Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today is "Transgender Day of Visibility."

After returning to the US from Greece I entered the dreaded teenage years. As a teenager I was angry and sullen. My sense of wrong-ness with my body deepened with puberty. The changes to my body horrified me. The body hair that sprouted from my arms and the peach fuzz on my face saddened me it was a deepening difference between myself and the girl I knew that I was inside. Girls just didn't have hair on their face. I took up shaving which I deeply detest doing now. This facial hair wouldn't be a 5th so bad if I hadn't done so. My voice changing was sickening to me. Loosing the sweet girlish sounding voice I had as a child sent me into deep despair.

This all made me angry with myself, with my friends, with my family, and with humanity in general. This led to me doing the things teenagers do to rebel. I lied, shoplifted and broke into houses not to steal but simply to snoop around. The things I did were a cry for attention. And attention I received in spades. I got caught at both but instead of being charged with the crimes I was sent to counseling. During this time frame my parents caught me with a slip on under my shirt and pants. When this came up at counseling I wish to god I had told the therapist the truth. I wish I had screamed that I was a transsexual.

[For the full story, see here. And for an excellent link to Transgender resources, please see Susan's Place: Transgender Resources.]

We should be supportive of each other.

We should be respectful of each other’s choices/needs/wants.

We should recognize the vast wonderful differences that each of us has...

[Taken from A Life About Transition]
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Sunday, March 29, 2009


So much for my being optimistic regarding the repeal of DADT relatively soon. And so much for "liberal" and "Gay friendly" President Obama:

Don't expect any change soon to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays in the military.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said both he and President Barack Obama have "a lot on our plates right now." As Gates put it, "let's push that one down the road a little bit."

[See here.]

Equal rights doesn't seem to be on Obama's "plate" right now!
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Saturday, March 28, 2009


In an article in the Washington Blade entitled, "How much do they make? A look at the compensation paid to leaders of the LGBT rights movement", the following is stated:

Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, which provides meals and nutritional services for homebound people with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, D.C. area, had the highest salary among the heads of the nation’s most prominent LGBT advocacy groups and groups that provide AIDS-related services in Los Angeles, New York and D.C.

A survey of the compensation paid to heads of 30 LGBT and AIDS organizations, conducted by the Washington Blade, shows that Shniderman had a total salary and benefits package of $382,200 in 2008, the latest period for which the organizations’ salary and annual revenue data could be obtained for a completed fiscal year.

Shniderman’s earnings placed him ahead of Joe Solmonese, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group. Solmonese, who ranked second in the salary survey, received a total compensation package of $338,400 in 2008....

Geoff Kors, Equality California’s executive director, had a 2008 compensation of $171,000.

I don't know what criteria are used to determine or justify these exorbitant salaries of people who are deemed "activists" of one sort or another in regard to LGBT issues. However, those criteria should, and must, be made public so that people can see whether they are getting enough bang for the buck to justify what I consider to be outrageous salaries, particularly since we have hitherto seen very little accomplishment in the acquisition of full and equal Gay rights, and with the exception of the likely repeal of DADT, we are unlikely to see any further movement in equal rights for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps garnering these exorbitant salaries and perks occurs precisely because there has been such little accomplishment in acquiring equal rights for LGBT people; perhaps because rubbing elbows with politicos in Washington, D.C and elsewhere is helping to garner such salaries and perks when actually moving Gay rights forward in a meaningful way would offend those politicians and prevent such handsome remuneration of those corporate heads.

Perhaps if a lot of the money that goes into those salaries and perks were meaningfully spent in actually fighting for full and equal LGBT rights, much more in that area would have been accomplished by now.

Bureaucracies are self-perpetuating; bureaucrats are careerists who are usually far more interested in keeping and enhancing their careers than they are in achieving the goals they say they are interested in achieving. For, if they achieved their goals, they'd be without a job!

Sociologists call this phenomenon, "Goal Displacement," where the means by which the alleged goals are to be achieved become more important than the actual achievement of those goals. So, in this connection, it is possible that many "activists" who make "activism" a career might be far more interested in maintaining their positions, especially their well-paid positions, than they are in achieving the goals of equal rights that they say they are interested in achieving, and for which they are being ostensibly paid.

We don't know the answers to these questions, but it behooves people genuinely interested in full and equal civil rights for LGBT people to demand justification for granting this largesse to these and other corporate heads in the area of what is called "activism," and determine whether or not these salaries and perks are justified.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The following video is from the Vermont Senate marriage hearings prior to its affirmative vote regarding same-sex marriage. It is a speech and answers to questions by a very intelligent, poised, young man, James Neiley. Even if the Senators hadn't heard any other speech regarding the need for equal rights in Vermont, this young man would have persuaded any but those with the most hardened of hearts. If each state had a spokesperson like him, same-sex marriage would likely become a reality in all states far sooner than will otherwise occur.

[Thanks to Towleroad.]

