On CNN: Hate Group Leader Bryan Fischer Says Nazis Were Gay And Gays Are Like Cyanide. Anchor Ends Interview.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/on-cnn-bryan-fischer-says-gays-are-nazis-and-are-like-cyanide-cnn-anchor-ends-interview/media/2012/10/16/51365

by David Badash
on October 16, 2012

Bryan Fischer today repeated his claim to CNN anchor Carol Costello that gays are Nazis in a discussion about the eleven-year old annual “Mix It Up Day,” an opportunity to teach tolerance to children in schools. Fischer attacked gays, the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC), and Mix It Up Day, interrupting Costello several times and lying throughout the interview. Costello finally did what every LGBTQ person, equality ally, and decent human being in America has been waiting for the main stream media to do to Bryan Fischer and other hate groups members: She said, “that’s just not true,” and ended the interview.

Mix It Up Day “is a thinly-veiled attempt to push the normalization of homosexual behavior in public schools and to eventually punish students who express a Judeo-Christian view of homosexuality,” Fischer claimed. This morning on Twitter Fischer called the Southern Poverty Law Center a “pro-bullying hate group.”

READ: Fischer: “Hitler Was A Homosexual”

“What parents need to understand, this is about pressuring public schools and students in public schools to accept homosexuality as a normal, healthy alternative to heterosexuality,” Fischer told Costello.

“You know, it’s interesting to me they’re doing this on October 30, the day before Halloween, and what this program is, it’s like poisoned Halloween candy. Somebody takes a candy bar, injects it with cyanide, the label looks fine, it looks innocuous, it looks fine, it’s not until you internalize it that you realize how toxic it is. And we want parents to be aware that any program that any program that comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center is going to be toxic to their students’ moral health.”

Fischer claimed the Southern Poverty Law Center is about bullying, silencing, and intimidating Christian students.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/on-cnn-bryan-fischer-says-gays-are-nazis-and-are-like-cyanide-cnn-anchor-ends-interview/media/2012/10/16/51365

Doma ruled unconstitutional for denying benefits to same-sex couples

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/doma-ruled-unconstitutional-denying-benefits

District court judge in California is third federal judge to issue a similar ruling over 1996 Defence of Marriage Act

in Los Angeles
guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 May 2012

A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.

Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (Doma).

Wilken became the first judge to rule against the controversial legislation since President Barack Obama threw his weight behind gay marriage earlier this month.

Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.

Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year. That ruling is under appeal and is due to go before a circuit court of appeals in September. Thursday’s ruling is also expected to be appealed.

Doma, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/doma-ruled-unconstitutional-denying-benefits

Posted in Equal Treatment, Gay, Homophobia, Lesbian, LGBT/T. Comments Off

A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html


05/21/2012

Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn’t let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She’d already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn’t feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I’m an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for “honor.”

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: “Know your place.” I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html

Minnesota school board labels conversations about LGBT students ‘controversial’

From LGBTQ Nation:    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/12/minnesota-school-board-labels-conversations-about-lgbt-students-controversial/


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — During its meeting before a packed room with a standing room only crowd Monday, the Anoka-Hennepin Minnesota School District’s board proposed a new “Controversial Topics Curriculum Policy” to replace the current “neutral policy” that prohibits the district’s teachers from talking about homosexuality in the classroom.

Advocates and allies of LGBTQ students objected saying that the policy does not specify what those “controversial topics” are.

Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin was one of nearly a dozen Anoka-Hennepin students who committed suicide after anti-gay bullying since the 2009 school year, wasn’t happy about calling the policy “controversial.”

In a statement she read before the board, Aaberg told officials, “I read the policy and my heart started breaking all over again. Because now we’re going from neutral on sexual orientation to labeling LBGT kids as controversial.”

Others seemed confused about what can or cannot be discussed in the classroom, which is why they urged the board to clarify the proposed policy before voting on it next month.

Opponents of any changes to the current policy also voiced their concerns, one woman telling the board, “We were a model for the nation at protecting kids from homosexual propaganda. The sexual orientation curriculum policy is an excellent policy.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/12/minnesota-school-board-labels-conversations-about-lgbt-students-controversial/

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Kids Struggle on the Streets

From ABC NEWS:    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/national-report-16-million-youth-homeless-experts-40/story?id=15147566&singlePage=true#.TuflPPLrHA6

Dec. 13, 2011
Tiffany “LIFE” Cocco has been homeless for seven years, living on park benches, stoops and New York City’s A train.

Her parents died of AIDS in the 1980s and so Cocco was raised by an aunt and uncle who disapproved of how she dressed and led her life — as a lesbian.

“I was kicked out of the house at 15,” said Cocco, a poet whose chosen middle name means “literary, intelligent, forward, engaged.”

She dropped out of high school after being bullied, rebelled and was forced to keep her sexuality a secret. Cocco slipped into a depression so deep she nearly killed herself on an overdose of pain killers, NyQuil and Tylenol PM.

“I didn’t trust anyone at all,” said Cocco, who is now 24. “I tried to tell myself I was strong, but deep down inside I was falling apart.”

A report released this week by the National Center on Family Homelessness, “America’s Youngest Outcasts,” finds one in 45 American children 18 and under — 1.6 million — live on the street, in homeless shelters, motels or with other families last year.

Continue reading at:   http://abcnews.go.com/Health/national-report-16-million-youth-homeless-experts-40/story?id=15147566&singlePage=true#.TuflPPLrHA6

Federal Court Strikes Down DOMA Section 3

From Glad (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders)

http://www.glad.org/current/news-detail/federal-court-strikes-down-doma-section-3/

July 08, 2010

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to claims brought by seven married same-sex couples and three widowers from Massachusetts. Under the ruling, the plaintiffs are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as every other married couple.

