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because simon isn’t cool anymore.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Standing up for Your Rights is Terrorism

December 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysAccording to recent news reports, Tarlach MacNiallais, 47, a prominent LGBT activist was tackled and beaten by a bouncer at the Guadalajara De Noche restaurant in Jackson Heights, New York.  According to reports, MacNiallais was beaten because he was dancing with a man.

MacNiallais has indicated that the bouncers approached him during the dance and advised him that he could not “do that here,” because, the Guadalajara De Noche restaurant, “is not a gay bar.”

The attack ensued when MacNiallais retorted, “I have just as much right as anyone else.” The bouncer tackled MacNiallais and even hit him with a chair – a response that seems appropriate for the crime of dancing with someone of the same sex [insert sarcasm here].

Perhaps even more disgustingly, according to one comment left on the New York Posts website:

He’s stupid not to listen to the bouncers, he probably threw a hissy fit and prob make some terrorist threats. – alltechneeds

Generally, the term “hissy fit” is reserved for an adult that has displayed diva-like or high-strung behavior.  The commenter made that conclusion based upon MacNiallais’ response that he has a right to dance with someone as much as anyone else.

But here’s the first problem; had MacNaillais been dancing with someone of the opposite-sex, the confrontation would not have occurred at all.  For the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that he had been dancing with someone of the opposite-sex and been approached by a bouncer.  The bouncer then advised MacNaillais that he couldn’t do that in the establishment because it’s not a “straight bar.”  Continuing for the sake of argument, let’s assume that MacNaillais then said to the bouncer, “I have as much right as anyone else.”  Would it be logical for the bouncer to beat Macnaillais for his “hissy fit?”  Of course not!

Then we get to the lowest of the low.  Our commenter equated asserting one’s civil rights in the United States of America with a terror threat.  This is what’s gone wrong with the right.  They have barred logic and reason, ignored the Constitution and now go as far as asserting that exercising one’s civil rights is a terroristic threat.

Perhaps that’s why so many on the right are jumping ship as reported by our friend over at The New Civil Rights Movement – because the right is wrong.

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

The Face of Hatred – A Hate Crime Survivor

September 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Michael was beaten on August 14, 2009, because he is “gay.”  I can’t say it better than Michael:

I thought it was very important that I do this video right away because I need to let people know that even though there is that much hatred in the world, I will continue to do good things for people.

Gay Bashing at a Sports Bar: What Would You Do?

March 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

ABC News recently aired filmed “What Would You Do?”  In it, ABC hired two openly gay male actors, one heterosexual couple and one “gay basher” to go to a local sports bar.  The heterosexual couple and homosexual couple agreed to show affection toward one another and gauge the crowds reaction.

They began with the afternoon lunch crowd.  The retained gay basher made numerous remarks about the gay couple and found two allies to agree with his derogatory remarks; however, it quickly turned south when a man (who I will call HERO) arrives and puts the gay basher in his place.  Mr. Hero goes as far as to tell the gay couple, “I think you’re beautiful.”

Unfortunately, night time didn’t go so well for the gay couple.  Although no one noted the heterosexual couple showing affection, the homosexual received all sorts of negative attention; however, so does one of the gay bashers who receives this comment:

Nobody else in here is making me uncomfortable, you are making me uncomfortable.

She then abruptly excited the bar.

Perhaps the thing that most will find shocking about this video is the high level of passion from both Mr. Hero and the hateful lady (Ms. Hateful) near the end.  Unfortunately, the Mr. Heroes are far outnumbered in the world by the Ms. Hatefuls.  However, this video is a remarkable example of homophobia exposed – the daily lives of gay couples should we not “hide” our affection for one another and instead participate in the same rituals of our heterosexual counterparts.

For more on this episode of ABC’s What Would You Do, visit ABC News: Gay Bashing at a Sports Bar: What Do You Do?.

