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The Facebook Photo that Will Break your Heart

April 25, 2012 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Headline

In spite of being legally married in the U.S. State of Iowa, Inger Knudson-Judd and Philippa Knudson-Judd don’t get to spend much time together or with their 12 year old daughter.  In fact, prior to this most recent 5 week visit, the couple hadn’t seen each other in 6 months.  Why?  The Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) allows the Federal Government to refuse to recognize Inger and Philippa’s marriage and Philippa is not a U.S. citizen.  These stories are all too common.

In early April, 2012, five same-sex couples who are not able to obtain green cards for their foreign-born spouses filed a lawsuit challenging DOMA’s prohibitions against gay couples petitioning for legal status for their spouses.  Victoria Neilson, legal director for Immigration Equality who is leading the charge, stated that their group has asked that the Obama Administration to change these policies, or at least suspend green card applications rather than rejecting them until DOMA challenges can be resolved.  Neilson explained:

We have recently gotten a definitive no from the administration on that request, so we sort of feel like we’re at the end of the line on advocacy. Our next step is to take it to the courts.”

Which brings us to the photo.  Yesterday, Inger had to drive her wife to the airport after a five week visit and they don’t know when they will next see each other.  So when I opened my Facebook news feed, I saw this photo from Inger:

Inger and Phillippa say Goodbye

Inger and Philippa say Goodbye

And my heart broke.

Via Wipe Out Homophobia on Facebook, Inger released this response:

We have a 12 year old daughter and so are trying to do things the legal way…, but [we] have hit road blocks every step of the way. *** It is really hard to hold your family when their hearts are breaking, my arms just aren’t that long. After 4 1/2 years of trying to find a solution, nothing has changed.

Some say that DOMA protects families, but does this family look protected?  These are the faces of our families; this is the real suffering caused by discrimination.

DADT Survey Focuses on Discrimination Against Gay Service Members and Living Quarters

July 09, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured

"We Will Not Be Silent." Don't Ask Don't Tell ("DADT")The Department of Defense has sent surveys to roughly 400,000 active and reserve service members to obtain information on how a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will affect them, their unit and the readiness of our nation’s military.  Of note is the fact that no such survey was done to implement the discriminatory policy.

The survey begins innocuously enough with questions about living quarters for the service member, marital/relationship status, and questions about whether they feel their unit works together as a team.  It doesn’t get into the full meat of the issues until page 10 when the statement is made in blue highlight, “Throughout this survey, “gay and lesbian” and “homosexual” are used interchangeably.”  The first question under this heading gave me a start, “Do you currently serve with a male or female Service member you believe to be homosexual?”  It continues, asking about all the units the Service member has served under with the same question – do you believe someone is gay?  It then goes on to ask how believing such person to be gay affected the unit’s ability to work together, morale and performance.

It was painful for me to get through the survey.  With each question I felt the sting of discrimination, but gained insight into the ideology of why people are so frightened to work with a gay person.  Concerns, as indicated by the survey, range from the inability to hold Service members to high standards in spite of their sexual orientation; the inability to treat Service members equally because of their sexual orientation; the inability to set sexual orientation aside when considering opportunities to be provided to the Service members, etc… etc…

Eventually though, the survey goes to the living quarters issue.  It asks the following question:

If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are assigned to share a room, berth or field tent with someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian Service member, which are you most likely to do?

The options provided do not include, “beat the f*ggot;” however, such could be listed under “something else” and filled into a provided blank.

In the end, the survey generally focuses on two issues regarding the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: (1) will gays serving openly be afforded the same opportunities as heterosexual Service members (i.e. will they face discrimination); and (2) will gays will make heterosexual Service members uneasy?

In response to the first issue, it seems to me that discrimination being condoned by commanding officers, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. President should be our first concern.  Once the discrimination is no longer sanctioned by the government, we can then confront the social and intra-rank aspects.

As to the second point, I invoke Estelle Gette’s character, Sophia, from the Golden Girls:  Picture it, Afghanistan, 2010.  An improvised explosive device has just charred dozens of innocent people on the street.  Three soldiers run to assist the wounded, carry them off for treatment and contain the scene.  They are exhausted, emotionally drained, a wreck… yet the gay soldier, all he can think about is getting back to the barracks so that he can check out the homophobic Service member’s tiny man part in the shower… yeah, that makes sense.

The full text of the survey can be found here.

Biphobia and Discrimination from within the LG…b…t… Community.

