Archive | November, 2010

LISTEN: Bigot Radio Host has History of Anti-LGBT Rants

17 Nov

As we reported here last week, KLIF radio personality, Chris Krok made a particularly homophobic and bigoted diatribe against openly-gay city council member Joel Burns.

We all remember Joel from his extraordinarily moving and courageous speech in front of the City Council on bullying and LGBT teen suicide.

This week, GLAAD stepped in and made a phone call to station manager Jeff Catlin, who apologized for Krok’s attacks and assured GLAAD that Krok had been “disciplined.” The nature of that discipline was of course not discussed with GLAAD as Catlin doesn’t believe in discussing employment practices per his note to TAE reader Bob Witeck:

It is corporate policy that we do not share internal disciplinary matters with the general public. I wouldn’t expect your boss to share with me when you get in trouble at work.

Catlin went on to tell GLAAD that Krok has not spoken about the Joel Burns speech since his original bigoted rant. We’re not sure if Catlin just took Krok at his word when he said he hadn’t mentioned Burns since that show aired, or if he actually went back and listened to the tapes, but some of our fantastic TAE readers beg to differ with the account that Krok never mentioned it again.

These following clips are reportedly from the two days following Krok’s bigoted rant against Joel Burns.

Krok Speaking out against Bullying Legislation, referring to a Transgender Girl, Andy Moreno who wanted to participate in the Homecoming Queen contest as a “dancing queen,” and pokes fun at someone who tells a story about the student having books thrown at her. Additionally, he continues a rant against Joel Burns.

Another rant against the Trans teen and Joel Burns

Please continue to contact Jeff Catlin and demand a responsible disciplinary action take place against Krok.

214-526-2400 Is the Main Office number of KLIF

or email the Operations Director, Jeff Catlin at  jeff.catlin@cumulus.com

****************************************

UPDATE FROM GLAAD:

Krok Apologizes on-air

Krok apologized for his rant about Joel Burns, but never mentioned his attacks on the trans teenager he also berated. This level of anger and hyperbole should be met with more than a simple apology where Krok reiterated that his opinion was still correct, but his use of words was too personal.


CA Elects Nation’s First Openly-Trans Judge

17 Nov

It’s been a close race, but according to the New York Daily News, in the final, uncertified tally, 49-year-old Victoria Kolakowski, has defeated rival John Creighton with 162,082 votes to his 152,546.

Since the November 2nd election, the count has been close and until now, neither party had claimed victory, but with the lead having expanded in the final vote, Kolakowski has become the certain winner of the race.

With 21 years of legal experience behind her, Kolakowski almost didn’t get started in her profession due to her gender identity. Upon applying to take the Louisiana Bar, the Louisiana Bar Association rejected her application on the grounds that she was “not of sound mind” due to her being transgender. After appealing to the Louisiana Supreme Court, she was ultimately allowed to take the Bar.

She later moved to California, where she has been a private lawyer and corporate attorney.

Kolakowski’s win adds another mark in the column of The Victory Fund, which works to elect openly-LGBT candidates nationwide and succeeded in winning more than 106 seats around the country this November, as we reported on.

 

A Decent Proposal

16 Nov

Alright, sometimes I can be a softy. Whether it be a tender moment on GLEE or a story like this one.

Found this on JoeMyGod, as I find many a fun story -

Apparently Metro, a free British newspaper, held a contest in which the winner would be able to use the front page one day for whatever they wanted. Jon Mark Ireland, a gay man who’d been in a relationship for five years happened to win.

The 27-year-old (Jon) admitted he was worried regular Metro reader Ben would face some diversion from his usual routine that might prevent him from seeing the all important message on the one-off cover.

But it turns out all went according to plan… sort of. Having missed out on his own copy from the station on his way through, it was a fellow Tube passenger’s Metro that caught Ben’s eye…seeing his name, the 23-year-old panicked at the sight of it on the front cover.

‘I don’t always get a Metro at my station – depending on the time of the morning there can be hardly any left,’ he explained.

‘So I didn’t get a Metro this morning and, on the train, this guy was reading it in front of me.

‘Then I saw my name and I thought “what?” I sort of blinked twice, then I’m looking around for a Metro – I gave up my seat to try to find one.

‘When I found one and saw the front cover properly it was a shock – and as soon as I got above ground again at Marble Arch I had five or six missed calls on my phone from people asking if I’d seen it.’

Ben eventually gave his partner a resounding ‘YES’ when the pair were able to get through to each other a few hours later – after Ben initially texted Jon with the promise: ‘I’m going to kill you!’

Making Progressive Allies

16 Nov

How many times have you heard “We need to make allies in the broader progressive movement” come out of an LGBT activist’s mouth? Well I’ll say it again. Its true. We do need to build stronger ties to other social movements in order to help us identify new pockets of supporters and to link our issues to the broad campaign against injustice everywhere.  Pooling resources, sharing ideas, and trading tips strengthens both the fight for LGBT equality and the progressive movement as a whole.

The New Organizing Institute has created an opportunity for us to do just that.  RootsCamp is an incredible chance for LGBT leaders to meet other progressive organizers and make the connections we need.  The NOI team calls it the “unconference” because we get to set the agenda, drive the conversation, and skip the boring powerpoints.

Details:

What:  RootsCamp – 5th Anniversary

When:  December 11-12

Where: George Washington University, Washington DC

Who: Volunteers, field staff, new media gurus, data geeks, state-based bloggers, campaign managers – anyone and everyone who played a part in the 2010 cycle, with civic engagement campaigns or as a part of issue groups.

RSVP here: http://rootscampdc.eventbrite.com/

Jamie and I will be attending, representing TAE, and sharing what we have learned from all of you.  You should probably join us.

God Hates Figs: Challenging Westboro Baptist Church Creatively

16 Nov

The Westboro Baptist Church has been consistently in the background of LGBT news since they crawled out of obscurity in Kansas in 1991.  We have an ongoing fascination with this Church and its antics despite them having done nothing new or interesting in nearly a decade.

“God Hates Fags”- we get it, right? Yawn. They’ve made themselves abundantly clear.  They spend $250,000 traveling around the country conducting multiple pickets a day year-round.  Yes, their tactics vary slightly, and they choose inflammatory targets, but for the most part their game has been stale for quite some time.  Yet we are compelled to counter protest time and time again, as if we forgot their message. Clearly we can’t let hate speech go unchecked in every community across America but I personally never found them interesting enough to protest.  When they came to Washington, DC on Veterans Day I decided to see it for myself.

I had two vastly different experiences.  The first event of the day was orchestrated by students at George Washington University, and was upbeat, fun, and playful. Students were wearing “I’m Gay for Today” tee-shirts, held humorous signs, and outnumbered the Westboro picketers 50 to 1.  It was clear that this was a community rallying around its LGBT colleagues and inoculating itself against the hateful rhetoric of the picketers with humor.

When the Westboro Picketers headed to Arlington Cemetery, in nearby northern Virginia, the scene was very different.  The counter-protest, save for five people, was focused on countering Westboro’s protesting a Military occasion.  As usual during such an event, a counter demonstration by leather clad motorcyclists provided the main counterpoint to the Westboro message.  I got a chance to talk to both parties individually at length, and was quite surprised at the result.

See, for all their hate-filled rhetoric, the Phelp’s clan picketers were genuinely quite nice.  They were happy to take time to talk to me and carefully explain their message.  They told me I would burn in hell with a smile.  They were upfront and honest about their views and respectful of mine.  The thing made these people unique and interesting, I discovered, was not their message, but how they interacted with the counter-protesters.  They simply wanted to let me know I was damned, they could care less whether I listened, or got angry, or lashed out at them, and with a permit and the police enforcing their safety they were perfectly within their rights to do this. Frankly, I respected their demeanor.

The counter-protesters were also a complex and surprising lot.  I caught more than one confederate flag patch and one man was sporting a subtle swastika. And though some came with a general anti-hate message I talked with more than one person who shared similar views about LGBT’s with the Phelps. Some familiar terms “abomination”, “unnatural”, and “Adam and Eve” were thrown about leaving me wondering what, exactly, they were protesting.  It seemed, for some, when it comes to protesting fags there are proper places and a military event is not one of them.

