Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Julian Bond - Lessons should be learned from Tyler Clementi's suicide and Eddie Long controversy

Julian Bond, activist and chairman emeritus of the NAACP, has just published a short but very pertinent piece tying together the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Eddie Long controversy, and the atmosphere of homophobia which led to both. It deserves a read:

Some who believe in Biblical literalism find sanction for their anti-homosexuality there, but selectively ignore Biblical injunctions to execute people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2), to crack down on those who get haircuts (Leviticus 19:27) or to condemn those who wear clothes with more than one kind of thread (Leviticus 19:19).

We wouldn’t think of executing someone for having a Sunday job, but homophobia literally kills. We know Tyler Clementi’s name because his death has been in the news, but did you know about 13-year-old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, Calif., or 13-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Ind., who also hanged themselves, or 13-year-old Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, Texas, who shot himself in the head? They all endured anti-gay harassment and bullying until the pressure became too great, as it apparently did for Tyler Clementi.

In the aftermath of the Atlanta scandal, many are given to call Bishop Long’s church “The Church of the Down Low.” This refers to the homophobia-inspired fear that forces many Black gay men into underground lives in a secret sexual world—secret even from family and friends—a covert world on the “down low.” The price some of us pay is AIDS.

As the Atlanta Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker wrote, “Bigotry fuels the scourge of AIDS in Black America, and the plague is making its greatest inroads into the population from which come the worker bees of the Black church: Black women.”

We need to sweep these prejudices away, as the Supreme Court did in 1967 when it eliminated the ban on interracial marriage.

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NOM tries to evade New York's disclosure law and other Wednesday midday news briefs

NOM for Carl 'gays grind against each other in speedos' Paladino, against disclosure laws - Long story short: the National Organization for Marriage wants to push ads against Andrew Cuomo in New York but doesn't want to abide by the state's disclosure law, so they are suing. Imagine that.

Maggie Gallagher of NOM: Gays abusing gays leads to suicide, not her attacks on gay marriage - Speaking of the National Organization for Marriage, its founder Maggie Gallagher helps no one with her inaccuracies.

AP Notices Ugandan “Hang Them” Tabloid — Two Weeks Later - Thanks a lot, AP . . . I guess.

Cameron Village discrimination, anti-gay acts on the rise discussed on Joy Behar Show - An excellent piece. The part about anti-gay acts is spooky though.

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Hilary Clinton gives support to our lgbt youth . . . and some of us try to ruin it

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton yesterday delivered this powerful and much needed message to our lgbt youth:

"I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied...hang in there, and ask for help. Your life is so important.

The story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people.

Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as Foreign Service Officers and Civil Servants here and around the world. It wasn't long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

Please remember that your life is valuable and you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strengths. Count me among them. Take care of yourself."

Unfortunately some have used this speech to either voice their disagreement with President Obama's movement on DADT and DOMA or criticize Mrs. Clinton for her husband's pushing of DADT when he was president.

It's caused some arguments and frankly it's stupid. I don't care what Obama didn't do or what Bill Clinton did do. This is about our children and it says a lot that Mrs. Clinton took time out to show them some support.

It's like what one of my facebook friends said:

As a community, we suck at solidarity. Heck, we can't even thank someone without getting into an argument.

Maybe that's why it's so difficult for us to get what we need. How can we demand respect from society when we can't even give it to ourselves?

Hat tip to Michelle Schohn.

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