Archive | November, 2011

If a bullet should enter my brain…

27 Nov

By now, most of us have seen the Academy Award-wining film, Milk. While Milk presented a much-untold history, the true impact of this film is now being measured by the vast numbers of young people who found the courage to come out after seeing it, and in conversations about historic LGBT contributions around the globe.

It was on this day, 33 years ago, former Republican San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White took a gun to City Hall. He climbed through a lower-level window to avoid metal detectors and proceeded to Mayor George Moscone’s office. White had resigned his office and went into Moscone’s office hoping to be re-appointed to the seat he’d resigned from. When Moscone refused, White shot and killed him. With extra ammunition, he proceeded to the office of Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay man to be elected to a major city office. White proceeded to shoot Milk 5 times – the final two shots had White pressing his gun directly at Milk’s skull according to the medical examiner.

Harvey Milk had pre-recorded a message after receiving several anti-gay death threats during his political career. The message said “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet shatter every closet door.” Dan White went on to be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than first-degree murder. Despite White’s later statements that he was “on a mission” and  “wanted to kill four of them,” he was not found guilty of pre-meditating anything due to his poor diet.

White’s lawyers claimed that while usually a healthy man, White had been consuming many sugary foods, which led to his mental state. This became known as the “Twinkie Defense.” White went on to serve just 5 years of the very lenient 7 year sentence. 2 years later, White committed suicide by running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe to inside his car.

Following the guilty verdict, men and women rioted outside San Francisco City Hall. Hours after the riots had ended, Police made a retaliatory raid on the streets of the Castro District and the Elephant Walk Bar (now renamed ‘Harvey’s”). Two dozen arrests were made during that raid and the riots, and in the following weeks, after being called upon to apologize, gay leaders refused. The political leverage gained from these events led to the election of Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein then appointed a pro-gay chief of police who actively recruited gays into the city’s police force.

Dianne Feinstein, who is now a U.S. Senator, is leading the way for LGBT equality by sponsoring the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which would repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Michelle Bachmann Campaign Chair: “Gay Marriage leads to…Eiffel Tower Marriage.”

25 Nov

As we’ve discussed here before, Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann doesn’t care for the gays too much.

Well, a few days ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s recently appointed Iowa campaign co-chair Tamara Scott had a little conversation with virulently anti-gay Bob Vander Plaats in which she makes the incredible leap from gays and lesbians marrying to someone marrying…wait for it…the Eiffel Tower.

While I too am enamored by the Eiffel Tower – like many other adults, I understand that I cannot marry it. One can only hope that this idiocy will be the final nail in Bachmann’s candidacy (in which she’s now polling at 3-4%).

Penn State: The Connection Between Pedophilia and Homosexuality

16 Nov

The Washington Examiner's Cal Thomas

For a few weeks now, the Religious Right has been shamelessly co-opting the Penn State child rape tragedies to spark further hatred of the gay community. As discussed here last week, one organization went so far as to raise money with their incoherent linking of being gay to the Penn State incidents.

Well, I’ve had enough. After reading an utterly embarrassing piece of writing in the DC morning ‘Examiner‘ which grasped at straws by trying to link the relationship of Kurt and Blaine on ‘Glee’ to Penn State, I cannot stay quiet about it. And tonight, I discovered an equally horrific piece at World Net Daily which continues along the ridiculous and completely unsubstantiated link between being gay and being a pedophile.

The long and short of it: Being a pedophile has zero to do with being gay.

Dr. Carole Jenny of Denver Children’s Hospital put together an exhaustive study on this very topic. She took 352 children who were referred to a clinic for potential sexual abuse. 35 of these children were ruled out of the study as abuse seemed unlikely in these cases.

Of the remaining 317 cases…

  • 74 children were abused by other children or teens under the age of 18.
  • 9 children could not identify their abuser.
  • 2 children were abused by someone identified as gay or lesbian.
  • 232 children were sexually abused by the heterosexual partner of a close relative.
And if you’d like to discuss gay men, the usual target of lies perpetrated by the Religious Right, the same doctor did a study of 50 boys who had been molested.
Of those 50 boys…
  • 37 were abused by a man in a straight relationship with a relative.
  • 3 were molested by their mother or grandmother.
  • 5 were molested by both parents.
  • 3 were molested by a male family friend who had no history of sex with men.
  • 1 was molested by an uncle, also with no history of sex with men.
  • 1 was molested by a man who was possibly, but not definitely a gay man.

This is outlined beautifully by blogger Rob Tisinai in a video I will include at the end of the post, which you should all pass around as much as you can.

The vast majority of men who abuse boys are either not attracted to adults of either gender or are straight men who are emotionally disturbed, frequently only involved because of the power they may have over a young boy. Additionally, the reason so many boys are molested by men is that men have greater access to boys than they do to girls.

Several studies have concluded that only a fraction of pedophiles have ever shown an attraction to other adult men – a fraction that is far below the ratio of openly gay men in society.

As Rob Tisinai says in the video:

“When our opponents demonize openly gay men and falsely shine the spotlight on us, they’re letting the real abusers hide in the darkness…and continue their abuse.”

It has become clear through every actual fact that can be found, that what is more important to Peter LaBarbera, WorldNetDaily, Cal Thomas at the Washington Examiner and every other anti-gay activist, is that gays and lesbians be denied equality. They are continually putting their own anti-gay agenda ahead of the lives and abuses of children.

With every one of these articles, they are extending the myth that openly gay men are the ones to watch when it comes to the sexual abuse of children. And for every minute they spend penning an article like these, a real predator is getting away with these horrific acts. Peter LaBarbera, Cal Thomas, and WorldNetDaily have all made the conscious decision to prioritize their own anti-gay agendas over the lives and well-being of children.

It is up to us to spread the truth and combat the lies and fear with scientifically-proven facts. This is not about defending our honor, this is about really protecting our children.

Catholic Charities Abandons Thousands of Children Instead of Adopting to LGBT Parents

15 Nov

It seems one of the final frontiers in the struggle for equality for LGBT families is teaching the rest of the world that we are incredible parents and that our families not only deserve equality, but we are suffering without it.

Even some who I once considered allies in our fight have said to me “I think you should be able to get married, but I really believe children should have a mother and father” or “gay people should not be allowed to adopt.” This belief stems from generations of lies which make people think of gays and lesbians as pedophiles. From public service announcements in the 50’s to anti-gay hate groups scraping to connect the recent child rape tragedy at Penn State with gay men, we have never been at a loss for people who – even subconsciously – carry this ignorant defamation.

In 2005, I was lucky enough to go on Rosie O’Donnell’s first “R Family Cruise.” I watched shows, had conversations with LGBT parents and I wished that some of the people who have spoken so falsely about us could see how much love there was there.

Almost every one of these children had to be fought for – some parents lived in states where same-sex parent adoption was not legal and some fought tooth-and-nail through divorces where anti-gay judges refused custody because one parent was gay. And I thought – how many heterosexual parents do I know that can truly say they had to fight for their children – legally – in court? How many straight parents do I know had the state they live in tell them they have no rights as a parent?

Well, times are changing.

Every reliable study that has been done, has proven again and again that LGBT parents are just as, if not better equipped to parent than opposite-gender parents. And a recent study released by the Family Equality Council shows us all the great inequalities our well-equipped families are facing all over the U.S. And in the past decade, the number of lesbian and gay adoptive couples has tripled.

Anti-Gay Governor Bob McDonnell

In states across the country, adoption agencies are still discriminating against gay and lesbian parents. In Virginia, a study was done by the previous governor which confirmed what every other reasonable study has found – that we make excellent parents. But of course, under the current anti-gay administration, all the scientific findings were dismissed and the lesbian and gay adoption ban was left in place by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. This, despite the fact that there are more than 6,000 children in the Virginia foster care system waiting for a forever home.

Catholic Charities in many states have fought tooth-and-nail against laws which require adoption agencies treat all families equally. And after a hard-fought battle in Illionois, Catholic Charities has chosen to abandon up to 2,200 children instead of allowing them to be placed with capable, loving gay and lesbian parents. Several Catholic Charities Adoption Agencies have chosen to do the same in other states. Over and over again, the Catholic dioceses have made the conscious decision to abandon orphans and foster children rather than place them in loving, forever homes, based on nothing in their actual belief system.

As the Bible clearly says zero about lesbians and gays raising children, the choice to close down their agencies has nothing to do with their religion and everything to do with wrongfully-held beliefs based on nothing but rumors and baseless fear tactics created decades ago. It is indeed heartbreaking to see those who claim “Christian” beliefs act so hatefully by leaving thousands of children with nothing to fall back on.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities around the country represent a tiny sliver of all the adoptions that take place on a regular basis and the children represented by them will be taken in by state agencies which do not practice discrimination. So, at the end of the day, this is a good thing and those kids will now have a much greater shot at finding their forever home.

Michigan Anti-Bullying Law Set to Pass Without Religious Exemption

14 Nov

Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

By now, many of you have seen a video that made the rounds last week. It’s an emotional speech by Senator Gretchen Whitmer following the passage of Michigan’s “Matt’s Safe School Law.” The law is an anti-bullying law named after Matt Epling – a gay teen who committed suicide in 2002 after unbearable anti-gay bullying.

Republicans in the Michigan Senate finally agreed to vote for the bill after a special addition was made by Republican Senator Rick Jones allowing bullying so long as it was based on religious or moral convictions. So as long as kids screamed “The Bible says it’s okay to beat the crap out of you for being gay,” bullying was still cool.

Whitmer’s speech was incredible and brought tears to many eyes. She outlines the fact that the law that was passed, which included these religious and moral protections – if it were passed when Matt was still alive, it would not have saved him. The irony of “Matt’s Law” not being able to stop kids from bullying LGBT kids was apparently not lost on thousands of people who made calls this week to the Michigan Senate.

Late last week, the Michigan House passed the bill without the exemption and Senator Jones has agreed that he will vote for the House version of the bill without his religious and moral exemption. The bill is expected to pass and Michigan will no longer be one of the only 3 states without an anti-bullying law.

 

Anti-Gay Hate Group Uses Penn State Tragedy to Raise Money

11 Nov

Peter LaBarbera

Anti-Gay Hate Group, “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality” led by Peter LaBarbera has been a factory for lies and hatred of LGBT people for several years now. The lies perpetuated by LaBarbera have crossed the line of “offensive” and jumped straight into “crazy.” His obsession with gay pornography has earned him the popular nickname “Porno Pete,” and his unwavering dedication to spreading untruth and bile about the LGBT community is second-to-none.

But this evening, he has done something so hateful, so hurtful and outright malicious that I hope anyone observing will see the anti-gay movement for what it truly is.

In the past few days, a horrific story has come out of Penn State where an assistant football coach has been accused of molesting and raping several young boys. Even upon being observed raping a 10-year old boy in the school’s locker room, the accused was protected by the football coach, athletics directors and school administration. As if this was not bad enough, upon the firing of the football coach over these accusations, hundreds of Penn State students have abandoned any moral fiber within and taken to the streets to defend the coach who knowingly let these acts slide.

When these stories are being reported, it’s hard not to feel ill just thinking about what these children went through and how the defense of these people who covered up the atrocities must feel like they are being violated all over again.

This is all quite bad enough to deal with, but now that Peter LaBarbera has started reporting the story, he is not only using these horrific allegations to spread further lies about gay people, but he is trying to raise money off it as well.

When reading the words posted on his site, all of which have been debunked by the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and every reputable medical association in the country, one cannot help but notice the enormous “DONATE HERE” button glaring on the right side of the story.

Some in this country still don’t believe in marriage equality, and I can understand that and work at having a coherent and respectful discussion about it. But this kind of propaganda and fear mongering, and the use of this horrible tragedy to raise money for your organization is simply beyond the pale.

The spreading of lies and hatred is one thing, but to try to make a quick buck off the story of these children is easily the worst thing I’ve seen in the modern anti-gay movement. LaBarbera should be ashamed. Please see the screen cap below to see what can be found on LaBarbera’s Hate Group’s website. Additionally, an email was sent to the organization’s list which featured the Penn State story followed by the following:


Happy Anniversary, Harvey! Let’s Make Him Proud.

7 Nov

November 8, 1977. On this day, 34 years ago, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to office in a major U.S. city. His assassin, Dan White was also elected that day.

While Harvey inspired many while he was alive, it wasn’t until the Academy Award-winning film was released a few years ago that he became a household name. Since then, dozens of openly-gay elected officials have followed in his footsteps. Organizations like the Victory Fund have helped to see LGBT leaders elected all over the country – from bluer states like Rhode Island to the reddest of states like Texas.

Harvey understood that by electing gay people to office, it would give young people hope. He understood that by seeing openly-gay people in positions of power and leadership would know that they could too, succeed.

Tomorrow, dozens of LGBT candidates will face voters. One of those candidates (though a longshot at unseating an incumbent) is Bevan Dufty, a San Francisco City Supervisor who is sitting in the very same seat that Milk served in 34 years ago. Victory Fund highlights “10 Races to Watch” for those interested in seeing more LGBT candidates make history.

Not to pick any one of these out as I’m sure they are all wonderful candidates, but openly-gay 22 year-old and Point Foundation scholar Alex Morse is running for Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts. As a Mass. native, I’m especially proud to see this going on. Daniel Hernandez Jr. – the young gay man who saved the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is also running for office in his local school district.

Please check out Victory Fund’s full list of “10 Races to Watch”:

Zach Adamson, Indianapolis City Council – Adamson could become Indianapolis’ first openly LGBT city council member.  Learn more here.

Caitlin Copple, Missoula, Montana City Council – Missoula has become a focal point of the Montana debate over LGBT non-discrimination laws.  Copple’s election would add an authentic voice from the LGBT community to this discussion and many others concerning her community.  Learn more here.

Bevan Dufty, San Francisco Mayor – A former San Francisco Supervisor who represented the same district as Harvey Milk for 8 years, Dufty is prepared to continue Milk’s legacy and serve as the top elected official in the city.  A victory in this race would make him San Francisco’s first openly LGBT mayor.  Learn more here.

Patrick Forrest, Virginia State Senate – If he wins, Patrick would become the only openly LGBT Republican state legislator in America, and one of the first openly LGBT members of the Virginia Senate.  Learn more here.

Daniel Hernandez, Jr., Sunnyside Unified School District Board of Governors, Tucson, Ariz. – When his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot along with numerous others at a district event in Tucson, Hernandez sprang into action and is credited with helping to save Giffords’ life.  The world marveled at his quick thinking and leadership qualities on display that day, and many have urged him to consider a career in public service.  Learn more here.

LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte, N.C., City Council – Mayfield’s primary victory made national news because Charlotte has never elected an openly LGBT city council member.  She’ll finish the job and join the council if she wins her general election.  Learn more here.

Pam Miller, Savannah, Ga., City Council – Miller could become the first openly LGBT candidate in Georgia to win outside the Atlanta metro area.  Learn more here.

Alex Morse, Mayor, Holyoke, Mass. – At just 22, Morse already has a public service record to rival candidates twice his age.  In the primary he bested the incumbent mayor by a single vote.  He could make history this November as the city’s youngest and first openly LGBT mayor.  Learn more here.

Rory Neuner, Lansing, Mich., City Council – Neuner has already worked to make Lansing a better city, and her door-to-door campaign for city council could make her the only openly LGBT city council member.  Learn morehere.

Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati, Ohio, City Council – Seelbach has already been instrumental in making Cincinnati a more welcoming place for all families.   Now he could become its first openly LGBT city council member.

If voting is taking place in your state, town or district, please make sure you vote. Staying home is not an option. Obviously support the candidate who best speaks to you and your family’s needs, but above all, do not stay home. Our futures depend on it.

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