Friday, June 30, 2017

'TX Supreme Court forced to rule married gay couples have no rights to spousal benefits' & other Fri midday news briefs

If you don't think threats from government officials like Lt. Gov. Patrick (left) and AG Paxton (right) didn't have a hand in today's ruling, you are naive.
Texas Supreme Court: No inherent right to gay marriage benefits - Your eyes aren't deceiving you. The Texas Supreme Court just ruled that same-sex couples having a legal right to marry doesn't mean that they have a legal right to government sponsored spousal benefits. And just in case you are wondering what the hell just happened. Check out this passage in the article: 
Two taxpayers, including Christian pastor Jack Pidgeon, next turned to the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, which initially rejected their appeal in September, with only one member, Justice John Devine, dissenting. A campaign by social and religious conservatives produced a barrage of emails asking the eight other justices to reconsider or risk a backlash in the next GOP primary. Leading Republicans — including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton — joined the call, and in January the court issued a rarely granted motion to rehear the case and set oral arguments for March 1. 

Yep. A fix was in via the fact that judges in TX are ELECTED. If you think for one instant that this isn't the first part of an attempt to roll back the SCOTUS ruling for marriage equality, you have been asleep. The religious right don't care about rules or fairness. When the rules don't go their way they try to change the rules. They think God gives them the play for their every move, no matter how dirty, unprincipled, or unscrupulous it may be.  

The Texas Supreme Court just gave a big, fat middle finger to same-sex couples - More details.

North Carolina Magistrates Can Go Right On Refusing To Perform Gay Marriages - Be careful of a false "the momentum is now against marriage equality" talking point this may bring. The court didn't rule on the merits of the case. They simply said the plaintiffs didn't have standing to challenge.  

Gloria Carter, Jay-Z’s Mom, Comes Out As Lesbian In New Duet On Rapper’s ‘4:44’ Album - WOW!

The Trump Administration Has Been a Disaster for LGBT Americans - Ya think? 

photo taken from Progress Texas.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Best 'Heterosexual Pride Day' tweets

Apparently Thursday, June 29 is Heterosexual Pride Day.

I don't know if this is a huge snark coming from our community or the product of envious heterosexuals who are resenting all of the gay pride events which occurred this month. 

It really doesn't matter because if this wasn't the product of LGBTQ snark, it is now. On Twitter, we have totally taken over and using the day to educate, show awareness, or simply be downright bitchy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Anti-LGBTQ hate group suing Guidestar for calling it an anti-LGBTQ hate group

A recent controversy between the charity  database webpage Guidestar and several groups designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups continues to rage because one of those groups is now suing Guidestar.

Florida-based legal advocacy organization is suing over a "hate group" label that it and other nonprofits received on a website that maintains a database of information about U.S. charities. Liberty Counsel Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against GuideStar USA Inc. in Newport News, Virginia. GuideStar flagged 46 nonprofits, including Liberty Counsel, for being labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Liberty Counsel's suit claims that label is slanderous and has damaged its reputation. GuideStar announced last Friday that it would remove the labels after threats directed at its staff. Liberty Counsel bills itself as a legal defense organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom and preserving family values from a "Christian and Biblical perspective." The law center has called it an "anti-LGBT hate group."

From its webpage, the Liberty Counsel said the following:

“GuideStar and its political ally, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), are intent on destroying pro-family organizations. The ‘hate group’ label is false and dangerous,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “GuideStar’s CEO, Jacob Harold, is using GuideStar as a weapon to defame, harm, and promote his liberal agenda by using the SPLC to falsely label good nonprofit organizations as ‘hate groups.’ The only purpose of providing the SPLC false and dangerous ‘hate group’ label is to inflict reputational and financial harm to Liberty Counsel. GuideStar has lost all credibility. GuideStar will now have to answer for its reckless, defamatory, and harmful political labeling,” said Staver.

Personally, I think the Liberty Counsel is walking into the mouth of a hungry tiger.  It's a possibility that Guidestar may not want to get into a lengthy battle and therefore will work to settle this lawsuit. I sincerely hope not. It's my hope that Guidestar refuses to back down because truth is on its side. Based on a paper trail a mile long, it shouldn't be impossible for the webpage to disprove the Liberty Counsel's charges.

For its part, SPLC said the following:

"We stand ready to support our designation of Liberty Counsel as a hate group. "Liberty Counsel is a group that has consistently called LGBT people 'immoral, unnatural and self-destructive.' It has a track record of attempting to criminalize homosexual conduct and to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community. "There is nothing 'pro-family' about dehumanizing LGBT people. This lawsuit and other recent attacks against GuideStar are simply attempts to distract the public from Liberty Counsel’s hateful agenda."

Should Guidestar not back down, distraction will be the name of the game via conservative, right-wing, and anti-LGBTQ propaganda groups and phony news services. The Liberty Counsel will probably have a lot of defenders, but none of them, whether Todd Starnes, The Daily Signal, World Net Daily, The Federalist, Breitbart, One News Now, Fox News, etc. will mention why the Liberty Counsel is considered a hate group. The narrative they push will most likely be how "the left" is "targeting" the Liberty Counsel simply because they disagree with its 'Christian values.'

Trump's anti-LGBTQ lawyer facing trouble for alleged steering of $60 million in donations

Jay Sekulow
One of Donald Trump's lawyers, Jay Sekulow, has been the media's eye repeatedly. A lot of folks aren't aware of exactly who he is. However, I am because I used to watch his appearances on The 700 Club in the late 80s and early 90s.

Sekulow has an extensive history of being one the religious right's hardcore weapons against the LGBTQ community.

