jaysays.com |

because simon isn’t cool anymore.
Subscribe

Human Rights Lesson from the Murder of Trayvon Martin.

March 30, 2012 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

While there may be much debate around the circumstances involved in the murder of Trayvon Martin, one thing is now for certain: Racism is still alive and well in the United States.  One has to look no further than comments on news articles relating to the murder or online forums to find such fabulous tidbits as this:

But really, who is surprised? Go ahead and pick an article or forum for yourself and I’m sure you will find similar commentary.

The right-wing majority in this county has been waging war against any non-white, non-christian, non-heterosexual, non-cisgendermale person since the birth of the United States.  Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender People, Women and more have been wrongfully imprisoned, brutalized and made to fear what will happen if they rock the boat.  In spite of this commonality, those oppressed by the system are entirely failing to unite.

I originally believed this was the result of having been ostracized into our own communities for so long, that joining forces was something else to fear.  Will the Latinos push forward without meWill the “LGB” sell out the “T” againWill Black men stand-up for the ERA?

One anti-human rights organization recognizes that uniting our voices would put a crushing end to their ability to continue to degrade, belittle and intimidate our communities. Recently released Court Documents illustrate that the National Organization for Marriage [NOM] (a voice in opposition to marriage equality), has a TWENTY MILLION DOLLAR plan to make sure the “gays and blacks” remain divided.  According to NOM’s $20 Million Strategy for Victory:

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.

Sadly, even before NOM’s $20 million budget, the plan has been successful.  In fact, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s youngest daughter lit a torch at her father’s tomb to kick off an anti-human rights campaign to prevent marriage equality for LGBT people in 2005.  The purpose was to dehumanize LGBT people so that “human rights” and “civil rights” would not be associated with the apparently “inhuman” gays.  Sound familiar?

I Am Man- Withers

I Am Man - Withers

Of course, Coretta Scott King and many of Dr. King’s children disagree, invoking the teachings of Dr. King to show the need for equality and “tolerance” of LGBT people.

But a similar battle plays out between women, Latino groups and labor unions.  Perhaps the most glaringly obvious division is marked annually with the Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice.  Cesar Chavez was a labor leader and civil rights activist who fought for better working conditions for farm workers.  He, along with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association.  After his death, he became an icon for the Latino community.  While city streets and statewide holidays rightfully celebrate Chavez’s work, Dolores Huerta is all but ignored in spite of her significant contribution.

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read.  You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.  You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. — Cesar Chavez

Currently, a similar wedge exists between Latino Community leaders and the LGBT community.  In fact, the founder of the San Antonio Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice, Jaime P. Martinez, is alleged to have provided no assistance in fighting for hate crimes charges against the murderer of his son, Troy Martinez Clattenburg , in spite of his position as a civil rights leader in the Latino Community.

It is not enough for us to claim to support human rights when the rights we purport to support are not across the board.  Gay rights, Transgender Rights, Immigrant Rights, Worker’s Rights, Women’s Rights, etc., should be based solely on our status as human beings.   As Hillary Clinton said in recognition of Human Rights Day:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

Macy’s Store Fires Employee for “Religious Beliefs” – or Does It?

December 08, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

The Macy’s store at Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio, Texas, recently came under fire for its termination of Natalie Johnson, who was employed by Macy’s until a few days before Thanksgiving. Ms. Johnson refused to allow a transgender woman to use the lady’s fitting room. According to the organization representing Ms. Johnson, Liberty Counsel, she was fired for her religious beliefs. To clarify, they argue she was fired for being Christian.

Blog posts and comments abound, telling the story of the oppressed Natalie. Most of the stories indicate that Liberty Counsel is a pro-Christian rights organization, a claim which is designed to sway the public to rally behind a suspect class: the religious. But Liberty Counsel is anything but pro-Christianity. Their purpose has not historically been to walk in the steps of Christ, but instead to demand our government provide them, as moral superiors, with the infinite power to bend others to their will.

In her recent address in honor of Human Rights Day, Secretary of Defense Hillary Clinton highlighted these sorts of religious justifications for discrimination noting:

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn’t cultural; it’s criminal.

But even though Liberty Counsel wants you to believe this is about Ms. Johnson’s religion, it is not. Liberty Counsel is not a “Christian rights group,” but rather an organization devoted to preventing the human rights of LGBT people. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

In 2009, J. Matt Barber, formerly with Concerned Women for America and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality…, joined Liberty Counsel as director of cultural affairs (also becoming Liberty University’s associate dean for career and professional development). A year earlier, Barber had argued that given “medical evidence about the dangers of homosexuality,” it should be considered “criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative.”

The Counsel also has been active in battling same-sex marriage, saying it would destroy the “bedrock of society.” In 2005, the group’s blog said: “People who … support the radical homosexual agenda will not rest until marriage has become completely devalued. Children will suffer most from this debauchery.” A 2007 blog posting said same-sex marriage would “severely impact future generations.”

Like other anti-gay groups, Liberty Counsel argues that hate crime laws are “actually ‘thought crimes’ laws that violate the right to freedom and of conscience” — an opinion rejected by the Supreme Court.

The claims by Liberty Counsel are not a declaration of freedom, but instead further desperate attacks by a group of people protected by Federal Non-Discrimination Laws (religious people), on a group that is not (transgender people).  Freedom of religion is a protection from worshipping as one chooses, not from forcing your opinions on others.

Gay Group Goes Public to Celebrate DADT Repeal – Members Leave in Response

September 20, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Thought of the Gay

Gay San Antonio Facebook GroupThe Facebook group titled “Gay San Antonio” will be marking the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by “coming out” from the “private” setting to the “public” setting on Facebook.  When the Administrators formed the group, they originally set the privacy settings so that, without an invitation, the group postings and its members remained hidden.  The chosen method of celebration seems appropriate and symbolic, but not all members support the change. Several of them announced that once the group goes public, they will be removing themselves from it for fear of retaliation by their family, co-workers and friends.

One of the group members who is leaving stated:

Sorry I can’t be a part of it but being a part of a political organization like this in the public eye will greatly harm my credibility at work. I’d rather be semi-in-the-closet and employed than openly gay and broke.

This is a very real and reasonable fear shared by many. “Coming out” of the closet as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is far too often a career killer.  It’s no wonder that the repeal of DADT is so bittersweet for me.  I see through the rose-colored, celebratory glasses and look directly at our oppressors and oppressions ruling us with fear.  The reality that our lives are still governed by this fear is a grotesque ode to the heavy toll denying dignity and freedom to a people has on their lives.

So to all members of Gay San Antonio (past, present and future), I offer you this video of Ms. Nina Simone, answering the question, “What’s freedom?”:

82nd Texas Legislative Session Welcomed with Anti-Bullying Demonstration

January 12, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Youth Issues

Queer Texas United Anti-Bully "Die In" - Austin, Texas, January 11, 2011

Yesterday marked the beginning of the 82nd Texas legislative session.  To welcome the new legislature, Queer Texas United organized a Homophobia and Transphobia Kills Die-In at the front gate of the Capitol Building in Austin.  The purpose of the Die-In was to support anti-bullying legislation.  The Texas Senate has introduced two bills with respect to bullying and cyberbullying for consideration this legislative session.  Presently, there are two anti-bullying bills in the Senate and one in the House.

Roughly fifty people attended the die-in.  On cue, we all fell to the ground while a litany of names were read aloud by organizers then repeated by participants.  Afterward, Representative Joe Farias of San Antonio spoke about the effect of bullying on his own family.  He recounted the horrible bullying his son experienced and how, upon approaching the school administration, he was met with reluctance and even denial instead of help with confronting the problem.

Rather profoundly, another demonstration was being held simultaneously in front of the Capitol Building.  This demonstration was an anti-death penalty rally.  Several participants of that demonstration joined in with the die-in participants.  Signs reading “Stop the Executions” mingled with signs reading “Homophobia Kills, Transphobia Kills.”  Bullying, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and lethal injection all have the same tragic end; life ceases.

At approximately 6:18 p.m. organizers for the execution rally announced that the prisoner who was to be executed had received a stay.  One woman screamed, “We got a stay!”  Perhaps somewhere out in this world a bullied youth received a stay, too.

Overview of introduced Texas Anti-Bullying Legislation:

Senate Bill 245, filed by Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, would amend the Texas Education Code to not only require policy and program development along with staff and parent training for the prevention and reporting of bullying, but also amend the current definition of bullying to include cyberbullying.  Further, S.B. 245 would require that a student who engages in bullying, at the request of a person with authority to act on behalf of a bullied student, to be transferred to another classroom or campus.  Previously, students victimized by bullying were forced to transfer to a new school or classroom themselves which clearly punished the victim rather than the offender.  House Bill 224, field by Representative Mark Strama, is markedly similar to Senate Bill 245.

Senate Bill 205, filed by Senator John Whitmire of Houston, would require school districts to develop a policy prohibiting bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation.  The current text of S.B. 205 does not provide for specific consequences for students who engage in bullying, but instead requires that the district develop a program for remedial action, including counseling for the bully and a referral to appropriate services or to the appropriate county or district attorney.

What you can do in Texas to get involved:

ATTENTION PERSONS MARRIED UNDER DC LAW – YOUR MARRIAGE MAY BE NULLIFIED!

December 14, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Headline, Thought of the Gay

As you may recall, Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup were married this past October. Their marriage was officiated via Skype by a person authorized to perform marriages by the District of Columbia, who was physically in DC at the time of the service. Mark and Dante decided to conduct their vows in their home state so that family and friends could be in attendance without the significant costs and problems of flying everyone to DC.

However, after the Skype wedding made headlines DC officials intervened and nullified the wedding on the grounds that Mark and Dante were not in the District at the time the ceremony was performed.

More recently, and in what can only be an effort to prevent future public relations disasters, a DC Clerk’s office posted this sign:

DC Clerk Posting - Marriages must physically be in DC

However, such provision is not presently included in the District of Columbia’s Official Code governing marital relationships (See: Division VII, Title 46, Subtitle I, Ch. 4). Instead, DC has taken upon itself to enforce a provision of law which does not exist. This means, if you or someone you know obtained a marriage license from the District of Columbia, but conducted the ceremony even inches outside the confines of the District’s border (perhaps for a better view of the ocean), your marriage may be nullified, too.

For example, let’s say you’ve lived and worked all your life in DC as has your future spouse. You and your spouse decide to get married, head off to the clerk’s office, get your license, abide by the 3 day waiting period, plan your ceremony, go to Little Falls Park (5.6 miles from the center of DC) and get married. YOU WERE NOT IN D.C.

Or let’s say you take a look at popular wedding places in the D.C. area and choose one of the top ten venues, Brookside Gardens. You are not in D.C., and therefore your marriage is not valid!

DC retroactively nullified the marriage of Mark and Dante due to this “requirement.” How many more marriages will they nullify? Will yours be next?

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: TSA Infultrated by Homosexuals who like to Pat People Down

December 01, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

In light of the controversy surrounding the new extensive pat downs and body scanning by TSA, much ado has been made about a traveler’s privacy.  Reports are out that the body scans have resulted in searches because of feminine hygiene products and colostomy bags, but leave it to the right-wing to blame the new policies on the gays.

Eugene Delgaudio, a Loudon County, VA Board of Supervisors representative, recently informed not only the public at large, but also the gay community of a devious plan by the Homosexual Board of Directors (HBD), the group of gays who release the Gay Agenda and originally drafted the Gay Bill of Special Rights, to use the pat downs as a way of getting sexual gratification they otherwise would not be able to achieve:

It’s the federal employee’s version of the Gay Bill of Special Rights… That means the next TSA official that gives you an ‘enhanced pat down’ could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission.

