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Anti-Equality Messiah, Maggie Gallagher, Wants Her Equal Protection and to Eat it Too!

June 17, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

National Organization for Marriage - the Anti-Gay NOM NOM NOMAssuming yesterday’s closing arguments are any indication of which way Judge Walker will rule in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 case, it looks like an obvious victory for marriage equality advocates.  In a statement on the National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage’s website the group’s messiah, Maggie Gallagher, seemed to admit this defeat, stating:

Americans have a right to vote for marriage. Ted Olson doesn’t seem to understand the argument, and judging from today’s exchanges neither does Judge Walker. I expect Judge Walker will overrule Prop 8.

But what makes marriage different from other things on which Americans don’t really have the right to vote, like for president in the landmark case, Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)?  In that case, the Supreme Court negated the recount of votes (cast by Americans) which effectively secured the previously certified win of George W. Bush in Florida and gave him the necessary electoral votes to be President (like it or not).  Why was that ruling “ok” but a ruling to grant civil rights to a suspect class of people that were taken away by voters not “ok?”  I’m sure Attorney Cooper would answer with something about the natural creation of children – as that’s about all he could come up with in the closing arguments for any question posed by Judge Walker.

The real parallel of the two cases is the rationale used by the Supreme Court in determining George W. Bush was the winner.  In its decision, the Court declared, in part, that the method for recounting ballots used in Florida was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states, “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  That clause was included within the Constitution of the United States in an attempt to prevent violations of the well known standard, “all men are created equal.”  The Supreme Court decided that there was no “equal” standard for counting votes in Florida so votes in one county might be counted one way, while votes in another county might be counted another.  This logistical problem was enough to invalidate the right to vote based upon the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (as least in the Court’s opinion at that time).

In the Prop 8 case, we clearly have a much more blatant violation of the Equal Protection Clause than we saw in Bush v. Gore.  There is no hypothetical “it might happen” in the Prop 8 debacle, there is an “it did happen and will continue to happen.”

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: What Do You Tell A Seven Year Old About Homosexuality?

June 14, 2010 By: geekgirl Category: Headline, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Representative Ike Skelton from Missouri is against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (“DADT”), which bans service in the military by openly gay people, because he doesn’t want to open a national dialogue about homosexuality. Specifically, he doesn’t want to have to force families to explain homosexuality to their children. Setting aside the absurdity that repealing DADT will come up at the dinner table with our children, let’s talk about the real issue here. Homo-ignorance.

Was there ever a moment in the LGBT movement more perfect than this for Geekgirl to speak out?

Mr. Skelton sounds like he is, what I call, homo-ignorant. Let’s be honest here and take off the politics. A lot of straight people don’t know what to say to their children about gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender individuals. Heck, many of them don’t know what to say about straight relationships.

We’ll talk about what to say. But first a little story. When I was in 5th grade I watched two boys fighting and one of them said the word fuck. I didn’t know what it meant. Being the straight A student that I was, I turned to my dictionary. No word. So I asked my mother. She slapped me across the face and sent me to my room without an answer. I remember sitting there thinking, “hmm, whatever this word means, it must be good because it has power.”  My parents never told me about sex. Imagine my horror when my best friend told me that sperm go into your stomach through your belly button and that is how you get pregnant. She never did say where the sperm came from.

The point of that little story is that parents don’t know what to do when they feel uncomfortable. Having grown up to be a biologist, I was determined not to make that mistake with my own children. When my son was born, I read a lot about how and when to explain sex and sexuality to a child. I wanted my son to grow up healthy – both physically and psychologically when it came to sex. I remember when our son was four years old. He knew that my friend Sandra liked girls. She didn’t have a partner at the time, but I had already explained this to him. I remember he said to me, “So, it’s ok if girls love other girls?”

I said, “Of course, love is important.”

His answer came in the form of a four year old experiencing relief, “That’s good. Because I love Sandra and I want her to be happy.” I’m proud to say that Sandra and Kim have been part of our family’s life to this day. They adore our son and he adores them.

Explaining gays and lesbians to a 7 year old can be this simple. Some people are born attracted to the same sex. Two girls can feel the same love for each other that a girl and a boy can. The same is true for two boys. Love is love. Children instinctively understand love and family. It makes them feel safe.

People have a tendency to make sexual orientation about sex acts. But do we ever explain straight couples this way to our children? “Well, Johnny, meet your Aunt Sue and Uncle Bob from California. You haven’t met them before. They are married. And when they have sex, Uncle Bob puts his penis inside Auntie Sue’s vagina. Oh Bob, do you also have oral sex?” Of course we don’t explain it that way. That’s absurd.