According to The Advocate:

Jay Sekulow, who joined Trump’s team this month, is chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a far-right legal group founded by no less than Pat Robertson and based at Robertson’s Regent University in Virginia. Sekulow holds a Ph.D. from Regent and is a professor at its law school. His law degree is from another university that claims to promote “Judeo-Christian” values, Georgia’s Mercer University. He’s a frequent commentator on Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and Fox News Channel. 
The ACLJ has represented many anti-LGBT and antichoice clients and causes. “ACLJ’s materials are often explicitly homophobic, and their fundraising emails signed by Sekulow have warned that the homosexual agenda is ‘bent on destroying our communities’ and ‘the family as we know it,’” the Human Rights Campaign reported in a 2014 press release. 

And it gets worse, according to Right Wing Watch:

Sekulow and the ACLJ have been active in the U.S. and overseas in opposing legal equality for LGBTQ people. Sekulow has said that the state has a “compelling interest to ban the act of homosexuality” and the ACLJ argued on behalf of state laws criminalizing gay sex that were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003. Sekulow said the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act meant that “we’re now living in a monarchy.” The ACLJ and its international affiliates engage in anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice culture wars in the U.S., Africa, Europe and Russia. In Africa, it worked to shape constitutional language in Zimbabwe, where it has fought to maintain criminalization of homosexuality, and Kenya, where it lobbied to eliminate an exemption to an abortion ban to save a woman’s life. Both the European Center for Jaw and Justice and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice supported Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law, which has been used against journalists and gay rights activists.

You know I'm leading to a delicious finish and here it is:

'Taboo Sex, Racism, and Gay Men: A conversation' & other Wed midday news briefs

Taboo Sex, Racism, and Gay Men: A Chat in Black and White - A small change of pace today. A good friend of mine, Mark S. King, has a conversation with Charles Stephens, founder of the Counter Narrative Project in Atlanta, about taboo sex, racism, and gay men. And it is good!!!! It is a conversation which needs to be had (especially from my perspective, seeing that I have been turned down from men who were expecting Mandingo and found that they ended up with the sepia Woody Allen.) 

Trump pretends to care in National HIV Testing Day statement, while cutting funding for treatment - Does this surprise anyone? Sad.

Here’s How Germany Could Approve Same-Sex Marriage Within Days - Well this is a wonderful development. 

 Democratic Senators Slam Betsy DeVos For Civil Rights Enforcement Cuts - Good! Take Ms. DeVos to school! 

 13 Same-Sex Weddings That Prove Happily-Ever-Afters Exist, And OMG I'm Crying - Admit it. You know you like seeing things like this.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LGBTQ advocates sound the alarm about 'Trumpcare' bill

It goes without saying that the GOP bill designed to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something awful has caused a lot of anger from many Americans. I was wondering when the LGBTQ leadership would start raising hell over it. Apparently, now is the time.

From The Washington Blade:

LGBT rights supporters held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to raise awareness about the bill, which seeks to phase out the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare to pay for a tax cut mostly for the wealthiest Americans. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the legislation would have a “devastating impact” on LGBT people because they’re disproportionately affected by health disparities. “Both the House and Senate versions of the bill gut core provisions of the ACA, cut off tens of millions of Americans life-saving health care coverage while increasing out-of-pocket costs,” Griffin said.

. . .Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said during the conference she’s “deeply concerned” about the bill’s impact on transgender people “and their very lives.” “We are outraged that congressional leaders and the president would disrupt and endanger so many lives just apparently to say that they passed a bill and to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the people who need it the least,” Keisling said. Keisling also took Trumpcare to task for a proposal to bar Medicaid repayments for health services at Planned Parenthood, which she said is often the only option for transgender people seeking care.

Another reason why the LGBTQ community should be concerned about the bill deals with its potential to - as the South Florida Gay News puts it - "devastate people with HIV."

In a recent joint letter to senators, 133 HIV organizations stressed that the bill that passed the House without a single Democratic vote on May 4 “would return America to a time when health care coverage was out of reach for too many people with HIV.” The letter lavishes scorn on the bill (which the Senate will apparently jettison in favor of starting from scratch) for its billions of dollars of cuts to traditional Medicaid programs; phasing out of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, or Obamacare) expanded Medicaid programs; erosion of key protections against health-plan-related discrimination that benefit people with HIV; and problematic changes to the formula for determining subsidies for the premiums of private health plans obtained on the open, or “nongroup,” market.

 . . .The May 24 release of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimating the AHCA’s impact sent a bruising message that, compared with projections based on the current health care law, 14 million fewer Americans would have health insurance in 2018, a figure that would swell to 19 million by 2020 and 23 million by 2026. (These projections do not factor in the president’s proposed budget cuts that affect health care.) In 2026, the estimated number of uninsured people younger than 65 (and therefore largely ineligible for Medicare) would be 51 million, compared with a projected 28 million if Obamacare were left intact. 
This loss of health insurance would disproportionately affect older people with lower incomes, in particular those between 50 and 64 years of age with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), or $24,120 for individuals. Given demographic trends, such a bias against late-middle-aged people with chronic health conditions would likely have a considerable impact on the aging U.S. HIV population, which tends to be lower income. While just one third of those living with the virus were 50 or older in 2010, that proportion is expected to rise to one half by 2020. Currently, only a sliver of U.S. residents with HIV are 65 or older and therefore have access to Medicare (neither the president’s budget nor the AHCA target that program). Even by 2030, only a fifth of the HIV population is expected to be in their senior years.

The bill was worked on in secret by the GOP leadership and didn't even have any hearings. It was to be voted on this week. However, after a huge groundswell of negative reactions from all sides, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McMconnell is having problems finding the votes to pass it. It will be voted on after the July 4 holiday.

I would suggest that those in our community who like to educate via public demonstrations and the like get on their J-O-B between now and then.