As a rule, I no longer participate in the meetings of the HBD.  I stopped attending after getting a stripe taken away for a quip about how I wanted to have sex with George W. Bush.  Without asking for my explanation (which was very reasonable and involved proving his stance on homosexuality was due to his own repressed feelings), I was demoted from Super Flaming Homosexual by the Board to Tired Old Queen.  That said and noting my bitterness toward the HBD, I still don’t buy Mr. Delgaudio’s explanation for the new TSA’s procedures.

In fact, the new procedures are more likely a result of fear-mongering, something that is outside the scope of and has never been a part of the mission or vision of the HBD.  However, it does sound a lot like something Eugene Delgaudio and his fellow self-loathing closet cases might just do in order to have an excuse to have a man feel them up.  Rumors abound that Ted Haggard led the charge for the new procedures.

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

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Libertarian Party Board Member Says DADT Should Remain

September 27, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Headline, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Although the Libertarian party has often pressed Congress on the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, a recent internal email from one of the party’s Board Members, Norm Olsen of Region 4, argues against the repeal, stating that, “The heterosexual soldier has a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances.”  Here’s the full text of his “P.S.” remarks from a copy of the leaked email (all errors his own):

PS> This is written by a Libertarian individual who believes the that the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is fine and appropriate.  I realize this will ruffle a whole flock of feathers.  Please hear me out.

My son serves in the military, and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. While joining the military was his choice, the conditions of his deployment are not of his choice.  With whom he is deployed is not his choice.  I suggest that he and all other heterosexuals who have volunteered to serve for whatever reason have a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances. Under normal conditions, he could separate himself from such advances, or physically defend himself from such advances.  Neither is appropriate or applicable in the combat situation; especially under those conditions where his physical safety is in jeopardy; specifically those case where he is dependent upon others for his survival.

The heterosexual soldier has a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances.  It is said that the homosexual has a right to serve his country. In the ‘you and me alone in a foxhole situation’, you have two rights in conflict.  You must solve to the highest level of morality.  In the case of the heterosexual soldier, the morality is ‘I own my own body’.  In the case of the gay soldier, the right is ‘I have a right to serve’.  Which right holds the higher moral ground.  No question in my mind.

The ‘Don’t ask,. don’t tell’ policy is a comprise here.  If non-heterosexual individuals do not exhibit homosexual behavior in military situations, no one cares what their sexual proclivities are.  If, however, they do insist on exhibiting sexual behavior in situations where such is militarily inappropriate, the right to serve loses to the higher moral ground: the right of those in a situation not of their choosing to own their own body. It could very well be that in certain cases this is not the manner in which the ‘Don’t’ ask, don’t tell’ policy is implemented, but improper implementation in certain cases does not invalidate the policy as a whole.

This is simply protecting the rights of the heterosexual soldier to be free from unwanted sexual advances in situations over which the heterosexual soldier has absolutely no choice or control; the only alternative being the firing squad for desertion.  Further, the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is fairly liberal.  Homosexuals are free to join the military, serve their country, and to improve their lives using the many benefits offered by the government to those who serve in the military.  Heterosexuals are entitled to the same rights and benefits, without having to give up their right to own their own bodies.

Mr. Olsen’s statements are based upon a lot of assumptions/stereotypes.  For example, he assumes that his son is so attractive to gay men that they cannot resist the urge to continually badger him with sexual advances.  He also stereotypes homosexuals (and in his story he appears to specifically target gay men) by indicating that they will “exhibit homosexual behavior in military situations” because they do not have the ability to control themselves.

Apparently, Mr. Olsen is unaware of the current statistics regarding sexual abuse/assault in the military or that the Department of Defense developed the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program to confront the problems that currently exist.  In fact, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made this announcement about sexual assault in the military (even though the U.S. Military doesn’t currently allow openly gay people to serve):

The Department has a no-tolerance policy toward sexual assault. This type of act not only does unconscionable harm to the victim; it destabilizes the workplace and threatens national security.

Now, if Mr. Olsen’s complaints weren’t already a serious problem in our military would Mr. Gates needed to have address the problem?  Would an agency such as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program need to exist?  No.

In 2009, there were 3,230 reports of sexual assault involving service members.  That’s very nearly 9 assaults per day!  A whopping 89% of all reported cases of sexual assault were made by women in the military, in spite of the fact that women make up only about 20% of the U.S. military.  Of the total reported sexual assaults, only 2% were committed by female personnel.

Education goes a long way Mr. Olsen, discrimination goes nowhere.

To contact Norm Olsen, call (303) 277-9967 or email region4rep@doneDad.com and/or Norman.Olsen@lp.org.

H/T to reader, Brian Miller, for the tip.

Enhanced by Zemanta

I Hereby Command You… (but Will I Defend You?)

July 01, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured

Lt Dan ChoiThe Uniform Code of Military Justice applies to members of the armed forces.  The Code sets out the laws that each member of the services is bound to follow.  It enumerates offenses and punishments much like the Penal Code does for non-military citizens, and includes Article 92, which criminalizes the failure to obey an order or regulation.

Often, commanders issue general orders to those in their command.  The person receiving the order must carry it out.  If they do not carry out the order, they could then be charged under the Article 92 provisions and would be subject to court-martial.

Sub Chapter X. Punitive Article

892. ART. 92. FAILURE TO OBEY ORDER OR REGULATION

Any person subject to this chapter who–

(1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation; [emphasis added]

(2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

(3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;

shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

“I was only following orders.”  We’ve historically heard that argument so often that we’ve almost become immune to it.  From Nazi Germany to Abu Ghraib, soldiers have heralded the defense for all sorts of atrocious acts of human rights violations.  Even Hollywood has adopted the defense for some of their greatest hits, like A Few Good Men.

On June 1, 2009, President Barack Obama, the Commander and Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, issued a proclamation declaring June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.  The proclamation outlined laws and inequities suffered by LGBT people, including a call for “ending the existing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security.”

Twenty-eight days after that statement, on June 29, 2009, the President reiterated his support for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:

And finally, I want to say a word about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’  As I said before — I’ll say it again — I believe ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ doesn’t contribute to our national security.  In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security.  Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we’ll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.

On October, 10, 2009, the Commander of the United States Armed Forces, Barack Obama, issued his “order.”

If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that there are too many who do not yet know in their lives or feel in their hearts the urgency of this struggle. That’s why I continue to speak about the importance of equality for LGBT families — and not just in front of gay audiences. That’s why Michelle and I have invited LGBT families to the White House to participate in events like the Easter Egg Roll — because we want to send a message. And that’s why it’s so important that you continue to speak out, that you continue to set an example, that you continue to pressure leaders — including me — and to make the case all across America.

Captain James Pietrangelo and Lt. Dan Choi heard the order of the President and acted by chaining themselves to the fence in front of the White House.  For “following orders” they were arrested.  Now, as the two prepare to confront the criminal charges at trial, the President’s testimony has become relevant in their defense.  They have issued a subpoena for the President to appear and testify; however, service of the subpoena on the President was not made as guards at the White House refused the process server entry.

Attorneys for Pietrangelo and Choi issued a memo explaining the rational for the subpoena:

[Pietrangelo and Choi] seek to compel the testimony of President Barack Obama who has, on several occasions as President and Commander in Chief (and previously as a Senator and Presidential Candidate) called on the LGBT community to “pressure” him to change the DADT law and policy, thus allowing gay servicemembers to serve their country openly and honorably.

The subpoena of the President is necessary for the defense to prove that Defendants were following and obeying lawful orders or directives by their President and Commander in Chief, and were therefore under an obligation and authority to act as they did in order to pressure him – in a non-violent, visible way – on this important public issue. In addition, these statements support the contention that Defendants were acting out of necessity, in order to prevent discrimination and greater harm to gay servicemembers now serving.

Obviously, there are problems with a subpoena issued to a sitting president and, generally, presidents have not complied with or have made other arrangements to testify when a subpoena is issued for their appearance.  It is highly unlikely that, even if served, Obama would be subject to the subpoena.  However, regardless of your feelings toward the “gay rights movement” or more direct action type activism such as that employed by Pietrangelo and Choi, you must admit that it was a pretty smart maneuver and an interesting use of the “following orders” defense.

Texas GOP Official Platform Calls for Imprisonment of Homosexuals and Supportive Heterosexuals

June 20, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Texas GOP calls for imprisonment of homosexualsI’m not a big fan of Democrats right now.  In fact, I’m so upset with their negotiations to be bi-partisan, I actually considered not voting for a single democrat this November and instead voting for an independent or abstaining my vote altogether.  Many LGBT people have made calls for a boycott of the democrats – no money and no votes.  But I live in Texas and that changes things for me.

The Texas GOP has released their “2010 State Republican Party Platform” and its filled with hate and bigotry.  One blogger even likened the platform to being very similar to that of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill – and they are absolutely right!

The anti-gayness of the Republican platform began with their principles.  Principle #6 begins, :

We believe in… Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman.

That principle concurs with roughly 76% of Texas voters (which was the percentage that voted to support an amendment to the Texas Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, or anything even similar to it).

But it gets far more frightening.  Under the bold, uppercase heading, “Strengthening Families, Protecting Life and Promoting Health” the Texas GOP outlines why I should be legislated back into the closet and how they intend to do it:

Family and Defense of Marriage – We support the definition of marriage as a God–ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. *** We further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist of and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman. Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse.

You’ll note that the Texas GOP is asking that marriage rights in other states be revoked as well.

Family Values – We affirm that this section is a response to the attacks on traditional family values. These include well  funded, vigorous political and judicial attempts by powerful organizations and branches of the government to force acceptance, affirmation and normalization of homosexual behavior upon school children, parents, educational institutions, businesses, employees, government bodies and religious institutions and charities. These aggressive, intolerant efforts marginalize as bigots anyone who dissents.

You’ll notice that the shoe fits.  They are attempting to legislate me.  They are attempting to deny me fundamental rights they enjoy based upon, as evidenced by this proposal, their belief in an intolerant and uncaring “God.”  Here’s the definition of bigot to make it clear that they are what they claim not to be: “One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.”

Thus, I am a bigot too because I’m intolerant of the belief that I am inferior as a human to the Texas GOP.  I accept and embrace that fact.  The only difference between my bigotry and theirs is that I don’t tell them who they should marry.

But wait, it gets worse and here’s where we start sounding very Ugandan:

Marriage Licenses – We support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such.

That’s right.  If you are a heterosexual clergy member who decides to perform a marriage ceremony for a same-sex person, you go to prison.  You don’t have to have gay sex anymore to go to prison in Texas (as you did in the past), now you can go just for supporting a life commitment between two people of the same-sex.

The Texas GOP then goes on to ignorantly declare that homosexuality:

  • tears at the fabric of society,
  • contributes to the breakdown of the family unit,
  • leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases, and
  • is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

But wait, it gets worse… still:

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

They then “demand” that Congress withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy – in other words, because the federal courts said people can’t go to prison for oral sex, Texas Republicans are pissed.  They want people who have oral sex to go to prison.  They are, again bigots, like me.  Only, I don’t want them to go to prison for having vaginal to penis sex.  I couldn’t care less about their missionary position.

I am a Texan, for those that do not know.  I live and work in Texas and have lived in Texas the bulk of my life.  It’s always been “home” to me in spite of the conservative nature of Texas politics.  It has, however, become clear that Texas may soon begin to invade my home, arrest people like me, my friends and my loved ones.  From the tone set by the GOP, they may decide it’s OK to open fire on homosexuals in the street.  There is no stopping this level of hatred.  They aren’t trying to stop us from marrying, they are trying to make us extinct.

So what should I do now? Find a friend in another country and find out that country’s laws regarding political asylum and make arrangements with that friend for when we are forced to flee from the land of the free and the home of the brave?

There is one principle of the Texas GOP that I support:

Americans having the right to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities, and the unalienable right to defend themselves.

This is my home – and I will use my “unalienable right” to defend it.

Community College District Won’t Discriminate – Except in the Bathroom

June 18, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Bathroom discrimination - a okay!The San Antonio LGBT Community has been petitioning the Alamo Community College District, which oversees 5 community college campuses in the San Antonio area, to amend its existing policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  The initiative has largely been led by the student organization, Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College.  After two meetings and many conversations with the Board, the ACCD has agreed to vote on a policy which would include sexual orientation, but not gender identity/expression.

However, in what could be called an effort to be inclusive, the Chancellor for ACCD, Bruce H. Leslie, issued a “Chancellor’s Clarification” citing the existing policies against discrimination based upon gender to be inclusive of “gender identity.”  In the clarification, the Chancellor writes:

The Alamo Colleges values and affirms the diversity of its students and employees. The Alamo Colleges also supports inclusiveness that recognizes, values, and reflects the diversity of our community. This inclusiveness extends to transgendered individuals.

Sounds pretty good, right? But the Chancellor didn’t stop there.  While in one breath he declares discrimination against transgender individuals to be a violation of policy, in the next he condones discrimination:

…nothing in this clarification or the policies or procedures shall be construed to establish discrimination or harassment based on gender identity due to the denial of access to shared facilities in which being seen unclothed (even partially, such as in restrooms) is unavoidable.

Thus, denial of the use of a public restroom to transgender persons will not be construed as discrimination under the policy.  I believe the popular term for this is, “FAIL!”

In a meeting with the San Antonio Gender Association last night, representatives of the LGBT community discussed an approach to deal with this harmful “Clarification” and the pending vote on inclusion of sexual orientation in the non-discrimination policy.  I sat in on the meeting and have never been so proud of our community.  LGB person after LGB person agreed that we will not leave the “T” behind.

On Tuesday, June 22, we will again appear before the board and ask the board to postpone decision on these policies for a period of 90 days for the purpose of: (1) additional education; (2) allow reconsideration for inclusion of both sexual orientation AND gender identity/expression in the policy; and (3) a retraction of the Chancellor’s Clarification.

This decision is not without critics.  Some LGB people feel that moving forward with the exclusionary policy would best serve the community and we can fight for transgender inclusion at a later date. But they forget our history.

Some readers may note the similarity between this current issue and the ENDA episode where HRC staffers drafted a version of ENDA which was not “gender identity” inclusive.  Although it was clear that the purpose was to ensure that protections for sexual orientation would make it through the House and Senate, the authors of the proposal defended their position claiming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided protection for “gender identity” under the heading “gender.”  However, it’s widely accepted that the real reason was that we could not get an inclusive ENDA passed (at that time) without throwing the “T” under the bus.

While Title VII should provide discrimination protection based upon gender identity/expression, that position is, at best, only partially correct.  The Supreme Court decision in Ulane (1982) clearly excluded transgender people from the definition of “gender” as it applied to Title VII.  Although a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court in 1989 (Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins) seemed to redefine “gender” in Title VII to include gender expression (or more specifically, discrimination based upon gender stereotypes), lower court’s continue to cite the Ulane decision as precedent (even as recently as this year!).  The rare exception seems to be within the 9th Circuit, which has cited the Price Waterhouse decision to be inclusive of gender identity/expression in some instances.

The ramifications of the former exclusive ENDA proposal were far reaching, rattled our community to its core and underscored our own prejudices, fears, intolerance and selfishness.  We must learn from our history and our present and unite in order to establish full equality for all of our brothers and sisters.