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Stupid Things People Say About Gays: I Don’t Want Some Faggot Backing Me Up.

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

Stupid Things People Say About GaysAfter the National Equality March, I posted a video compilation on “Why We Marched”.  The video can be seen here.  I’m growing horrifyingly accustomed to hateful rhetoric and commentary, but a comment on this video really caught my attention.  First, because it was full of inaccuracies about what Obama has and has night signed. Second, because the God argument was invoked – which, after the comment, you will see why I find it so amusing.

Obama sign rights for gay and lesbians in our military. Picture that shit, the last thing I want in combat is some fucking faggot fighting by my side backing me up !!! Or some queer being able to join our military. I nor any normal American would want thier children living or seeing faggots and lesbians in a normal American community. God made Man and woman to be together. This is something so difficlut to explain to people that are abnormal from main society. – YouTube User albksbest [sic, generally]

To cover the first issue – Obama has not signed any rights for gay and lesbians in the military.  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the discriminatory policy signed by Bill Clinton, is still in full force and effect.

Now, the second; God, as our commenter reminded us, made “Man and woman to be together.”  Apparently, this togetherness of man and woman doesn’t have to be real to be moral and right under the eyes of this “God.”  Our dear commenter, who is apparently more afraid of having a “faggot” serve next to him than losing a war, has recently been watching some interesting YouTube videos to bring his manly self together with women.  Here’s a screen shot:

Click for Larger View

Click for Larger View

A lesson in morality from a person with all the booty shaking videos on their profile – what’s next, dining etiquette by Jeffrey Dahmer?  This was certainly an “LOL” moment for me.

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

Closet Talk: Ami and Ruby – Are We Married?

October 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkAmi and Ruby were married in a ceremony that was not recognized by their state; however, once marriage was allowed in California, and knowing that Proposition 8 was looming, the couple headed south and tied the knot. Now, they are trekking around the country through many states that don’t recognize their marriage with the goal of visiting all states that do (including the District of Columbia).

Ami and ruby shared some stories from the road and it was a great pleasure to have them tell these stories. You can hear what they had to say using the player below:

Videos: Why We Marched – The National Equality March

October 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmDuring the National Equality March, I was one of numerous LGBTQ bloggers on the ground snagging pictures and interviews with people by way of iQreport.  I was determined to get as many stories as possible from all sorts of people, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional flood that would overcome me as I saw the faces and heard the stories from the crowd.

Many of these stories happened off camera, like the man whose (would-be) husband was concerned about him appearing on video because he could lose his job, or the young boy who, after we talked with his family, wanted to do an interview of his own.  While the stories were varied and diverse, the message was the same – We aren’t going to just sit back and take it anymore.

Thanks to a lot of help from my elected videographer with an iPhone, we brought many of the videos included here to you via iQreport and my twitter feed as we were obtaining them (and as the network allowed).  I’ve compiled them into this one montage to answer the question, “Why we marched?”  It seems in the days leading up to the march many people were criticizing it – (i.e.: bad timing, bad use of resources, bad rationale, and heck we don’t even know why we are marching!?).  They talked about political strategy and said that nothing will change – but they failed to see exactly what it is that many fail to see when it comes to LGBT people – we are human.

The entire experience of the National Equality March has left me wanting to scram at those critics – sound my “barbaric yawp” at them and ask, “Why DIDN’T you march?!?”  But rather than be angry, I am grateful.  To all of the critics like Barney Frank who claimed to be with us but then told us we shouldn’t march, I simply want to tell them why I marched: I marched because of them.  I marched because I was tired of people in power telling me I can’t.  I marched to remind them that in order to get to “Yes We Can” we have to start with “Yes We Do.”  I marched for Barney Frank.

What is the Gay Community?

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

kateWe always hear the words “gay community” when talking amongst ourselves, but what is it?  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people span a spectrum of diversity that doesn’t lump us together by class, race, religion or really any binding character, trait or belief.  The only commonality most of us have with one another is that we are discriminated against socially and in our judicial system.  Perhaps, that is enough to create a “community.”

Recently, I was on the forums at gaywallet.com and I asked members what they though were some of the positives of being a member of the LGBT or Q classification.  Almost all answers revolved around a sense of community.

One common thing that happens to most of us upon coming out is we lose the community we are part of – or at least lose the standing we had in that community.  We fall a bit from the social ladder.  Perhaps this is particularly true with white gay men who, until coming out, are at the top of the social food chain.  But none of this tells me what the gay community is.

