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Archive for October, 2010

Will Glee Get Away with Transphobic Remark? Yeah, Probably.

October 27, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

Last night, Fox Network’s show Glee took on the challenge of a Rocky Horror tribute.  As a Gleek and a Rocky fan, I was excited to see the show, particularly to get to see who had the great honor of dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter.  I was pleasantly surprised by Finn (played by Cory Monteith) dressed up as Brad and playing the awkward, but surprisingly attractive dork we’ve all come to love.  Perhaps more surprising was Mike Chang’s (Harry Shum, Jr.) offer to play the famed Dr. Frankfurter.  I gasped at the thought of him prancing around in fishnets and leather.  Then, disappointment and, dare I say, horror, hit when Mike not only advised that he cannot play Frankfurter in the performance, but that it was because his parents didn’t want him “dressing up like a tranny.”

The line could have easily been altered or perhaps left with an implication to the audience (as it’s generally obvious why a conservo-head parent would object to their son dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter).  Perhaps it could have been “dressing up in fishnet stockings” or “revealing that much of my body publicly,”  but no… it was the T-bomb and highly inappropriate.

I take great offense to the use of the word tranny (and even reluctantly use it here); although, I admit that many transgender people often use it to describe themselves.  Regardless of context, I flinch at the word.  It is the “T” equivalent of “fag” in my opinion – and the opinion of many of my dearest T friends.  Perhaps even more shocking was the silence.

During the episode, my Facebook wall and twitter stream exploded with “Rocky this” and “Glee” that, but upon the pronouncement of the T-bomb, not a soul, sans perhaps myself, said one thing about it.  Imagine, if you would, that the writers of the show had changed Mike’s line slightly to say, “”I really want to do it, but they’re just not cool with me dressing up like a fag.”  The outrage from my LGB brothers and sisters would have been evident.  Queerty, Americablog, Bilerico and all the others would have rushed to be the first to stand up against the outrageous line and demand an apology (in spite of the fact the show is generally “gay mecca”).

So where is the outrage?  Where are the demands for an apology?  The silence is not music to my ears.

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Wearing Purple Just Isn’t Enough – Wear Fabulous!

October 19, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

Me in my purple and yellow scarf

Me in my purple and yellow scarf - yes it's purple, not blue (blame bad lighting)

Tonight, I headed off to my closet to find something purple to wear tomorrow.  I was rummaging through every article of clothing and every corner, including the winter boxes, desperate to answer the Facebook call to wear purple on October 20, 2010 to raise awareness about the LGBT Youth Suicide Epidemic and bullying.  I stumbled upon a very nice button up I had forgotten I owned.  It was an obvious purple, but still conservative enough for a day of business.  I headed off to iron it and realized that the long sleeves were not long enough for my arms.  Back to the closet I trotted.

This time, my eyes stopped on a scarf that was crocheted for me by my dear friend, Crystal, years ago.  The scarf is lined purple and yellow and a bit of an eyesore.  I immediately wished I lived further north where wearing a scarf would be justifiable, but with temperatures in the mid-80’s in South Texas, I knew it would stick out like a sore thumb [an expression I never really understood].

I headed back to the ironing board with another button-up in hand.  This one was less obviously purple, but still purple.  I began ironing it and debating the color.  Someone could easily think my shirt was just another shirt.  It didn’t seem like it would show that I’m wearing purple for a specific reason.  That’s when it occurred to me.  Wearing purple just isn’t enough – we need people to know why we are wearing purple.

There was one problem.  How was I going to engage people in conversation about the Epidemic with a button up, nicely pressed, purple-ish shirt?  The answer was clear – I need to stand out.  I need to wear the purple and yellow scarf tomorrow so that people understand that it isn’t just a garment, it is a statement.  It is a statement that I will not stop fighting for equality until we are EQUAL.  Why?  Because I refuse to lie to our LGBT children.  I refuse to tell them it gets better without first working to make sure it does.

Tomorrow, I challenge all of you (and myself) to engage at least one person in a conversation about bullying and LGBT Youth Suicides.  If you need to borrow my scarf to help jumpstart a conversation, I’m happy to oblige.

