Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SC colleges win round over legislators with regards to gay issues

Two South Carolina colleges supposedly in budgetary trouble with the state legislature over gay issues got some very good news yesterday.

From The State:
Senate budget writers voted Wednesday to restore about $70,000 in state money to two S.C. colleges, money the S.C. House voted to cut for assigning gay-themed books. The Senate’s Finance Committee voted 11-7 to restore the money to the budgets of the University of South Carolina-Upstate and the College of Charleston.By removing the money, critics said legislators improperly had interfered with the academic freedom of higher education institutions.

The money had been initially taken away as a sort of punishment because the two colleges offered books featuring gay-themed issues for students to read. Legislators labeled one book, Fun Home, as pornographic and said the other, Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, didn't represent South Carolina values.  The controversy was exacerbated over a now-canceled lecture which one legislator claimed was to "recruit" students into being gay. Needless to say, the entire ado became national with many weighing in and it's safe to say that the majority of folks were not on the side of the legislators. Even South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, defended the colleges.

One legislator, who supported the removal of the monies, voiced his weariness of the entire situation.

State Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, who supported the House’s decision to cut the money, said the controversy has been uncomfortable for those who support higher education. “I’m tired of throwing rocks,” Fair said, adding he thought the universities made efforts to respond to lawmakers’ concerns.

Still, according to The State, Fair voted against restoring the money.  In addition, the issue is not over just yet. There will be a joint House/Senate conference committee which will debate the final budget.

So what happens next is anyone's guess.

Related posts:

For SC State Senator Mike Fair, it's all about 'gay sex'

South Carolina's 'Axis of Jackasses' threatens higher education over lgbt issues

Fox News accused of keeping anchor Shepard Smith 'in the closet'

Shepard Smith
Now you KNOW I don't spread rumors . . . oh what the hell:

From The Gawker:

Why hasn’t Shepard Smith come out yet? The affable Fox News anchor has a longtime boyfriend, ranks among Fox’s most senior talent, and lives in New York City. It could be, of course, that he’s just a very private person, or—as the Times argued in October—that public attitudes have changed and nobody cares if a famous figure is gay.

Or it could be that, when Smith tried to come out last year, Fox silenced and punished him. In the summer of 2013, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their exchange, Shepard Smith approached Fox News president Roger Ailes about publicly coming out. The newly attached anchor was eager, at the time, to finally acknowledge his sexuality. “It’s time,” he told Ailes and other colleagues. “It’s time.”

Instead, Ailes informed Smith that the network’s famously conservative audience would not tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes’ answer was definitive: Smith could not say he’s gay. “This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.”

Smith, one of Ailes’s first and most loyal disciples, acquiesced to his boss’s demand, and dropped the matter. But the discussion worried enough Fox executives to prompt Smith’s removal, in September 2013, from the channel’s coveted prime-time lineup. According to a Fox insider with direct knowledge of negotiations, Smith’s desire to come out was a large factor in the dramatic move.

You can read more of the story here, including the following statement from Ailes and Smith:

This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication. As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally.

'One picture demonstrates the ugliness of homophobia' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Picture a future where the signs will include African-Americans or Jewish people. We have already gone through a past in which segregation wrecked a community's power to move forward. Do folks really want to go back to that?  Imagine what viewing this could do to an lgbt child or a child with lgbt parents.

Picture from and more details courtesy of  Kentucky Print Stop: We Still Hate Gays, But We've Taken Down That Sticker

In other news

MILESTONE: US Dept. of Education. Announces Title IX Protects Transgender Students - It's about time.

The One Religious Liberty Case Anti-Gay Conservatives Want To Ignore - They want to ignore this lawsuit because it's making them nervous. It takes the idea of "religious liberty" and puts it on the side of lgbt-inclusive churches.

Watch A Transgender Activist Ask A Television Host To Prove Her Womanhood - This interview - which could also be used with men - proves a good point.

A Gay Dad Recognizes His Real Life In Nabisco's Inclusive Honey Maid Ad - I apologize for not including more stories like this one. The stories of gay families need to be told often.

Blast from the past - NOM's 'wedge strategy' paves the way for the group's irrelevancy

Rumor control has it that former NOM head Maggie Gallagher continues to resurface now and again as a prophet of doom to her side of the marriage equality argument. Apparently she is constantly saying that those against marriage equality have lost the argument.

With that in mind, enjoy this video of what I consider a turning point of NOM's past dominance of the marriage equality fight. In 2012, it was discovered, via court documents, that the organization had planned to play the black and gay community against one another on the subject of marriage equality. The ultimate goal was to cause a problem for President Obama in his upcoming re-election.

When news of this came out, NOM was thrown for a serious loop and the organization didn't respond to the news for a couple of days. Here is Gallagher trying to play it off on MSNBC in one of her first interviews after the news of the wedge strategy came out:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NOM offering anti-gay swag for the tacky buyer

How's this for a gag gift in that it's guaranteed to make you gag:

Hat tip to Jeremy Hooper of Goodasyou for the heads up about the NOM swag. Jeremy said he would rather go naked than wear NOM.

I won't go so far as to say that. After all, no one should be punished by having their eyeballs melted out of their heads because of NOM.