Is the gay community the club kids at the bars looking gorgeous and dancing until dawn?  Is it the activists whose feet are swollen from walking the neighborhoods asking for people to consent to our marriages?  Is it a singles’ group, a couples’ group, an HIV/AIDS prevention network, a circle jerk, a crafts store, a bookstore, a local church?  No, those are all just aspects of the LGBTQ community.

Before going to the National Equality March I had several little 140 character conversations with people from all over the country on twitter.  One of these people was Kate Walsham, a beautiful young woman from California.  Months ago we had promised each other a hug and at the National Equality March, we were able to deliver on our promise.

Originally, Kate wasn’t going to be able to come to the march.  Like many of Americans, she was down to a one income household due to the painful economy and it seemed she would miss this historic event, but through the kindness of a stranger, Kate was able to travel across the country and we were able to have our hug.  Kate told me her story while standing somewhere between the U.S. Treasury Department and the “Ellipse,” and that’s where I found the Gay Community.  Here is Kate, sharing her story with you:

We The People and the HRC

October 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

hrcmoneyBefore you start reading below, I would like to caveat this.  While I’m frustrated and angry with the “Human Rights Campaign” for disregarding “We the People,” I acknowledge that they do very important work.  Indirect action matters as much as direct action, but frankly, I can’t afford to go to HRC events.

This morning, I received another request for funds from the HRC.  The email had no less than three direct links to give them money and several to a video about what their $200,000.00 would accomplish.  Now, I’ve kept my hands clean of the HRC issue, but now I have to admit they’ve gone too far.

You may recall that the HRC provided little or no support of the march up until the final few days before.  While “officially” they were mildly supportive of the effort, the elite HRC folks in confidential message boards called the march things like a “shit storm” and declared that we the people could not possibly effectively lobby congress.  They said no one would come to the march.  They said our resources are better spent in Maine and Washington.  They said a lot of things except, “Come one, come all and we will win this fight together.”  Now, they expect me to write them a check.

They also claimed that we need to fight these battles on a state by state basis – yet now they ask for money for their federal campaign?

As a counter-proposal to sending your check to the HRC via this email, please consider donating money to the No on 1 campaign in Maine or Refrendum 71 in Washington.  These groups could really use your help.

As to the HRC – I do hope the next email from them says something like, “Momentum is building and we need your help.  We need you to step forward in your area and build a stronger more united presence.  We have to keep fighting at all levels – city, state and federal.  In that spirit, we are hosting a series of workshops in communities across the U.S. to help build a stronger force to oppose the oppressors and fight back against bigotry.”  Of course, I’m spitting in the wind.

Here is the email – all links have been removed:

After this weekend, we have a burst of momentum.

But without a major advocacy push now, it could be lost.

Watch this video and help us raise $200,000 to capitalize on this moment.

Click here to watch the video!

This weekend was big.

From President Obama’s speech at our National Dinner to final House passage of hate crimes to the National Equality March, the nation’s attention is on LGBT equality – we have a burst of momentum.

But this is no time to grow complacent. We need your help to capitalize on this moment. [emphasis added]

The next month and a half will be tough – while we fight against anti-LGBT ballot initiatives in multiple states, we must also act NOW to push our federal agenda to its tipping point, or we could miss this window.

We need to raise $200,000 for a renewed effort to seize this opportunity and advance our federal agenda and fight for marriage equality in the states without delay. Will you be part of this fight?

We’ve created a video that shows how your support helps us cut through the lies.

Watch the video and help us raise $200,000 by October 26 to make sure a signed hate crimes law is just the first victory we seize this fall.

We’ll have to be strategic to build on our momentum. It won’t last forever. Because the signs of our opposition are all around:

  • Right-wing groups up in arms over President Obama’s speech, declaring that he “used the bully pulpit tonight to defy the Creator” and supports “radical social policies,” while demanding that he meet with “ex-gays” at the White House.
  • Anti-LGBT groups behind a Prop. 8-style initiative in Maine blanketing the airwaves with the same fear-mongering ads they used in California, including their claim that same-sex marriage would be “pushed on students.”
  • The new President of the UN General Assembly – which is charged with protecting rights and safety around the world – calling homosexuality “totally unacceptable.”

A workshop at a right-wing conference in St. Louis – “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement” – on how to be less “nice” in fighting against gay rights.