HRC’s Eric Alva Speaks about DADT and Obama’s Defense of Policy

October 17, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured

"We Will Not Be Silent." Don't Ask Don't Tell ("DADT")Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva (Ret.) was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq when, on March 21, 2003, while traveling to Basra, he stepped on a land mine.  In 2006, Sgt. Alva began working with the Human Rights Campaign, the “largest” LGBT Rights organization, to speak out against the military’s now (but likely temporarily) halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT). He now tours nationally for the organization and continues to lecture about DADT.

On Friday, October 15, 2010, just days after a Federal Judge ordered an injunction against enforcement of the unconstitutional policy, the Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College hosted a lecture by Sgt. Alva as part of their Coming Out Week events.

Sgt. Alva began his lecture by discussing his tenure in the military and its abrupt and tragic end, with the triggering of the land mine.  He went on to explain that, after his medical discharge, he contacted the HRC to find out how he can work with them to educate and inspire a repeal of DADT.  Not only did his lecture included his personal experiences working toward a repeal, but he also used the opportunity to address the division within the LGBT community, stating that he never refers to us as a “community,” but instead prefers to refer to us as a “populace” because of our varied lifestyles, opinions, culture, etc.

It is very likely that the Department of Justice will appeal the lower court’s decision to the 9th circuit in an effort to halt a judicial repeal of the policy.  If such appeal is perfected, it means that the Obama Administration is attempting to keep the policy in place, rather than repeal it as has been stated by Obama to be his goal.  You can read more about that issue, here, including discussion of other cases which were not appealed by the justice department.

Sgt. Alva, in addressing the recent injunction, Obama’s appeal of the decision and the fact that Obama has continued to refuse to sign an executive order ending the policy, stated, “I do not want Obama to sign an executive order, ending don’t ask, don’t tell.”  He went on to explain that, if the president chose to end the policy it would put an end to the discussions; discussions he believes are important in light of the recent and highly publicized LGBT youth suicides.

DADT has been the policy of the United States Military for approximately 17 years.  Prior to implementation of the policy, the military’s policy was simply, you can’t serve if you’re gay.

Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq. On March 21, 2003
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Obama, DADT, DOMA and the War on LGBT People.

October 15, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...
Image via Wikipedia

Lamar Smith (R-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives – and my district’s representative – has asked the court to let him, and not the Obama administration’s Department of Justice (DoJ), appeal the ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al., striking down key provisions of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Smith claims that the DoJ, “has clearly let the president’s policy preferences dictate its litigation strategy” and that, “DOMA … should receive a true defense rather than a hollow one designed to pacify political constituents.”  It’s no surprise that Smith’s actions are being supported by the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization of “Christian” lawyers.

But Lamar Smith doesn’t have to intervene.  The DoJ has already filed their appeal in this case indicating that our fierce advocate, President Barack Obama, will continue to defend the legislative acts he feels are unconstitutional.  According to a DoJ spokesperson: Tracy Schmaler, “The Justice Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged.”

And that appears to be exactly what the DoJ has done with the recent ruling and court order declaring the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy unconstitutional.

At some point, we need to recognize a fact.  There is no legal requirement or duty for the president to defend a statute.  While the DoJ keeps implying it, you’ll note they’ve never said it, because it isn’t true.

In fact, the Justice Department has recently refused to appeal a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  That ruling, issued Aug. 6, 2010, declared the regulations forcing individuals or small groups to obtain a permit for First Amendment-protected activities unconstitutional.

So why is it that the man who said: “My attitude is if people are being treated unfairly and unequally, then it needs to be fixed,” and who has been labeled as a fierce advocate of LGBT people, is defending DOMA and DADT?  Is it like Lamar Smith alleges and they aren’t going to defend the laws as aggressively as opponents of equality would hope? Alas, I’m afraid the only answer I have for you is this:

Obama is no Lady Gaga.

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Stupid Things People Say About Gays: GLSEN is to Blame for LGBT Suicides

October 13, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, Youth Issues

Bryan Fischer, the host of the American [Heterosexual Only] Family Association’s [AFA] radio show, Focal Point, recently declared on an AFA blog post that GLSEN was to blame for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicides.  His theory, it seems, is that you can eliminate the high incidents of suicide in LGBT kids by eliminating LGBT kids.  In the posting, Mr. Fischer states:

It must be pointed out that homosexual activists are not wholly innocent in these tragedies either. Homosexuals cannot reproduce so they must recruit. Part of the agenda of groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is to urge students at younger and younger ages to come out and declare a disordered sexual preference. Sexually confused youth are pressured into locking into a sexual identity far before they are mature enough to do so.

