Friday, June 30, 2023

The Supreme Court's terrible 303 Creative v. Elenis ruling - what you need to know


Editor's note - Friday's Supreme Court ruling concerning 303 Creative v. Elenis was a travesty simply for the fact that it was not an actual situation and being so, the plaintiff had no standing to pursue a lawsuit.  But since we're at this point, the important thing is to get a clear view of where we stand. A lot of folks have been freaking out, so I am relying on Lambda Legal to give a clear view of what happened and where do we go from here. (I highlighted some points which I think folks NEED to know)

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a Colorado website design business – 303 Creative – which claimed the owner’s business involves “expression” and is therefore entitled to an exemption from the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) so that she can discriminate against same-sex couples when designing and selling wedding websites. In its ruling, the Court found this particular business engaged in “speech for pay” by creating customized websites for carefully vetted clients using the owner’s original artwork and language.  That uniquely creative expression is protected by the First Amendment from being “compelled” by state law when contrary to messages the artist wishes to express. 

 Lambda Legal Chief Legal Officer Jennifer C. Pizer issued the following statement:  

 “Unlike yesterday’s affirmative action travesty, today’s smug attack on civil rights law will have limited practical impact in the marketplace because few commercial services involve original artwork and pure speech offered as limited commissions.  But today’s narrow decision does continue the Court majority’s dangerous siren call to those trying to return the country to the social and legal norms of the Nineteenth Century because it jettisons without even acknowledging what was part of the legal test for decades.  

“Although misguided, today’s decision depends on its limited, uncommon facts – this business owner takes specific commissions, unlike most commercial enterprises that solicit customers widely, and she creates unique artwork for those selected customers.  Importantly, the decision also confirms that all forms of discrimination forbidden by Colorado’s law are subjected to the same constitutional standard, and that such laws serve compelling public purposes.   

 “Still, it is impossible to overlook the fact that this extreme Court majority yet again has set aside decades of sensible precedent that previously required that objective observers of commercial conduct would need to understand that any message conveyed by a commercially available service was that of the business owner rather than that of the customer.  Given the uniquely creative service at issue here, the impact is likely to be minimal.  But the door has been opened for potential future cases to expand this limited carve-out.  We will be vigilant against that possibility.”   

So basically, this is the deal in my opinion.

 The ruling in this case is limited because of extenuating circumstances. Even though the court ruled in favor of the web designer, it confirmed the need and justification for anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ Americans.

BUT . . .

1. The ruling opens the door for future cases looking to test laws favoring LGBTQ rights.

2. The fact that SCOTUS agreed to hear this case even though there was NO CASE to begin with raises huge questions about the court's integrity as a whole and the motivations of certain members. I think that in the future, this case will be mentioned as proof of why the Justice Roberts era of SCOTUS was of poor quality.

For now, we do what we always do when there is a loss - pick ourselves up and continue to fight like hell. Pride month in general this year was a rough one. But we not only got through it but pulled out some wins in court. And we looked fabulous in our celebrations, like always. No matter how the opposition tries to spin it, we won.   But we should be used to that. LGBTQ people know how to win the hard way because we've done it so many times.

And we are going to do it again.

'Ron DeSantis faces one setback after another in battle against LGBTQ rights' & other Fri midday news briefs

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis faces one setback after another in battle against LGBTQ rights - And it couldn't be happening to a more deserving person. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

'Bigoted right-wing pounces on isolated chant at NYC Drag Parade' & other Thur midday news briefs

Right Wing Pounces on Isolated Chant at NYC Drag Parade​ - They are jackals. Any little thing they can pounce on to use to their advantage is what they want. 

As Pride Month draws to a close, Joe Biden has one simple message- Always remember that voting matters. It's the difference between having a president who cares and one who will attempt to take our rights away. 

North Carolina lawmakers give final OK to ban gender-affirming care for trans children - Another ban set to be knocked down like so many others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Double boom! Anti-trans bills in Tennessee and Kentucky temporarily blocked by federal courts

I told folks a while back when these awful anti-trans bills were being passed that the courtroom is totally different from legislative chambers. In legislative chambers, the ending is mostly pre-determined. You can basically pass any type of junk. But the courtroom is still a place where you have to defend your sh!t. And it looks like those who pushed for these anti-trans bills are having a real problem in that area. 

First, there is Kentucky. 

From The Associated Press:

A federal judge temporarily blocked Kentucky’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youths on Wednesday, taking the action shortly before the measure was set to take effect. In issuing the preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge David Hale sided with seven transgender minors and their parents, who sued the state officials responsible for enforcing the provisions banning the use of puberty blockers and hormones. “Justice is served today as the most egregious parts of Kentucky’s anti-trans law are struck down by a federal judge,” said Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group. 