Photo taken from May 4, 2017 Unicornbooty article  3 Ways ‘Trumpcare’ Will Hurt HIV-Positive and LGBTQ Americans

'Anti-LGBTQ right gets partial victory from Guidestar' & other Tue midday news briefs

Charity website cites threats in removing hate group labels - After controversy, charity web page Guidestar will back away from its labeling some organizations as hate groups. While the right is spinning it as a complete capitulation, it's not exactly that. The web page will make the information available to those who request it, which is still a good thing. For the purpose of my blog, I don't necessarily call it a loss. It's just a forward step in creating an ACCURATE nationwide conversation on the decades-long smearing of LGBTQ people by pseudo-morality groups under the veneer of "personally held religious beliefs." We will have that nationwide conversation sooner or later.

Supreme Court actions show just how fragile LGBTQ equality still is - Yes it does. And it reason number one million and one why the LGBTQ community cannot ignore religious right groups and their supporters. Every victory we get is just the entryway to a new battle.

Neil Gorsuch Is The Anti-LGBTQ Nightmare His Gay Friends Hoped He Wasn’t - Meet reason number one for news brief two. I can only hope this changes, but Michelangelo Signorile is pretty good about these things.

 Visibility Is at the Heart of LGBTQ Politics. But Is It Always the Best Strategy? - That's a good question in light of the fact that some in our community think that visibility only entails showing one's proverbial ass and suddenly everything will move in our direction.

How The Christian Right Turned the Good News into Fake News - I love this post.

Monday, June 26, 2017

You call it 'religious liberty,' I call it another game of 'beating down the gays'

Editor's note - In my headline and throughout this post, the word 'gay' is mean to represent the entire LGBTQ community. 

I knew that the Family Research Council would get 'gloat-happy' at the news that SCOTUS will be hearing the case involving using 'religious liberty' as an excuse to discriminate. So allow me to post the organization's comments:

If anyone’s under the influence of the media and questioning President Trump’s results after six months, look no further than the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Neil Gorsuch. This morning, after waiting through a string of Monday court announcements, Americans concerned about the relentless assault on religious freedom finally got the word they’d been waiting for -- justices have agreed to hear the case of Christian baker Jack Phillips. For men and women of faith, who’ve been in the fight of their lives for their First Amendment rights since Obergefell, it’s a hopeful sign that the days of persecution against believers like Jack may be numbered.

Like so many Christian businesses, the war on religious freedom came to the Phillips’s front door when two men visited Masterpiece Cakes in 2012 and asked for a same-sex wedding cake. Jack was kind -- but firm -- in his conviction that he wouldn’t participate in a ceremony that violates his faith. Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig offered a choice gesture and stormed out. Later that day, they turned to social media, launching a campaign to force Phillips into submission. It didn’t work. “We would close down our bakery before we would compromise our beliefs,” Phillips told reporters.

Ironically, business only boomed. People flocked to the Colorado cake shop to show their support. They understood, as we do, that this was never about discriminating against anyone. Like Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State, Jack is happy to serve everyone. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake -- not the people, not their lifestyle.” All Christians are asking for is the same tolerance that liberals already enjoy. Instead, the Left seems intent on punishing anyone who thinks like 53 percent of Americans on marriage. And in the process, they’ve done an incredibly effective job answering their own question -- how will my same-sex marriage affect you?

 . . . “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes,” his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, “he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice.” Tragically, it’s a choice more Christians are having to make. Finally, the Supreme Court has a chance to rule that the government has no authority to force Americans like Jack Philips to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they morally oppose. With Justice Gorsuch on the bench, we’re more optimistic than ever that the court will uphold our nation’s long tradition of respecting religious liberty. That wouldn’t just be a victory for Masterpiece Cakes but every Christian suffering under the government’s heavy hand.

Even when gloating, the Family Research Council won't stop deceiving.

'Two years ago today, we won the right to marry' & other Mon midday news briefs

Two years ago today:

And yet the fight continues. We won marriage, now we are in a fight to secure it against folks who feel that God gives them the right to disobey or get around the rules of our nation. Not to mention slandering the judges who rule against them. We are dealing with the worse kind of zealots - religious zealots with a huge amount of audacity and the purse strings and resources to match. But they won't win if we fight. We already have truth on our side.

 In other news: 

How Marriage Equality Strengthened Marriage And Changed Religion - You darn right it did! 

Neil Gorsuch reveals his true anti-LGBTQ self - Not surprising. At least for now. 

Here’s An Amazing Way To Explain Drag Culture To Kids - Now I like this. And there is nothing wrong with it, either. 

It’s Pride. It’s Ramadan. And It Still Isn’t Easy To Be An LGBT Muslim - The very epitome of brave as far as I'm concerned.

SCOTUS to decide if religion can be used as an excuse to discriminate

Folks, particularly the lgbtq community, are learning the hard lesson that elections matter and voting matters:

From Buzzfeed:

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it would hear the case of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, teeing up the country's highest stakes legal showdown about whether laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination can violate religious people's constitutional rights. The justices granted certiorari to hear the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in its next term, which begins in October. Since same-sex couples won the right to marry, in states and later nationwide, conservative activists have doubled down on lawsuits and legislation that promote religious freedom. They argue that providing wedding-related services to same-sex couples amounts to participating in the ceremonies, thereby violating their rights to religious exercise and free speech.

 . . .While it remains legal in many parts of the US to turn away gay couples from businesses, 21 states ban discrimination in public settings on the basis of sexual orientation, including Colorado. If a business bakes wedding cakes for straight couples, the thinking goes, nondiscrimination laws require they must provide the same service to gay couples. In July of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins attempted to order a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, but owner Jack Phillips declined, saying that it would violate his religious beliefs.

ThinkProgress adds:

The bakery at the heart of the dispute in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission claims it has a constitutional right to defy Colorado’s anti-discrimination law because its owner, in the words of a lower court that heard this case, believes that “he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages.” The bakery claims both that its owner’s religious belief gives it a special right to defy the law, and that requiring the bakery to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding amounts to a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment. Neither of these arguments holds water under longstanding legal doctrines.

