Religious Right Group Slurs Home Depot in Anti-Gay Attack

From Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch

http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2010/07/28/religious-right-group-slurs-home-depot-in-anti-gay-attack/?ondntsrc=MBQ100770HTW&newsletter=HW072910

Posted in Anti-Gay by Hatewatch Staff<!– Hatewatch Staff –> on July 28, 2010

The American Family Association (AFA), one of the nation’s most obsessed anti-gay crusaders, launched a boycott of The Home Depot a week ago today because the home improvement and construction retailer “promotes the homosexual agenda.” Rather than “remain neutral in the culture war,” AFA wrote, “The Home Depot has chosen to sponsor and participate in numerous gay pride parades and festivals.”

That alone wouldn’t be an earth-shaking accusation; plenty of major corporations, including Home Depot, sponsor gay pride events. But AFA’s announcement strongly implies – with clever wording and misleading “evidence” – that the home-improvement retailer is helping gay sexual predators stalk children.

A letter posted on AFA’s website and signed by its president, Tim Wildmon, declares that a photograph “taken during recent homosexual events sponsored by The Home Depot show[s] children being encouraged to visit gay sex websites.” In the photo, children presumably attending the Southern Maine Pride Festival and parade in June, are seen holding orange Home Depot cups with small red-and-white flags stuck in them. The AFA caption reads, “The flags in these Home Depot cups promote a gay website which proclaims itself as ‘the men’s social group for men who have sex with men.’” The caption goes on, “The cups were given to children by The Home Depot gay parade marchers, while homosexual activists followed up by introducing them to gay sex websites.”

Read carefully, AFA’s post never accuses Home Depot of having anything to do with the flags. But AFA nevertheless concludes, “The Home Depot has no problem aligning itself with gay activist groups who target children with a pro-homosexual message.” The impression is inescapable: Home Depot pals around with lustful gay activists as they recklessly invite kids to visit a gay porn site.

But what about those mysterious flags? The writing on the flags can’t be read in the photo, and AFA conveniently never identifies the offending website — and for good reason, as it turns out.

The flags, Hatewatch has learned, were distributed by an Augusta, Maine, group called Just Guys, which provides safe sex counseling, HIV testing, social support and other resources for gay men. Its meetings are on the calendar of MaineGeneral Health, Maine’s third-largest health care system. And just for good measure, the front page of justguys.info prominently displays a warning:

“This website contains HIV/STD prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Since HIV infection and Sexually Transmitted Diseases are spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, this website may contain pages which you may not wish to visit. Thank you.”

Not exactly the hallmarks of drooling pederasts.

Just Guys director Lew Alessio acknowledged that his organization distributed the flags at the southern Maine festival. The message on the flags said simply, “Gay Pride, Safe Pride,” and then the web address – the promotional phrase AFA cited wasn’t on them. The obvious conclusion: AFA representatives went to the website to find the promotional phrase — and thus knew perfectly well that justguys.info is not a “gay sex website,” and that it doesn’t target children in any way.

“All of our written material must be approved by the review board of the Maine Center for Disease Control,” Alessio told Intelligence Report. “While we gave out thousands of trinkets with various safer sex/gay pride messages on them, every single message was approved by the MCDC in advance of the event.”

Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes told Hatewatch that AFA representatives approached the company in early July, demanding that it end all sponsorships of gay-pride events. It was an easy call for the company. “To forbid our associates to have any involvement in pride festivals would run counter to the company’s culture of inclusion,” Holmes said. “We’re not going to discriminate against anyone because of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

This isn’t the first time AFA has tried to pin the “preys-on-children” tag on Home Depot. Last summer, the AFA-affiliated One Million Moms group complained about the company’s $5,000 sponsorship donation to the Nashville Gay Pride Festival, then added: “Home Depot also signed on as a vendor, conducting kids craft workshops for children via a special booth set up just for them. To this end, Home Depot is basically encouraging the attendance of children at events which openly expose them to transvestites, cross-dressers, and homosexual activities. … Obviously, Home Depot is OK with the idea of exposing children to an unhealthy and risky environment.” In other words, it’s Home Depot’s fault for accommodating kids who attend a public parade on public streets approved by local government.

A representative of the American Family Association, contacted by Hatewatch, said no spokespersons were available to comment

Bryan Fischer, AFA’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy, posted a letter regarding the latest boycott including an admonition that Home Depot “might want to check with the Ford Motor Company about what happens when ordinary American families decide to vote with their wallets against companies that peddle perversion.” Fischer was referring to AFA’s 2005 call to boycott Ford for similar pro-gay offenses. “Ford Motor Company eventually surrendered, and re-focused its energy on making automobiles instead of retooling American culture.”

