Catholic Church: Women Are as Bad as Pedophiles

It’s hard work keeping an institution stuck in the 1400s. Sometimes, reversing centuries of social progress requires taking unpopular stands, like comparing uppity women to abusive pedophile priests. From the Guardian:

The Vatican today made the “attempted ordination” of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognize the outcome of any such ceremony.

The latest move, which appeared to bar and bolt the door to Catholic women priests, came at a time when the Church of England moved in the opposite direction, to a step closer to the ordination of female bishops.

The Vatican’s reclassification of attempted female ordination was part of a revision of a 2001 decree, the main purpose of which was to tighten up the rules on sex abuse by priests in reaction to the scandals that have been sweeping through the church since January. The most important change is to extend the period during which a clergyman can be tried by a church court from 10 to 20 years, dating from the 18th birthday of his victim.

Continue Reading at:  http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/07/15/catholic-church-women-are-as-bad-as-pedophiles/

Fuck the Catholic Church and the Hitler Youth Pope

Fighting for a hate-free union

By Christine Darosa

From Socialist Workerhttp://socialistworker.org/2010/03/30/fighting-for-a-hate-free-union

Christine Darosa reports on the fight of a transgender union activist in Service Employees International Union Local 1021 to remove a union supervisor from his position because of his reported prejudice.

March 30, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO–On the heels of the reform slate “Change 1021″ victory in Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021′s first elections [2] comes another victory: a supervisor in the union’s San Francisco office has been fired for what activists say is his prejudice.

Andre Spearman, one of the staff supervisors in the Union’s San Francisco office, had reportedly created a hostile work environment through a heavy-handed, top-down approach to working with both staff and rank-and-file membership, combined with blatant disrespect of the membership and staff.

Gabriel Haaland, Local 1021′s political coordinator for San Francisco, and a target of what he calls Spearman’s harassment, described Spearman as having “a very anti-membership-participation perspective” in a progressive local where the membership has historically been very engaged. In fact, Haaland feels that Spearman’s presence and conduct were part of a systematic effort to tamp down rank-and-file activity and involvement in advance of the election.

Over time, Haaland says that an obvious pattern of dismissiveness and derision emerged, though it was difficult to challenge due to Spearman’s abusive management style. As workers in the office began to share their experiences, it became clear that Haaland in particular seemed to receive an extra share of abuse due to his identity as a transgender man.

For example, when Haaland was not in the room, Spearman would refer to Gabriel as “he” in a sneering, belittling way–treatment Spearman also reserved for a transgender woman in the rank and file who crossed his path.

In November, Haaland filed a grievance on behalf of the unionized staff with SEIU management. When the grievance was ignored, he filed a complaint with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION is still all-too-common for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. A 2006 San Francisco study by the Transgender Law Center (TLC) and Bay Guardian newspaper found that 57 percent of transgender people surveyed had experienced employment discrimination in some form, despite the city having had transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws since 1994. Further, only 12 percent of those surveyed had filed a formal complaint.

Haaland, a longtime local progressive figure, has been involved in drafting protections and raising visibility around the harassment of transgender workers, and was part of the group of people who worked to get the TLC/Bay Guardian study underway.

Still, it took Haaland some time to make the decision to file the complaint against Spearman. This was due in part, he explained, to not wanting to give ammunition to union-bashers and his belief that, surely, the union could do better–but also in part to the personal difficulty of taking this step.

If deciding to file a complaint was so challenging for Haaland, it is clear how much harder it would be for people in more precarious situations or those who are isolated in their communities. With the threat of repercussions–such as job loss in a population where unemployment is as high as 75 percent–it is easy to understand why so few people might come forward.

Haaland said that when he found out that the Change 1021 slate had won 26 out of the 28 contested union positions, he knew immediately that the new leadership would be responsive to the issues raised in the grievance. He “knew and respected” the people who won, having worked alongside them in the union for years, he explained.

As Larry Bradshaw, the new third vice president of Local 1021, commented recently:

[M]ost of us that were elected to office on the reform slate knew that there were many internal problems with staff and staff management, but we had no idea that there was this sort of harassment occurring. The first we heard about it was when we read about it in the local press a couple days before we took office, and our new rank-and-file chief elected officer moved within a couple days to remove Mr. Spearman from his position in the union.

Haaland feels that Local 1021 is now returning to the “long tradition of progressive, democratic unionism” that he had signed on to when he took his job with SEIU. He also feels that Change 1021′s win is connected to the actions happening elsewhere at the grassroots–from labor to the LGBT movement to the March 4 Day of Action against the budget cuts in California.

“Things are different now in a number of different contexts. Old ways of doing things are shutting down,” he said. “It excites me…We’re winning a lot–in transformative ways, not in traditional ways.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

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  1. [1] http://socialistworker.org/department/Labor
  2. [2] http://socialistworker.org/2010/03/09/sweeping-victory-for-seiu-reformers
  3. [3] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Condoms = Arrest?

From Ms Magazine

Police policies often discourage sex workers from carrying protection

By NADIA BERENSTEIN

“First [the police officer] asked me what I was doing with all these condoms. Then he took the bag and threw it in the garbage. Then he arrested me.” —A transgender woman in New York City, from a 2009 Sex Workers Project survey.

Sienna Baskin, staff attorney at the Sex Workers Project in New York City, says there’s a question she’s always asked at the “Know Your Rights” workshops she leads for prostitutes and other sex workers: “How many condoms are we legally allowed to carry?”

There is no law in any state in the U.S. restricting condom possession, but if you’re a sex worker, you might have reason to believe there is a legal limit. Law enforcement officers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area routinely confiscate condoms from suspected suspected sex workers, sometimes filing them as evidence of prostitution. Almost everyone interviewed for a recent Sex Workers Project survey, Baskin says, “mentioned a certain number of condoms over which they
felt more concerned about increased harassment.” Cyndee Clay, executive director of D.C.-based Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, says, “It’s a common enough practice that everyone knows about it.”

Keeping a few condoms tucked in your handbag probably won’t land you behind bars—unless police profile you as a possible sex worker. Are you in an area known for street prostitution? Are you a transgender woman? Are you a woman of color? Do you have a prior record? If you answer yes to any of these questions, the number of condoms you’re carrying could suddenly become grounds for suspicion, even if you are not engaging in illegal activity.

Continue reading at: http://msmagazine.com/winter2010/condomsarrest.asp

There have also been cases of AIDS Prevention Workers doing outreach work passing out condoms to sex workers in the streets being harassed and arrested by cops who think it is their duty to enforce some sort of faith based morality and that AIDS is divine retribution on sex workers, especially if those sex workers are trans or gay.

President Obama Breaks Faith with Women

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

March 21, 2010

The National Organization for Women is incensed that President Barack Obama agreed today to issue an executive order designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women’s access to abortion. Through this order, the president has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass.

President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. Contrary to language in the draft of the executive order and repeated assertions in the news, the Hyde Amendment is not settled law — it is an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill. NOW has a longstanding objection to Hyde and, in fact, was looking forward to working with this president and Congress to bring an end to these restrictions. We see now that we have our work cut out for us far beyond what we ever anticipated. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn’t disagree more.

What is Christo-fascism?

Sharon, a friend of mine as well as one of the editors over at TS-SI suggested that perhaps I should define “Christo-fascism” as people react rather harshly to my using that phrase.

I am an atheist.  That means I think the very idea of their being an invisible patriarch in the sky or for that matter an invisible matriarch in the sky is pretty absurd.  I don’t take the cop out of declaring myself spiritual rather than religious because I find all the New Age stuff equally absurd.

Christo-fascists behave in a manner that makes them virtually if not literally identical to Islamo-fascists.  Both demand that the state impose harsh religion based laws that impinge upon the human rights of minority groups within their cultures as well as misogynistically denying women both equality and the right to control their own bodies.

One element of Christo-fascism is the giving of primacy to the fetus over the mother in matters of health and well being, denying abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman carrying the fetus. Thus reducing the value of women’s lives to their bearing of children and justifies all sorts of discrimination based upon the expectation of that being their primary role in life.

At the store where I work I see women and girls clad in the Christian version of the burqa, similar cult like costumes including anachronistic skirts down to the ankles and identical hair styles trailing their home schooled or religious schooled quiver full behind them.

While this can be dismissed as simple cultist behavior, rabid right wing Christianity is impacting our ability to learn actual science in public schools due to their demands that creation mythology be given equal weight to birth of the universe physics and evolution.  Christo-fascism is present in the attempts to rewrite history and present a revisionist version with the founding fathers as Christians when many were Deists at most and were quite likely agnostic free thinkers or even atheist the way Ethan Allen and Thomas Paine were.

Fascism is characterized as a totalitarian form of government with a close partnership between the state and corporations.  Religious fascism be it Christo-fascism or Islamo-fascism can be characterized by the destruction of any wall of separation between church and state.  Religious law is seen to define civil law.

In the past the anti-sodomy laws were an example of such interaction between church and state as are censorship laws.

The anti-abortion, anti-sex education and anti contraception movements led by the rabid right wing Christianist factions are some examples of Christo-fascism.

Christo-fascists are leading the fight against marriage equality.  They are the ones who libel marriage equality with lies, fiction and hyperbole.

They use and abuse their tax exempt status to campaign and raise money to pass laws that deny LGBT/T folks their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.  Their representatives in congress further their goal of the establishment of a theocratic state governed by Biblical Law rather than the Constitution as set forth by our founding fathers.

LGBT/T folks are used as scapegoats utilizing the same playbook and much the same rhetoric found in anti-Semitism and racism with the additional language of perversion and pathology.

The alliance with the rabid right wing politics espoused by the Republican Party is as overt as it is repellent.  Since the years of FDR the conservative movement has aligned itself with policies that closely resemble those of the Axis Powers of WW II.  Open racism, homophobia and misogyny are used as tools to stir near lynch mob violence as a campaign tool.

One sees it in the rhetoric directed towards President Obama by Tea Baggers and Birthers alike. It is as though the Catholics, the Fundamentalists, the John Birchers and KKK have formed a party based on hate.

The Christo-fascists are the storm troopers.

When they oppose same sex marriage they are acting in a manner that is un-American in that they are denying their fellow citizens equal rights as guaranteed in the 14th amendment to the Constitution.  Their lies are of the same nature as the lies propagated in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Now many think I am over reacting.  Yet every day I hear or read a fresh hate spiel.

One of the big stories this year has been regarding “The Family”, a secretive Christo-fascist cabal of ultra right wing Republicans documented by Jeff Sharlet in his book, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power”.

Members of this cabal have been caught supporting the proposed law in Uganda that would make homosexuality a capital offense.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, there are American Christian ministers calling for the same thing.  I am not speaking of the self anointed Fred Phelps and his Klan of inbred neo-Nazis for Jesus.  No, I am speaking of ministers with huge McMega Churches like the ones found in the suburbs of metroplexes across America.

They call for Biblical law and death for homosexuals.  Although that call is remarkably silent when it comes to calling for a death penalty for pedophile priests/ministers.

These calls for Biblical Law are also rather selectively chosen from books like Deuteronomy and Leviticus.  They tend to ignore other equally emphatic prohibitions found in verses surrounding the few minor references one finds to homosexuality.

Fighting the homosexual agenda has become a major fund raiser for these churches in the same manner as fighting women’s access to safe and legal abortion has been. I believe we ignore at our own peril the precedent that has been set by the words of support and lack of condemnation regarding the misogynistic pro-life movement people who have actually gone out and murdered Doctors who provide legal and safe abortions.

Any Christian organization with “Family” in its name is probably a proponent of Manson Family Values and not any sort of valuing of the rights of people. The only people whose rights and families they value are those they consider the chosen, the elect, the saved.

“Born again” bears a startling resemblance to the old battle cry, “The south will rise again!”  While the text features misogyny, homophobia and trans phobia writ large and filled with blood libels the subtext contains the racism and hatred of the poor that so characterize right wing totalitarian ideology.

Pam’s House Blend often gives me all the illustrations I need to make my point regarding Christo-fascism.  Here are a couple of examples I recently gleaned from her blog:

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/15382/know-your-smear-campaign-how-the-catholic-hierarachy-lies-claims-gays-attack-religious-freedom

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/15380/catholic-charities-of-washington-cuts-off-its-nose-to-spite-its-face

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/15374/gary-randall-opposing-death-sentence-for-gays-is-perverted-tolerance

I could go on and go to other references. But here are some names to watch for, people who are clearly Christo-fascists and are very powerful:

Pope Benedict, William Donohue, Tony Perkins, Donald Wildmon, James Dobson.  The list could go on and on, filling this blog for days.

I could back my claims with You Tube videos of their calls for atrocities.

You can live in denial just as people in the 1930s did when Sinclair Lewis wrote “It Can’t Happen Here” or one can be forewarned and forearmed.  I exercise my rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and legally own a firearm for self defense.  Perhaps others who can legally do so should also consider that as an act of prudence.

Random Musings on being the out Liberal Feminist

Some times it is tough being an out Liberal Feminist.

Like when people expect me to think Obama represents me or that I think the Democrats are doing a good job.

When I in fact think that there really isn’t much difference between Democrats and Republican when it comes to representing the common people.  Tonight Obama is expected to announce a freeze on spending for all programs except the War Machine.  Is that any different than the Bush approach of tax cuts and borrowing money to feed the Moloch of the war Machine?

Here is Obama, the first African American President and he is more right wing than Eisenhower.  Hell Ike was a flaming liberal in comparison.

I know, I know I listen to Keith and Rachel as well as  XM Radio Thom Hartman, Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller.  I hear all about all the good things Obama has done, supposedly.

Except even with an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate our party of the so called left, our party that is supposed to represent progressive values hasn’t done shit.  The Republicans got more of their agenda through a Democratic majority Congress for the last 40 years than Obama has.

Two years ago I said “Hope is for dopes. I want programs not platitudes.”  I was a Hillary supporter.  I’m tired of the presidency requiring a dick as a major qualification.  As far as I am concerned having a dick and being a platitude spouting smooth talker was the only qualifications Obama had.  We rightly label Sarah Palin as unqualified because she is just a media creation and we should have done the same to Obama.

But more over this guy kissed up to Rick Warren and The Family, a bunch of religious zealots who are test marketing capital punishment for gays in Uganda.  He professed an admiration for Ronald Reagan, the President who started us on the road to out sourced Free Market hell.

So tonight Obama is planning on announcing he will adopt another part of the Republican agenda of shrinking funding for programs that actually benefit the American people.  But not the military.  After World War I General Smeadly Butler wrote a book titled “War is a Racket“,  As President, General Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us to “Beware of the military industrial complex.

We were supposed to believe Obama was different and would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But we are still there, still murdering people with our outrageously expensive war toys, still torturing, still maiming in the name of freedom.

and I’m not really a liberal because liberals are way to complacent and wishy washy to say, “Not In My Name!”

Celebrating 37 Years of Roe v. Wade: NOW Asserts that Abortion Care is a Human Right

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

January 22, 2010

Today we celebrate the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which recognized a woman’s constitutional right to legal abortion. However, we recognize that in 2010 women’s ability to exercise this basic right is under attack as never before, not only by domestic terrorism but also in the halls of Congress. Just last summer, Wichita physician Dr. George Tiller was murdered as he attended church services, and today his admitted killer is being allowed to make the novel argument that his heinous act was not murder because he was driven by religious zeal. In Washington, after months of debate over health care reform, we find ourselves wondering whether the leadership in Congress and the president we worked so hard to elect in 2008 will ultimately stand up to the Catholic Bishops and other extremists bent on dismantling Roe and reject their demands for sweeping anti-abortion provisions in the reform bill. More than ever, we must fight for women’s fundamental human right to have access to safe and legal abortion.

The names Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts will forever be infamous for their closed-door collusion with the Catholic Bishops to push through an amendment to the House health care reform bill that would effectively choke off all private as well as public insurance coverage for abortion care. If enacted, this provision would deprive tens of millions of women of health insurance they currently have, as nearly 90 percent of today’s private health insurance policies cover abortion. NOW and its allies beat back an attempt to put a nearly identical provision into the Senate health reform bill, only to see a so-called “compromise” inserted at the insistence of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). The Nelson language is better termed a capitulation, as it produces the same end result as Stupak-Pitts.

To those who tell us we should be willing to give up abortion rights in order to get other health care reforms, we respond with a resounding NO. We will not trade off the rights and needs of some women for the benefit of others. What kind of government has the temerity to even suggest that women do so?

On this anniversary, we mourn the beloved Dr. Tiller, who for 33 years courageously defended women’s constitutional right to access safe abortion care. And we express our profound gratitude to other abortion providers, like Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who has vowed to honor Dr. Tiller’s legacy by expanding the services available to women in his own practice and opening another clinic that will treat women in need of late-term abortions. NOW’s leaders and activists around the country will continue to support that mission.

Abortion has once again taken center stage in the current volatile political landscape. This year we pledge to fiercely resist every effort to negotiate, manipulate or hold up for sale our reproductive rights. Neither the bullying of the Catholic Bishops nor the threats of domestic terrorism will force us to turn back. As Dr. Tiller said, “Abortion is about women’s hopes and dreams. Abortion is a matter of survival for women.” Safe, legal and accessible abortion is a basic human right of every woman in this country. We claim it, and we will never give it up.

I Will not Mourn Mary Daly

I am disgusted with some of the blog posts I have read regarding the death of that vile bigot, Mary Daly.

I consider myself a feminist of the left.  Not a cultural feminist of the nature espoused by Daly.  She started out a Catholic theologian.  She was full of crap and mythology when she was a Catholic. She was full of crap and mythology as a feminist.

I for one never believed in ancient matriarchal cultures usurped by a later patriarchy.  I always put her writings regarding the non-supported by archeological finding ancient matriarchies  in the same garbage pail where I put Von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” and the Atlantis myths.

But women born transsexual have a particular reason for not mourning Daly.  The woman was a hateful bigot, the only difference between her and  a KKK Grand Dragon is that she wore academic robe instead of Klan robes.

Daly helped create the language that is used by all anti-transsexual bigots.  In Daly’s book Gyn/Ecology she labeled us as “Frankensteinian”, preaching that transsexualism was a “male problem” (conveniently erasing our T to M brothers).  She is the one who started the bullshit about our existing in a contrived and artificial condition.”

Many of the worst enemies of transsexuals both female and male have been highly respected academics.  Just as often we forget that Universities are factories that serve the same corporate masters as well as governments by generating “facts” (often of dubious nature) and prostituting their reputations to further forces of bigotry and oppression.

Just as highly respected academics in the past have generated research showing people of color to be inferior so to have people like Daly contributed to the oppression and worsening of the lives of people born with transsexualism.

However, Daly’s worst offense, one reported by numerous sources, is in the role she played in furthering the academic career of Janice Raymond.  It is alleged that Daly was conducting a sexual relationship with Raymond at the same time she was serving as adviser to Raymond on her Ph.D. thesis that eventually became “The Transsexual Empire.”  If these charges are true they would call into question the legitimacy of both parties.

Such a challenge to the credibility would call into question the academic standing of both party.

I have read both Daly and Raymond in the past and consider Daly to be at best a minor intellect and her work to belong more in the mythology section than in the feminst section.

Do not expect me to mourn.  In fact I am glad we are rid of the old bigot.

Senate bill includes the Botox tax – Live Pulse: Senate bill includes the Botox tax

November 18, 2009

The bill levies a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery. The provision raises $5 billion and was needed to make the numbers work, according to a Democratic Senate aide.

The Finance Committee considered the tax but dismissed it, in part because it was a public relations battle that senators were not willing to wage.

Page 2045

SEC. 9017. EXCISE TAX ON ELECTIVE COSMETIC MEDICAL PROCEDURES.

(a) IN GENERAL.-Subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

”CHAPTER 49-ELECTIVE COSMETIC MEDICAL PROCEDURES ”Sec. 5000B. Imposition of tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures.

”SEC. 5000B. IMPOSITION OF TAX ON ELECTIVE COSMETIC MEDICAL PROCEDURES.
”(a) IN GENERAL.-There is hereby imposed on any cosmetic surgery and medical procedure a tax equal to 5 percent of the amount paid for such procedure (determined without regard to this section), whether paid by insurance or otherwise.
”(b) COSMETIC SURGERY AND MEDICAL PROCEDURE.-For purposes of this section, the term ‘cosmetic surgery and medical procedure’ means any cosmetic surgery (as defined in section 213(d)(9)(B)) or other similar procedure which-
”(1) is performed by a licensed medical professional, and
”(2) is not necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or disfiguring disease.
”(c) PAYMENT OF TAX.-
”(1) IN GENERAL.-The tax imposed by this section shall be paid by the individual on whom the procedure is performed.
”(2) COLLECTION.-Every person receiving a payment for procedures on which a tax is imposed under subsection (a) shall collect the amount of the tax from the individual on whom the procedure is performed and remit such tax quarterly to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as provided by the Secretary.”(3) SECONDARY LIABILITY.-Where any tax imposed by subsection (a) is not paid at the time payments for cosmetic surgery and medical procedures are made, then to the extent that such tax is not collected, such tax shall be paid by the person who performs the procedure.”.

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-The table of chapters for subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 48 the following new item:
”CHAPTER 49-ELECTIVE COSMETIC MEDICAL PROCEDURES”.

(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by this section shall apply to procedures performed on or after January 1, 2010.

This is potentially discriminatory towards people with either transsexualism or transgenderism, who are already often times excluded from having the procedures they need excluded from Health Insurance coverage, whether explicitly and directly or implicitly as a pre-existing condition.

Procedures other than SRS that bring us more into a place where we can assimilate and avoid some of the employment discrimination are often deemed cosmetic.  FFS and implants certainly would fall within this category.

But for all women there seems to be a really sexist attitude to everything surrounding Health Care Reform.  From Stupak-Pitt Amendments banning abortion coverage to the exclusion of coverage of contraception.  Then this weeks suggestion that there be less screening for breast cancer.

What gives?  I know that the old men of the Catholoc Church, who are the real men in dresses as well as the patriarchs of all the other superstition based patriarch systems of oppression are misogynistic to the core but of late they have become extremely blatent about it.

Perhaps taxing them to pay for these things would be a good idea.  I know they would object that their tax dollar shouldn’t go to things they morally object to but hey I’d rather not pay for non-working over priced war toys.

At the same time no one has suggested eliminating hard on pill or prostate cancer screening.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Give: the gAyTM is officially shut down

Reposted with Pam’s permission

ORIGINAL AT:  http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/14025/dont-ask-dont-give-the-gaytm-is-officially-shut-down

by: Pam Spaulding

Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 16:44:14 PM EST

We’ve talked about the fatigue of being jerked around as a constituency, now several of my fellow bloggers have had enough and I’ve signed on to the effort launched by Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis of Americablog. (FYI (Tues., 3:58 ET: Joe caught me on my cell Monday as I was leaving the cell-free zone in hospital in Brooklyn, so that’s why I didn’t get on the endorsement list until later in the day).

The boycott is cosponsored by Daily Kos, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Andy Towle and Michael Goff of Towle Road, Paul Sousa (Founder of Equal Rep in Boston), Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler (ED of the Equality Campaign, Inc.), Bil Browning for the Bilerico Project, and soon others.

It’s really more of a “pause,” than a boycott. Boycotts sounds so final, and angry. Whereas this campaign is temporary, and is only meant to help some friends – President Obama and the Democratic party – who have lost their way. We are hopeful that via this campaign, our friends will keep their promises.

So please sign the Petition and take a Pledge to no longer donate to the DNC, Organizing for America, or the Obama campaign until the President and the Democratic party keep their promises to the gay community, our families, and our friends.

Why should hard-earned LGBT dollars go to a party fast to line up with its palms outstretched to whisper sweet nothings in our collective ears, then turn away and tell us equality will have to wait until “X” occurs first. We’re not stupid. We just want our funds to go to the people in office or running for office who will focus on passing legislation that the “fierce advocate” can sign, since he’s stated numerous times he’ll sign it if it makes it to his desk. Well, put up or shut up.

Interestingly, one would expect a response to this effort by the HRC to be negative. To the contrary, it looks like a tacit endorsement (FDL):

“Individual donors should always make their own careful assessments of how to spend limited political contributions. We all need to focus on the legislative priorities identified by AmericaBlog and with whatever tactic individuals decide to employ, the ultimate objective needs to be securing the votes we need to move our legislative agenda forward.”

David Dayen notes that “HRC hasn’t given to the DNC this year, as per the policy put in by Obama after his election that the Party cannot accept contributions from organizations structured as a C(4).” And if you read the whole post, other progressive blogs, equally dissatisfied with the powers that be straying from progressive causes, are about ready to call a boycott of donations to the DCCC and the DSCC.FAQs are below the fold.

Pam Spaulding :: Don’t Ask, Don’t Give: the gAyTM is officially shut down

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is this?
We are asking voters to pledge to withhold contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the Obama campaign until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is repealed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed -– all of which President Obama repeatedly promised to do if elected.

Why are you asking people to take this pledge?
Candidate Obama promised during the campaign to be the gay community’s “fierce advocate.” He and the Democratic party have not kept their promise.
Can you give examples of how the President and Democrats have not been fierce advocates for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans?

But won’t your pledge hurt Democrats?
It never hurts Democrats to keep their promises to the voters. The American people respect strong leaders who have the courage to stick to their beliefs. And it will only help Democrats in the next election to stand by their commitments to a core constituency. If Democratic voters aren’t motivated, they won’t vote. We are concerned that the President’s failure to fulfill his promises may suppress voter participation not only from gay Democrats, but from our families, friends and allies. In a very real way, this is an effort to ensure that we get-out-the-vote in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

But if you don’t give money to the DNC, won’t that help elect Republicans who are even worse on gay issues, and other issues Democrats care about?
We are not calling for a boycott of donations to the DNC. We are simply calling for a pause until the party follows through on its campaign promise to repeal DADT and DOMA, and pass ENDA. The party will get the same donations it would have gotten, when the promises are kept. The Democrats could choose to make good on their promise today. And by doing so, they will only further motivate the Democratic base to again turn out for the next election, a decidedly good thing.

You have to admit, gay rights is controversial – wouldn’t it be political suicide for Democrats to push gay rights?
Democrats should not have promised to support gay civil rights rights in exchange for our votes if they never intended to keep the promise. If we’re not controversial during the campaign, when politicians are happy to accept our votes and our money, we cannot accept being labeled controversial after our candidates win. We kept our part of the bargain, we voted for Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress. It’s entirely reasonable for us to ask our elected officials to keep their part of the bargain too.

What’s more, gay rights are not controversial. Americans favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military by a margin of 69% – 26%.  By a margin of 57% – 37%, “A clear majority of Americans (57%) favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples.” That can’t happen if DOMA is the law.  And in fact, if these civil rights promises were controversial, they would have hurt candidate Obama at the polls. But, he proudly and loudly proclaimed his support for LGBT equality, and he won.

No matter how disappointed you are, aren’t Democrats still better than Republicans?
The Republican party is terrible on gay issues. That doesn’t excuse the Democratic party breaking specific promises to the gay community made in exchange for our votes. We didn’t break our promise at the ballot box, the Democrats shouldn’t break theirs after we helped put them into office.

President Obama has only been in office less than a year, why the rush?
In less than a year, serious damage has already been done to the President’s commitments to the gay community. The problem isn’t only that he hasn’t been quick enough to fulfill his promises, it’s that he has actually backtracked on his promises and hurt the cause of civil rights and our community, as detailed above.

But aren’t there bigger priorities than gay rights for the Democrats to deal with, like health care and the economy?
Would President Obama, the DNC and the Congress tell other minorities that their civil rights aren’t important? The suggestion is that Democrats have more important things on the table. When won’t Democrats have more important priorities than the civil rights of gays and lesbians? Will there ever be a day, a year, an administration, when the President and the Congress won’t have serious crises to deal with? Suggesting that gay Americans and their friends and families wait until the President and Congress have nothing else to do is not only insulting, it’s a recipe for never. And regardless, we trust that this President, unlike the previous, can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Who is behind this effort?
John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay, two longtime political operatives in Washington, DC, and the editors of AMERICAblog.com. AMERICAblog has raised over $300,000 for Democratic candidates and progressive causes, including nearly $50,000 for then-candidate Barack Obama, supported by AMERICAblog early in the primaries.

The boycott is cosponsored by Daily Kos, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Andy Towle and Michael Goff of Towle Road, Paul Sousa (Founder of Equal Rep in Boston), Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler (ED of the Equality Campaign, Inc.), Bil Browning for the Bilerico Project, and soon others.

You can contact us at: dncboycott@gmail.com

How can I help?
Sign the pledgetell your friends about this campaign, read the blog, and stay tuned for updates and action alerts on how you help make sure that the President, the Congress and the Democratic party keep their promises to the LGBT community, our families, our friends and our allies.

This is an excellent sweep of top progressive and LGBT bloggers and activists who have signed on right at the outset and many readers are backing this – are you ready to send the party hacks and WH foot-draggers a me$$age?

NOW Opposes Health Care Bill That Strips Millions of Women of Abortion Access

Says Bill Obliterates Women’s Fundamental Right to Choose

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

November 8, 2009

The House of Representatives has dealt the worst blow to women’s fundamental right to self-determination in order to buy a few votes for reform of the profit-driven health insurance industry. We must protect the rights we fought for in Roe v. Wade. We cannot and will not support a health care bill that strips millions of women of their existing access to abortion.

Birth control and abortion are integral aspects of women’s health care needs. Health care reform should not be a vehicle to obliterate a woman’s fundamental right to choose.

The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:

  • Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.

NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill that respects women’s constitutionally protected right to abortion and calls on President Obama to refuse to sign any health care bill that restricts women’s access to affordable, quality reproductive health care.

Christo-Fascists and Republi-Nazis Rape of Women’s Rights

There is a word for not having the right to control your own reproductive rights including having free access to any form of birth control you wish to employ including abortion.  That word is slavery.
There is a word for the core belief of both Republicans and Christians, the word is misogyny
There is a word for the Democrats.  Cowards.

From the New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was late Friday night and lawmakers were stalling for time. In a committee room, they yammered away, delaying a procedural vote on the historic health care legislation. Down one floor, in her office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi desperately tried to deal with an issue that has bedeviled Democrats for more than a generation — abortion.

After hours of heated talks, the people she was trying to convince — some of her closest allies — burst angrily out of her office.

Her attempts at winning them over had failed, and Ms. Pelosi, the first woman speaker and an ardent defender of abortion rights, had no choice but to do the unthinkable. To save the health care bill she had to give in to abortion opponents in her party and allow them to propose tight restrictions barring any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions.

The restrictions were necessary to win support for the overall bill from abortion opponents who threatened to scuttle the health care overhaul.

It is time to tax the churches.  They are nothing but lie peddling hate machines.  There is no god.

I Guess Women Aren’t That Good At Writing After All

As a blogger and writer still working on my first book I receive mail from “She Writes”, a mailing list for women writers.  And I just know many of you think the struggle for women’s equality has been won and that male privilege is a thing of the past but…

From She Writes:
Wow, did I feel good yesterday. 5000 women writers here. A depth and breadth of talent that takes my breath away. We write fiction, we write memoir, we write scifi; we are bestsellers, we are award winners, we are just starting out; we are working hard, we are writing well; we are…not as good at it as men are.

Or at least that seems to be the opinion of Publishers’ Weekly, which published its “Best Books of 2009″ list on November 2nd and could not see its way to including a single book by a woman without destroying its integrity or betraying its unassailable good taste. Apparently books by women just aren’t as good. Sorry, girls! Poor PW, they felt really badly about it. According to the novelist and journalist Louisa Ermelino, the editors at PW bent over backwards to be objective as they chose the Best Books of the year. “We ignored gender and genre and who had the buzz. We gave fair chance to the ‘big’ books of the year, but made them stand on their own two feet. It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male.”

It “disturbed” you? In what way exactly? Like, did it make you think, “we are insane?” Try to imagine if they had come out with a list of the Best Books of 2009 and it had included ZERO MEN. Try to imagine if Amazon had released its Best Books of 2009 and it had included only TWO men. I know it’s hard. But just try.

And in case you think ALL men got the star treatment from PW, you should also know that only ONE of the men on the list isn’t a white dude. Naturally he is the dude on the cover. (More on that in a post to come.)

I have never felt clearer about why I started She Writes. It is time to start making our own lists. On that note I am issuing our first She Writes call to action. Tell us what YOU believe are the top ten best books of 2009 thus far. Written by men or women, please — fiction or nonfiction. Be as objective as you can, with the awareness that lists of the “best” anything are subjective in the end. We are not trying to generate a list of books only by women. I’m guessing there will be some overlap with the lists Amazon and PW put together. I am also guessing we will somehow, some way, find a book or two by a woman that can stand on its own two feet.

Click here to give us your list of the Top Ten Best Books of 2009.

We will announce our She Writes Top Ten list two weeks from today.

In the meantime, I will be featuring posts from our membership on this subject. Please feel free to share your lists and alert me when you do. Cate Marvin and Erin Belieu, co-founders of the much needed new literary organization WILLA (Women in Letters and Literary Arts), will be discussing their reaction to PW’s list (and Amazon’s) in a conversation we will post on She Writes in the next few days.

A parting thought: my friend and colleague Gloria Feldt, who also happens to be one of the most inspiring and important thought-leaders on women and leadership in the country, likes to cite a pair of statistics that speak volumes: women make 85% of the consumer buying decisions in this country; women are 17% of Congress.

Here’s another one for you: 65% of books sold in the U.S. are purchased by women; women wrote 0% of the Best Books of 2009. Really

Must Read Book Recommendation: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

On Thursday I picked up Gail Collins book: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

I am about 80 pages into it and I am constantly going yes I remember.  I was born in 1947 and came of age in 1965 so I entered adulthood at the same time as the anti-war movement, the birth of second wave feminism and the gay and lesbian liberation movements.

From about 1960 onward my parents knew of my transsexualism.  Our lives were like a Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee drama as they came to see that my being a teen queen transkid was not something I was going to grow out of.  It speaks highly of my parents working class liberal values that they did not throw me to the wolves by kicking me out and instead let me finish school.  Even encouraging me along with the yelling.

My mother read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique as soon as it came out in paperback.  When she finished it she handed it to me and said, “You really think you  want to be a woman.  You had better read this and learn what it really means to be a woman, maybe you will change your mind.”

It didn’t change my mind but it prepared me for the reality sandwich I had to eat when I came out in 1969.  The glow lasted perhaps a few days and then the analysis set in and I was on the path to becoming a full blown feminist as the alternative was unacceptable.

I can start fights among people with either transsexualism or transgenderism simply by mentioning the phrase “male privilege”.  Oh the denial and gnashing of teeth and the wailing claims of never having had male privilege, when simply not being made in to a little princess and being raised to be the subject and not the object is male privilege.

Buy the book.  Read it.  It is a Red Pill that helps you to see reality in a world where mass media fills our heads with bullshit aimed at selling us oppressive gender roles along with the cheap crap from China.

A Modest Proposal: The Future Role of Private Health Insurance

Over the past few days several articles have appeared that have simply given me pause to ponder moments.
One WTF moment was caused the following Headline from Raw Story

Democrats’ healthcare bill would pay for ‘prayer’ treatment

http://rawstory.com/2009/11/democrats-healthcare-bill-pay-prayer-treatment/
What the fuck?
Yet on Tuesday 11/03/09
By John Byrne reported

What do Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have in common?

A soft spot for Christian Scientists.

The three senators have quietly inserted a provision into the Democrats’ healthcare overhaul that would allow the Christian Science church to receive remuneration from the federal government for prayer treatments as medical expenses.

Why are liberal Democrats teaming up with a conservative senator for a provision that would normally be the bane of the Senate’s liberal elite? Because the headquarters of the Christian Science church is in Boston.

“The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments — which substitute for or supplement medical treatments — on the same footing as clinical medicine,” the Los Angeles Times’ Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger, who found the measure, write. “While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against ‘religious and spiritual healthcare.’”

See the full story at the above link.

The news this week has been full of these What the Fuck stories of government kowtowing to the Christo-Fascists and helping them to install the Christer version of Sharia.

The same day the Washington Post ran the following:

Democrats’ concerns over abortion may imperil health bill

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/02/AR2009110203232.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Bloc could withhold support over fears of a governmental role

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

While House leaders are moving toward a vote on health-care legislation by the end of the week, enough Democrats are threatening to oppose the measure over the issue of abortion to create a question about its passage.

House leaders were still negotiating Monday with the bloc of Democrats concerned about abortion provisions in the legislation, saying that they could lead to public funding of the procedure. After an evening meeting of top House Democrats, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said, “We are making progress,” but added that they had not reached an agreement.

The outcome of those talks could be crucial in deciding the fate of the health-care bill. Democrats need the vast majority of their caucus to back the bill, since nearly all congressional Republicans have said they will oppose the legislation.

“I will continue whipping my colleagues to oppose bringing the bill to the floor for a vote until a clean vote against public funding for abortion is allowed,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Monday in a statement. He said last week that 40 Democrats could vote with him to oppose the legislation — enough to derail the bill.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, cast Stupak as “attempting to ban abortion coverage in the private insurance market.”

We already have Health insurance companies that will pay for dead dick pills for men whose gluttonous consumption of greasy fast food and obesity has led them to take medications that all have impotence as a side effect.  These same “Health Insurance” companies routinely refuse to fund not only abortion but birth control for women.

Any bets on their willingness to fund sex reassignment surgery?

I have an answer on that one courtesy of Brenda Lana Smith’s news mailing list.

US – Social conservatives are working to ensure that federal funding for sex change operations will be banned in the health reform bill.…

[2009-11-04 Politico]

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29164.html

Conservatives shop sex ops ban to GOP

By JONATHAN ALLEN

11/04/09 9:00 PM EST

The federal government would be banned from funding sex change operations and other services for transgender individuals if social conservative activists get their way.

There’s no sponsor yet for an amendment to the health care overhaul – and it may remain in the dustbin of unrealized wedge issues – but culture warriors are shopping the proposal to Republican senators.

The language is written: “None of the funds authorized or appropriated under this act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be used to cover any part or portion of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of” any sex or gender reassignment procedure,  surgery related to such a sex change, hormone therapy for a sex change or pre- and post-operation treatments for a sex change.

A senior aide to a Republican senator said that a public insurance plan could easily end up covering sex-change procedures if that’s not specifically banned in the bill.

Follow the link above for the full article.
The misogynistic, homophobic neo-Nazi bigots of the Republican Party and their lynch mobs of bigoted thugs want the enforcement of Christo-fascist Sharia through the government in a manner that is the complete opposite of the intent of the framers of our Constitution.

Remember Jefferson posited a wall of separation between Church and State.  The Nazi like Republicans want the state to not only endorse their superstition based bigotry but to institute Christian Sharia in the process.

They embrace Confederate family values to the point where they ignore the 14th amendment to the Constitution.

I have come to see their “conservative” movement as growing out of the same ideological well spring as the KKK, the John Birch Society and Father Charles Edward Coughlin.  Nazis or Nazi sympathizers one and all.

They hated Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and later the “Fair Deal”, the War on Poverty even though it helped thousands rise above a life of poverty and despair.  They have warred against unions to the point where unions no longer protect the vast majority of workers who have seen their lives reduced to virtual slavery, subjected to the indignity of involuntary searches in the form of drug tests.

Employer provided health insurance is a luxury enjoyed by the rapidly dwindling middle class while many of us are on the stay healthy or die program beloved by both the rich elite scum who run the health insurance corporations and the Republicans alike.

But you can always trust the Nazi like impulses of the Republicans to attack women’s right to control their own bodies and now to attack the new sacrificial lambs, transsexual and transgender people.

And you can always trust the cowardly Democrats to cave to this as they cower in fear of being called socialists or communists.

So we see Democrats offering to include “Prayer Care”

I promised a modest proposal. Here it is.

Get the private health insurance companies out of the business by instituting National Health Insurance funded by taxes paid by everyone.  So what if the rightwing Christian Republicans object that they do not to fund this plan.  There have been a whole lot of imperialistic wars and worthless war toys I would have rather not helped pay for but I did because that is the price of citizenship.

Let the Republicans and Christians who hate National Health insurance opt out and buy private insurance that we could call, “Christian Care”.  Christian Care could cover make your dick hard pills and treatment with the money saved from not providing health and reproductive care for women.  They would of course cover all costs of quiver full artificially induced multiple births with the money they save from treating older women.  Since the only function many of these ultra right wing Christians see women as having is the pleasing of men and bearing of children they could save a bundle of money by cutting off care for women past the age of menopause unless their husbands buy supplemental “Christian Care” packages.

Since everything is in “god’s hands” in the first and last place (alpha and omega babble) Christian Care could use prayer teams instead of expensive surgery and trained specialists.

There was a reason why the right wingers of the 19th century formed the Know Nothing Party.

Senate Passes Transinclusive Hate Crimes Legislation

Below are announcements from:

National Center for Transgender Equality

(October 22, 2009, Washington, DC) In an historic move, the United States Senate, by a vote of 68 to 29, joined the House of Representatives in passing The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which will be the first federal law to include gender identity and transgender people. Once signed by the President, this law will add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law and will allow local governments who are unable or unwilling to address hate crimes to receive assistance from the federal government. President Obama has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.

“Transgender people have been waiting so many years for assistance from the federal government in addressing the rampant and disproportional violence that we face,” noted Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Today we move one step closer to our goal of ending violence motivated by hatred.  Everyone in America deserves to live free of fear and of violence. We know that the dedicated leadership and hard work of Senator Kennedy and Representative Conyers and many other legislators made the passage of this bill possible. Words can’t really express our gratitude for their commitment to equality for all people.”

In the past, federal law has only mentioned gender identity in a negative context, such as explicitly excluding transgender people from the Americans with Disabilities Act. The passage of the hate crimes bill marks a significant turning point from the days in which the federal government contributed to the oppression of transgender people to today when federal law takes action to protect our lives.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will have a number of positive impacts. First, it will help educate law enforcement about the frequent hate violence against transgender people and the need to prevent and appropriately address it.  Second, it will help provide federal expertise and resources when it is needed to overcome a lack of resources or the willful inaction on the part of local and/or state law enforcement.  Third, it will help educate the public that violence against anyone is unacceptable and illegal.

Transgender people continue to be disproportionately targeted for bias motivated violence. Thirteen states and Washington, DC have laws which include transgender people in state hate crimes laws.

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: Passage of federal hate crimes bill marks ‘milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans’

October 22, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT:
Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

“With his signature, President Obama will usher in a new era — one in which hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will no longer be tolerated.”
— National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund called today’s Senate passage of federal hate crimes legislation “a milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans” and the entire country. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will help protect people against violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, gender, national origin and disability by extending the federal hate crimes statute. It will provide critical federal resources to state and local agencies to equip local officers with the tools they need to prosecute hate crimes. The House passed the bill Oct. 8. It now moves to President Obama, who has vowed to sign it.

The Task Force has been a key leader in the effort to secure an effective and full government response to hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, beginning with the launch of its groundbreaking anti-violence project in 1982, up to today’s victory. Get more details here about the Task Force’s longtime work on hate crimes.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

“Today’s vote marks a milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The hate crimes bill now shifts to the president. With his signature, President Obama will usher in a new era — one in which hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will no longer be tolerated. Our country will finally take an unequivocal stand against the bigotry that too often leads to violence against LGBT people, simply for being who they are.

“Americans are hungry for this type of positive change. They do not want to see their LGBT friends, family, neighbors and co-workers subjected to violence simply for living their lives. Laws embody the values of our nation; when this critical legislation becomes law, our nation will — once and for all — send the unmistakable message that it rejects and condemns hate violence against its people.

“We thank all the federal lawmakers who have supported this effort, both today and over the years. We are on the cusp of a new, and better, chapter in America.”

More on the Task Force’s work on hate crimes legislation

Passage of hate crimes legislation stems from decades of work, much of it spearheaded by the Task Force, including:

  • In 1982, the Task Force founded the groundbreaking anti-violence project, the first national organizing project for anti-LGBT hate crimes.
  • In 1990, the Task Force secured the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, in large part justified by the Task Force’s own statistics on hate crimes against LGBT people. The Hate Crimes Statistics Act was pushed so that national data could build the foundation for a hate crimes law.
  • Murders and arsons, some anti-LGBT and others based on race and other characteristics, led President Bill Clinton to call for a White House Summit on Hate Crimes in 1997, attended by then-Task Force Executive Director Kerry Lobel, where she delivered a petition signed by LGBT people all over the country asking for a serious response to anti-LGBT hate crimes. Out of this meeting, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (the predecessor to today’s legislation) was written; it fixed several problems with the existing hate crimes law on race, religion and national origin, and added sexual orientation, gender and disability to the law.
  • In 2001, the Task Force started its work to add gender identity to the bill. Over the course of years and bringing along coalition partners, the Task Force secured a “gender identity” addition into the House legislation in 2005, with the Senate bill becoming transgender-inclusive in 2007.
  • The Task Force continued to advocate for the bill’s passage, repeatedly activating its membership.
  • In 2009, when the hate crimes bill was added to the Department of Defense authorization bill and a death penalty provision was added in the Senate, the Task Force spoke out about the immorality of inclusion of the death penalty and activated its grassroots to urge the provision be struck from the final language. The conference committee ultimately removed the capital punishment language.
Posted in Feminist, Hate Crimes, Lesbian, LGBT/T. Comments Off

Pinked

Yesterday was my day off and we went to see the Michael Moore’s film Capitalism: A Love Story down at the Magnolia Theater in the Village.

Afterward we went to a Borders Books so I could use one of the discount coupons they bombard me with.  Among other things I picked up a paper copy of Mother Jones Magazine.

From Mother Jones Magazine

Articles like this one are reason enough to support the independent muck raking and nay saying publications such as Mother Jones and In These Times

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2009/09/code-pink

Code Pink

By Lauren Sandler | Mon October 12, 2009 7:00 AM PST

WHEN MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN about a year ago, I was suddenly buried in pink. The only gender-neutral clothing appearing on my doorstep was the brown uniform of the guy delivering piles of packages containing untold yardage of powder-pink cloth: pale-pink blankets to swaddle pale-pink diaper covers, monochromatic onesies and rompers that redundantly announced “baby girl” in contrasting embroidery. (Thank God my generous gift givers did not send any of those bow-festooned headbands designed to confirm the femininity of a bald infant.)

We’ve come a long way from my early-’70s childhood. Those were good days to be an ungirly girl: I wore work boots while sharing a sandbox with the progeny of some of the authors of Our Bodies, Ourselves. In those circles, it would have been absurd to suggest that girls’ clothing be exclusively stitched with butterflies and blossoms or that boys be clad in T-shirts emblazoned with something requiring an engineering degree to build. Such totalizing distinctions were seen as defunct at best, and at worst, harmful. Yet many of the self-described feminists who had dressed their own children in primary colors and overalls were now deluging me with enough pink to adorn a Barbie convention. What happened?

Maybe they were just buying what’s out there. Kids’ clothing stores are sharply divided into boys’ and girls’ sections, with no demilitarized zone in between. Healthtex touts its toddler boys’ line as “rich with fun, rough and tough images of cars, dinosaurs and animals in vivid bright colors”; its girls’ line is “adorable with flower art and embroidery in light and airy colors.” Restoration Hardware’s nursery designs are exclusively pink or blue, as is almost all of Pottery Barn’s kids’ line. Everywhere you look, American kids appear to be waging a national color war.

Despite the aura of old-fashioned wholesomeness that surrounds it, the pink-blue phenomenon is actually a fairly recent one. Only in the last century have American babies worn any color at all: Throughout the 19th century, children of both sexes were dressed in long white gowns. When gendered palettes came into vogue in the first two decades of the 20th century, boys were assigned pink and girls blue. This was a nod to symbolism that associated red with manliness; pink was considered its kid-friendly shade. Blue was the color of the Virgin Mary’s veil and connoted femininity. In 1918, Ladies’ Home Journal advised mothers that “pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

By the late ’30s and early ’40s, the color code flipped. It’s not entirely clear why—Shirley Temple’s light-pink dresses? Navy-blue wartime uniforms?—but by the time the baby boom kicked in, the his and hers hues we take for granted were firmly established. Pop psychology and salesmanship intertwined as trade publications urged clothing store managers to segregate boys’ clothing from girls’ after age two, since little boys “feared” being perceived as girly. In 1959, the New York Times quoted a children’s clothing buyer, “A mother will allow her girl to wear blue, but daddy will never permit his son to wear pink.” Conveniently, the fashion split also meant that families with boys and girls had to shell out for at least two separate new wardrobes—for the rest of the kids’ childhood.

Fast-forward five decades, and the marketing of color-coded gender differences has entered a new phase—one that author Peggy Orenstein has described as the “relentless resegregation of childhood.” Whether fueled by anti-feminist backlash, third-wave feminists reclaiming their girliness, or the trickling down of the Juicy Couture aesthetic, bruiser boys and dainty girls are big business. The ITP—infants, toddlers, and preschoolers—apparel market is expected to be worth $20 billion next year. Disney recently announced plans to expand its $4 billion Princess franchise, originally aimed at three- to six-year-olds, into baby products. The brand’s head told the Wall Street Journal that the move was merely a response to “highly gender aware” moms who’d tired of cute yet asexual characters like Winnie the Pooh. The Princess line even has its own dedicated shade of pink: Pantone 241. As Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist and the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps—and What We Can Do About It, wonders, “In today’s hypermarketed world, what niche is easier to exploit than male or female?”

Yet beyond sapping parents’ paychecks and offending feminist sensibilities, does the current wave of pinkness actually have any negative effects on kids? After all, it’s not as if gender equality defined the epoch when babes were all tangled up in the lacy hems of white gowns. Pink itself isn’t the problem; it’s the message it conveys. That troubling message, explains Eliot in her sharp, information-packed, and wonderfully readable book, is that girls and boys are deeply dissimilar creatures from day one. She argues that the pink-blue split shapes some enduring assumptions about babies’ emotional lives—at a time when girls’ and boys’ brains are almost entirely alike. Eliot notes a study in which researchers concealed infants’ sex by dressing them in gender-neutral garb or referring to them by a popular name of the opposite sex. When adults were asked to describe the babies’ behavior, the “boys” were often said to be “angry” or “distressed”; the “girls” were thought to be “joyful” or “quiet.” Throw in some pink headbands and suddenly baby girls are from Venus.

Kids quickly get wrapped up in the pink-and-blue world. In an investigation into what was termed the PFD—Pink Frilly Dress—phenomenon, a team of social psychologists from New York University found that as early as age two, children’s sense of gender is heavily based upon notions of color and dress, with little girls becoming adamantly attached to pink. One mother reported that she had to prove to her three-year-old daughter that every single pink article of clothing she owned was in the laundry—literally showing her the soiled clothes—before the little girl would agree to wear any other color. (To be fair, that’s pretty typical picky toddler behavior.) Likewise, kids latch on to gendered toys like Thomas the Tank Engine (blue) and Dora the Explorer (pink). When offered a choice of a typical “boy” or “girl” plaything, three-year-old boys are 97 percent more likely to pick a toy like a truck.

Plenty of arguments have been made for why children gravitate toward trucks or dolls—boys like motion, girls are nurturing—yet no one has reliably proved that kids are hardwired with these preferences. As Eliot points out, “neither trucks nor dolls existed a hundred thousand years ago, when the human genome stabilized into its current sequence.”

But the theory that the PFD is rooted in our evolutionary past dies hard. Two years ago, neuroscientists from Newcastle University suggested that women are drawn to pinks and reds because their prehistoric ancestors had to be attuned to ripe berries and feverish infants. Early men, on the other hand, were connoisseurs of blue—a sign of good weather for hunting. Fortunately, most academic responses to this study suggested that it was a shade of bovine-manufactured brown.

But no matter how dubious their results, the media buzz about such studies adds to the popular suspicion that we can’t defy our evolutionary urges, which feeds back into the idea that it’s harmless—and maybe even essential—to indulge our kids’ inner princesses and train engineers. “The more we parents hear about hard-wiring and biological programming, the less we bother tempering our pink or blue fantasies,” writes Eliot.

Yet is pink really the gateway color to painting your nails in science class or an appearance in Girls Gone Wild? Buried in the PFD study is the reassurance that the pink phase is just that; many elementary-school-aged girls told the researchers that they had outgrown pink and now refused to wear it. Does that mean that these girls have also shed the “math is hard” mentality that we fear lurks in the folds of crinoline? Perhaps: Notably, the pink tidal wave has crested at the very moment that girls have caught up with—and often outperform—boys in the classroom. Now pundits and parents fret that it’s boys who are getting left behind, victims of a new bias against boyishness.

Clearly, trucks and tiaras are not destiny. Despite the racing set in my childhood bedroom, I still can’t drive a car, much less fix what’s under the hood. My closet is stuffed with high heels and dresses with cinched waists. I’d like to think that I chose my girliness, not the other way around.

And I’m ultimately more freaked out about the prospect of my daughter wearing tween-size thongs than pint-size princess outfits. Besides, I’ll admit that bright pink lights up her cheeks, and I’m happy to pair it occasionally with some cargo jeans from the boys’ department or a charcoal shirt. I’ve had quite a few of those on hand ever since I dumped a mass of pink presents into a giant lobster pot on my stove top, poured in some dye, and turned them a lovely shade of gray.

See Also: http://womenborntranssexual.com/2009/04/26/green-blankets/

Abstinence-Only Education Shouldn’t Make the Cut

NOW Press Release: http://www.now.org/lists/now-action-list/msg00404.html

Abstinence-Only Education Shouldn’t Make the Cut

Abstinence-only education is dangerous and ineffective, and has no place in our health care reform legislation. But Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) abstinence-only-until-marriage amendment has been tucked in with the health care reform legislation — and we need your help to strike it when it reaches Senate floor. Women everywhere need the Senate to support comprehensive sex education programs, not ideological crusades.

Take action NOW!

Tell your senators…
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Action Needed:

Please take time now to call or e-mail your senators to urge that the Hatch abstinence-only-until-marriage amendment be eliminated from health care reform legislation, and that they strongly support a comprehensive approach to sex education.

Two amendments regarding sex education were passed with the health care reform legislation in the Senate Finance Committee: one by Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) authorizing federal funding for comprehensive sex education programs and one by Sen. Hatch to restore funds for abstinence-only programs.

When health care reform legislation reaches the Senate floor, we need to ensure Congress only supports a comprehensive approach to sex education and does not promote dangerous and ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that put young women and girls at serious risk. In contacting your senators, you can use our formatted message or create one in your own words.

Background:

The Good News:

In the Senate Finance Committee, The Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training amendment passed 14-9 with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) joining all the Democrats voting in favor. The amendment offered by Sen. Baucus (D-Mont.) provides $75 million for states for evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate programs to educate adolescents about both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, as well as for research and evaluation.

These types of sex education programs provide students with information they can use and have a proven track record of decreasing unintended pregnancy and STIs. They give young women and girls the knowledge that empowers them to live their lives without fear of STIs and pregnancy.

Reviews of published evaluations of sexuality education, HIV-prevention, and adolescent pregnancy-prevention programs have consistently found that they:

  • do not encourage teens to start having sexual intercourse
  • do not increase the frequency with which teens have intercourse, and
  • do not increase the number of sexual partners teens have.

Instead these programs can:

  • delay the onset of intercourse
  • reduce the frequency of intercourse
  • reduce the number of sexual partners, and
  • increase condom or other contraceptive use.

The Bad News:

Also in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Hatch’s amendment to reinstate $50 million per year to the failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program passed by a razor-thin margin of 12-11 with Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) joining all the Republicans voting in favor. The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program expired on June 30, at which time nearly half of the states had refused it both because of the restrictive nature of the program and the fact that overwhelming evidence revealed these programs to be ineffective, dangerous for young women and girls, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

These programs rely on negative messages about sexuality, distort information about condoms and STIs, and promote biases based on gender, sexual orientation, marriage, family structure, and pregnancy options.

Ridiculous Study Blames Feminism for Non-Existent ‘Happiness Gap’ Between Men and Women

From Alternet:  Original posting at:

http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/143260/ridiculous_study_blames_feminism_for_non-existent_%27happiness_gap%27_between_men_and_women_

By Barbara Ehrenreich, Tomdispatch.com
Posted on October 14, 2009, Printed on October 14, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/143260/

Feminism made women miserable. This, anyway, seems to be the most popular takeaway from “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” a recent study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers which purports to show that women have become steadily unhappier since 1972. Maureen Dowd and Arianna Huffington greeted the news with somber perplexity, but the more common response has been a triumphant: I told you so.

On Slate’s DoubleX website, a columnist concluded from the study that “the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s gave us a steady stream of women’s complaints disguised as manifestos… and a brand of female sexual power so promiscuous that it celebrates everything from prostitution to nipple piercing as a feminist act — in other words, whine, womyn, and thongs.” Or as Phyllis Schlafly put it, more soberly: “[T]he feminist movement taught women to see themselves as victims of an oppressive patriarchy in which their true worth will never be recognized and any success is beyond their reach… [S]elf-imposed victimhood is not a recipe for happiness.”

But it’s a little too soon to blame Gloria Steinem for our dependence on SSRIs. For all the high-level head-scratching induced by the Stevenson and Wolfers study, hardly anyone has pointed out (1) that there are some issues with happiness studies in general, (2) that there are some reasons to doubt this study in particular, or (3) that, even if you take this study at face value, it has nothing at all to say about the impact of feminism on anyone’s mood.

For starters, happiness is an inherently slippery thing to measure or define. Philosophers have debated what it is for centuries, and even if we were to define it simply as a greater frequency of positive feelings than negative ones, when we ask people if they are happy, we are asking them to arrive at some sort of average over many moods and moments. Maybe I was upset earlier in the day after I opened the bills, but then was cheered up by a call from a friend, so what am I really?

In one well-known psychological experiment, subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire on life satisfaction, but only after they had performed the apparently irrelevant task of photocopying a sheet of paper for the experimenter. For a randomly chosen half of the subjects, a dime had been left for them to find on the copy machine. As two economists summarize the results: “Reported satisfaction with life was raised substantially by the discovery of the coin on the copy machine — clearly not an income effect.”

As for the particular happiness study under discussion, the red flags start popping up as soon as you look at the data. Not to be anti-intellectual about it, but the raw data on how men and women respond to the survey reveal no discernible trend to the naked eyeball. Only by performing an occult statistical manipulation called “ordered probit estimates,” do the authors manage to tease out any trend at all, and it is a tiny one: “Women were one percentage point less likely than men to say they were not too happy at the beginning of the sample [1972]; by 2006 women were one percentage more likely to report being in this category.” Differences of that magnitude would be stunning if you were measuring, for example, the speed of light under different physical circumstances, but when the subject is as elusive as happiness — well, we are not talking about paradigm-shifting results.

Furthermore, the idea that women have been sliding toward despair is contradicted by the one objective measure of unhappiness the authors offer: suicide rates. Happiness is, of course, a subjective state, but suicide is a cold, hard fact, and the suicide rate has been the gold standard of misery since sociologist Emile Durkheim wrote the book on it in 1897. As Stevenson and Wolfers report — somewhat sheepishly, we must imagine — “contrary to the subjective well-being trends we document, female suicide rates have been falling, even as male suicide rates have remained roughly constant through most of our sample [1972-2006].” Women may get the blues; men are more likely to get a bullet through the temple.

Another distracting little data point that no one, including the authors, seems to have much to say about is that, while “women” have been getting marginally sadder, black women have been getting happier and happier. To quote the authors: “… happiness has trended quite strongly upward for both female and male African Americans … Indeed, the point estimates suggest that well-being may have risen more strongly for black women than for black men.” The study should more accurately be titled “The Paradox of Declining White Female Happiness,” only that might have suggested that the problem could be cured with melanin and Restylane.

But let’s assume the study is sound and that (white) women have become less happy relative to men since 1972. Does that mean that feminism ruined their lives?

Not according to Stevenson and Wolfers, who find that “the relative decline in women’s well-being… holds for both working and stay-at-home mothers, for those married and divorced, for the old and the young, and across the education distribution” — as well as for both mothers and the childless. If feminism were the problem, you might expect divorced women to be less happy than married ones and employed women to be less happy than stay-at-homes. As for having children, the presumed premier source of female fulfillment: They actually make women less happy.

And if the women’s movement was such a big downer, you’d expect the saddest women to be those who had some direct exposure to the noxious effects of second wave feminism. As the authors report, however, “there is no evidence that women who experienced the protests and enthusiasm in the 1970s have seen their happiness gap widen by more than for those women were just being born during that period.”

What this study shows, if anything, is that neither marriage nor children make women happy. (The results are not in yet on nipple piercing.) Nor, for that matter, does there seem to be any problem with “too many choices,” “work-life balance,” or the “second shift.” If you believe Stevenson and Wolfers, women’s happiness is supremely indifferent to the actual conditions of their lives, including poverty and racial discrimination. Whatever “happiness” is…

So why all the sudden fuss about the Wharton study, which first leaked out two years ago anyway? Mostly because it’s become a launching pad for a new book by the prolific management consultant Marcus Buckingham, best known for First, Break All the Rules and Now, Find Your Strengths. His new book, Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, is a cookie-cutter classic of the positive-thinking self-help genre: First, the heart-wrenching quotes from unhappy women identified only by their email names (Countess1, Luveyduvy, etc.), then the stories of “successful” women, followed by the obligatory self-administered test to discover “the role you were bound to play” (Creator, Caretaker, Influencer, etc.), all bookended with an ad for the many related products you can buy, including a “video introduction” from Buckingham, a “participant’s guide” containing “exercises” to get you to happiness, and a handsome set of “Eight Strong Life Plans” to pick from. The Huffington Post has given Buckingham a column in which to continue his marketing campaign.

