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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.

The Words of Nelson Mandela Chosen for WeHo Gay Marriage Plaque

August 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

mandelaA bronze plaque memorializing what might have been and what should have been, same-sex marriage right, is being placed in California’s West Hollywood.  The City Council will unveil the plaque at its September 8th meeting and place it at Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard.

The plaque will bear an interesting quote from an even more interesting person, former South African president, 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.

via West Hollywood to install plaque honoring gay marriages — latimes.com.

South Africa has recognized same-sex marriage since November, 2006 after the Constitutional Court held that banning the marriages “represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.”

The repeal of the ban on same-sex marriage came only about 10 years after the institution of South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, held as one of the most liberal in the world.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gay Couples are “Allegedly” Denied Rights.

July 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysA conservative columnist,  Calvin Freiburger, recently took on Wisconsin’s Domestic Partnership legislation in what he claims is a “reasoned argument” against the legislation (which is available not only to gay couples, but straight couples as well).

In his article, Mr. Freiburger makes many observations, including that the 30 day of living together requirement to qualify for Domestic Partnership benefits is “scant.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Freiburger apparently has not reviewed what is required in Wisconsin to obtain a “marriage license,” including the facts that: (a) once applied for, the license only has a 6 day waiting period before being effective; and (b) that only one person need reside in Wisconsin for at least 30 days.  Thus, the “scant” requirement to obtain Domestic Partnership benefits in Wisconsin far exceeds the requirements to obtain a marriage license and more benefits than provided by the Domestic Partnership laws.

Speaking of benefits, Mr. Freiburger also makes this claim:

Many of the so-called rights gay couples are allegedly denied, such as hospital visitation and power-of-attorney related issues, are either already available to gays, easily achievable without creating new government relationship statuses, or were created to aid couples raising children on just one parent’s income, and are thus irrelevant to gay couples as well as to dual-income straight couples. [emphasis added] || State’s same-sex partnership law violates ban on gay marriage | fdlreporter.com | Fond du Lac Reporter

Apparently, Mr. Freiburger neglected to review Wisconsin law at all prior to formulating an opinion as inaccurate as the above.  Wisconsin’s anti-marriage amendment includes a ban on any relationship between same-sex couples that is “similar to” marriage.  Thus, when the initiative was placed on the ballot, the Attorney General of Wisconsin included this note:

A ‘yes’ vote [for the marriage ban] would also prohibit recognition of any legal status which is identical or substantially similar to marriage for unmarried persons of either the same sex or different sexes. The constitution would not further specify what is, or what is not, a legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage. Whether any particular type of domestic relationship, partnership or agreement between unmarried persons would be prohibited by this amendment would be left to further legislative or judicial determination.

It can be argued that powers of attorney, wills and other such documents between same-sex couples create a relationship “similar to marriage” and thus would be invalid in Wisconsin (along with other states such as Texas that have included the “similar to” language).

What Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research fails to mention, acknowledge or otherwise contemplate is that same-sex couples wishing to provide these benefits to their spouses through wills and powers of attorney not only pay far in excess of the average $80.00 fee for such services, but may not reap the benefits of the documents.

Perhaps the worst thing Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research said in his so-called article was this:

…one principle should never be up for debate in a constitutional republic like America: the rule of law.

Well, the rule of law is always up for debate – particularly when the law violates other laws, like”equal protection clauses of the primary source, The United States Constitution.  It’s clear our disgruntled conservative friend armed himself, not with fact, but opinion.  As jaysays.com contributor, Jude, would say, “The only things that must be straight are your facts.”

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

Closet Talk: Gabrielle Hermosa of MyCDLife.com.

July 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkGabrielle Hermosa joined me last night on Closet Talk.  She is the author of MyCDLife.com and was a delightful guest.  According to her website Gabrielle is:

…a crossdresser, media artist, husband, part-time blogger and psychology enthusiast. I write about crossdressing, my personal life, and mix it up with fun and humor.

It is time we got out of the 1950’s when it comes to transgendered issues.

We discussed many of the myths associated with crossdressing/crossdressers, how crossdressers fall into the umbrella of “transgender” people, her own coming out to her wife as a crossdresser, voice feminization issues and the sexual fetish of crossdressing.

We couldn’t pack all the information into a 30 minute show, so we went about 20 minutes long; however, it’s well worth it. The show was slightly delayed in going live, but the archive begins as it should. Enjoy!

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: God’s Truth Can Save Children with Gay Tendencies

April 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

God's Truth Saves Gays?When I was a child, I was taught that certain words were bad, that you don’t use them. For example, I was taught that the word “shit” was a bad word; therefore, I was barred from saying it and instead had to say, “doodoo.”

Other words I was taught to be “bad” included, “hell” and “damn.” Both words completely off limits. But I realized something, I realized that although I wasn’t allowed to say those words, religious folk were allowed to use them relentlessly.

But there is a word I wasn’t taught. In fact, I was well aware of the word “shit” long before I’d ever heard the word “faggot” uttered.  Once I finally heard that word, it wasn’t long until it was being used to refer to me.  I remember walks home from school which resulted in other children throwing rocks at me and screaming “fag” or “faggot” at me with no provocation.  I remember people I thought were friends eventually turning to those words as well.  The prime difference, as I see it, between calling a “straight” kid “faggot” or calling a “gay” kid “faggot” is that the gay kid believes you.

Much debate has been centered lately around “bullycide” after two 11 year old boys took their lives because of harassment at school for perceived sexual orientation.  We may never know the truth of why this kids decided to take their own lives.  It could be because they did know they were “gay” in spite of not identifying as such at that time and could not bear the harassment of “coming out.”  But on another hand it could be that these kids were heterosexual and just couldn’t tolerate the bullying any longer.  Either way, it’s a tragic and needless loss of life.

Upon review of message boards about bullying in school, I found the following comment:

Kids who have homosexual tendencies need to be surrounded with godly counsel and godly folks. They need to know GOD’s truth in love before its too late. We need to make them aware that homosexuality is not GOD’s way.

I immediately flashed to the story of Bobby Griffin as told in the book and made for T.V. movie, Prayers for Bobby.  Bobby Griffin was surrounded with these so-called godly folks who believed that they were helping Bobby by leading him away from his “homosexual tendencies.”  Bobby still took his own life.  Comments such as these are ill-informed and mortally dangerous.  To think that you can “cure” a child of their homosexual tendencies sexual orientation is the most repugnant form of attempted brain-washing, aside from raising your children in environments of intolerance and hatred.

The author of the comment seems so very sincere and earnest in her comment that it is obvious that she believes she is helping these children by telling them that God will save them from homosexuality, a conversion therapy.  Although science has never been a concern of religious zealots, medical providers, including The National Association of Social Workers, The American Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Counseling Association, and The American Academy of Pediatrics, have stood up against such therapies.  In fact, The American Psychiatric Association has described such efforts as ineffective and damaging to an LGBT person’s well-being.

Darlene Bogle is one of the people who participated in such conversion therapy.  She often appeared on television talk shows preaching that “gay” can be cured and that she successfully converted from lesbianism.  She even wrote books on the subject, Long Road to Love and Strangers in a Christian Land, which described her successful conversion and how it came about.  In April, 2007 Bogle and two other high-profile ex-gay ministers, Jeremy Marks [formerly of Courage U.K.]  and Michael Bussee [co-founder of ex-gay ministry, Exodus], held a press conference to “apologize for exposing LGBT Christians to such indoctrination.”  In the press conference Bussee stated:

Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates.  We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations.

From The Advocate:

Ex-gay survivor Eric Leocadio was on hand to witness the official apology in Los Angeles. As a high school freshman Leocadio ingested two fistfuls of pills, hoping to kill himself so that he would not have to struggle with his sexual orientation. ‘When I survived,’ said Leocadio, now 31, ‘I realized that God wasn’t done with me. There was so much more that God had planned for me.’