April 21, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Stand Tall, Play Ball (unless your bisexual)Not enough thought is given to attitudes of lesbian and gay people toward our bisexual community members.  In fact, many times our own community turns against the “B” and sends them out, tail between their legs.  While some biphobia translates into small slights against individuals, such as the incident discussed with Drea on Closet Talk, others ring more fully and show the issue in full light.

After a team from San Francisco finished second in the Gay Softball World Series two years ago, a complaint was filed by an opposing team because three of the San Francisco team-members were not “gay.”  The team members identify as bisexual.  Upon consideration of the issue, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (“NAGAAA”) ruled that the teammates were “non-gay” and stripped the team of their second place victory.

A lawsuit has now been filed against NAGAAA by the men claiming that the action was discrimination.  In response, NAGAAA has claimed that the men were not illegally discriminated against as NAGAAA is a private organization that can determine its membership.

While it may be true that no illegal discrimination occurred, this is a blatant act of discrimination.  Further, the organizing documents of the NAGAAA have no prohibitions against bisexual team members, but the documents do specifically allow for up to two heterosexual team members per roster.

Please take a stand against discrimination of our bisexual community members and contact NAGAAA board members and advise them that such acts are not only unconscionable, but are counterproductive to the cause of equality for all persons.

The following lists the Board of Directors and their contact information:

Roy Melani
Commissioner
commissioner@nagaaasoftball.org

Chris Balton
Assistant Commissioner
assistantcommissioner@nagaaasoftball.org

Jim Young
Secretary
secretary@nagaaasoftball.org

Jerry Travis
Treasurer
treasurer@nagaaasoftball.org

Gary Carter
Business Development Director
businessdevelopment@nagaaasoftball.org

Malawi Condones Gay Rights Group then Arrests Gay Couple

January 04, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

Malawi recently made news when its President, Bingu wa Mutharika, condoned the establishment of a gay rights organization.  This green light was particularly remarkable in the South African country because homosexuality is illegal there.  Those convicted of homosexuality can be sentenced up to 14 years hard labor.

Now, Malawi is making gay news again, only this time because magistrate, Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa, refused bail to two men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, charged with public indecency after holding a marriage ceremony.  The rationale for the refusal of bail used by Usiwausiwa is that it is unsafe to allow the couple out of prison because people are angry with them.  However, in a recent interview, the men advised that they have already been beaten in prison.  So much for the magistrate’s worry over the safety of the men.

The couple is the first of its kind [gay] to marry in the country; however, such marriages are not legally recognized in Malawi.  Of course, public indecency is a different charge than homosexuality; therefore, the government must gather more evidence against the men before they can be charged with homosexuality (more specifically, with having gay sex).  How does a government gather evidence to convict the men?  Simple, they send them for medical exams to determine whether or not intercourse has occurred.

NOTE: Tiwonge Chimbalanga is a 20 year old biological male who dresses as a woman.  It is unknown whether Chimbalanga identifies as male or female.

Is Any Publicity Really Good Publicity? Adam Lambert v. Uganda

December 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

UgandaLambertAfter Adam Lambert’s performance on the American Music Awards resulted in people screaming about gay kisses all over the Internet and thousands of calls complaining to the network, ABC canceled two scheduled appearances by the performer. Since then, activists far and wide have called out ABC for its discrimination against Lambert. Then the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (“GLAAD”) stepped in.

At first, ABC remained mum on why Adam’s appearances were canceled, but after questions became louder, they responded that Adam wasn’t axed because of his sexual orientation, but because he can’t stick to a script.

GLAAD quickly agreed and issued a statement in defense of ABC stating that ABC has shown same-sex kisses in the past and does not discriminate against gays. The result is music to Adam Lambert’s publicist’s ear, but poison to this activist.

The story of Adam Lambert’s kiss has reached major networks, blogs and radio. Debates all over the internet show the fury of the LGBT community and their heterosexual allies over the issue, but what we aren’t talking about is Uganda.

Uganda is slated to vote on an anti-homosexuality bill. The bill would allow for punishment of homosexual acts with life in prison, but doesn’t stop there. If you are a repeat offender or HIV+ the sentence is death.  That means if Adam Lambert performed in Uganda as he did on the American Music Awards, he would not be banned from network T.V., he’d be thrown in prison for the rest of his life.  Should he be charged for repeated offenses, they will kill him.