 . . . In their lawsuit, the Kentucky plaintiffs claim that the prohibition interferes with parental rights to seek established medical treatment for their children. The plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the disputed portion of the law from taking effect on Thursday. In his order, Hale concluded that the plaintiffs showed “a strong likelihood of success on the merits” of their constitutional challenges to the contested portion of the measure. In his order, the judge said that if the disputed sections were allowed to take effect, they would “eliminate treatments that have already significantly benefited six of the seven minor plaintiffs and prevent other transgender children from accessing these beneficial treatments in the future.”

And while we were rejoicing over that, we got more good news from Tennessee. 

Brody Levesque from The Los Angeles Blade reported:

A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a Tennessee law banning gender-affirming healthcare care for trans youth up to age 18 while several families’ legal challenge against the law proceeds in court. United States District Court Judge Eli Richardson in his sixty-nine page ruling granted the request for a preliminary injunction against the law, SB1, in a lawsuit brought by Samantha and Brian Williams of Nashville and their 15-year-old daughter, as well as two other anonymous families and Dr. Susan N. Lacy. The law would prohibit medical providers from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender youth and would require trans youth currently receiving gender-affirming care to end that care within nine months of the law’s effective date of July 1, 2023, or by March 31, 2024. 

 Richardson wrote in his conclusion: “The Court realizes that today’s decision will likely stoke the already controversial fire regarding the rights of transgender individuals in American society on the one hand, and the countervailing power of states to control certain activities within their borders and to use that power to protect minors. The Court, however, does not stand alone in its decision. 

As repeatedly emphasized above, several federal courts across the country have been confronted with laws that mirror SB1 in material respects. To the Court’s knowledge, every court to consider preliminarily enjoining a ban on gender-affirming care for minors has found that such a ban is likely unconstitutional. And at least one federal court has found such a ban to be unconstitutional at final judgment.”

According to the ACLU:

Tennessee’s is the fourth ban on gender-affirming care blocked by a federal court following similar rulings in Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida, and Kentucky. The ACLU and the ACLU of Oklahoma secured a binding non-enforcement agreement with the Attorney General of Oklahoma preventing enforcement of that state’s ban in May 2023. On June 16, 2023, the ACLU and the ACLU of Indiana were granted a preliminary injunction in a legal challenge against Indiana’s ban on gender-affirming care. In June 2023, a federal judge in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban in a permanent injunction, the first court ruling on the merits regarding a ban on gender-affirming care.

'Outsports Power 100 honors the most power and influential LGBTQ people in sports' & other Wed midday news briefs

Outsports Power 100 honors the most powerful and influential LGBTQ people in sports - LGBTQ visibility in sports is very important. When I was a child, nothing like that would have ever happened. We've definitely come a long way.

Minnesota Senator Blames Pride for Mankind’s Impending Fiery Apocalypse -Wonderful.  We are being blamed for the 'coming Apocalypse.' Again.

Gender-affirming care for trans youth: Medical facts vs. misinformation - It took you long enough to get this going CBS but thank you for the primer. 

Florida Reverends, Rabbi Slam DeSantis, Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws - Don't let folks fool you into believing the LGBTQ community vs. religious community narrative.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Digitally altered photo falsely accuses CA state legislator Scott Wiener of 'sexualizing' children


Bigot spread a digitally altered photo of gay CA legislator Scott Wiener to make it seem as if he approves of sexually grooming children.

I've said it once and I will say it again - once the anti-LGBTQ industry finds a good lie, they will continuously repeat it no matter how many times it has been refuted.

An recent incident involving an openly gay California state legislator Scott Wiener proves this point. Check out the tweet below.

Wiener supports legislation allowing trans kids to get gender-affirming care, so wannabe social media influencers on Twitter have accused him of "grooming" kids. This tweet accentuates the accusation because it shows Wiener proudly holding a book which encourages kids to keep secrets from their parents. The implication is that Wiener supports being kids molested, sexualized, or "groomed" and not  telling their parents. As you can see, the tweet has spread. Here are just a few retweets:

But guess what - and you know where I am going with this - it is a lie. The picture was digitally altered. Here is the actual picture:

And what's worse about this lie is that it was already refuted by several news sources. This is what Reuters said in March:

Erik Mebust, communications director for Wiener, told Reuters via email that the recently shared altered photo originates from a March 4 tweet by Wiener, which shows an identical background and apparel In his original photo posted in March, Wiener is holding a book with a yellow cover titled, “Gender Pioneers."  The photo was taken at the San Francisco Public Library’s “Celebration: Night of Ideas” event, held on March 4. Mebust said the circulating photo is “digitally altered” and an attempt to “use the Senator’s strong stances on LGBT youth rights to incite hate against the entire LGBT community.” 