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


There is an interesting article entitled, "All homosexuals should be stoned to death, says Muslim preacher of hate" that I urge you to read.

Part of it reads as follows:

All homosexuals should face stoning to death, a Muslim preacher of hate declared yesterday.

Anjem Choudary, the firebrand cleric who wants to see Britain ruled by Sharia law, said such a regime was the only way to fix the country's ills.

Under it, adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning.

The U.S. is far more tolerant of fundamentalism than is Britain, and from the above cited article, we see that unless fundamentalism is directly confronted, all Britons may well suffer for lethargy in the face of this danger.

The above cited article shows that the threats to Gay people are of one piece as are the threats to the very fabric of British society! The same is certainly true in the U.S!

As I've often written, if any one's civil rights are threatened, all of our civil rights are threatened!

We should make no mistake: Many, if not most, "Christian" fundamentalists have the same feelings as do these clerics, except that the former are usually not as honest about their feelings and agenda. An exception is the first and favorite child born of fundamentalism, "Dominionism."

In the U.S., the attempt to impose fundamentalist perceptions in the interpretation of our Constitution, as seen in Dominionism, is a very dangerous path that will allow the threats currently posed to Gay people to be posed to virtually everyone in the U.S.

And when fundamentalist biblical interpretations are inculcated in the electorate who then trust and use those interpretations to vote on the granting or removal of the Constitutional rights of a minority group, as seen in the vote on Prop. 8, that is Dominionism in action!

Moreover, we can expect that the uncertainties of the economy may well make fundamentalism and even Dominionism more seductive to increasing numbers of people who are disoriented by those uncertainties and who are captured by the need to grab on to simplistic ideas and sound bites in order to make sense out of the world and in a desperate attempt to feel better about themselves.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," [D. James] Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society." [For the full article, see here.]

Give fundamentalists an inch, and they'll take a mile!
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Saturday, March 21, 2009


"Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease." (Proverbs 22:10)

The scorners and the contentious unfortunately comprise a significant number, if not the majority, of the institutional Church. These are the ones who advocate and/or remain silent amidst prejudice, discrimination, oppression, the bearing of false witness against others, and who seek to deprive Gay people of the civil rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States to all citizens.

The scorners and the contentious almost always align themselves with the reactionary political forces in society, and perversely tout as being "Christian" such destructive values as Americanism, jingoism, militarism, and capitalism.

They are little more than thugs who have taken their preconceived prejudices and hatreds and brought them into what is called "the church," and seek to justify those prejudices and hatreds by appealing to God Who, they erroneously contend, is on their side and is on the side of such blatantly anti-Christian values that they both hold and proclaim.

If the institutional Church has any hope of surviving; has any claim upon representing the Prince of Peace; is to have any credibility with Christians and other decent, sensitive people, its clergy and members must loudly speak out against this grotesque perversion of Christianity!

No Christian can sit idly by and allow Christianity and Jesus to be dragged through the mud by these homophobic and other wolves in sheep's clothing! And any professing Christian who does quietly allow the professing Christian thugs to define Christianity in the minds of others knows nothing of Christ and His call on our lives!

Any professing Christian who advocates demonic values, or remains silent when demonic values are expressed in the name of God, is slowly but surely eroding what credibility Christianity has in civilized society; turning intelligent, sensitive, decent people away from even exploring Christianity as "a reasonable faith"; demeaning Jesus and His values that even a cursory reading of the New Testament would tell anyone with even a scintilla of spiritual sensitivity.

So, every Christian worthy of the name must "cast out the scorner," the hater, from the midst of Christ's Church, lest Christians and Christianity fall in the estimation of intelligent, sensitive, and decent people even more than has already likely occurred.

And, most importantly, the professing Christian thugs are spitting in the face of God, and to allow them to continue to do so wreaks havoc on the Church and wreaks havoc on the souls of all those who profess to be Jesus' disciples and yet do nothing to stop this assault on God and on His Church.

So it is incumbent upon every single Christian to take to heart the following exhortation: "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease." (Proverbs 22:10)
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Thursday, March 19, 2009


This is an interesting article in that I agree that Christian groups should be able to exclude non-Christians from their membership if they so choose, given the fact that it is not inconceivable that, for example, militant atheists could join Christian groups and deliberately choose to sabotage those groups.

However, these professing Christian groups have brought this debacle upon themselves, by aligning themselves with haters, hate-mongers, reactionary politics, and those who demean and defame LGBT people!

This court's ruling can be seen to be judicial payback for the professing Christian haters painting Christianity as exclusionary in the worst sense of the word! And this ruling can be seen to be just the beginning of a backlash that will be felt by both the haters who mask themselves as Christians as well as by those who are Christians indeed.

And, everyone and every group that professes itself to be "Christian" that has either promoted discrimination against Gay people and/or has kept silent about this oppression of Gay people, even to the point of the promotion of the advocacy of denying Constitutional rights to Gay people as seen in the vote on Prop. 8 in California, deserves this kind of treatment from the courts!

