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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.

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.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: For What It’s Worth.

June 30, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationOver the last few days I have watched the story of the police raid on the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas unfold. Unlike my fellow blogger and friend Jay, I don’t live in Texas. In fact, I have never been to Texas.

I joined the Facebook group, I’ve read blogs from the Huffington Post, the Washington Blade, local and national news sites about this story, trying to understand the real facts of what happened. I noticed a trend in a few comments and realized that I, too, had revealed yet another form of prejudice.

It looks something like this.

What do you expect? It’s Texas.

I’d like to pretend I’m above stereotyping but I wasn’t. And while in my mind it was meant teasingly, that doesn’t mean it’s ok. Don’t believe I’m capable of that? Oh, but I am.  On the Sunday morning after this police raid, a Texas church invited it’s congregation to bring a gun to church day. I made the sarcastic remark, to Jay in an email that, after what happened at the Rainbow Lounge, no wonder it’s legal to carry a loaded weapon in Texas and maybe people need to take them to gay bars. (Don’t try this at home. Not even in Texas.)

Those of us who think we live in what we like to believe are more progressive states are thinking, “This couldn’t happen where I live.” “This kind of thing only happens in the South.” “This kind of thing only happens in Red States.”

This kind of thing happens everywhere. A few facts, as always, from Geekgirl.

Approximately 55 to 60% of Texans support same sex marriage or civil unions.

So how does that compare to a supposedly Blue State like my own, Wisconsin? We have two Democratic Senators, a Democratic Governor, the first out lesbian Congresswoman, Tammy Baldwin. Here’s how.

In 2006, almost 60% of Wisconsinites approved that states amendment. But less than three years later, recent polls indicate that percentage would be significantly lower now. Only 55% of people in a nationwide poll conducted by Quinnipiac University said they were opposed to gay marriage last month. And 57% said they favored allowing gay couples to form civil unions that would provide marriage-like rights.

Not much different. Oh wait. Do they have this law in Texas?

Wisconsin is a state that imposes criminal penalties on residents if they enter a marriage outside the state that would be prohibited in the state. The law was created to prohibit underage couples from crossing state lines to marry, but it could be interpreted to apply to same-sex marriages.

That’s right folks. If you are gay and get legally married somewhere else, you could be a criminal in Wisconsin.

But how does Wisconsin compare to Texas with respect to crimes against gays and lesbians?

Right now, about 80 miles from very liberal Madison, there is a Christian group suing to burn a school library book about a gay teenager who experiences homophobia and bullying. You might be thinking, but that isn’t beating up people. No. But there could be a gay teenager for whom that book would be a lifesaver.

Last summer, two gay people were attacked coming out of a bar in one of our nearby, liberal suburbs. Last fall, my husband and I went to the Nov. 15th protest against the results of Proposition 8.  I was waiting for my husband to run and put more money in the parking meter and we lagged behind the march for a few moments. A young man came up to me and asked what was going on. When I explained, he said, “Disgusting faggots,” spit on the ground and walked away. I was so stunned I couldn’t even respond. I was still stuck with “In Madison? We don’t have those kind of people here.”

Oh yes we do. And so do you.

If I were not involved in gay activism, I can tell you what my reaction to this news story would be.

The requisite liberal moment of compassion, outrage and smugness.

Then I would have moved on. “That’s awful. Honey, what do you want to do today, it’s Sunday?” We acknowledge these terrible things that happen but we don’t feel them. Too many terrible things happen in a day. And if we aren’t gay, it doesn’t get past our liberal intelligence and politically correct emotional response.

But what if you are LGBT?

I have a young friend, who is centuries wiser than her mere 19 years of age,  who wrote this to me in a recent letter. I was so moved, so heartbroken, that I am keeping this letter for life.

I mean, just TODAY I heard (John’s)  friend ran away from home just for being gay because his parents were going to send him back to  (a Middle Eastern country) to probably get him stoned to death – just for being gay. He’s not even trans! He didn’t even sleep with a guy! He was just honest!-An hour later, my transfriend posts another note on his facebook crying for help/venting his frustration with his oblivious family who forces him in dresses, to which his family of friends all responded with speechlessness and ‘less than three‘ hearts. -Three hours later, I’m reading about my gay friend’s exboyfriend who committed suicide, a year ago tomorrow, for being some kind of member of the LGBT community, too young to figure out which.

This happens every day to me, to everybody, everyday, everywhere.

We hear about these things in our own personal localized lives as much as most adults hear about wanted criminals for theft, rape, kidnap, and murder on the local nightly news. Only, we know the victims personally and we know the suspects just as well, if not better then the friends – who, for most, ARE our only family – who we lose in these hate crimes of varying degrees.
Actually, I think the only difference between seeing a drawing of a criminal on your local news every night and hearing about things like that every day is when it’s personal, it’s not nearly as desensitizing, but still just as frequent. So even though you see it happen all the time, you don’t think of it less because of that.
(Emphasis added)

Hate does not have boundaries. Not by state, religion, political party or sexual orientation.

For one minute. An entire 60 seconds, watch the clock, you are gay. Let it soak in. Think of how much you love your heterosexual partner. Only now, the only difference is that your sweetie is the same gender. Would you be willing to do the experiment of pretending to be gay, in public, with a friend of the same gender, gay or straight? Would you let your body language betray that you are lovers, not friends? Would you show affection to that person, publicly?

Be honest.

Ohio Straight Bar Gives Gay a Bloody Welcome

May 31, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Hate CrimeA group of gay and straight people headed out for a night of fun at a Mainville, Ohio bar called Tabby’s.  Patrons of the bar continued harassing the group asking which of them is straight and which of them is gay.  Finally, one of the men in the group, 31 year-old, Ronnie Robertson, spoke up and admitted to being a homosexual.  He was then attacked and received a broken nose and multiple lacerations to his face.

Two women have been arrested and police are still looking for two men believed to be involved.  Ohio does not have hate crimes legislation protecting people based upon sexual orientation; however, Ohio’s hate crime legislation does protect other minority groups.

I’m Rubber and You’re Glue: Anti-Gay Harrassment in School

April 25, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay, Youth Issues

It’s never really mattered if you are gay or not, just the perception of homosexuality has been enough to cause peers to harass and bully you for your “faggot-ness.”  The unfortunate and untimely deaths of Carl Walker-Hoover, an 11 year old 6th grader in Massachusetts, and Jaheem Herrera, and 11 year old 5th grader in Georgia, have brought to the media’s attention what LGBT activist have been saying for years, “We must protect our children.”

Both Carl and Jaheem were taunted and harassed with words such like, sissy or faggot by their peers.  Neither had identified their own sexual orientation.  However, according to a 2005 report by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Harris Interactive, LGBT kids are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual contemporaries.  The Religious Reich makes all sorts of outrageous claims (as they often do) that this is caused by the child’s own self-loathing for his/her sexual or gender identity.  But where does that self-loathing stem from – perhaps from society telling these children that they are inferior, worthless and “sinners.”

When we are very young children everyone asks us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Most answers are things like, a doctor, a fireman, a chef, a teacher or an astronaut – children never respond, “I’m going to be disliked by my peers, taunted publically, discriminated against by my government, rejected by my family and somehow still find the strength to wake up every day and face these horrors again.”  No child dreams of that future, but that future comes anyway for many kids.  It came for Jaheem and Carl, in spite of the fact that neither publically self-identified as anything other than children, and regrettably they both felt the only way out was to take their own lives.

These children, as well as the countless others who become victims of bullycide, did not take their own lives, the Religious Reich and social neo-conservatives who think that somehow the sexuality of these children were relevant to their own lives, took their lives.  They murdered them by teaching that it is “ok” to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning people.  This is how they purport to protect our children.  To that, jaysays: there has got to be a better way.