So, am I saying don’t explain how gay people have sex?  Children do need to know about the physical acts of sex. Part of that conversation must include preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, how sex and sexuality affect us psychologically. Children need to know about “bad touches,” respecting and being respected.

But if you never talk about gay sex, it’s fine. That isn’t what they need to learn from you. They need to learn that all humans, all couples, experience love. They need to learn that commitment and respect are very important in all relationships. Our children are not born with prejudice or discomfort. It is learned.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude, the author of this post, 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.  More of LGBT Lessons for Straight People can be found here.

VIDEO: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Protests Interrupt Obama Fundraising – Dan Choi and Others in Chains Again

April 20, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured

GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Barack Obama during a speech designed to raise funds for California Senator Barbara Boxer’s re-election campaign.  The group shouted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. Military’s policy prohibiting openly gay soldiers from serving this country.

President Obama attempted to regain control of the speech and stay on topic, by acknowledging the group, then returning to endorsements for Senator Boxer.  Early on during the interruption, Obama states:

I don’t know why you have to holler, we already hear you.

Thereafter, Obama continually advises the group that he supports the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, but again reiterates his inquiry:

Barbara and I are supportive of a repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, so I don’t know why you are hollering.

But support doesn’t equate to action, and therein lies the problem.

In what is becoming typical fashion for GetEQUAL organizers, bicoastal events were held.  The day after the group interrupted Obama in Los Angeles, Dan Choi, Autumn Sandeen and 4 others chained themselves to the the gates of the White House [photo by David Mailloux of dymsum]:

Repeal DADT GetEQUAL: Protestors outside of the White House

CNN has some video footage of the chained veterans available here.

Will Phillips’ GLAAD Media Award: Support our LGBT Heroes.

March 15, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Will Phillips - the mightyBeing on the side of justice and “what’s right” isn’t always easy.  Just ask anyone who has had to fight for equality under the law.  Many will tell you stories about hate mail, the toll activism takes on their relationships, the shouting matches and derogatory comments made to and about them.  However, when you are a member of a “suspect class” finding and using your voice is a bit easier; after all, you’re fighting for yourself – your own family.  Who wouldn’t fight hand and fist to defend their own family?

But there is a rare breed of activist that I’ve often heralded as our great defenders – the straight allies.  They come out for equality as they recognize that the pursuit of happiness involves not only “the American Dream,” but the most pure of emotions… love.

Will Phillips is one of our great defenders, a 10 year old boy from Arkansas whose refusal to pledge allegiance until all Americans, even the LGBT ones, receive liberty… and justice.  On his own accord, Will recognized the extreme discrimination suffered by LGBT people in the “land of the free” and used what voice he had to make a statement; thus, he was rocketed to Internet stardom, humbling even the most hardened of activists.

During his acceptance speech for a GLAAD Media Award, Will Phillips stated:

I believe activism is important. Activism is CHANGE! It is the fuel, lubricant, & engine that drives the slowly moving turtle-mobile that is progress.

I accept this award on behalf of those who have been struck down, beaten up, & instead of attention & praise have gotten intolerance, violence, or even worse… indifference.

Will’s strength, courage and compassion toward the equality movement didn’t come without a cost.  In the initial days after his refusal to say the Pledge, his mother, Laura Phillips, wrote to me regarding the negative impact on Will:

My concerns to the principal of the school is that if this is what a straight ally is going through, what must it be like for the GLBT students there?

Now with this award and his video on getequal.org, Will is gaining more attention.  May we remember to show him that for all the “negative” there are positives and that an entire community stands with him.

Please consider contributing to Will’s college fund.  To do so, you may mail a check or money order to:

“Franklin Templeton 529 College Savings Plan”
P.O. Box 33090
St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8090

In the memo section you must write:

“Will Phillips Acct# 472-321-7514”

If you cannot contribute monetarily, please consider sending Will a note of thanks:

Will Phillips
c/o NWA Center for Equality
PO Box 9014
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Equality Florida’s Orlando Office Vandalized – Yeah, I’m Pissed

November 17, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

It’s not uncommon for LGBT groups and organizations to suffer at the hands of ignorant, bigoted, hateful people who wish nothing more than… dare I say, fags to die.  If you doubt that these hatemongers teach that to their flock and families, just take a look at the messages scrawled on the walls at Equality Florida’s Orlando Office and the results of the anti-gay movements battle against us becomes clear.  They want us dead.