A lot of questions are raised by Mr. Fischer’s argument, the first being: “Who was the first homosexual recruiter?”  If homosexuals cannot reproduce and merely recruit, was it a straight person who first convinced someone to be a homosexual?  My guess is that it was Adam.  He had three sons and only one wife.  With such a shortage of women to put their seed into, perhaps Adam felt Eve needed a break from populating the world and suggested to Cain that he start blowing his brother to relieve his sexual frustrations.  Cain, then became the first homosexual recruiter and encouraged LGBT kids to come out.  Or perhaps it was one of the other male children.

Mr. Fischer further states that:

If criticism is bullying and harassment, then homosexual activists condemn themselves every day by the mean-spirited things they say about Christians and their views of homosexuality.

While I would concur that criticizing those that are Christian for their opinions would not necessarily constitute bullying, I must draw the line at forceful, obstructive, demeaning verbal abuse such as that experienced by LGBT youth.

For myself, I was harassed daily for my perceived (and ultimately actual) sexual orientation.  I had the word “fag” scrawled into the side of my car; I was chased home by kids throwing rocks and slurs at me; my friends were approached at their employment and harassed for hanging out with a fag; I was told by a teacher to, “act like a man;” I was spit on, laughed at and was terrified to go to school because the so-called Christian opinion was not that I was a sinner, it was that I was a worthless faggot.  All of this happened before my 18th birthday, most before I “came out.”  Never, in all the times I was approached with negative commentary about my sexual orientation in school was it to convince me that I was a sinner and needed to repent.  Instead, it was to intimidate me into submission, deny me my right of free passage or to just give me a sucker-punch.

In spite of Mr. Fischer’s efforts, it has gotten better.  Now, I’m called a fag only about 2 or 3 times per month instead of every day.  That’s better, but it’s still not good enough.

So, Mr. Fischer, I’m left with one more question, “How many times have gays knocked on your door to recruit you?”  I’ve certainly had a lot of your ilk try to recruit me through the love of Jesus Christ (which in my experience feels a lot more like spit in the face).

If you are considering taking your own life, please seek help.  Call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

Texas Sees First *Legal* Same-Sex Wedding

October 11, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

Marriage Celebration ProgramThe wedding between Mark Reed-Walkup, a provisional Board Member of the LGBT equality organization, GetEQUAL, and the “love of his life,” Dante Walkup, wasn’t the first wedding ceremony performed in Texas, but it was the first same-sex wedding performed on Texas’ soil which will have legal recognition.

The couple applied and received a “Certificate of Marriage” in Washington, D.C. back in May.  On October 10, 2010, Mark and Dante declared their love publicly to their friends and family in a small ceremony in Dallas, Texas.

As I took my seat in the ballroom, I began reading the wedding program.  “The Marriage Celebration of Thomas Mark Reed and Dante Karl Walkup” declared the program in a traditional fashion.  My heart swelled with joy for the very happy (and nervous) couple.  As I continued thumbing through the program, I quickly saw a difference between this wedding and those of heterosexual couples I have attended:

We Remember: Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase & the many other young LGBT lives who died due to suicide.  It does get better.

While weddings generally bring tears to my eyes, the tears are usually due to happiness for those celebrating their love.  In this instance, the tears were for the children we have lost before they had a chance to truly live.  Somehow, in spite of all the efforts of so many to make the world better for them, they lost hope.  I immediately thought of the words of Harvey Milk, “You’ve got to give them hope.”

As the wedding procession began, my tears continued to flow swelling with pride, joy, hope and even sorrow.  These amazing men were standing before me, declaring their love, declaring their devotion and declaring to all watching that “It does get better.”  This was no ordinary Texas wedding.

In order for Dante and Mark’s wedding to be legal in Washington, D.C., the ceremony had to be performed by an official authorized by the District to conduct weddings.

To overcome the jurisdictional issues, Mark and Dante arranged for the officiant to appear via Skype along with several witnesses in D.C., while the couple stood within the boundaries of their home state before their friends and family.

Mark and Dante have shown us that love endures and regardless of how hard people try to stop us, our love will carry us through.  It seems, after all, love does conquer hate.

On a more personal note to the newly weds:  Thank you for being a part of my life.  You have inspired me, pushed me and even carried me in more ways than you can possibly realize.  You have given me hope.