Galveston Texas Gay Bar Attacked by Anti-Gay Stone Throwers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO: Evangelical Teachings of “TRUTH”

March 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

I’ve been contemplating this project for a while – Should I, do a video slide show?  Do a video monologue?  Use puppets?  All of that seemed complex and I wanted the message to be clear.  The fact remains that Evangelical Christians continue to abuse biblical text and the “authority” bestowed upon them by “God” to keep people other than themselves down.  But how do you express that in an honest and forthright way?  I attempt to with this video:

Police Questioning Suspect in Murder of Straight Man for Being “Gay”

February 27, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Police have found and are questioning the second suspect in the crime committed against José O. Sucuzhañay on December 7, 2008 in Brooklyn.  Mr. José Sucuzhañay and his brother were walking arm and arm when Keith Phoenix and Hakim Scott [allegedly] attacked the two men while shouting antigay and anti-Hispanic slurs.

The minority against minority attack drew much attention, including one of my previous posts, as both Mr. José Sucuzhañay and his brother were heterosexual men.  The attack was based on the perception of their homosexuality, as two brothers showed affection to one another in public and was also apparently associated with their Hispanic roots.

Police had previously shown a video wherein Mr. Phoenix was paying a toll and smiling only 19 minutes after the attack which resulted in José Sucuzhañay death.

Police Find Second Suspect in Hate Crime Killing – City Room Blog – NYTimes.com.

Heterosexuals for Gay Rights

February 26, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

There’s a group of people that often get over looked in the struggle for civil equality for LGBT people; our heterosexual allies.  Care2 is hosting the group Heterosexuals for Gay Rights.  Unfortunately, the group is small and not well known, but deserves a loud and spirited, “Thank you.”  On their group page, it states:

Heterosexuals for Gay Rights, though aimed towards the straight community, is a group where all supporters of the gay rights movement can gather, get acquainted, and have a blast! Together we are strong.

A very special “shout out” to readers, Juan and his wife, Elisha and all our other heterosexual allies who are marching thru the illusion of the anti-gay rhetoric beside us.  You are our heroes.

Supreme Court Denies Hearing on School Anti-Harrassment Measures

February 25, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Youth Issues

In 2002, students at Boyd County High School requested to be allowed to form a Gay Straight Alliance (“GSA”).  Unfortunately, due to religious bias and prejudice against homosexuals, they were met with adversity.  Although the GSA was approved, within two months of its formation the school banned the GSA and purportedly banned all other student organizations for that term.

As a result, several students (along with their parents) filed suit against the school district in federal court.  A preliminary injunction was issued which required the school board to provide equal access to the GSA and mandated anti-harassment training for all students. The school district then adopted a policy against “Harassment/Discrimination” defining such as:

…unlawful behavior based on race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex[,] actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or disability that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or creates a hostile or abusive educational environment.

In a further effort to fulfill its requirement, the school board created two training videos. One of the videos included a passage from a clinical psychologist, which advised:

…We all get self-centered and start to think that our way is the right way and our way is the correct way.  We all want to believe that we have evidence that our way is the correct way…

So… no matter where you go, no matter what you do, no matter who you meet, you are going to find people that you don’t like.  You’re going to find people that you disagree with.  You’re going to find people that you don’t like the way they act.  It can’t be avoided, not, not anywhere in the world, it can’t be avoided.  You’re going to find people that you believe are absolutely wrong.  You’re going to think[,” B]ut not to them.  Because they believe you are wrong.  You can’t avoid meeting people that you believe are wrong.  But here is the kicker, just because you believe, just because you don’t like them, just because you disagree with them, just because you believe they are wrong, whole heartedly, absolutely, they are wrong.  Just because you believe that does not give you permission to say anything about it.  It doesn’t require that you do anything.  You just respect, you just exist, you continue, you leave it alone.  There is not permission for you to point it out to them.

