We reported last month about Schools filtering LGBTQIA sites.
The sites being blocked have included Gay Straight Alliances, GLSEN, support sites, and even blocking news items related to LGBTQIA issues. This affects all students, who are blocked from vital information, but especially the vulnerable LGBTQIA youth that are the inspiration for this site’s being.
Students from around the USA have been checking up on their schools filtering policies and reporting in. The ACLU has been collating all this information and has now starting acting against the offending school districts.
The initial round of legal action has resulted in letters sent to school districts in Michigan, Kansas and Western Missouri demanding they stop their censorship, and Freedom of Information requests to school districts throughout the rest of the USA on their filtering policies.
Its sad to see that schools have been doing this filtering, often hurting their most needy students, but hopefully the ACLU can start the momentum coming from the legal direction.
However its only part of the story, we need to contact our representatives, our board members and Principles to demand that censorship will not be tolerated.
I’ve started a new petition to be sent to the House, Senate and the Whitehouse demanding they take action against such unconstitutional, discriminatory and potentially life threatening censorship.
Please sign the petition to make your voice heard.
Found via Pink News
There have been many responses to the recent BioWare story, and many of them absolutely wonderful. In fact, a great many of them have come from straight men and women wishing to point out that the “Straight Male Gamer” whom complained so vehemently to BioWare in no way represents them. What hasn’t been addressed much, is the issue of privilege itself and what it means, apart from in the excellent response from BioWare themselves. We recently stumbled across a YouTube video that addresses just that thing, which in our opinion is almost as awesome as the very story that inspired it. It turns out that the video itself was inspired by the story! [ed note: *blush*]
Privilege, sadly, is a huge issue, though often a contraversial one. The word can often be overused, and the concept can even be used as a bitter slur by those who find their selves less privileged than another. Even so, that doesn’t negate the fact of it’s existence or the impact it has.
The video comes from Warren; a 25 year old gay, transgender, married American immigrant, currently studying Biology at grad school. In it, he gives us not just an idea of what privilege is, but also an explanation of what privilege does and what it means to the people affected by it. It could easily serve as a perfect reply to Mr. Straight Male Gamer, but could likewise be applied to just about any situation. What we found especially brilliant about this video is that he also offers a suggestion as to how the absence of privilege and a sense of automatic entitlement can actually, in some ways, lead to a richer life. He also reminds us of the many groups whom are affected by it, including the little discussed negative affect it can sometimes have on those that hold it their selves.
Put simply, privilege is the power we don’t know we have. It’s the choices and options that we take for granted while others cannot. It’s the mastery of our own freedoms and destinies that we assume as normal, often without ever realising that others simply don’t have the same rights or abilities by the simple circumstances of their existence.
As ever, and as Warren even requests, please feel free to leave your thoughts.
The “Straight Male Gamer” of recent notoriety appears to have responded to the support for BioWare’s excellent answer to his complaint by updating his original post at the thread on the forum. In that update, the hole gets deeper with claims of how many other people who “find it [homosexuality] to be disgusting” are afraid to speak and are being silenced “for fear of being called homophobic by what can only be called a mob”
Over a good few hours of consideration, we’ve been wondering whether or not to publish this story. We could intentionally make a big deal out of it through responding ourselves, so advertising it and by doing so find ourselves promoting privileged nonsense. On the other hand, rather than answering it, we’ve decided simply to say that it exists, and potentially let people themselves show their own opinions on it.
No More Lost was a fairly small blog with a small core following until recently, and the fact that our article on this story went viral as it did took even us quite by surprise! We’ve posted articles on all sorts of issues, events and concerns – some of them big, some of them small, and some of them intended merely to bring hope and show positive change in the world away from hatred and bigotry for those that may be on the receiving end of it. Perhaps we’re still a small blog, or perhaps we now have more eyes on us than we realise. Even so, far be it from us to contribute to the silencing of this poor oppressed self-professed representation of the Straight Male Gamer demographic, we’re going to post this update of his here. While we won’t issue a response at this time, we are more than happy for our readers to offer a brief response if they wish. We don’t approve of a mob mentality, but we feel that there are enough clear and obvious holes in his argument to tear it to pieces with the simplest application of mere cold hard reason. The views of the many, apparently, outweigh the views of the few according to the complainant, and so perhaps by this logic it is best to demonstrate what the views of the many are, if they so choose to offer them.