And we can expect this kind of backlash to be just the beginning in not only the Judicial, but in virtually every other political, social, and institutional arena!
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Please see the following video of Julian Bond speaking about Gay rights. No one should make the mistake of thinking that the struggle for LGBT rights is not just as important and just as essential as the struggle for African-American rights, and the rights of any and every other minority group, if we truly want to be a civil society in which all decent people want to live.

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Monday, March 16, 2009


And people of faith should ask themselves: What is the cumulative effect upon outside observers of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker living like lords on the largesse of the poor, multiplied by Jimmy Swaggart's pornography addiction, plus Eric Rudolph bombing Olympians and gays in the name of God, plus Muslims hijacking airplanes in the name of God, multiplied by the church that kicked out some members because they voted Democrat, divided by people caterwauling on courthouse steps as a rock bearing the Ten Commandments was removed, multiplied by the square root of Catholic priests preying on little boys while the church looked on and did nothing, multiplied by Muslims rioting over cartoons, plus the ongoing demonization of gay men and lesbians, divided by all those "traditional values" coalitions and "family values" councils that try to bully public schools into becoming worship houses, with morning prayers and science lessons from the book of Genesis? Then subtract selflessness, service, sacrifice, holiness and hope.

[For the full article, see here.]

Perhaps the major institutional instigator of homophobia is "religion!" Religion is human beings' institutionalization of the worship of the god whom most have created in their own image!

God is outside and far larger than any religious world-view can contain, and God is far more merciful and gracious toward God's creation than mere human beings can ever be!

The "religious" among us have sown to the wind and now religion as an institution is beginning to reap the whirlwind!

Actually, what the above article understates or omits is the increasing lack of religiosity among many people who do go to church, as witnessed by the fact that much of what is preached and believed by those who participate in religious institutions sounds incredible to most thinking and sensitive people. And it sounds incredible because it is incredible!

A basic fundamental of Christianity's view of God is that of "grace," or God's unmerited favor toward God's creation! Indeed, that grace, manifested by unconditional love, is what all Christians are enjoined by God and by the Bible to do!

Christians are to be agents of God's grace in this world!

Yet, we see very little of that love toward others among professing Christians, especially the showing of unconditional love toward Gay people! And that is one of the reasons I've long maintained that Gay people are God's gift to society and, most particularly, to the Church!

Gay people enable, and make patently clear, the separation of the wheat from the weeds within Christ's Church!

By Gay people being victimized and oppressed "in the name of God," the contradiction between the grace of God and the hatefulness of many of those who claim to represent God, shows forth to all who have eyes to see the absence of God within most of the institutional Church.

And although Gay people are the recipients of the hatred that often manifests itself in sanctimonious and unctuous intonations of a rhetoric of "love" by assorted clergy and professing Christians, institutions of "religion" are commensurately suffering the loss of members due to such transparent phoniness, and every Christian should be thankful for that.

And, most importantly, it is God Who suffers the most from such homophobia, and every single Christian knows that fact to be true!
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Thursday, March 12, 2009


This is an excellent essay on the "Fundamentalist Agenda," by Davidson Loehr. Although there are parts within it with which I don't agree, it deserves to be read in its entirety, as it gets at the root of the exclusion of all those who don't conform to the ideology of fundamentalists of all stripes, be they "religious" or secular; that fundamentalism can be seen to cause and comprise a large part of the reasons for homophobia.

The only way all fundamentalisms can have the same agenda is if the agenda preceded all the religions. And it did. Fundamentalist behaviors are familiar because we've all seen them so many times. These men are acting the role of “alpha males” who define the boundaries of their group's territory and the norms and behaviors that define members of their in-group. These are the behaviors of territorial species in which males are stronger than females. In biological terms, these are the characteristic behaviors of sexually dimorphous territorial animals. Males set and enforce the rules, females obey the males and raise the children; there is a clear separation between the in-group and the out-group. The in-group is protected; outsiders are expelled or fought.

It seems to me that the roots of homophobia are seated deep within a fundamentalist mind-set, be it "religious" or not, that takes its moral hegemony and heteronormativity for granted; seeks to resurrect a past that never really truly existed, but is a wish-fulfillment taken from an idealized version of our culture that never truly existed. In other words, fundamentalist thinking, thinking in black and white terms, thinking in one-dimensional terms, stems from both an idealized version of what is viewed as "reality" as well as from a fictional version of what is viewed as that same "reality."

Therefore, "success" is equated with the alpha male who is then viewed as representing the pinnacle of "success"; the one who represents "the real man" who is seen to be diametrically opposed to the usually false stereotype of the essentially effeminate gay male. Hence, the revulsion and discrimination of both secular and "religious" fundamentalists against gay males and, to a lesser degree, against lesbians who don't threaten alpha male status. (Indeed, many male heterosexuals get off on lesbian porn, whereas very few male heterosexuals are likely to get off on gay male porn.)