Oh? Portfolio.com, the web portal for the Bizjournals network, didn’t see it that way, concluding that AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon (Tim’s father) in March 2008 “unilaterally declared victory.” Ford didn’t see it that way either: “I can tell you there was not a negotiated settlement to this boycott,” Ford spokesman Jim Cain said in the portfolio.com article. Cain pointedly noted that during and after the AFA boycott, Ford maintained relationships with groups including Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the Human Rights Campaign, both supporters of gay marriage.

Fischer, it should be noted, has recently argued that homosexuality should be prohibited by law, that Muslims should be banned from the U.S. military, and that executing couples engaged in “sexual immorality” might help the nation renew its “commitment to follow God.” He has argued that Adolf Hitler was gay and that World War II Nazi stormtroopers were actually a sinister, elite gay fighting force.

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck Combs Communications, which specializes in marketing to gay consumers, said most anti-gay organizations have abandoned consumer boycotts as a strategy for a simple reason: They haven’t worked. Few other religious-right or anti-gay organizations have joined AFA’s call.

“To the best of my knowledge, no corporation has evidenced any drop or loss of revenue from boycotts of this sort,” Witeck told Hatewatch. To the extent they are still used, the primary goal seems to be assuring the boycotting organization’s base that their contributions are making a difference, he said. “You take a cause, you do it, then you declare victory and then everyone believes their money was well-invested.”

The real net effect of anti-gay boycotts, says Witeck, is like listening to “one hand clapping. They really don’t change corporate behaviors.”

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Thursday Afternoon Jazz Interlude

Outside it’s hot and humid, trying to rain…  so here’s a little “Stormy Weather”

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‘Worst Bush-era policies’ becoming the ‘new normal’: ACLU

From Raw Storyhttp://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0729/aclu-report-obama-core-liberties/

By Muriel Kane
Thursday, July 29th, 2010 — 1:19 pm

From the point of view of civil libertarians, the Obama administration has been an exercise in frustration, with every hopeful sign followed by failures to live up to its own promises.

The ACLU has just issued a report (pdf), titled “Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration,” which focuses on this pattern of inconsistency.

“The administration has displayed a decidedly mixed record,” explains ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romaro, “resulting, on a range of issues, in the very real danger that the Obama administration will institutionalize some of the most troublesome policies of the previous administration — in essence, creating a troubling ‘new normal.'”

As summarized in a press release announcing the report, “President Obama has made great strides in some areas, such as his auspicious first steps to categorically prohibit torture, outlaw the CIA’s use of secret overseas detention sites and release the Bush administration’s torture memos, but he has failed to eliminate some of the worst policies put in place by President Bush, such as military commissions and indefinite detention. He has also expanded the Bush administration’s ‘targeted killing’ program.”

Continue reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0729/aclu-report-obama-core-liberties/

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Israel – Rights groups: Doctors discriminating against sex-change patients in Israel…

[2010-07-29 Haaretz.com]

http://tinyurl.com/386gpow

Thu, July 29, 2010 Av 18, 5770

Rights groups: Doctors discriminating against sex-change patients in Israel

Members of Israel’s transgender community are protesting what they see as discriminatory treatment by the Israeli medical system.

By Dan Even

Members of Israel’s transgender community are protesting what they see as discriminatory treatment by the Israeli medical system, including doctors’ demands for a psychological evaluation before providing hormonal treatments for people who want to undergo sex changes.

A project promoting the right to high-quality health care for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered will be kicked off at today’s gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

“The ties between a doctor and the transgender patient are complex, because many doctors still have stereotypes, and there are doctors who treat without being sensitive,” said Nora Grinberg, an activist for transgender rights and a member of the Health Ministry’s committee to update regulations on sex-change operations.

She said there are doctors who refuse to treat transgender patients, meaning that they don’t identify with their birth sex and may want to undergo a sex change.

“The knowledge on the subject of transgender identity has undergone a revolution in the last 15 years,” Grinberg said. “But the demand that patients be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist before being given hormones indicates discriminatory treatment, a situation known as the ‘gatekeeper,’ in which the person doing the treating has the power to allow or bar medical treatment for a transgender person and den the patients’ right to autonomy.”

There has been a major increase in demand for sex-change treatment in recent years, but representatives of the transgender community have said the situation for those seeking sex-change surgery is far from satisfactory.

A Health Ministry committee was convened two years ago to review sex-change procedures established in 1986, but the committee has yet to issue any recommendations.

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, is the only place in the country performing sex-change surgery, and there are many complaints about how the matter is handled there.

The Health Ministry said the committee looking at amending sex-change surgery procedures has developed wide-ranging draft recommendations. The ministry said they are being re-examined, however, due to opposition by Grinberg and Physicians for Human Rights. The ministry said any complaints about discriminatory treatment in the health care system can be filed with the ministry’s ombudsman.

Grinberg said candidates for surgery are currently required to apply to a hospital committee and remain under follow-up care for two years before receiving approval for the operation. She said the wait is contrary to accepted practice around the world.

