Archive for the ‘GLBT’ Category

>Prop 8: the ruling

August 5, 2010

>You gotta love the 14th amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That clause should mean that my partner and I shall be able to marry, just like all three of my brothers have, to the person I love.

It may take a few years, but that will be the law of the land in Alabama before its over with.

Yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote:

“…Prop 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.”

And more.

Here is the entire ruling (I’m having a hard time loading the whole thing here. Come back if you can’t see it now).

Prop 8 Ruling http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=35433095&access_key=key-ldrhke5r04sjknswjlm&page=1&viewMode=list

I love it when people express their feelings.

Here’s Sam Harris.

Remember, I posted a video by Sam after Prop 8 was passed. He expressed his feeling at that time also.

Anyway, the ruling is a huge victory, if you are interested in Equality and Liberty. I will be writing more about this for a magazine!

The confirmation of Elena Kagan today is a great thing, as well.

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>Openly terrific

June 23, 2010

>The President hosted a reception in honor of LGBT Pride month yesterday.

I’m wondering if Rick and Bubba will be able to hold their tongues. They’ve been warned by their sponsors and by their syndicator to hold down their rhetoric or face the music.

While most of the local community has heard what the sponsors are saying (both Academy Sports and Bojangles Chicken have said they don’t agree with Rick Burgess’ comments and told the radio hosts as much, and that if they targeted gays or any other group like that again they would pull their sponsorship. The syndicator of the show is unhappy as well, and he doesn’t want to hear any more reports of such talk.

Here is the president speaking at the reception. He called Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis, lesbian and gay members of the House of Representative, “openly terrific.”

I think that’s a great new term for us. Because being gay is terrific.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke at an event celebrating LGBT Pride month.

She was the first first lady to march in a Pride parade.

“Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights once and for all.”

One of my facebook friends, and straight woman who took part in the civil rights struggles during the 1960’s posted this comment on one of my facebook posts yesterday.

June is Pride Month. President Obama has called upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their lives and everywhere it exists.

    I am so proud of our straight allies and the way they take up for us against the hurtful rhetoric of the right.

    So many people have told me or have posted on facebook that this year’s Pride has given them more inspiration than they have felt in years. Polls are showing that Americans are now more accepting of Equality than they have ever been, and many religious groups or individual churches are realizing that LGBT people are created and loved by God just as they are.

    In spite of the vocal frustration with the Obama administration on the slowness of advancement of LGBT Equality, we really should be thankful of the progress that has been made.

    These things come to mind.

    Passage of the (inclusive) Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.

    Repeal of the HIV ban on travel.

    Hospital visitation for lesbian and gay partners (in hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid.

    Federal employee benefits.

    Broadening of the definition of “son and daughter” so employers would be required to offer workers in same sex relationships the same right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for partner’s newborns or to adopt (announced yesterday by the labor department).

    And the president’s call for congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to pass an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the pending end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell(DADT). The House has passed the repeal, the Senate Armed Services Comittee has approved, and the full Senate will vote someday.

    Country singer Chely Wright was at the President’s reception.

    Here is her video for “I Already Do.”

    >Southern Baptists oppose DADT repeal (no surprise)

    June 19, 2010

    >
    I looked back over the archives of this site and was quite surprised at how seldom I write about Southern Baptists. They are all around me, are mostly virulently homophobic, but in the last couple of years haven’t had much to say about the subject.

    Part of that may be because they are realizing that the denomination is shrinking, (an article in the Birmingham News a few weeks ago pointed out that teen baptisms was down and so future growth of the denomination was in question) and during their “strategizing” haven’t wanted to seem too mean spirited (but when has that ever stopped them?).

    Anyway, in today’s Birmingham News is an article titled “Baptists fear end of Don’t Ask” with the subtitle “Chaplains might lose freedom, group fears.”

    It seems that Southern Baptists have more chaplains in the military (448) than any other denominations (Roman Catholic – 252, Assemblies of God – 119, United Methodist – 110, Seventh Day Adventist – 43, Mormon – 37, Orthodox – 25, United Church of Christ – 17, Islam -10, Judaism – 21, Buddhist -1).

    The article says there are about 3,000 active-duty chaplains, so those numbers don’t add up. I think the “3,000” includes Reserve and National Guard chaplains, and the other numbers are just Department of Defense numbers.

    Here’s the fear.

    “Southern Baptists…have told Congress and the Pentagon that chaplains
    could lose their freedom to preach and counsel against homosexuality if openly
    gay members are accepted by the military.”

    I’m thinking that if I’m in Afghanistan and am worried about an IED maiming me or knowing that the next day my unit is beginning a dangerous offensive in which I may be expected to take another person’s (terrorist, woman, child) life and I go to my chaplain for counseling, that I want to hear something other than a preaching about my sexuality.