And when the name of God can be invoked in that fundamentalist mind-set, even the minority's civil rights can be prevented and removed if a seemingly credible argument can be made that the Bible and the Constitution should be coterminous. Hence, as the above cited article states: "Pat Robertson, again, has said that just as Supreme Court justices place a hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, so they should also place a hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." Only fundamentalist thinking can see our Democratic Republic as being coterminous with viewing our society as a Theocracy!

And, to complicate matters even further, many LGBT people have internalized this fundamentalist thinking, despite much rhetoric to the contrary, so that many live lives of unnecessary shame and guilt for being the way God created them; many who disdain the very Person of God have also internalized religious fundamentalism after hearing hateful rhetoric in the name of "religion" over the years, consciously and/or unconsciously viewing themselves as "deviant," as "sinners," as "depraved," as "going to hell."

These lies have so infused so many LGBT people that one can't even talk about a "Gay Civil Rights Movement," as the critical mass that would allow such a movement, and the outraged demand for dignity and civil rights at the current time seem quite removed from public discourse, and the gratitude for crumbs of incrementalism by many Gay people being so effusive, that it seems unlikely that equal rights will be won in this generation. The living up (or down) to the stereotypes placed on Gay people by the oppressor shows that fundamentalist thinking has done its job on both the fundamentalists and upon their targets of victimization!

The alpha male is so identified with "success," and is so well-respected, that anything that contravenes this status, be it a powerful woman or an effeminate male, is ripe for being a subject of derision! Hence, homophobia, just like misogyny, is largely a reaction to what is deemed to be the very opposite of both heteronormativity as well as "maleness" that is seen to be synonymous with "power," and "success." And, those who think in fundamentalist terms, in black and white terms, in one-dimensional terms, see these opposites as threats both to the way they think the world should work and as threats to their very own psyches.

Nostalgia for a past that never really existed and the deep desire to maintain a concept of self whereby one's world is not in any way rocked or threatened is crucial to all fundamentalists! Indeed, the very idea that being Gay is just as normal and natural as is being Straight is anathema to fundamentalists, and flies in the face of their "logic" that is largely based on the fiction that equal rights for Gay people threatens the very fabric of society which is, in reality, synonymous with the very fabric of what protects their own psyches.

We can never underestimate the fear that drives fundamentalists! One only has to listen to some of their rhetoric to see that fear that underlies such statements as made by the late Jerry Falwell: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'”

Clearly, any rational person sees the foolishness behind such a statement, yet fundamentalists are not rational, because people who operate from fear are rarely, if ever, rational! Their world-view is viewed by them as being under attack, and they lash out at anything that threatens that world-view and their very psyches. And their deep need to see the world and their place in the world in a certain way, frequently ascribed to being "God's way," is easily threatened when such seeming aberrations, threats, and uncertainties as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina occur, so they need to lash out at, and even blame, those whom they have come to view as "the other" who is, by definition, "not on God's side."

Clearly, repeated indoctrination of homophobia from assorted pulpits throughout the world have done little but reinforce discrimination as well as fundamentalist thinking, so that these consequences of such ignorant and hateful rhetoric "in the name of God" have nurtured and reinforced this fundamentalist thinking that has become viewed as normal and "Godly" by those who have been exposed to this indoctrination. Moreover, the incestuous socialization that occurs in so many churches have also helped reinforce such fundamentalist thinking and homophobia so that any attempt to rationally explain the fallacies of both are quite often met with a virulent rage that brings to light some of the worst aspects of the human heart and condition.

Rationality is no match for fundamentalism; sweet reason can never overcome fundamentalist thinking; there is no compromise with fundamentalism; making nice with fundamentalists is to be seen, and is seen by them, as operating from a position of weakness!

The only antidote to the ravages of fundamentalism and fundamentalist rhetoric regarding its impact on homophobia is enforced integration in positions of equality so that Straight and Gay people are put in positions of equality by law and, over time, acceptance and less fear will be generated by that very interaction. Hence, civil rights of any minority group such as Gay people can never be allowed to come to a vote of the electorate, as "inalienable rights" are Constitutional guarantees that must be demanded by people who have dignity and, therefore, have rage against being treated as second-class citizens; continue to bring that case to the Judiciary and Legislatures.

There is no "other side" to LGBT rights! Fundamentalism is based on fear and on myth that helps frightened people navigate their way in this uncertain world! Hence, there is no antidote to fundamentalism that meets certain crucial needs to psychologically fragile people!

Rather, meaningful activism must occur for full and equal civil rights to occur, and for that to occur there must be a "transformation of consciousness" whereby LGBT people and allies demand equal, Constitutionally guaranteed, rights, and don't seek some level playing field with fundamentalists, because there can be no such level playing field that doesn't diminish the dignity and rights of Gay people.

It is Gay people who have the dignity to demand full and equal rights who have the moral high ground; it is the fundamentalists who operate from a position of weakness because of their fearfulness! And this fact must never be forgotten by Gay people if full and equal civil and sacramental rights are to become a reality in the foreseeable future!
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The following post is by my good friend Don Charles who kindly allowed me to cross post it here; it was posted the other day on the Diary section of Pam's House Blend.