But what is worse than the thought of Adam Lambert being put to death?  The US Christian group, The Family (aka the “Fellowship”), a fundamentalist organization which is believed to house many US Representatives, used its influence to bring about this bill.  According to Alternet:

The roster of current and former Family members includes senators, congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, generals and at least one Supreme Court justice. The Family does not publish membership lists, and its members are sworn to secrecy, so a full accounting is impossible.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has been involved with the Family since 1993 when, as first lady, she joined a White House prayer circle for political wives. Clinton has also sought spiritual counseling from the current head of the Family, Doug Coe.

The Family’s influence in U.S. Politics is strong.  So strong, in fact, that the religious majority continues to vote on the rights of minorities even in the Land of the Freedom of Religion.  If they succeed in Uganda in bringing the murder of homosexuals into law, what will stop them in the U.S.?  We already know by way of California’s Proposition 8 that human rights can be voted away, but where do we draw the line?

And that brings us back to Adam Lambert and GLAAD.  Is this story “good publicity” when it distracts us from the potential government sanctioned murders of our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda? Definitely not.

the Fellowship and the International Foundation

LGBT Lessons for Right Wing Christians: How Hate Crime Laws Silenced the Church

November 21, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationThe hardcore religious (they are anything but) right has become so paranoid that their twisted logic has led them to believe that they are the victims. Their solution?  The Manhattan Declaration, a statement of Christian convictions on the matters of life, family, and religious liberty. Let’s go through parts of it.

The preamble to the declaration reads, “While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

That’s right folks. People who WANT to get married are destroying marriage. Just like people who hate the earth recycle.

On marriage, the declaration addresses the problems of out-of-wedlock births, cohabitation, and divorce. For the church’s failure to uphold ‘the dignity of marriage,’ it reads, ‘we repent.’ It goes on to lay out concerns with same-sex marriage. ‘[I]t is out of love (not ‘animus’) and prudent concern for the common good (not ‘prejudice’), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture.’

You admit to being a failure on heterosexual marriage. You are addressing this how? You welcome these individuals into your churches. You do not cast them out nor do you preach that what they have done is wrong. When was your last sermon on “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”? I seem to recall that is in the Ten Commandments. Being gay is not.

It is out of love that you are preventing loving couples from marrying one another? No it isn’t. It is out of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, ignorance, intolerance and an unwillingness to be human. You are paranoid, brainwashed and threatened. You are incapable of examining your own feelings. Worse, you hide behind religion and words like love to make your stand against same sex marriage sound respectable.

Signatories recognize a growing list of threats to religious liberty: the weakening of conscience clauses protecting religious workers in the health industry, antidiscrimination statutes that could force religious nonprofits to facilitate adoptions to gay couples, and heightened hate crimes laws that could affect free speech.

Father Chad Hatfield, head of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, said he signed it because, ‘We know what it’s like to be intimidated into silence,’ referring to Eastern Orthodox persecution under communism.

That might just be the most insane, offensive sentence in the entire document. “We know what it’s like to be intimidated into silence. ” Just what exactly are you being silenced on? Your desire to help the poor? Your desire to prevent failed marriages? Really? Where? This declaration is about one thing only. Same sex marriage.

You know what it is like to be intimidated into silence? Really? When was the last time a clergyman was decapitated, dismembered and burned in the same way that Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado , a 19 year old gay man (or perhaps transgender person) from Puerto Rico, or Jason Mattison, a 15 year old teen from Baltimore,  who was raped, stabbed, beaten to death and stuffed into a closet from Baltimore? Both of these horrific, unspeakable crimes occurred this November.

Who silenced you to speak out against these hate crimes? The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Law? The answer is obvious. You did. You choose to remain silent. By choice. Get this message loud and clear. Silence equals agreement.

And now for my thoughts on your closing statement.

The declaration closes: ‘We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.’

You will render to Caesar what is Caesar’s? Good. Then do it.  Legal marriage has nothing to do with the church and you know it. Your church does not hand out marriage licenses. You do however impose the church’s religious beliefs on others, to the point where you  have convinced politicians that only your religion has religious freedom under the First Amendment. Get out of the way of the government. Get out of my church’s right to practice our faith, which supports same sex marriage.  Your right to practice your religion is intact. You don’t need to provide wedding services for gays and lesbians. You have your right to preach that homosexuality is wrong. America is about freedom. No one has taken away your right to practice your religious beliefs, as obscene as they are. Now stop trying to take away the rights of LGBT people.

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.