The video concluded with a statement by Matthew Spade, the High School Compliance Coordinator, wherein he advised:

In today’s video you learned about bullying, you learned about name calling and we hope you learned a little bit about how to treat people with respect, and with that respect also comes the school’s respect for your beliefs, your religious beliefs and your sense of right and wrong.  We would never try to influence those things.  They are very sacred and they should only be influenced by you and your parents and family.  Please realize that with the video that we showed today we are only trying to instill a sense of honor amongst our students to learn not to treat someone unfairly or harass someone because they are different from us.  If you have any questions about the video that you just saw, there will be a short question and answer session at the conclusion of this video.  If you do not feel comfortable asking these questions in front of your classmates, feel free to contact the counselors through the school email system.  We would hope that you would also discuss these issues with your family at home.  Thank you.

In spite of Mr. Spade’s statement, parents of the would-be hecklers feared that the new polices and the mandatory training would not only discourage, but prohibit their children from speaking about their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality.  Eventually, a group of parents sued the school board claiming the policy was a violation of their constitutional rights, including: (1) due process; (2) equal protection; and (3) free exercise of religion.  For these alleged violations of their rights, the Plaintiffs (Morrison, et al.) sought relief in the form of a declaratory judgment (non-monetary), injunction (non-monetary), actual damages (monetary), nominal damages (also monetary), costs and attorney fees (obviously monetary).

Six months after the original filing, the school board revised its policy and codes of conduct.  Under the revised codes, anti-homosexual comments would be allowed unless it was “sufficiently severe or pervasive that it adversely affects a student’s education or creates a climate of hostility or intimidation for that student, both from the perspective of an objective educator and from the perspective of the student at whom the harassment is directed.”  [thud noise added]

These revisions should have rendered the Plaintiffs’ claims moot; however, the plaintiffs, having already forced the school district to change their policy in order to ensure religious students can tell other students that they are going to hell, plaintiffs continued the litigation.

The parties then filed motions for summary judgment and the district court granted the defendant school district’s motion while denying the motion filed by the plaintiffs.  The court, in its opinion, stated it “was not inclined to adjudge the constitutionality of policies no longer in effect.”  [Can I get an Amen?]  The court further decreed that the plaintiffs claim for damages failed because the plaintiffs had no measure or amount for the damages they were alleging.

However, in October, 2007, the Court of Appeals disagreed with the district court and declared that the plaintiff’s request for “nominal damages” does not require support by fact.  Further the appellate court found that nominal damages do not require proof of actual injury as they are “symbolic”.

This left the court to decide whether or not Morrison had “standing” to bring his nominal-damages claim, or, in other words – does Morrison have sufficient stake in a controversy to obtain judicial resolution of the controversy? Because the Court felt Morrison “chilled” his speech to prevent punishment, the court held that it constituted “injury-in-fact.”  The court went on to declare that “Morrison easily satisfies the causation part of the standing inquiry” and surprisingly found that he meets the third test of standing, redressability. The court actually wrote in their opinion:

Although a favorable decision cannot provide Morrison an opportunity to travel back in time and utter the speech he withheld, it can provide him with nominal damages. Even though these damages amount to little, they serve to vindicate his rights.

The dissenting justice wrote:

… the fact remains that they [the Morrisons] have already won that challenge when they forced the district, under court supervision, to change its policy.  All that remains is an as-applied pre-enforcement challenge for nominal damage based on Morrison’s choice to chill his own speech based on his perception that he would be disciplined for speaking.

I tend to agree with the dissention on this one in spite of my relentless support of free speech and expression.  I just couldn’t understand how the court determined that Morrison had standing for the suit.

Then, I was affirmed.  After a petition for rehearing was filed by the Board of Education, The 6th Court of Appeals amended their decision in April, 2008.  In the amended ruling, the court affirmed the decision of the lower court due to the Plaintiff’s lack of standing declaring that there was no “injury-in-fact.”  Justice, it seems, is served.

