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Springfield, MO and Anti-Gay Flirting Laws – Why the Kiss In Really Matters

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

springfield moOrganizers of the Great Nationwide Kiss In understood the importance of a kiss when they first decided to turn it into a movement. They repeatedly told the stories of: the two men in El Paso who were kicked out of Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas for kissing; the two lesbians kicked out of Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas for kissing; and the two young mean forcefully detained for a kiss on a popular promenade is Salt Lake City which is now owned by the Mormon Church. Those are the stories we hear and feel because they happened, they are fact. But what about the stories we don’t hear because the residents are afraid of the repercussions from law enforcement and stay hidden in the closet?  What about those we don’t hear because the law turns them away?

While kiss in events have spread internationally, one city in the United States won’t be having one – not unless a few brave souls will step forward and organize it. Springfield, MO residents have advised the national organizers that, because it is illegal for persons of the “same-sex to flirt” in the city, they cannot hold a kiss in event. Although the law isn’t as direct in its wording as the residents, their short-hand version is on point.

The actual law is made part of the Springfield Code of Ordinances, Sec. 78-224, which states:

It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.

Even though the law does not specifically indicate that the parties involved must be of the same-sex, it’s obvious the law cannot equally be applied to heterosexual couples. Why? Heterosexual couples can claim that they were not enticing (publicly anyway) sexual acts that constitute sodomy under the law. Instead, they could easily claim that the flirtations were for the purpose of missionary-style vaginal intercourse.  Note: I have just learned that the tile of this law is “Solicitation by Homosexuals” therefore, claims of heterosexual violations of the law are moot.

Because nearly all aspects of “gay sex” are covered under the sodomy law, including mutual masturbation, gay persons would not be able to claim a sexual advance as anything outside the scope of this local ordinance. Thus, a kiss in event could likely be considered a criminal act in Springfield, MO and the people there have fallen silent choosing oppression over possible arrest for intending to entice sodomy.

The law, even if not enforced, is doing exactly what it was intended to do – keep gays away.  That’s why these events are important. They are not about public displays of affection, they are about equality — they  ARE about not being afraid anymore.

The Great Nationwide Kiss In is being held in over 50 cities in the US, Canada and Guam.  This morning, the third promotional video was released.

Kicked out for a Kiss in El Paso – No Tacos for you “Faggots”

July 09, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

elpasoLast night a not-so-unusual event happened at Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas.  While waiting to order, two men gave each other a simple kiss.  Private security guards with All [Heterosexual] American International Security found their masculinity threatened, approached the men and advised them that they they, “didn’t allow that faggot stuff to go on there.”

The men were asked to leave; however, Carlos Diaz de Leon, one of the men in the group, feared what was happening and called police.  One El Paso police officer arrived about an hour later and advised the men who were kissing that they could be cited with homosexual conduct.

In spite of “homosexual conduct” not being a crime in the U.S. or the State of Texas, and in spite of the fact that El Paso has anti-discrimination ordinances which include sexual orientation, the officer still believed that he could cite the men for a crime… the crime of kissing.  While I can almost brush off the security guards’ response to the kiss because security guards in Texas are near minimum wage earners with little training and nominal education requirements, the actions of the El Paso police officer are unconscionable. This is an epic failure on the part of the police department.  Officers are apparently untrained in what is a crime and what is not a crime, not provided with the city’s anti-discrimination policies and uninterested in protecting “faggot stuff” such as kissing or holding hands in public.  See: Two men kissing kicked out of East Side Chico’s Tacos.

At this point, you may think you’re watching a television show rather than dealing with real life, but as mentioned, these sorts of events aren’t uncommon in Texas, or even other parts of the nation.

This isn’t the first time contracted security guards and police have butted heads with the LGBT community over public affection.  Just a few months back, security guards at Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio demanded a lesbian couple leave the mall immediately by way of the closest entrance because of a kiss.  The two women left the mall by way of a nearby door; however found themselves on the opposite side of the mall from their vehicle.  Upon returning to the mall to go out the entrance where their car was located, the girls were approached by San Antonio Police Officers.  One of the girls was severely beaten by police for “resisting arrest” and charged with criminal trespass.

