Rev. Troy Perry celebrates MCC’s 50th anniversary

From The Los Angeles Blade:

by Karen Ocamb
October 9, 2018

The Oct. 6 celebration of Rev. Troy Perry and the 50th anniversary of his founding Metropolitan Community Church was a testament to the loving spirit of this longtime LGBT social justice warrior and religious legend. Fellow warriors spoke, including Rabbi Denise Eger, West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, and Rodney Scott, former mainstay of Christopher Street West, the annual Pride parade founded in 1970 by Perry, Morris Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries.

And special guests appeared, including State Sen. Kevin de Leon and famed attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit in 2004 on behalf of Perry, his husband Phillip De Blieck (they were married in Canada on July 16, 2003) and Robin Tyler and Diane Olson that ended up helping win marriage equality at the California Supreme Court. 

But LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala’s three-minute speech was monumental. “Rev. Troy—thank you for the forgiveness you and your church and your whole world have brought to law enforcement,” Girmala said. On behalf of the LAPD, who try “to be better each and every day—thank you for your forgiveness of us for our past problems, indiscretions, and things that have changed this world for the better but sometimes for worse.”

Elders’ jaws dropped. In March 1969, Perry led a march of 120 people protesting the seemingly casual vicious beating death of Howard Efland by two LAPD Vice officers at the Dover Hotel. 

“I had told my congregation over and over that our church was built on a three-prong gospel: the gospel of Christian salvation, the gospel of Christian community, and the gospel of Christian social action. Absolutely: Christian social action. We are meant to go out and bring deliverance to people. So I told them ‘I want you to come and march with me,’” Perry said at the time.

In his remarks, Perry sailed back in time, remembering how one of the first 12 MCC members would be murdered six months later and how LGBT people must remember their history.

“I’m so glad our assistant chief of police is here tonight. Two years ago, I was invited by the Police Commission to do the Invocation and to speak. And I couldn’t not take the opportunity to say, ‘This is the first time I’ve been to the police commission in 46 years. It was 46 yeas ago when I sued you,’” Perry said. “I don’t want us to ever forget our history. Remember what we’ve done. Look at these young people that we’ve honored tonight. How thankful I am for all of you who have made the sacrifice – those eight clergy who were murdered – members of our church who were murdered. But we never gave up. We were faithful. God bless you all.”

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Anti-gay lawyer confirmed as head of Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

From Metro Weekly:

Senate Republicans push through Eric Dreiband’s nomination on a party-line vote

October 11, 2018

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed lawyer Eric Dreiband as head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, despite some misgivings about his stances on civil and LGBTQ rights.

Following last Saturday’s contentious vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture motions on two Trump judicial picks whose nominations have been languishing for more than a year without a floor vote — one of whom was Dreiband, according to the National Review.

The other nominee, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, seeking to head the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources divisions, had been held up over concerns about his environmental record, but was given a preliminary vote on Wednesday, when the Senate voted 53-44 to end debate on his nomination. On Thursday, he was finally confirmed by a 52-45 vote.

The Senate voted on Thursday by a 50-47 margin to end debate on Dreiband’s nomination, setting up a subsequent confirmation vote, which also passed on a party-line 50-47 vote. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) were not present.

As Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Dreiband will be entrusted with enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws, particularly those that bar forms of discrimination based on race, sex, disability, religion, or national origin.

The Civil Rights Division often oversees disputes related to the Voting Rights Act, most notably state efforts that seek to suppress minorities’ voting rights, either through gerrymandering, voter ID laws, or other methods like voter caging.

During Dreiband’s confirmation hearing, civil rights groups flagged some of the answers he gave to senators’ questions as warnings that he may adopt a very narrow view of what constitutes a civil rights violation.

LGBTQ groups, in particular, have been concerned about Dreiband’s decision to represent the University of North Carolina in a lawsuit challenging the university’s decision to enforce HB 2, the anti-LGBTQ state law that restricted restroom access for transgender people and nullified local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

They also expressed concerns over his work for nonprofit organizations seeking religious exemptions from having to provide insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act.

Recently, a mortgage company based out of Colorado has utilized a similar argument, citing its religious objections as justification for yanking spousal health care benefits from employees in same-sex marriages.

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An Appeals Court Might Actually Rule in Favor of Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban

From Slate:


Donald Trump’s attempt to ban transgender Americans from serving openly in the military found possible supporters at the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday. During oral arguments over the policy, a conservative-leaning panel of judges indicated that they might reverse an injunction currently safeguarding the rights of transgender troops. It marked the first time that any court has seriously suggested that the ban passes constitutional muster.

Trump famously tweeted the ban in July 2017 without consulting military officials in an effort to appease evangelical conservatives. In August 2017, he directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis—who opposed the ban—to devise an implementation plan. Following the president’s orders, Mattis convened a panel to conduct a study that would provide legal justifications for the policy. By that point, however, four separate federal district courts had blocked the ban, and one federal appeals court had refused to let it go forward. Behind the scenes, Vice President Mike Pence played a major role in creating the report, aided by anti-trans activists Ryan Anderson and Tony Perkins. Relying on this report, the Trump administration once again attempted to impose the ban in March, only be frozen by the courts once again.

At this point, Trump’s Department of Justice is clearly eager to get this case to the Supreme Court, where, it believes, it can secure five votes to uphold the policy. So it requested, and received, an expedited hearing in the 9th Circuit, asking the appeals court to lift an injunction issued by a federal district court in Washington State.

No court has yet found that Trump’s ban is anywhere close to constitutional. All four district courts held that it violates basic equal-protection principles by singling out sexual minorities for disfavored treatment. But Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, which represent the transgender plaintiffs, drew a tough panel on Wednesday: Judges Raymond Fisher, Richard Clifton, and Connie Callahan. Fisher is a liberal lion, but Clifton is a moderate conservative, and Callahan sits on the court’s right flank. From the start, Callahan proved extremely skeptical of the district court’s conclusion that the 2018 policy is materially different from the earlier iterations. That’s a problem for the plaintiffs. The earliest version of the ban, Trump’s initial tweet, was plainly a direct assault on transgender Americans. The 2018 version, by contrast, attempted to disguise this animus in pretext, ostensibly discriminating on the basis of gender dysphoria rather than sex and transgender status.

“I’m not completely convinced by your argument that the 2018 [policy] is the same as the 2017 [policy],” Callahan told Steve Ellis, who represented the plaintiffs. “I can see differences. …  They don’t look exactly the same to me.” She dismissed the district court’s decision—which found the new policy to be an extension of the old one—as “quite conclusory.”

Clifton seemed to agree. “Let’s look what happened in the travel ban case,” he said. (Clifton sat on the panel that blocked Trump’s first travel ban.) He noted that the Supreme Court put “great weight” to the fact that Trump rescinded that ban, issued another one, rescinded it, then issued a third, final policy. When the court upheld the third ban in Trump v. Hawaii, Clifton said, it “paid deciding attention to the fact that there was a different justification offered in support of the policy. The past history was in the past. Now we have a potentially analogous situation.”

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Early Music Extolling the Virtues of Marijuana

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Adolph Hitler’s Sexuality & the Slander Against LGBTQ People & Communities

This  lie holds hands with the Nazis were Socialists lie.

From The Good Men Project:

The tyranny of the past and the oppression of today.

October 11, 2018

It wasn’t just that homosexuals were involved in the Nazi party. Homosexuals created the Nazi party…[T]his organization was a machine that was constructed by militant, sadomasochistic, pedophilic homosexuals.

Fundamentalist Christians Scott Lively (also a perennial candidate for Massachusetts governor) and Karen Abrams’ book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, serves to articulate and perpetuate the revisionist argument that most of the top leadership in the German Nazi regime were homosexuals and other types of “sexual deviants,” including but not limited to Hitler himself and his “inner circle”: Goebbels, Roehm, Goering, Rosenberg, Himmler, and Hoess.

They go further by arguing that eight of the top ten serial killers in the US were likewise homosexual.

Throughout the book, Lively and Abrams make clearly conflicting assertions and claims. They quoted Robert Waite:

“There is insufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion that Hitler was an overt homosexual. But it seems clear that he had latent homosexual tendencies, and it is certain that he worried a great deal about them.”

Lively and Abrams, however, go on to conclude, while presenting no verifiable documentation, but only circumstantially:

The weight of evidence indicates that Hitler was deeply involved in a series of short and long-term homosexual relationships. Even more certain is that he knowingly and deliberately surrounded himself with practicing homosexuals from the time he was a teenager.

A 70-page document that has recently come to light adds to the speculation and confusion around Hitler’s sexuality. The document, declassified in 2000 and recently reported widely, is dated December 3, 1943 by the Office of Strategic Services and titled “Biographical Sketches of Hitler and Himmler.” It includes a sexual profile of the Nazi dictator.

Much of the information, however, was gotten from second- and third-hand sources of which very few were cited. A “Dr. Sedgwick” is quoted several times (possibly Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl, who was once a friend of Hitler before they had a falling out in the mid-1930s. Hanfstaengl emigrated then to the U.S.).

Dr. Sedgwick asserted that a young Hitler stayed at The Men’s Hostel, “Maennerheim Brigittenau,” a place, according to Sedgwick, that was a known hangout where older men went to cruise young men. The document asserts that Sedgwick had no personal knowledge of the hostel, and that he heard about it from other sources.

Sedgwick concluded that Hitler most likely did not engage in same-sex sexuality or in an intimate relationship with another man during his youth. Though the report concludes that Hitler expressed both “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality,” or that he may have been “bisexual,” it offers no conclusive evidence for any of its claims.

So, controversy, false claims, amateur psychoanalysis, and historical revisionism continue.

But who really cares about Hitler’s, or any of the Nazi leaderships’ sexual tastes and behaviors? The Nazis – and each person of all nations and political viewpoints – must be judged on their statements, actions, and behaviors.