    And under the current policy, since there are no “openly gay” members of the military (wink, wink), and the assumption is therefore that everyone is straight, there is absolutely no reason for a chaplain to be “preaching” against homosexuality anyway.

    “Southern Baptist leaders have warned their chaplains may have to leave the
    military if don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is repealed”


    So if you can’t be over there preaching your intolerance, then you don’t think you can be over there making soldiers feel OK about what they are doing? That is weird, man.


    Gays are in the military, and always have been.

    Always.

    During the Revolutionary War, Friedrich Wilhelm Augustin Ludolf Gerhard von Steuben, who was crucial in the modernization of George Washington’s army, stands out.

    This statue of Von Steuben by Albert Jaegers is in Lafayette Park in Washington DC.

    From Gay Military Signal:

    Von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, that cold winter of 1778, with a young
    French nobleman who was his ‘assistant’ and lover. As he spoke almost no
    English, Washington assigned two young inseparable officers, who were fluent in
    French and were lovers, to work with Von Steuben to translate his work.
    They were 20 year old Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton (who was also likely to have been this nation’s first mixed race officer) and 24 year old Lieutenant
    Colonel John Laurens (who was the son of the President of the Continental
    Congress that year, Henry Laurens). Laurens later died in battle, becoming
    one of America’s first Gay heroes. Their love letters still exist.

    So, Southern Baptists, get over it. We were here before you were.

    >Coming out. Justin. Ricky.

    April 8, 2010

    >”Only you will know when the time is right.”

    Those were the words heard by Justin as he was contemplating coming out last night on Ugly Betty. Of course, everybody else knew he was gay already, and was accepting, but he had to accept himself.


    He was finally convinced that he had nothing to worry about, and that, yes, everything would change, but the change would be for the better.

    So he took Austin’s hand and led him to the dance floor.

    Watch the entire wedding scene here.

    And

    Likewise, singer Ricky Martin took the same step last week, realizing the importance to be honest with himself and his kids, a familiar story if I do say so myself.

    These two examples, one a fictional character and the other a heartthrob to millions; one a teen in today’s world surrounded by the fashion industry, the other a bit older but having grown up in a culture and time when being gay was not so accepted – both show what all gay people have to go through. Accepting one’s self, admitting that one is different, is no easy task.

    People of my generation often speak of how “easy” young people today have it.

    But if that were so, why do gay kids, or kids accused of being gay, still kill themselves, a scenario (true) powerfully told in the movie, Prayers for Bobby?

    Why do gay youth, or kids perceived to be gay, still get beat up and/or killed?

    Why do gay teens, upon telling their parents they are gay, still get kicked out of their homes?

    It is never easy. One never knows what the immediate and distant future will bring.

    But, one can be assured that accepting the fact that you are gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender, will give you an immediate sense of relief, and is the first step in developing the confidence you will need to deal with whatever follows.

    Enjoy some Ricky.

    >"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).

    >Census chatter

    March 17, 2010

    >I’m sure that everyone who reads this blog is educated enough to know the importance of completing your Census form and sending it in, and how much more it costs to have a Census worker come to your house and get you to do it.

    Census workers at the Bridge Jubilee in Selma this year

    For gay and lesbian citizens in relationships this is a first time opportunity. After at first saying that same sex couples would not be counted, now we are told that we will be. None of that extrapolating results like was done after the 2000 Census to make educated guesses about the number of same sex couples.

    OK, but we have choices to make. The form asks how Person 2 is related to Person 1. Among the choices are “Husband or wife”, “Roomer or boarder”, “Housemate or roommate”, and “Unmarried partner”. For those in serious relationships, “Husband or wife”, or “Unmarried partner”, are the choices to consider.

    In our situation, we do consider ourselves married, or with the equivalency of marriage as far as our family, friends and Valentine’s Day cards are concerned. We may have come close to getting married in 2008 but Prop 8 interfered. So we have no legal status of marriage and none of the over 1000 Federal and state benefits that married heteros have.

    We do have friends in this state who are legally married (in other states) but whose marriage is not recognized here, or by the feds.

    The Census instructions say that “common law” marriages count in the husband or wife category.

    The Census folks say that we will be counted. That both those who check “Husband or wife” or “Unmarried partner” will be counted as “same-sex couples” (if the Person 1 is of the same sex as Person 2).

    We checked “Unmarried partner” because if we consider ourselves married on the only federal form that gives us that option, then it seems we have nothing left to fight for. In other words, if all the gay couples considered themselves married on this form, it could be said by the marriage foes that we already have marriage in our own eyes.

    Please complete your form appropriately, whether you are gay or str8, married or not, and mail it in because it does help determine how we are represented in Washington and the number of federal $ we get.

    Be counted!

    >Ridiculous notions of homosexuality

    November 2, 2009

    >This video was made by one of the most confused, in denial, bisexual or gay human beings I have ever seen. via joemygod.

    First she has a distorted view of where homosexuality comes from.