More recently, Ft. Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers have come under intense scrutiny from the LGBT community for their handling of a raid on the Rainbow Lounge.  During that raid, Chad Gibson was critically injured while being taken into custody.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise to this Texan that again, those retained to protect and serve are prosecuting and suspecting LGBT people.  What is shocking is that no one outside of the LGBT community (including our straight allies) recognizes these events as an obvious abuse of power, infringement on human rights and disgustingly discriminatory.

Remembering eHarmony: The Power of the Gay Dollar

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

Chemistry.comWe all remember eHarmony’s refusal to provide services for single gay folk attempting to make a harmonious match and the resulting lawsuit.  Ultimately, eHarmony started a separate site for gay and lesbian people, but not without a fight by the founder, Christian Evangelical Dr. Neil Clark Warren called, “Compatible Partners!”

Enter chemistry.com.

Noting the fact that eHarmony had just shunned a large and loyal target market, chemistry.com launched (and continues to run) ads saying “Rejected by eHarmony, Because I’m Gay?” and “Gay? Not on eHarmony.”

Chemistry.com obviously understood that gay money was as good as straight money and that gay people can also benefit from online matchmaking services.  As a way to thank chemistry.com, the image with this article of their ad links to their services and is being run free on this post.  I encourage you to use the chemistry.com service should you find yourself wanting to try out online dating.

I decided to dig deeper into the eHarmony settlement.

As part of the settlement, eHarmony.com launched a separate site called Compatible Partners specifically geared toward gay relationships.  According to the Fox News article [cited above as eHarmony settlement] eHarmony announced that, “…users of the ‘Compatible Partners’ site and eHarmony.com cannot be paired together.” But what happens if you are a “man” seeking a “man” on eHarmony?  When you click, “Find My Matches” you receive this message:

eHarmony excuse

Thus, for eHarmony, gays are separate, but equal.

The point here isn’t that “eHarmony” is bad with regard to LGBT issues.  Instead, the point is that raising awareness of those issues inspires change, that our money is wanted by some businesses and that we should remember, if a business doesn’t want us, we don’t want the business.  We have options and alternatives from businesses that want to do business with us.

Wal-Mart CEO, Mike Duke, signed the petition”providing “that an individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old.”  Further, although Wal-Mart does recognize domestic partnerships and other same-sex unions recognized by local laws in its conflict-of-interest policy, it does not recognize such relationships for benefits purposes.  In 2007, Wal-Mart announced it would stop providing financial support to LGBT organizations and it is only one of two Fortune 10 companies (along with Exxon Mobile) that does not provide anti-discrimination clauses for “gender identity.”  Again, that’s not to say Wal-Mart is “bad” [cough cough], but to remind us that we have a choice, we have power as consumers, we have power as voices.  We must use that power in order to gain full equality.

For information on corporation that support LGBT equality, I encourage you to visit the listings at Gay Wallet, a social network for LGBT people which has a “whos who” list of Fortune 500 companies which: (1) include sexual orientation in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy, (2) include gender identification in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy; and (3) provide domestic partner health benefits for same-sex couples.

Police Raid Lesbians’ Home with Derogatory Comments

May 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

San Antonio Police DepartmentOver the past several months, the San Antonio Texas Police Department has come under scrutiny for abuses to LGBT people.  This comes as no surprise considering their history – including incidents involving yours truly, a brutal beating of a couple at a local mall during an arrest due to the women “kissing” in public, and two incidents involving gay men on San Antonio’s Main Street [the “gay” district].

The latest episode involves an “anonymous” tip from a neighbor of a lesbian couple indicating the two women had a meth lab in their home.  Although untrue, police were able to secure a warrant and entered the couple’s home by knocking the door down on April 28, 2009.

The couple, Carolyn and Lindsey, were settling in for the evening.  Lindsey was already in bed and Carolyn had just come in from taking their dogs out when the police broke threw the front door of the house saying, “We have a warrant.”

Police handcuffed Carolyn before one policeman entered the bedroom and found Lindsey hiding her naked body under the covers.  The officer asked Lindsey if she were nude, and upon her positive response, he laughed at her then grabbed a t-shirt from the closet and tossed it over to her.  A second male officer entered the room and handed Lindsey a pair of pants.  Then a third officer entered and watched smiling as Lindsey struggled to dress without revealing herself to the male officers.