The ruling stems from GLAD’s lawsuit Gill et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, filed in March 2009.

“Today the Court simply affirmed that our country won’t tolerate second-class marriages,” says Mary Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director, who argued the case. “I’m pleased that Judge Tauro recognized that married same-sex couples and surviving spouses have been seriously harmed by DOMA and that the plaintiffs deserve the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy. This ruling will make a real difference for countless families in Massachusetts.”

Read the decision.

Read GLAD’s press release.

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.”

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Material on this Web site is licensed by SocialistWorker.org, under a Creative Commons (by-nc-nd 3.0) [3] license, except for articles that are republished with permission. Readers are welcome to share and use material belonging to this site for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and SocialistWorker.org.

  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

Activism Inc

Serendipitous convergence might be the best way to describe stumbling on to two seemingly unrelated sources both talking about something that has been bothering me for some time.

I’ve been thinking about something for the last few years.  I describe myself as an anarchist because so much of my activism and so many of my political positions are outside of a structured activist organization.  My activism is also spread widely across many issues which makes it hard for me to feel at home in identity based politics.

Back in the 1980s I was a disgruntled professional nerd working in Silicon Gulch and I answered an ad in one of the Bay Area Newspapers looking for people who were passionate about environmentalism and progressive politics. It offered an opportunity to work as paid activists on a campaign headed by Tom Hayden,  a California State Representatives and former SDS leader.

Much to my disappointment I discovered that ads for activists that one finds in papers and on sites like Craig’s List are not looking for people to organize or do the other things I associate with activism.  Instead they are ads for people who beg for money either on the phones or going door to door, all in the name of a good cause or causes but demeaning and disillusioning nonetheless.

This was not something I particularly considered activism.

Shit happens or serendipitous convergence. Just as I am thinking about this several things come up that help me illustrate and further define my discomfort with this new form of “activism”.

Documentaries about the slaughter of whales and the decimation of the seas with drift nets that stretch for miles and are the equivalent of clear cutting forests in their environmental destruction caused me to get a couple of books about Earth First and David Foreman.  David Foreman and the people of Earth First attacked Greenpeace as corporate accommodationists more interested in professional activism, fund raising and lobbying than direct action.  As an alternative to Greenpeace Foreman suggested supporting Sea Shepard, which actually spends much of its energy going out and attacking whalers and the fishing fleets that are strip mining the oceans in an effort to leave no fish behind.

In the 1960s I was part of SDS, an extremely nebulous organization at best, particularly so after about 1966.  If you said you were a member then you were a member.  Earth First had the same organizational pattern.

I was around for the early days of Gay Liberation, Lesbian Liberation, Second Wave Feminism and yes one of the first real grassroots Transsexual Liberation and Support groups.

By 1975 so much of that was withering away, being replaced by “professionals” with degrees and careers, organizations that had big plans with bright shiny offices with prestigious addresses.  Organizations with large budgets.  Enter the new role for those at the grassroots, professional beggar.  But major organizations with prestigious headquarters do not survive on nickel and dime donations, they require the support of major donors.

At one point AIDS Project LA had a fund raising dinner for major donors and honoring Elizabeth Taylor that was reputed to have cost somewhere in the realm of a half million dollars.  It cost more than it raised and needless to say none of the out reach workers who passed out condoms to LGBT/T sex workers doing survival sex on the corners of Santa Monica Blvd were invited.

I’m not going to go into my thoughts regarding “transactivism” except to say it too seems to have strayed from its roots in various bad neighborhoods to a point that much of what we hear about seems out of touch with lumpen prole trannies.  The ones doing sex work to survive, or working in  underpaid often part-time menial jobs that have come to be the mainstay for many working class people. Transactivism with its calls to go to Washington to lobby your Representatives, come to conferences to discuss and calls to Camp Out outside the MWMF seems to assume a level of affluence beyond that of many trannies, especially those who are part of the trans under classes.

Over the last few days I have been watching the struggle going on over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It is crystal clear that HRC has become an irrelevant organization that is pretty useless when it comes to doing much of anything other than insuring that Joe Solmonese, is the most fashionably well dressed “activist” among the lobbyist set.

Are we really sending our hard earned dollars to HRC to buy Joe Solmonese expensive designer clothes and attend expensive events?  It all seems so corporate. Speaking of which.  as much as I love Kathy Griffith as a comedian, what the fuck does she have to do with LGBT/T activism other than perhaps entertain us?

From Newsweek:  http://www.newsweek.com/id/235290

Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and fluent Arabist being discharged from the Army for being openly gay, was arrested last week along with former Army captain Jim Pietrangelo II, after handcuffing themselves to the White House gate in protest of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. They were handcuffed with the help of Robin McGehee, a former PTA president turned activist who last week cofounded GetEQUAL, an LGBT activism group inspired by civil-rights organizations and gains made through civil disobedience.

Lt. Choi basically reamed out Solmonese and HRC for their “executive” demonstration at Freedom Plaza and their failure to support him and others who actually took their protests to the the White House fence where they handcuffed themselves to the fence and allowed themselves to be arrested.  They languished in jail overnight. Lt. Choi said that HRC failed to give either legal support or bail.

HRC was already on the shit list of many transsexual and transgender people for its willingness to support a non-trans inclusive ENDA.  Perhaps we are too lumpen and not fashionable enough for Joe.

Back in the 1990s one of the exciting things about trans-activism was the Transsexual Menace and how it had a lot in common with Act Up and the Lesbian Avengers.  Membership and participation could be had for the cost of a t-shirt and the guts to wear it.  I sometimes think that what ruined trans-activism was when privileged white late emergers became the face of it and started with all the post-modern theoretical crap.