It's a beautiful statement as to much of what has retarded the acquisition of full and equal civil rights for LGBT people, and it states points that have to be constantly reiterated until increasing numbers of LGBT people take them to heart and act on them.

"Ignorance Is My Oppressor"
by: Stuffed Animal
Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 14:37:12 PM EDT

The Vital Voice is a Gay newspaper operating out of St. Louis, Missouri. Much of its February/March edition is given over to guest columnist Maurice Tracy. In fact, his lengthy essay on race and sexuality is featured on the front page. Here's an excerpt from the intro, edited slightly for style:

"I see the Gay Rights struggle as part of the Civil Rights struggle. To miss that point is to allow the struggle for Civil Rights to remain fragmented, incomplete, and under the ownership of one particular group and makes that group monolithic in nature . . . the Civil Rights Movement encompasses Gay individuals, women, racial minorities, class struggles, citizenship issues, gender identity and many other varying categories. In this respect, the Civil Rights Movement is not a Black movement or a Gay movement, but a queer(sic) movement. The notions of equality, fairness and access are not queer(sic) values in theory; they are queer(sic) values in practice."

WTF? "Queer values"? Talk about a letdown! Dude kicked off his essay like gangbusters, but within just a few sentences, his argument went straight to Hell. I've seen this sort of thing happen countless times. I swear, we LGBT folk trip ourselves up so often, you'd think we were born slapstick comedians! Read the online edition of The Vital Voice at: www.thevitalvoice.com

It's so ironic. Maurice Tracy spends pages and pages raising the consciousness of Vital Voice readers about Gay racism. Yet he repeatedly denigrates Gay identity with the word "queer". He desperately needs his own consciousness raised! Mr. Tracy, currently a doctoral candidate at St. Louis University, isn't the only clueless Black Gay pundit I know of: Pam Spaulding, Irene Munroe, Jafari Sinclaire Allen and the regrettably named "Queer Kid Of Color" are also blind to the toxic nature of this "reclaimed" sexual slur. They don't care about what I'm going to say here. No problem; I'm not saying it for their benefit. I'm saying it for yours.

"Queer" is a word with much cruelty, shame and emotional devastation attached to it. Those who use it casually either don't know Gay history, or worse, don't give a damn about it. "Queer" is a relic of the awful years not so long ago when Lesbians and Gay men were forcibly committed to mental institutions. Forty years ago, the word conjured up disturbing images of depraved, predatory individuals raping animals or children. For many people, especially our culturally conservative adversaries, it still does.

"Queer" does not, as some mendacious activists claim, merely mean "different". Not by a long shot! Look it up in the dictionary, and you'll find several nuances, but they all boil down to a single concept: abnormally different and/or sick. Those who embrace "queer" haven't done anything to redefine it, so whether they realize it or not, they also embrace this definition. At best, it's a sexist term that insults Gay identity by defining it according to heterosexual standards. At worst, it's a dehumanizing stigma that justifies the doctrine of brainwashing "ex-Gay" ministries.

Believe me, I've heard every excuse for "reclaiming" the word. Most aren't worth the time it would take me to discredit them. One does warrant scrutiny, though: the argument that we should adopt hurtful terms like "queer" in order to "deaden their sting". The premise is that we can drain these words of their toxicity by frequent use. This isn't a new idea; Lesbians and Gay men were co-opting anti-Gay labels long before Stonewall. And we all know about African-Americans' ironic use of the N-word.

However, "everybody's doing it" and "it's always been done" have never been valid reasons for bad behavior. They don't make a bogus theory any less bogus, either. As I think of how prevalent public use of the word "nigger" has become over the last two decades, and recall how long some Black people have been throwing it around (since slavery), I note that it's lost none of its racist baggage. If ever a "shock jock" lets "nigger" slip into a broadcast, or a public figure like Jesse Jackson is overheard uttering it, howls of outrage are sure to follow. Obviously, this "deaden the sting" strategy don't work so good!

Even if it did work, I wouldn't want it to. I see the "sting" of words like "nigger" and "queer" as a necessary component of the Gay Rights movement. For our own good, we shouldn't try to deaden the pain it causes. Yes, it hurts, but it also makes us angry. Anger fuels activism! Adopting sexual slurs is a tragically misguided attempt to stifle our righteous anger. What's the consequence of this stifling? We settle for a discriminatory status quo.

Too many of us shrug off insults. Too many of us shrug off mean-spirited media portrayals of ourselves. Lord knows, too many of us shrug off demonizing propaganda from organized religion. Too many of us shrug off banning from national institutions like the Boy Scouts and the US military. Too many of us shrug off laws that deny our families legal status. And the list of smoothed-over indignities grows longer. At the end of that list, we're going to find a nation full of hopelessly docile LGBT folk. The self-described "faggots", "dykes", "trannies" and "queers" will lay prone, ready and willing to be steamrolled by the forces of bigotry, and when it happens, there'll be hardly a whimper of protest. I don't think that's what the activists who rose in the wake of the Stonewall rebellion had in mind.