Waiting to Learn the Fate of Our Families

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

noon1Today, three major human rights issues are being placed in the hands of the voters of Washington state, Kalamazoo, Michigan and Maine.  In Washington State, voter’s are being asked to approve Referendum 71, which essentially gives same-sex couples all state (but not federal) rights provided to opposite-sex couples.  It’s a “separate but equal” initiative, but will help our families tremendously in dealing with legal challenges and medical issues.  Ballots are mail-in only, so it could be a while before we know the results.

In Kalamazoo, the voters are being asked whether or not an amendment to the current City Ordinance should take effect.  The original anti-discrimination ordinance prohibits discrimination based upon race, religion and other suspect classifications.  The amendment is designed to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the current ordinance.

In Maine, voters are being asked to deem same-sex marriage illegal in the state.  Maine already recognizes same-sex marriage, so again (as in California) we see the people voting to take away a right that already exists – a disgusting precedence for a “free” people.

Because of these three very important human rights battles, I feel a bit like the person in the waiting room at a hospital waiting to find out the fate of my loved one.  I no longer have any influence or control at all over the turnout.

Voters in Maine, to beat my analogy to death, have our relationships in their hands.  They are prepared to decide whether my family can continue to be legally recognized as a family or not.  That’s the only question being presented really.  Are same-sex couples a “family”?

Regardless of the way the vote goes, they will not be able to conquer our love for our would-be husbands or wives.  They will not divorce us.  Our relationship, our love, our person will remain fully intact as we identify ourselves to be.

So, I sit in the waiting room with one glimmer of hope – my love will survive.  Unfortunately, I don’t know what condition he’ll be in when I get him back.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Don’t Come Here if You Have HIV

November 01, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationTake a moment to imagine this: You are a U.S. citizen, a hardworking productive citizen whose job requires travel to foreign countries. You are HIV positive. It doesn’t matter how you contracted HIV. Your gender, race, age and socio-economic class don’t matter. You are HIV positive. You take your medications, you know how the illness is transmitted. You are healthy otherwise. You don’t have tuberculosis or any other casually transmitted disease.

And no other country in the world will let you in. Never mind that the country that won’t let you has plenty of its own citizens with HIV, the incidence of HIV is rising and they cannot get the disease under control in their own country.

Does this make any sense to anyone?

Yet, since 1987, the United States has had a ban on allowing foreign travelers into the country that have HIV. The ban started with Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) and led to one of the most restrictive and controversial travel bans in history. Scientists and health organizations continued to argue that the policy made no sense. HIV is transmitted only through the exchange of bodily fluids, as opposed to an illness like tuberculosis or H1N1 that can be caught through surfaces and coughing.

President Obama just recently lifted this travel restriction and already we are seeing the right wing criticize him. Perhaps they should have paid attention when President Obama thanked President Bush for beginning this reform in the year 2008. That’s right folks. We have President George W. Bush to thank. Furthermore, we do not have President Clinton to thank. Don’t believe me? Let’s have a little history lesson, brought to you by The Society for Historians of Foreign Relations or SHAFR.org.

In 1988, the World Health Organization argued that restrictive travel and immigration policies directed at people with HIV were irrational and without public health justification. In 1990, when U.S. immigration officials barred HIV-positive foreigners en route to the International AIDS Conference in San Francisco, over 70 organizations of many nationalities, including the International Red Cross, the British Medical Association, and the European Parliament, boycotted the meeting.

In January 1991, the Centers for Disease Control called for the removal of HIV and all medical conditions other than active tuberculosis from the exclusions list. But the proposal triggered outrage among Christian conservatives who orchestrated a mass mailing campaign opposing the removal of the HIV-provision. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Representative William Dannemeyer (R-CA) and sixty-six fellow Republicans signed a public letter opposing the CDC recommendations. Finally, the Public Health Service argued that because Congress adopted the HIV travel ban in the 1987 Helms Amendment, only Congress could invalidate the HIV exclusion. In March 1993, President Bill Clinton signed legislation codifying the exclusion of HIV-positive aliens, thus violating a campaign promise.

For the next 15 years, the United States had one of the most restrictive policies on the immigration and travel of HIV-positive people in the world. It compelled all non-citizens to attest that they were HIV-negative before being admitted to the United States for any reason – despite the obvious impossibility of enforcing this provision. At the same time, non-citizens living long-term in the United States were denied permanent resident categorization solely on basis of their HIV-positive status. The U.S. government clung to policies suffused with the ignorance and bias toward HIV-positive people illustrated at the earliest stages of the AIDS pandemic. It disregarded the fact that for almost 25 years, it has been common medical knowledge that one cannot contract or transmit HIV casually. AIDS activists asserted that the HIV bar dissuaded immigrants unsure of their HIV status from getting tested; prompted HIV-positive immigrants not to seek to medical treatment until they had full-blown AIDS; and caused HIV-positive people seeking visas to lie on their applications and then enter the U.S. without their medications – situations posing exactly the threats to public health the 1987 ban aimed to prevent.