Reuters also said that another digitally altered picture showed this:

Unfortunately, this one incident is indicative of what's happening on social media, but mostly on Twitter in general. This is what the LGBTQ community has to deal with now. It's not just far-right groups with huge budgets. It's also idiotic nobodies looking to gain social media influence by spreading hateful narratives about us. 

Elon Musk and Twitter has opened the door to a cottage industry of greedy homophobes hoping to monetize bigotry and sad losers deceiving themselves into thinking that their lives have value by being child defenders. Both groups are scapegoating LGBTQ people as pedophiles, and they don't care if they have to lie to do it just as long as they get their clout.

For LGBTQ people, it's like being trapped in a long-awaited sequel to a horror movie.  

Anita Bryant on Steroids, maybe.

'The war on LGBTQ people being waged in rural America' & other Mon midday news briefs

The War on LGBTQ People Being Waged in Rural America - We've had war waged on us before. We will not give up nor will we be defeated. No matter what. 

Ron DeSantis is campaigning on his record. Judges keep saying it’s unconstitutional​ - From the article - "Critics say DeSantis has built his governorship around enacting laws that appeal to his conservative base but that, as a Harvard-trained lawyer, he knows are unconstitutional and not likely to take effect."

5th grade Georgia teacher fired for reading “divisive” book about acceptance - The book, 'My Shadow is Purple,' is an international best-seller. There is nothing in it remotely divisive. 

The LGBTQ population is growing, but medical schools haven't caught up - And some folks are trying to suppress healthcare for LGBTQ people.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Randy Rainbow pokes good fun at Trump again with 'Donald in the John With Boxes'

 Let's waltz into this last week of Pride with smiles and laughter courtesy of Randy Rainbow. With a hilarious parody of the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," Randy Rainbow blisters Donald Trump and his recent indictment.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Deja Vu - Overturn of Arkansas trans healthcare ban reminder of how state's ban on gay foster parents was defeated

Predictably, Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was not happy with the recent federal court decision to overturn her state's ban on gender-affirming care for trans kids

No one should be distracted by her hysterics. The state lost the case simply because it couldn't justify banning gender-affirming care for trans kids. It's easy to create laws or sway voters with lies but in a court of law, facts matter. And in this case, Arkansas failed to provide the facts. 

Independent journalist Erin Reed (folks should really support her work. She is very good) wrote a brilliant summation of the judge's decision:

The crux of Judge Moody’s ruling lies in the substantial 311 individual statements of fact, many of which decisively dismantle arguments made against gender affirming care. These facts apply to issues from the rarity of detransition to the vital medical benefits that gender affirming care offers transgender youth. The statements also rule on the credibility of the state’s experts as well as the plaintiff’s experts. The court found the plaintiff's experts to be extraordinarily credible, while the state’s experts were deemed to be considerably lacking in credibility and motivated more by religious beliefs than sound policy. Even religious organizations lobbying for anti-transgender laws, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, are probed within these factual statements.

One statement of fact was about the "experts" Arkansas used to justify its ban:

Judge Moody offered a biting critique of the credibility of the witnesses fielded by Arkansas, stating their opinions were "more rooted in ideology than in science." Backing this statement, Moody pointed out the significant lack of training that state experts possessed in providing gender-affirming care. For instance, Dr. Mark Regnerus, a sociologist specializing in sexual relationship behavior and religion, lacks any clinical or psychological experience with transgender individuals. 

Similarly, Dr. Patrick Lappert, a plastic surgeon, has no experience in mental healthcare, let alone in gender-affirming care. Furthermore, Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist put forward by the state, has never treated a patient for gender dysphoria. Of particular note was the involvement of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in recruiting the state's experts.

 Judge Moody highlighted that Dr. Regnerus, Dr. Hruz, and Dr. Lappert were all connected through an ADF seminar in Arizona meant to recruit witnesses for court cases like this one. Given the nature of their testimony and how they were recruited, the judge observed that the state experts were "testifying more from a religious doctrinal standpoint than from the perspective expected of experts." 

 In a post last night, I wrote about how one of those experts, Regnerus, created a fraudulent study in 2012 in an effort to justify a ban on marriage equality. The point was to show that the same folks who fought our right to marry are now fighting against the right of trans people to get decent healthcare. 

But there is also another linkage.  

This isn't the first time using poor witnesses led Arkansas to lose a case in which it was attempting to defend anti-LGBTQ law.  And wouldn't you know it? A Huckabee was involved in that situation. Sanders's father, Mike Huckabee, was governor in 2004 when a state judge ruled that gays and lesbians could be foster parents. 