Go to hell

That’s just one of the photos from Equality Florida’s website.  Other messages were more on point, including the scrawled Swastika, a symbol now associated with the persecution and murders of hundreds of thousands of people during German occupation – and yes, that included us “fags.”  Another message for the queers from our fun loving fellows, “”Die Fags.”

Am I angry?  Yes, but not at the vandals.  I’m angry at every single person that votes against our families, our marriages and our rights.  You have told these people that it is ok to brutalize us, degrade us and promote the murder of us.  By refusing to treat us as equal citizens, you are granting a free-pass to those that would harm us – you have given them a reason and an excuse.  Your lack of humanity and decency is appalling.

Now, here’s what we get to do.  We get to send more money to help Equality Florida clean up the mess and install a security system.  That money could be used to help feed families over the holiday season, give gifts to our loved ones and be thankful. So, when you say your Thanksgiving Day prayers and thank God for your family, I hope you consider my family – the one you keep voting against – a family that continues to have to sacrifice so that you can have your ego trip.  Oh, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Yes We Do – Help in WA, ME and MI

October 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

noon1You’re help is needed now more than ever in the quest for equality.  It’s time we start taking action.  Obama told us “Yes we can,” but first, we have to DO.  I’ve signed up to help in Washington already, and moments after posting, I’ll be heading over to sign up to help in Maine.  But one person isn’t enough.  Send everyone you know the following information, courtesy of Equality Texas and fight along with me for equality for ALL!


Washington:

Who we are: Approve Referendum 71 is the campaign to preserve domestic partnerships in Washington State. By voting to approve, voters retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.

What we need: We need phone bankers to get our supporters out to vote. Washington is an all mail-in ballot state, and we need to ensure our supporters put their ballots in the mail. Also, youth turnout is a critical component of our campaign, and youth turnout historically drops in off-year elections. So we need a lot of help to turn them out.

How you do it: Sign up here to make remote calls for Approve 71. We’ll then contact you for a training, and you can make GOTV calls.


Maine:

Who we are: The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working to protect Maine’s recently-passed law legalizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Our opponents have put the issue on the ballot for Nov 3, 2009. Because of Maine’s early voting election laws, people are already voting at the polls, so we need help immediately to turn out our side at the polls.

What we need: We need you to devote a few hours to Call for Equality. Call for Equality is a virtual phonebank set up so that you can call Maine voters wherever you are. Much of Maine is rural, where canvassing isn’t effective, so we need to reach these voters- along with other supporters- by phone. All you need is a phone and internet connection. No experience required! We’ll provide the training, and all you need is a a few hours to help get a win in Maine.

How you do it: Click here to sign up for a training and your shift. There are lots of times available for your convenience.


Kalamazoo, MI:

Who We Are: The Yes on Ordinance 1856 / One Kalamazoo campaign is working in Michigan to support the City Commission of Kalamazoo’s twice approved ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for gay and transgender residents. Opponents forced a public referendum on the ordinance so dedicated local volunteers, led by former Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley, are working to ensure voters say YES to fairness and equality and keep Ordinance 1856.

Why The Urgency: In the final weeks, the opposition has gone all out with aggressive disinformation and misleading red herrings to try to defeat the ordinance. This includes signs that say “No to Discrimination” (even though voting No actually supports continued discrimination of GLBT residents), transphobic door hangers and fliers, and now radio ads that falsely suggest that criminal behavior will become legal when this simply isn’t true. The Yes on Ordinance 1856 supporters are better organized but many voters who want to vote for gay and transgender people are getting confused by the opposition.

How To Help:

1) Help the One Kalamazoo campaign raise a final $10,000 specifically dedicated to fight back against the lies on the local TV and radio airwaves and fully fund the campaign’s final field and GOTV efforts. Give by clicking here.

2) If you live nearby and can physically volunteer in Kalamazoo sign up here. If you know anyone that lives in Kalamazoo, use the One Kalamazoo campaign’s online canvass tool to remind those voters that they need to vote on November 3rd and vote YES on Ordinance 1856 to support equality for gay and transgender people. Click here to contact voters

Gearing up for the National Equality March: 11 Things You Can Do.

September 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe  National Equality March is just around the calendar corner, Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Washington D.C. Actually, there are events planned all weekend.

We know that there are many people who are going to the march. We also know that there are many people who would like to go to the Equality March but can’t. Either the timing is bad, they can’t afford it, or it’s too difficult to make the trip.