ThinkProgess also speculates on the timing of the coincidental timing of this decision by SCOTUS to hear the case:

Yet, while the bakery does not have much law on its side, the timing of the Court’s announcement suggests that its most conservative members are eager to make some very significant changes to the law now that they have a new ally on the bench. Last year, during the period when the Court had only eight members, Justice Samuel Alito penned an angry dissent from the Court’s decision not to hear a case brought by a pharmacy which claimed a religious right to ignore a regulation requiring it to “deliver lawfully prescribed drugs or devices to patients.” In that dissent, Alito called for an expansive reading of religious objectors’ rights to defy the law. Notably, Alito’s dissent was joined by just two other justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. It takes four votes for the Court to hear a case. After receiving the bakery’s request to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court held the case over through five consecutive conferences of the justices without announcing whether or not they will hear the case. The most likely explanation for this behavior is that Roberts, Thomas, and Alito were biding their time until Neil Gorsuch would give them the fourth vote.

However, four votes to hear the case doesn't mean a win. ThinkProgress points out that  the decision may fall again on Justice Anthony Kennedy to be the deciding vote. And in cases with regards to the lgbtq community, specifically with marriage equality, Kennedy has ruled in favor of us.

Still, however, the repercussions of this case go way beyond simply the providing of services at same-sex weddings. If SCOTUS rules that secular entities can use religion as an excuse to discriminate, it opens the door to all sorts of negative possibilities, including gender and racial discrimination.

Friday, June 23, 2017

'Pence to pay tribute to anti-lgbtq group' & other Friday midday news briefs

Vice President Mike Pence Celebrates Pride by Speaking to an Anti-LGBT Group - The group in question is Focus on the Family, which has been very careful to evade the verbal and junk science traps which led SPLC to declare other groups like it to be hate groups. But it is still a vile group nonetheless. I'm this close to "looking for" those gay folks who said that the Trump Administration was going to be in our corner.

Lest You Forget, Focus on the Family Does Serious Damage to LGBTQ People - Or how Focus on the Family has been able to evade the label of "hate group" thus far. 

 Too Many Doctors Are Failing LGBTQ Patients. Medical Schools Want to Change That. - And this exacerbates health problems within the community which the religious right always exploit for their "homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle" false narrative.

 Appeals court re-instates Mississippi's religious freedom law - Just in case you haven't heard. BUT there is a giant caveat. The court reinstated the law because since it's not yet in effect, the plantiffs couldn't show how it would damage them. A minor problem alleviated by putting the law into effect and allowing folks to use it.

Appeals Court Allows Worst Anti-LGBTQ Law Ever To Go Into Effect In Mississippi- More detail on the situation, including the MANY ways the law could derail itself by simply existing.

New documentary puts trans people on both sides of the camera - Wow! This is a really good idea.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Family Research Council upset over being labeled a hate group, but won't address reason why

Poor Family Research Council.

The organization is angry because Guidestar, a website which features information on charities, will now identify it as a hate group. Since Guidestar is using information from the Southern Poverty Law Center to make this determination, FRC has been busy smearing both organizations.

FRC president Tony Perkins claims that his group has gotten together a coalition of conservative groups to complain about what Guidestar is doing:

 . . .41 conservative groups and individuals are demanding that GuideStar remove the hate banners from their listings and return to their claimed position of neutrality that Americans expect. In a letter protesting the move, the signers write: 
 "Your designations are based on determinations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a hard-Left activist organization. As such, SPLC's aggressive political agenda pervades the construction of its 'hate group' listings." "The SPLC has no bona fides to make such determinations. It is not a governmental organization using rigorous criteria to create its lists, and it is not a scientifically-oriented organization. The SPLC is merely another 'progressive' political organization... The 'hate group' list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven. The SPLC doesn't even pretend to identify groups on the political Left that engage in 'hate.' Mosques or Islamist groups that promote radical speech inciting anti-Semitism and actual violence are not listed by the SPLC even though many have been publicly identified after terrorist attacks."

FRC of course evades the big question - why does SPLC consider it to be a hate group. SPLC said the following in a 2012 article:

The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are “fundamentally incapable” of providing good homes for children – a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities. One of its key leaders has actually said that homosexual behavior should be criminalized. Perhaps the FRC’s most dangerous lie is its claim that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem,” to use Perkins’ words. Here’s what the American Psychological Association says: “Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” The APA adds, “There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian or bisexual friends or acquaintances.” Linking the LGBT community to pedophilia is not an expression of a religious belief, as Perkins would have it. It’s simply a lie – and a particularly ugly one at that.

Then there was the time when FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg said he wishes gays could be exported out of America:

And let's not forget our friend Tony Perkins . . . and that time he linked lgbtqs to Satan:

Perkins and company can fake 'righteous indignation' all they want but they can never hide the paper trail of FRC's  deceptions against the lgbtq community.

'Trump's inaction on fighting AIDS gets negative attention' & other Thur midday news briefs

Trump’s HIV/AIDS inaction in focus after 6 advisers resign - Folks resigning is what it took to get the media to focus on Trump's inaction on AIDS.  

After outcry, an LGBT survey question is restored by HHS - You are DAMN right it's restored.

 Biden Tells LGBT Community: "Hold Trump Accountable For His Pledge To Be Your Friend" - I miss Joe Biden. 

 New Documentary Examines The Troubling Reason Conversion Therapy Won’t Go Away - Why folks talking about "heterosexism" need to sometimes sit their asses down. 
Jeff Sessions’ new Russiagate lawyer is just as horrible as you’d expect - A raging homophobe. Surprised? No? Me neither.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TBT - NOM's hilarious anti-marriage equality video 'The Gathering Storm'

The infamous 'Gathering Storm' video from a few years back via the for now toothless National Organization for Marriage is very enjoyable to watch in light of the fact that the lgbtq community attained the right to marry in spite of the deceit, spin, and gobs of money which went into keeping it from us. And it should serve to remind all of us during this time that victories aren't won easily, wars aren't over after single fights no matter whether you win or lose, and if you aren't ready the possibility of a long fight, you shouldn't be on the field in the first place. Winning isn't easy, but it's not supposed to be:

'Anti-gay Congressman's life saved during shooting last week by lesbian police officer' & other Wed midday news briefs

Capitol police officer Crystal Griner helped save Scalise's life during last week's shooting.

