Archive for the ‘Gay Equality’ Category

>Why Rick and Bubba matter

June 17, 2010

>Emails are flying and phone calls are being made to sponsors about Rick and Bubba’s anti-LGBT Pride rant. Some are questioning what the big deal is, after all, its a free country and we have freedom of speech here.

No one denies that. Let the phobic minority spin the scriptures and rally their armies all they want. That’s not the real issue.

On the other side of the country the closing arguments in the Prop 8 trial took place yesterday. By all counts, Ted Olson hit a home run, and the Prop 8 defender Charles Cooper struck out.

I kept up throughout the day by following the closing arguments on Prop 8 Trial Tracker where live blogging by several fast typists kept me informed.

Kate Kendall from the National Center for Lesbian Rights was in the courtroom, and in her remarks afterwards, she made a very good point.

She said,

“…Yes, people feel uncomfortable about gay people. Yes, people may be nervous about, gosh, if their kids think its ok for gay people to marry maybe they’ll think about being gay. But you know what, we just have to deal with all those issues. We have to have those conversations. We have to show them real data. And people have to understand, it’s OK to be gay. And that was really the central thrust of what Ted Olson was saying….The entire push behind Prop 8 was to say that being gay is not OK. Its bad, its something to be afraid of, its something we don’t want our kids to be exposed to. and it was that motive, those emotions, that voters brought with them to the ballot box when they passed Prop 8.”

Hear her comments following the closing arguments, including the part I quoted.

That pretty much explains why combating Rick and Bubba is important.

Attitudes in this state need to change. People here in Alabama agree with the 2008 voters in California.

It is not OK to be gay.

And Rick and Bubba perpetuate this message. Rick Burgess may claim that the message was to his like minded Biblical World View Christians.

But the airwaves reach mom’s of gay children driving in their cars. Quite possible a questioning kid is in the back seat hearing it. “It’s not OK to be gay”, the mom and her son hear. The son decides to hide his feelings from his mom. He has no one to turn to.

Whether one is a progressive Christian or is not, we should not accept the hurtful (notice I said “hurtfull”, not “hateful”) message of religious right wingers to spread their message unchallenged.

Changing the conversation from, “It’s not OK to be gay”, to “It’s OK to be gay,” is the name of the game. And Rick and Bubba win the game, if we don’t fight.

And if we lose the fight, the young man who feels that he can’t talk to his mom, may end up like Bobby did in Prayers for Bobby. (A true story)

>"Those Others" now available

March 29, 2010

>My book, Those Others: Navigating the “Riddle of Homosexuality” in 1965, is now available.

Buy from Amazon, right here, or get one directly from me. Details plus more information about the book and the articles from the Washington Post that inspired me.

Thank you Uncle Joe (who provided me with the Washington Post articles), and Frank Kameny (who provided special insight into the gay protest in DC in 1965).

>Equality Weekend Gala with John Lewis

September 21, 2009

>What an evening the Equality Weekend Gala Dinner turned out to be. I was able to spend a minute or so with Congressman John Lewis and thanked him for all he has done for our country, and for our community.

There were several hundred people at the event, which featured a silent auction, awards presentation, performances by the Magic City Choral Society, a scrumptious meal and dessert and of course, the address by Congressman Lewis.

Seated at our table were Birmingham School Board candidate Elisa Burns-Macon and her partner Donna, congressional candidate Terry Sewell and two of her campaign staff members, Alabama Stonewall Democrats president John Smallwood and Congressman Lewis’s driver. Pretty good company, huh?

Decor was provided by Confero Productions. Thank you Christopher.

You can view the video of Congressman Lewis’s speech here. The speech is about 18 minutes long. Thanks Pam for sharing this.

He began the speech by reflecting on raising chickens as a child, and how he used to practice preaching to the chickens. Some would bow their heads, he said, some would shake their heads, but they never quite said “Amen.”

“But I am convinced that some of those chickens that I preached to in the 40’s and the 50’s tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in Congress. As a matter of fact, some of those chickens were a little more productive.”

He want on to recount some of his experiences as a Freedom Rider and his thoughts as he sat and watched Barack Obama’s inauguration. John Lewis was the first person Obama greeted as he came out of the Capitol that day, and he asked for Lewis’s prayers. Lewis assured him.