We’re fighting back. With your support right now, our first step is to get the hate crimes bill signed into law; then we’ll make it illegal to fire and harass LGBT employees once and for all with an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

These vital protections – and the millions more LGBT people who will be able to come out because of them – will lay the foundation for the toughest Congressional battle: repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

I know exactly what it is that will allow us to win these battles. I saw it in the crowd at our dinner. I see it in the hundreds of volunteers who have met with Congress members through our No Excuses campaign. And it was in every face at the National Equality March.

It’s determination. Plain and simple and unrelenting.

Please give as generously as you can today – help us pass the life-changing bills before Congress and win multiple state-level challenges.

Thank you for being part of this historic fight with us.

Joe Solmonese
President

Dear Jason,

After this weekend, we have a burst of momentum.

But without a major advocacy push now, it could be lost.

Click here to watch the video!

This weekend was big.

From President Obama’s speech at our National Dinner to final House passage of hate crimes to the National Equality March, the nation’s attention is on LGBT equality – we have a burst of momentum.

But this is no time to grow complacent. We need your help to capitalize on this moment.

The next month and a half will be tough – while we fight against anti-LGBT ballot initiatives in multiple states, we must also act NOW to push our federal agenda to its tipping point, or we could miss this window.

We need to raise $200,000 for a renewed effort to seize this opportunity and advance our federal agenda and fight for marriage equality in the states without delay. Will you be part of this fight?

We’ve created a video that shows how your support helps us cut through the lies.

We’ll have to be strategic to build on our momentum. It won’t last forever. Because the signs of our opposition are all around:

  • Right-wing groups up in arms over President Obama’s speech, declaring that he “used the bully pulpit tonight to defy the Creator” and supports “radical social policies,” while demanding that he meet with “ex-gays” at the White House.

  • Anti-LGBT groups behind a Prop. 8-style initiative in Maine blanketing the airwaves with the same fear-mongering ads they used in California, including their claim that same-sex marriage would be “pushed on students.”

  • The new President of the UN General Assembly – which is charged with protecting rights and safety around the world – calling homosexuality “totally unacceptable.”

  • A workshop at a right-wing conference in St. Louis – “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement” – on how to be less “nice” in fighting against gay rights.

We’re fighting back. With your support right now, our first step is to get the hate crimes bill signed into law; then we’ll make it illegal to fire and harass LGBT employees once and for all with an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

These vital protections – and the millions more LGBT people who will be able to come out because of them – will lay the foundation for the toughest Congressional battle: repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

I know exactly what it is that will allow us to win these battles. I saw it in the crowd at our dinner. I see it in the hundreds of volunteers who have met with Congress members through our No Excuses campaign. And it was in every face at the National Equality March.

It’s determination. Plain and simple and unrelenting.

Thank you for being part of this historic fight with us.

Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese
President

This link is specific to you, so please make your donation to this campaign before you forward to your friends. Having trouble clicking on the links above? Simply copy and paste this URL into your browser’s address bar to take action today: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/SPageServer?pagename=fall_campaign_go

Lt. Dan Choi, a CSPAN Camera Man and Duct Tape

October 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

Lt Dan ChoiPerhaps I’m stretching a bit, but there was a moment at the National Equality March that I will never forget. Perhaps I’ve made it more profound than it may have really been, but I feel the need to share it.  When Lt. Dan Choi, the U.S. soldier and Arabic linguist discharged under the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy, took to the stage to speak to the crowd, his mouth was symbolically duct taped closed.  He stood there for a moment, saluting the marchers before tearing the duct tape from his mouth and beginning his speech.  It was a moment of dramatic flare that spoke volumes.  Lt. Choi would not be silent:

As you’ll note, the video above was taken by CSPAN.  I just happened to be stationed right next to a CSPAN cameraman.  A couple of hours into the rally, the platform he was standing on broke and he came tumbling down.  Thankfully, he was not injured, but without the platform, he would be unable to properly direct the camera and capture the shots like those you see in the above video.

After examination of the platform, it was discovered that the locking hinge on one leg had broken.  A volunteer near by, a kindly lady that kept saying to the jaysays.com team, “Don’t rush the stage,” had the solution.  She grabbed a roll of the nearby duct tape and wrapped the hinge over and over, fixing the cameraman’s perch.

I found the moment very metaphoric.  Lt. Dan Choi used the duct tape as a symbol of silence; however, this volunteer used it to repair the cameraman’s platform and thus, make our voices heard.