Increase in Crimes Against Gays since Passage of Prop 8

March 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

I previously speculated in a post (based on rough math) that after the passage of Proposition 8, a substantially higher number of hate crimes against LGBT people began to occur.  I discussed that, in large part, the theory was based upon the fact that more LGBT activists were taking to the streets and making our community more visible to the violent majority.  As if to confirm my speculation, the San Jose Mercury news is now reporting that 56% (14 out of 25 ) of all hate crimes reported in Santa Clara County California were based upon sexual orientation.  This is a significant jump from 2007 with only three of the twenty reported hate crimes being “gay” related.

From the article:

Hate crime cases involving anti-gay sentiment shot up in Santa Clara County last year, a striking increase that a leading prosecutor attributes to controversy over Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.  Surge in anti-gay hate crime cases – San Jose Mercury News.

Supporter of Proposition 8, Frank Shubert of the poorly named Protect Marriage, had this ridiculous statement:

I certainly hope Proposition 8 did not result in more crime, but if it did, it did so on both sides.

So it seems the Religious Reich is claiming that the gays are beating people up again, even though there have only been two confirmed reports of gays “attacking” Proposition 8 supporters in California.  Both of these claims were videotaped, involved only yelling and neither case resulted in physical bodily injury to the Proposition 8 supporters.

Regardless of whether the Court rules in favor of or against the validity of Proposition 8, the moment will be part of the long history of religion being used to abuse a minority class.

Galveston Texas Gay Bar Attacked by Anti-Gay Stone Throwers

March 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Just south east of Houston, TX sits the island city of Galveston, or whats left of it after Hurricane Ike.  Galveston is most famous as the home of legendary rocker, Janis Joplin.  But morbid news is abound.

Three men, two brothers and a cousin, shouted anti-gay slurs at patrons of Robert’s Lafitte and stoned them due to their sexual orientation.  One man, Marc Bosaw, required 12 staples to close the wounds.  Another man was hit in the jaw by a rock.  Thankfully, the attack did not result in any persons death.

Patrons chased the gay bashers and were able to obtain a description which led to their arrest.  Bosaw stated:

I thought with all the things going on, especially politically, that we would be more accepted and not just randomly attacked.  I don’t see any room for hate right now.

Regrettably, this attitude of gays being more accepted continues to permeate the LGBT community as I discussed more in a prior post.  It is because of these attacks that we must remain a united front and continue to combat this hatred.  It is time to stand against this violence.  “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

via Galveston gay bar attack draws rare use of law w/ video | Front page | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Where Are Our Enemies? A Hate Crime in Georgia

February 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

A couple in Columbia County, GA awoke two find anti-gay graffiti littering their house and car.  Currently, there are no suspects.  In an interview with WJBF, one of the men stated:

We don’t really have any enemies, there isn’t really anybody… that doesn’t like us.

Although a difficult lesson to learn, all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons have people that don’t “like us.”  The rationale for this disdain is ignorant, but it exists.

Throughout my life I have experienced this level of hatred and have always been very cognizant that I have enemies, even those I have not met.  These are people like Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson and Meg Whiman (founder of eBay).   These people, in spite of never having met me or even spoken to me, dispise me enough to concern themselves with my life, my rights and my quest for happiness.  I have been aware that they exist all of my life and never forget about my enemies.

Let this be a lesson to LGBT people, no matter what you believe these people are our neighbors, our co-workers and the cashiers at our grocery stores.  We must always be aware that they are lurking, waiting to make their move against us – but we must not be afraid.

We all gasp this can’t happen here
We’re all much too civilized
Where can these monsters hide

But they are knocking on our front door
They’re rocking in our cradles
They’re preaching in our churches
And eating at our tables

See:  Columbia County Gay Couple Targeted for Possible Hate Crime | WJBF.

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.