Leocadio went on to explain, “I received a lot of mixed signals from the church. Everyone gets unconditional love from God but only conditional love from the church, based on the concept of ‘wholeness.’ ”  He left the ex-gay ministries in 2006 and now states:

What I knew about Christianity was the only thing I was taught. I decided to take a step back and learn more. I met other gay Christians who had a genuine faith and love for God. Through meeting them, I have been able to truly learn the love of God and own it for myself.

So it seems everyone who wishes to find truth in God’s love can find their own truth, a truth void of intolerance, hatred, bigotry and spite.  This blind, unrelenting belief that God hates gay people is the cause of symptoms such as bullying and hate crimes, yet we continue to treat only the symptoms.  Perhaps its time we look to the cause and teach those who preach against gays, blacks, women, Jewish people, obesity, etc.,  a real truth.  This is the tangible world, not the surreal one.

So, you can keep your “religious morality.”  I don’t want to go to the heaven you believe in, it sounds like a cruel and viscious place.  [NOTE: I use the term morality very loosely when connected with religious.]

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Hate Crimes Legislation Will Protect Incest and Pedophilia

April 28, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysI haven’t done a “Stupid Things People Say About Gays” in a while.  Lots has been happening, but there’s certainly no shortage of stupid things people are saying.  Here’s the latest from the AFA (American [heterosexual only] Family Association):

Congress is set to give legally protected status to 30 sexual orientations, including incest. Because of pressure from homosexual groups, Congress has refused to define what is meant by sexual orientation in H.R. 1913, the “Hate Crimes” bill. This means that the 30 different sexual orientations will be federally protected classes.

Come on now… how much more ridiculous can you get.  Someone call Bullshit already…. ok, “BULLSHIT!”  Here’s the actual text of the bill, which states what a “Hate Crime” is:

[A Hate Crime ] is [a crime] motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.

Now, because I like to play God’s Advocate and show this in a more telling light, I’ll be the first to admit that “sexual orientation” is not currently legally defined by the Hate Crime’s legislation; however, to argue that “incest” is a sexual orientation rather than a sexual act is completely bogus, speculative and would never hold up in any legitimate argument – not that the AFA is renowned for “legitimate” arguments.  Generally, when the law fails to specifically define a term, the term is given its “usual and customary meaning.”  In this case, sexual orientations usual and customary meaning is:

One’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.  [sexual orientation. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved April 28, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sexual orientation]

One may note that neither the word incest nor bestiality is referenced in the usual and customary definition of sexual orientation.

The AFA has also made claims that the Hate Crimes legislation would prevent preachers from preaching homosexuality as a sin in church; however, they obviously have not read the bill which is very specific in defining hate crimes as a “crime of violence” a term defined by Section 16, Title 18 of the United States Code:

The term “crime of violence” means:

(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or prop­erty of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Therefore, unless the preacher specifically uses, attempts to use or threatens the use of physical force against a person or their property, they can say whatever they want.  If you are a member of a church that does use, threatens to use or attempts to use physical force against ANYONE, I highly suggest you realize that only SATAN would allow such treatment and consider a new church that has not been infultrated by Satan in the guise of God.  Remember, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

More from fellow blogger, SistersTalk.

Student Responds to the Laramie Project’s Burial in Oklahoma

April 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Youth Issues

News reports and blog commentary over the firing of Debra Taylor, an Ethics and Street Law teacher at Grandfield High School in Oklahoma, have been varied.  According to initial reports, Ms. Taylor was asked to resign after attempting to teach the play, “The Laramie Project,” to her senior class.   The reason initially provided was that the district could not allow the gay-related play to continue because of its homosexual tones.  However, in an interview District Superintendent, Ed Turlington, claimed that the reason the district asked the play to be removed from her lesson plan was because it contained vulgar language.  But what was the real reason?

Because Ms. Taylor and Mr. Turlington obviously have an economic or social interest in their stories, jaysays.com located one of Ms. Taylor’s students and requested his side of the story.  According to Mike (name changed to protect the innocent), a 17 year old senior at Grandfield High School, Ms. Taylor had been teaching the play for about a month without incident.  In fact, prior to teaching the story, Ms. Taylor was required to obtain approval for the play, and approval was given.

