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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.

Thank God for Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

September 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

phelpsFred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church folks are some of the most extreme people in all of religiousdom.  The Westboro Baptist Church website is GodHatesFags.com, a slimy place full of unpleasant commentary including a countdown for the number of days Matthew Shepard has been in hell.  The church and its flock often take their small children with them for protests and carry signs like those in the photograph and with phrases such as “Fags are Beasts” and “God Hates Fags.” They are known for protests of U.S. soldiers’ funerals, funerals of persons who died as a result of AIDS and funerals of hate crimes victims.

In spite of Phelps protesting soldiers, preaching that “AIDS cures fags” and claiming that the Pope is a Whore, for the most part, America wasn’t listening.  Until his clan made a tragic mistake.  They picketed American Idol, Adam Lambert.  Straight and gay fans of Adam were outraged and the twitter hashtag #GodHatesHates was launched exposing the level of intolerance faced by many LGBT people to the masses.  According to those on twitter:

#GodHatesHate was started by fans supporting Adam Lambert when protesters showed up at a concert with signs saying “God hates fags”. Adam has said in the past that “God hates hate more” in response to those protesters.

The hashtag quickly became the number one twitter trending topic of the evening on Sunday, August 30, 2009 and tweets poured through such as:

#GodHatesHate Take responsibility for yourself and stop using your religion as an excuse for your own hatred and bigotry. [via @Buffy2q]

Protesting Adam Lambert is like protesting sunshine! #godhateshate [via @EWMichaelSlezak]

#godhateshate … That’s why @adamlambert was created…nothing but love…beautiful,awesome love. [via VTAlum01]

#Godhateshate Pastor Steve Anderson and Fred Phelps do NOT represent the heart of Christianity and I’m sorry for those hurt by their rants.

But there is a danger in all of this.  Fred Phelps is a dramatic example of bigotry and it’s easy to spot his hate mongering; however, others aren’t so blatant like Maggie Gallagher, Pat Robertson, Carrie Prejean and the like.  For example, Pat Robertson often attempts to be more discrete in his message of hate.  When he spoke out against “gay days” at Disney World, he said:

I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you, This is not a message of hate — this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.

So, if your one of the many outraged over “God Hates Fags,” remember it’s the same message as many anti-equality people, just without the sugar coating.

Iowa Supreme Court to Rule on Gay Marriage Ban

April 02, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

The Iowa Supreme Court has advised that it will release its ruling on the “gay-marriage” ban this Friday, April 3, 2009.  Oral Arguments were presented to the court in December.  The case, is Varnum v. Brien and will be released on the Iowa Supreme Court website by 8:30 a.m.

The lower court previously ruled that same-sex marriage is “gender” based and subject to an intermediate scrutiny analysis and that the statute banning same-gender marriage was unconstitutional under both Due Process and Equal Protection claims.  Defendants in the case appealed the decision stating that the Court erred in its ruling on these issues and in refusing to admit the defendant’s expert witnesses as well as entering summary judgment for the plaintiffs.

This makes me think of the linguistic battle as well as a civil rights battle.  The question of gender is an apt debate when referring to “same-gender” marriage; however, a change in nomenclature, such as “gay marriage” can effectually change the argument for a gender discrimination claim to a “protected class” issue – either way, this blogger hopes Lady Justice is feeling a bit gay tomorrow when the decision is released.

For more information or to read the briefs, replies and the trial court ruling filed in the suit, please visit the Supreme Court of Iowa’s website.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Fundamental Basis of Marriage Excludes Gays

February 06, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Maureen Mullarkey, an artist best known for her “gay inspired” subject matter including cross-dressing, made the following statement after being “outed” for her contribution of $1,000 to the anti-family Yes on Hate – aka Prop 8 – people:

…marriage is the union of husband and wife–a premise so simple, so fundamental that nature and civilization itself both testify to the truth of it.

Apparently the artist feels:

Moreover, regard for individual gay persons does not require assent to a politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good.