They were divorced from the reality of prostitution, criminalization, AIDS, addiction and all the murders that were part of the lives of those transsexual and transgender people found in the under classes.

On the other hand a local grass roots organization here in Dallas managed to get numerous demonstrators together to go to a DART meeting and protest the mistreatment of a transsexual DART worker who had some bureaucratic piece of shit in Human Resources decide that they didn’t have to accept that she had SRS as well as jumping through all the hoops to legally change her sex to female.  This person decided that she had been born male and should be forever considered male.

The slogan of the IWW, an anarchist labor union back in the early 20th century was “Direct action gets the goods”.

Perhaps instead of all this high level activism that seems to get very little in results from the efforts of the well paid professional activists lobbying in Washington we should at least divide the money and devote more of it to the development of local grass roots activism and less to supporting those who aspire to live the life of the corporate shills of K Street.

Why I like the Term, “Transsexual” Better Than the Alternatives

Too often those espousing the identity politics of “Transgender as Umbrella”, in order to enlarge their numbers from being  a small minority group within world of L/G communities, set such broad factors for inclusion in the transgender label that it appears that only a small minority of people aren’t transgender.

This of course erases transsexuals to the point where GLAAD’s style book and folks like Autumn Sandeen appear to think that it is appropriate to change transsexual to transgender when ever the word appears in print. The same goes for pre-op, post-op and sex change operation which enter the Orwell New Speak Morphing Machine and emerge as the nicely euphemistic and neutered “transition”.

Since when did “transsexual” acquire the same sort of stigma as a word like “nigger” that requires its being euphemized?

For me transsexual means changing sex or physical sex characteristics.   Not to mention living 24/7/365 in a manner consistent with the sex you are becoming.

At its core transsexualism is about the deep seated need to change sex from that assigned at birth.  Arguments as to why change with the seasons and are almost matters of faith.  Reasons are all legitimate to those doing the changing.  No matter the strength of evidence as to a physical nature there is no argument that will ever convince the bigots.

People with transsexualism have struggled to put words to what they feel ever since we started putting pen to paper and trying to relate our stories in the 1950s (I am currently rereading Roberta Cowell’s autobiography) The language lacks the words to relate what we feel inside and so we are forced to use metaphors.

At its core transsexualism is about having an operation to change one’s assigned at birth sex, that is why it is sex reassignment surgery.

Transsexualism has several common narratives.  Those narratives distinguish us from others who appear similar but who do not have the same desperate drive to actually have an operation to change their sex.

To placate the bigots we have desexed transsexualism to the point where it seems that wanting to be able to have sex as female or male bodied people (depending on the direction of change) no longer plays a part in our wanting SRS.

We have desexed transsexualism under the rubric of transgender to the point where wanting our bodies to look consistent with our gender of presentation when we are naked is looked upon as elitist rather than consistent with our changing sex to have our bodies match our core sex identity.

I view gender as suspect. Over thousands of years gender roles have been used to keep women as second class humans.  Substituting gender for sex reifies gender roles that keep women as second class humans deemed inferior to men.

What is gender identity if gender itself is an abstract construct that shifts over time and location?  Gender identity makes sense in the claims of transgender people as they are claiming that acting the role makes them real.  Indeed they denounce the “body essentialism” of those of us who point out that women are adult females and that men are adult males irrespective of their  presentation.

But I am a woman born transsexual and not a woman born transgender so I do not have to stake claim to womanhood based on my ability to adhere to an abstract gender role that I claim such an intensity of identity to, that it allows me to deny my actual body.

My femaleness in all its mix of masculine and feminine hippie anarchist feminist elements is confirmed every time I squat to pee, shower, make love or masturbate.

Now there are some who feel the need to add “Classic” to their transsexual.  I generally find these people to be conservative and heterosexist if not down right homophobic.  It especially sends them into a tizzy when two sisters form a lesbian bond.  It also seems as though “classic transsexual” is the latest incarnation of BBLZ etc’s AGP/AP model.

I am vaguely amused when lesbian sisters who initially embraced the term discover that it doesn’t mean those of us who have had SRS .  That it isn’t a substitute for post-op the way WBT was initially envisioned and instead it requires the embrace of a heterosexist stance that says post-SRS women who are lesbian should work for the protection of heterosexual marriage for post-SRS women. While lesbian sisters are expected to  settle for civil unions for themselves because same sex marriage would denigrate the heterosexual marriages entered into by “classic transsexuals”  At the same time “classic transsexuals” refuse to recognize the validity of lesbian relationships within the post-op transsexual community.

You know there was a time when those of us who had sex change operations were rare, indeed. When I got mine there were maybe a few thousand people who had the same surgery I had.  But now there are hundreds of thousands of us and the only thing that unites us is having had sex reassignment surgery.

Now I’ve know post-ops who have been perfectly flawless in every way and others who can’t live outside the ghetto.  But the vast majority of them who didn’t flat out lie and deceive the screeners had elements of that basic set of early established narratives as part of their life experiences and that makes all of them “classic transsexuals” in my book, which means I can dispense with the classic modifier.

If you want to say transsexuals who actually get sex change surgery then say it.  Don’t beat around around the bush.  When you start using “classic transsexual” in any other context than post-op then you are as much as saying there are many different kinds of transsexuals.  With many comes validation of the claims of transgender people to being “non-op transsexuals”.

I am also not a fan of HBS.  I liked Dr. Benjamin.  He was nice in an old school liberal, paternalistic sort of way but like most of those who study us he leaped to many many erroneous conclusions.  But even more so syndrome isn’t much of an improvement on disorder if any.  It is as though we are making Dr. Benjamin into some sort of definer of us rather than a facilitator who learned from what we told him.