Again, the complainant;
Seeing as how this post has been linked by a few sites, I thought it’d be proper for me to write a response to Gaider’s reply:
I don’t see how Gaider’s reply was in anyway blasting my arguments. In fact, what Gaider basically said was that “You’re right. Dragon Age 2 was not made specifically for “straight male gamer” in mind. It was made to be all-inclusive.” And that was exactly the accusation I was making. I’m not here to debate the moralities of homosexuality, I personally find it to be digusting but others will feel different, that isn’t the point of this thread.
The whole point of the argument relies on the central point that straight male gamers make up a overwhelming majority of players. As I said before, I estimate that the number is around 80% (this includes straight males gamers who plays a females). Now if my numbers are at all wrong (that in reality the split is 60-40-10 (male, female, gay), then consider this post to be null and void, I’ve wasted your time (No doubt some of you already feel that way).
“And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”
The idea of privilege is ridiculous. The “privilege” always lies with the majority because if your goal is to make a game that will be liked by as many fans possible, then it makes sense to focus on that largest group. Why should one fan’s enjoyment be more important than five others? It’d more accurate to call “privilege” the idea that some minority group gets special preference for political points. If you really want to be all-inclusive, then I don’t see why homosexuals should get special preference while leaving other minority groups out.
This isn’t a complaint about how I didn’t get everything I wanted. This is a complaint about how this is the first BioWare game I’ve played that I did not enjoy. I’ve seen many complaints about weak characters and weak story. That is also my complaint and I believe stems entirely from trying to be “all-inclusive”. By trying to appeal to so broad of audience, you’ve left a game in which many people are disappointed. You’ll win praises and 10/10′s from gay activists and feminists for your great strides in promoting “equality” and eliminating “straight male privilege”, but you’ll have loss fans like me.
In a perfect world with unlimited resources and time, you might have been able to pull it off, a game in which everyone would love. But this is not a perfect world and you have said many times that your resources are limited, and I believe you could have used them more wisely.
I always like to bring The Witcher up as an example. This is an amazing game and more amazing so that it was developed by a small Polish company. One would think that the game being developed by Polish producers would not be able to connect with a English speak audience, but that is not the case at all. This is game which was inarguably made for straight male gamer. Because the designers only had to worry about that demographic, they were able to create a strong memorable protagonist and strong memorable support characters. They could give us many choices and not worry about having to produce voice-overs for so many different characters. I can only imagine how amazing the game would be if they had the budget that Dragon Age 2 had and its pains me to think about how great Dragon Age 2 could have been.
If your goal is not to make as many fans as possible happy but to enact some form of social crusade then please, market and advertise the game as such. If you believe there are a substantial number of players who would appreciate those features, then advertise it and create trailers for it, don’t lead me to believe that this game was crafted for the straight male. If you truly believe that the straight male gamers are not important enough that you should focus on them, then I would like to see your marketing reflect that.
As a side note, I’d like to say that I’m not at all surprised by all the pro-homosexuality comments and that I expected even more. 1% of a million is still 10000. No doubt you’d have a many of them trying to protect their “privilege” in Dragon Age 2.
Those who agree with me will likely do so silently for fear of being called homophobic by what can only be called a mob as even Gaider pointed out or just won’t bother out of feeling of pointlessness like I once did. But to those people, I encourage you to post as well and not let your concerns be silenced as some would like.
We won’t follow up on the posts and concerns of this user after this update on the story (unless something especially spectacular happens), though any views we are able to seek from games developers and writers following this may prove interesting in their own right.
I’m honestly not pimping out Matt’s Stop 8 videos but he keeps hitting the mark.
This is a familiar meme thats been spread around by NOM and its minons since Proposition 8 passed in California, claiming that African Americans came out in large numbers to vote for Proposition 8. The story they told was that African Americans voted against marriage equality because of their conservative values, which is just a huge stalking horse to hide what’s really going on. Prop 8 passed with a slim majority, of 2%. Polling suggests that after the dust fell and the implications were realized, the general population were so horrified that if an anti-Prop 8 were to hit the ballot in California today, it would pass with a landslide majority.
What happened was a textbook Hate group hatchet job, straight out of the annuls of those opposed to the equal rights movements at the turn of the 19th century, and not only are the tactics the same, one of the groups being targeted were one of the groups who were targeted back then. In the 1890s there was a strong union between the suffragettes and the african american rights communities, and was motivated to the point at which the civil rights era could have predated the first world war.
However those who opposed the efforts managed to turn the white women and african american men against each other, playing on the racial fear mongering of african american equality against the women, and the proto-feminist fears of the african american men, creating a split that took generations to heal.
Now a new battle for equality is looming, and the natural allies of the LGBTQIA population are the African American population who knows all about the hatred and intolerance of right wing christianity. So once again the forces of intolerance once called the Citizens Councils, and the Klu Klux Klan, now their face is groups like NOM and other right wing christian groups. Its the same message, repackaged with Television adverts, threats of million dollar campaigns against politicians and judges who dare rule against them.
So yes the hatermongers are back, with new tricks, lies and technologies, peddling the same old hate on TV, radio, the internet and even attempting to get it onto the iPhone.
But as the fearmongers have evolved, so have we, our lost brother Alan Turing gave the world the computer, and out of that we are united against hatred from corner to corner of this planet. Today we had 33 visitors from alaska, 28 visitors from hawaii, 968 visitors from Texas, 68 visitors from Brazil, 3 visits from Saudi Arabia, 11 visits from Israel, 8 visits from South Africa, 44 visitors from Japan and 149 visitors from New Zealand.
These tactics have been used before, and yes a few generations back they held back equality, but in this generation, in this time, they just seem past their sell by date.
There was an event that happened this month that was in the world of entertainment earth-shattering, and beautiful. One of the most extraordinary and rich characters on TV today, Kurt on Glee had a scene seen around the world.
While it was somewhat expected, and hardly the first gay kiss on TV, but I really am moved to tears with how beautiful it is, and to see such progressive values on a show targeted at teens. Disney could learn a lot from the writers of Glee.
Maybe this is the start of sea change for shows targeted at teens and if that’s the case I’m really excited and hopeful.
I did come across one response from right wing media by Victoria Jackson, a rather sad character who I will avoid linking to because for once I really hope you don’t search for her hate, this moment is too important and far too beautiful to worry about hate.
His analysis of the horrific advert put out by NOM attacking marriage is as ever excellent, thoughtful and to the point.
Here is the original video if you want to find out what lies NOM are spreading.
Here’s Matt’s analysis of the different cases involving DOMA and how the DOJ decision affects those different cases.
BioWare adopted a (sadly) very special and very principled stance in designing one of their recent games, Dragon Age 2. Their stance was simple: relationships are for everybody, whether gay, straight, or anything else in between. You can also have have more than one romance at a time with the game’s characters. In this game, everybody is equal. Too equal, it seems, for one particular straight male gamer who was upset to be on the receiving end of a little flirting from another male character in the game. The reaction of this Straight Male Gamer? – To post a new thread on Bioware’s forums to complain…
To quote the complainant;
To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.
I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forgo the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy.
Now immediately I’m sure that some male gamers are going to be like “YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!”, but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.
Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, …”
The irony of the complaint is clearly astounding. For those that do not play Dragon Age 2, there is yet a further irony in that the Straight Male Gamer clearly has a huge problem with LGBT people being catered to as well rather than a focus based entirely in Straight Male Gamers (and a little on women too, of course, just as an afterthought). but clearly has no problem with the game allowing inter-species romances between the human player controlled character and an Elf! You couldn’t make it up!
The response from BioWare’s David Gaider was exactly fit for purpose. In fact, BioWare delivered a sharp lesson to this gamer on the subject of Straight Male privilege! Kudos to BioWare for that! In fact, BioWare’s response is quoted here precisely because of how word perfect it truly is! Elements have been emboldened for emphasis.
The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.
More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.
And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.
The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.
Would I do it again? I don’t know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone “unrealistically” bisexual, however, or they can’t handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC… I don’t see that as a big concern, to be honest. Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.
And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.
BioWare, David Gaider,… That, was AWESOME.
It is true that the gaming world is sadly dominated by Straight Male Gamers. Why? Well, perhaps it’s precisely because the industry has failed to cater to the rest of society so often. So many of us are geeks, and so many of us are gamers, including women and/or LGBT people… and there is absolutely no reason to exclude them. BioWare, it seems, has realised this, and the least the LGBTQIA community can do in return is to acknowledge this fact – and preferably in a way that makes BioWare aware of how welcome and refreshing this attitude is, and how likely it is to pay dividends for them – literally and metaphorically. With that done, hopefully the other big games developers will do likewise.
Thank you, BioWare, for not giving in to the majority. Thank you for letting us in and recognising our equal ‘right’ to play games that we can engage and relate with too!
Do you agree? I hope you do… and if you do, please consider sharing this article to spread the word and give BioWare their reward in reputation and kudos for this, frankly, astoundingly awesome move on their part.
(Update: This story has since been updated here.)
(Follow-up: We were fortunate enough to land an interview with Ernest Adams, who talked to us about equality in gaming.)
Rape is a heinous crime. Next to the taking of a life, the ruinous violation of a person by the most intimate and powerful of means is arguably an act of equally sinister proportions. However, there’s a whole other level to this violation. There is a form of rape with an added and more sinister dimension. That crime, is corrective rape.
In some ways, it’s a terrible title for such a crime. The word “corrective” is generally a word with a positive feel about it, implying some sort of benefit to an action. There is no benefit when this word precedes rape. There can be no benefit to rape. In fact, the word “corrective”, in this context, is quite the opposite. It does worse than to add insult to injury, but actually introduces a second deep and soul destroying violative dimension to the already heinous act of rape.
LGBT, Queer, Intersex and Asexual people with already understand, generally, the nature of this violation, so lets look at it from the perspective of a straight person who’s never before had to consider things from the other side. Let’s also frame this from the perspective of a patriarchal culture, as is very prevalent in many parts of the world, including those nations where this issue is most prevalent.
You’re a heterosexual man… a manly man… happily going about your business. At the end of a day you catch a taxi, or a bus, or a train to make your way back to your home or hotel. A predatory and very strong woman capable of overpowering you has been watching you, and you are assaulted. You are taken aside and out of sight where you are raped – forcibly, and violently. You are violated… the person who raped you may even have infected you with HIV/AIDS.
How does it feel? Pretty awful, by most accounts. You have been violated, treated like a piece of meat, abused, assaulted, made to feel powerless, made to feel guilty, made to feel ashamed… etc. It’s not good is it? There are reasons we have laws against that. There’s a reason it’s called rape and not just “having sex”.
Well, suppose that wasn’t a woman. Suppose you, Mr Heterosexual Male, had just been raped by another man. Now how does it feel? Does it feel worse? You bet it does! If you happen to be a homophobe, it’ll be because you feel an extra sense of shame about what had just happened to you simply because you were taken by a gay man, and you’ll feel terrible for having been part of an act that you find distasteful – if so, you’re ‘lucky’, because that’s no more a sense of violation than the rape itself. On the other hand, if you’re a reasonably and decent human being, it’ll be all the worse because as well as the violation of your physical and emotional form, your identity, your sexual orientation, your very sense of who you are will also have been raped… and yet you STILL don’t have the full understanding of how creative rape feels from this exercise!
For someone who has been victim to a corrective rape, there are other issues too. There’s the prejudice they experience as LGBT people for a start… already victims of ignorance and bigotry, they are made victims of the same in a whole other way… on a deeper and more personal level. They are made victims simply because they are victims in the first place. Then of course, there’s the fact that such rapes are performed under either the excuse or genuine belief that such acts will “make the victim straight”… NO rape helps, and no, the victim will not be made straight – that is an offense to the victim yet again. Are you starting to get a vague understanding of the damage that corrective rape does?.. to women especially, being the most frequent victims of this evil crime.
We spend a lot of time speaking here at No More Lost about the UK and the USA, and while this post stands against corrective rape wherever it occurs, it refers especially to the situation in South Africa. That wonderful state where we celebrate the freedoms and achievements of Mr Nelson Mandela, where Apartheid was ended and the nation supposedly freed from bigotry and hatred. This nation that’s supposedly one of the shining stars of Africa. The nation that brought us the vuvuzela and annoyed us with them throughout the FIFA World Cup just last year.
South Africa’s Constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was the first in Africa to legalise same sex marriage. It was the only republic to give non-heterosexual people exact equal rights until it was joined by Argentina in 2010 (Note to America – please catch up!)… and yet, the practice of corrective rape is commonplace in South Africa and has been for some time. Some reports even say that it’s often ignored! This is really not acceptable, not only because this is a discriminatory crime against gay women in violation not just of the women but of the nation’s constitution too, but also because it is rape. Yes, pure and simple, at the very minimum description of this situation, it is rape, and it needs to stop!
There is a petition (found here) on the web (in fact a few of them here and there), asking the South African Government to stop turning a blind eye to this heinous practice and indeed, their own constitution with regard to LGBT people. Please sign this petition, and please spread the word about this terrible crime against humanity.
Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both stand up for Full Marriage Equality in New York State
This is all part of the Human Rights Campaign’s New Yorkers for Marriage campaign and is a really great campaign irrespective of how I feel about the HRC’s limited vision.
Mayor Bloomberg also comes in as well hitting hard for marriage equality.
Finally summing up the question of equality, Robert F Kennedy Jr talking about Jim Crow and his father’s battle against those laws being the same battle we fight today.
Recently the USA finally started stepping up to the mark on gay rights at the UN.
The Vatican felt compelled to respond, through Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who said that Catholic Beliefs on morality were being stigmatised and vilified. This is true, much in the same way as white supremacists views became stigmatised during the last quarter of the 20th century, and they made the same claims of “freedom” and “rights”.
They talk about having to close down adoption centres because they are unable to live up to the standards set by the state for adoption centres due to their beliefs taking precedent over the welfare of children in their care.
Silvano says that all people must be treated with dignity and respect, no matter their sexual orientation or behavior, but then said “But states can and must regulate behaviours, including various sexual behaviours,” followed by “Throughout the world, there is a consensus between societies that certain kinds of sexual behaviour must be forbidden by law. Paedophilia and incest are two examples.”. Just as Archbishop Nolan compared gay relationships to incest.
To all those LGBTQIA catholics out there, you cannot let these people speak for you and your faith, you are the real catholics, not people like Tomasi, Nolan and Ratzinger, they are a cancer within your church, and you are the only people who can save it from the dark place its in.
A recent poll suggests that actually the ally component of the LGBTQIA US catholic population may be in the majority within the church. Results are that 56% say gay relationships are NOT sinful, and 43% supports gay marriage.
Found via NOM
Even One News Now is reporting that they cannot in good conscience dismiss the conclusions of this study.
For those of you who do not know about Julea Ward, she was on an APA certified counselling course, and decided to throw a monkey wrench in the works when she said that she would not do her job when it came to respecting the personal life of a potential gay client. Now if you are out in the world doing junk science counselling with no accreditation from the APA, you may sadly be allowed to gay bash, however she signed up for a course in real counselling which comes under the purview of the APA. Quoting from the Ethics code the following passages stand out.
In their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or any basis proscribed by law.
Psychologists do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons’ age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status.
Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.
These principles have been in effect since 2002 and are freely available. If you want to be recognized by the APA as a counsellor you have to adhere to these principles. Julea Ward could have looked up the course curriculum at any time and seen these requirements. It was a course requirement to be able to treat people without bringing her own prejudices to the table.
If I were a suspicious individual, which I am at times, I would believe that this woman actually joined the program with the specific intent of trying to do a lawsuit, since it is unbelievable that she was unaware of the course requirements. She is currently engaging the known hate group, the ADF, who frequently target pro-equality situations on behalf of bigoted individuals.
As far as faith is concerned, she was questioned about her faith which seems acceptable since unless she was deliberately ignoring the course requirements, the brand of faith she had when she joined the course was more progressive than the one she has now.
The fact that the Michigan attorney general is supporting her, is yet more proof if any is needed how republican politicians feel about LGBTQIA people…
Found via that other group of hate and lies, NOM
This is the Archbishop of New York City, apparently wanted to renew the church, but certainly not reform it. Honestly how is this man allowed to be the Archbishop, surely one of the liberal progressive bishops would be more appropriate for the Medina of Gay Culture.
He states clearly that in his view only straight couples are worthy of marriage, and that gay couples are clearly inferior and do not make the grade of being capable of marriage. Those couples in legal marriages around the western world would beg to differ.
He then talks about the love he feels for his mother, and how since society wont let him marry his mother, then gay people should not have a right to marry either.
This is honestly one of the most odious sanctimonious hypocrites I’ve seen in a long while. The sheer brass neck of him to talk about gay couples being like incest and inferior to straight couples… I’m glad the church forbids priests from getting married, I’d hate to inflict him on a potential husband.
Found by those lovely people at NOM
In Israel, within the west bank there is a new and frankly Pythonesque solution to Gay and Lesbian people. This solution roughly means that gay and lesbian people get married for the purposes of having a family. I’m still kind of wrapping my head round it because in many ways its more honest than the ex-gay and ex-lesbian sex-free marriages you hear about because it admits you can’t change orientation, but to then convince them to live unsatisfying lives to keep within arbitrary social norms feels cruel beyond belief.
Effectively the people who are subjecting themselves to this travesty have realized who they are but have been brainwashed into believing that the only way you can be accepted is to live a lie. They talk about therapy and counselling for the couples, which is only going to consist of being told strategies to deny one’s true feelings.
The true insanity of the situation comes to the fore when you realize the remaining mechanics of the situation. The couples lie to everyone that they are a “normal” family, including to their children. Those children are generally produced through artificial insemination, to avoid the fact that there is no sex between the couples. To top it off, in a situation akin to catholic priests having affairs with the widows in his parish, its “acceptable” and “understandable” that once every few years one of them may feel compelled to “cheat” on their “spouse”…
Apparently the concept has a high failure rate, already out of the 11 faux-couples 2 have already started divorce proceedings…
Judaism unlike Christianity is generally a religion filled with logic and common sense, with scholars and teachers recognizing the changes of the world and reinterpreting rabbinical law to suit situations. I always remember being told of the “Universal Get out Clause” for pretty much every law in the Torah, which is “If its an emergency, ignore this law” which can vary from anything as simple as kosher food, to the requirement of not doing “work” from sundown to sundown on the sabbath. So even in these extremely conservative jewish communities why can not Rabbis such as Areleh Harel say “Look people are gay, lesbian, and trans, we have to accept it, rather than forcing them to live miserable lives” that would be the true enlightened stance rather than this insane proposition that is no more realistic than Exodus’s ex-gay movement.
Found via One News Now
Back in the days before the current administration at the White House, the US refused to sign up to a declaration at the UN that gay people are people too. In the face of people being imprisoned and killed around the world simply because of who they loved, the US turned it’s head.
There’s always the argument that it is not for the US to impose it’s values on the rest of the world, but this was the self same administration that went to war with those very countries that take issue with the idea of gay people being people too -Those same dictatorial regimes that see gay people as infidels and in any other number of dehumanising ways.
The next administration corrected this. The next administration almost immediately said that it wanted to add America’s name to that declaration… and then did nothing. It did virtually nothing at home or abroad for a long time, until recently. We’ve seen the repeal of the unconstitutional, discriminatory DADT policy; We’ve seen protection in one of the fundamental aspects of US life -simply existing- in the form of the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act; and most recently, the unconstitutionality of major aspects of the rights denying and indeed life destroying DOMA has been recognised at the highest levels. At last, the administration has begun to ‘walk the walk’ at home.
America has just gone that one step further at the UN in issuing a statement backed by more than 80 countries, calling for the United Nations’ top human rights body to combat discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world.
Let’s for a moment, forget which administration did what, and which president serves which party. The fact is, whichever president it is, and whichever party it is, American values are still American values. Too often, things are reduced to the politics of personality, the politics of parties, or the politics of causes. Let’s, for this moment, look at this in the context of America…
… Finally, the United States is standing up more consistently in not just talking the talk, but walking the walk, in defense of it’s values. The message this statement effectively gives out to the world is that, yes, the United States not only holds “… these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”, but is prepared to stand by this belief. It stands up for the protection of it’s citizens in their freedom to travel the world. It says that the US views gay people as human beings too, and thus deserving of human rights both at home and abroad.
This is perhaps one of the most positive, honest and virtuous messages the US could possibly be sending out to the world. It doesn’t always take military intervention or trade sanctions to lead the world – in fact, the most powerful message that can be sent is that of “we are virtuous in our values – that all men and women are created equal – and we are proud to stand up for them wherever we are present”.
It’s a message of true character, integrity and honesty, and by those that share your most virtuous values, America, you are deeply thanked for it. Let those of your citizens whom have forgotten America’s values and virtues be reminded of them.
So NOM has started up another front group, like the ruth institute, called DefendDOMA.org.
Honestly its sick-making on so many grounds, the homophobia and bigotry expressed, but also the hypocrisy.
The rights of the minority cannot be in the hands of the majority, its one of the many lessons learned during the process of moving towards equality in this country.
Defending DOMA is unethical because marriage is not threatened, and nobody has come up with an iota of proof that allowing marriage equality would damage heterosexual marriage in any way.
The hypocrisy comes from the flip flopping, currently its the vote of the people meme, they know whats best, but were it the people supporting it they’d still be clamoring to the representatives/senators that they had to stand firm against the gay tide.
This to me is still the best argument against the tactics is this video on Reel Love
Here are the results of the poll over the 7 days, and while the trend is on the surface strange given there was an increasing trend of opposition to marriage equality.
Looking at Maggie Gallagher’s tape track (its the same thing over and over again jumbled together) i can’t see how anyone was convinced so I have to assume that it was just NOM sheep appearing and voting with their brainless lockstep motions rather than reading the arguments.
However I’d be interested to see what people think of the debate…. and see whether you think Maggie actually landed any punches…Marriage Equality Debate.
Found via NOM Blog
Apple have in the past supported LGBT rights. In fact they donated to the Prop 8 cause in favour of equality. However, all may not be as it seems just from that one act.
Following the removal of an application by the Manhattan Declaration a few months ago which said quite clearly that same sex couples are ‘sexually immoral’, originally given a 4+ rating by Apple implying it to be entirely family friendly with no objectionable content… an app that was only removed following a campaign and petition against it… Apple have done it again.
Yes, our ‘good friends’ at Exodus International have introduced an application to an app store near you, intended to deliver a dangerous message to tech savvy young adults: ‘You can be “freed from homosexuality” and have your sexual orientation “cured” if you’re LGBT.’ Yes, this is the same Exodus International that promotes the universally condemned snake oil of “ex-gay therapy”, which has been described as causing catastrophic damage to the mental health of it’s victims by the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association.
Worse yet, Apple have, again, given this app a 4+ rating, once more branding the app as entirely inoffensive and harmless, even though the group tells gay kids that their sexual orientation is “immoral,” “satanic”, and in need of a cure, which we all know to be the very kind of insulting and frankly degrading and oppressive bigotry that contributes to depression, anxiety, isolation, and even suicide.
There is a petition to remove the app from Apple’s app store, though at this point, we have to consider motives here. Yes, they donated against Prop 8, but while a significant amount of money, $100,000 dollars is really a drop in the ocean to Apple – hell, they’re getting good PR just because I’m mentioning it now. On the other hand, not only do Apple make a big deal of banning any app from their store that could possibly be objectionable to anyone in the majority of their userbase, they seem to not only have allowed these bigoted anti-gay applications, but also rated them as being entirely inoffensive, and only removed the last one due to the petition and widespread outcry over it. This one looks likely to follow suit (unless of course Apple really wants to be seen to be anti-LGBT). The fact is, Apple is a company founded on it’s image… it’s why it has the rules it has. Someone at Apple clearly feels that declaring these apps as inoffensive and even allowing them in the first place is not only acceptable, but perfectly OK with the company image.
The choice between Android, Research In Motion and Apple just got political. No… further than that, it just got moral. This, from Apple, is not acceptable, and if LGBT people do not show them how such actions will hurt, in the app store sales, the phone store sales, the music store sales… etc … who will?
Please sign the petition, and please consider sending your own message to Apple… but please don’t ignore what you’re paying to support in buying into it at the moment.
The Illinois Family Institute practically spat the coffee out of their mouths when it turned out rather than being lgbtqia-phobic the two main religious adoption agencies in Illinois are working on measures to find compromise with the state.
The Evangelical Child and Family Agency seem to be marching lockstep with the IFI’s bigotry, but straight out of the bat the Catholic Charities, seem to be looking to find some compromise with the state which will be interesting to see, given they claim that they will not compromise their beliefs.
Most interestingly of all, the Lutheran Child and Family Services, has said that they are looking into modifying their policies to comply with the new state rules. Their parent synod is the relatively conservative Missouri Synod, who have indicated they will not censure the group in any way.
It says something, that two groups who on their usual principles would say “No Gay Foster Parents” are instead saying we still want to do our work, how do we make that happen, and I think its a really positive sign for progressiveness and tolerance in the USA.
Nothing is stopping them from doing their job and placing children with stable families, and rather than making a political point, they are focussing on what is best for the children by cooperating with state laws which can recognize gay and lesbian families as good stable families for placement.
Found via One News Now
Queer Rising, one of my favorite direct action groups managed to raise the ire of NOM by conducting an equality protest in downtown Manhattan at lunch time.
Of course daring to stand up for equality resulted in a rather dismissive response from NOM.
I wish I could have been there, although due to my lack of immigration rights even protesting injustice could get me thrown permanently out of the country.
Here’s the legal analysis provided by John Yoo, counsel for George W Bush on the Proposition 8 ruling by Judge Walker.
I know that John Yoo is a war criminal, and should have been long ago disbarred for intentional bad faith legal work on creating a legal shield for the torturers at Guantanamo Bay. However he still represents the right wing of legal thought, and so its interesting.
His admission that if you decriminalize being gay (which few people seem to remember only happened in 2004), you have to legalize marriage equality was interesting, however his tone and speech suggested he would support trying to reverse Lawrence vs Texas as part of a larger strategy to stop marriage equality.
The tired argument of enforced equality has been used time and time again by people trying to stop the march of equal rights. The courts have interpreted and moved ahead of the populace many times throughout US and legal history.
The attitude that you cannot call bigotry, bigotry is offensive to me. The people of California who voted for Proposition 8 were either bigoted or mis-informed…
The other thing they seem to ignore is the question of the difference between an amendment and an addition to the California constitution, and whether the actual ability of a simple majority to strip a minority of the rights exists.
All in all it was a weak lackluster analysis of a legal issue that is what you’d expect of hack lawyer like Yoo.
The no fault divorce is good because it does not allow divorces, because those divorces would happen anyway, it just allows them to happen on amicable terms rather than requiring the two people to be at each other’s throats…
The government, particularly US has no business linking religious principles to a legal contract. Marriage is and has been a legal situation since before Judaism existed. It was a matter of law and politics, not religion.