The sexual behavior of an individual or a group of people does not and cannot represent the behaviors, views, politics, morality, or any other human characteristic of an entire community. Two people who may be sexually attracted to a third person of their own sex most likely may have nothing else in common with one another aside from that simultaneous attraction.

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Texas Strong

From The ACLU:

An intimate portrait of Kimberly and Kai Shappley: a mother rejecting her community’s beliefs as her 7-year-old transgender daughter navigates life at school, where she’s been banned from the girls’ bathroom.

Directed by Daresha Kyi (Chavela), currently a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow, writes and directs film and television in Spanish and English, and has produced television for FX, WE, AMC, Telemundo, and others.

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Fury Is a Political Weapon. And Women Need to Wield It.

From The New York Times:

What the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh showed us about who gets to be angry in public.

By Rebecca Traister
Sept. 29, 2018

Inside the room, in the morning, she spoke carefully, precisely, in a high voice; she made jokes about caffeine, asked deferentially about whether it would be O.K. to take a break. She acknowledged her terror, but remained calm, and cited her scientific expertise in how the brain responds to trauma.

Her voice trembled in moments of intense recollection; it sounded as though she might be crying, though no tears appeared to fall. She described a past sexual assault and the more recent media assault on her in excruciating and vulnerable detail, but did not yell, did not betray a hint of the fury she had every reason to feel as she was forced to put her pain on display for the nation.

That is how women have been told to behave when they are angry: to not let anyone know, and to joke and to be sweet and rational and vulnerable.

Outside the room where Christine Blasey Ford was testifying on Thursday morning, women were incandescent with rage and sorrow and horror. They were getting angry in a new way, a public way, an unapologetic way — a way that is typically reserved for men, and that would again serve men well, when afternoon came.

Brett Kavanaugh bellowed; he snarled; he pouted and wept furiously at the injustice of having his ascendance to power interrupted by accusations of sexual assault. He challenged his questioners, turned their queries back on them. He was backed up by Lindsey Graham, who appeared to be having some sort of fit of rage over people having the audacity to listen to a woman speak about her life and consider that she might be telling an ugly truth about a powerful man. And, as soon as he was finished, it certainly felt as if the white men’s anger had been rhetorically effective, that we had reflexively understood it as righteous and correct.

Fury was a tool to be marshaled by men like Judge Kavanaugh and Senator Graham, in defense of their own claims to political, legal, public power. Fury was a weapon that had not been made available to the woman who had reason to question those claims.

What happened inside the room was an exceptionally clear distillation of who has historically been allowed to be angry on their own behalf, and who has not.

And outside the room was a hint of how it might be changing.

Most of the time, female anger is discouraged, repressed, ignored, swallowed. Or transformed into something more palatable, and less recognizable as fury — something like tears. When women are truly livid, they often weep.

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Here’s Why Evangelicals Believe They’re the Most Persecuted Group in America

Actually Christianity has done far more persecuting over the centuries than Christians have ever been persecuted in the entire history of Christianity.

From Alternet:

The answer is right there in the Bible.

By Valerie Tarico
October 12, 2018

A recent Pew study found that white American Evangelical Christians think they experience more discrimination than Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Atheists or Jews.


Christianity is the majority religion in the U.S. and many kinds of legally ensconced religious privilege are on the rise including the right to woo converts in public grade schools, speculate in real estate tax-free, repair religious facilities with public dollars, or opt out of civil rights laws and civic responsibilities that otherwise apply to all. By contrast atheists are less electable than even philanderers, weed smokers or gays; Hispanics and Muslims are being told to leave; Jews get accused of everything from secret economic cabals to destroying America’s military; and unarmed Black youth continue to die at the hands of vigilantes.

Given the reality of other people’s lives, a widespread Evangelical perception of their group as mass victims reveals a lack of empathy that should make thoughtful believers cringe. And indeed, Alan Nobel, managing editor of Christ and Pop Culture, and a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, wrote a pained analysis this summer of what he called Evangelical persecution complex. Nobel contrasted the privileged position of American Christians with the real and serious persecution Christian minorities experience under ISIS, for example, and he examined the ways in which victimization can become a part of Christian identity to the detriment of Christians and outsiders alike. What he neglected to spell out clearly was the extent to which the Bible itself sets up this problem.

Christianity, born in the harsh desert cultures of the Middle East, got its start by defining itself in opposition to both Judaism and the surrounding pagan religions of the Roman empire. Consequently, from the get-go teachings emerged that helped believers deal with the inevitable conflict, by both predicting and glorifying suffering at the hands of outsiders. Indeed, persecution was framed as making believers more righteous, more like their suffering savior. Long before the Catholic Church made saints out of martyrs, a myriad of texts encouraged believers to embrace suffering or persecution, or even to bring it on.

This sample from a much longer list of New Testament verses about persecution (over 100), gives a sense of how endemic persecution is to the biblical world view.

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