There are still ways that you can help. This message is for everyone, gay or straight. In honor of the eleventh of October, which is also Coming Out day, we have eleven ideas for you. Because ten ideas is so straight.

  1. Send a donation to Equality Across America where your donation is tax-deductible.  or your local Equality Now group.
  2. Subsidize a friend who wants to go. We at Jaysays have supported three people. Don’t know anyone? Donate to “Give Up Your Morning Coffee for LGBT Equality”
  3. If money is a problem, there are many groups offering low cost transportation and lodging. Look at the Equality Across America webpage. Find a friend to share a room with.  Get a group together and drive to Washington DC.  Check out Priceline, Hotwire or other sites known for cheap rates.
  4. If you live near a university or in a larger city, check out your local LGBT groups. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, students can take a bus round trip to Washington, DC for $60.
  5. Save money by being more frugal. You can do it! Bring a lunch, give up your latte, don’t go out to dinner or the movies, no new CDs or video games, take those unused items to a consignment shop, or sell things on Craigslist or eBay.
  6. Tell your parents, significant other or friends, including your Facebook friends, that going to the Equality March is what you would like for Christmas or your birthday instead of a present. What better present can you get than the kind that gives all people equality?
  7. If you are going, offer to put the name of someone who cannot go on your sign. Represent others who cannot attend. Better yet, wear a White Knot for each person you are representing.
  8. Write to the president, your Senators and Congressional Representatives before the March, telling them what equal rights means to you.  You can do this by email and it is free. Also contact your state and local representative asking for equal rights in your state.
  9. Write to your local news stations and national news stations and ask them to cover the March.  Most networks have a website with a contact button.
  10. If you are at a college campus, participate in the Chalk Messages Project. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper before the march. Yes, people do read newspapers, especially people who do not read the Internet.
  11. Speak up whenever you hear someone make a degrading comment about LGBT individuals. Not just for this march. Do it year round. Because silence equals agreement. It’s really easy to say, in a nice voice, “I’m sure you don’t mean that because it could hurt someone. I have gay friends and it hurts me.”  You may not be able to change the world. But you can change the world within your reach.

We hope to see you at the march, but even if you can’t go, you can make a difference.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (June 15, 2009 – June 27, 2009)

June 29, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsCoalition Reports Gay Bias Killings Up in U.S. (June 6, 2009)

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that the number of people of the LGBT community killed in bias-motivated incidents increased by 28% in 2008. This is the greatest increase documented by the Coalition since 1999. Although the FBI reports slightly different figures – “the FBI doesn’t record bias crimes against transgendered people because gender identity isn’t covered by federal hate-crime law”. The figures reported by both the FBI and the Coalition might be a little lower than reality because some (understandably) fear retribution and do not report the crimes at all. Some victims also do not report the crimes because they are not ready to out themselves to the police – possibly fearing bias from the authorities themselves. Sharon Stapel theorized that some of the violence from 2008 was due to backlash against issues from the presidential campaign. She said, “The more visibility there is the more likely we’re going to see backlash, and that’s exactly what we see here.” Whether or not that is the reason for the increase – hopefully the Hate Crimes Bill will pass in the Senate and there will be more justice and less hate.

Fresno Hospital Denies Medical Access (June 15, 2009)

Meet in the Middle was held in Fresno CA the Saturday after the CA Supreme Court announced it would not overturn Prop. 8. Many people had already been planning their trip to Fresno prior to the decision. LGBT individuals and couples along with allies of our community came from all over the state – and also from other states. Kristin Orbin and Teresa Rowe were there – and they actively participated. When Kristin suddenly became ill an ambulance was called. Neither the ambulance driver or the hospital personnel allowed Teresa to see Kristin – even with medical documents and power of attorney. It just wasn’t allowed. Teresa tried to warn the hospital staff not to give her partner the drug Ativan due to previous medical problems – but medical personnel gave it to her against pleas from Teresa. Fortunately there was no permanent damage from the medication. When politicians say that the LGBT community has the same rights as everybody else – they need to be reminded that basic human rights are ignored every day.