Rep. Steve Scalise’s Life Was Saved By A Black Queer Woman. Here’s Why That Matters. - As fervently as the right is attempting to paint last week's shooting as the act of "violent leftists," they are attempting to shut down discussion on the fact that during incident, Congressman Scalise's life was saved by a black queer woman, Crystal Griner. Sorry if you disagree, but folks on our side of the political spectrum need to dispense with any concern trolling about this fact.  That she was a part of his security detail  and took a bullet when he doesn't even support her right to marry is something I will not shut up about. Folks are so quick to brand us as "the other" out to destroy America but cry foul when we prove that we are just as capable as everyone else? Forget that #@!%

Queen Vows to Protect LGBT People from Discrimination, Axes Trump Visit in Speech to Parliament: WATCH - Well alright!  

Former Glee star comes out as transgender - I am happy for him. BE your authentic self.

  Living in the closet almost cost this NFL player his life. Coming out saved it. - Take it from me. The closet is HELL. 

Christians disagree with the religious right on refusing to serve LGBTQ people - The religious right does not speak for all Christians. 

Photo taken from Joe.MyGod

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Religious right 'wish list' under Trump moves America dangerously to theocracy

Tony Perkins and his group want to give churches more political power. That would be a disaster.

Via a recent fundraising email, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins laid out what he claims are the three issues which will "make or break religious liberty."

In reality, these issues are geared to giving conservative right-wing evangelicals an enormous amount of power in electing government officials  as well as curtailing the rights of the lgbtq community.

Perkins details and describes these issues as follows:

President Trump's executive order directs the IRS not to enforce guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, which has been used not only to block speech about candidates but about political issues that directly impact the free exercise of religious faith. But clearer guidelines are not enough. This amendment needs to be gutted by law if churches are to be free of government retribution for following God's Word.  
In conjunction with the EO clarification of IRS guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, the Free Speech Fairness Act must pass in order to "allow charitable organizations [including churches] to make statements relating to political campaigns if such statements are made in the ordinary course of carrying out its tax-exempt purpose." In other words, pastors would not be prohibited from speaking out about candidates who support such things as abortion...special privileges based on sexual preference and gender identity...and banning Christian clubs from meeting in public school buildings. 
Simply put, such an act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against those who follow biblical teachings that marriage is between one man and one woman. It would defend people such as Aaron and Melissa Klein and Barronelle Stutzman who are being prosecuted for declining to participate in same-sex weddings because of their Christian beliefs.

Don't let Perkins fool you with the claims that these issues have anything to do with liberty or freedom.

Trump's lawyer proves that homophobia, whining about so-called anti-Christian 'persecution' is very, very lucrative

Jay Sekulow
One of Donald Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, (and his organization, the American Center for Law and Justice) has a long history of homophobia and whining about the so-called persecution of Christians.

And it very, VERY lucrative to him and his family.

What Made Trump Hire Religious Right Lawyer Jay Sekulow?

 Sekulow and the  ACLJ have been active in the U.S. and overseas in opposing legal equality for LGBTQ people. Sekulow has said that the state has a “compelling interest to ban the act of homosexuality” and the ACLJ argued on behalf of state laws criminalizing gay sex that were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003. Sekulow said the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act meant that “we’re now living in a monarchy.”

The ACLJ and its international affiliates engage in anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice culture wars in the U.S., Africa, Europe and Russia. In Africa, it worked to shape constitutional language in Zimbabwe, where it has fought to maintain criminalization of homosexuality, and Kenya, where it lobbied to eliminate an exemption to an abortion ban to save a woman’s life. Both the European Center for Jaw and Justice and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice supported Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law, which has been used against journalists and gay rights activists.

Trump’s new conservative Christian lawyer Jay Sekulow is just another right-wing grifter

The ACLJ reported more than $19 million in contributions and grants for 2015, according to IRS filings, which also showed that Sekulow received no salary from the organization that year.
But the group transferred more than $5 million to the Washington law firm Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, in which Sekulow owns a 50-percent stake, Bloomberg reported.
Sekulow also serves as president of the Georgia-based nonprofit Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, or CASE, which raised more than $52 million in 2015, according to IRS records.
Four of Sekulow’s family members — including his wife, Pam, and Gary Sekulow — serve as the board of directors for CASE, which transferred nearly $16 million to ACLJ and paid almost $1.2 million to businesses owned by Jay Sekulow.

An analysis by The Tennesseean newspaper found ACLJ and CASE had paid out more than $33 million between 1998 and 2011 to members of Sekulow’s family or to businesses they own.

I wonder how much Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, and the rest pull in.  Oh to be "persecuted" like that!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pregnant Transgender Male Soldiers - A religious right fear tactic coming soon!

From the religious right and anti-LGBTQ groups which brought you:

Marriage equality will corrupt the innocence of children

Gay men want to recruit children

And the recent transgender women are predators out to harm children

comes a new meme which will attack the right of transgender men and women to serve openly in the Armed Forces:

Pregnant Transgender Male Soldiers:

NOM's anti-marriage equality march is another disaster' & other Mon midday news briefs

The National Organization for Marriage has another sad march.

March For Marriage Draws Tens, But Promises Ultimate Victory Over Obergefell - The National Organization for Marriage held their annual "March for Marriage" last weekend. And it was a larger disaster than last year's 'Ben Hur' movie. Apparently there was only 50 people there. HOWEVER, and I say the following because our community has been known to celebrate victories too soon, there was an ominous statement made at the march which we should all remember and be prepared for:

Longtime NOM strategist Frank Schubert also addressed the rally, calling the Obergefell decision “anti-constitutional” and “illegitimate” and saying that “it will only take one new justice on the Supreme Court” to reverse it. 