Then, in November, 2008, approximately six years after the original lawsuit was filed, Morrison filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.  The issue presented to the Supreme Court was:

Whether the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit correctly determined that Petitioner lacked standing and could not pursue a claim for even nominal damages.

Within 3 months, the Supreme Court denied the petition.  The result is thus:  Regardless of whether you believe someone is bad, wrong or unlikeable, you can no longer call them things like “jew“, “spick“, “gook“, “nigger” or “faggot” while at a Boyd County school because such language is hostile – yet you can tell them all they are going to hell for being “jewish”, “black”, “disabled, “a woman”, “asian” or a “homosexual.”  The harshness of the language may be downplayed, but the message remains the same mantra, “I think I’m better than you.”

Plaintiffs relevant to Appeal Court decision were Timothy Allen Morrison II, his parents, Timothy and Mary Morrison, Brian Nolen and Debora Jones (Brian and Debora are parents of other Boyd County Middle School students).  They were represented by Kevin H. Theriot, Alliance Defense Fund, 15192 Rosewood, Leawood, KS  66224, kevintheriot@bellsouth.net, (913) 685-8000.  Inquiries made to Mr. Theriot were not responded to prior to publication.

The defendant Board of Education of Boyd County was represented by Winter R. Huff, Law Offices of John G. Prather, PPSC, PO Box 616, Somerset, Kentucky 42502-0616, (606) 679-1626.  Special thanks to Ms. Huff for providing documentation to support the research involved in this article.

CLICK HERE for the complete text of the Amended 6th U.S. Court of Appeals decision.

Where Are Our Enemies? A Hate Crime in Georgia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having Laid My Eternal Soul to Rest

February 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

As many of my readers know, I am an atheist.  This does not mean I lack faith, morality or inspiration; it merely means I find such outside of “God” or “Jesus” or “Allah.”  I find my faith, morality and inspiration from other people and from within myself.  Lately, however, I’ve come to some moments of questioning.  This is not to say I am questioning whether or not I believe in God; that is something that I feel is unquestionable.  I do not.  I’ve recently allowed myself to open discussions with people of the Christian faith and in so doing have realized something that may be a source of religious unkindness toward me; I have closed my heart and mind from religion.

Yesterday, my partner of 11 years, Christopher, was having a conversation with a friend.  The friend offered Christopher some coupons she had for Chick-Fil-A.  Christopher advised her that he is no longer eating at that establishment because of their contributions to organizations which continue to support violation of equal civil rights for homosexuals.  A person nearby, purporting to be a Christian, approached the conversation and emphatically stated that mariage was between a man and a woman, the Bible says so.  As you can imagine, Christopher was angry and frustrated that this person, who was in no way part of the conversation, felt obliged to approach him.  He relayed his story to me and I began pondering the question I pose here:

What is it about my eternal soul that makes Christians feel they have the right to deny me my mortal joy?

This is particularly relevant in my case because, as an atheist, I laid the idea of my eternal soul to rest years ago.  I don’t believe I have an eternal soul and therefore don’t feel it needs to be saved. Although Christian Fundamentalists may feel they are doing the right thing in attempting to save me, I feel they are degrading my personal beliefs, choices and sense of self.  Am I a danger to their eternity?

As I thought about what happened to Christopher, I became more and more angry; then it hit me.  I’m angry and passionate about my own belief in civil equality and I expect them to listen to me, but I refuse to listen to them; am I thus a hypocrite?

I’ve always considered myself to be a free-thinker, open minded and very kind and loving.  These are the qualities I thought best defined me.  But I realized I had closed my mind to religion and dismissed it entirely, not just to those within religion that have caused our people [LGBT people] to suffer so greatly.  In fact, I had become so entangled in my own disdain for religion, that a simple “God Bless You” after a sneeze would result in me rolling my eyes.  So, today I emailed a Baptist Pastor, who has extended an offer to me to join him for lunch after his church service, to advise him that I accept his offer.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to better my understanding of his faith and, with any luck, open a door in my heart to religious people that has been closed for many years.