GA Court Says Gay Dads Friends & Kids Can Meet (June 15, 2009)

Most parents take it for granted – their kids will meet their friends – even after a divorce. In fact many parents really look forward to introducing their children – because it can be very exciting. One former spouse became rather bitter after her divorce and was granted a court order that the children could not meet their dad’s Gay friends. Fortunately the Georgia Supreme Court disagreed with that order and ruled that Eric Duane Mongerson could introduce his children to his perspective partners as well as to his friends. Justice Robert Benham said, “…there is no proof exposure to homosexuals is harmful to children. Such an arbitrary classification based on sexual orientation flies in the face of our public policy that encourages divorced parents to participate in the raising of their children.”

UK Tribunal Rules in Favor of Gay Postman (June 15, 2009)

Liam Black had worked as a postman and had to put up with inappropriate comments made about him – both directly and when he wasn’t there. Finally last summer Mr. Black left work early for the same reasons. He then felt he couldn’t return and resigned his job with the Royal Mail. A panel at Ashford Employment Tribunal accepted Mr. Black’s claim and investigated. After investigating the panel ruled that the “stereotypical language” was “derogatory” and “discriminated against Mr. Black on the ground of his sexual orientation.” The panel also ruled that Mr. Black’s dignity had been “violated”, and in addition found that the Royal Mail had “failed to follow proper procedures after he made a formal complaint”. Mr. Taylor was the immediate superior – the line manager for Mr. Black. Liam Black accomplished a lot in a short period of time – using the resources of a small village.

Orbitz / HRC LGBT Friendly Commercial (June 16, 2009)

Recently a new television commercial was launched for Orbitz travel. This time there is not only a man wearing a blue shirt with an “HRC” logo – but as a comment (below the actual article) mentions – there is an LGBT Pride flag on one of the golf bags. Usually I skip over commercials (thanks to my dvr) but I watched the video a few times (with pauses) to look at everything carefully. I encourage you to watch the video for a proud moment of pro-LGBT viewing (the link is directly below the photo of the commercial).

Lithuanian Parliament Votes New LGBT Ban (June 17, 2009)

The new ban is an amendment to the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. An anonymous worker in Seimas said, “The subject of homosexuality is not welcome in our schools.” A conservative coalition member Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene said, “We prefer a family model, the traditional family model, but of course if parents want to teach such propaganda they can, but according to our constitution, children are under protection.” Ms Aleknaite-Abramikiene voted in favor of the law but indicated she agrees with the ban against hate speech against homosexuals. LGBT organizations and activists are organizing along with students and supporters to petition the president. The president is given 10 days to sign the bill into law.

Poll Show Australians Support Same Sex Marriage (June 17, 2009)

A recent poll found that about 60% of Australians support Same-Sex marriage – a significant increase from the poll in 2004 which showed support to be at 38%. The poll was a Galaxy poll commissioned by the Australian Marriage Equality group. Peter Furness of Australian Marriage Equality has said that growing support for Same-Sex marriage and the recognition of LGBT couples married in other countries has increased pressure on the government to review its stance. Mr. Furness said, “This poll scuttles the only rationale put forward by the Rudd Government for opposing equality, namely that a majority of Australians believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.” Looks like there is some new momentum for our brothers and sisters in Australia to build on.

Gay Referee in Turkey Stripped of License (June 17, 2009)

There are no laws in Turkey making homosexuality illegal. That hasn’t helped Halil Ibrahim Dincdag who is 33 – since he decided to come out proudly as Gay. He has since had to leave his home in Trabzon and go into exile. Mr Dincdag said, “I have not committed a crime, I have not defamed my profession. I’m only a homosexual.” Fortunately he still has the support of his family – including his brother who is an imam. The offices of KAOS-GL (the group for gay and lesbian rights in Turkey) sees his case as a step forward for the movement. Ali Erol – a KAOS-GL member- said, “Turkey, which has managed to break taboos on the Armenian genocide and the Kurdish problem, is yet to openly face the reality of homosexuality.” Mr. Dincdag vows to fight to restore his career and has indicated he will go as far as the European Court of Human Rights – if need be.

Obama Expands Some Bens to Federal Employees (June 18, 2009)

President Obama offered increased coverage of some benefits to LGBT partners of federal employees. The new benefits are limited – however – to health coverage only for long term illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, and the ability to use sick leave to care for an ill partner or non-biolgical child. The expanded benefits also include allowing LGBT partners of diplomats use medical facilities at foreign postings. Expanded coverage does not include comprehensive health insurance benefits nor does it include survivor benefits. The President indicated that the Defense of Marriage Act prevents more generous benefits for same-sex partners. Although Pres. Obama continues to insist that he intends to repeal the discriminatory policies our community faces – he has yet to act in that direction. LGBT families/partners in the military – need not apply for the expanded benefits (as long as they want to keep their jobs…).

