Friday, June 17, 2011

Alvin McEwen unloads on the Black church at Netroots Nation

 Know Your LGBT History will not be posted this week due to a special interview conducted with me.

Rod McCollum, the webmaster of the 2011 GLAAD nominated blog Rod2.0 Beta interviewed me about how I felt about my first trip to Netroots Nation, as well as the situation with the black church. This is the opening summary:

Alvin McEwen is the blogger behind Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters. The Columbia, South Carolina-based activist has become a thorn in the side of the National Organization for Marriage, using his blog to expose the "junk science" and "discredited theories" behind their anti-gay activism.

 "I'm also concerned about the right-wing's inroads into Black churches and [hope] we can address this at Netroots Nation," he tells R20. "I'm hoping the Netroots Nation can give African-American gays and lesbians the tools to fight this. I'm also hoping to find [social media] tools to encourage African-American gays and lesbians to leave oppressive [church] environments." This is Alvin McEwen's first Netroots Nation. Alvin is one of about 40 bloggers and activists recruited on a scholarship program developed by the fabulous Mike Rogers and Netroots Nation.

Now to hear the entire interview, you will have to go to the site Rod 2.0 Beta. And trust me when I say you will want to hear this entire interview because I don't hold a damn thing back.

Sample comment - "The black church is one of the greatest institutions in the world but it is also one of the most hypocritical, lying institutions in the world."

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David Tyree - the black Carrie Prejean, and other Friday midday news briefs

Remember the beauty queen Carrie Prejean and how the National Organization for Marriage was going to use the controversy between her and Perez Hilton to push its cause? That was a good idea in theory, but Prejean's inability to articulate the issue (and later discoveries about her penchant for posing nude) sank it hard

Well with David Tyree, NOM's newest poster child, there is no need for nude pictures or any other past peccadilloes. I think the above interview with CNN Kyra Phillips proves that he may have bit off a little more than he can chew.

Way to go, NOM. I love how you pick spokespeople.

And in other news

Kevin Jennings To Critics: "You Completely Failed" - You lose, Kevin Jennings critics.

NY marriage bill hits snags on religion questions - Stupid stall tactics which will be rectified.

UN Group Backs Gay Rights For The 1st Time Ever
- Good for the UN!

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Day 3 of Netroots Nations - working on lgbtq issues and a sad confession

Well I just had an excellent lgbtq caucus session in which many bloggers and members of mainstream lgbt groups conversed on what worked and what didn't work on recent issues where the community gained success and failure.

In my section, we mostly talked about DADT and ENDA. With DADT, we all agreed that while it looked like everything gelled together, it was really a hodge podge of luck and crap shots held together by the diligence of those working on the outside (Get Equal and those members of the Armed Forces who chained themselves to the White House fence) and those working on the inside to force the vote.

A good point was made as to how we were able to control the issue so much that the horror stories from the right (i.e. soldiers being sexually assaulted in the showers, ogled by gay soldiers) had no resonance.

ENDA was a stickier issue in that we had to address the problems with transphobia within the lgbtq community. There were several excellent points made about this. I made the point that transphobia is indicative of a larger problem in our community in that that we don't take the time to educate ourselves on the different groups and ethnicities which make up the lgbtq community.

And at this point, I really need to admit something.

When I was in college, I had transphobia. I had the mistaken belief that transgender issues had nothing to do with gay issues and I voiced that opinion to a few people.

My mind changed because of a play by Charles Fuller called A Solider's Play. In it, there was a character who mistakenly believed that the African-American community is held back, not by white oppression, but by black folks who seem to be less intelligent. He thought that if he could just get rid of those folks, white people would respect his race more. His mistaken obsession caused a lot of pain and several deaths, including his own, but not before he learned the hard lesson that hate and oppression don't need a reason to exist.

It made me realize the same thing about homophobia. Of course my change of mind was also  helped by the fact that I befriended several transgender brothers and sisters who, by their basic decency and kindness, wrecked every stereotype I had, particularly the Jerry Springer mess of transgenders "tricking men" into having sex with them.

So now I adopt a Fannie Lou Hamer - civil rights activist - frame of mind when it comes to how the transgender community fits into the struggle for equality:

"We didn't come all this way for two seats when all of us are tired."

Or to put it another way - "if all of us aren't free, then none of us are free."

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NOM distorts article to make NY Senator seem bigoted

With the National Organization for Marriage, it's always with an annoying subtlety in which the group distorts the marriage equality issue. Also with the way it tries to paint lgbts and allies as "haters" while those on their side as the ones who are simply "full of love."

An excellent example of this is the following clip NOM took from a New York Times article. The article talks about how the opponents of marriage equality are getting frustrated with legislators not listening to them. The following is on NOM's blog:

Both sides of this debate are actively lobbying New York lawmakers, though not all of them are being cordially received, as this New York Times reporter makes clear:
Some lawmakers have been quite explicit about their frustration with some opponents of same-sex marriage. Senator Diane J. Savino, Democrat of Staten Island, taped a handwritten sign outside her legislative office this week that said, “Bigots and homophobes please put your literature here,” with an arrow pointing to a box lid on the ground.

It makes is seem as if Senator Savino is unfairly labeling marriage equality opponents as "bigots" and "homophobes."  However, this is not the case. NOM conveniently omitted the following passage of the New York Time article:

On her Facebook wall Ms. Savino wrote, “If you could see and hear some of the rhetoric you would appreciate my sign.” 

In other words, Savino posted the sign as a response to some of the rhetoric she has had to deal with from marriage equality opponents. Don't be fooled. NOM did not leave out this crucial part of the article by accident.

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