We deserve our righteous anger. We deserve the motivation to fight back. We deserve far better than identification with the demeaning labels that bigots have hurled at us . . . and by the way, bigots are still hurling them! Our enemies haven't given up using "queer", "dyke", "faggot", etcetera, and they never will, so we can't possibly "reclaim" those terms. Nor can we erase their ugly connotations. All we can do is confuse society about what we mean when we use them among ourselves, and when we invite others to do the same. Isn't there enough confusion about who and what we are?

Evidently, there isn't enough for folks like Maurice Tracy. Later in his essay, he laments the fact that no Black actors had featured roles on the "Queer As Folk" TV series. I imagine he's also disappointed that "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy's" Fab Five don't include a Black makeover stylist. Those are two instances where I'm thankful African-Americans were excluded. I never get upset about not being invited to Stupid People Parties!

When radical heterosexists spread lies about my kind, I am being oppressed! When White pundits at The Advocate opine that "Gay Is The New Black", I am being oppressed! When Black or White pundits insist on calling the Gay Rights movement a "queer movement", I am being oppressed, too!

Make no mistake, though: My oppressor is not James Dobson. My oppressor is not Peter LaBarbera. My oppressor is not Tony Perkins. Nor is my oppressor The Advocate's editorial board, or even Maurice Tracy. Ignorance is my oppressor! The promotion of ignorance is injurious to me, and it doesn't matter who the source of that ignorance is. If my enemy blows my brains out on purpose, or if my brother blows my brains out by accident, I'm just as dead either way!

The lyrics of an old Stealers Wheel song spring to mind: Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right/Here I am/Stuck in the middle with you.* More often than not, that's how I feel about living in a world where there's no escape from racism and heterosexism. In the Black community, I get raw hatred thrown in my face like a stinking scumbag. In Gay circles, I'm either invisible, or a threat, or a crude "homo-thug" fetish. I seek refuge among my Black Gay brethren, only to be labeled a "Black queer". Lord, deliver me! I'm so very sick and tired of being stuck in the middle of ignorant talk about race, gender and sexuality.

*excerpt from "Stuck In The Middle With You", words and music copyright 1978 by Joe Egan and Gerald Rafferty, published by Music of Stage Three (BMI)
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Monday, March 9, 2009


The following is a brief and terrific video of the views concerning the "religious" right by Frank Schaeffer, son of the noted late Francis Schaeffer. [Thanks to GayAgenda.com.]

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Saturday, March 7, 2009


Mike Signorile's take on the fate of Prop. 8 may well be correct.

After listening to the hearings on March 5th, and the deference with which Kenneth Star who advocated for Prop. 8 was treated by the justices, I'm afraid that my optimism as to the overturning of November's vote of the electorate in California might well have been incorrect.

Of course, it's not over until it's over, and even if the justices of the California State Supreme Court affirm Prop. 8, even with the caveat that those who were already married after the Court's May decision stating that the deprivation of marriage rights to same-sex couples is and always was unconstitutional, and prior to the vote of the electorate on the amendment, would still have valid marriages, we can expect a great deal of revulsion expressed and far more activism manifested should this slap in the face occur.

"Equality under the law" must still prevail, and if the current California Supreme Court bends to the tyranny of the majority, we can expect that one day in the near future enough activism will be evinced so that every state in the union will affirm same-sex marriage.

However, we must never forget that for there to be equal rights for any minority group, there must be, to use Martin Luther King's words, "a season of suffering."

And we should all hope that there is sufficient numbers of LGBT people and allies with the necessary fire in the belly to engage in meaningful activism, such as continuously picketing selected homophobic churches (as it is denominations and churches that have done the most to make possible the denigration of LGBT people); continuously picketing and mandating Marriage License bureaus to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples who are entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other citizen in this country; provoke the major LGBT rights organizations to become far more aggressive in asserting the demand for equal rights; educate people that we are under the Constitution of the United States and we are not a theocracy whereby religious convictions determine Constitutional rights.

Should the California State Supreme Court uphold Prop. 8 (and we will know their finding within 90 days), this should provoke increasing numbers of us to become far more political, less frivolous, and far more focused in realizing that we are engaged in a civil rights struggle no less important or urgent than the civil rights struggle that embroiled African Americans and their allies not all that long ago!

And if the Court affirms Prop. 8, whether or not those marriages that occurred within that window between the Court's May decision and the electoral vote in November are deemed valid, that finding may well be a blessing in disguise if it motivates LGBT people and allies, not only in California but in every state in the United States, to exponentially increase our anger, our rage, and our activism at the blatant injustice in enabling LGBT people to be consigned to second class citizenship bereft of the same rights and privileges enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts!
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The hearing tomorrow, March 5th, on Prop. 8 in California is scheduled from 9 am PST to 12 PM at the chambers of the California State Supreme Court that is located at at 350 McAllister St. in San Francisco.