We existed in ancient times and in every culture.  I perfer the term transsexual.

Now the argument can be made that it is tainted by association with sex workers.  Yet long before the emergence of IFGE, NTAC and other Transactivist groups, sex work was often the only means of survival we had.  It still is for way too many people.

By the same token isn’t the transgender argument for the use of transgender instead of transsexual based upon transsexual being the term of choice for so many trans* sex workers?

To me WBT, transsexual, post-op, woman of a transsexual history, classic transsexual all pretty much mean the same thing.  They all mean that the person to whom those various terms are applied had an operation that changed their genital from those of one sex to another.  All the other stuff is just window dressing that tries to hide the fact that having sex reassignment surgery is what defines us as transsexual.

Not having it and talking about gender as though it is more than clothing and mannerisms is a transgender thing, not transsexual.  We don’t transition, we get sex change operations hence the term transsexual.

Some recent history, and its mythical transformation

By Wayne Dyne

Reposted with permission.  Original post at:

http://dyneslines.blogspot.com/2009/12/some-recent-history-and-its-mythical.html

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am a survivor, and my involvement in the gay movement goes back a long ways. In fact it started at a time when the current obligatory designation of “GLBTQ” could scarcely be imagined. We called ourselves homophiles in those days.

I was living in Los Angeles in the 1950s when Mattachine, the first significant homophile advocacy group was formed. I had other concerns in those days; getting through college and laying the foundations for my academic career. After having attended a few meetings, I finally joined the New York branch of Mattachine in 1968. Like many of my contemporaries I was energized by the events at the Stonewall Inn a year later. Not long after, I was became active in the gay committee of the American Library Assocation, and then became a founding member of the Gay Academic Union.

After I shifted from activism to gay scholarship, I realized that the history of the American gay movement needed to be written. I knew that the belief (still common to this day) that everything started with Stonewall in 1969 was mistaken. Accordingly, I journeyed to Los Angeles, where a number of the leaders of the original movement, which started in 1950, were still active. I was lucky enough to speak at length with such key figures as Harry Hay, Jim Kepner, Dorr Legg, and Don Slater. Over the years I have maintained a friendship with Billy Glover, a key figure in the early years who is still going strong in his late seventies in Louisiana. Billy is a kind of living record of those brave years.

I then gathered some biographical pieces on the early leaders, turning them over to the late Vern Bullough, who shaped them into an essay collection, entitled Before Stonewall (2002). This book is now the standard reference for the period.

I won’t rehearse any further my credentials in this area. I mention them because they are relevant to what I am now going to relate.

A strange new myth has arisen about the origins of the gay movement. This myth, fervently endorsed by some trans activists, holds that the gay and lesbian movement was, essentially and pivotally, the work of their group, the transgender people. The transgender folk were in the vanguard, gay men and lesbians followed meekly after. This bizarre claim in the opposite of the truth.

First of all, the term “transgender” is an anachronism, and as such revealing of the present-minded agenda of those who brandish it. To be sure, Christine Jorgensen had made headlines with her Danish surgery in 1953. Jorgensen, and the very few individuals who followed her example at the time, had little interest in gay matters, because they believed that they had truly become women. Jorgensen dated men and regarded herself as heterosexual. The same was true of Reed (formerly Rita) Erickson, a wealthy oil tycoon who helped fund several social-change organizations.

Let us then be honest. If we are to speak of a “transgender” contribution we must restrict ourselves to drag queens. They were the only transgender folks around in those days. None of them in fact made a major contribution to the movement.

It is true that Harry Hay sometimes donned a string of pearls, but that was as far as it went in those days. Among the lesbian stalwarts in Daughters of Bilitis, my friend Barbara Gittings was known occasionally to pull out her corncob pipe. Most of the time, though, Barbara wore a dress (gasp!). The demonstrations she and Frank Kameny organized annually in Philadelphia were known for their sartorial conservatism: dresses and skirts for women, and coats and ties for men.

The female impersonator Jose Sarria of San Francisco, who came along a little later, was the only exception in those early days. Quite a few years later Beth Elliott, a Bay Area male-to-female post-op, made a splash. Unfortunately and tragically, Beth was soon run out of the lesbian movement, for not being born a woman. Transsexuals remain controversial in the lesbian movement.

In reality, the “transgender” contribution was negligible in the early gay and lesbian movement. We started the French Revolution, so to speak, without these individuals. The claim of current trans activists rests, as far as I can see, on the slight foundation of two events, the Compton Cafeteria episode in San Francisco and the much more famous Stonwall Inn riots in New York City. (I will return to Compton’s in a moment.)

As various accounts show, drag queens played a role in the Stonewall events–but only in the raucous aftermath OUTSIDE the bar. The actual patrons of the Stonewall Inn were for the most part gay men of middle-class origins (note Rivera’s testimony below). For the real facts, see the definitive account in David Carter’s 2004 monograph, Stonewall. Anyone who has not consulted this book does not know much about Stonewall. Some things just can’t be “winged.”

From the Greenwich Village event emerged a whole new cadre of leaders, who joined together to form the Gay Liberation Front. Not long after some of them seceded to create the Gay Activists Alliance. None of these leaders were in any way classifiable as transpeople.

There were, to be sure, two fringe individuals, the drag queens Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. While these two persons now enjoy iconic status among trans advocates, neither of them made a significant and lasting contribution to building the overall gay movement. They were pretty much doing their own thing. I knew both of them.