 In other words, prepare ourselves should this situation of a right-wing SCOTUS judge coming. And start it now by fortifying our stance and our marriages. No one can take marriage away from us if we fight. But not expecting a fight is the surest way of losing one.

Here’s A Great Way To Explain The LGBTQ Rights Movement To Kids - Wonderful! I love this! 

Trump admin issues new Title IX memo for transgender kids - Don't even think that we aren't watching you, Ms. DeVos. 

 72 congressional Dems blast Trump for no Pride proclamation - Damn skippy!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering LGBTQ of Color Trailblazers

Lately, there have been many heated discussions on situations regarding the inclusion of lgbtqs of color and our issues into the general view of the lgbtq community.

I won't mention those issues because I've deliberately kept them from this blog. This blog focuses on the external enemies of our community, Unfortunately, the figures and groups which threaten our rights don't get the attention and condemnation they deserve when we are focused on internal fights complete with folks beating each other over the head with academic catchphrases or insipid ideas of "unity."

I, however, will comment on the situation in my own way, which is to celebrate those who generally get left behind. Those below should have note in our community, our magazines, our media, and our circles at all times. They all may not emanate from popular circles or places like California or New York, and they may not fit the lgbtq status quo. But their existence and accomplishments says it all:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Second anti-gay hate group exploits shooting for payback against SPLC

The Family Research Council isn't the only religious right group exploiting Wednesday's shooting for political payback against the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association, another SPLC-designated hate group, is pointing a finger at the civil rights organization for yesterday's shooting:

"Hate" – it's an abstract word in the ongoing culture war, where you are branded as a "hater" by declaring that marriage is one man and one woman, or suggesting that illegal aliens are in the U.S. illegally. But after the near-massacre of Republican congressmen on a baseball field, can we agree that the shooter opened fire on them from a heart filled with hate?  
That his hatred for those with whom he disagreed could have resulted in a barrel-shooting slaughter of conservative lawmakers? OneNewsNow is familiar with the "hate" brand, since our parent organization is the American Family Association. AFA has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the same left-wing organization that was implicated when a shooter attempted to murder employees at the Family Research Council in 2012. That shooter told the FBI he used the SPLC's "hate map" to find an "anti-gay group" – a map that remains on the SPLC's website despite that botched mass shooting being stopped only by a security guard who was wounded.  
 The FRC shooting was largely ignored at the time, but it's much harder to ignore a gunman who opens fire on U.S. representatives after double-checking that he's about to kill Republicans. This week's shooting must change the left-wing rhetoric, starting with the SPLC, which was "liked" on the shooter's Facebook page. Democratic leaders routinely accuse their Republican colleagues of hating minorities, destroying the planet, and starving the poor ... and they must realize that some of their supporters believe those claims – even if it's just campaign fodder for Election Day.

The map AFA is talking about doesn't give out any addresses, only the state where the groups reside.

'See how the world celebrates LGBTQ Pride' & other Thur midday news briefs

See how the world celebrates Pride - You SIMPLY have to see this for yourself. How the world celebrates lgbtq pride is a reminder that we are a multi-ethnic, multi-aged, international community. And we should start treating each other as such. Our diversity is rich and as deep as our history.  

Jesse Lee Peterson: Pride Month Proves That ‘We Are All Not Children Of God’ - Poor baby. He will have to get over his angry because he has NO say in who is or isn't a 'child of God.'  

Transgender Teachers Talk About Their Experiences At School - Fascinating article. It always amazes me when the anti-lgbtq right claims that our community will harm children when there is proof all around that this notion is a lie. 

Catholics Should Accept and Love All LGBTQ People - Yes they should. Wonderful piece by a Jesuit priest of rejects the lies that religion and the lgbtq community should be opposite camps. We overlap all of the time. And it is my faith which helped me accept myself as a gay man. 

 22 Marriage Proposals That Will Make You Believe In True Love - Sappy and sentimental, yes. But why not?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Family Research Council exploits shooting for sleazy attack on Obama and SPLC

The Family Research Council pointed a finger to Obama for today's tragedy/

In light of this morning's terrible shooting, a lot of issues need to be up for discussion, from political affiliation, to nasty rhetoric, to gun control (which does not get talked about enough when these incidents take place.) But what doesn't need to happen is for anyone to exploit this morning's events for potshots and payback.

I wish someone would have told this to the Family Research Council:

Early reports are that Congressman Scalise is in critical condition after undergoing surgery earlier today. As his office said, "He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues." But it was a sobering reminder of the days in which we live. Every generation has its differences, but America is experiencing time of sustained hostility. The cloud of vitriol that grew under Barack Obama has so poisoned our dialogue that it may have once again driven a man to target innocent people -- this time public servants whose only crime was gearing up for one of the few moments of comradery and bipartisanship left in the city. Late this afternoon, the media confirmed that in addition to his anti-Trump rants, this gunman had liked the Southern Poverty Law Center's page on Facebook, the same organization tied to domestic terrorism in federal court for inspiring the shooting at FRC. This is where the path of intolerance can lead. And in a country spewing inflamed rhetoric from Broadway to the Beltway, it's time for reasonable people to step in and say, "enough."

What's the deal with the semantic attack on Obama, i.e. the ever so slight dog whistle that FRC supporters will pick up on?  Neither Obama nor his presidency had anything to do with today's events, except - if you really want to go there - how his opponents ran  over all levels of decency and decorum to make him look like a sepia Damien Thorne from "The Omen" trilogy.

'KKK fails to upstage Alabama Pride event' & other Wed midday news briefs

The KKK unsuccessfully tried to upstage an Alabama Pride event.

KKK members protest LGBTQ pride march in Florence: Hate 'reared its ugly head'- Some members of Alabama's lgbtq community attend their first pride and who shows up? The Klan. If this were a Mel Brooks movie, hilarity would have ensued. In reality though, nothing happened and the pride was a huge success. In addition, the lgbtq community made a positive out of this negative with a donation site. 

Are You The Husband Or The Wife? - OMG! I used to get asked that question in college regarding sex. If there was a wife, I wouldn't be gay.  

Rep. Maloney introduces data collection bill on anti-LGBT violence - Wonderful!  

AMA approves resolution against anti-trans bathroom bills - Good job, AMA! 

Chadwick Moore: LGBTQ People ‘Don’t Know What The Second Amendment Is” - Lawd, hammercy! One of those 'Queer As Folk' rejects.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

GuideStar will now point out hate groups in charity data, including anti-lgbtq hate groups

Allow  me to warn you now about the possible firestorm which will occur regarding religious right groups and the anti-lgbtq hate group label many of them deservedly earned from the Southern Poverty Law Center:

A website that touts itself as the world's largest source of information about charities has added a new feature: a warning label on tax-exempt nonprofits accused of spreading hate.

GuideStar, a self-described "neutral" repository for data on more than 2 million charities, recently flagged 46 nonprofits for being labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A banner atop each nonprofit's GuideStar profile includes the law center's logo and a link to its home page. GuideStar's president and CEO, Jacob Harold, said the new feature reflects a "broader shift in how we imagine our role in the (nonprofit) field." Adding new data sources is part of that shift, but Harold also framed the warning labels as a response to the recent rise in "hateful rhetoric" in the U.S.

 . . . Several leaders of flagged groups said they will contact GuideStar and demand the removal of the banners from their profiles. Some of the groups have accused the Alabama-based law center of using its hate group label to smear organizations that don't share its ideology by lumping them in with overtly hateful groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan.

I think you can guess where I'm going with this:

 The list also includes several organizations with multimillion-dollar budgets, such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

Harold said GuideStar relied on the law center's list and didn't conduct its own analysis of whether a nonprofit deserves to be labeled a hate group.
"But we are making a judgment to trust that third party," he said. "We feel that's quite defensible."

No doubt, two groups in particular, the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, will whine about how they are  being "persecuted" for their supposed Christian stances on homosexuality and will use their supporters and contacts (which includes members of Congress) to smear GuideStar.

'Conservative snowflake calls Equality March 'crybaby fest'' & other Tue midday news briefs

'Wannabe' Tomi Lahren gets 'twitter dragged.'
Twitter Schools Tomi Lahren After She Calls LGBTQ March ‘Crybaby Fest Of Bulls**t’ - Some folks will say we should ignore wannabe conservative firebrand Tomi Lahren. Do what you feel, but don't ignore what she represents - the deliberate ignorance of folks who will disrespect us, our families, and children while claiming that they don't know what we are angry or concerned about. As we vigorously debate with each other - quite legitimately so - regarding voices, visibility, and other issues in our community, we should do it with the knowledge of just who our real enemies are. In doing so, we should approach each other with a bit more civility, saving our negative intensity for those who would deny us our equality and others, such as Lahren, who see it happening but pretend that it's not.

LGBTQ Muslims have always existed, and we deserve to tell our own stories - AMEN!  

Jared Polis announces bid to become Colorado governor - First openly gay governor of Colorado? I'm all for it!  

Finding ‘Mr Gay Syria’: New Film Highlights Abuse of LGBTQ Syrians - Remember that our fight is worldwide. 

LGBT Trump Supporters Dismayed Over Pride Marches Becoming 'Resist' Events - Sorry LGBT Trump supporters. You aren't going to win me over and you aren't going to win with this one at all.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hate group upset that the Pentagon is recognizing LGBTQ Pride Month

Anti-lgbtq hate group The Family Research Council  is pitching a fit because the Pentagon has the temerity to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month:

The problem at the U.S. Embassy in Romania wasn't that officials were saluting the flag. The problem was which flag they were saluting. In a tradition most Americans hoped was gone with President Obama, a handful of U.S. diplomats decided to fly the rainbow flag on par with the stars and stripes that millions have died defending. 
The jarring sight in Guatemala, Cuba, Macedonia, the Dominican Republican, and other countries was just more evidence of the politically correct mess left behind by the last administration. Although President Trump refused to declare June LGBT pride month, plenty of Obama holdovers are taking matters into their own hands. Out of respect for the voters who rejected that extreme agenda, it's time for administration officials to step in and put a stop to a display that puts a sexual fringe on the same pole as Old Glory. 
And unfortunately, the State Department isn't the only agency bucking the White House's values this June. Today, the Pentagon carried on a tradition President Obama began in 2012, holding a special "pride" event at the same time that other military leaders are ready to turn the page on eight years of social engineering. It was a disappointing development for conservatives, who thought they had an ally in new Defense Secretary James Mattis. FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) was vocal about his displeasure. "I was hoping that the Trump administration would put less emphasis on everything that does not contribute directly to enhanced readiness and war fighting." 
Leaders of the Conservative Action Project echoed General Boykin's frustrations. In a letter signed by dozens of organizations, the group calls on the White House to intervene. "The Trump administration should discontinue funding and directing personnel resources for special-interest events, including LGBT-Pride Month events in June, which do not strengthen military readiness... We will support officials and initiatives taken to end politically-correct social agendas, and look forward to more changes that will strengthen the armed forces and restore America's military readiness." The Obama administration worked from Kenya to El Salvador – not to advance his country's priorities –but the 44th president's radical social agenda. It's time for Donald Trump to take a wrecking ball to the LGBT distractions of his predecessor and turn the page on policies that offend more people than they "honor."

Check yourself, Family Research Council.  LGBTQ soldiers are among those millions whose deaths you alluded to. Furthermore, they continue, along with other members of the Armed Forces, to fight for your freedom. The least you can do is show them the respect they deserve. If you can't do even that, then step to the side.