First, Ms. Mullarkey, marriage is only the union of husband and wife because of a politicized assault on social reality induced by religious sentiment.  Perhaps you, like most, are unfamiliar or unaware of some of the historical wonders in the history of marriage – for example, did you know that in the centuries past “marriages’ were performed, in Christian fashion, of same-gender couples?  There are even famous art pieces believed to represent these “ceremonies” and there is historical documentation on the matter.   What happened to this former acceptance of same-gender marriage? Not the “common good” but the “common god.”

Perhaps the reason LGBT people are upset with you is because so many LGBT people supported you and your work, and purchased your work.  Now you’ve taken our money and given it over to our enemies.  Your art work is actually just a way of mocking the gays and lesbians you portrayed.  There are many words that come to mind, hypocrit, traitor, hater, but all I have to say to you is this “I forgive you, and now I forget you.”

To De-Gay or Not to De-Gay…

February 02, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

Tomorrow, a man from the local satellite company will be installing a new satellite system a la casa de jaysays – which we loving call the Fairy Ranch, not because we are homosexuals, but because it’s in the middle of no-where and the property is decorated with fairies.  As I sit here composing my blog for today, I’m also contemplating de-gaying the place (or “Straightening Up” as it’s commonly referred to).  Mr. Satellite Guy (I’ve been told it’s a boy anyway) will be working mostly in my office… the sacred area of the house which serves not only as my refuge into the wonderful world of jaysays.com, but can be transformed with a few crisp sheets to an over-flow bedroom in minutes.  So I take inventory of the room which remodeling forgot and try to decide what should go back into the closet.

Furniture wise, I’m ok.  Nothing too contemporary, but there is a regrettable satin glass wrap around desk that screams I was modern when modern wasn’t cool.  Not much I can do about the desk, but the clutter of scribbled-on CD-R’s and the poorly organized wiring of too many computers should throw him off sufficiently.  I then take a look at the contents of my entertainment center:

  • TV – no problem there;
  • Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post Print – yeah… that’s pretty “straight”;
  • Men’s magazine – borderline;
  • Steno pad of scribbled notes from late night TV watching – fine;
  • Carrier War book – very straight;
  • Autographed Lost Souls novel by Poppy Z. Brite – flaming, but he’ll never know.

Having confirmed my entertainment center was “straight enough” I took a look at the book shelf:

  • Office supplies – nothing gay there;
  • Stone, unpainted fairies – hmm;
  • Books on art, history, embroidering, and a rather large Poppy Z. Brite collection – maybe he won’t look at the books closely;
  • Chorus pedal and some other pedal for Christopher’s guitar – probably voids the fairies;
  • Autographed Debbie Harry print – shit.

Well, it may be able to “pass”, on to the desk, surely there is something extraordinarily gay here somewhere:

  • Family photographs in frames including niece, nephews, fantastic-niece (aka great niece but in need of a better adjective), friends, me and a friend’s dog, Christopher, Christopher and our niece – very hetero-esque;
  • Marble puzzle game thingy – If I don’t know what it is, certainly it can be that “revealing”;
  • Laptop, desktop, another desktop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, wireless mouse, printer, dvd burner, PS2, paint, cd-r’s – man I have way too much crap on my desk – but straight looking crap;
  • Book on learning Java Development in 21 days I got 6 months ago and still don’t know Java – geeky but not particularly gay;
  • Day after election news-paper featuring Obama.   .    .     .     .     . well, that better go in a drawer.

As I go through the above lists and start considering what should be put away, I realize a few things:

  1. I don’t have anything that’s “gay” thus our house is just like most other people’s homes;
  2. Even if I did have something that was “gay” like… I don’t know, GQ?… I shouldn’t hide it away even though I live in the middle of no where and it’s possible no one will hear me scream (and even if they did hear me scream it’s possible they would mistake the screams for a peacock and ignore it);
  3. And if they did ignore it and I were killed for being a homosexual it would be really really ironic;
  4. I don’t like irony;
  5. Even if I did like irony I would not want my death to be necessitated in order to provide “irony.”