What then of the Compton Cafeteria event? One must step back a moment and realize that during the pre-Stonewall years confrontations with the police were routine. These stemmed from the vicious bar raids conducted by the men in blue. As a rule, one of two precipitating factors came into play: “cleanups” when an election was in the offing, and dissatisfaction on the part of the police that their payoffs (routine in those days) were insufficiently lucrative.

For the most part, the gay victims went quietly during these raids, resulting in a misdemeanor charge. These arrests could be career-ending, though. Doubtless this was one of the main reasons why the raids kept happening–to “keep the queers in line.”

In a few cases gays fought back. This was true, for example, of the Dewey’s restaurant raid in Philadelphia (1965), the Compton’s Cafeteria riot in San Francisco (1966), the Black Cat raid in Los Angeles (1967), and the Donut shop event in Los Angeles (May 1969). Thus the Compton occurrence, now lauded to the skies by trans activists, was but one of a series. Compared to Stonewall, all these episodes were of merely local importance.

What happened at Compton’s Cafeteria so long ago? The riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. On the first night of the disturbance, the cafeteria management summoned the police when some drag-queen customers became obstreperous. When a police officer attempted to arrest one of the cross-dressers, the individual threw her coffee in his face. At that point the riot began, dishes and furniture flew in the air, and the restaurant’s plate-glass windows were smashed. Accounts of the event indicate that the rioting and subsequent picketing of the cafeteria were a joint effort of drag queens, hustlers, Tenderloin street people, and lesbians. This occurrence was by no means a “transgender exclusive,” as it is often portrayed nowadays.

On this slender foundation–a San Francisco episode of purely local importance and the flare up of drag queens at Stonewall–today’s trans activists have built a whole elaborate myth. We are asked to revere a gaggle of crazy queens as heroic pioneers who were responsible for the foundation and progress of the gay movement. As I have shown, this contention is simply nonsense.

FOOTNOTE. Here is what Sylvia Rivera herself told the historian Eric Marcus for his book, Making History: “The Stonewall wasn’t a bar for drag queens. Everybody keeps saying it was. … If you were a drag queen, you could get into the Stonewall if they knew you. And only a certain number of drag queens were allowed into the Stonewall at that time.” In fact, the night when the Stonewall riots began was the first time Rivera had ever even been to the bar, and then she only appeared outside the premises.

December 1, World AIDS Day

In the Summer of 1981 I was dating a woman , who lived on Delores Street in San Francisco across from Mission-Delores Park.

It was just a few months into the Reagan Regime and the war between sex positive and pro-censorship lesbians was just on the horizon.  I was going to school in Santa Rosa and would hang out with her on the weekends as well run around with a gay male friend of mine who lived up on Twin Peaks.

It was a hedonistic time.  I was still in Shane mode (L-Word reference) and loving freely.  I was having unprotected sex with one sister who was a sex worker and another sister who was also promiscious, mostly with women.  My main girlfriend had been in a relationship with Kim, a sister I knew from the days we were both in the program at Stanford.  If this all sounds like the plot to a Michelle Tea book…  Well.. Valencia Street is only a couple of blocks away from where my girlfriend lived.

That summer gay men started getting sick, by fall they were dying of a disease that had no name.  One of the men who lived down stairs from her died and his partner was dying.

As summer faded the few cases turned into many cases and as winter set in they started calling it “the gay cancer”.  Soon it would become GRID or (Gay Related Immune Deficiency).

By Pride Day 1982 I would be more or less celibate, yet marching bare breasted in S/M leather with the women of Samois, a sex positive lesbian group that both opposed censorship and was at that point just about the only lesbian group that was openly supportive of women born transsexual.  My leather was more punk than S/M but the defiance was the same.

“And the Band Played On”  (see both the Randy Shilts book and the film).  As the number of deaths passed a thousand gay men still fought to defend the hard won sexual freedom of the 1970s.  And President Reagan never uttered the word AIDS as the disease had come to be named.

By 1985/86,  San Francisco had become like Camus’ Oran, a city of Plague where death walked stealing friends and co-workers, leaving those who were HIV- with address books filled with scratched out names.  A city of mourning, yet the research dollars trickled instead of flowing.

A grim joke at the time was, “What is the hardest part of having AIDS?  Convincing your parents you are Haitian.” Because AIDS was never only a gay male disease. Haitians, drug users, hemophiliacs and women, people who had blood transfusions.

Yet I would go to offices to service computers and ask where so and so was only to hear he had died.  I stopped asking and started drinking more often.  A sign in the Metro said “We all have AIDS Now”.  I tried to deny that one, but then I one gray day I saw a group of men gathered around one of their friends who had collapsed in the street and died, just as the rescue crew was arriving.

I fled the City for Los Angeles.  San Francisco’s compactness had made it all too claustrophobic, in LA even though there were far more people with AIDS the size of the city meant that it was less concentrated. I still got the phone calls.  Bear died, Kim too.  In LA it seemed as though half the queens I had known who were sex workers or performers at the C’est la Vie were either sick or dead.  But mostly though it seemed as though  post-SRS women had by and large escaped the disease, at least among my circle of friends.

Now we have lived with AIDS for nearly 30 years.  It isn’t an automatic death sentence.  It is “manageable” for those who can pay the thousands for the “cocktail”.  Some times it seems as though Larry Kramer is the only angry prophet left voicing outrage at how this disease has become yet one more profit stream for the drug corporations to use as an instrument of control.

Perhaps we need to ask some Krameresque questions:  Who is being controlled, and who is doing the controlling?  Who is profiting?  Why?  Who is still dying?  Why?

Why does it seem as though every disaster becomes a corporate money stream?