According to a January 1, 2005 edition of  The SF Gate

An Arkansas judge's ruling allowing gays and lesbians to become foster parents contains findings on parental fitness that could have an impact in both the U.S. Supreme Court and a court in San Francisco, where major decisions on the rights of same-sex couples are imminent. In his ruling Wednesday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox said the ban enacted by an Arkansas state agency in 1999 had nothing to do with protecting children's health or welfare, but instead was an attempt to regulate "public morality," which is beyond the agency's authority. Fox also issued a series of findings, based on testimony by child welfare and mental health experts:

In that case, Arkansas used an "expert witness" by the name of George Rekers. An ACLU Fact Sheet on Rekers said the following:

Rekers is one of the founders of the Family Research Council, a notoriously anti-gay group. 

Rekers relies on the discredited research of Paul Cameron, an anti-gay “”researcher”” who was kicked out of the American Psychological Association for misrepresenting the research regarding homosexuality. 

Rekers has suggested that gays are unsuitable to serve as foster parents because they’re at higher risk for AIDS and other sexually-transmitted disease, ignoring the fact that there is a physical examination required of all foster parent applicants in Arkansas that would weed out any applicants with health conditions that could jeopardize a foster child. 

Rekers says that children are best served when raised by both a mother and a father, but doesn’t favor excluding single heterosexual single women from fostering. 

Rekers is an ordained minister in the southern Baptist convention. He has strong religious beliefs about homosexuality and the role of men and women, including the belief that married women should be submissive to their husband’s leadership in the home. 

Rekers practices “”conversion therapy,”” the attempt to “”cure”” people of being gay. 

Rekers has said he favors pulling children from long-term placements with gay foster parents if the opportunity arises to place them in homes headed by straight parents even though, as he acknowledges, research shows such transitions are traumatic for children.

That should give you an idea of what Rekers would say in his testimony. According to an October 6, 2004 edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

Little Rock attorney Kathy L. Hall, who represents the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board, questioned Rekers about his opinion regarding placement of children in foster homes where at least one person is homosexual. The board approved a regulation in 1999 prohibiting such placements. "It would be in the best interest of foster children to be placed in a heterosexual home," 

Rekers began, adding that children in foster care are more likely to already have psychological disorders. He said that because the majority of people in the country — according to one public opinion study — disapprove of homosexual behavior, placing vulnerable children in a home with a gay person would intensify their stress. "That disapproval filters down to children," 

Rekers said. "Children will express disapproval in more cruel, insensitive ways" toward children being raised in a household containing a gay person.

In his ruling, Judge Fox did not give a positive opinion of Rekers's testimony. From The SF Gate:

Fox, in his ruling, described Rekers' testimony as "extremely suspect" and said the witness "was there primarily to promote his own personal ideology."

Rekers later demanded over $200,000 ($165,000 initially plus late fees and other charges) as payment for his testimony. He and the state reached an agreement for $60,000 in 2006. In 2010, Rekers was embroiled in a huge scandal in which he paid a male escort to accompany him on a trip to Europe. The escort claimed that he and Rekers had "heavy petting type sex."

All in all, one would think that Arkansas would have learned its lesson about relying on bad experts to defend anti-LGBTQ laws. Lucky for the state's trans community, it clearly didn't.

'All the celebrities who came out as LGBTQ+ in 2023 (so far)' & other Thur midday news briefs

All the Celebrities Who Came Out As LGBTQ+ in 2023 (So Far) - So far is right. 

Christian-Owned Business Can Discriminate Against LGBTQ+ People: Court​ - I don't know about this one. It is a specifically religious business. 

GOP focus on trans women in sports at ‘Protecting Pride’ hearing - Telling lies about trans athletes is a big thing now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Arkansas anti-trans law witness authored discredited study against marriage equality

Mark Regnerus

On Tuesday, I pointed out a similarity between why social media conservatives lost marriage equality cases in court with their recent loss to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth in Arkansas:

. . .far right conservatives using their money and resources to gain legislative and referendum victories which are eventually dismantled in our courts because said victories were built on faulty foundations. In other words, it's easy to scare or persuade people into voting the way you want but in a court of law you have to provide facts proving your point. And far right conservatives simply can't do it. 

 As it turns out, there was another huge similarity which I overlooked. In striking down the Arkansas ban, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. listed a number of reasons why he felt the law was unconstitutional. One had to do with the witnesses the state used to prove its case.

According to NPR:

 The court found three of the state's witnesses had been recruited at a meeting of the Christian advocacy organization Alliance Defending Freedom held specifically to gather witnesses trained in various fields that would be willing to testify in favor of laws passed that limit transgender care. "While there is nothing nefarious about an organization recruiting witnesses to testify for their cause, it is clear from listening to the testimony that Professor Mark Regnerus, Dr. Paul Hruz, and Dr. [Patrick] Lappert were testifying more from a religious doctrinal standpoint rather than that required of experts," the ruling reads.