Grinberg also objected to the requirement that patients undergo psychiatric evaluation before surgery, a practice she said violates medical ethics. Sex-change surgery is covered by national health care, but there are some associated costs that are not covered.

END

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Belgium/US – Study recommends normal breast screening for transsexual women; sex expert disagrees…

[2010=07-28 Diagnostic Imaging]

http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/controversies-in-breast-screening/content/article/113619/1622961

Controversies in Breast Screening

Diagnostic Imaging.

Study recommends normal breast screening for transsexual women; sex expert disagrees

By Rebekah Moan

28 July 2010

Breast screening habits for transsexual women shouldn’t differ from those of biological women, according to a recent European study. However, a human sexuality expert disagrees, saying screening for transsexual women should depend on when the patient started estrogen therapy and not age alone.

Reports of transsexual women developing cancer are scarce; however there may be some degree of under reporting. The study sought to remedy this problem and examined 50 women post–sex-reassignment surgery (EJR 2010;74:508-513).

The researchers found mammography and breast sonography were technically feasible in the women. No gross anomalies were detected. In addition, 98% of the patients intended to come back for screening.

“It is not unlikely that in transsexual women, who receive life-long estrogen therapy, the risk of developing breast cancer will prove to be higher than for their male counterparts,” said study author Dr. Steven Weyers from the gynecology department at Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium.

The study recommended a normal screening regimen for transsexual women. The mean age of study subjects was 43 ± 10.5 years.

Other studies have found women with breast implants are not at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women with breast implants are not diagnosed at a later stage, nor do they have more recurrences or shorter survival, Weyers said.

Not everyone agrees with the study’s conclusions, however.

The pathophysiology of breast cancer suggests that risk is largely related to years of estrogen exposure, according to Dr. Jamie Feldman, an associate professor in the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota.

“It really makes no sense to screen a 40- or even 50-year-old transwoman who just started estrogen therapy two weeks ago,” she said.

Given the estrogen exposure factor, using the screening schedule developed for biological women is not cost-effective and exposes transsexual women with a low risk of cancer to unnecessary x-rays, false positives, anxiety, and possible biopsies, she said.

Instead, Feldman suggests screening mammography for transsexual women start at age 50 provided they have had five years of hormone therapy. High-risk patients should begin sooner, Feldman said.

© 1996 – 2010 UBM Medica LLC

A couple of flaws and omissions.

Not all transsexuals come out and transition in middle age.  Some of us start hormones as young teens or young adults.  We definitely need to follow the same sort of breast cancer screening patterns as natal females.  Plus the other screenings related to hormone usage i.e. liver function, blood clots etc.

Further this is one place where it would be good to use the dyad transsexual and transgender as not only transsexual to female people use hormones or get implants but non-op transgender women do as well.

The Pink Swastika: A Pernicious Lie

One of the nastier Blood Libels circulating through the ultra right wing Taliban Christian propaganda industry is the one about the Nazis being gay.

While it is true that there were gays in the early Nazi movement most notably the Sturmabteilung or SA it is also true that they were purged from the Nazi movement and were butchered during the “Night of the Long Knives”.

Instead of right wing homophobic lies from people who not only deny part of the Holocaust but perpetuate a Blood Libel, I suggest people read:

The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger, David Fernbach, and Klaus Muller

The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals by Richard Plant

In the meantime Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show gives the libel perpetrator and ultra right wing propagandist,Scott Lively,  rope enough to hang himself.  Watch him squirm when Jason Jones mentions how overt homophobic displays are often a cover used by closet homosexuals followed by the reflexive denial of homosexuality we have seen by not only Ted Haggard and Larry Craig but by other right wing closet cases who have had the doors of their closets opened.

To watch Scott Lively make an ass out of himself go to: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-july-28-2010/gay-reichs

From Pharyngula:

More savage than natural men!

One of the more contemptible anti-gay activists is Reverend Scott Lively, a true liar for Jesus who considers it his sacred mission to rid the world of homosexuals. He was proud to have inspired the Ugandan death penalty for homosexuality law (although in the face of the outrage that generated, he backed off, claiming they should give them the choice of prison or gay conversion “therapy”).

His other claim to fame is that he is a holocaust revisionist. He has written a book, The Pink Swastika, in which he claims that Hitler and his entire inner circle was gay, that the atrocities the Nazis committed were driven by the immoral impulses of the gay Nazi elite, and that the well-known anti-gay laws and mass murders of homosexuals in the Third Reich were just a cover, a distraction to conceal the fact that Nazis were all gay. Oh, and also that the reason they were murdered is that gays are intrinsically violent, anyway.

Lively is an evil little liar, so it was delightful to see him exposed on the Daily Show. This is one of the clearest illuminations of the insanity of these gay-hating evangelicals I’ve seen.