He urged the LGBT community, just as Martin Luther King urged the black community in 1963, that “You cannot wait, you cannot be patient. You want your freedom and you want it now.”

“Discrimination is discrimination. No government, be it federal or state, should tell a person who they can marry or who they cannot marry. People have a right to fall in love and get married.”

“I do not understand. Two men, two women, fall in love and get married. Whose marriage is being threatened?”

He compared the fight for same sex marriage to the fight for interracial marriage.

Some day we will look back and laugh at ourselves, he said. “The stars didn’t fall over Alabama because people fell in love and got married.”

Thanks, Equality Alabama, for hosting this event. Like the congressman said, we will change the south, we will change America, and the country will be a better country.

>A Day of Mourning

August 28, 2008


I received the following email regarding the death of Del Martin, a pioneer in the fight for equality for the gay community:

Today, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community lost an iconic leader and a beloved friend. Del Martin, 87, passed away in San Francisco with Phyllis Lyon, her lifelong partner and spouse, by her side. Del was one of the nation’s first and most visible lesbian rights activists who dedicated her life to combating homophobia, sexism, violence and racism. Del’s many contributions to the LGBT movement will resonate for decades to come.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first gay or lesbian couple to be legally married in Northern California, on June 16, 2008 after 55 years together.

As was her wish, in lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to honor Del’s life and commitment by defeating the California marriage ban. To make a gift, please click here: Equality for All No on Prop 8 .

With Del’s passing, we mourn the loss of a champion not only for LGBT rights, but also for the basic human rights due to all people. Del will always be an inspiration to those of us who follow the path to equality she blazed. We sincerely thank her for this final, selfless contribution to the rights that she and Phyllis fought so long for.

Del, we will miss you.


Dale Kelly Bankhead

Campaign Manager

No On 8, Equality For All

>GLBT Equality, Highs and Lows

August 14, 2008

>The next congress under the new president could be a banner session for equality for the GLBT community. I’ve had a peek at the portion of the proposed Democratic Party Platform to be presented at the convention that deals with equality, and here are some highlights.

  • A united, comprehensive strategy on ENDA that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • An end to the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
  • Security in adoption rights for all caring parents
  • More inclusive Census reporting
  • Passage of Hate Crimes legislation
  • A National HIV/AIDS strategy
  • Opposition to the “Defense of Marriage Act” and similar initiatives
  • Opposition to voter ID laws which unfairly target transgender voters

At the same time, I am a little dismayed that the American Family Ass. is continuing its campaign of deception and hate by asking for a boycott of McDonald’s because of their support for diversity. Thanks Tom, for alerting me to this.

McDonald’s was a sponsor of the Out & Equal Summit which offered diversity training and such to corporate types. American Family Ass. claims that the summit’s “primary purpose is to train employees how to aggressively promote homosexuality within the company they work for…”

No, they promote tolerance and understanding. Here is some of what Out & Equal says on their website:

We advocate building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers and communities.”

“(We) champion safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.”

So, McDonald’s chooses to value all of its employees and American Family Ass. says “No, discriminate against those who are different.”

American Family Ass. is living in a parallel universe, where the bigotry and hatefulness of the 1950’s that was directed at African Americans in this country still exists, with new targets, the GLBT members of our society. They are a hate group and should be recognized as such.

This is a comment I posted on a previous post that gives examples of their hatred:

This is hatred:

Scott Lively, California chapter director of the AFA, is co-author of a book titled, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality and the Nazi Party, in which he claims that “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” Lively makes explicit links between his claims about the Nazi party and the modern gay equal rights movement, claiming that “From the ashes of Nazi Germany, the homo-fascist phoenix has arisen again, this time in the United States.”

This is hatred:

From their website, a page called Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths (I refuse to link to a hate group):

Among homosexual lifestyle and sexual practices are included: “sex with boys… eating and/or rubbing themselves with the feces of their partners… urinating on or in their partners… sadomasochism… bondage… sex with animals.”

What a bunch of lying propaganda.

Why the Southern Poverty Law Center has not named AFA as a hate group I do not understand.

Time for a Big Mac and fries.