law, including transgender people, parents of transgender people, gays, lesbians, and even straight allies.

In opposition were several people from the community including several lawyers, conservatives, and Christians. While most contended that they were not hateful of gay people they feared the new ordinance, it’s language, and its affect on the youth of the community.

Finally, after all the public spoke, the council voted to approve the measure in a 6 to 3 vote. The debate was strong on both sides, but the city of Fort Worth voted to protect the rights of transgender people, as well as gender identity and gender expression. Under the new ordinance all public places will have to ensure that they are not discriminating in this manner.

The city will begin to place this in new contracts and is hoping to ensure that those doing business with the city will also protect the rights of the GLBT community.

There are several items that are continuing to be carried forth by the city including, diversity training, education of the public about the law, and working to hire more GLBT people.

MarlinMarlin: You may remember Marlin from an earlier episode of Closet Talk. Since then, he’s been keeping us up to date on the happenings in Ft. Worth after the fateful raid of the Rainbow Lounge. Marlin is a former pulpit minister turned activist.

Hearing Tomorrow in Ft. Worth on LGBT Inclusive City Policies to Spark “Christian” Protests

November 09, 2009 By: texasman Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

Stonewall, Texas StyleTuesday evening in Fort Worth, Texas may prove to be a night of fireworks for gay rights in the state. Recent events in Texas have brought the need for gay rights legislation on a local, state and national level to the forefront.

In the last year, events in San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, and Fort Worth have each reminded the GLBT community of the pain and suffering that goes along with being gay in the twenty-first century. Whether it show itself as harassment for affection toward someone of the same gender, or physical attacks because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, gay people find that life is not easy in a conservative state.

On November 10, 2009, the Diversity Task Force will present its findings and recommendations following the June 29, 2009 Rainbow Lounge Raid. These recommendations include adding gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination policy and requiring city vendors to alter their non-discrimination policies accordingly. It has also been recommended that gender-reassignment surgery be covered by the city’s insurance policies for its workers.

The city will undergo an educational process that will include all city employees, with a special emphasis for police and fire department staff and outreach to the community about city laws concerning non-discrimination. There will also be concerted efforts to seek out more GLBT employees and to promote Fort Worth as a GLBT travel destination by advertising and working with the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

The challenge has arisen because the conservative Christian community has, as usual, voiced radical opposition to these moves. In one instance, this past Sunday, November 8, 2009, the LGBT group, Queer LiberAction, was scheduled to host a “Milk Box” in Fort Worth. Organizers and volunteers were run off by a Christian group that formed and took over the corner. One report says that the gay group left in fear of violence. Video from the event shows how an otherwise peaceful gathering of our community results in intolerance from oppressive Christians:

GLBT rights activists and extremist Christian groups will come head to head on Tuesday evening at the Fort Worth City Council meeting. Fairness Fort Worth is planning to meet at the now infamous Rainbow Lounge and lead a car parade from the site raided just months ago by Ft. Worth Police and TABC agents to the council meeting. Queer Liberaction will be set up outside of City Hall at about the same hour and begin a protest. Both groups plan to enter City Hall and show the presence of the gay community in numbers as well as voice.

The oppressive Christians are gearing up for the meeting as well and plan to overwhelm the room in order to fight against any equal legal protections for GLBT people. This is nothing new for the Ft. Worth GLBT community. At a recent Kiss-In at the Stock Yards, a local entertainment venue, these oppressors launched a counter protest to the queer community in the name of their God.

What happens at Tuesday evening’s meeting will speak loudly for the future of gay rights in the city of Fort Worth, but more importantly for gay rights in Texas and across the nation. Recent defeats like those in Maine, help us to understand the constant vigil that we must keep to not only increase these legal protections, but also to keep the few we have.

MarlinMarlin: You may remember Marlin from an earlier episode of Closet Talk. Since then, he’s been keeping us up to date on the happenings in Ft. Worth after the fateful raid of the Rainbow Lounge.  Marlin is a former pulpit minister turned activist.

Queer Culture and the Reasons You Should be an Activist.

November 09, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Headline, Thought of the Gay

Leather Pride StickerNo matter how you spin it, there is something for everyone in being an activist.  Within the broad gay community, we have developed our own labels.  Some of those labels cross the boundaries into the straight world, some are fairly queer specific.  Queers United covers many of these gay phrases under “Word of the Gay,” which I link to several times in this post.

This listing was inspired by conversations with various people within the gay community about “assimilation” and the fear that the marriage movement is absorbing our “queer” identities.  I disagree with that ideology, but that is not the point here.  The point is, “I’m here to recruit you.”

Reasons for a gym bunny to become an activist:

  • We often march several miles carrying heavy signs (yeah, we exercise).
  • Sometimes, we stand outside for hours in the heat, very much like a dry sauna.
  • Sometimes, it rains on us… just like in the showers at the gym… well, close anyway.
  • P.A. systems can be very heavy and must be carried from vehicle to stage and back again.

Reasons for a drag queen to become an activist:

  • You get to decorate pretty signs.
  • You’re picture may be in the paper.
  • You may get to be on TV!
  • Let’s face it, we hardcore activist could use some fashion tips.

Reason for a silver fox to be activists:

  • Two words: Anderson Cooper

Reasons for a Gayngsta (a gay person who is a “Gangster”) to be an activist:

  • We’re kind of like a gang – we look out for each other (usually).
  • We have colors (the rainbow colors).
  • We like to rhyme and chant, like gayngsta rap.

Reasons for a “Donald Duck” (a person discharged under DADT from the Navy) to be an activist:

  • We are working to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • We recruit.
  • We often work in teams.
  • You get to keep fighting for freedom.
  • We’ve got cool military folks like Dan Choi on our team

Reasons for a submissive to become an activist:

  • You will meet gays that like to lead.
  • You will be publicly humiliated by people calling you names.
  • No matter what you say or do, people will often criticize you.
  • At some point, someone will spit in your face.
  • You may even get beaten.
  • We aren’t afraid to protest in our underwear.
  • Handcuffs are likely thanks to the police.

Reasons for a “Buckaruby” (a cowboy queer) to be an activist:

  • We can turn a march into a line dance in no time.
  • We’ve been known to rough it when we couldn’t afford hotels.

Reasons for a Barfly to be an activist:

  • We are very social people.
  • Someone will buy you a drink after a march.
  • At rallies, we jam ourselves in so tightly that we are just a strobe light and DJ from a dance floor.

Reasons for a Prima Donna to become an activist:

  • You have Madonna in your name and we LOVE Madonna.
  • You can be as bitchy as you want and it is to be expected.
  • You will have your ego stroked on a regular basis by other activists.
  • You will be the center of attention during rallies.
  • Singing soprano is always a plus for any activist situation.

But perhaps the most compelling reason for everyone to be an activist:

  • We’re fighting for you, too!

A special thank you to Tammy at tamfastic.com for her contribution of the “Prima Donna” list and for helping me sort through my thoughts in a most heinously stereotypical way.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: I Hate Gays But I’d Die for their Civil Rights.

November 08, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationI like to read comments from readers on news articles. I’ve read so many that it is rare that I find one with a new point. I admit it. The general public is a broken record when it comes to their point of view.

So I was surprised to find this comment. What intrigued me the most is that this person takes complete ownership of his feelings. He doesn’t invoke religion, tradition or biology. He does invoke incorrect psychology, and then he turns 180 in a surprising way.

Let’s walk through this. The comments are just my humble opinions. And yes, I’m truly interested in what this says to you. I have not changed a word.

Posted by vlongwell

November 07, 2009, 11:37AM

Good gravy. I abhor the homo, and lesbian lifestyle. I’m insanely, irrational threatened and intimidated by it. I resent when they join up in their little cliques and, frankly, benefit from this where I don’t. Getting eye-f**cked by some creepy dude just turns my stomach.

But you know what? It couldn’t possibly be any less of my business. I make no distinction between hardcore BDSM nuts, and these nuts. I strongly believe that inter-gender sexuality is destructive on a lot of levels. All of which I’m entitled to believe, as long as it doesn’t negatively impact another person.

I hate gay people.

But you know what, I’d die for any one of them and their basic civil, no human, right to marry whomever the hell they want. Who are any of you to even concern yourself with such an incredibly personal part of everybody’s lives as that of choosing a person to spend the rest of your life with?

Freedom means sacrifice people. I wish I was a better man, and that I did not view it as a sacrifice, but I do what I can. And in this, I say let freedom reign, get your nose out of gay-people’s business, and get back to work.

Sheesh. Always trying to tell me how awesome they are without realizing I don’t care. You got opposable thumbs, and a fore-brain? Then whom you decide to marry, boink, talk to, and hang out with is none of my darn business. And I don’t even feel I have to like it, so there.

You want freedom? Then give it.

[emphasis added]

He starts with how he feels about gays. He calls it a lifestyle. Wrong. Destructive. Wrong. He says he hates gay people. Honest.

Then the astonishing twist. He would die for their rights. He chastises people and tells them to get their nose out of gay rights. His last line could become a poster at a gay rights march.

So what is my take on his opinion? He is able to recognize his emotional reaction and own it. He’s able to separate his emotional reaction from what he knows about civil rights and freedom. I don’t think he really hates gay people. Why would he say in the next sentence that he would die for their rights?

In a way, hasn’t this been part of the argument on the LGBT side? Do you care how other people feel about what you do in the bedroom, or do you care that they respect you and your rights? Does this man need to get to the point of singing in a pride parade as a straight ally? Or is it enough that he believes in full equality and that it isn’t his business, it isn’t harming him.

You may have heard the quote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” from The Friends of Voltaire, 1906.

Does the same logic apply to equal rights? I disagree with many people on many topics, yet I would never vote to take away their civil rights. That’s what this country is about.

Who knows, perhaps Vlongwell, in his unusual way, reached someone? Let’s hope so.

I’ll take this guy over Maggie Gallagher any day of the week.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: 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.