Both counter demonstrations managed to drown out the Phelps’ message, both anti-gay and anti-military.  It seems nothing can draw a consistent crowd like a good Westboro protest, and we should be thinking of ways to harness the opportunity their presence will always provide.

Coming up later this week Westboro Baptist is headed to East Lansing High School, and a massive counter demonstration is being planned. Community leaders have circulated a petition to support the students. This time around they are putting together a structured response and using it as an opportunity to list-build and fundraise for organizations targeted by WBC.  We need more of this in our response to them.  It’s the only response that can make sense out of these events and the only counter move that can really be effective.

Until then…

Keep fighting hate with humor.

So You Wanna Be an Activist?

16 Nov

So you want to be an activist? So many people I know become terrified of that one little word. The assume that to be an activist, one must become a single-issue crazy screaming person who camps out in front of the Capitol building. While this is a form of activism, let your mind expand a little bit as to what the word really means.

Being an activist does not mean you need to scream in the streets, nor does it mean you have to participate in a hunger strike, carry a sign or even march in a protest. According to Dictionary.com, an activist is an “especially active, vigorous advocate for a cause.” So, it’s a lot easier than you think.

You can be an activist if you commit to having one conversation with someone every day about equality. You can be an activist by using your facebook page to educate your friends and family on the inequalities we still face. You can even be an activist by showing up to vote for the candidate you know will defend equality. These are all forms of activism that don’t require you to handcuff yourself to anything – not that there is anything wrong with Direct Action, which can be very effective if properly executed.

We just wanted our readers to be aware that we all have the ability to participate in the fight for equality – and it all begins with a conversation.

The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward

15 Nov

In a historic protest at the White House moments ago, 13 people were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence.  Three generations of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activists participated in this monumental action.  Present among the demonstrators were several men and women who’ve been arrested in similar demonstrations over the decades, including the first famous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell protest in the 90′s, and this year’s subsequent White House DADT protests.

Former Servicemembers who were arrested in April during protests at the same location, spoke to Talk About Equality about why they were returning:

“I feel we have come to a critical juncture where we need leadership from Obama and Senator Reid to get rid of this horrible policy.  I am here today because being the first Marine discharged under this policy I feel we need to send a signal to the White House and the Senate to finally do the right thing for LGBT servicemembers and pass the repeal in the Defense Authorization Bill.” Says Justin Elzie, the first Marine discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to Talk About Equality.

Here is the full list of demonstrators who were arrested today:

Lt. Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen,Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, and Cadet Mara Boyd.  All four were arrested in front of the White house in April protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL.

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 and was the first LGBT servicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal District Court. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the White House fence for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergean, Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marine ever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Former Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army in December 2004.

U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S. Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stance in support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who has written extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos and Pam’s House Blend.

Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of Leonard Matlovich, and administrator of the site www.leonardmatlovich.com

Dan Fotou, an Organizer with GetEqual.

Civil rights activist, writer and speaker David Mixner told LGBTPOV upon the 17th Anniversary of the first DADT White House arrests:

“There was no question among those of us arrested that DADT was a horrible policy.  Am extremely proud of doing the right thing then and extremely proud of those doing the right thing today.”

This action culminates one day of advocacy for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.  The big push needs to come from all of us in the remaining few weeks of this Congressional calendar.  Don’t let these 13 have sacrificed in vain.

The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: At Present

15 Nov

Following the touching sunrise vigil at Congressional Cemetery, the vigil participants went over to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office to check the status of repeal and to ask about the whereabouts of Dan Choi’s Wespoint Ring.

The Veterans took the long trip up to the Senator’s Office in hopes of meeting with the Senator.

At the entrance to the office, the Sen. Reid’s Deputy Chief of Staff came to speak with the petitioners, but little answers were given. No firm commitment on repeal before thanksgiving, no commitment on the strategy for lame-duck repeal, and no commitment that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell language will stay in the National Defense Authorization Act.

This is a crucial aspect of today’s events.  The action demonstrated that our community is trying to get specific answers, and attempting to be a part of the process.  It reinforces that we stand on the side of justice and equality and are doing our part to make this happen.  Common criticism of Direct Action groups such as GetEqual is that they aren’t interested in participating in the legislative process, only agitating from the outside.  This morning’s events followed by the lobbying attempt in Sen. Reid’s office are part of a coherent tactical effort to push this issue over the finish line.

