Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Show vs. Show

In this installment of Show vs. Show, we take a look at two bands both welcome at any party. It’s the battle of young and not-so-young as The B-52s bring out their campy tunes and CSS turn on their Brazilian beats for Dallas audiences.

Despite a healthy discography, we might always know The B-52s for “Love Shack,” but there are worse tunes on which to hang a legacy. Now a classic party anthem, the song has held up for more than 20 years.

The band’s talent shouldn’t be overlooked for its camp factor. When the late Ricky Wilson threw down that riff for “Rock Lobster,” he made music history with a strong sound. It’s easy to blow off, but over the years, has proven unforgettable. Guitarist Keith Strickland stepped in and filled those shoes with the perfect blend of musicality and whimsy.

Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson always keep our attention with their mod outfits and high-to-heaven ’dos, but Fred Schneider symbolizes the band most with his outrageous flair.

But don’t count out CSS for party ’peal. The Brazilian popsters may be the heirs apparent to The B-52s (if not LMFAO), infusing a comic touch on their songs. They don’t offer as much of a punchline as The Bs do, but with tunes like “Let’s Reggae All Night” and “City Grrrl,” they add their own panache. Another point in their corner is opening dance band and performance artists MEN, led by lesbian JD Samson.
This should be more like Party vs. Party. All that’s missing are the party favors, confetti and punch bowl.

— Rich Lopez

Artist: The B-52s

Concert-2

The B52's

 

Known mostly for… being the premiere party rock band veterans, churning out hits “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

Good for the gays? As gay as it can get. Their camp factor is off the charts.  And of course, there’s queer singer Fred Schneider.

What to wear? Anything but beige or gray. And lots of hairspray.

Relevance: The B-52s haven’t delivered big since 1989’s Cosmic Thing, but their songs are timeless fun.

Reason to be there: This is one resilient band that wholeheartedly still delivers. And how awesome is “Love Shack” going to sound live?

Reason to not: It’s in Frisco.

Deets: Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. Nov. 3
at 7:30 p.m. $27–$77. Ticketmaster.com.

Artist: CSS

Concert-1

CSS


Known mostly for… their Brazilian dance pop. Hipsters party out to this band
that wants nothing more than to have a good time.

Good for the gays? With openers MEN, both are queer-centric with refreshing
but catchy tunes.

What to wear? Ironic T-shirts and colorful Converse Chuck Taylors.

Relevance: Their latest album, La Liberacion, strikes an unusual dance chord that’s also infectious and irreverent.

Reason to be there: While CSS has a strong fan base, they are still off the gaydar. You can be the one to tell all your friends about them.

Reason to not: With this one-two punch of catchy alterna-pop, there really isn’t a reason not to be there.

Deets: With MEN. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Oct. 28
at 8 p.m. $18–$20. HouseOfBlues.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

DEATHS: James ‘Kissey’ Olson, James Edward ‘Beaux’ Geer, Ray ‘Alpha Pup’ Witt

James “Kissey” Olson, 62, died at his home in Dallas on March 30 after recently being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Olson was native of Iron River, Mich. After graduating from high school, he served in the U.S. Air Force for six years. He went to work for AT&T, living in Phoeniz, Little Rock and finally Dallas, where he retired.

He had lived in the Dallas area for more than 24 years.

His home here was party central and was always open to his many friends who will miss his and his hospitality.

Olson is survived by his mother, Minnie, and sisters, Ruth and Doris, of Iron River; his brother, Ron, of Milwaukee; his ex-wife, Jo, of Yuma, Az.; his two children, Scott and Amy of Phoenix, and six grandchildren; and his beloved Chihuahua, Moose.

Olson was cremated and his ashes were buried at Iron River. A celebration of his life will be held on the patio at The Hidden Door, 5025 Bowser St., on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m.

 

James Edward “Beaux” Geer, 46, died April 13.

Geer worked as a hairdresser with Salon D for 23 years. He was also an artist who founded “Healing Texas through the Arts” to showcase new artists and make their works available to the public.

Geer was truly loved by friends and family, and he had an innocent sweetness of spirit and extraordinary talent that turned everything he touched into a thing of beauty. His paintings provided a view into his soul. He will be profoundly missed by those who knew him and will keep him forever in their hearts.

Geer is survived by his mother and stepfather, Bill and Millie Ritter of Plano; his father, Thomas Geer, Lafayette, La.; his brother Greg “Blackie” Geer, wife Kayce, daughter Typhane and grandson Thor, all of Austin; his best friend and brother-of-the heart, Dale Hall; and a host of other family and friends. Plans are pending for a celebration of life memorial gathering.

 

Ray “Alpha Pup” Witt, 59, died March 30 from an apparent stroke. Witt, loving boy and partner to Daddy Ron Hertz of Dallas and a member of the Dallas leather community, was a former member of Discipline Corps and NLA-Dallas. He held the first International Puppy title presented in 2001, thus becoming the “Alpha Pup.” His gift for storytelling and his warm heart endeared him to many in the community and his presence will be missed.Witt is survived by his partner of 9 ½ years, Ron Hertz of Dallas; his mother, Duluth Witt of Lexington, Ky.; and his canine friend “Mugsy.” A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

 

—  John Wright

Flashback: When Maggie met Hedwig, Johnny Rotten, and Ezra’s apparent superior

(2:07, clip 1): “::laughs:: I don’t put down rules and regulations” [on marriage]

(3:42, clip 2): On the charge that she’s profiting off marriage: “I wish

And then a convoluted conversation about same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and gender identity that shows how much some of us have grown in a decade, while others among us have worked to regress our collective understanding:




Good As You

—  admin

Transphobia As An Apparent Government Function

Sometimes, one can’t help but wonder if one of the functions of state and local government is transphobia. Below are two stories on agents of government allegedly behaving badly.

Story 1.) You may remember Amber Yust. She’s the California transgender woman who filed for a new driver’s license, only to allegedly have the DMV employee who assisted her send a letter to her home.

Thumbnail Link For TLC Press Release, Entitled 'Transgender Law Center Investigating Offensive Letter from DMV Employee'The letter was framed in antigay terms. The letter tied her name change to “[t]he homosexual act,” and went on to say:

Supporting those who commit this act and encouraging and justifying those who have the orientation also lead one to hell.

The letter quotes and highlights scriptures from Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Genesis.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has added to the story in their article DMV employee put on leave after allegedly sending hate mail to transgender woman. In the article, learned the name of the DMV employee that allegedly wrote to Amber Yust: His name is Thomas Demartini. From the article:

[Below the fold: More about the California DMV Employee (Thomas Demartini) and the DMV's action so far, and the DC Trans Coalition press release, entitled DCTC Condemns Alleged Anti-Trans Assault by MPD Officer].

Yust received a letter at her home from Demartini that was dated Oct. 22, the day after he processed the changes to her DMV record.

The one-page document lists biblical references that imply homosexuality and gender transitions are mortal sins. In the letter, Demartini apparently begs Yust not to complete her gender transition.

“Jesus clearly prohibits gender change operations,” Demartini wrote. “If an operation like this is the reason for changing one’s name, then one has made a very evil decision.”

The ABC affiliate in Los Angeles is reporting DMV employee in transgender case suspended — apparently Thomas Demartini has been suspended with pay.

The San Francisco Chronicle, in their piece Transgender woman says DMV clerk warned of hell, reports the following (emphasis added):

The same day, Yust said, a DVD arrived from a fundamentalist church warning of eternal damnation for anyone “possessed by demons” of homosexuality. The DMV employee’s letter had referred her to the church’s website as a source of “critical information for your salvation.”

What’s more, the DMV had kept the employee on in 2009 even after he refused to process another transgender woman’s name-change application, Yust said in a damage claim filed with the state, the precursor to a lawsuit.

I had “the demon of transvestism” cast out of me in 1979. I know all about how Evangelicals and Pentecostals — basically, Christian fundamentalists — feel about transgender people. Too bad Thomas Demartini never closely read Matthew 19:12; Isaiah 56:3-5; Acts 8:25-40; Judges 4; and 1 Samuel 16:7b, and learned that his God respected gender variance, and that while folk like him look at people from the outside, his God looks at people’s hearts.

Anyway, UPI is reporting in their piece DMV worker faces lawsuit:

In a damage claim filed with the state, preliminary step in the filing of a lawsuit, Yust alleged the DMV retained Demartini on its payroll following an incident in 2009 in which he refused to process a name-change application for another transgender woman.

California’s DMV needs to take antitransgender behavior very seriously — I know I’m planning on telling the DMV that via their General Drivers License and Registration Information number, which is 1-800-777-0133, that I want to know if transphobia is something they take seriously. Hey, I found the number on the DMV Phone Directory webpage — I plan on asking for the management official who is in charge of their antidiscrimination policy.

2.) The DC Trans Coalition has a new press release out, entitled DCTC Condemns Alleged Anti-Trans Assault by MPD Officer. From the press release:

Washington, DC – The DC Trans Coalition is alarmed by the alleged assault of a transgender woman by an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer on December 1, as reported last week by the Washington Blade. Thumbnail Link: DCTC Condemns Alleged Anti-Trans Assault by MPD OfficerIf the allegations prove true, this case would mark a flagrant violation of the DC Human Rights Act. Even more disturbing is that to date, criminal charges are still pending against the alleged victim of this assault.

According to the Blade, Chloe Moore and a friend approached a man – off-duty Officer Raphael Radon – to ask for a light for a cigarette. Upon discovering Moore and her friend were trans, Radon proceeded to utter transphobic epithets and threatened violence, and, according to Moore, also shoved her. At this juncture, Moore used pepper spray in self-defense. Radon proceeded to chase Moore two blocks, and beat her on the sidewalk. Soon after, uniformed MPD officers arrived and determined, based on witness testimony, that Radon had instigated the incident. However, Moore was handcuffed and taken to First District headquarters, where the watch commander ordered that she be charged with assault, against the advice of the officers who had arrived at the scene.. MPD officials have said that the issue is under investigation.

“What’s especially disturbing about this case is that it features several flagrant violations of MPD’s general order on dealing with trans people,” said Alison Gill, a DCTC attorney. “Medical attention was apparently not provided promptly, and the use of degrading, transphobic language is expressly forbidden,” Gill continued. Since June, DCTC has been working with several LGBT community organizations to train officers affiliated with MPD’s special liaison units in cultural competency and relevant MPD policies. So far, roughly 70 officers have been trained in this program. “What this incident shows us is that training self-selected volunteers is only a small step toward ensuring that MPD officers fully comply with DC’s human rights law. We want to see a swift rejection of this kind of behavior from the highest levels within MPD, along with a real plan for making sure that every law enforcement officer knows and follows the law, including mandatory training for the entire force,” Gill said.

“We will provide whatever support we can to Chloe Moore as she battles this injustice, and we look forward to working with Mayor-elect Vince Gray and MPD officials to ensure that this kind of violence does not happen again,” said Sadie-Ryanne Vashti, a DCTC advocate. “We call on our allies to stand up and reject transphobia perpetuated by the criminal justice system. No one should be arrested for being the victim of an assault,” Vashti said.

What can I say about this story that the DC Trans Coalition hasn’t already said?

Still, it does seem strange that alleged antitransgender behavior by agents of the government occurs still in parts of the country where gender identity or expression is a protected class. And, that antitransgender behavior by agents of the government isn’t treated by the managers of these agents of the government as seriously as other kinds of bad behavior by agents of the government would be.

I ask the question of myself and others — what can do we do to affect changes in the way government deals with antitransgender discrimination? What can we do to make sure enforcement of antidiscrimination laws and policies based on gender identity or expression are approached with the same level of seriousness that we would expect antidiscrimination laws and policies based on race, gender, and disability would be treated?

I’m know I’m starting with a phone call to the California DMV about how Amber Yust was allegedly treated. If I lived in the District of Colombia, I’d be calling the Metropolitan Police Department, the city Mayor’s office, and LGBT organizations based in DC — specifically to ask them to take action regarding the alleged behavior against Chloe Moore.

~~~~~

Related:

*California DMV Employee Tells Trans Woman In Letter She’s Made A “Very Evil Decision”

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Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin