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It Was Only a Kiss, How Did It End Up Like This?

July 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

kissinHere’s the Press Release for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In being planned nationally by the Davids (David Badash and David Mailloux) and Willow Witte.  Please help spread the word:

In response to recent events in three different U.S. cities, where gay or lesbian couples have been harassed, detained or arrested, for the simple act of kissing in a public place, two gay rights bloggers have joined forces with the national grassroots LGBT organization Join the Impact to create the Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Now, David Badash (of the New Civil Rights Movement), David Mailloux (of DYM SUM), and Willow Witte (Co-Founder and Director of Join the Impact) are seeking event coordinators throughout the United States to help organize these Kiss-In events.

“It is our goal to have as many cities or towns holding events as possible, to create the strongest statement we can against harassment of the LGBT community,” Mailloux said. “And it will be incredibly easy to put one of these events together. Most of the work involves publicity – networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, press releases to local media, and hanging flyers in and around the site of the event.”

“We’ll send written guidance and standard press releases to anyone interested in holding their own related event, to make this even easier for anyone who wishes to help,” Mailloux added.

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 2 p.m., Eastern Time (11 a.m., Pacific Time). Badash’s original vision for the event would have as many couples as were willing to participate – gay and straight – showing this simple, innocent form of affection for one another in popular public locations throughout the United States.

“Both gay and straight couples should be able to kiss whomever they like, wherever they like,” Badash said. “If you want to give your better half a kiss, or hold their hand while walking down the street, then you should go for it. Lord knows, this world could use a lot more love, and a lot more people displaying acts of love, affection, and kindness.”

Gay activists and bloggers throughout the country have said that the recent incidents involving gay and lesbian couples kissing in San Antonio, and El Paso, TX, as well as Salt Lake City, UT were entirely related to their sexual orientation.

“It’s truly shocking that – in 2009, with homosexuality decriminalized throughout the United States – we are still seeing law enforcement and other individuals harassing and detaining homosexual couples,” Mailloux said. “In two of the three incidents, the couples only kissed on the cheek. There’s nothing inappropriate about that. There’s nothing illegal about that. Kissing is a beautiful thing; it’s a timeless show of affection for our loved ones. People kiss on the cheek or on the lips every single day, in any number of public places – airports, subways, sidewalks, coffee shops. The LGBT community should be allowed that same right without consequences.”

Unlike other recent isolated kiss-in events in Salt Lake City and San Diego, the Great Nationwide Kiss-In is exactly that – it’s on a national level. While the other events have taken place on or near Mormon church property, Badash, Mailloux, and Witte all agree that the Great Nationwide Kiss-In should be as non-controversial as possible.

“These events are meant to be fun and emphasize the beauty of love and simple affection between two people,” Witte said. “People shouldn’t be made to live in fear of expressing their love! It was meant to be celebrated. We just want people to come, to enjoy the company of the LGBT community, then at 2 p.m., everyone will kiss. We want to make this statement about the beauty of such chaste affection, and the right for everyone to share that affection with whomever they choose in whatever environment that suits them.”

As of July 23, the coordinators have confirmed five events in Boston, MA; Irvine, CA; New York City; San Diego, CA; and San Francisco, CA. There are also organizers trying to get events started in Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Memphis, TN; Northampton, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; and San Antonio, TX.  If you would like to coordinate a Kiss-In event in your city or town, can join organizers in one of the above cities, or if you have other questions about the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, please contact David Mailloux at GreatNationwideKissIn@gmail.com, or call him at (617) 213-0433.

Kansas City Men’s Chorus Denied Honorific because it Mentions Gay

March 27, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, LGBT News

As the Kansas City-based Heartland Men’s Chorus prepares for their Saturday performance of “And Justice For All” to honor the fight and fighters for civil equality (i.e. women’s suffrage, the stonewall riots and Martin Luther King, Jr.), the “top leaders” of the state’s senate denies a resolution honoring the group.

Sen. Jolie Justus, District 10 MO, introduced the resolution as part of the hundreds of courtesy resolutions passed each year.  Such resolutions are designed to honor milestones such as 50th wedding anniversaries and “Eagle Scout” achievements; however, the Kansas senate has sent a clear message, “No gays.”

The uproar isn’t about honoring the group, but because of the language of the resolution indicating they are fighting homophobia and makes mention of “gay” men.  Senate republican (of course), Shields has stated he feels the language is too controversial indicating it would:

probably not meet the standards of all the senators.

He has asked the resolution remove references to homophobia, gay and LGBT, the very thing that has brought the group forward as a potential recipient of the resolution.

Sen. Justus stated, rather than “de-gay” the resolution, she will present a certificate to the Heartland Men’s Chorus from her own office rather than from the full Senate and let them know:

Your state capitol finds you to be offensive just because you’re gay.

To that, jay says: “I find your state capitol offensive because they are homophobic bigots who have mistaken a moral delusion for morality.”

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?.