'Shirley Dobson using National Day of Prayer to attack marriage equality' & other Tuesday midday new briefs

Shirley Dobson promotes National Day of Prayer by framing marriage equality as 'evil' - I am all for a National Day of Prayer. Talking to God is a main reason why I was able to accept myself as a gay man. However, someone needs to get Shirley Dobson's hooks off of this event. Is there one event people like her won't use to attack lgbts? And another thing, I am so damn tired of this "God is going to punish America if we don't turn back to Him" crap I am constantly hearing from these people. I'm serious. I've heard this stuff from these folks so much that I don't know what to do. To paraphrase the late Rod Serling, folks like Shirley Dobson has had America on death's door so long that the country has worn out the welcome mat. 

Kenya Might As Well Be Uganda For Many LGBT Refugees - Now see, this is what we need to be praying about. Somehow I think God cares more about how we treat each other instead of marriage equality.  

Texas School Removes Transgender Teacher From Classroom After Parents Complain - I guess we didn't win this one.  

Don't let the religious right whitewash their history of anti-gay oppression - From time to time, I will feature something I had already posted because I think it's important that people read it. This one of those times.  

National Organization for Marriage Now Struggling to Stay Relevant (VIDEO)I'm not celebrating until Brian Brown says "give."

BarbWire's New Columnist Wants Gays Jailed For Twelve Years - Cause if we aren't, God is going to destroy America.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't let the religious right whitewash their history of anti-gay oppression

The anti-gay group Concerned Women for America is furious at the National Women's History Museum Project. According to Right Wing Watch, the group is especially angry that there is no mention of religious right activists, particularly its founder, Beverly LaHaye.

On that score, I say that Concerned Women for America has a point. LaHaye should be mentioned. But not in the way the organization thinks she should. No doubt, CWA would like LaHaye to be mentioned as a champion of so-called "traditional values" and the family.

However, I have a much better item which perfectly captures LaHaye's contribution to American society:


Readers of this blog should be familiar with the above booklet.

'Plan to cut money from colleges over gay issues may hit roadblock in SC Senate' and other Monday midday news briefs

For transgender service members, honesty can end career - An important, poignant article.

 A Response to Rev. Franklin Graham - A well-deserved smack in the face to homophobia hiding itself behind religious beliefs.

Brendan Eich vs. Donald Sterling - Is there a difference?

I was going to write about this but John Aravosis on Americablog articulated this point so well that I will post a little of what he said instead:

It was only a few weeks ago that America was lecturing the gay community about its intolerance for intolerance, for objecting to a bigot (in fact, an anti-gay activist, Brendan Eich) running a major American corporation (in this case, the Mozilla Foundation).

Republicans, including gay conservatives, were particularly upset that anyone would judge a man’s job performance, especially the man running a company, by his personal animus towards minorities, many of whom would be his own employees.  So long as he didn’t discriminate against his own employees, he was free to be a bigot, they told us.

Now, they’re all eating crow.
Today, even conservatives are saying (on CNN) that the NBA simply must investigate whether the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks to his girlfriend, who is black and Mexican.

 . . .  It was only a hypothetical less than a month ago – the question, “what if” the guy running the company were a racist, or an anti-Semite?  . . .  No one is running to Donald Sterling’s defense (though Cliven Bundy, another forgotten “free speech hero,” has yet to weigh in).  No one is defending America’s “proud tradition” of defending the employment prospects of avowed racists.  Nor should they.  And even if, as Sterling alleges, the audio is a fake, America’s reaction to the audio was authentic, and universally critical.

Aravosis raises some good points and they deserve a lot more thought and discussion.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Know Your LGBT History - The AIDS Memorial Quilt

From the NAMES Project Foundation:

Established in 1987, The NAMES Project Foundation is the international NGO (non-governmental organization) that is the custodian of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, an official American treasure.The mission of The NAMES Project Foundation is to preserve, care for and use The AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, heighten awareness, and inspire action in the age of AIDS. Specifically, The NAMES Project works to display The Quilt in nearly 1,000 venues each year, to conserve and care for the aging 54-ton tapestry and it’s half a million piece archive, and to encourage and support the creation of new Quilt panels for this ever-evolving handmade memorial.

Weighing 54 tons and composed of more than 48,000 panels dedicated to more than 94,000 individuals, The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the premier symbol of the AIDS pandemic, our greatest HIV prevention education tool and the largest ongoing piece of community folk art in the world. Throughout its 25 year history, The Quilt has been used to fight prejudice, raise awareness and funding, as a means to link hands with the global community in the fight against AIDS.

Whether The Quilt is displayed as a single section in an elementary school or 1,000 of blocks on the national mall in Washington, it provides balm for the painful wounds of grief, pours oil into the waters made turbulent by controversy, opens eyes that refuse to see and enlists every person who experiences it to play a role in stopping the pandemic.

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Mississippi business owners not happy with state's anti-gay law' and other Friday midday news briefs

Fox News' Anti-Gay Selective Outrage In One Chart - To the surprise of no one . . .  

Idaho Won’t Allow Lesbian Veteran To Be Buried With Her Wife - This is a damn travesty. Point blank.

Mississippi Business Owners Protest State's Anti-Gay Law - Good for them!  

Stamping his feats: Randy Thomasson equates Harvey Milk with disasters - Dear religious right, Harvey Milk will be remembered as a legendary figure in American history and there is not a thing you can do about it.  

Committee decides to keep ‘Two Boys Kissing’ on school library shelves - Good. A community does the right thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crystal Moore firing igniting a much-needed national conversation on ENDA

Over a week after she was fired, the case involving former Latta, SC police chief Crystal Moore has ignited a very appropriate national conversation over the need for lgbt-inclusive anti-discrimination laws. It's one thing to tell folks that people can be fire for simply being an lgbt. That doesn't seem to register in their heads. However, to see a case in living color where this sort of thing is happening registers with them big time.

As seen by the above interview with MSNBC host Craig Melvin, Moore is an intelligent, articulate woman who only wanted to do her job before caught in this controversy. Unfortunately she has now become a statistic of unfairness as seen by the graphic below:

'Anti-gay leader - America needs a crackdown on gays just like Russia' & other Thursday midday news briefs

Those have read this blog recently know that I am concerned with the attempt by anti-groups and personalities to portray themselves as innocent folks beset by an aggressively encroaching lgbt horde out to force their beliefs on them via the guise of "tolerance." Part of the reason why the re-imaging may be successful is the lack of attention when it comes to videos like above. When a spokesman in one of the largest religious right groups in the country expresses a public desire for laws which will basically imprison people for being lgbt, that's a big deal. Particularly when one considers how many Congressional leaders has appeared on this man's show. But to us, it's not. It's either because we have heard it so much that we have become desensitized or we just don't get the power of words. But whatever the case is, we have got to stop being nonchalant. No matter how they attempt to portray themselves, anti-gay groups can't get away from the rhetoric. They can't get away from the nasty words of the Linda Harveys, the Matt Barbers, or even the Bryan Fischers. But they can hide it, if we allow them. And so far, we have been doing a good job at that.  Those who whine about why folks like these three are given platforms obviously don't understand the power of the word. And they definitely don't understand when an enemy offers to hangs him or herself

In other news

Robert Oscar Lopez says I perform 'psychological operations routine' on him when I quote his own words from his own web siteRobert Oscar Lopez likes to venomously slam same-sex families. However, he despises it when folks quote his comments.
How A New Book About Gay Christians Is Reviving Evangelical Homophobia - After all of the fuss they have been raising about "religious liberty," I have been enjoying anti-gay folks turn flips in order to justify their breach of "religious liberty."

Ugandan Health Workers Could Become Front-Line Enforcers Of Anti-Homosexuality Act - This move would be devastating to Uganda's public health. It's sad when folks don't realize just how much danger their homophobia puts them in.

Gay business owners still face challenges - The segment of the working population seems to be falling through the cracks and I don't think an anti-discrimination law can help them.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marriage equality victories could damage lgbt community's focus

What's with some members of the lgbt community in that we seem to be determined to pull a defeat out of the jaws of victory. In the middle of stunning marriage equality victories, bothersome things are coming up.

No doubt some of you have heard of the Brendan Eich situation. Eich was the CEO of Mozilla who resigned recently. There were a multitude of reasons for his resignation and it was mostly due to internal pressure.

However one thing which stood out was a $1,000 donation Eich gave in support of Prop 8, the now defunct law which kept gays and lesbians from legal marriage in California.

The sexy angle is that lgbts targeted Eich and brought made him resign. This time, unfortunately, it wasn't just the anti-gay right pushing it. Some folks, such as Chris Hayes from MSNBC pushed the angle.

And now comes this letter, which will be thrown in our faces. From John Becker at Bilerico:

A coalition of 58 LGBT people and allies -- most of them conservatives or libertarians -- came out with a statement today on the resignation of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. Mr. Eich, you'll recall, voluntarily stepped down earlier this month amidst public outcry over donations he made to the viciously homophobic Proposition 8 campaign and various anti-gay politicians. The statement, titled "Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent," desperately tries to revive the lie that Eich was targeted and toppled by LGBT activists -- a victim of "left-liberal" "intolerance," as Andrew Sullivan so hysterically claimed. The truth, of course, is much different: not a single LGBT organization commented publicly on the controversy at all, much less called for Eich's ouster. The campaign against Eich was concentrated almost exclusively within the tech community and was driven largely by Mozilla staffers and developers. 
Becker is correct. And his assertion is backed up by a very good New Yorker article on the matter,  How Mozilla Lost Its CEO. One part really stands out for me:

The problem was that Eich’s stance was unacceptable in Silicon Valley, a region of the business world where social liberalism is close to a universal ideology. At this point, a tech company having a C.E.O. who opposes gay marriage is not all that different from a company in 1973 having a C.E.O. who donated money to fight interracial marriage: even if there were plenty of Americans who felt the same way at the time, the C.E.O. would still have been on the wrong side of history. And since the role of a C.E.O. as a public face of an organization is more important than ever these days, Eich’s personal views were inevitably going to shape his ability to run the company.

Other than a petition and comments on various blogs, there was no organized plan to oust Eich. No major lgbt organization called for his resignation.  And as I understand it, no major lgbt blogs did either. There is no other way to put this. The letter calling for "tolerance" was a dumb move because it unfairly brands the lgbt community.

SC Governor Haley defends colleges feuding with legislators over lgbt issues.

I simply have to give props to SC Governor Nikki Haley. I'm still shocked because I never expected her to take a position on this issue, but on the hand, it's a relatively easy position to take:

Gov Haley
From South Carolina Radio Network:

Governor Nikki Haley today shared her opinion of state lawmakers punishing public colleges for course content they find offensive.

“There are boards of colleges for a reason. We allow the boards and we allow the presidents make those decisions,” Gov. Haley said. ”I have never micromanaged how any college or university does anything.”

State Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, and State Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville support targeted funding in the state budget for the College of Charleston and USC-Upstate for using gay-themed literature and plays. Fair said a satirical performance entitled, “How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less,” presented by USC Upstate was “recruiting lesbians.”

 . . . South Carolina Radio Network asked Haley if she felt it was appropriate to penalize colleges for what they decide to offer their students.

“That’s a board decision, it’s not a state decision,” Haley said. “So when it comes to things of higher ed, that’s the reason we have a board. That’s the reason we have a president. That’s the reason we should let them make the decisions that are in the best interests of their students.”

'Anti-gay publication makes the case for lgbt equality' & Wednesday midday news briefs

While the lgbt community is slowly but surely making the case for equality in both marriage and anti-discrimination laws, some of our opposition are either freaking out or doing our jobs for us.  The following graphics from newly minted anti-gay news site, BarbWire, represents a little from Column A and a little from Column B:

For commentary about just how low BarbWire is stooping, see Matt Barber's ever-classy site suggests gay people are literally crushing fellow humans

In other news

Norman Spack Delivers Ted Talk On Transgender Teens - I love this video. It is definitely needed. 

 12 States Still Have Anti-Sodomy Laws A Decade After They Were Ruled Unconstitutional - Can you say "hot mess, boys and girls." Unfortunately South Carolina is one of the states. Of course if SC truly began trying to arrest folks for sodomy . . . . my lips are sealed. 

 Happy ending in the works for fired Latta police chief as mayor continues to lose support - Speaking of South Carolina, my post from last night because it bears repeating.  

World Bank Review Team To Recommend Approving Loan To Uganda Despite Anti-Homosexuality Act - Never forget that lgbt equality is a worldwide struggle.

Politifact blasts homophobic claim about same-sex households as false

Ralph Reed
Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed's statement Sunday on ABC's This Week:

"This is about what's best for children here in the United States. And the social science is irrefutable. And it is that a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present and they both play very unique procreative, nurturing and socializing role, they're nine times more likely to end up dropping out of high school. They're five times more likely to end up in poverty. And they're three times more likely to end up addicted to drugs and alcohol."


The social science statistics Reed called "irrefutable" actually have nothing to do with gay couples raising kids. Instead, they’re focused on the effects of children who grow up without a father in a one-parent household. Put another way, the studies focus on the quantity of parents and not their gender.

Reed’s office pointed us to his book, as well as a Brookings Institution report that says parents who graduate from high school and bear children within marriage have a 2 percent chance of living in poverty. But neither the study nor his book draws any comparison between gay and straight marriages. In fact, it makes no mention of gay marriages.

Other research often cited by gay parenting critics, like Sara McLanahan’s Growing Up With a Single Parent, similarly doesn’t include any information on gay parenting, specifically.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy ending in the works for fired Latta police chief as mayor continues to lose support

Crystal Moore
It looks like Crystal Moore, the former police chief of Latta, SC who was fired allegedly due to her sexual orientation has just won yet another round against the man who fired her, Mayor Earl Bullard.

This just came in from WBTW News 13:

The Latta Town Council voted unanimously in two key measures Tuesday night in support of fired Police Chief Crystal Moore. The council was having an emergency meeting to address the firing of Moore last week by Mayor Earl Bullard.

Since her firing, there has been a landslide of support for Moore – and questions from townsfolk if she was fired because she is openly gay. The council voted 6-0 on an “emergency ordinance” that blocks the Mayor from hiring anyone to fill the police chief job for about two months.

Last week, the council voted to allow a town-wide referendum in 60 days on whether to change the basic governing structure of the town from “mayor-strong” to “council-strong” – which would strip some powers from the Mayor.

Council members say that if the town becomes council-strong-mayor-weak within 60 days they will vote to re-hire Chief Moore.

According to WBTW News 13, the council also held a second vote to show support to Moore for her 20 years of service. While that vote was symbolic, it passed 6-0.

Moore's firing last week ignited a huge worldwide media storm which was exacerbated by an audio of a phone conversation where Bullard made several homophobic comments, including saying that he would have an alcoholic take care of his child than a gay or lesbian:

And while it may take some time for Moore to get her job back, she continues to garner a lot of the support from the community while Bullard continues to steadily lose popularity.

'Another so-called victim of gay menace loses in the courts' and other Tuesday midday news briefs

 Gallaudet College Officer Loses Bias Claim - Looks like the anti-gay industry has lost another victim of the supposed "homosexual agenda." Of course I doubt her losing her case will prevent them from portraying her as a martyr. Peter and company will continue to refer to her case and put her picture on their webpages. 

The rise of toxic terminology: Losing anti-LGBT movement turns to corrosive labeling - This article makes an excellent point. The number of times anti-gay figures have referred to the lgbt community as the "Gaystapo" recently has been nauseating and numerous. It has also been part of a plan to semantically shift the argument of lgbt equality in their favor.

Fox's O'Reilly: If "You Oppose Gay Marriage, You Could Get Hurt" - O'Reilly gets a good push back against his lies.

Cable Evening News Ignores Major HIV/AIDS Stories - There really is NO excuse for this.  

Illinois Family Institute: Exposing 'Evil' Dan Savage Is Like Uncovering The Holocaust - Lord, give me strength! The constant Nazi references from the anti-gay right is getting me ill.

Controversial lgbt play a huge hit at the College of Charleston

The controversy at the College of Charleston involving lgbt issues has been a back and forth between the legislators and college. Last night however,  students finally spoke out about the situation in their own way:

From the Charleston Post & Courier:

"Fun Home" author Alison Bechdel said she owes a debt to the generations of gay people who came before her, including her closeted, gay father who killed himself.

And she was proud to be part of bringing to Charleston the off-Broadway show based on her book, despite threats from South Carolina lawmakers that they could continue to slash the College of Charleston's budget.

Bechdel and the original cast of the New York show volunteered to present two performances in concert format at the 750-seat Memminger Auditorium Monday. The 7 p.m. show sold out and most seats for the 9 p.m. show also were filled.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Latta mayor's exclusive interview leaves unanswered questions about Crystal Moore firing

A week after his firing of Police Chief Crystal Moore led to an onslaught of national and international
Crystal Moore
criticism, as well as a discussion on employment fairness for lgbts, Latta SC mayor Earl Bullard is finally talking about the issue.

Or rather not talking as much as some folks would like.

From News Channel 15:

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard talked exclusively with WPDE NewsChannel 15 about last week's firing of longtime police chief Crystal Moore. News of the controversial firing has been sweeping the nation after Moore said she lost her job because of her sexuality. Bullard said personnel policy won't allow him to say why Moore was let go, but says it had nothing to do with her being homosexual.

"Right now, it's a hot issue. It's getting media attention across the nation because of what they say I did. And they say I fired her because of her sexuality and nothing could be farther from the truth. If they did some real investigating they would find out that that has nothing to do with this. Nothing at all," explained Bullard.

  . . . "If Chief Crystal Moore would sign a release granting us, meaning the town, the authority to release the reasons for her dismissal, then and only then can I talk about the specifics of it. Now, if there's nothing to hide then she'll sign that release and I can talk with you openly about the reasoning."

He said he would have never fired Moore if it wasn't justified or in his authority as Mayor of Latta.

But town council members have said that Bullard was not justified. Several members contended that Bullard could not officially fire Moore without their permission.

'Franklin Graham's warped view of persecution' and other Monday afternoon news briefs

Editor's note - My apologies for the late news brief posting. I got caught in a personal emergency, WHICH is all taken care of now.

Franklin Graham
The following two news briefs prove one sad fact - Franklin Graham has a warped idea of persecution:

Franklin Graham Claims The News Media Is Persecuting Christians - Inviting Franklin Graham to spew homophobia? To him, THAT's anti-Christian persecution. 

Franklin Graham’s detestable anti-gay statements - But what Russia is doing to its lgbt citizens, i.e. creating an atmosphere of violence and unjust arrests, is NOT persecution. 

In other news:

 Boy Scouts Kick Out Entire Church For Refusing To Discriminate Against Gay Scoutmaster - You know that old saying which goes "Now I've heard everything . . ."

Illinois GOP Ousts Officials Who Opposed Former Chairman's Support Of Same-Sex Marriage - How ya like THEM apples?

 TWO’s Chicago Sun Times Op-Ed: Illinois Gets it Wrong on Gay Conversion Therapy - Illinois legislators made a huge faux pas last week.

  Destroying Every Stereotype - I LOVE this article which tells how lgbt athletes of color are coming out of the closet and doing, as the title states, destroying stereotypes.

Musical heats up controversy of lgbt issues on South Carolina college campuses

A musical of the controversial book 'Fun Home' is coming to SC

In the matter of lgbt issues, the College of Charleston is not packing down from recent controversy.

From The Huffington Post.

Students at a South Carolina public university are snapping up tickets to the musical "Fun Home" after state lawmakers approved a proposed cut in school funding over the critically acclaimed lesbian memoir on which the musical is based.

Outraged over the proposed budget cut for the College of Charleston, which was triggered by a freshman reading assignment, the cast of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated show volunteered to put on two performances of selected songs from the musical at the college without pay.

Little more than a day after the box office for both Monday performances opened, 900 of the 1,500 available tickets had been sold for $10 or $15 apiece, a spokeswoman for the liberal arts college with 11,000 undergraduate students said on Friday.

"The legislature's punishment of the college for teaching 'Fun Home' just feels ridiculous," said Alison Bechdel, whose 2006 memoir recalls growing up a lesbian with a closeted gay father in rural Pennsylvania. She will be on hand for the performances on Monday.

In March, the Republican-controlled state House voted to slash the school's budget appropriation by $52,000, the amount the college spent on its summer reading program. The program included Bechdel's book, a bestseller that was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, for incoming freshmen.

Republican Representative Garry Smith told Reuters he proposed the cut after a parent complained about the book's "graphic pictures of two females having sex" and because the college did not offer another choice for summer reading.

The school . . .  has said participating in the summer reading program was optional.

The Republican-led Senate is now considering the cut, which critics have called an assault on academic freedom.

The College of Charleston has been buzzing with talk about gay rights ever since a faculty member, in response to the proposed spending cut, reached out to the creators of the recent Off Broadway musical.

The nine-member cast, which includes the Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris, offered to perform for free as educational outreach, "Fun Home" producer Barbara Whitman said.

The college has raised about $20,000 that will be used in addition to the ticket sale proceeds to cover food, lodging and travel expenses for the cast, said Todd McNerney, chairman of the college's department of theater and dance.

Also helping to fund the effort is a community foundation grant from the family of Harlan Greene, head of Special Collections at the college's library, who said the shows "will spark debate on an issue that has been bringing, frankly, all kinds of negative and hate-filled reaction."

Legislators have gotten wind of this performance and they are not happy . According to the Charleston Post&Courier:

State Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, an outspoken opponent of "Fun Home" being selected for the freshman reading program, said that he has heard about the play and believes it is a direct response to the House's decision to cut funds due to the college's controversial summer reading choice.

That "protest" move is not wise, Grooms said, and he plans to bring it up as the Senate debates this year's budget.

"If lessons weren't learned over there, the Senate may speak a little bit louder than the House. There would be a number of members in the Senate that would have a great interest in fixing the deficiencies at the College of Charleston," Grooms said.

He declined to say specifically what action or cuts he had planned.

Perhaps instead of making threats Sen.Grooms and other legislators raising a fuss over Fun Home, should purchase tickets and educate themselves.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Know Your LGBT History - Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag

A lot of folks - myself included - don't know the history of the rainbow flag.  In the following video, its creator, Gilbert Baker, gives the lowdown and history on this widely known part of lgbt culture:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

'Mayor refuses to discuss firing of Latta police chief during meeting' and other Friday midday news briefs

Crystal Moore
The story of the unfair firing of Latta, SC chief of police Crystal Moore has literally exploded worldwide since I wrote about it earlier this week. It looks like there is a lot of interesting stuff afoot. The following are just two of the articles:

Latta council fights for chief’s job - This article is interesting. At yesterday's Latta town council meeting (which was packed with Moore's supporters),  Mayor Earl Bullard refused to discuss why he fired Moore. It was sad. One man vs. a room full of residents - including town council members - demanding answers that he didn't want to give. How ironic seeing that earlier, he had a lot to say about how he prefers alcoholics to take care of children rather than lgbts. 

Lesbian police chief with 20 years service is summarily fired by new anti-gay mayor who said 'he'd rather have an alcoholic near his child' - THIS article from the UK alleges that Moore was fired as payback for discovering that Bullard has been inefficient in aspects of his job. To say that this controversy isn't over is an extreme understatement. 

In other news:  

Mike Huckabee Says Obama May Be Lying About His Support For Gay Marriage - Mike Huckabee would know about lying, wouldn't he?  

BREAKING: Judge Rules UCF Does Not Have to Provide Regnerus Docs - Well this ruling stinks and it needs to be appealed.  

Matt Barber's Campaign In Hypocrisy: There Should Be 'No Debate' On Homosexuality And Faith - More proof that religious right hypocrisy knows NO bounds. Forget the gripings about "religious liberty," because Matt Barber has taken it upon himself to attack a Christian publisher for daring to publish a positive book about Christianity and homosexuality. He claims to be worried about the "salvation" of all of those involved. Who in the heck appointed him to worry about such things?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SC statewide & national lgbt groups furious over firing of Latta police chief

Crystal Moore
A South Carolina organization and a national group both devoted to ensuring lgbt equality are registering their disapproval over the recent firing of Latta SC's first female police chief by the town's mayor.

SC Equality and the Human Rights Campaign issued statements over the firing of Police Chief Crystal Moore by Latta mayor Earl Bullard.  It is alleged that Bullard fired Moore in part because she is gay.

From the Rob Groce of the Charleston Democrat Examiner:

Latta, S.C., Police Chief Crystal Moore was released by Mayor Earl Bullard on April 15, and for at least one of two questionable reasons. First, she questioned a recent hire of the new mayor; second, Moore is openly gay, and to Bullard’s open discontent.

Moore recently investigated the town’s new Parks and Recreation Dept. director Vontray Sellers, hired by Bullard in February, and after local news reported that same month that Sellers was driving a town vehicle despite having a suspended driver’s license.

In her research, Moore learned that recent charges against 24-year-old Sellers, whose job includes direct interaction with children, also included assault of a correction facility employee. Bullard didn’t conduct a background check on Sellers, Moore also learned. The mayor, who first took office in January, refused to answer questions from both media and the public about the hire. On Tuesday, Bullard fired Moore after issuing seven reprimands all pertaining to her investigation.

However, the incident which raises questions about Moore's sexual orientation leading to her firing is a taped phone conversation with Bullard in which he said some brutal things about the lgbt community (click here for an audio of his comments):

"I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children. Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know.. you got people out there -- I'm telling you buddy -- I don't agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don't say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. " I'm not going to let 2 women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I'm not going to see them do it with 2 men neither." I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works. " Now, all these people showering down and saying 'Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.' Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it."

SC Equality and HRC said Bullard's comments proves the need for state and national anti-discrimination laws for the lgbt community.

'SC university defends LGBT curriculum' and other Thursday midday news briefs

University of South Carolina-Upstate Chancellor, Defends School's LGBT Curriculum, Comedy Act - It's nice to see any university stand up to homophobia and willful ignorance. But it is especially sweet that the university is in my state of South Carolina. 

Anti-gay talker Steve Deace lets LGBT movement know: we're about to sue churches, apparently - Uh no. Lgbts will not be suing churches. Let's kill that lie right now.

A $6 Million Legal Bill — And A Fight For Credit In The Marriage Equality Movement - This is JUNK. Perhaps we should work to get FULL marriage equality before we start squabbling about who gets the largest amount of credit for the fight.  

LISD Superintendent yet to decide on fate of transgender substitute teacher - So this story isn't settled.  

BarbWire Defends Brutal Anti-Gay Laws In Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia - One day, anti-gay groups will realize that people like Matt Barber and publications like BarbWire actually undermine their anti-gay subterfuge . . . oh who am I kidding?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Was a SC police chief fired because she is lesbian? The proof is in the mayor's statements

Batten down the hatches, folks. South Carolina is in the news again possibly over lgbt issues.

From WBTW News 13:

The Mayor of the Town Of Latta fired the town's Police Chief on Tuesday.

Latta town councilman Jared Taylor told us the mayor fired Crystal Moore because she received 7 reprimands. News13 was there as Moore, the first female chief of Latta, packed her belongings and left her office late Tuesday afternoon.

One Council Member told News13 that the seven reprimands Moore received on Tuesday from the mayor were the first reprimands Moore ever received on the job --- and that's after working for the police department in Latta for more than 20 years.

Moore has received a lot of support from residents. The mayor, Earl Bullard, on the other hand, has received much criticism. Several council members said that in firing Moore, he did not follow proper protocol. Some questioned why he gave Moore all seven reprimands in one day and one council member called several of them "questionable."

And others have said that Bullard fired Moore because she is openly gay. In fact, an audio of a phone conversation obtained by the network seems to give that argument lots of credibility. The mayor's comments are absolutely appalling:

WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC


 "I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children. Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know.. you got people out there -- I'm telling you buddy -- I don't agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don't say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. " I'm not going to let 2 women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I'm not going to see them do it with 2 men neither." I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works. " Now, all these people showering down and saying 'Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.' Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it." 

This situation is definitely not over as of yet. There will be a discussion of this issue Thursday at a town council meeting at 5:30 p.m.

UPDATE - According to Carolina Live, News Channel 15, Bullard refused to say why he had fired Moore, calling it a personnel matter. However, Moore has much support from residents of Latta. On Thursday,  some of her supporters will rally in support of her.

Meanwhile, according to Latta Councilman Jared Taylor, the council does not consider Moore fired. He said while the mayor can fire the police chief, it has to be approved by the council. And during its Thursday meeting, the council will vote on reinstating Moore.

How the religious right's Bryan Fischer spits on the Gospel of Jesus

It really shouldn't be a shock to anyone whenever the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer lies and distorts in order to demonize the lgbt community and reduce us to the standard of his stereotypes. As demonstrated below, look what he does to Christianity, the religion he claims to follow:

 Matthew 19: 16 - 24

 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, 2014:

Give some things time and they generally speak for themselves.

'Couple holding own prom after school's anti-transgender discrimination' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Couple Plans Own Prom After Student Says School Barred Her From Bringing Her Transgender Boyfriend - And I just bet their prom will be much better. I'd go to it rather than the school's.  

The Importance of Being Born Black and Gay - As you can tell, I have a personal bias when it comes to LOVING this piece.

Louisiana Lawmakers Refuse To Repeal State Law Banning Oral Sex - Oh come on guys! Why keep an antiquated law used to entrap gay men? Or have I answered my own question?  

Judge stays most of Ohio gay marriage ruling - Be patient, folks. Victory will be ours, soon.  

Anti-Gay Extremist Linda Harvey Says She Is Tired Of Talking About Gay Rights Issues - And by that, Harvey means she doesn't want any of us talking about lgbt rights issues. Sorry Linda dear, but prepare to become deliriously tired in the coming months.

'Porno Pete' back in America, whining about 'pro-gay' persecution in Canada

Look who is now our problem again:

American anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera has reportedly decided to voluntarily leave Canada after he was arrested in Regina. LaBarbera, 51, was questioned by Canadian border officials Tuesday morning following his arrest on the University of Regina campus a day earlier.