    “The Lord spoke to me and he said that the enemy has released a giant spirit of homosexuality throughout the world.”

    As if that isn’t enough, she encountered a lesbian and became homosexual for 45 minutes because it rubbed off on her!!! Seriously. but once she gets to her truck, she is able to cast the spirit off.

    She says the feelings of homosexuality felt “natural”…because they are natural.

    Read more about the upcoming protest here.

    It was reported in the Birmingham News as well.

    >Ex-gay pushback

    October 31, 2009

    >This is background for what you will hear next week about so-called “ex-gay” therapies, which have been discredited by every professional organization.

    • American Psychiatric Association (“the risks…are great” and include “self destructive behavior,” and “reinforces self hatred…already experienced by the patient”)
    • American Psychological Association (“so-called conversion therapy is not supported by the science”)
    • American Medical Association (“oppose any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy”)
    • American Counseling Association (supports “appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same gender sexual orientation)
    • American Academy of Pediatrics (Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated…provokes guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation)
    • National Association of Social Workers (No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful).

    We believe that truth wins out, and here are the facts. Gay teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and are at higher risk of dropping out of school, being kicked out of their homes, and turning to life on the streets for survival. They are at risk because their distress is a direct result of the hatred and prejudice that surround them, not because of their inherently gay or lesbian identity orientation.

    Next week several events will take place in Birmingham regarding an ex-gay ministry. Watch this site, facebook, examiner.com, and the news for more information.

    Thank you Mitchell Gold, Wayne Besen.

    Update in Bessemer. Aaron Killings and Denise Blue Poe are back on the job. No explanation given.

    >Celebrate!!!!

    October 28, 2009

    >Be sure to read my Western Tribune column that follows.

    It’s time to celebrate.

    In my Western Tribune column on November 19, 2008 , I made the following prediction:

    “Barack Obama may not immediately grant all of our wishes, but I would be willing to bet that the first legislation that mentions sexual orientation to be passed and signed by a president will occur within the first year of his administration. And then we will be on the way to a nation that values each of its citizens.”

    Moments ago, that prediction came true. President Obama has signed legislation enacting the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

    It took 11 years after the murder of Matthew Shepard and and James Byrd, Jr before this legislation was signed.

    Thankfully we now have a president who supports (however slowly) our community, unlike the previous president who…well we won’t even bring that up.

    To see what the gay community must do to see that equality is reached, go here.

    Locally, in Birmingham, we can celebrate because the Board of Education has passed a policy on Anti-Bullying that includes sexual orientation, gender identity and expression!!! The first of its kind in the state. Thanks to board member Howard Bayless for leading the way on this. Will Bessemer follow suit?

    Now, if we can just get a verdict in the Larry Langford trial.

    Update: Langford guilty on all counts. Carole Smitherman is now mayor of Birmingham. Let’s see about electing Patrick Cooper.

    Here’s a video from my college years. Three Dog Night

    >Western Tribune column October 7, 2009 GLBT Equality

    October 7, 2009

    >Be sure to read my report on NFL players supporting gay equality on Examiner.

    This is my column from today’s Western Tribune. Is this the most “gay equality promoting” column ever printed in an Alabama newspaper by a regular columnist? Maybe.

    ***************************************
    Western Tribune October 7, 2009

    I’ve had a good laugh all week after reading another letter in this paper. The phrase “gay or lesbian homosexuals” caught my eye.

    As a knowledgeable gay person it made me wonder who the letter writer was referring to. I didn’t know there were any homosexuals who are not gay or lesbian.

    This is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) History Month and this weekend tens of thousands of people are expected in the nation’s capital to march for equality. This will be the fifth national rally for gay equality, prior marches having taken place in 1979, 1987, 1993, and 2000.

    The first protest in Washington DC for gay rights was in 1965 when about ten local men and women picketed with signs in front of the White House after several were fired from federal positions for being gay or lesbian.

    But the most notable political rally in Washington was probably the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom during which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Just as the political climate was right in 1963 for national progress on civil rights, the leaders in Washington today all support GLBT equality. In some ways, this march is a celebration of what we expect to come, but more so it is a reminder to those leaders to get on the ball.

    Recently Congressman John Lewis was the keynote speaker at Equality Weekend in Birmingham. He recounted some of his personal history in the struggle for civil rights, including being injured here in Alabama, his home state. He equated the fight for GLBT equality to the fight for civil rights. “You cannot wait. You cannot be patient. You want your freedom and you want it now,” he said.

    He also said it is not the business of the state or federal government to regulate who should marry whom. One day, he said, we will look back and laugh at ourselves because “the stars didn’t fall over Alabama because people fell in love and got married.”

    NAACP chairman Julian Bond has endorsed this march and will be one of the speakers. “GLBT rights are civil rights; there are no ‘special rights’ in America. Everyone has rights – or should have – and I am happy to join in this battle for justice and fairness,” he explained.

    Full equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is all we ask.