Stay tuned for the next part of today’s events, with exclusive photos and coverage.

The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Honoring the Past

15 Nov

“When I was in the Military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”- Leonard Maltovich 1975

Today is a day of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Past, Present, and Future.

This morning a sunrise vigil was held at congressional cemetery in Washington, DC to honor the memory the first person to fight the ban against Gays and Lesbians serving in the Military.  Community members, prominent organizers, and military veterans gathered at the gravesite of Leonard Maltovich, a recipient of both the purple heart and bronze star who made headlines in the 1970′s after coming out as openly gay and fighting to stay in the U.S. Air Force.  His tombstone is meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans.

This event was a powerful reminder of the legacy of discrimination that LGBT soldiers have endured over time.  The symbolism of the wreath laid by Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen (ret) culminated this touching memorial and started this week’s push for lame-duck repeal with a reverence for past sacrifices.

Often in our vigorous push for legislative wins such as DADT repeal we neglect our roots and fail to honor the legacy of past civil rights heroes. Not today.

“Today does not only mark the start of the lame duck session but also serves as the start of the next battle to restore our dignity and equality as LGBT Americans” said Robin McGehee, Co-Founder of GetEqual, who sponsored the Vigil this morning.

 

“Leonard outed himself 35 years, 13500 discharges, and seven Presidents ago, and still today people are being discharged under the same bigotry. The names have changed at the pentagon but the bigotry remains evergreen.” Said Michael Bedwell, of LeonardMatlovich.com.

“I stand today for all the nameless, faceless LGBT veterans of color disproportionately affected by DADT, and I call on the NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, and other mainstream black leaders to speak up for their Black LGBT brothers and sisters who have been impacted by DADT, because their silence is deafening.”  Said Gay Iraq war veteran, repeal advocate, and writer Rob Smith.

This is what a civil rights movement looks like when we focus on our narrative and spreading the truth.

After honoring the history of the fight for open service the vigil will head to Capitol Hill.  Stay tuned for part two: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: As it stands today.

Bigoted Radio Host Attacks Joel Burns’ Message to Gay Teens

12 Nov

Joel Burns, attacked for message to bullied teens

As we discussed here a few weeks ago, Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns has been called a hero for making a brave and impassioned speech at a meeting last month.

Joel has since appeared on talk shows and news programs around the country, introducing his husband to the world and telling his story. He’s inspired thousands by sharing what happened to him and encouraging young people with his own personal “It Gets Better” message.

Today, the Dallas Voice shares with us the backlash that Joel is receiving in

Chris Krok made bigoted attacks against Joel Burns

the form of a hateful, bigoted radio host on KLIF. Chris Krok expounds about how Joel should not have told his story because it was about “me, me, me.” Using a fake lisp, Krok mocks Joel saying “Look at me! I Thuffered!” He goes on to argue that Joel doesn’t have a husband because it’s not legal in Texas. “You’re a man. You do not have a husband” he says.

Krok personifies the intolerance and ignorance that LGBT kids face on a daily basis. Please call and email KLIF and tell them that Chris Krok’s attack on LGBT people was harmful and ignorant and that Krok must answer for his public bigotry. We will be investigating this further and finding out the advertisers associated with this show and asking people to make calls to the show’s supporters as well. If anyone here listens to KLIF from 4-7pm and recognizes the numbers or names of any of the show’s advertisers, please reply here.

214-526-2400 Is the Main Office number of KLIF

or email the Operations Director, Jeff Catlin at  jeff.catlin@cumulus.com

Catlin said in an email to TAE reader, Bob Witeck:

It is corporate policy that we do not share internal disciplinary matters with the general public. I wouldn’t expect your boss to share with me when you get in trouble at work.

I would say I would challenge you or any other complainants to find another incident of Chris Krok addressing this topic or issue after the original airing. It didn’t happen.

Catlin fails to explain whether Krok was dealt with in any way, just notes that he only made the diatribe once and not a second time. He also fails to mention if he or the station believed what their on-air representative said about Joel and the LGBT community.

WARNING: This audio is rather upsetting.

Thanks TAE Reader Jason Kane for the heads-up!

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