There will be a live Webcast that can be seen by clicking this link.

So far, much of what I've read by the legal pundits discussing this issue is not optimistic, save for the possible keeping intact the marriages of same-sex couples in California who have become already married. Indeed, it is possible that many of the Justices may vote "conservatively" on this issue for fear of being voted out of office.

As summarized by one article:

...if history is any indication, those seeking to overturn the ballot measure are swimming upstream.

Because Prop. 8 amended the state Constitution, opponents can no longer rely on that document's guarantees of equal treatment and personal liberty to grant gays and lesbians the right to marry.

Instead, advocates of same-sex marriage argue that Prop. 8, by withdrawing fundamental rights the court had sought to protect, assaulted the state Constitution itself.
[See here.]

I'm still optimistic that the California State Supreme Court will vote to overturn the clearly discriminatory vote on Prop. 8 for the following reasons:

1. None of the justices, save the most reactionary, wish to go down in history as favoring discrimination against a minority group.

2. The justices are not likely to want their previous ruling affirming the constitutionality of same-sex marriages in California to be overridden by a tyranny of the majority.

3. The fact that we are a Democratic Republic where the Judiciary has the final say on Constitutional matters must hold prominence.

4. To allow the vote of the majority to stand regarding the civil rights and civil liberties of any one group would be tantamount to obviating the need for a Supreme Court in California to adjudicate Constitutional matters.

5. Majority vote on matters that have to do with civil rights issues are fundamentally different than such votes on tax increases and the like.

6. The ruling last May of this Supreme Court that the prevention of same-sex marriages in California was, and always was, unconstitutional must vitiate any attempt to amend or revise that Constitution in a blatant attempt to exert the will or whim of any majority at any given time as final authority in adjudicating the constitutionality of such marriages.

7. To allow the "will of the majority" to be the final authority on the civil rights of any one minority group opens up a can of worms whereby every other minority group, such as African Americans, unions, Latinos, etc., can have one or more of their civil rights removed by majority vote. Such a ruling would provide a chilling effect in both California as well as in our whole society that is unlikely to be lost on the justices when they come to a decision on this matter.

I'm not an attorney or any kind of Constitutional scholar! However, it seems blatantly clear to me that any majority vote must not and should not trump the Judiciary's interpretation of the Constitution; that interpretation in regard to the constitutionality of same-sex marriages in California was made last May.

Please remember: There will be a live Webcast of the discussions of Prop. 8 beginning at 9 am PST on Thursday, March 5th, that can be seen by clicking this link.
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Monday, March 2, 2009


It is naive, at best, to believe that appealing to "sweet reason," and the "better natures" of homophobic haters is going to do anything except make the marriage equality movement seem that much more pathetic.

For example, the following is the Courage Campaign's video, entitled Fidelitythat beseeches the California State Supreme Court to overturn the popular vote taken last May on Proposition 8.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

They come hat in hand to beseech the Supreme Court to support equality for same-sex couples, and although this is a laudatory goal, the method by which they seek to achieve that goal shows that they come from a position of weakness and relative powerlessness.

The California State Supreme Court knows full well the many social and legal implications of allowing the popular vote on Prop. 8 to stand; coming from an emotional position advocating "fairness" and "decency" hold no water in the Judicial arena.

Rather, reminders as to the danger of the tyranny of the majority in adjudicating the civil rights of any minority group; the legal and social implications of allowing a State Supreme Court's prior adjudication of the State's Constitution to be trumped by the will and whim of the electorate that is mightily affected by lies and deceit by those who would limit civil rights of any citizen, must be emphasized.

In stark contrast, Robin Tyler gets it! She is not merely talking to the Supreme Court, but to all who would consider themselves Gay rights activists who can learn a great deal from her:

Some people have said, "Well, you can always put your right to equality back on the ballot in 2010." Excuse me? Since when was it OK for people to vote on a group's rights to basic equality and civil rights? Equality isn't a popularity contest. It's the right of all California citizens.

Nobody's rights should ever be put to a popular vote. That's why we have a court system. And that's why Diane and I are confident the court will show the courage it did when it not only ruled for marriage equality for same-sex couples but also declared that lesbians and gays were a suspect class, a legitimate minority entitled to all rights.

If the court does rule for us, tens of thousands of us will be on the streets that night celebrating a great victory -- not just for us but for everyone.

But if we lose and Prop. 8 stands, even if the court rules to uphold existing same-sex marriages, hundreds of thousands of us will be on the streets, angrier than we have ever been.

The time for saying "please" is over.

Part of what I wrote to a friend of mine regarding this article by Robin Tyler follows:

No more wimpering and seeking to play nice with those who hate Gay people and seek to deny them Constitutional rights! Robin Tyler and those very few like her are speaking the truth, and that truth will resonate with everyone who seeks equal justice and equal rights for everyone.