 

Exemptions allowing churches to refuse to employ gays to be scrapped following pressure from EU

Proof that Europe is much more respectful of freedom and equality than the US and its kowtowing to Christo-fascism.  Time to eliminate “faith based initiative funding” at tax payer expense that discriminates against LGBT/T people.  It is no different than the government funding the KKK.  While we are at it de-license groups like the Catholic adoption services, who have actually acted like extortionists recently by threatening to end services in Washington DC if DC recognizes and legalizes equal marriage rights.

By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk • November 22, 2009 – 16:37

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2009/11/22/exemptions-allowing-churches-to-refuse-to-employ-gays-to-be-scraped-following-pressure-from-eu/

The European Commission is putting pressure on the British government to drop the exemptions from equality legislation by religious organisations who currently have the right to refuse to employ LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) staff.

The opt out allows churches and other organisations to refuse to employ gay people in order “to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers”. Although there have been successful cases at employment tribunals questioning the implementation and interpretation of the opt-out

The Observer reports that the Commission wrote to the British government to warn that it has not fully implemented EU directives that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

The National Secular Society had complained to the commision saying that the current exemptions “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.

The Commission reportedly agreed with the complaint saying “exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive”.

EU equal opportunities commissioner, Vladimir Špidla, told the Observer: “We call on the UK government to make the necessary changes to its anti-discrimination legislation as soon as possible so as to fully comply with the EU rules.”

The ruling means the government will be be forced to place new clauses into the Equality Bill which is currently making its way through parliament. But it will still allow churches to refuse to employ a gay man as priest for example.

“This ruling is a significant victory for gay equality and a serious setback for religious employers who have been granted exemptions from anti-discrimination law,” gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told the Observer.

“It is a big embarrassment for the British government, which has consistently sought to appease religious homophobes by granting them opt-outs from key equality laws. The European Commission has ruled these opt-outs are excessive.”

Christian charity Care told the Observer: “If evangelical churches cannot be sure that they can employ practising evangelicals with respect to sexual ethics, how will they be able to continue?”

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?

Nasty Girl

It appears the Christo-Fascists have managed to deprive their fellow citizens of their Constitutional right to equality once again.

The equal rights of citizens of a scapegoated minority group should never,  ever be put to the vote the way they were last year in California or this year in Maine.

About 15 or 20 years ago I saw a German film titled “Nasty Girl”.  It was about a young woman who set out to write a high school paper that would show how the people of her town were different from the rest of the Jew murdering Nazi scum.  Because they were nice people, kind, friendly and god fearing.

They had once again clothed themselves in denial and righteousness.  They had hidden their history, forgotten their recent past.

She was a nice girl when she started, everybody loved her and wanted to help her in her wonderful project that show how they were innocent of genocide.

Her high school paper was praised and won her a scholarship.

But then the cracks started to appear and she obsessively dug deeper and found her wonderful neighbors one and all had participated, had been Nazis who actively or tacitly participated in the shipping of their fellow citizens of the Jewish faith to death camps where they were murdered in a horrific act of genocide against which all other genocides are measured.

She was called a, Nasty Girl and became an object of hatred for telling the truth and exposing the core Nazism of her neighbors.

The genocide of the Jewish people of Europe started years before the active murder commenced.  It started in laws that officially made the bigotry against Jews the law.  It made them second class citizens in the eyes of the law.

Christians, particularly Catholics called the Jews “Christ Killers”.  When in point of fact, if historical fact and not mythology is at play in the Christ story,  it was the Italians then called Romans who arrested Jesus, put him before the mob, then murdered him.  Then like all good people blamed someone else.

Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine as well as Ethan Allen and others who founded this nation were Free Thinkers, basically  atheists and agnostics who saw religion as being used as a tool of oppression by popes and kings alike.  This is why Jefferson wrote of the need for a wall of separation between religion and state.

The world has seen way too much faith based genocide and horror.

In the 20th century Upton Sinclair, author and muckraking journalist wrote a book called The Profits of Religion, exposing the greed and hypocrisy that are the foundations of religion.

It has been said that if fascism comes to America (it already has) it would be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.  I might add it would start calling our nation the “Homeland”, institute a department of “Homeland Security”, engage in secret arrests and torture etc.

LBJ said when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “I fear we have just lost the south to the Republican Party for a generation.”

Nina Simone sang, “Mississippi Goddamn” and the good people decried the racism of Mississippi and the south with its Jim Crow Laws yet America was then and is now an Apartheid nation with ghettos and barrios set aside for black and brown people, especially of the poverty class.

Yet as bad as things are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put on record the equality of African Americans and abolished the Jim Crow Laws.

The right wing shift of America has not been the triumph of conservative free market thinking. It has been the triumph of racism and bigotry.  Fascism wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross they have become smart enough to not publicly burn.

So now we live in a nation where corporations and big religion (as though religion is not just another money making enterprise) and Nazi values rule the nation.

A nation where the working class is reduced to the status of wage slave working to pay the loan shark credit card companies that made life possible and comfortable in a nation of stagnate wages and a falling standard of living.

A nation of people afraid of everything that would make their lives better from National Health insurance to unions and reindustrialization along with requiring the ultra rich elites to pay for the damages they have done to this nation’s economy and people.

I have watched the dumbing down of the people of this country with action movies guaranteed to generate fear and the demands for cops who step outside the law to protect us.  The creation of a world view so frightening that it sometime seems as though ever forth person has a concealed carry permit and is packing a gun.

Yet the creation of fear is not new. The same Christo-Fascists who are now scapegoating LGBT/T people in places like Maine came here as the Puritans bring with them the same harsh superstitious religion that made them anathema in their home land.  The drove Roger Williams from Massachusetts and killed a number of people in Salem because they thought they were witches.

