US makes U-turn and does the right thing at UN

American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance

The American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. (Source: www.wilsoninfo.com)

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.

‘Curing’ LGBT people? There’s an app for that.

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.

Mark Leno on LGBTQIA history being taught in schools.

State senator Mark Leno of California is proposing that we teach our children about LGBTQIA history the same way we have Black History, and Women’s History.

He makes it clear and unequivocal that this is a matter of civil rights, and a clear continuum for LGBTQIA rights being the next stage in the civil rights process. It is clear that those who oppose equality are just the same as those who opposed Black History, and Women’s Studies because they were bigots, just the same as this lot.

Would the real United States please catch up

American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance

The American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. (Source: www.wilsoninfo.com)

This is an open letter to the ‘Land of the Free’, and indeed, all those living under the colourful tones (and yes, I mean colourful… I’m a Brit!) of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. This is a letter both to and about America and her people. This is a letter about liberty, democracy, equality, opportunity, merit, forgiveness and compassion. This is a letter about basic human decency.

Dear United States,

What the hell is going on with you? I grew up being taught of the many wonderful ideals that America held dear, and it once gave me some belief that there was a country in this world with the sense of fairness and decency to act out those ideals. Some of those ideals are supposedly the founding principles of your nation, and some of them simply ideals that America holds dear… ideas and ideals worth defending. Much of your country, after all, was founded with a population that grew from those that escaped the tyranny, persecution, and oppression they found in Britain, and even in Ireland. Yet more people have joined you since then from around the world, some of whom were slaves -OK, not a bright point in history, but at least Americans saw fit to eventually put an end to it – indeed, that Mr. Luther King was able to stand up as he did as a figurehead of the civil rights movement is just one example of how a man can supposedly start from humble beginnings and rise to greatness in America. Actually, I had grown up to think of you not just as a world leader, but one that leads by example.

Sadly, I no longer believe in that magical land of freedom I was taught about. It doesn’t seem to exist any more, and it’s a great loss to the world that it doesn’t exist. It is of course no great loss to LGBTQIA Americans, who have grown up with first hand experience of the flaws of your once great nation which serve to ensure that it is not free. All men (and women) under the American flag are not equal! Your levels of gun crime are truly shocking, and entitlement to healthcare was a shambles until recently, and is threatened to be so again by a Republican led congress determined to engage in culture war rather than concentrate on jobs, with jobs being the policy they were elected on. Britain is not perfect in this department either, but that excuses neither country and Britain isn’t the so-called ‘land of the free’.

The GOP led house has just voted to remove funding for Title X provisions; provisions which any civilised society should provide to anybody that needs them. Unfortunately those that cannot afford to pay for it can no longer gain access to…

  • pelvic exams and Pap tests, important for early detection of cervical cancer;
  • breast exams and instruction on breast self-examination
  • testing for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes;
  • screening and appropriate treatment for sexually transmitted infections; and
  • basic infertility screening.

… and how are those unable to access these things supposed to have a choice over their own health, let alone their own lifestyle? Is this is an ill informed attack on women in an attempt to keep them fidelitous and stop them having sex? Why? Is it because a bunch of so-called Christians in your country feel that only God’s way is the right way, and so do all they can to bend and shape your nation into their theocratic image? I mean, what’s the difference between a theocratic society and laws based on theocratic ideas anyway? How is such theocratic rule supposed to be any better than that of any other theocratic state… like, for example, Iran? Of what value is separation of Church and State if the secular laws of the land are created by those who wish to enshrine their religious beliefs into legislation intended to enforce the moral code of their favoured deity and holy book?

Why, in this enlightened age, are abortion doctors murdered by those who profess to be ‘pro-life’?.. and on what planet is the murder of an abortion doctor ‘justifiable homicide’, as recently proposed by Republican Representative Phil Jensen in South Dakota? Why are transgender people in the US denied treatment known to be successful for their condition, and why are they so often denied the right to ammend their documentation appropriately… even reported by names they were no longer known by after their deaths and mistreated at the hands of public servants.