It’s an old story: If you want to sell something, first find the terrible affliction that it cures. In the 1980s, as silicone implants were taking off, the doctors discovered “micromastia” — the “disease” of small-breastedness. More recently, as big pharma searches furiously for a female Viagra, an amazingly high 43% of women have been found to suffer from “Female Sexual Dysfunction,” or FSD. Now, it’s unhappiness, and the range of potential “cures” is dazzling: Seagrams, Godiva, and Harlequin, take note.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of 16 books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper’s and the Nation, she has also been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine. Her seventeenth book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan Books), has just been published.

© 2009 Tomdispatch.com All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/143260/

An Injury to One Is an Injury to All

Republished with Ron Jacobs permission

["An injury to one is an injury to all" was a slogan of the anarchist labor union the IWW, commonly referred to as the Wobblies.]

Dissident Voice – USA
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/09/an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all/

An Interview With Sherry Wolf

by Ron Jacobs / September 29th, 2009

On October 11th, 2009, a march billed as the National March for Equality will take place in Washington, DC. The organizers of the march are organizing under a single demand: “Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” Their website states their philosophy in an equally succinct manner: “As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.” One of the speakers at the march will be author and organizer Sherry
Wolf. As I wrote in a review of her recently released book Sexuality and Socialism: “No other work that comes to my mind explains the history of sexuality and sexual repression in the United States as comprehensively and compellingly.” Wolf is currently touring the United States talking about her book and organizing for the October 11th march. I was able to get in touch with her while she was in Boston and we had the following email exchange.

Ron Jacobs: Hi Sherry. To begin, can you tell the readers about the March for Equality? What is the impetus behind it? Who put out the original call?

Sherry Wolf: David Mixner, who worked as an Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBGT) liaison in the Clinton administration and Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s collaborator and who launched the Names Project AIDS Quilt, put out the call for this march back in June. It was met with horror and opposition from many of the more established, corporate financed national LGBT groups. However, with momentum building at the grassroots, organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF thankfully came on board, though they do not run the organizing efforts nor are they shaping the program. This march will not be brought to you by Miller Beer or Citibank!

The (mostly) younger activists at the forefront of mobilizing this march online and on campuses and in communities are sick of the gradualist approach that has dominated our movement for years. The single demand for full equality for all LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law really strikes a chord with activists such as myself and this new generation who find the incrementalist—state-by-state, issue-by-issue—strategy of the LGBT establishment to be a failed one.

RJ: I know that in your book Sexuality and Socialism you talk about the corporatization of the Gay Pride movement and its concurrent moving away from an identification with other disenfranchised and oppressed groups in the US. What would you say is the political identity this march hopes to put forth to the people of the United States?

SW: In a sense, the initiative for this march only underscores the ramifications of my arguments in Sexuality and Socialism. No more crumbs. Enough going hat in hand to Congress and waiting for some tweak in the laws. We want it all!

I got involved in helping to organize this march because I simply find it unendurable that gay politicians like Barney Frank are among the first to argue that demanding equality for LGBT people is the third rail of American politics. This march is about seeking, essentially, to be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have all of our rights respected once and for all.

We will have the NAACP’s Julian Bond, UNITE Here’s John Wilhelm, young, multiracial new activists like Aiyi’nah Ford, transgender militants and myself, an unabashed socialist, speaking at this march. Though Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper will be playing and speaking, this is not a Hollywood choreographed affair—it has a shoestring budget and will give expression to this new combative mood and anti-corporate sentiment

RJ: To me, the transformation of much of the Left of the 1960s and ’70s from universal movements into a collection of smaller groups fighting their own particular oppression and for their own piece of the American pie is a big part of why the US Left is where it’s at now — where Democrats are considered socialists. Is this phenomenon (which I consider to ultimately be the result of identity politics gone wild) present in the movement for equality? How should leftists counteract this when it appears?

SW: [The first part of your question is answered above, I believe]

I travel a great deal and speak to small and large audiences from Bellingham, WA to Gainesville, FL and I think that those old school ideas are on the wane—in particular among working-class people and those not attending elite universities. The language of Identity politics persists, in a sense, because a new culture and outlook are still embryonic. But when striking Teamsters (Latino and white, all straight) attended an event in Chicago two weeks ago where Cleve Jones spoke to 250+ people about going to the march, everyone was
electrified. The workers gave solidarity to our struggle and the LGBT activists are lending solidarity to their pickets. The May Day protests in many cities this year had LGBT activists carrying rainbow flags—the contingent in Los Angeles where I was that day was very well received by immigrant families.

It’s becoming clearer to more people that the old labor slogan is true: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

RJ: As you know, I live in North Carolina. Outside of Asheville and a few of the larger cities, there exists a quite obvious homophobia. One sees it on church message boards and bumperstickers and one hears it on the radio and so-called Christian television. This intolerance is quite obvious and, as Beth Sherouse wrote quite articulately in an article that appeared in Counterpunch on August 31, 2009, the fact of this obvious hatred and fear is one reason why LBGT equality must be recognized on a national scale. In her article, she reminds the readers of the federal role in helping end desegregation. Yet, there is another side to that story. The federal government also allowed and encouraged not only segregation, but also fought attempts to roll it back for a long time. I guess my question is — while it is important that federal legislation forbidding discrimination against persons
based on their sexuality be passed, how does the equality movement see any such legislation being enforced?

SW: Beth is right and after reading her piece I made it a priority to add more Southern stops on my current speaking tour. If you look at polls one year after the Virginia v. Loving case ended laws preventing Blacks and whites from marrying in 1967, only 20 percent of whites in the U.S. supported biracial marriages. We obviously can’t wait for bigots to come around before passing equal protections for LGBT people. However, it was the ongoing organizing, teach-ins, marches, rallies and even just the posture of Blacks in this country that altered the political climate.

Today, around 80 percent of all Americans—and more than 95 percent of young people—approve of interracial marriages, according to Gallup. A climate of intolerance to anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry can be advanced by students and workers—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. All progressives must bring these issues into organizing efforts beyond the LGBT movement—inject them into union contracts, workplace organizing, budget fightbacks, campus mobilizations and immigrant defense campaigns. After all, most LGBT people ARE workers, immigrants, Black, Brown and all these other identities as well. In other words, lesbians have to pay the rent too.

RJ: In your book you insist on the need for the LBGT rights movement to link up with other oppressed groups in the US and fight for all of these groups’ freedom. I was wondering if in your organizing work for the October 11-12 March on Washington, do you see any attempts by other organizers to expand the call to all oppressed groups? Or is there a tendency to limit the organizing to LBGT people? If so, can you explain why you think this is so?

SW: We made a conscious decision not to create a laundry list of demands, but to have one single demand for equality in all matters covered by civil law in all 50 states. The veteran activists involved, myself included, want to strike while the iron’s hot. There is a spirit of struggle among young LGBT people who came of age thinking AIDS isn’t the mass killer that it is and who are waking up after Prop 8 to the fact that our rights are completely dispensable, where they even exist. We can still be legally fired, or not hired, in most states for our sexual orientation and/or gender identities.

Arizona’s governor, for example, just ditched domestic partner benefits. Ohio’s Representative, Lynn R. Wachtmann, some neanderthal from the 75th District wrote to LGBT activists, “If sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are added as protected classes, all those who do not identify themselves in accordance with this lifestyle choice will be discriminated against.” I have never been a single-issue activist in my life — I’m a socialist after all — but at some point we must unequivocally demand an end to this crap once and
for all.

I’m 44, I came of age AFTER Stonewall and before Generation Twitter, I’m from the generation nobody ever bothered to name. I’ve participated in, and in some cases helped lead or initiate divestment campaigns, antiwar, anti-police brutality, pro-abortion, pro-single-payer health care, anti-budget cuts, pro-labor fights, etc. for 26 years. There’s finally a broad fight for LGBT equality and I’d be insane not to leap in with full-force and try to help make it a success.

My greatest hope out of this march is not simply that we win our demand, but that in a poetic reversal of history other struggles take a page from our initiative and mobilize to make demands of the Obama administration. The Stonewall generation had fought for Black civil rights, women’s liberation, against the Vietnam War and, for many, alongside Cesar Chavez for farm laborers for many years before they ever mobilized for their own rights. This time around, it may be possible that through a quirk of history the LGBT struggle could lead
the way for others to ratchet up a fight for genuine universal health care, jobs and an end to the wars and occupations abroad.

RJ: I love it — “the generation nobody bothered to name.” Anyhow, any insights on how the organizing is going? How can people get on board and organize in their community?

SW: The Web site for the march www.nationalequalitymarch.com has a dizzying array of downloadable materials. Go to the site, get the facts, post flyers, send out tweets, post it to Facebook, and by all means everyone should get themselves to the march if they can. Obama has shown that without mass pressure he won’t deliver what we need and want. This march punctuates a turning point of sorts for the LGBT struggle—people who miss out on this protest for civil rights will kick themselves afterwards. Don’t kick yourselves, just come.

RJ: Thanks, Sherry.


Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:  rjacobs3625@charter.net.
Sherry Wolf is the author of– Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation

© 2009 Dissident Voice and respective authors

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