On July 17, 2008, roughly two weeks after the death of Jesse Helms – the champion of the HIV ban, the Senate voted 80 to 16 to repeal the exclusion. The repeal passed the House by a vote of 308 to 116 shortly thereafter. On July 30, Bush signed the PEPFAR legislation spending $50 billion over the next five years to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in developing nations.

Jesse Helms is well known for his bigoted attitudes toward blacks and the LGBT community. It is interesting that two weeks after his death, this issue was addressed? This just goes to show how much influence one man can have. It also reveals, yet again, how right wing religious conservatives are unable or unwilling to comprehend science. How ironic and dangerously sad is it that these are the same people who refuse to teach their children that condoms prevent the spread of STDs and pregnancy?

Surely the only motivation to keep this ban was prejudice, discrimination and ignorance. Thank you Presidents Bush and Obama for doing the right thing.

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.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Caster Semenya

September 12, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationCaster 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.

We were all taught that if you have two X chromosomes, XX, that you are a girl. And if you are an XY, you are a boy. For most of us, this is true.

For most.  Not all. The development of genitals in the womb is a complicated, multi-step process. Many genes are involved and if anyone of them is disrupted, then genitals will form improperly. Sometimes this leads to a mixture of ovaries and testes, a smaller penis, or what is known as sex reversal.

One out of every 3000 individuals born as XY will be a girl anatomically. 1 out of 20,000 individuals born as XX will be a boy anatomically. When you think about it, this isn’t that rare. 1 out of 3000 boys is the same as 1000 out of 3 million boys. There are 300 million people in the United States. So this means there are approximately 50,000 XY individuals who are girls.

The fact that these are so different is a clue to the simple beginning of the boy or girl pathway. All fetuses start as girls. The hormonal pathway for being a boy has to be turned on. Otherwise, voila, you will be a girl.

Interestingly enough, some causes of intersex led to the girls developing male characteristics when they hit puberty. Others may experience infertility or lack of menstruation.

Ok. Enough science. If you are interested in the science, I’ve put some links to good websites for more information.

There is great debate over whether or not being gay (and I do mean that inclusively, LGBTQI, etc.) is genetic. Recently the religious right tried to twist the words of the American Psychological Association when the APA revised their statement to say that the biological origins of being gay are still unknown and probably biologically complicated. The religious right promptly and proudly announced there is no gay gene.

Let’s think about this for a minute. The research on intersexed individuals has gone on for many years and is very well documented. This is, in part, because we can SEE the result – whether it is the appearance of external genitals or looking inside using techniques like ultrasound. We can also analyze DNA very accurately and determine not only if someone is XX or XY, we can also identify what gene mutations are the cause of being intersexed. The data is irrefutable and solid.

Where does this leave sexual orientation? If a gay man appears to have completely normal looking genitals, does this argue that being gay is a choice? I don’t think so. It takes sex hormones to develop genitals. Why couldn’t smaller changes in hormones lead to a change in sexual orientation?  We know so little about the brain and how it works. Just because we can’t “see” something physical that tells us someone is gay, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

We  know that many personality characteristics have a genetic basis or are due to changes in the brain. Depression is linked to low serotonin levels, introverts brains look different from extroverts brains when imaged, we know there are genetic and developmental influences for autism  and for our sense of personal space. We know that right brained people are left handed and tend to be more visual and artistic. We know that people who are risk takers have certain genetic traits; it runs in the Kennedy family. We know that people who can get by on six hours sleep have different genes that help them get by on less sleep (I want that gene). We haven’t completely unraveled the biology behind all of these traits.

Gender is not 100%. It’s been proven. So then doesn’t it make sense that sexual orientation isn’t 100%? It’s just still on the list of things yet to be learned through scientific research. Ask any person who is gay and they will tell you that they did not choose to be gay.  I’m willing to bet there is a biological link. A complex choreography of hormones and brain development that sometimes takes the road less traveled.

I hope that if more people learn about intersex conditions as a result of Caster Semenya’s story, that it will serve as an opportunity for acceptance and understanding. But really, do we need to have science to teach us to treat everyone with respect? If it helps, I’m all for it. Shouldn’t we be understanding and compassionate toward all humans without needing science to encourage that kind of attitude? (One would think that this might be the job of religion…..)