But perhaps the most important thing I learned was that, although on the surface my house may be the same as a straight couple’s house, it is actually very different in one major way – straight couples don’t worry that the workmen coming over will kill them for being straight.

Another Hate Crime Surprises Minneapolis Uptown Area

January 26, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

A 32 year old woman, Kristen Boyne, was assaulted on her way to the Rainbow Foods grocery store on Thursday, January 22 by two men using derogatory slurs about Kristen’s sexuality.  Kristen survived the attack with a severe concussion and was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center and later released.

This is the first such hate crime in recent memory for the Uptown area of Minneapolis, a generally progressive neighborhood.  The surprise of the community is due to the breach of the “safety” bubble many in gay communities have built.  We now have “gayborhoods” and LGBT districts where we feel safe.  This crime shows that even within the safety of the “walls” we’ve created, we are not safe.

Police are asking for help in solving this crime.  If you have any information, please contact Sgt. Bruce Kohn at 612-673-2941.

Minneapolis City Guide Examiner: Hate crime assault in Uptown Minneapolis area shocks and surprises local residents.

When Hate Crimes Are Terrorism

January 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

The “right-wing” have often *defended* themselves from LGBT people using ridiculous claims like gays are pedophiles and if you allow gays to get married, gay sex will be taught to elementary students, etc.  It’s a topic I’ve covered a couple of times here because I find their comments so ridiculous that repeating them only illustrates how insane their claims are.  But the claims all have one thing in common, they are meant to belittle, insult and oppress LGBT people.  They are purposeful in illustrating the “evil” of LGBT people.  They intend to make us look like wretches and non-productive members of society, and if they could, they would draw images of us with horns and tails and proclaim us to be direct descendants of the devil (but most haven’t gotten that ridiculous yet).

In response, the LGBT community has largely attempted to eradicate these arguments by illustrating that we are actually ordinary people in ordinary jobs and live rather ordinary lives.  We are constantly trying to show gay couples in loving and committed relationships and raising beautiful children.  These images are generally accurate of some LGBT people, but not all.  The purpose of our “campaign” showing these people is to defunct the arguments that we are all sex crazed lunatics.  What we haven’t done is launched our own “smear” campaign.

Imagine a world where instead of saying Hate Crime when a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person is attacked, raped, murdered, etc., we call it what it is – Domestic Terrorism.  Hate crimes are often committed by small groups of people who are biased or prejudiced toward LGBT people.  They generally consider themselves to be superior and generally condemn LGBT to hell.  I’ll admit, not all of these crimes are “terrorism”, but many are motivated by the same thing that motivates terrorist – instill fear in a group of people in order to coerce them away from what it is they represent.

Although there isn’t an internationally recognized definition of terrorism, some definitions include:

The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.  Link

The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda. Link

The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. Link

When the group “Bash Back” stormed a gay hating church and disturbed the congregation, the right-wing was quick to label the group as terrorists, yet when a group of men brutally raped a lesbian woman in California for being a lesbian or some insane person sent threats of toxic exposure to gay bars, people didn’t call them terrorists, but they are.  They intend to intimidate and coerce LGBT people into submission.  They try to invoke fear in us to silence us or send us back to the closet.  What they don’t know is that although we are a diverse people, we are a strong people.  We have been attacked and beaten and deemed unworthy and unequal our entire lives and that has not stopped us, it has made us stronger.  Together we will overcome these terrorists and their supporters.  Although we may be afraid, we are courageous.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave. ~Ambrose Redmoon (aka James Neil Hollingworth)

Inauguration Declares Equality for All – Except Gays

January 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, LGBT News

My hope for enjoying the inauguration as an American and citizen of the world was lost when, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation was not aired due to a “misunderstanding” between HBO and the Obama administration.  The Obama inauguration committee apparently “mistakenly” advised HBO (the network with exclusive broadcast rights) that this very politically charged invocation by Robinson which was seen by many as Obama’s effort to include the gay community, was part of the pre-show and should not air.  I was sick.  I kept imagining how such a mistake could be made in the spirit of inclusion.  Tuesday came and, having took the day off work for the inauguration, I sat myself in front of the TV to watch the event and hope for some sort of “apology” and recognition of all of us as part of this country.  Instead, what I received was a message of equality and diversity, in Black and White.