In more modern times we had the first talk radio demagogue, Father Charles Edward Coughlin, an ultra right wing racist and Nazi sympathizer, who ranted about FDR being a communist.  In the process he became the role model for every right wing bigoted talk show host since then.  He spawned Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Dobbs and their ugly harpy female counter parts Ingraham, Coulter and Malkin and the rest of the fear mongering peddlers of hatred and Nazism that has come to plague this nation.

I am a nasty girl.  I ask who the fuck is Godwin, some sort of Nazi symp or something?  Why should I not call these bigots and Nazis for the hate peddling whores that they are?

These pieces of right wing human garbage have called me a commie queer for  most of my life.  I am an atheist, not a Christian.  I do not turn the other cheek I fight back and I call upon others to stop mincing words.  Stop playing nice to the bigots.  Call them on being the un-American bigots they are.  Tell the world that they represent the Confederacy not America.

Speak up and denounce them as not representing American values but rather ugly fascist values and of being the same sort of peddlers of superstitious religious garbage as those Imans who have made the Middle East a hell hole.

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

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.

Right Wing Doesn’t Care About the Abuse of Gay Kids

From: Beyond Chron, CA, USA
Republished with the permission of Tommi Avicolli-Mecca

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca‚ Oct. 06‚ 2009

The latest Republican right-wing attack on an Obama Administration official reveals just how vicious and uncaring these purveyors of traditional values really are. After going after environmental advisor Van Jones and National Endowment for the Arts spokesperson Yosi Sargent, the homophobic Christian right is accusing Kevin Jennings, the head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, of condoning statutory rape and child molestation.

The charges would be laughable, except that they’re being taken seriously by millions of viewers of that bastion of right-wing Christian advocacy journalism — Fox News.

The allegations stem from a 15-minute conversation Jennings had 21 years ago in Massachusetts with a 16-year-old gay student, who told him of a meeting he had with an older gay man. Conservatives say that by not reporting the conversation to authorities, Jennings, an out gay man who was a teacher at the time, was shielding child molestation.

One important fact they’re missing is that 16 was, and still is, the age of consent in Massachusetts. The student had the legal right to engage in sex with the adult. On top of it all, the 16-year-old and the older man never even had any intimate contact.

The former student, calling himself Brewster, recently clarified the situation to CNN, “In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a 16-year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence.”

“Were it not for Mr. Jennings’ courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I’d be the proud gay man that I am today,” Brewster said, laying to rest any doubt that the 16-year-old boy was harmed in any way, shape or form by Jennings’ advice that day.

No doubt the Family Research Council, a right-wing group, is not comforted by the thought that Brewster is now a proud gay man. The group attacked Jennings for being a founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and for being in charge of implementing the Congressional bill on bullying and harassment in schools. The group sees cutting down on bullying and harassment as “a worthy goal,” but “naming ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as protected categories makes this bill more about advancing the homosexual agenda than keeping schools safe.” Huh?

When will these neanderthals get it through their thick skulls that bullying and harassment on the basis of perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity is a major problem in schoolyards across America? “Faggot” is still one of the most popular putdowns. Kids thought to be queer or transgender are put through hell. There is no way to address bullying and harassment without talking about sexual orientation and gender identity.

It’s obvious that right-wingers care more about advancing their own agenda than they do about queer kids. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Jennings helped a gay teen. It was the right thing to do. Bringing the authorities into the picture 21 years ago was unnecessary, Brewster was of legal age to consent.

Jennings should not resign and President Obama should support him. To give validity to the right-wing’s charges is to condone the abuse that LBGT youth suffer every day.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which has just been nominated for an American Library Association award. His website is
www.avicollimecca.com.

Copyright © 2005-2008 Beyond Chron.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=7419

Posted in Hate Crimes, LGBT/T. Comments Off

The High Price of Being a Gay Couple

New York Times
October 3, 2009
Your Money

Much of the debate over legalizing gay marriage has focused on God and Scripture, the Constitution and equal protection.

But we see the world through the prism of money. And for years, we’ve heard from gay couples about all the extra health, legal and other costs they bear. So we set out to determine what they were and to come up with a round number — a couple’s lifetime cost of being gay.

It was much more complicated than we initially imagined, and that’s probably why we’ve never seen similar efforts. We looked at benefits that routinely go to married heterosexual couples but not to gay couples, like certain Social Security payments. We plotted out the cost of health insurance for couples whose employers don’t offer it to domestic partners. Even tax preparation can cost more, since gay couples have to file two sets of returns. Still, many couples may come out ahead in one area: they owe less in income taxes because they’re not hit with the so-called marriage penalty.

Our goal was to create a hypothetical gay couple whose situation would be similar to a heterosexual couple’s. So we gave the couple two children and assumed that one partner would stay home for five years to take care of them. We also considered the taxes in the three states that have the highest estimated gay populations — New York, California and Florida. We gave our couple an income of $140,000, which is about the average income in those three states for unmarried same-sex partners who are college-educated, 30 to 40 years old and raising children under the age of 18.

Here is what we came up with. In our worst case, the couple’s lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.

Continue Reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/03/your-money/03money.htm?_r=2&pagewanted=1

Posted in LGBT/T. Comments Off

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

No more waiting for crumbs

From Socialist Worker

http://socialistworker.org/2009/09/18/no-more-waiting-for-crumbsSherry Wolf, author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation [1], makes the case for demonstrating in Washington at the National Equality March on October 11. Sherry is currently on a speaking tour of the East Coast [2].

September 18, 2009

THE NEWS this week that New York Rep. Jerry Nadler has proposed legislation to repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would have been sufficient to quell the demands of LGBT activists one year ago.