School Demands Student Turn Rainbow Bracelet Around

March 19, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, LGBT News, Youth Issues

Chris Quintanilla, a 14 year old Peoria, Arizona student, was recently forced to turn his rainbow wristband inside out by the principal.  Chris reports that he has experienced numerous anti-gay moments at the school.  When the school failed to stop such anti-gay actions, his mother went to the ACLU.  See: Letter from ACLU to school district.

The principal claims that the request was made after many of Chris’ teachers found the wristband “offensive.”  See Also: Gay student banned from wearing rainbow | News Story on 365gay.com.

Perhaps the principal is unfamiliar with the 2001 case of Chamber’s, wherein a Woodbury High School student wore a shirt which said, “Straight Pride” which resulted in the principal banning the “offensive” shirt.  In that case, sponsored by the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy (yes the anti-gay folks), U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank issued a preliminary injunction stating that the action was “probably unconstitutional.”  A federal court later agreed stating it violated the student’s right to free speech.

Increase in Crimes Against Gays since Passage of Prop 8

March 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

I previously speculated in a post (based on rough math) that after the passage of Proposition 8, a substantially higher number of hate crimes against LGBT people began to occur.  I discussed that, in large part, the theory was based upon the fact that more LGBT activists were taking to the streets and making our community more visible to the violent majority.  As if to confirm my speculation, the San Jose Mercury news is now reporting that 56% (14 out of 25 ) of all hate crimes reported in Santa Clara County California were based upon sexual orientation.  This is a significant jump from 2007 with only three of the twenty reported hate crimes being “gay” related.

From the article:

Hate crime cases involving anti-gay sentiment shot up in Santa Clara County last year, a striking increase that a leading prosecutor attributes to controversy over Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.  Surge in anti-gay hate crime cases – San Jose Mercury News.

Supporter of Proposition 8, Frank Shubert of the poorly named Protect Marriage, had this ridiculous statement:

I certainly hope Proposition 8 did not result in more crime, but if it did, it did so on both sides.

So it seems the Religious Reich is claiming that the gays are beating people up again, even though there have only been two confirmed reports of gays “attacking” Proposition 8 supporters in California.  Both of these claims were videotaped, involved only yelling and neither case resulted in physical bodily injury to the Proposition 8 supporters.

Regardless of whether the Court rules in favor of or against the validity of Proposition 8, the moment will be part of the long history of religion being used to abuse a minority class.

Nigeria Has Gays Too!?!?

March 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Perhaps in the grand ole USA when you hear of something happening in Nigeria you immediately think of the countless emails from Nigerian attorneys requesting that you hold several hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars belonging to a forgotten estate in your bank account – just send us your account information.  Well this time, some Nigerians are on the side of Marriage Equality.

A group of “homosexuals” apparently “stormed” the National Assembly in protest of a bill seeking to prohibit same-gender marriages in Nigeria.  The argument made by the bill is that the charter on Human Rights signed by the U.N. (but not the USA) granted them the freedom of sexual orientation – which the proposed ban would infringe upon.

The effort by the group of storming homosexuals is particularly brave in Nigeria as the penal code provides a sentence of up to 14 years or death under Sharia Law for homosexuality.

Perhaps Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Madueke will need to revise his February 23, 2009 statement wherein Madueke said:

During our National Consultative Forum, we went out of our way to look for gay, lesbian and transgender groups but we could not come across Nigerians with such sexuality

Apparently Minister Madueke, there are gays in Nigeria.

See: THISDAY ONLINE / Nigeria news / African views on global news.

Yes on Equality to Broadcast Supreme Court Hearings LIVE

March 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, LGBT Action Alerts, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

The California Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on the efforts to overturn Proposition 8 on March 5, 2009 beginning at 9:00 A.M. Pacific.  Our allies over at Yes! on Equality will be providing LIVE video feed of the oral arguments between 9AM – Noon PST.

To view the live video feed or for more information, visit: Yes on Equality – Live Video Feed.

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.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Children of Gays Trying to Fill Void Left by Parents

February 05, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

I’ve been following this article on topix, and noted that the comments started referring to yours truly (uhm, that’s me). So I started watching the comments and ultimately found inspiration for this “Stupid Things People Say About Gays.” It also provided me with the unique opportunity to respond directly to causation.  The comment thread read, in part (and I keep it in its original in spite of the grammar issues):

Curious Questioner: Do you all really believe it is fair to a child to have gays get artificially pregnant and have a child to raise? What kind of life is that kid going to have? I draw the line with children.

Too many retards: Ask a adult child raised by gay parents

Curious Questioner: Well, I’ve only ever met one. The kid was a mess. These idiots are not thinking about the life of the child when the try this. They are thinking only of themselves and still trying to fill some void they’ve never been able to with a relationship that isn’t dysfunctional.

I felt obligated to respond as I’m generally overly optimistic:

Have you stopped to consider why the child is “a mess” as the person you know? Perhaps it’s because he is taught by people like you that his parents are horrible people and will damage him. Perhaps its because he sees homosexuals being bullied, outlawed, beaten, raped and sometimes murdered and wakes up in the morning and wonders, “Will my mommies be next?”

Gay Bashing and Christian Bashing – A Video Comparison

January 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

I found this video to be informative, passionate and otherwise remarkable.  It says it all: