Iconic LGBT activist Ray Hill files for Texas House seat

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Long time Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill filed paperwork this week to run for the 147th Texas House seat against incumbent Garnet Coleman, D – Houston. The iconic (and iconoclastic) Hill said that he and Coleman agree on many issues but that he had “some issues  that aren’t on the table in Austin.”

Specifically Hill has concerns with the legislature’s approach to criminal justice issues. “The Texas legislature is a serial world class red-necking competition,” says Hill. “What they are doing on criminal justice is wrong and it doesn’t work… we need a serious rethink.”

Coleman has a strong history of supporting LGBT legislation. For the last three sessions he has attempted to pass anti-bullying legislation that would require school districts to report instances of bullying using an enumerated list of motivating characteristics that include both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, he has also filed legislation to remove the the crime of “homosexual conduct” from the Texas penal code (a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), to equalize age of consent laws in Texas and to add gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crime law. In the 82nd legislature earlier this year Coleman authored seven pieces of legislation designed to create greater equality for LGBT people, including the first ever filing of legislation to standardize change of gender marker procedures for the transgender community and the first effort to repeal the state’s constitutional prohibition against marriage equality.

Hill recognizes Coleman’s historic contributions, “The incumbent and I agree on a lot of issues,” says Hill, “but we don’t tell young gay people ‘if you work real hard and go to school and do your best you can grow up to have straight friends in Austin who like you.’ No, we tell them ‘if you work hard they can grow up to be Mayor of Houston, or City Supervisor of San Francisco.’”

When asked why the community would be better served by him than Coleman, a 20 year legislative veteran, Hill replies “I understand how government works. A freshman legislator can’t do anything more than irritate, but that’s about all any member of the minority party can do. On that level the incumbent and I are on the same level… I think we need somebody obnoxious [in the legislature] who’s going to purposefully rub the cat hair the wrong direction.”

Since being elected to the legislature for the first time in 1992 Coleman has been unopposed in 5 of his 9 primary reelection bids. No primary challenger to Coleman has pulled more than 21% of the vote.

—  admin

President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

25 ways to fight AIDS

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

Wait! Before you click the ‘next’ button or scroll down your news feed hear me out: The LGBT community has been living with AIDS for three decades now. For people of my generation the message to get tested and use condoms has been stated and restated so many times that it has faded into the background with the result that, all too often, people do not take the steps they need to to protect themselves. Harris County is responsible for 30% of the new HIV/AIDS diagnosis in Texas and men who have sex with men account for 64% of newly diagnosed men statewide. The threat is not over, the fight is not over, AIDS still endanger the LGBT community.

But I don’t want to just talk about just condoms and testing (as important as they are). Fighting HIV/AIDS is easier than you might think. I present to you 25 ways, in no particular order, to fight AIDS in Houston.

25. If you’re over a certain age talk to a young LGBT person about how your life has been affected by HIV/AIDS. You might be surprised how eager we are to hear your stories.

24. If you’re under a certain age listen to an older LGBT person tell you how HIV/AIDS has affected their lives. I know you aren’t eager to hear their stories, but listen anyway. You may find that learning the history of your community is more empowering than you’d expect.

23. If you are a sexually active gay man or transgender woman participate in the Baylor College of Medicine’s HIV Vaccine Study.

22. Ask your local public or school library to put books about HIV/AIDS on the shelf, not just in the back room where they have to be requested. Access to accurate information is crucial in fighting the spread of the disease.

21. Post HIV/AIDS stories to facebook.

20. Ask your clergy person what your community of faith is doing to fight the pandemic.

19. Sign up for action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition at texashiv.org

18. Actually follow through when the action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition arrive in your in-box.

17. Volunteer for organizations that deal with communities at high risk for infection: high school dropouts, victims of sexual assault, the poor, the homeless and sex workers. Fighting AIDS means fighting the injustice in our society that all too often contributes to new infections.

16. Say AIDS out loud.

15. Ask political candidates what they will do to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

14. Once they’re elected, ask those candidates why they aren’t doing more to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

13. Remind yourself that it’s OK to be tired of hearing about HIV/AIDS.

12. Thank a person who volunteers their time to the fight.

11. Take a moment to remember the people we’ve lost.

10. Take a moment to think of the people we may loose if this pandemic isn’t stopped.

9. Take a HIV/AIDS healthcare worker to dinner.

8. Wear a red ribbon.

7. Recognize that wearing a red ribbon isn’t enough.

6. Work with communities other than your own. HIV/AIDS effects us all.

5. Get angry.

4. Get over your anger.

3. Donate to an HIV/AIDS Charity.

2. When you pass a mobile HIV testing center, thank the workers.

1. Don’t pretend the fight is over, and don’t let other people pretend it’s over either.

—  admin

Get Totally Twisted tonight at the Dallas Eagle

Leather and vocals?

Well, the Totally Twisted Karaoke peeps have invaded again. This time they go leather and Levi finding a Monday night home at the Eagle. Hunky Robert O. hosts the night and all you daddies, bois, cubs and bears can get your sing on. Just don’t flog anyone if they aren’t on board with your voice.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 9 p.m. TotallyTwistedKaraoke.com.

—  Rich Lopez

UPDATE: Police release description of missing vehicle belonging to NE Dallas murder victim

Earlier we told you about the two men found dead in a burned Northeast Dallas apartment. Police are still not releasing the victims’ names because their bodies were so badly damaged in the fire that they’re waiting on the medical examiner to positively identify them. However, police have now released a description of the vehicle belonging to one of the victims, which is apparently missing. The vehicle is a silver, four-door 2002 Saturn L200, with a license number of 5CVDN. If you see it, call 911.

Again, police have confirmed that they believe the two victims were a gay couple, but they aren’t treating the murders as a hate crime. Police also say they don’t know the motive for the crime, prompting some to question how a hate crime can be ruled out. We posed this question to DPD Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse:

“Detectives will not elaborate at this time,” Janse told Instant Tea. “It may hamper the investigation.”

—  John Wright

Liberals Aren’t Stupid, They’re Evil

From the wingnut documentary Agenda: Grinding America Down, which came out on DVD a couple of months ago.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Male Dolphins Aren’t Afraid To Blowhole Each Other

I'm not sure who it's more awkward to learn about same-sex sex in the animal kingdom: Your biology teacher (if you live in a really progressive school district), or Isabella Rossellini, who apparently knows all about dolphins masturbating solo, female dolphins "fin-ing" each other, and male dolphins blowholing — nature's only example of nasal sex.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

Cenk Uyguy To GOP-Voting Gays: They Just Aren’t That Into You

MSNBC’s Cenk Uyguy devoted last night’s rant to gays that voted for the GOP. “That party is fighting against your rights every step of the way! What part of this don’t you understand? They’re just not that into you! They don’t like your lifestyle. They don’t like who you choose to sleep with, they don’t like who you choose to love. They think you live in sin. How much clearer did they have to be? They. Don’t. Like. You!”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

If Jarrett cares about LGBT kids killing themselves, her boss should stop saying gays aren’t equal

Here’s an excerpt of White House adviser Valerie Jarrett’s remarks tonight at the HRC annual “No Excuses” dinner.

I cry bullshit. From Politico:

–From Jarrett’s prepared remarks: “Recently, we’ve all been shocked and heartbroken by the deaths of several young people who had been harassed and bullied for being openly gay – or because people thought they were gay. It’s a terrible tragedy. And it has turned a harsh spotlight onto an issue that often doesn’t get the public attention it deserves: the struggles of LGBT youth, the enormous pain that too many experience as a result of bullying, and the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives. …

“No young person should have to endure a life of relentless taunts and harassment, just because they’re gay. On behalf of President Obama, I want to make clear that this administration is firmly committed to working with you and other advocates. For we all have to ensure that we are creating an environment in our schools, our communities, and our country, that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

If you care so much about gay kids being bullied and committing suicide, then start being our fierce advocate. Stop defending DADT and DOMA in court. Stop the DADT discharges now. Start doing something, anything, on getting ENDA passed and DOMA repealed, like you promised. And, if the President isn’t too busy calling more female basketball stars, maybe he could be bothered to make even one phone call to even one Senator on DADT repeal.

Oh yeah, and the next time you claim to be shocked and saddened by all these gay kids killing themselves, ask yourself what message you’re sending when you tell those same kids that they don’t deserve to be married, they don’t deserve to love and be loved, because God wouldn’t like it. (Of course, Barack Obama was for marriage equality before he decided to be President, but then again, he was for a lot of things before he became President.)

Words, words, words, Valerie. We’ve heard it before. And we’re over it. Words mean nothing from this President. When you and your boss finally decide to actually support full equality, when you decide to actually become our fierce advocate on DADT, DOMA and ENDA, then get back to us.  Our kids are killing themselves.  And you’ve got more important things to worry about.  Come 2012, so will we.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Some days just aren’t made for dancing

Say what you want about Ms. Degeneres. But she uses her platform better than just about anyone who has such a prominent one:

I am devastated over the death of 18 year old Tyler Clementi. If you don’t know, Tyler was a bright student at Rutgers University whose life was senselessly cut short. He was outed as being gay on the internet and he killed himself.

Something must be done. This month alone, there have been a shocking number of news stories about teens who have been teased and bullied and then committed suicide. Like 13 year old Seth Walsh in Tehachapi, California. 13 year old Asher Brown in Cypress, Texas and 15 year old Billy Lucas in Greensberg, Indiana. This needs to be a wake up call to everyone that teenage bullying and teasing is an epidemic in this country, and the death rate is climbing.

Keep reading: It’s Time to End Teenage Bullying [Ellen]

***

*On the flip side: For a look at what we’re up against, check out this disgusting blog entry. This guy has a regular column at conservative news site WorldNetDaily:

It was obvious from the start that the orientationally-challenged activists would attempt to blame [Tyler] Clementi’s death on his roommate. But the surreptitious filming of sexual activity, while an obvious breach of etiquette as well as the law in some states, is neither uncommon nor tantamount to attempting to destroy someone’s life. Nor should the online streaming be considered anything but a joke; American Pie is a comedy, not a horror flick, after all. The problem is not that American university campuses are intolerant of the orientationally challenged, as the subtext of the media coverage suggests, but rather that they are much too tolerant.

It is obvious that Clementi didn’t kill himself simply because his actions were made public; as a musician, no doubt he had been filmed before and some of those films may have even been put online. He killed himself because he could not live with the shame of knowing that everyone would be aware of his submission to what he apparently believed to be evil desires. While giving in to our desire for evil is something that we all do from time to time, it is also true that some desires happen to be more shameful or humiliating than others. For example, a man’s desire for his neighbor’s wife is sinful, but few consider it to be as appalling as his desire for his neighbor’s child.



And that is why his suicide poses a problem for the “morality is a human construct” crowd. Despite literal decades of preaching about the morality of homosexuality, despite the pansexual propaganda of the public and private schools, the knowledge that what he was doing was shameful and wrong still managed to penetrate Mr. Clementi’s mind. A normal man being forced to confront his immorality in such a public way might have reacted with anger, irritation, embarrassment, or amusement, but only one who is both psychologically disturbed and appalled by his own actions will destroy himself over it.

FULL PIECE: Gay rights killed Clementi [Vox Popoli]




Good As You

—  John Wright