Thursday, March 22, 2018

First it was about bakeries, now it's about families and children. 'Religious liberty' is a homophobic sham

From Lambda Legal

Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin have been married for nearly three years. They have long wanted to have children, and decided they wanted to become foster parents for a refugee child and asked to start the licensing process. However, when in their first interview they revealed that they were a married same-sex couple, the affiliate’s Director of International Foster Care informed them that they would not be permitted to apply to be foster parents because their family structure did not “mirror the Holy Family.” Fatma and Bryn’s humiliating rejection as foster parents illustrates how one of our most cherished rights is being tuned into a weapon to discriminate against LGBT people – and further, how opponents of LGBT equality are attempting to put discrimination beyond legislative or judicial remedy by wrapping it in the language of “religious freedom.” Lambda Legal has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on their behalf. Learn more about the case here

 This could be any of us, folks. When we said that the fight against the religious right bastardized concept of religious liberty was more than about baking cakes and buying flowers, the case of Fatma and Bryn is what we were talking about.

 Lambda Legal also said:

 We are facing a nationwide crisis: over 100,000 children in child welfare systems nationwide are currently in need of loving, stable homes, but there is a shortage of available foster homes. As tax-payer funded child-placing agencies struggle to find care for these children, seven states have allowed them to refuse to place children with LGBTQ families or people of different faiths. In states like Oklahoma and Kansas, waves of discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ bills are threatening to become law. A similar law in Texas, which went into effect last fall, not only allows these government-funded providers to turn away loving families, but permits them to engage in religious education, opening the door to “conversion therapy” or to refuse to acknowledge a transgender youth’s identity and deny services — including medical care — the child may need.

It was never about cakes or flowers. It was always about keeping the LGBTQ community under heel, as well as undermining our rights and ability to function as regular human beings, complete with having families.

'Trump Administration trying to walk away from upholding rights for women & trans people' & other Thur midday news briefs

Carson and DeVos both admit their departments are abandoning transgender people - IF we let them. And we won't.

Trump administration scrubbed lesbian & bi women’s health info from government website - They think they are being slick, but we see them. 

Texas bombing suspect compared ‘unnatural’ homosexuality to paedophilia and bestiality - Not trying to be "that guy," but I seem to remember when that awful man shot Congressman Steve Scalise, certain people made a note of how he was a fan of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just noting that in the silence over this guy.

Same-sex couple rejected from wedding venue because they’re gay – and it’s legal - UGH!

Teens Who Hide Their Sexuality Have Higher Suicide Risk, Study Finds - Confirmation of past research which puts the blame on homophobia for negative behaviors in LGBTQ youth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday featuring the three killer lesbians - 'The Bitch,' 'The Butch,' and 'The Femme'

Let's throw in a change of pace for 'Throwback Thursday.'

Years ago, I had a segment on this blog entitled 'Know Your LGBT History.'  Featuring scenes from past movies and television shows as well as featuring biographies on famous LGBTQs, the segment focused on how our community was featured in the media at times when we weren't able to come out as well the times in which we were more embraced by society.

The segment came about because of positive feedback I had from posting an episode of The Jeffersons featuring a story line about the transgender community.   The next segment officially began the 'Know Your LGBT History' cavalcade and it was controversial:

This is what I said in the blog post about the episode:

 In the 1970s, actress Angie Dickinson starred in the successful Police Woman television series. This particular episode, 'Flowers of Evil,' was so controversial that it was only shown once due to protests by the lgbt community. It dealt with Dickinson getting to the bottom of a case in which three lesbians running a retirement home were stealing money from their residents, drugging them, and then gruesomely murdering them. As this minisode (an abridged version of a television episode)shows, there is a lot to be desired from this particular episode.
Trust me when I say that the full episode is much worse, specifically the stereotypical portrayals of the three villains:  
 The Bitch (Gladys) - The ringleader of the trio. Beautiful and sleek enough to supposedly "fool" men about her sexual orientation. She is the one who commits the only murder shown in the episode and it's not a nice scene. Her sadism is matched only by her lust; a quality that leads Dickinson to successfully go undercover at the retirement home.  
 The Butch (Mame) - Coarse, crude, and detached to a fault. She enjoys watching Gladys commit the murder.  
 The Femme (Janet) - The supposed "true woman" of the trio and as such, the one with a conscience and the "weak link." While Gladys strangles the victim and Mame watches, Janet stands outside in the rain crying in guilt. She can be prodded with kind words or a hard slap by Gladys.

Needless to say this post was a huge hit and enabled me to run 'Know Your LGBT History' posts from 2009 to 2014.

Y'all think I should begin running them again?

'Ben Carson plays divide-and-conquer on LGBTQ rights by attacking trans people' & other Wed midday news briefs

Ben Carson
Ben Carson Said Trans People In Homeless Shelters Make Others ‘Not Comfortable’ - First rule of life - NEVER buy the horseshit. And this is grade A horseshit. A divide-and-conquer tactic. Carson makes a judgement which could negatively affect the ENTIRE LGBTQ community and then tries to put the transgender community front and center as part of the blame for his actions. No doubt, the anti-transgender folks and the TERFS will say "this is why the transgender community is dragging us down." I say it's bull. The problem Carson referred to is one which can be taken care of without pointing fingers or playing us against one another. Don't fall for the horseshit.

And to answer whatever questions there may be regarding the above news brief, there are a series of articles on transgender men and women in homeless shelters:

New Housing Rule Requires Shelter for Transgender People Based on Identity  
Discrimination Against Transgender Women Seeking Access to Homeless Shelters  
Know Your Rights|Housing and Homeless Shelters 

Civil Rights Chief At HHS Defends The Right To Refuse Care On Religious Grounds - Vague interview with a man I still don't. Nothing is mentioned about the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ people need to be condemned just like ISIS, Christian university president argues - Reposting a reiteration of this to remind folks that those who say the LGBTQ can sometimes be too sensitive and defensive can kindly go and fuck themselves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Family Research Council tries to paint Pompeo's apocalyptic view as mainstream Christianity

Trump's Secretary of State pick Mike Pompeo has an apocalyptic religious view of Christianity.

There have been genuine concerns asked about Mike Pompeo, the man Trump picked to be his newest Secretary of State. A lot of these concerns have focused on his long history of opposing LGBTQ equality.  But now an online article at Vox has raised questions about how his evangelical faith could complicate the duties of Secretary of State, should Pompeo be confirmed.

Apparently, the article has caused such a stir that the  Family Research Council has attacked Vox. The group seeks make Pompeo sound more palpable, even at the expense of distorting the article.


President Trump's cabinet (like America's population) has a high percentage of Christians, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when he nominates another. Tell that to the liberals at Vox, who are quite beside themselves to learn that Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick for Secretary of State, is not only a Christian -- but actually thinks like one!

"That Pompeo is an evangelical Christian is, on its face, not particularly notable; 25 percent of Americans are," Tara Isabella Burton writes. "But Pompeo's specific brand of evangelical Christianity, with its insistence on seeing Muslim-Christian relations as an apocalyptic holy war, makes him an unnerving choice for such a senior foreign policy position." Then, as if it were breaking news, she informs readers that Pompeo has told people, "Jesus Christ ... is the only solution for our world."

'Will & Grace' sacrificing accuracy for comedy in wedding cake discrimination episode' & other Tue midday news briefs

'Will & Grace' about to make a serious error in the 'who' and 'what' of  anti-gay discrimination.

‘Will & Grace’ episode reinforces anti-gay talking points on wedding cake discrimination - Great. And I say that sarcastically. I get that people don't want to be preached to when it comes to television shows, but accuracy shouldn't be sacrificed for comedy. And it sounds like 'Will and Grace' is about to lay a big bomb here. It's the negative side of having LGBTQ images in the media. What do you do when they get things confused? There is no excuse for this show to conflate refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple with refusing to put a certain message on a cake. It's not the same and the courts have said so thus far.

New Middle-Grade Book Features Girl with Two Moms, Marriage Equality Win - Wonderful! We need more books like this. 

Christian College President Compares LGBT Students to Members of ISIS - What a charming person. 

Queens Are Questioning RuPaul’s Grip On Drag Culture After His Controversial Trans Comments - Ru, you should've known better. You know what a stickler some folks in our community are about protocol.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dear anti-gay evangelicals, you're fake, you're phony, and you're not fooling anyone

The man who sent this tweet is claiming that Christians like him are being unfairly attacked by the LGBTQ community

In the age of Trump, the audacity of the anti-LGBTQ evangelical right to get their agenda through has been off the charts. And with that audacity comes an obliviousness which is sad. The way they have been carrying on, one gets the impression that they are drunk with power. They seem to think that the gravy train of influence they are partaking of via Trump won't end or somehow they will be shielded from being called out for their hypocrisy, even when he leaves office.