NY Man Charged With Assault as Hate Crime (June 19, 2009)

In Central Islip NY three openly gay men were approached and two of them were physically assaulted by a man named Wenzola Rountree. Det. Sgt. Robert Reecks of the Hate Crimes Unit said that Mr. Rountree was charged with assaulting the men while they were walking out of a friend’s home. Anti-gay slurs were yelled and punches and kicks were landed – causing cuts, scrapes and bruises to the gay men. One of the victims needed nine stitches and also had a swollen eye. The officers indicated the men were attacked solely because of their sexual orientation. Mr. Rountree told police that he would attack his victims again if he could. In a statement released by Suffolk police, County Executive Steve Levy said, “Attacks on an individual or individuals simply due to their sexuality are not tolerated in Suffolk County, and the perpetrator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the applicable laws.” Mr. Rountree was ordered not to make contact with the victims – hopefully he will abide by the court mandated order.

LGBT Movement Including Stonewall Changes Lives (June 24, 2009)

This is a history of LGBT events from another more personal perspective. The author was not at Stonewall itself – but was nearby. He has witnessed some more personal aspects of our history – and in a way which could be helpful to others. Tim Gay – the author – also shares insights he has learned from those he has been close to. His perspective is refreshing and seems to be an interesting way to reflect on the LGBT history gone by – as well as the LGBT history yet to be made.

Survey Shows Minority Discrimination in UK (June 24, 2009)

A recent survey done in Northern Ireland shows that those surveyed have several prejudices against folks who they consider minorities. Those surveyed were asked about living next door to a member of the travelling community (aka gypsies) and 51% didn’t like that idea. They also responded that they would not want a person with mental illness as a neighbor – nor would they want to even work with a member of the LGBT community. It is interesting that of those surveyed 92% also indicated a strong need for equality legislation. Please take a moment or two to listen to a message from the Equality Commission Chief Commissioner Bob Collins. He speaks about educating folks to better understand and be open to the needs of others – minorities. The message is included in the article.

Chicago School Will Be in Pride Parade (June 25, 2009)

Many of the families at Nettelhorst Elementary School decided they wanted to march together in the 40th annual Gay Pride Parade. The school proudly displays thousands of strips of dyed fabric – matching the colors of the LGBT Pride Flag – hanging on its black metal fence. The local community is excited that Nettlehorst “will be the first Chicago public school to march in the city’s gay pride parade.” The school also proudly displays a sign which reads, “We believe family means everybody.” Amy Goodman – a parent from Nettlehorst said, “I love that my kids will understand that there are all different kinds of families. When it comes to any kind of differences, I think the only way to realize how much we have in common is to celebrate and acknowledge our differences.” There is a delightful picture of Amy and her kids preparing for the parade – in the article.

Fed Suit Filed by Former GA State Employee (June 26, 2009)

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story cleared the way for a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former state employee – fired because she was undergoing a Gender Reassignment procedure. Vandy Beth Glenn had been working as a legislative editor for the General Assembly before her boss fired her. U.S. District Judge Story on Friday “denied an attempt by Georgia legislators to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that it could lead to a new round of court scrutiny of public employees.” Lambda Legal said, “Story’s decision is a signal that the state legislature can be challenged for violating her constitutional rights.” Hopefully this will help more Transgendered members of our community in their ability to fight for their rights – and equality will be gained in the process.

Play in India Sends Message to Government (June 27, 2009)

The play entitled “Karnataka Queer Habba” was staged to showcase the plight of sexual minorities. The entire cast of the play consisted of LGBT individuals and it took place in Bangalore. Another reason for the play was to send a message to the government and the people to repeal “section 377” of the Indian Penal Code – which makes homosexuality criminal. Other events took place as part of the celebration – including a pride march, public debates and a cricket match. The following organizations have been working hard in the campaign to decriminalize homosexuality – NAZ Foundation, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), The Law Commission of India, the Union Health Ministry, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Planning Commission of India. The article also mentions the United Nations messages to the government of India.

Author’s Note

Now that I have reported the news I would like to apologize for not reporting last week – it was unavoidable. Some of the news items do go back a little bit in time – but I decided to included them as well. Also I want to personally acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall. Hopefully this Anniversary will not only remind us of the past and what has happened since – but also bring more energy to the LGBT Community and our Allies – in our pursuit of Equality. Thank-you for your understanding. mj
mjpngwnz: 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.