We are all human. All races, ethnicities, cultures, age, abled or disabled or differently abled, genius or average, rich or poor, male or female or in between, gay or straight, introvert or extrovert,  bisexual or transgendered. We’re all classified under Homo sapiens. When we finally “get” that, when we as humans understand there is only the human race, then our world will make progress. Imagine a world where every human is wanted, has a loving home, education, food, healthcare, opportunity, freedom and social acceptance. Think what we could accomplish. Think about how many problems would be gone.

You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

Wikipedia Intersexuality

Another great website is that of Dr. Veronica Drantz, a biologist who studies sexual development.   You’ll feel like you are in science class again as she even has videos to explain what happens.   Last, you can check out my science blog, LGBTLatestScience.

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.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 19, 2009 – August 25, 2009)

August 28, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsTrial Date Set for Fed Lawsuit Against CA Same-Sex Marriage Ban (August 19, 2009)

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker announced that the trial will begin January 11, 2010 in the federal lawsuit against California’s same-sex marriage ban.  Judge Walker ordered the depositions and the discovery process to start right away.  The Judge indicated that he was surprised Governor Schwarzenegger has taken such a passive role in the case.

Lesbian Couple Embraces Then Asked to Leave Restaurant in MD (August 19, 2009)

They noticed a heterosexual couple  kissing in another booth of the family restaurant – so they embraced each other – but did not kiss.  Aiyi’hah Ford and her partner Torian Brown were then asked to leave the restaurant in Silver Spring.  They returned with some supporters hoping for an apology – but the manager would not apologize.   Once they stepped outside the waitress followed them and apologized, then advised them that this sort of thing happens a lot at the restaurant.

LGBT Tenants in New York Mistreated by Co-Op Board (August 20, 2009)

A group of tenants who live at the Kew Gardens apartments have made complaints to the Co-Op Board regarding a leaking terrace that has caused damage to apartments connected to and below the area.  The apartments which were damaged are occupied by gay and lesbian tenants.  After filing the complaints, the tenants began receiving homophobic threats.

Late Lesbian Writer to be Honored in Ohio (August 20, 2009)

Writers have been honored previously in the state of Ohio – but never with their sexual orientation noted on the marker.  The marker, honoring Natalie Barney, might be the first with that distinction.  Natalie Barney was born in Ohio and was the author of lesbian and feminist themed stories.  She passed away in 1972.  The vote on the honor is scheduled for August 26, 2009.

West Hollywood Park Will Have Plaque Honoring Same-Sex Marriages (August 21, 2009)

The City Council of West Hollywood has decided to unveil a bronze marker at West Hollywood Park to honor Same-Sex Marriages.  The plaque will be unveiled on September 8, 2009 and bear a quote from Nelson Mandela: “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.  The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

Lesbian Families Gain in Parental Rights in Tasmania (August 21, 2009)

A bill which would give parental rights to both mothers in a lesbian family has passed the Lower House in Tasmania and is on it’s way to the Legislative Council.  The Gay and Lesbian rights group in Tasmania has praised this step forward.

Mayor in Massachusetts Will Marry her Partner (August 21, 2009)

Denise Simmons is known as the first black lesbian mayor in the United States. She was elected as mayor of Cambridge in 2008 and has served on the city council since 2001.  Ms Simmons will marry Mattie B. Hayes on Sunday August 30, 2009.

Copenhagen Might Change Wording of Civil Unions  Slightly (August 25, 2009)

Copenhagen already has Civil Unions for LGBT couples.  Currently when a couple enters a Civil Union, the presiding official pronounces the couple as Registered Partners.  A majority of the Copenhagen City Councilors are in favor of a proposal to change just one aspect of the current Civil Union which would allow LGBT couples to be declared Married.

Tucson Man Convicted in Attack on Transgender Woman (August 25, 2009)

Janey Kay is a Vietnam veteran who completed gender reassignment surgery early last year.  While at a a dog-racing track, Janey Kay was approached by Richard Ray Young and asked if she was a “Drag Queen.”  Ms. Kay answered no then Mr. Young began verbally and physically assaulting her.  Before police arrived Mr. Young broke away from security staffers and assaulted Ms. Kay once again.  Richard Ray Young was convicted of assault and disorderly conduct for the attack.  Mr. Young has said he is gay.
mjmj: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.