So this is my third video, and I’ve had a little bit of feedback, one about rambling so I tried to keep focused, and also I tried to be calmer than my last.
I’d love to hear some feedback either on here or on youtube.
To everybody out there who fought for today, thank you. You are awesome, marriage equality is real in New York State.
I don’t want to do a video because I couldn’t say more than thank you.
I’m torn between a touch of schadenfreude, and just something happy. Tonight there’s no need for schadenfreude, so enjoy
We’ve got to remind all these senators, including Diaz that we can unseat if they vote against equality.
This is our state, the bigots are on our territory, so lets make them worry about getting rejected if they vote for hate.
I was getting ready to post the next rant of mine, and this video was recommended, so I clicked and what I say made me giggle, made think, and made me bouncy.
The creativity and situational positioning of some of these signs, made me so happy. In these dark times when the haters attack us with all their might, we need to remember to smile and to remember why being alive, gay and proud is so fantastic.
Here’s my own contribution, paraphrased from a few wonderful signs
“Solomon had 700 wives, and 300 concubines… can I just have one wife (and maybe a couple of concubines for us to share)”
I keep hearing that gay and lesbian marriage is not mariage but I honestly don’t understand that perspective because I don’t see what’s different. If I were to fall in love and marry someone shiny, then how would I act differently if I married a man?
Nothing could make me happier than waking up in her arms, as the sunlight streamed through the window every morning for the rest of my life. In the good times we would inspire each other to unimagined heights of invention and creativity, connected, empowering and enriching. In the bad times we would keep each other strong, no matter the forces arrayed against us. We would have children, and love, care and support them in any way we could, moving the heavens and the earth to show them all the beauty and wonder we could see. If my wife were in danger, no mountain would stand in my way, not even the fires of hell would stop me from saving her.
I’m not looking, I’m still young, but where I to meet someone who I could spend the rest of my life with, what a marriage and what a life we would have.
So tell me… how is your marriage any different from mine?
I realized something today, and that is that gay and lesbian marriage exists in every country. It exists in Iran, in Saudia Arabia, and it exists in Alabama. Every day, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Polyamorous, Queer, and Asexual people form life long unions that are as strong and vital as heterosexual marriage.
We’ve been doing this since long before humans learned how to stand up right, in every society and in every culture we have had marriage. We’ve been persecuted, brutalized, tortured and subjected to genocides and pogroms as bad as any other in history, BUT we’ve kept fighting and being who we are no matter the evil arrayed against us.
Marriage between LGBTQIA peoples have existed always, the only thing we are DEMANDING is that our existing marriages deserve the same recognition that heterosexual marriages have. We are not redefining marriage, we are simply recognizing all marriages that are out there.
These are the senators that NOM is worried about,
Stephen Saland (518) 455-2411
Andrew Lanza (518) 455-3215
Mark Grisanti (518) 455-3240
Greg Ball (518) 455-3111
John Flanagan (518) 455-2071
Joseph Addabbo (518) 455-2322
Shirley Huntley (518) 455-3531
Please give them a call, and let them know that a vote against marriage equality is sending a message that you don’t think that gay and lesbian families need basic respect.
So the previous one didn’t really work out, so I redid it, and here’s the video.
Its my first proper attempt, so please be kind.
The title is strong, but is no exaggeration. Whether it’s a matter of intentional homophobia on the part of specific persons, or institutionalized homophobia on the part of government structures and organizations, the UK Government is indeed homophobic. If you’ve read my previous article for No More Lost, you’ll note that I don’t use the term lightly: People are dying as a result of this Governments culpable failure to keep its word. This Lib Dem/Conservative coalition government promised so much, but has entirely failed to deliver. We had hoped that the conservatives had changed – they have not. We had hoped that the Liberal Democrats would bring progress and enthusiasm for change – they have not. They brought us promises, and then failed to even as much as seriously attempt to realize them.
With that said, it is clearly not a lack of action that makes a government homophobic, and nor is it the lack of material results from its promises. The mark of a homophobic government is that it threatens the rights and lives of LGB people, is complicit through inaction when it’s legislation is clearly and obviously bent in such a way as to hurt LGB people, or when it actually acts to that effect complicitly. This is the test of a homophobic government, and this is the evidence:
Promise 1: We will look at the possibility of enacting marriage equality.
Well, frankly, as promises go this one is all a bit empty really. It’s not a promise of action, and it’s not a promise of any kind of solid view. It says “We’ll think about it”… so where’s the thought? Where’s the indication of progress being made on this issue by the Government. The Government has done nothing of note on this issue. That, of course, is not the mark of homophobia. The mark of homophobia comes in that the Government is in the mean time trying to promote marriage as being the all important cornerstone of family and society. In so doing, it sets things up so that married people can access perks and benefits. Of course, if LGB people cannot get married, they cannot access them. The message, taken to its logical conclusion, is effectively “Heterosexual marriage should be encouraged and rewarded… but you LGBT people are clearly not as valuable to society and are thus undeserving of the potential for equal reward.”
Promise 2: “This Government will defend the most vulnerable”. “It will defend LGBT rights”.
There is one notable success for the Government here. Until this government, gay men were banned from donating blood, which has been a long standing bone of contention. Under this Government, that’s changed: Gay men are now allowed to donate blood… as long as they haven’t had sex in the last 10 years! Frankly, that’s really no better!
However, as a group, it is well documented that LGBT people are statistically far more likely to be “vulnerable” than the population as a whole – that much is kind of obvious really… and yet government cuts are hitting services important to many LGBT people, and they’re hitting those services hard!
Add to that the fact that an act introduced by the last Government aimed at simplifying a wide variety of laws relating to equality, including LGBT equality, has come under attack from this Government. The Equalities act is being presented to the public as possible red tape to be cut, and the Government are seeking comments on it on that basis. After overwhelming support for the act on the Government’s “Red Tape Challenge” website, the Government opted to re-present the question, leading many to believe that the Government will not be happy until it recieves the answers it wants as justification for weakening or removing these protections.
Promise 3: Those persecuted because of their sexual orientation will be afforded asylum in the UK.
in July 2010, shortly after the Government came into power, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the refusal to grant asylum to those who were persecuted because of their sexuality with the reasoning that “they can just go back and hide it to avoid persecution”, was a violation of human rights law. The Government welcomed this – publicly at least.
The Home Office told the UK Border Agency was that the new rules should be applied “with immediate effect” and that relevant cases should be “flagged and recorded”… but more than 7 months later, such cases are still not being counted and so there is no way of telling how the new rules are being applied…
… well, no accurate way, but there’s certainly a way to gauge it to some extent. We have had various highly publicised cases of people who have been refused asylum on grounds of persecution because of their sexuality:
There’s Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan Lesbian who was initially refused entry following a ruling that she was not really a lesbian, on ground that since being in the UK she had “taken no interest in forms of media by magazines, books or other information relating to her sexual orientation.” -ignoring of course, the less-than-subsistence benefits she was surviving on while making her claim- and citing no evidence of her living a lesbian “lifestyle”. This, of course, irrespective of the fact that the publicity surrounding her case alone would surely have put her at risk if refused asylum.
More recently, we have the case of Betty Tibakawa, a Ugandan whom despite being branded with a hot iron twice on her inner thighs for being lesbian, and outed in the Ugandan magazine ‘Red Pepper’, has been refused asylum on grounds that she, again, is not genuinely gay, and faces no persecution in Uganda.
We have the case of Edson “Eddy” Cosmas, a gay man from Tanzania who was denied asylum at the first hurdle. The letter rejecting his claim, “attempts to paint the existence of bars where gay men are known to be found and other gay meeting places and gay organisations as indicating that it is possible to be gay, albeit ‘discretely’. Also, a lack of prosecutions is mentioned, presumably to suggest a lack of formal state repression and that it is ‘safe’ to return a gay man.”
LGBT Asylum News reports: “According to In interview, minor discrepancies in Eddy’s statements are taken as totally undermining his credibility. Many relate to his sexual history.”
These are just a selection of the higher profile requests for asylum – these are just some of those that have made headlines. With headlines like these, how common do you suppose this kind of thing is, especially among those who have not yet spent any time in the UK, or who don’t have the support of a network of friends and family here: those who don’t really have a voice to speak out about it?
Ironically, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, not very long ago claimed success in his pledge that “those facing persecution would no longer be deported” … yet people applying for asylum on grounds of persecution because of their sexual orientation or trans identity are being put through the “detained fast track process”, which is almost purpose made for those who’s claims are uncomplicated and have very no real basis for the granting of asylum – in spite of the fact that LGBT claims are often notoriously complex.
This is a Government that really reached out for the “pink vote”, no doubt in part because the Conservatives wished tho shed the public perception of them as ‘the Nasty Party’. To the credit of the Lib Dems, at least on a party level they are the first to commit to Marriage Equality – though it should be noted the Nick Clegg is a Lib Dem too!
What will it take for this government to change course, stick to its word, and support LGBT people as it promised rather than hurt LGBT people? Perhaps it needs embarrasing into action? We can but try…
The Home Office, which in particular is the Government department responsible for the UK Border Agency which decides upon asylum claims. The Home Office won an award from major UK LGB campaigning organization Stonewall, topping it’s list of gay friendly employers. Does the Home office sound Gay friendly to you? It may generally treat it’s employees well, but it’s certainly not doing a lot for those LGBT people it’s supposed to be helping, and shows no inclination to enforce its own orders to do so either. Shouldn’t a Gay friendly employer not only be friendly to those LGBT people in its employment, but also be an LGBT friendly organization that happens to employ people?
Perhaps Stonewall ought to consider rescinding the award, in light of the Home Office’s treatment of LGBT asylum seekers, many of whom may well have been sent to their deaths, in the full and complicit knowledge of the UK Home Office. Perhaps they should be encouraged to rescind it: It’s certainly a start. Sign the petition.
We’ve got one guaranteed vote to go in the state senate before marriage equality can become legal in the Empire State. Last time we thought we were so close, but we were betrayed by the democrats. I thought rather than writing something, I’d say something and here it is.
Be kind, its my first videoblog post
Update: The video quality was rather terrible, so I re-recorded it and posted it here
For a few years, those who watch the extremist wing of the republican party have seen Michelle Bachmann as an example of one of the scariest and most worrying examples of the term “Right Wing Nut Job”. She called for investigations of members of Congress, claiming that there were “anti-american” members in both houses. She also is paranoid of gay people demanding basic rights, and has advocated the old chestnut of a Federal Marriage Amendment, and using that to enforce repeal of marriage equality in the states that have it.
Most recently she advocated destroying the EPA, because it dares stand in the way of unethical business. In her mind, America was far better during the time of the robber barons….
So the idea of a Bachmann presidency is terrifying, not just on social, and economic issues, but given her fanatical christianity I’d be hoping there was a psych test before she were allowed near the nuclear football. One thing that has got everybody a bit jumpy is that she went from 4% in the republican polls, to 19% after her debate performance, and people are thinking she now has a real chance of being the Republican candidate.
We look at the republican party, and for the most part we see a group of right wing nut-jobs who are climbing over each other to win the “who can do the best iranian president impression”, and Michelle Bachmann is probably winning that competition, closely followed by Rick “please don’t google me” Santorum. However most people including most republicans don’t actually want to live under the Christian equivalent of the Ayatollah.
Now there is a kernel of die hard fundamentalists in the republican party, which I would guess is somewhere around the 20% mark. Michelle Bachmann just came on the scene, they saw her, they loved her, she now has their support, but can she bring the rest of the Republicans into the fold. Honestly even though primary elections do swing towards the extreme, can she garner enough support from the sane wing of her party, who have to know that she is unelectable.
So yes she’s scary, and if she were to become president, then it would be more terrifying than Zombie Reagan coming back, but she is less likely to win the presidency than Zombie Reagan turning up on the campaign circuit. We can all breath a sigh of relief, and get our kicks by google bombing her off the internet. I suggest “Michelle Bachmann” and “Haldol” .
The assembly has voted for marriage equality, its now up the state senate to do the same.
Here’s the numbers for the senators who are considered “In Play” by those lovable scamps over at NOM.
- Stephen Saland (518) 455-2411
- Andrew Lanza (518) 455-3215
- Mark Grisanti (518) 455-3240
- Greg Ball (518) 455-3111
If you are in NY please give them a call and ask them to stand up for marriage equality and justice for all New Yorkers.
In the past few days, the founder of LezGetReal and the writer behind Gay Girl in Damascus have been exposed as straight men, claiming to be lesbian women.
Now for nearly the entire history of the internet, people have pretended to be someone else.
Pretty much every single person on the internet has had a random hot girl start flirting with them, claiming that the recipient is just what they are looking for.
Sometimes the impersonation is for self protection, many pre-expression lgbtqia people first “come out” as themselves online. It might seem surprising but many women who play online games adopt a male persona. They do this to avoid the vile and sexist abuse that women suffer while playing multiplayer games on the internet.
However, when you have someone pretending to be something they are not for personal gain and self adulation, it not only betrays people who support them, but also damages the communities which they have lied their way into.
There is a place for a straight man to comment on gay rights as an ally, but to lie about being a lesbian woman, and then go so far as flirt with other lesbian women…. is just utterly wrong. The community has formed around LezGetReal, will be damaged but hopefully the real women there can continue on with the work despite this revelation.
I feel that the betrayal of the “Gay Girl in Damascas” blog was far worse, because it exploited not only our hopes for LGBTQIA issues in the middle east, but also our anger at the supposed mistreatment of “Amina Abdallah”. My reaction to the supposed story of her kidnapping had me thinking about how we could help LGBTQIA people arrested in the middle east as part of the Arab Spring, but it was all a fake.
So as part of my reaction to this controversy, I’m going to make it clear who I am, and make it relatively certain that I am who I say I am.
I’m calling on my sisters, brothers, and siblings out there to do something similar, I’m considering doing a quick video message to make it even more certain.
From other contributors on the site:
Okay this is gonna be one of those “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” articles.
I was reading in Pink News that a Unitarian minister in Kentucky with the backing of her congregation is refusing to perform the civil functions of a marriage as a functionary of the state. This will continue until marriage equality is true throughout the state of kentucky, but it got me thinking.
I think its time for a real point to be made across the US from Alaska to Florida, and that is the idea that for LGBT (still missing the QIA bit) pride month, if you believe in marriage equality, you should refuse to participate in any facilitation of unequal marriage.
Here’s some ideas
- If you are a county official who gives out marriage licenses, unless you can give them to LGBTQIA couples, then refuse to give any out because its discriminatory
- If you officiate marriages but are unable to officiate LGBTQIA couples then refuse to do so because officiating only one group is discriminatory.
- If you have facilities that are rented out for weddings, then refuse to rent unless all can get married in your facilities
- If you are a wedding photographer, make sure that you only take photos in states where weddings for all are legal
- If you are a librarian, hide away all the books on straight marriage
- Come up with your own ideas on how to spread the message.
The point is to make a point to everyone who gets to marry the person they love without the US government coming in and stopping them, what its like to be us.
We have to cross state lines, and even national borders to find a place where we can marry the ones we love. After all that palava when we get back again, the binding legal documents we have signed, are torn up at the border of our state, leaving us with no rights.
So if we can make it a little more challenging this month for straight people to get married, maybe we can highlight the fact that every day of every month we cannot get married, and maybe enough small minded people will come to their senses.
In Manhattan, Kansas we had a small but important victory. The city commissioners in February passed equal protections for LGBTQIA people across the board from employment through to housing. Ordinance 6880 should be unnecessary, but it is good to see cities stepping up to the mark and defending LGBTQIA people.
The people who stood for equality were, the Mayor Bruce Snead, and town council members Jim Sherow and Jayme Morris-Hardeman. However the local hate groups of Kansas Family Policy Council and Awaken Manhattan, worked to campaign to unseat the council members with their typical lies and bigotry.
So sadly on May 17th before the ordinance even came into effect, they killed a move for basic human rights protections for LGBTQIA people in Manhattan.
The battle has been lost, but the war is not over, we will have equality, but we all need to remember be it in New Hampshire with Gay Marriage, or Manhattan, Kansas with basic rights, is that the haters will always try to drive us back into the closet. We cannot rest, we cannot stop, we have to keep up the good fight.
I came across this while looking at “It Gets Better” videos, and this one stood out to me from the employees at Pixar.
It does get better
I found this on the Whitehouse blog along with the President trumpetting pride month, so I thought I’d take a look through and offer my thoughts on how the President has done, given the mandate and huge majorities during the first congressional session of his term.
Hate Crimes against LGBT Americans
On this, signing the Matthew Shepard Act, and supporting anti-bullying efforts I feel the president has actually done a pretty decent job. I think he’s done as much as could be asked here.
Supporting LGBT Families
The Medicare and Medicaid trojan horse hopefully has made things easier across the country for LGBT families and its a welcome move.
However the State department saying that “we may allow certain trans people to update their passports” is unacceptable, its nice a step forward, but without a “you are a diagnosed fulltime transperson, here is your new passport” policy the situation is open to abuse by state department officials. I suffered similar behavior because of the prejudices at the UK embassy in Washington and eventually had to go over their heads to the Passport Office in London.
The actions to help LGBTQ youth (their recognition) in foster care, homelessness and recognition of LGBT families on the census all help out both provisioning of care, and also providing the vital support to the most vulnerable of all of us.
Ensuring equal access to housing for LGBT families
If you are a HUD program, you are no longer allowed to discriminate against LGBT persons, once those regulations are passed and enforced, it will mean a big change for poor LGBT americans.
Supporting LGBT health
Work on AIDS is nice and all but ignores many of the issues still facing LGBT americans. A real universal healthcare plan would have helped all americans, and made partner healthcare benefits redundant. However we got a weak health reform law, that included specific provisions preventing trans americans from getting coverage for surgery under the healthcare law. Of course the Trans contingent isn’t important enough to fight for, so one of the many compromises given to the republicans, was stabbing us in the back.
Setting precedents in hiring and benefits for LGBT Americans
Its rather nice that the president made it so federal agencies are not allowed to discriminate against transpeople, and that federal employees now can give their partners their federal benefits, but outside the Federal government, its still as bleak and scary for transpeople as before… rather than talking about ENDA, maybe the president could have used some of his political capital to actually get it passed while he had the votes in the house and senate…
Repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law
The law has yet to be repealed, and seems to be being spun out for as long as possible. It was nice that it was officially repealed, but Dan Choi still cannot rejoin, Katie Miller cannot re-enlist, and LGB troops are still forced to lie.
Even when the law is repealed, transgender troops will face the same discrimination, despite the fact that every other western military has active duty transgender troops in it with no detriment to their operating efficiency. Again the lack of clout that transgender americans have, comes to the fore.
Providing global leadership on LGBT issues
Revoking the ban on HIV positive immigrants was a good move, as was lobbying in Uganda, and other countries, however no such lobbying occurred with Saudi Arabia, Egypt or any other US ally who persecutes LGBTQIA citizens.
The UN support for an anti LGBT violence resolution was a good move, certainly one that the Bush administration would have vetoed. However it falls hollow when the very administration that claims to support respect for LGBT families, is breaking them up due to the discriminatory immigration laws they still enforce.
Honoring LGBT History
The president did honor significant LGBT history moments, and while many would like his support for a Harvey Milk national holiday, its not as critical as many other legislative things.
Supporting LGBT progress
It was a nice political move to stop defending DOMA, but he had 2 years with massive majorities to pass a marriage equality bill through the Congress, and did not. The refusal to defend DOMA feels more like a scrap thrown our way, than a concerted effort towards marriage equality.
ENDA, and the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Acts would be lovely, and I’d have loved to have seen them in the 111th congress, but again no move there.
Its nice to see the president talk about a safe and supportive environment for LGBT students, but how can he hope to have that, when there is still official discrimination at the hands of his discrimination.
As far as grade goes, I feel the president deserves a D minus. However the only reason it is above an F, is that at least in tone the president has made it clear that discrimination is no longer the official policy of the Federal Government. He’s not a crazy republican nut job, and he’s done some good, he just should be doing a lot more. Not next year, not next month, not even next week, Today.
So if you’ve been listening to the right wing blogosphere, a lot of the military chaplains have been complaining that they will be unable to minister effectively to their “flocks” if open LGB personel are around.
Now there are several levels on which this is inappropriate, and so I’m going to talk about each one that I see.
Firstly and most obviously, the Chaplain Corps are a US Government institution, and enforcing the precepts of their faith on the troops in their care is a violation of the separation of church and state. Personally I object to chaplains in the military, both as a devout agnostic who thinks that its wrong to have religious figures on government payrolls, but also because I feel that its utter hypocrisy for the so called “Religions of Peace” (Christianity and Islam) to openly support warfare.
Secondly the US chaplain’s corp was meant to reflect the makeup of the troops within the military, so if you had 30% catholic 30% evangelical and 40% Lutheran, you should have 30% Catholic chaplains, 30% Evangelical chaplains and 40% Lutheran Chaplains. Up until the 1980s this was the case, but under the influence of the religious right flexing its new political muscles, the composition began shifting until today the Chaplaincy Corp is infested with a massive overabundance of fundamentalist evangelical chaplains. 14% of the Military is Evangelical, 60% of the chaplains are evangelical.
Thirdly chaplains already have to deal with many “abominations” in their day to day lives, after all if they are an anti-ecumenical protestant chaplain, then surely any catholic soldier in their care is akin to a servant of satan. If chaplains are so fragile, how can they deal with the numerous variations and conflicts to their doctrine. Soldiers of every stripe from Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus, Sanataria, Wicca and Shinto are represented in the US military, but apparently despite never threatening to resign over any of these massive conflicts, the idea of LGB service members is somehow a step too far.
Finally we all have differences of opinion, but priests and chaplains are meant to put the needs of their flock above their own petty concerns, so if a chaplain resigns rather than support their flock under new and potentially challenging circumstances, what worth are they?
So a good chaplain should put up with the new situation or get the hell out of the US military they are utterly unsuited for.