Photos from the National Equality March

October 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, iQreport

david mixnerI wanted to share some of my photographs from the National Equality March this weekend. I hope you enjoy them.  I met some fantastic people and had a wonderful dinner at The District Chophouse with Genia Stevens, Andrea, Lester Leavitt, Mickey, Jonathon, Jae, Elisa, and, of course, our very own, Jude.

We had a bit of time to just kick back and get to know each other in person on Saturday night, but Sunday came at us fast and there was a lot of work to be done.

The speakers were fabulous and a lot of memories were made.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing stories of those I met with video and photographs.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photographs.  More photographs and videos from myself and the other iQreporters are available at http://iQreport.usfreedomring.com.

[picasa width="400" height="400" autoplay="0" showcaption="1"]http://picasaweb.google.com/jaysaysdotcom/NationalEqualityMarch[/picasa]

LGBT HERO | Frank Voci: White Knot Marches for Equality

October 03, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Heroes Project

whiteknotAs part of our Heroes project for October’s LGBT History Month, we are delighted that Frank Voci accepted our invitation to write a blog about why he started White Knot for Equality. You might remember seeing actors from the movie Milk wearing white knots at the Academy Awards.  If you are attending the National Equality March, we encourage you to wear a White Knot not only for yourself but also for others who could not attend. And make a few extra knots to hand out and make new friends. Why knot?

White Knot Marches for Equality

By: Frank Voci

The National Equality March on October 11 has been a short-time in planning, but a long-time coming.  Much like my own involvement in the new Equal Rights Movement.

I had always been a donor, but never an activist.  Who had the time?!

But when Prop 8 in California passed, my activist gene was activated. I needed to do something, so I started what has become a national awareness campaign called White Knot for Equality After noticing the post-election street protests dying down, I realized we needed a way to keep the conversation going in our homes, work, places of worship, schools.  I wanted to create an easy, universal way of staying visible in everyday life.  Ribbon campaigns are nothing new, and as I searched for an easy to make symbol that was unique, I happened to tie a piece of ribbon in a knot.  It clicked.  Everyone should be able to tie the knot.

That simple act–making and wearing a White Knot–quickly became for many others who had never been active a way of instantly organizing to fight for equality. Every day I see the power of visibility, the importance of speaking out, and the value of organizing. And that’s why I am marching in Washington DC and urging the thousands of White Knot wearers across the country to join me.

The National Equality March will be an incredibly visible event that will reach millions through the media coverage. But more importantly, the March is the launching pad for the next stage of grassroots organizing that will with everyone’s great effort unite our individual and state-centric struggles in a single powerful movement for full equality. What do we want?  Equal protection under the law in all matters governed by civil law in all fifty states. This is more than a philosophy.  It’s a demand.  And there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to achieve it.

That work is being done right now. Groups around the country have started organizing in all 435 Congressional Districts. We will win equality by demanding it directly of our lawmakers.  LGBT people and our allies are already working together for the common goal of complete equality. This is why the March is so important. It is the impetus to set up a powerful network of local organizers.  As Cleve Jones has said, we will think Federally, but act locally.

How can you be a part of this? If you can, organize groups to travel to DC for the March.  At home, start organizing in your local community or look for organizations that already exist, many of which have set up Facebook Pages.

And of course, you can wear a White Knot to the March and wherever you go in your community to show your support for equality and hopefully spark some conversation.

White Knot for Equality is a non-profit organization devoted to fighting for marriage equality and overall equality for LGBT people. The White Knot symbol has quickly become the symbol for marriage equality and can be found in more than 1300 cities around the world (all 50 states and 25 other countries). Our goal is to create conversations that need to happen to change hearts and minds.

Senate Majority Leader Endorses National Equality March, Repeal of DADT and Passage of ENDA

October 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Hate Crimes, Headline, iQreport, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

harryreidNationalEqualityMarchSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has been busy lately fighting for social justice, health care reform and the rights and promotion of a peaceful society.  In a September 30, 2009 letter to Derek Washington, Director of Diversity Outreach for the National Equality March, Senator Reid states:

I will continue to work tirelessly to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, as well as to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. I will also continue to advocate for funding of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, research, and housing programs.

His letter goes on to state:

I believe that every American should be treated equally under the law regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, or other forms of identity. I see your struggle for equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.

Harry Reid has really stepped up to the plate as a “fierce advocate” for social justice and is truly filling the shoes once worn by Ted Kennedy.  Please be sure to let Sen. Reid know how much we appreciate his work and offer your support as he battles for the rights of all Americans.

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.