From The Feminist Majority, Feminist Daily News: http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=12663
Last week US Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) told an audience at the Greater Freedom Rally, held in a church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that openly gay people and women engaging in premarital sex should not be allowed to teach in schools. According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, he neglected to comment regarding whether or not unwed sexually active men should be banned from teaching as well.
DeMint has made similar comments in the past. According to CNN, during a 2004 Senate debate, DeMint said that openly gay teachers and single mothers involved in sexual relationships should be prohibited from teaching in public schools. After facing criticism for the comment, DeMint apologized for taking sides on an issue that should be reserved for school boards to decide, reported the Huffington Post. On Friday, however, DeMint mentioned his prior comments and said, “[When I said those things,] no one came to my defense,” Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.” CNN reports that DeMint’s spokesman reiterated this position, stating on Tuesday that “DeMint was making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion.”
At the rally, DeMint also emphasized his position against abortion and pledged to continue working to keep marriage defined as between a man and a woman. The event’s sponsor was the CEO Roundtable of South Carolina, a political action committee that aims to “[bring] together social and economic conservatives,” according to the organization’s website.
Media Resources: Spartan Herald-Journal 10/2/10; CNN 10/5/10; Huffington Post 10/2/10; CEO Roundtable of South Carolina
Bullies are bullies because they reflect the patriarchal paradigm.
Bullies are considered tough. Because being tough means being able to dish out pain, hurt and humiliation without feeling guilt.
Being able to take pain, hurt and humiliation without being destroyed by it is called celebrating one’s victimization. Even though surviving such abuse without committing suicide or killing one’s tormentor takes great strength.
Destroying the lives of others is rewarded while having one’s life destroyed by bullying is punished further by people who treat the victims of bullying as weak and cowardly, unworthy of decent opportunities in life.
Damages are rarely awarded to people whose childhoods were destroyed by bullies. Or to children who were deprived of their right to an education and the right to experience school as a safe place in which to grow and learn.
Bullies bully because bullying is the path to success. It is the path to alpha status whether in a wolf pack or in the corporate structure.
Refusal to join the bullies places one with the victims. Joining the bullies gains multiple rewards. That is the mentality of Tea Baggers and lynch mobs alike.
When I was 13, I played goalie on a junior hockey team (my father required me to play sports). They gave me the position because I wasn’t a good skater or an aggressive player. But I turned out to be a really good goalie, years of learning blocking of punches and flinching had paid off.
Because I was good at playing goalie the bullies gave me the opportunity to join them. All I had to do was beat up a kid who was a sissy like me. Physically it would have been easy, I was strong and toughened by the summers spent working on the farm. But I couldn’t do it. I hit this kid once and stopped.
The next day I went to the school’s office and told the Principal what had happened. I was put on a different bus because I would have been severely beaten by the bullies.
I made what I saw as a moral choice. My family raised me well. You do not join the thugs and beat up the oppressed just as you do not cross union picket lines.
I think a lot of people like Eddie Long and all the queer haters who look and sound so queer themselves also faced that ethical dilemma at some point or other in their lives and decided that it was more rewarding to be part of the bullies than the bullied.
I was already branded a teen age drag queen by my parents when I made my choice as to which side I was on. I went on to grow into a left wing radical who believes in human rights. Even when I tried to join the mob and the bullies about 10 years ago it never felt right.
As adults bullies have many glorified titles. CEO, CFO, General, Admiral… They are the ones who feel no guilt about the inflicting of pain upon others. Psychiatrists call that sociopathic behavior. Those who take pleasure in the inflicting of pain upon others are psychopaths.
But the reality is society rewards bullies. Society celebrates the conquering hero no matter how egregious and monstrous the actions.
Just as society blames the rape victim, the beaten wife, the murdered transsexual or transgender woman.
The victim is always seen as making the bully act in a monstrous manner. Society always offers up mitigating circumstances that the bully may have never thought of on his own.
The victim of bullying is told to suck it up, get over it.
I was a tough little transkid. I retaliated. Because bullies rarely act on their own and usually act as part of a mob, I would wait till one was alone and unaware and I would attack him without warning using what ever means were necessary to hurt him.
Oddly all those authority figures who never found a reason to punish the bullies always found a reason to punish me. But if I had to suck it up and take being punished it was better to take it for fighting back than for being abused. In the process bullies decided it was better to pick someone else to bully.
I never made the connection as a child but as I became a teenager, who listened to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, I realized that if the bullied and intimidated got together, why there were more of us than there were of the bullies.
I also realized bullies do not stop being bullies when they grow up. They just become sadistic sociopathic adults. The sort who rape as an exercise of power. The sort who join the military not to defend the country but so they can murder people who do not have the same military might.
Bullies grow up to abuse their wives and children. Bullies don the robes of the KKK and the Republican Party. Bullies seek out positions that reward their sick desires to abuse. They join the police departments so that when the victimized, the raped and abused go to the police they are going to people more likely to side with the abuser than with the victim.
Suck it up. It is your own fault. If you would just not exist then the bullies wouldn’t be forced to treat you like the scum you are.
Look at what those who are bullied are called.
Sissy, nerd, freak, faggot, dyke, queer, whore, trannie, geek. Words that hurt. Words that scar.
Words that say we should just kill ourselves because we are such misfits.
A year and a half ago when I started this blog I laid down the law to the “HBS/Classic Transsexual” that their name calling wouldn’t be permitted on this blog. I had come to the conclusion that they were people who desperately wanted to join the non-trans bullies who abuse transsexual and transgender people, something I wanted no part of and that I would not permit in a space I controlled. Now this set of people seem to devote an inordinate amount of energy to denouncing me.
I don’t care.
I know which side I am on and that is the side of the oppressed.
While bullies have whole armies of friends, lynch mobs who laugh and cheer them on as they bully and abuse too often the bullied and abused are forced to suffer alone.
I remember what it was like to feel I was the only one in the world. I remember what it was like to feel that I was despised not only by the bullies but by institutions that either refused to intercede or who blamed me for provoking the abuse simply by being.
I knew I was different. The nugget of truth that kept me going was thinking, “Yeah, I’m different. So What!”
But I was near suicide on more than one occasion as a child. I thought how easy it would be to kill myself. I dwelt upon the ways I could kill myself. Sometimes the only thing that kept me alive was the will to deny the bullies the pleasure they would feel if I did kill myself.
I deliberately failed out of college after winning a New York State Regents Scholarship. The reasons were complex and included desire to just not be there when the 1960s were happening and there were others like myself out there making a life. But there was also a darker truth… The 12 years of being bullied had so damaged my education and my ability to focus that I needed time to regain my sense of self worth.
In the last couple of years of high school I actually had a few friends. We were hipper than the rest of the kids in school, listened to folk music and studied together. I was no longer a complete misfit.
In college I became a radical and part of the SDS/ hippie crowd.
When I left school I was sustained by the radical left and hippie movements.
When I met other transsexual and transgender people I realized we had all been abused. Drug and alcohol abuse was endemic to our crowd. So was sex work. Our lives had been shredded by that abuse.
It is okay for Dan Savage to say, “It gets better.”
It does but we need to tell the truth. Admit that we were bullied and abused. Admit that it destroyed our childhoods. Demand redress from the educational system that failed us while it rewarded the bullies who often captained sports teams and won awards.
We need to create space for bullied kids to get together and expand that space to the kids who avoid supporting bullied kids out of fear that the bullies will turn on them.
We Need To Make It Better For Bullied People who are Adults
The pain of having been bullied does not stop once one becomes an adult.
As a feminist I listened to women tell of the pain of having been sexually abused and I was silent about my own pain. I went home and poured a glass of wine and then another. Other friends took pills or shot heroin.
We trivialized our scars because having been the victim of bullying was even more shameful than having been victimized by incest or childhood sexual abuse.
We have a hard time talking about it. We go to AA or NA and keep silent about why we substance abuse. We wind up in abusive relationships and wonder why.
We are haunted by depression and take Prozac or other drugs and still do not name the reason.
It took me all week to write this, a dozen attempts. I asked myself if I should admit to having been one of the bullied.
The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us. We will remember, as well we should those transsexual and transgender people who were murdered but we should also remember those who died of over doses and organ failure from years of substance abuse for they too are victims of a violent crime. Bullies with their torture and abuse are the ones who started so many on the path that finally takes their lives.
This year I celebrate my tenth year of sobriety. I have someone I love who loves me and I have learned to speak out. I tell her right away if I think her yelling at me is starting to be abusive. I’m touchy and trigger easily but I am in recovery not only from drinking but from my childhood of being abused.
To make life better we have to have the space to name the secret scars that cause the pain we drink or drug to numb away.
I know I have focused this mainly on TS/TG folks but I include gays and lesbians as well as straight folks. It just seems as though institutionalized misogyny means that assigned male at birth TS/TG kids get the worst along with feminine gay kids.
The freedom from bullies should be a basic human right and a matter of social justice.
Bullying is a part of misogyny, racism and classism. It says that one group of people are superior to another group and that one group should be permitted to abuse another group. That makes all bullying a form of hate crime.
The FBI raids last month brought to the forefront the importance of knowing our rights. Too often transsexual and transgender people forget that while we are members of minority groups who are often unpopular with the police and other authorities we still have certain basic rights.
We need to assert these rights and can’t assert them if we are ignorant of them.
One of the most important rights is freedom from self-incrimination. Granted Bush II effectively erased that right by okaying torture and Obama has done nothing to restore that right, but legally you can not be compelled to testify against yourself. When police try to interrogate you be polite but refuse to answer any questions that might be used against you.
The police are not your friend.
From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2010/10/08/know-your-rights
Statement: National Lawyers Guild
October 8, 2010
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The FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas in Minneapolis and Chicago against antiwar activists and socialists represent a threat to everyone on the left. It is important for anyone in political activity to know their rights when confronted by the authorities.
Below is the text of a National Lawyers Guild (NLG) pamphlet on your rights if you are questioned by police, FBI, custom agents or immigration officers. The pamphlet is available in pdf form  on the NLG Web site.
This draft was written in 2004, so some laws may have changed–a new version is being produced now, according to the NLG. The pamphlet was produced by the Bay Area chapter of the NLG, so some of the guidance specific to state laws is written from the perspective of a California resident.
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WHAT RIGHTS DO I HAVE?
Whether or not you’re a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government’s power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen and are deportable, DHS* can target you based on your political activities.
Constitutional rights cannot be suspended–even during wartime.
*The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has been renamed and reorganized into: 1. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS); 2. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and 3. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All three bureaus will be referred to as “DHS” for the purposes of this pamphlet.
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WHAT IF POLICE, FBI, OR IMMIGRATION AGENTS CONTACT ME?
Q: Do I have to answer questions?
A: You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is only one exception: in some states outside of California, it can be a crime to refuse to give your name if you have been detained. You do not have to show ID or give any other information such as your address or immigration status.
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A: You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions. And if you do agree to be interviewed, you have the right to have a lawyer present. The lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. Once you tell the agent that you want to talk to a lawyer, they should stop trying to question and should make any further contact through your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you can still tell the officer you want to speak to one before answering questions. Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and give that information to your lawyer. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to help you find a lawyer for free or a reduced rate.
Q: If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won’t it seem like I have something to hide?
A: Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you and others. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Keep in mind that although they are allowed to lie to you, lying to a government agent is a crime. Remaining silent is not. The safest things to say are “I am going to remain silent,” “I want to speak to my lawyer” and “I do not consent to a search.”
Q: Can agents search my home or office?
A: You do not have to let police or agents into your home or office unless they have a search warrant. A search warrant is a written court order that allows the police to conduct a specified search. Interfering with a warrantless search probably will not stop it, and you might get arrested. But you should say, “I do not consent to a search”, and call a criminal lawyer or the NLG. Your roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent, and your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.
Q: What if agents have a search warrant?
A: If you are present when agents come for the search, you can ask to see the warrant. The warrant must specify in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be taken away. Tell the agents you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, what agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If others are present, have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what is happening. If the agents ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. You do not have to answer questions. Talk to a lawyer first.
Q: Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?
A: No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. Ask for a lawyer right away. Repeat this request to every officer who tries to talk to or question you. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.
Q: What if I speak to government agents anyway?
A: Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer.
Q: What if the police or agents stop me on the street?
A: Ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, consider just walking away. If the police say you are not under arrest, but are not free to go, then you are being detained. The police can pat down the outside of your clothing if they have reason to suspect you might be armed and dangerous. If they search any more than this, say clearly, “I do not consent to a search.” They may keep searching anyway. You do not have to answer any questions.
Q: Do I have to give my name?
A: In California, you cannot be detained or arrested for merely refusing to give your name. But you can be in some states, including New Mexico and Nevada. And in any state, police do not always follow the law, and refusing to give your name may make them suspicious and lead to your arrest, so use your judgment. If you fear that your name may be incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent, and if you are arrested, this may help you later. Giving a false name could be a crime.
Q: What if police or agents stop me in my car?
A: Keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license, registration and proof of insurance. You do not have to consent to a search. But the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway. Clearly state that you do not consent. Officers may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.
Q: What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I don’t answer their questions?
A: A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. If they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. Receiving a subpoena to testify before a grand jury doesn’t mean that you are suspected of a crime. You may have legal grounds to stop the subpoena. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG or a criminal lawyer right away. Anything you say can usually be used against you.
Q: What if I am treated badly by the police or agents?
A: Write down the officer’s badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call one of the organizations listed in the sidebar above, or a lawyer, as soon as possible.
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WHAT IF I AM NOT A CITIZEN AND THE DHS CONTACTS ME?
Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the DHS may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge. Never sign anything without reading, understanding and knowing the consequences of signing it.
Talk to a lawyer. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer who will take your calls. The immigration laws are hard to understand, and there have been many recent changes. DHS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter a DHS agent, call your attorney. If you can’t do it right away, keep trying. Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents can be barred from returning. Call the organizations listed in the sidebar above for help finding a lawyer.
Based on today’s laws, regulations and DHS guidelines, non-citizens usually have the rights below, no matter what their immigration status. The following information may change, so it is important to contact a lawyer. The following rights apply to non-citizens who are inside the U.S. Non-citizens at the border who are trying to enter the U.S. do not have all the same rights.
Q: Do I have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any DHS questions or signing any DHS papers?
A: Yes. You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney for immigration proceedings, but if you have been arrested, immigration officials must show you a list of free or low cost legal service providers.
Q: Should I carry my green card or other immigration papers with me?
A: If you have documents authorizing you to stay in the U.S., you must carry them with you. Presenting false or expired papers to DHS may lead to deportation or criminal prosecution. An unexpired green card, I-94, Employment Authorization Card, Border Crossing Card or other papers that prove you are in legal status will satisfy this requirement. If you do not carry these papers with you, you could be charged with a crime. Always keep a copy of your immigration papers with a trusted family member or friend who can fax it to you, if need be. Check with your immigration lawyer about your specific case. You may be required to show your identification to police officers, border patrol agents and aircraft pilots as well.
Q: Am I required to talk to government officers about my immigration history?