Today, the American Family Association's fake new source, One News Now, issued a warning to parents implying that a new movie seeks to indoctrinate their children into homosexuality:

Christian parents are being advised to be ready for a conversation with their children about a movie that opened this weekend that could have them talking. Love, Simon (PG-13) is billed as a trendy romance – but in fact it's the first "gay" romantic movie with a full-throated Hollywood marketing campaign. This movie was not made for LGBT audiences; instead, it's a subtle message movie for the straight world:  
 From the movie trailer: "My name's Simon. For the most part, my life is totally normal. I have a family that I actually like, and there's my friends. So I'm just like you, except that I have one huge secret: nobody knows I'm gay."  
 The story line focuses on how Simon "comes out," or announces to the world that he's gay. The characters are relatable, sympathetic, and loveable. The producers are hopeful audiences will yearn for Simon to be accepted and find his true love – and if data from the Barna Group and Impact 360 Institute is to be believed, many children from Christian homes are ready to get on board in today's environment of moral relativism.

This nonsense about gays attempting to indoctrinate children is nothing new from One News Now. But it's very interesting that the news source talks about "moral relativism"in attacking 'Love, Simon" when one takes into account the numerous articles and columns it has published since Trump's election calling his ascension into the White House as ordained by God or defending him the numerous times he has shown himself to be a caustic, incompetent boob with awful ideas. Or constantly attempting to justify why evangelicals voted for him in a large number in spite of the fact that he doesn't even begin to embody the ideas they think up when attacking others(the Stormy Daniels controversy included big time) And speaking of keeping children away from harm, I won't even talk about the numerous articles and columns One News Now published defending failed Senate candidate Roy Moore when he was accused of misconduct with underage girls.

But believe it or not, One News Now and the AFA doesn't take today's prize for hypocrisy.

'John Oliver trolls Mike Pence's homophobia' & other Mon midday news briefs

John Oliver rips homophobe Mike Pence — and does something amazing with his pet rabbit Marlon Bundo - Comedian John Oliver trolling our homophobic vice president is the cure for the Monday blahs. 

Savannah Georgia ruined Mike Pence’s St. Patrick’s Day in the best way possible - Speaking of Pence . . . 

Before 'Love, Simon': Coming Out And Coming-Of-Age At The Movies - 'Love, Simon' is already being declared a hit by the LGBTQ community. I haven't seen it yet, but as this article points out, the movie is historic.

Billie Lee On Why It’s So Important To Have Transgender Visibility On Reality Television - I despise reality television so I post this with a divided opinion. 

Longtime AIDS researcher may be Trump’s pick to lead the CDC - We'll see how this works out. This is of utmost interest to me due to my work of refuting religious right propaganda.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Philly stops two agencies from placing foster children because they discriminate against gays

Batten down the hatches because things just went off in Philadelphia with regards to "religious liberty" vs. anti-gay discrimination.

According to Philly News:

The city announced Thursday that it had stopped two faith-based agencies from placing foster children after learning the organizations discriminate against LGBTQ people.
The Philadelphia Department of Human Services has ceased foster-care intake with Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services, pending an investigation by the Commission on Human Relations. 
The restriction follows an Inquirer and Daily News report that the city-funded agencies will not work with LGBTQ people or same-sex couples interested in becoming foster parents, a stance that likely violates city contract rules. The organizations do work with LGBTQ youth.

That first news story also revealed that the two foster agencies, Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services, were both reimbursed over $1 million in tax dollars for operating foster care homes. 

All of this began when a lesbian couple, Magan Paszko and her wife, went to an orientation meeting with one of the agencies and was told that they shouldn't waste their time.

 "The trainer approached us, and she was really nice, but she told us, ‘I just want to be upfront. This organization has never placed a child with a same-sex couple,” Paszko told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “She told us she didn’t want to waste two hours of our time."

This situation is the latest salvo in the argument over "religious liberty" or the belief that personal religious beliefs should give individuals and groups a free card to discriminate.  I personally think that such a belief is wrong, especially when those wanting to discriminate also want to help themselves to our tax monies.

Friday, March 16, 2018

'Anti-gay judge loses three years of pay for serious misconduct' & other Fri midday news briefs

Oregon judge who refused to marry same-sex couples found guilty of ‘exceptionally serious misconduct’ — and a cover-up - I know of a certain judge who won't be portrayed by the religious right as a "martyr."

Anti-gay discrimination just cost this judge 3 years of pay - More about the situation from ThinkProgress. 

 Two groups stand against LGBTQ rights. One is dangerous and the other is simply gross - My post from last night because I feel that it is one of the most important things I've written in recent memory:
 1. The Dodgers - The Dodgers consist of groups like the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, people like Franklin Graham and Todd Starnes. The best way to describe them is to compare them to David Duke when he attempted to clean up his image by claiming to be "pro-white" rather than "anti-black.
 . . . 2. The Ick Factor Fanciers - These folks are simply consumed with talking about gay sex. They are anti-LGBTQ activists and groups such as Mike Huckabee, Mass Resistance, Brian Camenker, Matt Barber, and (of course) "Porno Peter LaBarbera who have at least once openly espoused talking about gay sex because they feel such talk would nauseate people against LGBTQ equality. Almost every conversation and debate about LGBTQ equality - whether it be about adoption rights, marriage, anti-discrimination ordinances - is broken down to talking about things such as "sodomy." "the thinness of the rectum" or "spilled semen." 

  Irish Lawmaker Proposes Ban On ‘Harmful, Deceptive’ Conversion Therapy - An international ban on this madness would be lovely. 

  LGBTQ advocates see Pompeo as 'reckless choice' for top diplomat - Needs to be repeated continuously.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two groups stand against LGBTQ rights. One is dangerous and the other is simply gross

In terms of homophobic personalities and groups in American society, I've broken them down into two entities - One group is sly because they practice passive-aggressive tactics. The other group is simply gross because they attempt to make almost every LGBTQ debate one about gay sex.

1. The Dodgers - The Dodgers consist of groups like the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, people like Franklin Graham and Todd Starnes. The best way to describe them is to compare them to David Duke when he attempted to clean up his image by claiming to be "pro-white" rather than "anti-black."

In that same mind frame, the Dodgers claim that they aren't anti-gay, but are "pro-family." This is done so that they can appeal to so-called common Americans while publishing columns, giving interviews, or appearing on news programs. Their goal isn't to scare without saying the word "Boo!"

They generally attempt to make the narrative about how the Christian community is supposedly in danger because of the so-called "gay agenda." They use and distort anecdotes portraying people on their side with the highest degree of innocence. A woman who refuses to serve gays in her flower shop is made over into a "Christian grandmother being driven out of business by a homosexual couple who targeted her." A government employee who undermines a gay couple attempting to get their wedding license is transformed into "a Christian woman who is thrown in jail because she won't  compromise her faith."

 The Dodgers never speak specifically about LGBTQs, unless they are trying to label us as angry and threatening. They categorize us as a nameless, faceless, raging horde. They never speak about gay children nor same-sex households. They never acknowledge us going through the day-by-day paces of life. And don't even talk about admitting that some of us are religious.  To them, it's all about erasing our humanity and putting us in opposition to people of faith.

'Two foster agencies in Philly reimbursed millions in tax dollars, but won't place kids with LGBTQ people' & other Thur midday news briefs

Two foster agencies in Philly won't place kids with LGBTQ people - I'm sorry but I have a serious problem with agencies getting LGBTQ tax money and having the ability to discriminate against gays. And this sort of things does a great harm to LGBTQ youth in foster care.

 Last year, Bethany Christian Services was reimbursed $1.3 million for operating foster homes for 170 children, representing 1.5 percent of the department’s payments to foster care providers. Catholic Social Services was reimbursed $1.7 million in the same year for 266 children, representing 1.9 percent of the amount paid. Joe DiBenedetto, a spokesman for Bethany, said the organization places children with married couples made up of two parents of the opposite sex, or in some cases individuals. He said the organization does not believe it is in violation of any city ordinances. “This has been our practice throughout our nearly 75 years of operation and is based on our adherence to what we believe to be foundational Biblical principles,” he said. Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said Catholic Social Services wasn’t aware of any recent inquiries from same-sex couples but confirmed that the organization would not work with interested LGBTQ people if approached. 
Both organizations work with LGBTQ youth. That can send a mixed message to children and teens in their care, said Currey Cook, an attorney who heads Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-home Care Project. “How do you pretend you can simultaneously say we serve all youth and do a good job serving all youth while at the same time you’re saying same-sex couples are not real parents, are not good parents?” Cook said. “LGBT youth who have faced so much isolation, stigma, prejudice in the system are left wondering, ‘What’s going to happen if I come out, and I’m being served by parents or an agency that basically says trans parents, LGBT people, aren’t good parents?'”  

Media banned from Mike Pence’s meeting with gay Irish PM Leo Varadkar - I'm curious as to why.

Retiring Texas Republicans blast anti-trans bill on their way out the door - Not that it matters because they are retiring. Meanwhile, the bill will be coming back in 2019.

Companies With LGBTQ-Inclusive Ads Can Increase Sales By 40%, And Here's Why - Pay attention folks. Inclusion sells.

Protests break out over judge who overturned charges for man who admitted pushing trans woman to death - You damn right! What the hell . . .