Friday, February 21, 2014

Know Your LGBT History - Gerry Studds

From the Huffington Post: 

 . . . if we asked you to name the first openly gay member of Congress, could you? Members of older generations may. But younger people -- including more than a dozen political operatives we tested -- could not. Perhaps that's because this story of coming out was so shrouded in scandal, so drenched in professional embarrassment, that its broader significance may forever be overshadowed.
This is the legacy of Gerry Studds, the long-serving Massachusetts Democrat who was, for those who followed his lead, every bit the historical figure as the first gay athlete, movie star and politician, but is best known as the congressman censured by his own colleagues in 1983 for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male congressional page.

"I think that people in politics and especially people like me who are in politics and lived through that will remember him as being a real hero, because he was willing to be first," said Richard Socarides, a longtime Democratic operative who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. "Even though he was forced into it a little bit by circumstances, I think that people think of him as a hero and someone we look up to and someone who was a trailblazer."

Looking back at Studds' story three decades later, Socarides and others marvel at the circumstances that surrounded it. Certainly, the congressman was chiefly responsible for the drama -- he admitted missteps, though insisted that his relationship with the page was consensual. But the turbulence that accompanied his coming out seems more like a relic of the past. Part of the reason Michael Sam's highly controlled outing portends a smooth breaking of NFL barriers, they argue, is because Studds forged the way. 

Read more about this remarkable Congressman here.

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

'Frenchie Davis speaks on schism between blacks & gays ' and other Friday midday news briefs

Michael Dunn verdict and the civil rights schism between blacks and gays - Former American Idol contestant and lgbt of color Frenchie Davis has gotten some in the lgbt community upset recently with her comments about the schism between blacks and gays. I for one support her comments, although I may not agree with the extreme direct way she says them. It's been a problem for a while because while we talk about homophobia in the black community, we also need to talk the inability to see the lgbt identity as a multi-ethnic one rather than one of a "white identity"  and the false impression that white lgbts are exploiting black folks. Unfortunately, the lgbt community plays a part in exacerbating this problem. 

Fox’s Erickson: Businesses That Serve Gay Couples Are “Aiding And Abetting” Sin - Erick Erickson is seen as an influential voice in the Republican Party. That comment wasn't a compliment to the Republican Party.  

Barber: 'There Is Nothing Conservative About Sodomy' - You have to pity someone who calls himself a "Christian" but can only see sexual intercourse when talking about the lgbt community. 

 Arizona House Advances ‘License To Discriminate’ Bill To Governor’s Desk - In case you don't know, Arizona needs to be spanked.

  How Is Discrimination a Religious Freedom? - Preeeeach! 

 Alabama High School Un-Bans Same-Sex Prom Couples After Outcry - Good news for our children!
College of Charleston responds to 'Fun Home' book controversy - I smell the Palmetto Family Council's hands all over this mess.

'Religious liberty' argument starts a nasty public feud at Fox News

This nonsense over "religious liberty" is having an interesting effect on Fox News, causing two of the network's personalities to engage in an ugly public twitter feud.

It stems from a column Kirsten Powers wrote earlier this week in the USAToday which showcased the fallacies of the "religious liberty" argument. Her piece elicited some vicious comments from another Fox News personality, Todd Starnes.

Powers answered back, challenging Starnes' assertion:

Starnes continued on his tirade, even making the following  self-effacing comments:

But it ends when Powers zings Starnes, making note of his history for playing face and loose with the truth:

So an unintended but positive consequence of this awful "religious liberty" argument is that it allowed Powers to expose Starnes as a self-righteous bully hiding behind Biblical Scriptures.

Hat tip to