Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hate crimes legislation passes Judicial Committee - now the real fun begins

By a vote of 15-12, hate crimes legislation passes the House Judiciary Committee. It could go up for a vote by the full House as early as next week.

And the religious right are just itching for a way to defeat it.

Just in case the lie about pastors going to jail isn't enough the derail the bill, the religious right are now inaccurately claiming that the bill is not clear on what exactly is a sexual orientation.

Aiding and abetting this nonsense is Republican Congressman Steve King:

Steve King (R-Iowa) told Democratic members that "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are vague terms that need to be specifically defined since courts will be analyzing those terms.

"This panel -- this Judiciary Committee, including the authors of this bill -- either don't know or won't say what the definitions are, for example, [of] gender identity [or] sexual orientation," King stated. "Does sexual orientation...include transvestism? Does it include transgendered? Are those two that are also part of sexual orientation?" he asked. "And if so, if that's two of 30 [orientations], what are the other 28 that are part of sexual orientation?"

This is nonsense. It's a lie perpetrated by the Traditional Values Coalition. What King was referring to are paraphalias, which are described as:

. . . fantasies, behaviors, or sexual urges focusing on unusual objects, activities, or situations . .

Paraphilias have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

King also inaccurately linked the transgendered community with paraphalias.

As this legislation moves to a vote, expect to see the religious right pull out all of the stops. According to People for the American Way, they already have.

Link here to read a listing of religious right lies and generally inaccurate statements about hate crimes legislation including:

Focus on the Family - Under "hate-crimes" laws like H.R. 1913, pastors could be prosecuted for preaching the biblical view of homosexuality. Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the U.S. at the state level and abroad.

"The homosexual activists' mantra is no longer tolerance — it's embrace and promote," said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "Anything less will be silenced. Christians must speak up."

Family Research Council - The act would establish a new FEDERAL offense for so-called "hate crimes" and add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes. It will mandate a separate federal criminal prosecution for state offenses.

Adding "sexual orientation" to thought crimes legislation gives one set of crime victims a higher level of protection than it gives to people like you and me.

And of course the Traditional Values Coalition - The main purpose of this “hate crime” legislation is to add the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “either actual or perceived,” as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations-zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?

Gender identity includes such gender confused behaviors as cross-dressing, she-male, drag queen, transvestite, transsexual or transgender. Under the Act, neither “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” are really defined. How can a law be enforced if the new classes receiving special protection remain undefined?

It's going to be very interesting to see what happens. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that the bill passes the other hurdles.

Thursday midday news briefs

Gay-themed library celebrates opening in Fort Lauderdale - An excellent idea that should be spread across the nation.

Vote caps decade-long Conn. gay marriage fight - More good news from Connecticut!

WA passes trans hate crimes bill - Nothing wrong with more good news.

The Zapata murder trial coverage - and the missed opportunity of the LGB media and blogosphere - In the midst of all of the good news, let's not forget we still have work to do.

For first time since early 2004, more Americans think nation is heading in the right direction than not - While not necessarly an lgbt issue per se, it's still nice to take note of this in light of last week's teabag parties.
The reason why Black Prides must exist

Forgive me for doing a little advertising this morning

Last night, I got angry with an episode of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

One of the child characters, Malik, found himself in the middle of the dilemma because one of his friends was HIV positive. The child was ostracisized and Malik had to defend him from the other children.

This the second time House of Payne focused on the issue of HIV and AIDS in the black community. The other time, another one of the leading characters was dating an HIV positive woman.

But at neither time did this show even talk about black gay men who are one of main groups affected in startling large numbers by HIV and AIDS.

It's almost as if the show was saying that HIV and AIDS is a problem only when it affects the "normal folks" in the black community.

But it’s par for the course with this show. House of Payne is one of the most popular shows in the black community and it has yet to have even a guest character who is lgbt. But it doesn’t seem to have a problem with making jokes about someone being gay or being on the “down low.”

And its indicative of the black community. No one in the black community seems to care about lgbts of color - our issues, or our lives in general.

Instead we are supposed to be placated by ridiculous assurances that "no one has a problem with our 'lifestyle' as long as we aren't in anyone's faces about it."

Meanwhile, we are pushed in a psychological closet and muzzled like dogs.

When our leaders talk about the problems of the black community, we know they won't include us.

When well meaning activists focus on the "State of Black America," we are absent.

When magazines like Ebony write articles comparing "black civil rights" and "gay civil rights," they conveniently can't find lgbts of color to comment.

Well that's nonsense and I'm tired of it. I'm gay, I'm an African-American and I am proud of both of my identities.

I don't feel as if I have to choose between the two. That's why I have been busy helping to coordinate Black Prides in South Carolina. This year will our the fourth one.

Black prides must continue to exist so that we can remind people that lgbts of color exist. Whether the rest of the black community approves of us or not is irrelevant. We deserve acknowledgement and respect.

It's as simple as that:

South Carolina to be United 4 Change:
Black, Bold & Proud in June

The African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community of South Carolina and its allies will be out and proud June 18-21 as the state holds its Fourth Annual SC Black Pride in the state’s capital, Columbia.

The theme, United 4 Change: Black, Bold & Proud, promises many surprises that will celebrate the richness of South Carolina’s same gender loving community of color as well as the diversity of the LGBT community at large.

“Our purpose is to celebrate the often subjugated creativity, beauty, dignity, and brilliance of South Carolina’s Black LGBT community,” says Dr. Todd Shaw, Chair, of the SC Black Pride Committee. “Racism and homophobia attack same-gender loving [African-American] sisters and brothers [conjointly]. Now’s the time for the Black community to understand how much we contribute to the larger freedom struggle and for society to understand how much we contribute as loving mothers, fathers, teachers, preachers and young leaders.”

Organizers anticipate a record 4,000 South Carolinians and out-of-town guests will participate in the scheduled events, official parties and community expo.

All are welcome to attend! To learn more about this Pride’s many empowering events (including becoming a vendor and advertising in the Pride Guide), refer to:

South Carolina Black Pride
P.O. Box 8191
Columbia, SC 29202

2009 SC Black Pride Events
(All events are in Columbia, South Carolina)

*** Pre-Pride Events ***

Friday, May 29th
Sexxy Redd Party, $10 Admission

PT’s Cabaret, 1101 Harden St., 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Friday, June 12th
Mr. & Ms. SC Black Pride Pageant
, $10 General Admission
PT’s Cabaret, 1101 Harden St., 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Sunday, June 15th
Volunteering Training & Appreciation Dinner
, Free Admission
Harriet Hancock Center, 1108 Woodrow St., 6:30 – 8 p.m.

*** Pride Week ***

Thursday, June 18th
Welcome Reception
, Free Admission – Cash bar
HUSH Restaurant & Tappas Bar, 1004 Gervais St., 7 – 9 p.m.

Friday, June 19th
MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) HIV Prevention Institute
"Evidence That Demands Action",
5605 Bush River Rd., 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 pm
$20-25 registration
Sponsored by AID Upstate, Greenville, SC with support from the AAMSM Workgroup

Juneteenth Black LGBT Film Fest & Talk Back, Free Admission
USC Law School Auditorium, 701 Main St., 7 – 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 20th
Community Expo!
Free Admission
Vendors, Entertainment, Door Prizes
Courtyard by Marriott, 630 Assembly St.
Presidential Ballroom, 12 noon – 6 p.m.

Women’s Party!
Sponsored by SC Black Pride, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., TBA

SCBP Ball Hosted by Econ Blahnik
“Operation Enduring Freedom,"

$30 Admission
Courtyard by Marriott, 630 Assembly St.
Presidential Ballroom, 12 midnight – 5 a.m.

Sunday, June 21st
Community Worship Service
, Free Admission
Courtyard by Marriott, 630 Assembly St.
Co-Presided by
Pastor Rashawn Flournoy, Freedom Worship Church, Greenville, SC and
Bishop Tonyia Rawls
and Rev. Marage Romeo of Unity Fellowship Church, Charlotte, NC