What about marriage equality… why? Why is it that an LGBTQIA person can serve their country in any number of patriotic ways, and yet be denied the right to be married? Why is it that when Proposition 8 passed (dubiously) in California, it was hailed as a show of the democratic will of the people, but it doesn’t work that way around when opponents of marriage equality fail to impress with their bigotry. Instead, in a state like New Hampshire where most people support already existing marriage equality, Republicans try to pass bills to repeal it… and when that fails, people like Republican Representative David Bates suggest that a consitutional amendment could serve the same purpose if the bill is defeated… Where’s the democracy in that, in a state with 29% against marriage equality, 9% neutral, and 62% in favour of it? This isn’t representing the people! This is using the people as pawns to get into government in order to use their position in an effort to force through THEIR views, not the people’s!.. and it’s happened on both a state and federal scale!

Making it worse, what’s happening about an immigration policy that not only has no policy for gay people, but specifically refuses to recognise the marriages of those who ARE in a state where their marriages are recognised. Where is the American dream or the freedom, liberty, fairness and compassion in throwing someone out of the country or refusing to let them in, just because they happen to be gay, where a straight person in the same circumstances would be welcomed?

Oh America! How can you go to war on false pretences of WMD’s that don’t exist with a claim of “spreading democracy and freedom around the world”, when such monumental democratic failings, culture wars, and illiberty permeate your once great nation?

Much of the western world has woken up to the bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and illiberty of the past. Many countries now recognise transsexual men and women for who they really are, and even allow them to get married accordingly. Many countries in the western world allow same sex marriage, and many of those that don’t offer a non-marriage civil union which is not enough, but at least something. America doesn’t even reliably offer a civil union, and it’s benefits are limited where it IS available! America, are you really willing to be left behind and stand there as a pariah state of intolerance, hatred and bigotry in not affording these people recognition of their relationships on your soil, for immigration purposes or otherwise?

I used to look up to the United States as a country of freedom, fairness and opportunity. Now, the United States is simply a disappointment. Would the real United States please catch up?

Marriage Equality in the UK – A Rising Issue

I’ve seen it reported in US media from time to time, that same sex marriage exists in the UK. It doesn’t. What exists in the UK is a segregated system of sexuality based apartheid. If you’re straight, you can get married, and if you’re LGBT, you can have a ‘civil partnership’. However, the issue of marriage equality is now emerging into UK public consciousness.

A civil partnership is largely like a marriage in terms of its legal effects, but it is not a marriage. In fact, it was deliberately stripped of any and all emotional or spiritual connotations entirely. A marriage in the UK is binding from the point that vows are spoken, and yet, a civil partnership is created instead from the signatures on a legal contract. A straight couple who hold a religious or spiritual faith may choose to incorporate elements of their beliefs into the ceremony. They have the option of making their marriage special in their way, and to honour their love and commitment in the manner most meaningful to them. LGBT people do not have this option. For married people, adulterous behaviour is grounds for divorce if they so choose -the same is not true of civil partners. Even if these differences did not exist, the law makes clear that a civil partnership is not a marriage. Marriage equality is what was sought, and the UK gave LGBT people something less. They deliberately segregated gay and straight people, and effectively said that gay people should not be afforded the right to get married or celebrate their love and commitment in anything that resembles a personal, spiritual way, and so creating a greater and a lesser form of partnership. In fact, this discrimination is so firmly entrenched that transsexual people, if married, must actually divorce only to then obtain a civil partnership in order to have their personal details officially corrected.

Ever since the Civil Partnerships Act recieved Royal Assent in 2004, there has been a cry for full marriage equality. A cry which is finally beginning to be heared across all three major political parties, with the Liberal Democrats having even gone so far as to make marriage equality a matter of their party policy… and well they might, as marriage equality in the UK is a very popular move to make. Opinion polls show a consistent majority in favour of equal rights and an end to the discrimination. Sadly though, the politicians are slow to practice what they preach.

Currently, the Government is faced with an opportunity and with pressure to end this discrimination as stipulated by legislation passed last year.  The legislation makes very clear that no religious institution opposed to same sex partnerships would be required to perform them or to allow their places of worship to be used for them.

Many Liberal Democrats will no doubt be quick to claim any extention of LGBT rights towards marriage equality as a sign of their success and moral standing in Government. However, it should also be noted that the provisions which call for the change allowing LGBT people to involve their religious beliefs in their civil partnerships comes from an Equality Act, written last year under the leadership of a Labour Government (the self same act that effectively rolled back some of the rights of transsexual people, and decided that LGBT bullying in schools should not be specifically remedied). The implementation of the law allowing for this positive step towards marriage equality has in fact been delayed for a year by the current government. The fact is, when it comes to LGBT rights, none of the political parties have a particularly good record when it comes to actually fighting to do something about it -some worse than others, the worst, sadly, being the party leading the current Government!

Even so, this is a remarkably important step forward, at least in its potential, and it should be considered as such. The consultation undoubtedly will involve many churches vehemently opposed to marriage equality. These churches are worried that with the key difference in the ban on religious components to civil partnerships being removed, there would be no real reason not to call them marriages – and rightly so, because they’re right! However, there is no word from the Government on whether Civil Partnerships will be changed so that they may be referred to as marriages… it’s not really even on the agenda. The Government has simply suggested that it might think about it some time. The question is whether it is right that LGBT people who wish to be able to recognise their beliefs in a ceremony marking their partnership should be able to… and if their beliefs (or those of their church) allow for this, is there any fair reason why they should not be allowed to? No. There isn’t.

The right wing press is predictably spinning and overblowing the comments of church leaders to suggest a fear that they will be forced to perform gay marriages. It’s as predictable as it is tiresome. Left unchecked, extremist churches and right wing mariage equality opponents may well water down any eventual positive step towards marriage equality, or block it altogether. This should not be allowed to happen – at least not without firm opposition to such underhanded and homophobic intentions.

Fellow No More Lost writer Gemma, in her recent piece about France’s failure to ensure mariage equality, notes the way that the energy of the movement was lost following a homophobic court ruling in 2004. Reading her article, and noting the lack of widespread opposition to marriage equality, I have to wonder why. It seems to me that an explanation may be that unless related to an oppositional religious group, most heterosexual people aren’t exceptionally bothered by marriage equality, given that they don’t really have much cause to think about it and it doesn’t effect them.

For that reason, and that reason alone, as the issue of marriage equality enters the UK public consciousness, and as the right wing press spews out it’s typical homophobic propaganda and lies about the reality of what’s going on, it’s more important than ever that we make our case. It is more important than ever that we make ourselves heared. It is now more important than ever that we, LGBT people and our heterosexual allies, ensure that the public at large have more information than just the usual nationally disseminated lies and propaganda, and that the public consciousness of the issue also forms around an understanding of the wrongs and impacts that marriage INequality gives rise to.

Gay Marriage, will lead to polyamorous marriages…

I keep hearing this as a reason why gay marriage should be stopped, because its all part of a slippery slope. Admittedly growing up in a close minded community i assumed that couples were normal, and anything else was odd. However as we grow up we change both in outlook and what we want.
Poly Hearts 2
I’ve evolved to the point that in many ways i’m no longer even looking for the one. I’m far from finding a life partner. I do have people who are unbelievably important to me in my life but i don’t think one person would necessarily fill all my needs. I have no plans one way or another, its all part of the journey of personal evolution.

Its a situation today where LGBTQA activists almost shy away from the Poly group because “that’s too weird” and claim that they just want gay marriage nothing more. I see it as a milestone, and also a recognition of the ways families have been throughout all time, only more openly. To quote my favorite example, the only reason that the dried up gene pool of the Royal Families of Europe have not become so inbred they cannot breed is because the royal women have been having enough affairs that new blood has sneaked into the royal bloodlines.

Husbands and Wives had Mistresses and Lovers, you did not necessarily marry who you loved, and quite commonly Husbands and Wives had Lovers and Mistresses…

I don’t want to get ENDA, Marriage equality, DADT repeal and Hate crimes and leave it at that, we need to recognize that our society is evolving to have open relationships between more than 2 people. This is not the abusive Latter Day Saint, or Islamic polygamous practice of having more than one wife, each of which is a separate often competitive relationship to the other wives.

Looking at some of my friends, i’ve seen relationships of more than the norm, and unsurprisingly given the stability of a mature adult relationship, these families are perhaps even stronger than the couples I see around me.

Its about having a group relationship. To give a basic primer, assume you have a relationship of Henry, William and Denise. This means that…

  • Henry is married to William and they have a physical and emotional relationship
  • Henry is married to Denise and they have a physical and emotional relationship
  • William is married to Denis and they also have a physical and emotional relationship
  • Henry, William and Denise all share a bed, and are a married triplet who are physically and emotionally committed to each other

While the studies showing LGBTQA parents being wonderful and capable parents are numerous, the social stigma of Polyamorous families has resulted in there not being so many studies, anecdotally from the families I know, the children are some of the most well adjusted and capable children i’ve ever seen.