LaBarbera and fellow activist Bill Whatcott were escorted off university property and charged with mischief Monday afternoon. The university learned the men were on the property around 12:30 p.m., and they were asked to leave the campus several times. LaBarbera and Whatcott were displaying materials the university described as "graphic" and against the institution’s policy.

A counter-protest was held by the UR Pride Centre, but interactions between the two camps were peaceful. Both LaBarbera and Whatcott have been released and are scheduled to appear in court on May 26. The pair were planning to speak on the University of Saskatchewan campus Tuesday, but according to Whatcott’s website, the event has been cancelled.

And right on schedule, via twitter, "Porno Pete" has begun his one-man pity persecution party:

Isn't LaBarbera precious when he lies? For the record, he was arrested for trespassing on a college campus. The University of Regina may be public but campus officials still can dictate which non-students can or can't come on campus.

But hey, who cares about truth when there is a story to exploit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

'Porno Pete' LaBarbera still in Canadian jail

LaBarbera arrested in Canada. .

The following is from the blogger Joe Jervis:

 . . . according to Canadian anti-gay crackpot Bill Whatcott, who was arrested with LaBarbera yesterday. Early this morning Whatcott posted a message to the wingnut forum Free North America:

Please pray for Peter. I have been released on my own recognizance and have to appear in court to answer to these charges on May 26th. Peter on the other hand remains in custody and is facing a hearing tomorrow before Border Services. Notwithstanding, I am Peter's co-accused, our lawyer Tom Schuck has requested I act as Peter's counsel at the immigration hearing. I have no idea where the hearing is going to be held, but I do have the case law (all of it my own) that I can present to the Immigration Arbitrator and hopefully convince him/her that indeed Peter and I have reasonable grounds to believe we were not violating the law and hopefully I can get Peter released from custody tomorrow on his own recognizance, so he can leave Canada on his own. Please pray for this. Seeing as Tom requested I act as Peter's counsel, I have to call off my prophetic witness and book promotion at the University of Saskatchewan. None the less, just as General Douglas MacArthur said, "I will return." 

So apparently LaBarbera is still in jail. I'm guessing that he will be released tomorrow, return to the United States, and will begin his "I was jailed for standing up against the gay agenda" tour which will be sure to follow.

This controversy reminds me so much of an incident which took place a couple of years ago in Massachusetts. David Parker, a parent, deliberately got himself arrested and claimed that he was being persecuted for supposedly keeping his son's school from "indoctrinating him to accept homosexuality."

South Carolina's 'Axis of Jackasses' threatens higher education over lgbt issues

The controversy in South Carolina with regards to legislators feuding with two state universities over lgbt-themed issues is beginning to resemble a cross between a Greek tragedy and bizarre existentialist play.

Let's recap - SC legislators are in a loud, very unnecessary snit with the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate over the assigning of two gay-themed books to students and a now-canceled lecture which the legislators claim would have "recruited" students to be gay.

One can pinpoint the legislators who caused the controversy and who is making the most noise. First there is State Sen. Mike Fair who has, throughout the controversy, insulted lgbt South Carolinians:

Mike Fair
 (Mike) Fair said in a TV interview this week that Upstate students needed to be exposed to gay-themed materials and programs like "they do skinheads and radical Islam. They don't need to be exposed to it."

In another interview, Fair made vague comments about the so-called dangers of gay sex

Monday, April 14, 2014

'Porno Peter' LaBarbera arrested in Canada for trespassing at university

Well this is a trip.

After being detained in Canada for possible breaking of the country's anti-hate speech laws and then released and allowed to give a speech to an anti-abortion group, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera was arrested yesterday:

According to Saskatchewan News, LaBarbera and another man, Bill Whatcott was taken into custody because they refused to leave the Univerity of Regina:

Peter LaBarbera, the controversial head of an American lobby group that has been labelled a hate group by the South Poverty Law Center, and Bill Whatcott, an abortion activist who has a history of legal troubles in Saskatchewan, were taken into custody by the Regina Police Service.

News Talk Radio's Kevin Martel observed police officers tell the two to leave the school's campus or risk being arrested; after some discussion the men refused to move and were arrested for trespassing. Police later changed the charges to mischief as the two were being processed Monday evening.

 LaBarbera and Whatcott were in Weyburn over the weekend to speak at a pro-life conference. They were at the school attempting to hand out anti-abortion and anti-gay pamphlets, flanked by large placards depicting aborted fetuses.

LaBarbera, as I stated before, was already in the midst of controversy when he was detained by Canadian officials after arriving in that country and initially barred entry. Officials were concerned that he was violating Canada's law against the spread of misinformation and hate speech about protected groups.

However, he was allowed to enter the country where he gave a speech Saturday to an anti-abortion group. Strangely enough however, his presence revealed a serious rift in Canada's anti-abortion movement.

In light of what has happened today, that seems to be irrelevant.

Because of his actions today, LaBarbera has given the Canadian government more than enough justification to not to make the same mistake twice and allow him entry again into the country.

At least let's hope that this will be the case.