However, another teacher in the school, Mrs. Charlene Turlington (wife of the Superintendent) had heard Ms. Taylor was teaching a “gay” play and reported this to her husband, the Superintendent.

It is here I must note the absence of a proper chain of command.  There is a principal, A.J. Mays, at the school, which would ordinarily be the person to report these issues to, however, nepotism often prevails and the Superintendent was informed of the gay play by his wife.

It was then that Ms. Taylor had to stand before her students and advise them that the play was being cancelled.  Many of the students were angered by the play’s cancellation, including Mike. According to Mike, Mrs. Taylor advised him that the play was being cancelled because of reports that Mike was being picked on for his involvement in a “gay” play; an allegation which Mike denies.

Although the play had been cancelled, the battle line was drawn.  Within a couple of days of the cancellation, Mrs. Turlington approached Mike to obtain a script of the play.  She used her authority to manipulate and threaten Mike and made claims that he owed her because she did not report him for a previous small infraction of the school rules.  Mrs. Turlington’s tactics were unethical at the least.

On Mrs. Taylor’s last day at the school, the Superintendent, Mr. Turlington, came to Mike’s class to discuss the cancellation of the play.  He asked the class if they have any questions related to the cancellation.  Mike asked why the play was cancelled and Mr. Turlington responded, “… because people in this community aren’t comfortable with that subject.”

Mike inquired further and asked, “About the gay subject?”

The answer was a far cry from Mr. Turlington’s reports to main stream media.  He confirmed the play was cancelled because of the gay subject matter by answering the question, “Yes.”

Thus, again we see fear and hatred of gays running our school system and society; however, when people inquire, lies are told to protect those propagating the hatred from the deserved disciplinary actions.

According to Mike, none of Ms. Taylor’s students he had spoken with had any problem with doing the play and all of them were unhappy about the play’s cancellation.

Mrs. Taylor held a mock funeral for the play upon its cancellation.  She took the students outside and they each wrote a note, tied the note to a balloon and released the balloons.  Mike’s note read, in part:

Mr. Turlington is a homophobe.

There is a happy note to this story.  The result of the cancellation of the play has taught Mike, as he says, “more about ethics than I can dream of.”  Of course, he learned “ethics” from the lack of ethics shown by Mr. and Mrs. Turlington, not from the play or from Mrs. Taylor.  He also states he has received a ton of support and learned a valuable life lesson, “Don’t hate or discriminate anyone because they are black, white, tall, short, fat, skinny, disabled, gay or straight.  You should be an advocate for love, show compassion for those that are different and be tolerant of all in school and in life.”

In my communications with Mike, he ended his emails with this note, “Grandfield High School – Where Laramie can never be.”

To this, jaysays: Please continue to attempt to revoke students of their rights to learn about all aspects of the world.  In doing so, you are teaching them the importance of learning from all different view points.  Excellent job Mr. Turlington.  I commend you on showing your students how NOT to be bigots and how hurtful bigotry and discrimination can be.

Inquiries to the Superintendent were not answered.

Special thanks to MJ for her invaluable assistance, comments and guidance.

Heaven Hath No Rage Like Love Turned Hatred

April 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

In “their” latest video, anti-gay folks are declaring that they are coming together in love to protect marriage… wait, no. That doesn’t do it justice, here’s the line verbatim:

A rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color are coming together in love to protect marriage.

And, we can’t go on without the video:

As a wiser man than I once wrote, “Heaven hath no rage like love turned hatred.” Really, it’s that simple. You [anti-gay folk] are caught in a “storm” of your own creation. For centuries you have bound persons of every race, creed, color and national origin by your words of hatred in the guise of “god’s love.” Problem is, most people don’t like that “god” because… Satan is a deceiver.

That’s right. It has become so obvious that the “god” you are referring to is a hateful and spiteful god who thinks some are better than others rather than ALL are his children that Satan’s cover is blown. We now see that you are actually minions of Satan, posing as the righteous, and WE are afraid. We are afraid because, historically, you have invaded countries, enslaved their people, taken their children, raped their wives and destroyed their lands – in the name of your “god.”