Regnerus stands out for two reasons. For one, his testimony was so abysmal that Moody questioned its relevancy. According to The Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

 . . . His testimony was meandering, repetitive and often confusing as U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. struggled at times to understand the relevance of his testimony to the matter at hand. Regnerus said he had reviewed numerous works by other researchers. He said had observed a bias among providers treating transgender patients, a bias toward affirmation rather than treatment of underlying mental or emotional conditions. The sociologist also testified that researchers had faced pressure to agree with treatment models based on affirmation and that a number of groups exist that "don't feel like they have the freedom to object."

 "There is significant concern that there's a rush to treat minors," Regnerus said, but when asked what research he had done in the area, he continued to point to the work of others that had fallen under heavy criticism. 

 "All I'm hearing is some people are forming opinions which are causing debate," Moody said at one point. "All he's telling me is there was a report and there was back flow and that shows there was criticism ... What does it have to do with the decision I have to make?"

Regnerus has faced this kind of disdain before. He is the author of a 2012 badly done, much rebuked, disputed, and discredited negative study on same-sex parenting.

Regnerus's study was discredited by many sources, including the American Sociological Associationover 200 researchers, the sociology department of  Regenerus's own university (University of Texas - Austin) for its multitude of errors, including the fact that it did not actually compare married gay parents to married heterosexual parents and Regnerus admitted that the study did not establish a connection between negative outcomes and same-sex parenting.

There was also the fact that Regnerus received funding for the study from two groups, the Witherspoon Institute and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, who were attempting to stop marriage equality from becoming a reality.

According to The American Independent, by way of The Huffington Post, the organizations which funded Regnerus's work deliberately timed its release to influence the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality cases, a plan which failed miserably.

 In ruling against Michigan's anti-marriage equality law in 2014, US District Judge Bernard Friedman also rebuked Regnerus, who was testifying for the state:

“The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it ‘essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society’ and which ‘was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.’ … While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.”

Regenerus is more proof that social conservatives are retooling their anti-gay tactics to undermine trans equality.  He is also more proof of how they fail when their tactics run head-on into the brick wall of truth.

'Well-funded 'Christian' group behind US effort to roll back LGBTQ+ rights' & other Wed midday news briefs

Well-funded Christian group behind US effort to roll back LGBTQ+ rights​- Who else but the Alliance Defending Freedom. For years, folks have been warning the LGBTQ community about this group. I did. Media Matters for America did. So many others did also. But we were ignored. And now some who ignored us are pointing fingers at trans people and blaming them for this recent chaos. It's so frustrating. 

 Ohio lawmakers and religious lobbyists coordinate on anti-trans legislation - Unfortunately, it's done like this in so many places. 

Pastor walks out after Christian Reformed Church synod passes anti-LGBTQ+ resolution - It's nice to see a pastor standing up for the community. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Federal judge overturns Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for trans kids

From Yahoo News:

A federal judge in Arkansas has permanently struck down the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, finding that the law violates the constitutional rights of trans patients, their families and health providers. The law – the first-such ban on affirming healthcare for trans youth in the US – is permanently enjoined following a weeks-long trial, marking the first such ruling in the country.

 A decision from US District Judge Jay Moody, who was appointed to the federal judiciary by Barack Obama, joins a wave of legal victories in federal courts for transgender rights and the rights of trans youth to access medically recommended and potentially life-saving care. 

 The law prohibited doctors from providing hormone therapies, puberty blockers or affirming surgeries to anyone under 18 years old. It also barred state funds or insurance coverage for affirming care for people under 18 and allowed insurance companies to refuse to cover affirming treatment for people of any age. Judge Moody had temporarily blocked the law in 2021 as a legal challenge from a group of families with trans children played out.

In his ruling on 20 June, Judge Moody determined that the law discriminates against transgender people and that attorneys for the state of Arkansas failed to contest the “extensive clinical experience” from doctors who testified in the case and the “decades of clinical experience demonstrating the efficacy of gender-affirming medical care.” 

 The judge also debunked the state’s medical claims by pointing to testimony from its own witness and ruled that the state failed to prove any of its claims that affirming treatment is “ineffective or riskier than other medical care provided to minors,” among other statements.

The story is still developing but some folks on Twitter were quick to point out just how the state was unable to prove its case.

This will probably be appealed to a higher court but for now, it is a huge victory for trans kids on so many levels. For one, it could be a preview of rulings to come involving other anti-trans laws passed in other states.

 For another, it replicates a cycle we saw in the marriage equality fight - far right conservatives using their money and resources to gain legislative and referendum victories which are eventually dismantled in our courts because said victories were built on faulty foundations.  In other words, it's easy to scare or persuade people into voting the way you want but in a court of law you have to provide facts proving your point. And far right conservatives simply can't do it. 

'Newsroom staff revolt against managers who told them to cover fewer pride events' & other Tue midday news briefs

Newsroom staff revolts against managers who told them to cover fewer pride events - Yep and the managers backed down. That's how you do it. 

‘A sense of betrayal’: liberal dismay as Muslim-led US city bans Pride flags - It is highly problematic seeing how many LGBTQ people defended Muslims when they were the victims of Islamophobia.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Don't let the bigots rebrand LGBTQ history

 I ran into this ball of bullshyte today online:

Who is this woman? In the grand scheme of things, a huge nobody. She is simply one of many on Twitter attempting to monetize themselves or grab social media clout for their "substack" or "podcast." Since buying Twitter, Elon Musk has been breeding that type like the xenemorph queen in the Aliens franchise.

What she represents though, is an attempt by conservatives on the far right to remake LGBTQ history to make their transphobia more palpable to the masses. The narrative is that gays and lesbians were pretty much accepted but are now facing a backlash because the community has been "hijacked" by transgender and queer activists. In the case above, the tweet blames Joe Biden for it all.

It is a ludicrous narrative but it is also fairly popular amongst some on Twitter including, I hate to say, some gays and lesbians. It's a woeful mixture of young gays and lesbian ignorant of their history, older gays and lesbians who can't deal with how more other voices in the community (bisexuals, transgender people, and LGBTQ people of color) are demanding to be heard, and far-right outsiders looking to divide and conquer.

 Any idea that gays and lesbians were accepted before trans and queer people came along is a lie. And so many of us know it too well. We have the physical and psychological marks to prove it. We remember how the right denigrated us in the past with the same audacity they use to openly denigrate trans people. The false narratives about unhealthy lives, despotic desires for control, and sexualizing kids were hallmarks of anti-gay propaganda:

Gays are sick people:
 Their [gay] minds are perverted, they’re frankly sick people psychologically, mentally, and emotionally.” – Bishop EW Jackson 

 Yet almost all gays make lots of money:

 “You know, I saw yesterday how much -- how much money the homosexual community has. I mean, good gracious, the average homosexual makes four times more than I do . . . I mean, they're not -- these people are not in poverty or hurting or denied or anything else.” – Donald Wildmon, American Family Association 

Gays are only a small part of the population: 

“Relying on three large data sets: the General Social Survey, the National Health and Social Life Survey, and the U.S. census, a recent study in Demography estimates the number of exclusive male homosexuals in the general population at 2.5 percent and exclusive lesbians at 1.4 percent.” – Family Research Council in its inaccurate brief “Homosexuality and Child Abuse” 

 Yet gays “control” the culture: 

“Homosexual activists in many ways, drive our culture, they decide what’s going to be in a movie, we see all the portrayals, homosexuals are the most positively portrayed in the movies and on television.” – Peter LaBarbera, Americans for Truth 

 Gays “bully” all of those who oppose them: 

“Instead, what we have is the gay Gestapo who go out and try to intimidate morally, economically, professionally, and personally anyone who speaks out against the homosexual agenda.” – Jeffrey Kuhner, The Washington Times 

Gays “Recruit” children:

 “. . . Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your children. What we are facing is a radical force of people who want to change what America looks for the next twenty years . . .” – Bishop Harry Jackson 

And are plotting to either destroy or change America and “silence” Christians:

 “Those special gay rights would require Christians not to speak against –would require us Christians not to speak against homosexual rights . . . because if we did, we could be charged with bullying or censored for it.” – Buster Wilson, American Family Association 

“Through a carefully crafted, decades-old propaganda campaign, homosexuals have successful cast homosexuals - many of whom enjoy positions of influence and affluence - as a disadvantage minority” – Matt Barber, Unmasking the “Gay” Agenda 

And while generating all of this mayhem, gays still manage to find time to have all sorts of mind-boggling wild sex with multiple partners:

“One study determined that homosexual males have from between 20 to 106 sexual partners per year. It’s no wonder that homosexual men account for over 50% of all hepatitis cases, and still account for over 50% of all AIDS cases despite the fact that they only make up 1-3% of the population.” – Matt Barber, The Gay Agenda vs. Family Values, December 12, 2004 

“Homosexual activists claim their lifestyle, which in some cases includes thousands of sexual partners, should be sanctioned, protected, and granted special rights by society. Would you critique this stance?“ – question on Dr. James Dobson's web page. Dobson is the former head of Focus on the Family.
What happening now is that trans people are the new target because, like gays in the past, people are ignorant about what their lives entail. And with ignorance comes the power to exploit fears of the unknown.

But that will change. Until then, the lies won't change. They never change. 

Only the scapegoats change. The new unknowns.

'GOP presidential candidates using trans people as political stepping stones' & other Mon midday news briefs

GOP presidential candidates use trans bodies as political stepping stones - Yep. We got a huge problem possibly coming in 2024.

A Pride event protester who took a selfie with a terminally ill patient has been charged with criminal harassment, police say - Morbid. If this had happened to me, the police would be coming not to arrest him. They would be coming to arrest me (if you get where I'm coming from)

Friday, June 16, 2023

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Washington Post exposes conservative fake medical group I already exposed 14 years ago

Earlier on Thursday, the Washington Post ran a huge article exposing a right-wing organization masquerading as legitimate medical group. 

According to The Daily Beast:

Internal documents from a conservative group of doctors shows how the organization has lobbied to limit transgender rights and restrict access to abortion, according to a report. A review of the American College of Pediatricians’ records from The Washington Post showed how the organization has lobbied in at least eight states to ban puberty blockers and and hormone therapies for transgender minors, and sought new recruits with mailers targeting Christian MDs and pediatricians in “red states.” The group has also successfully pushed its message in conservative media, with the American College of Pediatricians being mentioned in more than 200 articles on right-wing news sites since 2016. Jill Simons, the organization’s executive director, told the Post that the group’s “recommendations are based on the medical research and what is best for children.”

I'm happy that the American College of Pediatricians is finally getting some mainstream scrutiny even if it is long time coming. The Southern Poverty Law Center had already listed the organization as a hate group. 

But even before then in 2009, I called the group out in a blog post.

 Back then, the American College of Pediatricians was targeting gays.  Below is the published post. If anything, it should serve as a reminder that all of the LGBTQ community are in this together because we are targets of the same haters:

The American College of Pediatricians and the Laundering of Junk Science, July 6, 2009

Two weekends ago, I was embroiled in an intense discussion about gay parenting on the webpage

Comments had gone back and forth, spurred by someone who spouted what he thought was credible information proving that gay marriage was not a good idea.

The subject drifted to gay parenting. Naturally the person did not agree with the idea and he cited information by a group called the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) that supposedly proved his point.

I took a look at this group's webpage and from what I saw, it looked like a group masquerading as a legtimate medical organization while spouting religious right dogma about the lgbt community.

Mike Airhart, a writer employed by Truth Wins Out and a very good friend of mine, broke it down like this:

The “American College of Pediatricians” screens its membership according to a pro-life philosophy spelled out on its “Core Values” page and an anti-gay philosophy spelled out here. The organization’s Bible Belt charter members are listed here.

According to 
Concerned Women for America, ACP formed in retaliation against the American Academy of Pediatrics after AAP released scientific studies finding no significant harm to children in same-sex parenting. ACP accuses the AAP of “bad science” but does not say how AAP’s studies were flawed.

The ACP’s family resources 
page links primarily to religious-right organizations. In contrast to the scientific approach of the AAP, ACP employs what it considers a predetermined “moral” filter to pediatrics.

Translation: The American College of Pediatricians is a group masquerading as a legtimate medical organization while spouting religious right dogma about the lgbt community.

I pretty much said the same thing already, but didn't Mike say it much better than me?

Seriously though, I took a look at the work ACP put out about the lgbt community, particularly a piece called Homosexual Parenting: Is it Time for Change?

What I found was a hot mess of the usual lies put out by the religious right. I'm sure those who keep up with this blog have heard these before but I'm a stickler for consistency when it comes to religious right distortions, so bear with me.

The distortions of the ACP piece can be broken down in three brackets:

1. Outdated data

The paper says:

Homosexual partnerships are significantly more prone to dissolution than heterosexual marriages with the average homosexual relationship lasting only two to three years

As proof of this, the ACP paper cites sources from over 15 years ago:

David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison, The male couple: how relationships develop (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984), pp. 252-253.

M. Saghir and E. Robins, Male and female homosexuality (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1973), p. 225; L.A. Peplau and H. Amaro, "Understanding lesbian relationships," in homosexuality: social, psychological, and biological issues, ed. J. Weinrich and W. Paul (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1982).

M. Pollak, "Male homosexuality," in western sexuality: practice and precept in past and present times, ed. P. Aries and A. Bejin, translated by Anthony Forster (New York, NY: B. Blackwell, 1985), pp. 40-61, cited by Joseph Nicolosi in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1991), pp. 124, 125.

To make matters worse, the ACP is inaccurately using the data to generalize about all lgbt couples.