I am very optimistic that the California State Supreme Court will overturn the vote taken last May on Prop. 8!

As I wrote to another friend of mine regarding this issue:

I'm optimistic that the vote on Prop. 8 will be overturned by the Supreme Court, as not to do so would set a chilling precedent that would affect both Gay people as well as all minority groups in California. As a Democratic Republic we cannot have a tyranny of the majority that can remove constitutionally approved rights as adjudicated by a Supreme Court. Last May, the Calif. Supreme Court said that to deny same-sex marriage to Gay couples was unconstitutional, and had always been unconstitutional. Therefore, for them to now say that the will of the electorate prevails regarding Prop. 8 would nullify their role in interpreting the Calif. Constitution; vitiate the role of the Calif. State Supreme Court in adjudicating constitutional matters; set a chilling precedent that would affect every other minority group; have implications for other states in regard to minority group rights.

I truly believe that the Calif. Supreme Court will nullify that vote on Prop. 8, as the jurists are not oblivious to the truths and fall-out that condoning that vote would mean. A Pandora's Box would be open, leaving all minority group rights up for grabs, depending on the will and whim of the electorate. Moreover, civil rights are never to be decided by majority vote, and that's one of the main reasons our country was founded as a Democratic Republic and not as a mere Democracy where a tyranny of the majority could and would determine such rights.

We need a whole lot more Robin Tylers out there, demanding equality in every facet of life, including that of the designation of "Marriage" and all of the rights and privileges that are enjoyed by heterosexuals who have chosen to partake of that institution!

And there is no need to pathetically go hat in hand to achieve that goal, as to do so shows vulnerability and weakness, and is counterproductive to the acquisition of full and equal civil rights!
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Sunday, March 1, 2009


Having civil rights is a lot like being pregnant! For many reasons, one can't get incremental civil rights and still be viewed as a full-fledged citizen, anymore than a woman can be "a little bit pregnant." She is or is not pregnant!

We have equal rights or we don't have equal rights, and there can be no such acceptable compromise with full-fledged citizenship as exists in the acceptance of incremental civil rights, such as Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions!

As you know by now, I've always been against incremental civil rights because they provide no allowance for the person to be viewed as having dignity and deserving of full and equal civil rights that are accorded and guaranteed to all citizens of the U.S. as demanded by the Constitution.

Just as there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant, there is no such thing as equality when it is partial, or partially gained through incrementalism! We are treated equally under the law or we're not treated equally under the law, and incrementalism, by definition, nullifies the existence of equality under the law for Gay people.

Moreover, such incrementally gained rights can be easily removed by the mere stroke of a pen, be those rights Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions.

Here is one example:

The Incline Village General Improvement District board has decided to rescind health care insurance benefits to domestic partners of district employees.

The action, taken on a 3-2 vote Wednesday, reverses a similar board vote last August in favor of offering domestic partner benefits.

Board Chairman Ted Fuller says he voted to rescind the benefits because of the need to cut costs and the potential for abuse.

[For the full article, see here.]

There is no substitute for full marriage rights with the designation of "Married" accruing to same-sex couples who seek to make a lifetime commitment to each other. No substitute will do! And no substitute can be accepted!

It doesn't matter if we're told that every single right that married couples enjoy will be conferred on Domestic Partners or those in Civil Unions. The fact is that those expediently and politiclly manufactured institutions can be easily rescinded if and when the political and/or social and/or economic climate is viewed as conducive to their removal.

Moreover, to substitute those institutions for marriage still consigns same-sex love to being inferior to opposite-sex love, even if all marriage benefits are given to those couples with those other, lesser, designations. By accepting such incrementalism, it shows that the dignity, the legitimacy, and the normality of same-sex love is consigned to a nether world of second-class citizenship (despite rhetoric to the contrary); indicates the acceptance by the minority group of that inferiority, that "otherness," that still maintains the institutionalized belief in the inequality of same-sex love with opposite-sex love.

We are to make no mistake: any other designation than "Marriage" makes what civil rights that exist for Gay people up for grabs; dependent on the economic and/or social and/or political climate of a given time; institutionalizes the inherent inequality of same-sex couples and the nature of same-sex love.

Moreover, it is my contention that only with the institutionalization of "Marriage" for same-sex couples will virtually all other civil rights accrue to Gay people! "Marriage" confers a basic legitimacy to same-sex love and to the people entering that veritable and historically esteemed institution!

In this connection, it must be noted that it is heterosexuals who have tainted the institution of "marriage" through divorce; same-sex couples who seek marriage are a major hope that the institution of marriage will once again be accorded dignity and viability!

Gay people deserve no less than do Straight people!

And no amount of settling for inequality in any way, for any reason, be it for political expediency or for what is perceived to be the lesser of two evils, justifies the capitulation to anything less than the designation of "Marriage" for all same-sex couples who must expect and demand full and equal civil rights and the dignity that those rights are accorded and will afford them.
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