By now you’ve all heard the controversy regarding Rick Warren’s invitation to deliver the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration.  Many LGBT activists and their allies called the Obama administration out on his invitation to Warren.  Warren, who compared gay marriage to pedophilia, incest and polygamy, did deliver the invocation.  In true religious hypocracy, he said:

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

I died a little inside and the inauguration – what was supposed to be the greatest moment in my life as it relates to the greatness of the United States was now nothing but meaningless sidebar.  Warren, asking God to forgive when “we fail to treat our fellow human beings… with the respect that they deserve…” while he continually fails to treat a large segment of human beings with ANY respect, reminded me of the man who beats the hell out of his wife every night only to apologize the next morning – over and over again.  Stop asking God to forgive you for your wrongs Mr. Warren and start doing something to earn forgiveness from those you are holding under the water.

I then spent the remainder of the inauguration thinking too much about how the statement “equality for all” was met with such great applause – how comments about the end of discrimination and segregation were met with such great fanfare – yet people are still suffering under the foot of those that rule.  We build a wall against the Latinos, we profile the migrant worker, we bash gays and lesbians and disenfranchise our transgendered brothers and sisters – all the while we celebrate our great victory in the civil rights movement, a movement which is now being defined as “black and white” rather than “we the people.”

The following is what you didn’t see:

What I’ve Learned Thus Far – The Nationwide DOMA Protest (cont.)

January 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, LGBT Action Alerts

After my last  post describing my adventures in downtown San Antonio while attempting to gather signatures to the Open Letter to Obama, I took to the streets again.  It was about 10:30 p.m. when I, along with three others, pulled into the parking lot near a local gay bar.  The crowds were coming at full force and we could have used several more people to try to obtain everyone’s signatures.  It was windy and cold, but our reception was warm and tender… for the most part.

We split into two groups of two people, each with pads of signature pages, the letter and pens.  As people walked toward the clubs, we would stop them and ask for their support.  Many were anxious to get inside into a warmer climate, but those that took time to hear us out were grateful for our involvement and some offered their stories.  One kindly gentleman took a look at the letter and advised me that it hit very close to home for him as he had lost his job due to his sexual orientation.  He told me about his lawsuit and how difficult it was for him.  We discussed the Tennessee man who was recently fired for his sexual orientation as well.  I learned that, in spite of my very comfortable and supportive employment, I wasn’t immune from the reality of sexual orientation discrimination in my own employment.  After our conversation, he thanked me for what I was doing.  It was a very touching experience and I learned that in my zeal to make a difference, I must not forget compassion.

I then spoke with two ladies who were members of our military and serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (“DADT”).  We discussed the policy and the efforts to revoke it – and the likelihood that the Obama Administration will do away with the discriminatory policy [at 4:15].  I then inquired as to the murmurs I’ve heard from other military personnel that DADT protects LGBT soldiers from discrimination and aggressive acts by other members of the military.  They were stunned by the representation and completely disagreed with the argument.  They did state, in summary, that lower ranking military members may feel that way, but the truth of the matter was that the DADT was not a protection but a discriminatory policy.  I learned that we must continue to work to repeal DADT and hold the Administration accountable should it remain in effect.

Many LGBT people have made several comments that the African American community is not supportive of LGBT rights and issues.  While working the streets downtown, we approached three African American ladies in a group.  They had a small child with them.  They listened to us and reviewed the letter.  As one of them read the letter, she saw the portion which requested that DOMA be repealed and said, “That’s what I wanted to see.”  She grabbed the pen, pointed it out to her friends and they all anxiously signed the letter. Overall, the “group” that was seemingly the most responsive and most interested in the issue was the African American population.  Not one African American we approached refused to sign the petition.  One of the ladies was wearing a shirt that said, “All we need is love.”  That is what I learned from them.