I know we aren’t going to get legal polyamorous marriages tomorrow, or even when DOMA is finally struck down as evil and bigotted, but those who care about what is right, just and true, need to realize there are fights still to have.

It’ll be a while but one the day I want my child to be able to check out a book from the public library called “Charlie has a Mummy, a Daddy and a Dafu”…

Chris, Cherie & Fritz
Just another real american family

The Episcopalian Church goes there… again… while gay rights groups applaud State Department

Anti same-sex marriage arguments

Religious right/Conservative arguments against same sex marriage

I’m not a Christian. I’m not especially a massive supporter of religion in general either, though firmly of the belief that everybody needs to have a little faith sometimes – it just doesn’t have to necessarily be in a God. As such, I pass little judgement on Christianity itself, but I’m just as capable as the next person of observing the things done and the sentiments expressed by people in its name, and to compare those with the Christian teachings that, lets face it, most of us in the western world have encountered whether we’re Christian or not.

In 2003, the Episcopalian Church was the first large Christian denomination in the world to elect an openly gay Bishop, and did so in spite of a smear campaign that pandered to all the usual dirty tactics – including hugely overinflated accusations of sexual assault, which were investigated and disproved… and he was elected by a significant majority, demonstrating the majority of the denomination’s commitment to people – human beings – and no sexualities.

On New Years day this year, 2011, comes another commendable first from this same denomination – the wedding of two high-level priests, who incidentally happen to be lesbian, is thought to be a first for the US.

passport application

The old passport application form - "mother" and "father" are due to be ammended to "Parent 1" and "Parent 2"

Meanwhile, in what must surely be a bitter pill to swallow for many viewers of the conservative current affairs channel Fox News, the US State Department has announced that Consular Report of Birth Abroad documents, and significantly, passport applications, will no longer ask for the entry of “mother” and “father”, but of the gender neutral fields “parent 1” and “parent 2”. This move allows for the recognition of both family situations arising from such things as IVF treatment, and of course, families with same sex parents. The new passport applications will be rolled out in February.

Of course, religious right so-called “pro family groups” are proclaiming outrage and insanity at this move – nothing is unexpected about that! “Political Correctness gone mad” is the cry. They argue that this change somehow provides less information than the previous “mother” and “father” fields. This is a stance, however, that betrays the true hypocrisy of such groups. As the State Department explains, through deputy assistant Secretary of State Brenda Sprague;

These improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of families. … We find that with changes in medical science and reproductive technology that we are confronting situations now that we would not have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago.

In other words, this move from the State Department is a move that simply recognises families which already exist – what’s so wrong with that? Simply, the so-called “pro family groups” doing the complaining are very picky about which families they are in favour of. A family with LGBT parents is still a family, but religious right pro family groups would evidently prefer that it weren’t recognised as such. It’s obviously not their views on family that inform them in this, but their so-called “Christian” views on homosexuality. Such duplicity and misrepresentation doesn’t sound very Christian at all!

What can we learn from all this? What message can we take from it? What does it show? I propose that these recent events, considered together, say two important things. The first of these things is a confirmation of the old adage that “empty vessels make the loudest noise”. While these pro family groups ironically and duplicitously campaign against the recognition of those families they don’t like the idea of and practice bigotry and discrimination in the name of their religion, they claim their view to be the Christian way – it’s not. It’s simply the ideological view of the christian religious right, who in ignorance of the actual reality they face, do not espouse the view of Christianity as a whole. That much is demonstrated by the Episcopalian Church, whose most senior episcopal official of Massachusetts has spoken of the much kinder and more christian view that, “God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a lifelong commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other.”

Secondly, there is a message of hope, and a sign of increasing change. 25 years ago, in the middle of the 1980’s, gay people were blamed for the spread of AIDS, or the HIV virus as we now understand it. It was described as a “man made disease”, with gay people being the primary vectors through which it is spread. This of course is now recognised as nonsense, but going back 25 years ago, such ideas were exemplary of the widespread misunderstanding and vilification of gay people. Quite simply, it was not OK to be gay. These days, while LGBT people face significant inequality and outrageous discrimination in various areas, it is much more socially acceptable to be gay. We’re not quite there yet but we’re making progress, and the events and changes described in this article exemplify the positive direction in which things are moving – that the State Department would recognise same sex families in its passport applications would have been utterly unthinkable just 10 years ago.