When Lindsey stood up, one of the officers grabbed her, turned her around and asked, “What man lives here?”  Lindsey answered that there was no man living in the house; however, the police did not believe her because the house contained “male” items such as a samuri sword, knives and a bow.  Lindsey advised that the items did not belong to a man, but rather to Carolyn, and that they are a lesbian couple.  All of the officers in the room with Lindsey then laughed at her.  One of the officers responded:

See, I knew that about you. I knew that y’all were lesbians. I had someone who was in here last night, they described your house and your girlfriend in there. We’re going to bring in a drug dog and if we find a small stash, we’re going to let that slide. But if we find anything like a lab or anything like that, we’re taking you and your girlfriend in.

According to Lindsey, two other officers were talking about how they liked quirky women because they were freaks in bed.  She further expressed the couple’s humiliation caused by the rude comments and laughter of the officers noting that the interrogation went far beyond ordinary police work.

The officers did not find any narcotics or meth lab in the house.  They did; however, take the time to lay several personal items belonging to the girls on the bed, including books and videos with sexual connotations as well as several of Carolyn’s bras.

Emails to the San Antonio Police Department were not responded to prior to publication.  You may contact the San Antonio Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Community Liaison, Capt. Jose Banales, via email to jose.banales@sanantonio.gov.

QSanAntonio has done a wonderful report which includes the names and badge numbers of all San Antonio (and Leon Valley [suburb]) Police Officer’s names and badge numbers.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gays Disliked due to Flamboyance, Not Sexual Orientation

May 07, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysMcDonald’s recently settled a discrimination complaint wherein two men allege that upon placing an order for food at a Louisville McDonald’s, they were victims of name calling, including an employee calling them “faggots.”  The two men, Ryan Marlatt and Teddy Eggers, complained to the manager who advised them that she didn’t see the “big deal.”

After the two men were unable to get a response from McDonald’s, the ACLU filed a complaint alleging that the verbal attack by employees of McDonald’s constituted a violation of Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance, which bans companies from discriminating against people based on numerous factors, including sexual orientation.

Response from the public included this:

maybe if these 2 didn’t act like flaming ___________ then no body would know they prefer the same sex in the sack. Most people don’t dislike gays because they are gay its the way they whine and complain when they can’t be flambuoyant [sic] and force everyone around them to acknowledge they’re gay and force them to accept it. Lose the lisp and the limp wrist and act like every other guy and no body will know you’re gay. louisvilleguy

I’m always surprised when people blame the victim for something that has happened rather than the overall social failure of society.  I discussed this in more detail in this post: If Gays Stayed in the Closet – We Wouldn’t Kill Them.  Therefore, I’m going to try to move past that issue and focus on another – I just can’t help but translate the comment to this:

If you look like, act like and believe like everyone else, no one will have a problem with you.

Imagine you are standing in a field of wildflowers, the leaves and petals of the flowers match the color of the grass perfectly, so perfectly in fact, that you cannot distinguish the difference between the flowers and the grass.  The grass, matches the sidewalk which matches the street and the cars.  Everything blends together.  In fact, your shirt, your pants, your shoes, your skin – it all looks exactly like everything else.  You would ask the person next to you why everything looks the same, but because they think just like you, they don’t know – plus, it’s really hard to tell if the thing next to you is a person, or a tree.  Then you see it.  A small, white colored flower reaching out from the sea of green.  Do you smite the flower for not being just like everything else, or allow it to exist exactly the way it is – different?

Ellen DeGeneres sometimes telephones Gladys Hardy during the show.  Gladys would summarize the above with a simple yet appropriate phrase, “If everyone in the choir sang the same note, there would be no harmony.”

Prejudice Study Reveals Gays Disliked the Most Out of Minority Groups

January 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, LGBT News

A study by the British Psychological Society has revealed that extreme prejudices are highest against gay men, seconded by lesbians, while some prejudices can be found in 41% of people polled against lesbians and 35% against gay men.

The study, being released today [January 16, 2009] at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology Annual conference indicates:

The main prejudice that was revealed related to sexual orientation. Results from the tests classified seven per cent of the participants as being strongly anti-gay and three percent as being anti-Lesbian, a further 35 per cent displayed some anti-gay predilection and 41 per cent some anti-lesbian prejudice. These negative implicit attitudes were stronger than those for age, gender, religion, disability or even ethnic origin, where 28 per cent of the sample showed some prejudice towards Asian people, 25 per cent against Black people and 18 per cent against South East Asian people.

See:  MediLexicon News – Prejudice Study Finds Gay Is The New Black.