I noticed that many of the younger people had no interest in signing the petition, even young LGBT people at the clubs.  Most were in too big of a hurry to meet up with their friends inside or stated things such as “I’m not political”.  The older generation (late 20’s and above) seemed much more receptive and had many stories to tell about things that have happened to them.  I learned that, until it happens to you, you probably won’t care too much about it.  I also learned that I miss the ignorant bliss of youth.

Many of the LGBT people I spoke with had never heard of DOMA and required a bit of a history lesson on the subject.  I learned from them that we have a lot of educating to do of our own community.

Some of the more trivial things I learned were: that when it is cold outside, you should wear gloves even if you don’t think you need them; when people have to “pee” you shouldn’t ask them to sign a petition, even though you have no access to a restroom and have had to go for over an hour; that you can never have too many pens; and that people wear too much cologne to the clubs.

Perhaps the most defining thing I learned was that I am s till frightened.  I thought I had overcome my fear of reactionary people and what they may do to me as a gay man, but instead of being the strong, self-assured person I thought I was, I was shaking inside everytime I approached a heterosexual couple and asked them to support LGBT equality.  In that I learned that I was “heterophobic” by the strictist definition.

How I Scare Lesbians – The Nationwide DOMA Protest

January 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, LGBT Action Alerts

The National DOMA Protest was conducted today.  I made it to the rally point and met up with the handful of people that showed up.  With letters in hand we took to the streets of San Antonio and began asking for signatures.

After approaching many presumably heterosexual people and a few people who declared their homosexuality, I noticed a lesbian couple (complete with hand holding) and approached them and asked whether or not they would sign the petition to support gay rights and repeal DOMA.  I was flabbergasted when they told me firmly, “no.”  I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t even say my typical, “thank you anyway, have a beautiful day” or any other nicety.  I just stood their – staring blankly.  Two of the people obtaining signatures with me were standing nearby.  I turned and saw their puzzled looks as well.

The night before, I took to the streets handing out fliers near the local “gay” district.  As I approached a group of presumably lesbian women in front of a local gay bar, I attempted to disarm them with a big smile, a pink piece of paper, the lesbian friend nearby and a huge “Hi!”  They scattered.  I turned to one and said, “Would you like to participate in the DOMA protest tomorrow to support gay rights?”  She rolled her eyes at me and said, “no… thank you,” in what was likely the most condescending tone anyone has ever spoken to me in.  The one remaining woman was likely humoring me with her “interest.”  Ultimately, it became clear she had no intention of attending.

But, not all was lost.  An adorable couple and their little girl (roughly 5 or 6 years old) stopped to sign the letter and talk with us.  While her parents were reviewing the letter, the little girl was asking all sorts of questions to her parents about what we were doing.  She was trying to read the letter her mother was holding and said, “Is that so gay people can get married?”  Her mother responded with a yes and the little girl says, “FINALLY!”  My heart glowed with joy.

In a conversation with another couple (also adorable) I began my speech about the first section of DOMA and how it violates Article IV Sec. I of the U.S. Constitution and that even its author, Bill Barr, supports its repeal.  After talking for several a couple of minutes, the young lady looks at me and says, “Can you dumb this down a bit?”  We shared a laugh and I advised its generally in support of “gay marriage” and hate crimes legislation.  Her husband (or boyfriend) said, “If I sign this does it mean I have to marry someone of the same sex.”  I quickly advised him, “No.  But if your interested I do know some people.”

Over all, the experience was positive – for me, it was an excercise in confidence.  Each time I approached someone I was essentially coming out of the closet all over again.  The most negative response received that I’m aware of was “God doesn’t like homosexuals.”  I wasn’t there at the time, but I’m sure I would have simply asked, “Does God like chocolate?”  Just to find out if they knew the answer.