Yep, we are onto you secret Satanists…

Mmph!!! In Your Face La Face!!!

I Do.

April 07, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

“I Do.” Who knew that two words consisting of three characters could result in such intense debate?  Who knew that those two words would result in countless tears, not of joy, but of sorrow?

Today, with the Vermont legislature voting 100 for and 49 against same-gender marriage, I’m experiencing tears of joy over the possibility that, in my lifetime, I may get to say those words and have the country I have lived in, paid taxes in and supported (even when it was hard to support it) say back, “Yes, you do.”

As more states begin recognizing same-sex marriages in the same manner our heterosexual countrymen have their marriages recognized, the federal government will experience more and more pressure to take action.  Particularly as federal benefits are denied to persons who are married in their resident state.

It doesn’t take much to understand why marriage equality is likely the most important issue facing same-gender couples today, but first, a little history of jaysays if I may (which I may):

Christopher and I will celebrate 12 years of blissful togetherness this year. At roughly the half-way mark, my brother, Jack, called me and asked if I would like to go shopping with him.  I eagerly decided to go and we headed off to the local mall where I over-indulged myself in Macy’s madness.  It was August, the birth month of both Jack and Christopher.  Christopher’s birthday was a few days away and Jack’s had just passed.  Upon arriving home from shopping, Jack and his wife, Debbie, escorted me up the elevator to our apartment.  I opened the door and there stood Christopher surrounded by red balloons.  One white balloon floated near-by.

That is the moment of my utter confusion.  Why are we having a party for Jack’s birthday without me knowing about it?  As it turns out, Canada had just approved “gay marriage” and Christopher was ready to propose.  As I looked around the rest of the room, I noted the gathering of my friends and family, all smiling and eagerly awaiting my answer as Christopher untied the ring from the white balloon and Etta James “At Last” played quietly in the background.  As Christopher read from a news article about Canada’s passage of gay marriage rights, I lost all focus.  I answered his proposal with an enthusiastic, “yes.”

Something happened thereafter.  The romantic moment that it was, is now something entirely different for me.  It is a quest, a movement, a purpose.  Rather than go to Canada and get “legally” wed, Christopher and I (mostly me actually) decided against a foreign wedding that would not be recognized by our home country or our home state.

Non-recognized marriage, I concluded, would serve no purpose other than a symbolic gesture.  We could have our “white wedding” but would never be allowed to write “spouse” next to each other’s names on loan forms, insurance policies, titles, or other legally enforceable documents.  Our state and our country gives permission to its citizens to think less of our love, to deny us fundamental legal protections and rights afforded our heterosexual counterparts; protections  and rights many take for granted.

Thus, the crux of why marriage rights are so important.  When marriage between two people of the same gender is recognized by the government we are part of, the government tells all of its citizens, “Believe what you will, but you are no better than anyone else.  We are the same.”  In doing so, many of the problems LGBT people face will start to fade over time, albeit, they may never fully cure.

Arguments often express that by allowing “gay marriage” the government will violate the rights of those that oppose it.  I have tried to see how such would invalidate the countless heterosexual marriages, divorces or fatherless children, but I fail.  Regardless of whether gays can be married, the soci0-economic issues revolving around the family unit will remain unchanged – except for one thing, our government will recognize my family as a family too.

And now I find my mind wandering in so many directions.  Great joy, inspiration and hope for the victories in Vermont, Iowa and Washington, DC these past couple of weeks (two of which were today!) constantly reminding me of the losses in California, Arkansas, Florida and other battle states.  So while I bask in the joy of victory, I also recognize the long battles yet to come, and I am armored today and will be tomorrow.

I Owe Iowa! YES! to Same-Sex Marraige.

April 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

The Iowa Supreme Court ruling, issued at 8:30 a.m. this morning affirmed the lower court decision which held that:

[The Iowa] state statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman unconstitutional.

Thus, that which should be obvious, is confirmed with a resounding “YES!” to same-sex marriage.  In the ruling, the Supreme Court (which earned the grand title) held:

A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution.

Now, this blogger must go celebrate the victory with a cleansing weeping session.  To read the full decision, please click here.