The authors of The Male Couple said their book could not be used to generalize about the lgbt community:

“We always have been very careful to explain that the very nature of our research sample, its size (156 couples), its narrow geographic location, and the natural selectiveness of the participants prevents the findings from being applicable and generalizable to the entire gay male community.”

Another outdated source the ACP piece uses is:

A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: a study of diversity among men and women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp. 308, 309

Homosexualities was published in 1978. And with it, the APC paper continues to inaccurately generalize about lgbt couples.

A passage in Homosexualities clearly says:

“. . . given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlikely that any investigator will ever be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals.”

Generally speaking, if you looked at all of the sources in the ACP paper, you see that the majority of them are over 10 years old. And many of the ones that can be construed as current are misused.

But that is the next section.

2. Misusage of studies

Many of the studies the ACP uses to claim that children will suffer adverse effects in lgbt households in fact did not have anything to do with looking at children in lgbt homes at all. They include:

A. Marie Xiridoui, et al., "The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam," AIDS 17 (2003): 1029-1038. [Note: one of the findings of this recent study is that those classified as being in "steady relationships" reported an average of 8 casual partners a year in addition to their partner (p. 1032)]

As pointed out in a post two weeks ago , this study only looked at casual relationships between gay men. It had nothing to do with the lesbian population and certainly nothing to do with children in lgbt households. The ironic thing is that this study has been used to also claim that lgbts have no concept of monogamy in marriage even though the data was compiled before marriage was even legalized in the Netherlands.

B. Joanne Hall, "Lesbians recovering from alcoholic problems: an ethnographic study of health care expectations," Nursing Research 43 (1994): 238-244.

In my 2007 book, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, I talk about how this article in Nursing Research was distorted. The author of the article, Joanne Hall, Ph.D. of the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing, wrote me a letter outlining how it was being misused. She said that not only did the study have nothing to do with gay parenting but also:

“My study was an investigation of experiences of lesbians who ALREADY have self-identified as having ‘had an alcohol problem.’

They were not recruited as ‘alcoholics,’ ‘addicts’ or such terms, because I realized people have different understandings and preferences about ‘labels.’ These women were not necessarily under treatment at all, but living in the community. I did not ‘verify’ either their sexual orientation (that was also self-identification), nor a ‘diagnosis’ of substance abuse. They responded to a flyer. They all lived in the Bay Area. There were 35 women in the study. ONLY 35. They do not REPRESENT a population. My point was to try to get a handle on what they were experiencing—to UNDERSTAND their patterns . . . . "

C. Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, "Intimate violence in lesbian relationships: discussion of survey findings and practice implications," Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 41-59.

Again a study having nothing to do with children in same sex households. The original study was conducted in 1985 at a Michigan Women’s Music Festival. It included only 1099 participants and all were lesbian.

According to a reviewer of the study, Suzana Rose, Ph.D., of the 1099 lesbians participants, most were white and between the ages of 20-45. - Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications, Journal of Social Science Research, 1991

D. "Sex survey results," Genre (October 1996), quoted in "Survey finds 40 percent of gay men have had more than 40 sex partners," Lambda Report, January 1998, p. 20.

Not only did this Genre article have nothing to do with children in same sex households but check out the entire citation. The Lambda Report was an anti-gay publication put out by an old friend of ours - Peter LaBarbera - before he began Americans for Truth.

So in all honesty, it can be said that the ACP paper does not misuse Genre article because it does not cite the article at all, but what LaBarbera (a man with an anti-gay bias) claims the Genre article says.

3. Researcher complaints

A consistent factor of religious right studies is how they inaccurately use studies even after complaints by the work's original author. There are two in the ACP paper:

A. It cites the infamous 1997 study Canadian study as proof that lgbts have a short life span even though the study's authors complained in 2001 of its misusage by the religious right. (This is getting to be a favorite citation of mine. In almost every religious right paper I've talked about on this site, the distortion of the Canadian study is included.)

B. Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz, "(How) Does the sexual orientation of parents matter," American Sociological Review 66 (2001): 174, 179.

Judith Stacey has said repeatedly that nothing in her work says that same sex parenting is a bad idea.

Finally, the most interesting thing about the ACP paper is that it is not original. Some of the citations and passages in the paper are identical to a Family Research Council paper, The Negative Effects of Homosexuality.

This is the same paper is considered "outdated" by the Family Research Council.

So basically, the American College of Pediatricians is a puppet organization that can do damage if no one researches its background.

The folks who founded this organization are clearly sacrificing the integrity of their profession by laundering religious right propaganda as credible medical research.

And it makes one wonder as to how many other "groups" like ACP are out there. And also what can we do to bring attention to these groups.