Today, Nadler’s bill is a welcome step. But the fact that it comes seven months into the presidency of a man who promised to repeal DOMA–and amid comments from Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that getting rid of the federal anti-marriage equality law isn’t a “priority”–highlights the molasses pace of LGBT rights legislation and the bankruptcy of the incrementalist strategy that has guided the LGBT movement for decades.

Like the moribund Equal Rights Amendment campaign for women’s constitutional equality–initiated in 1923, reintroduced in 1972 and never passed by the required 38 states–LGBT gradualists have argued for a state-by-state legislative approach to winning change.

Enough begging for crumbs. If we want equal rights for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states, we have to demand it from the federal government–and that means getting out and marching on October 11 in Washington, D.C.

That’s what Generation Twitter and thousands of others–via Facebook, street heat and word of mouth–have been expressing in protests across the country since the passage last November of California’s anti-equal marriage referendum Proposition 8.

President Barack Obama’s own equivocation these last months shows the limitations of an electoral strategy–and the importance of struggle.

He is the first president to publicly utter the word transgender and to honor the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots last June. Yet his Justice Department first insultingly upheld and then opposed DOMA. And Obama continues to drag his feet on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”–a policy that its own author, Gen. Colin Powell, calls for ending.

The relationship between LGBT activists and the Democratic Party has been a dysfunctional one. The Democrats court LGBT votes and money, but offer few gains and a fair share of abuse in exchange.

Notably, openly gay Rep. Barney Frank has refused to sign on to Nadler’s DOMA repeal bill, saying, “It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term.” Frank, quite busy these days shoveling bailout money to the Wall Street bankers, was also instrumental in tossing transgender people out of proposed employment non-discrimination legislation in 2007.

For LGBT activists wooed by the Democrats, ditching the more militant strategy that won a hearing in the first place for a “don’t rock the boat” approach is the price to play.

Thirty-five years have passed since gay civil rights legislation was first proposed in Congress, yet LGBT people remain an unprotected class of citizens. Whereas the denial of the rights of gays to work for the federal government, for example, was enacted with the stroke of a president’s pen in Executive Order 10450 in 1953, no such swift action has been taken to overturn decades of institutional discrimination.

When Bill Clinton was in the White House, it wasn’t until nearly six years into his presidency that he Executive Order 11478, providing partial relief for lesbian and gay federal employees–not including 3 million military personnel.

But the fact that his action left intact sodomy laws (finally overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003), anti-same-sex marriage legislation (which he signed), the military’s unequal status for LGBT people (which he introduced!), and never mentions the rights of those who are transgender, exposes the failure of the electoral route for winning civil rights for sexual minorities.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

WE’VE GOT to strike while the iron’s hot. Today, political tectonic plates are shifting rapidly, and groups and individuals need to get on board or step aside to let a new generation push ahead for full equality.

When Harvey Milk’s protégé Cleve Jones put out the call for the National Equality March on Washington in October, almost every major LGBT group balked, arguing that there wasn’t enough time, and a march wasn’t the right strategy.

But the force of events and popular sentiment compelled organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to endorse this march. It’s a positive sign that HRC feels the pressure to endorse–while grassroots activists shaping the march haven’t watered down its demand for full equality now.

Unlike marches of the recent past, this one will not be brought to you by Miller Beer, Citibank or any other corporate entity. Its bare-bones budget is posted on its Web site [3], and celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga are volunteering their services and paying their own way. It’s grassroots all the way.

New activists are showing the way forward. When Black lesbians Aiyi’nah Ford and Torian Brown were kicked out of a Silver Springs, Md., diner for embracing, they called a protest in late August–and then got involved in building the march on Washington. A police raid on the Rainbow Lounge bar in Forth Worth, Texas–carried out on the night of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion–sent patron Chad Gibson to the emergency room. Outraged LGBT folks called a protest–and now they’re also building for the October 11 march. So are the local LGBT people in Atlanta, who responded with protests after an early September raid at the Eagle bar.

All of these actions have made international news and are forcing authorities to apologize and change policies.

Many transgender people, accustomed to being pushed into the shadows, have thrown themselves into building this march–from veteran Florida activist Donna Lee, who serves on the steering committee, to newer radicals like Dove Paige Anthony in Chicago’s Join the Impact. Trans voices will be heard from the stage as well.

Whether the National Equality March draws tens of thousands or many more is hard to tell since so many established media outlets are ignoring it–though CNN, MSNBC and the LGBT cable network LOGO have agreed to give it exposure.

No matter how many turn out to march on October 11–or attend the vast array of workshops the day before–it will help punctuate a turning point for LGBT civil rights.

And a new network of activist groups will emerge from this march: Equality Across America. As Massachusetts activist Gary Lapon puts it, “We are not simply organizing to protest, but protesting to organize.”

The new mood for LGBT equality is a reflection of a generation that grew up with unprecedented cultural exposure to sexual and gender variance, yet lives with draconian laws and organizational strategies that asphyxiate dynamism and shut down debate. No more crafting our demands to suit the tepid conservatism of a bygone era. We want it all!

President Obama, this is our Rosa Parks moment. When will you allow LGBT people sit at the front of the bus?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Material on this Web site is licensed by SocialistWorker.org, under a Creative Commons (by-nc-nd 3.0) [4] license, except for articles that are republished with permission. Readers are welcome to share and use material belonging to this site for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and SocialistWorker.org.

  1. [1] http://www.haymarketbooks.org/product_info.php?products_id=1774
  2. [2] http://www.haymarketbooks.org/event.php?id=23
  3. [3] http://equalityacrossamerica.org/blog/?page_id=2501
  4. [4] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 161 other followers