There is hope. There is change. The generation that now finds itself all grown up has seen this change, and it’s something to celebrate. It’s not enough and there’s still work to be done, but it’s heading there. This generation of young LGBT people have every reason to hope and to believe that in continuing this work, as they grow up and live out their lives, there can be and will be full equality.

Michael Steele talks to NOM

Following up our previous article about the candidates for the RNC chair being interviewed by the National Organization for Marriage.

We keep assuming that each victory we win, those victories cannot be rolled back, but already the Republicans are salivating about rolling back marriage equality in New Hampshire, and NOM is demanding that the remaining Iowa justices are stripped of their rights for daring to rule for equality.

Now Michael Steele, is arguing for a federal gay marriage ban, while at the same time claiming he’s not opposed to gay equality. In the same conversation he says he’s not a bigot, but at the same time tells us that gay relationships are inferior for children, despite countless independent studies showing that LGBTQA parents are as good as straight parents.

On the one hand he wants to use the sabre of states rights, like the slave trading south, and later the segregationist south. On the other hand he wants to use the club of federal restrictions, not disimilar to the evils of DOMA, Plessy vs Ferguson and other bigoted actions.

The republican party no matter how you feel about its other policies is as bad as the southern democrats or the dixiecrats, who opposed civil rights in the 1960s talking about civil rights, traditional family values, and religion. Through intolerance, misinformation and fear, they seek to not only hold the line against justice and equality, they want roll back the progress we’ve made.

If you are a republican, please ask yourselves if you would have voted for the dixiecrats, because by voting for the republicans and not calling them to task for their homophobia, you are supporting a no less disgusting a party than that abominable party.

Equality will win out, but scumbag bigots like Michael Steele just make our lives harder to feed into their dislike of LGBTQA people.

Corrective rape in South Africa – Petition by Change.org

There are an order of terrible crimes, and to many including myself rape is a far more horrific crime than murder. However there is a class of rape that is even more horrific and that is corrective rape, a crime that believes that rape can benefit someone in a female body, either of lesbian or transgender identification.

While it is not a matter of state policy in the US or the UK, it is often condoned and supported by governments such as those in Uganda.
Note, it is not the official state policy of Uganda, however it happens frequently at the hands of the police, and is rarely prosecuted when it happens at the hands of the church and the community

In South Africa, it is still at epidemic proportions, and still the South African government has yet to implement any hate crimes legislation.

Here is a petition being run by Change.org, to insist that the Justice ministry acts to correct this horrific situation.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

This is not an exclusively South African problem, and occurs whenever society doesn’t like the fact that a female bodied person is true to themselves.

Story via Change.org

Half Way Out of the Dark

The winter solstice, which goes by many names, is represented by a beautiful phrase “Half Way Out of the Dark” as spoken by the Doctor.

Things feel pretty dark right now, the conservative right wing has just practiced a purge on its more moderate types, and now has gotten into the majority of the House of Representatives.

Barack Obama, while being a good centrist leader, is not the progressive president we’d hoped for, were ENDA implementation and DOMA repeal high priorities, you’d hope they would have been pushed through or least brought up during this Congress.

Uganda is still going ahead with their gay genocide bill, and the Christian Right is looking at their situation practically salivating at the possibilities. Look at the Tea Party caucus coalescing around Jim DeMint and his hatred.

The extraordinary thing about the winter solstice is that at the same time as being the shortest, darkest, most miserable day of the year, with a progression of it getting darker and shorter its the first day it starts getting brighter and sunnier.

There is a large grouping of intolerant people on the right, often formed around religious groups, that wants to roll back the progress. They are afraid of us, and out of fear and hatred they bring up voices like Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Sharon Angle.

However our allies are growing, a large majority of Americans recognizing the fact that gay discrimination is wrong, and its only a matter of time before those people realize that they need to support full equality. We help that every day that we are true to ourselves, not ashamed, not in the closet, and not quiet.

If you are hiding in the closet at work, its time to stop, its time to stand up. Maybe in your church you hide yourself for a quiet life, its time to stop, its time to stand up. Thankfully now my gay brothers and lesbian sisters will soon be able to stand up for themselves in the military. We are not a quiet passive minority, we are an army of repressed, brilliant, wonderful, shining people, and now is the time to not wait for the light, but create it.

We shouldn’t be waiting, we have to stand up, today we should have equality, so waiting for tomorrow is too late.

I’m Gemma, I’m a lesbian identified, occasionally guy dating, transgender woman, and I’m standing up for today being the day we get equality.