Generally speaking, however, situations like this sends a reminder to us all that groups like the Family Research Council have nothing to do with morality and values. They are all about homophobia and rendering the lgbtq community invisible and second class citizens, no matter what we do. Even if  that includes sacrificing life and limb to preserve their freedom.

'Equality March a coast-to-coast success' & other Mon midday news briefs

A gay social network is calling out the Family Research Council. See article below.

D.C. Equality March Makes Pride Political - The Equality March yesterday was a HUGE success. 

From Coast to Coast, LGBT Protesters Vow Resistance to Trump - And it wasn't just in Washington, either.  

Looking back to the Pulse shooting through the eyes of a queer black Muslim - Because we have so much to fight against and FOR.  

Gay Couples Fight To Be Included On Birth Certificates - "Lesbian couples in Indiana and Arkansas that have used artificial insemination say they should be treated like heterosexual couples on birth certificates, with both the biological mother and her spouse listed as parents."

Hornet Is Going After Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups in New National Billboard Campaign - Wow! I LOVE this. This type of thing is what we should be doing on a community wide scale. My only complaint is that it shouldn't be gay social network doing this. We all need to be calling these groups out and DEMANDING a debate on their tactics, instead of having to explain our lives. For a change.

Pulse - One Year Later

A year ago, a person walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL while it was celebrating Latin Night and, before the night was over, turned everyone's lives upside down. This person doesn't deserve to be named as we note this sad event and the lives stolen and altered because of it.

While I was not there, the tragedy had such a negative effect on me that for a brief time, I felt I could not pray. That was nothing compared to what it did to the families of those taken from us.

It's difficult to find any solace in this situation, but there is at least one bright spot.That awful individual took away so much, but he couldn't take away love. The love of those taken away from the people who miss them daily. The love of survivors who live their lives to the fullest after the tragedy  Most of all, the love in each of our hearts which doesn't allow us to give in to the pull of hatred like he did.

Friday, June 09, 2017

'Right-wing 'Christian' groups praised Trump while Comey proved him to be a liar' & other Fri midday news briefs

Right-wing 'Christian' groups have abandoned Jesus for Trump and power.

While Comey Calls Him A Liar, Trump Basks in Religious Right’s Adulation - It's bad enough that these supposed Christians and voices of morality praise Trump in spite of his specious behavior as president, but doing it WHILE testimony is happening calling him a liar and a hideous moral example of presidential behavior is beyond the pale. And I haven't even mentioned the news article earlier this week which said he put money raised to fight cancer in children into his own pocket. We CANNOT be blase about this no matter how difficult it is not to. 

The United Methodist Church has appointed a transgender deacon - Because not all people of faith are totally without morality.

 Conservative student wants court to change her grade from F to A after she refused to read gay poets - How long before she hooks up with the Liberty Counsel and declare herself a victim of the supposed "gay agenda?" 

 LGBTQ Wellness: It’s All About The Data - Because the numbers means knowledge and knowledge leads to us getting the services we need. 

Photo taken from Daily Kos.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Why there is still a need for Black LGBTQ Pride events - An audio exercise

Via the past couple of years, hardly two consecutive months go by in which I don't hear the same tired diatribes from at least one white lgbtq or ally:

Why do you feel there is a need for a black pride? 
We should all be together? 
Why are you separating yourselves?

I always find it curious how defensive some get about this sort of thing, even after you attempt to explain that not all lgbtq communities have the same cultural indicators, or that black prides doesn't mean that lgbtqs of color are separating ourselves, or yes (for the thousandth time) if you are not black, you can still attend and have fun.

So allow me to explain the need for Black LGBTQ Pride events in another way. And I am going to enlist the help of Shahrazad Ali.

Ali considers herself a teacher and a scholar. She has written extensively on relationships between black heterosexual couples (The Black man's Guide to Understanding the Black Woman), racism (Are You Still a Slave?), and gay/bisexual  men (How To Tell If Your man is Gay or Bisexual). She has also appeared on many radio programs and talk shows.

It's a shame that she is a loudmouth black militant kook who wouldn't know anything about the subjects she writes about and speaks on even if they suddenly took life and bit her on the butt.

For example, this is her talking about same sex couples raising children. For those who are into that sort of thing, massive trigger warnings here:

Told you she was a kook. But here is what you really need to know.

White lgbtqs can laugh her off because they know she is, shall we say, a bit unknowledgable regarding same sex families. And they have enough support in their facet of the community who is willing to tell her to stuff it. But what lgbts of color? Who will take our side in the black community when she speaks this nonsense? Definitely not white lgbtqs. She can easily turn your racial heritage against you by claiming that you are proving her point that white folks are using homosexuality to weaken the black community.

 Ali has to be challenged and condemned by lgbts of color. We are the ones she hurts the most by her rhetoric and we are the ones who need to verbally drag her for her bull in front of the entire black community. And not just her, but others in the black community who will try to stigmatize us, whether it be on talk shows, radio shows, and yes even in the pulpits. But how can we if we have no sense of pride in ourselves as lgbtqs of color. How can we stand up for ourselves in the black community and defeat the illusion that we are "tools of the white man?"

What I'm talking about is a specific designation of lgbts of color who are open and proud members of the black community as such, will not be disrespected by our own people. That's why Black Pride events are important. It gives lgbts of color a space to recognize who we are specifically and how we add to the richness of both the lgbtq and black communities. These events gives us a chance to  reflect upon our past as well as celebrate the customs and rituals of our present.  And it gives us the will that we need to openly challenge people like Ali when they attempt to distort the conversation about our lives.

 Black Pride is a physical, psychological, and spiritual experience which builds lgbts of color up as a community and as leaders. It gives us the strength to remind everyone that we will not altered or dissected to suit their needs.

We are lgbtq and we are black.

You take us on both scores or you go away. We aren't going anywhere.