A: Once you have shown evidence of your status, you do not have to talk to officers further. You may be better off remaining silent and talking to a lawyer first. Immigration law is very complicated. You may have a problem without realizing it. A lawyer can protect your rights, advise you and help you avoid giving answers that might hurt you. If DHS asks anything about your political and religious beliefs, groups you belong to or contribute to, things you have said, where you have traveled or other questions that do not seem right, you do not have to answer them. An officer may not request evidence of your immigration status in your home or another private place unless he or she has a warrant. But if the officer requests evidence and you fail to provide it, there is a chance they will arrest you.
Q: If I am arrested for immigration violations, do I have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to defend myself against deportation charges?
A: Yes. In most cases, only an immigration judge can order you deported. But if you waive your rights or take “voluntary departure,” agreeing to leave the country, you could be deported without a hearing. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, came to the U.S. through the visa waiver program or have been ordered deported in the past, you could be deported without a hearing. Contact a lawyer immediately to see if there is any relief for you.
Q: Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?
A: Yes. Non-citizens arrested in the U.S. have the right to call their consulate or to have the police tell the consulate of your arrest. The police must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might help you find a lawyer or offer other help. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.
Q: What happens if I give up my right to a hearing or leave the U.S. before the hearing is over?
A: You could lose your eligibility for certain immigration benefits, and you could be barred from returning to the U.S. for a number of years. You should always talk to an immigration lawyer before you decide to give up your right to a hearing.
Q: What should I do if I want to contact DHS?
A: Always talk to a lawyer before contacting DHS, even on the phone. Many DHS officers view “enforcement” as their primary job and will not explain all of your options to you.
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WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AT AIRPORTS?
Important Note: It is illegal for law enforcement to perform any stops, searches, detentions or removals based solely on your race, national origin, religion, sex or ethnicity.
Q: If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers can a U.S. customs agent stop and search me?
A: Yes. Customs agents have the right to stop, detain and search every person and item.
Q: Can my bags or I be searched after going through metal detectors with no problem or after security sees that my bags to not contain a weapon?
A: Yes. Even if the initial screen of your bags reveals nothing suspicious, the screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or your bags.
Q: If I am on an airplane, can an airline employee interrogate me or ask me to get off the plane?
A: The pilot of an airplane has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot’s decision must be reasonable and based on observations of you, not stereotypes.
If you have been profiled at the airport, contact one of the organizations listed in the sidebar above.
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WHAT IF I AM UNDER 18?
Q: Do I have to answer questions?
A: No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You cannot be arrested for refusing to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials, except in some states outside of California, you may have to give your name if you have been detained.
Q: What if I am detained?
A: If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you at no cost.
Q: Do I have the right to express political views at school?
A: Public school students generally have a First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, etc., as long as those activities are not disruptive and do not violate legitimate school rules. You may not be singled out based on your politics, ethnicity or religion. If you think your rights have been violated, call one of the organizations on the front.
Q: Can my backpack or locker be searched?
A: School officials can search students’ backpacks and lockers without a warrant, if they reasonably suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges.
Published in pdf form at the National Lawyers Guild  Web site.
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The National Lawyers Guild has a hotline for U.S. activists who are contacted by the FBI–callers are matched with NLG attorneys experienced with these cases. The hotline number is: 888-NGL-ECOL (888-654-3265).
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The “Know Your Rights” pamphlet was written by the Bay Area chapter of the NLG, so the text below refers to contacting local organizations. They are listed here:
— National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Hotline: Volunteer legal assistance for people contacted by FBI, ICE/INS, etc. in Northern California | 415-285-1041 | www.nlg.org/sf  | General information 415-285-5067
— ACLU of Northern California: If your rights have been violated, especially by government surveillance or racial profiling | 415-621-2488 | General information 415-621-2493 | www.aclunc.org 
— American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)–San Francisco: Report hate crimes, harassment and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims | 415-861-7444 | Toll free 877-282-2288 | www.adcsf.org 
— Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)–S.F. Bay Area | 408-986-9874 | www.cair-california.org 
— Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers: For help in obtaining referrals to local attorneys | email@example.com 
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