DA Hawk schedules another Oak Lawn Town Hall

Hawk.Susan

Dallas County DA Susan Hawk

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk will hold a second Oak Lawn Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 25, 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Hawk held the first town hall in mid-December to address the rash of attacks happening in the gayborhood and to hear residents’ concerns and questions.

In a press statement released today (Monday, Aug. 18), the D.A. said she is holding the April 25 meeting because, “I wanted to meet with Oak Lawn area community members, again, to follow up with them regarding the safety concerns they presented at our December Town Hall meeting, Our office wants to remain a consistent resource for our community, and to do that we can’t just show up once. We have to keep the lines of communication open and continue to have a presence.”

Hawk said she will update the community on office initiatives and on programs and resources in place to help the LGBT community and Dallas County in general. She will also address ongoing concerns about the attacks last fall. No arrests have been made yet in any of those assaults.

Hawk said at that December meeting that she lived in the Oak Lawn area and had often walked her dog near the location of one of the attacks. Because of that, she added, the attacks in the area “are personal.”

—  Tammye Nash

Volunteer patrol stops attack

Police volunteer

An attack by these men was stopped by patrol volunteers

Although it’s been quieter in Oak Lawn recently, two attacks took place last week.

This past weekend another attack was prevented by a Dallas Police Volunteer patrol.

The attacks the previous week were not reported to police. In those two cases a couple holding hands was beaten up and a trans woman was attacked and required stitches on her chin.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, John Anderson and Cannon Brown, who are part of the Dallas Police Volunteers patrol in Oak Lawn, decided to cruise the neighborhood from 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Brian Taylor was in the car training with them.

They encountered what Anderson called “three thugs.” One was pulling his shirt up to get gay guys to look at him. When a gay man did look in their direction, the three started yelling “faggot” at them. They pulled bandanas over their faces to hide their identities and headed toward him.

Anderson drove toward the group. Brown shined a flashlight at them and called 911. They ran in separate directions.

“Immediately, police were everywhere chasing them,” Anderson said.

One was caught within the neighborhood. He was a juvenile and released.

“No crime happened, because we stopped it,” Anderson said.

Anderson said neighborhood patrols are effective because people living in the neighborhood often know who belongs and what doesn’t look right even better than police, who may not regularly patrol that beat.

“If we think they’re up to no good, we follow them,” he said.

On the other hand, if someone’s walking to his car alone, they might follow him to make sure he gets there safely.

Anderson said there were only six Oak Lawn patrol volunteers last September. Now, 21 have finished training and are working with police. Since he completed his class and his ride-along training, Anderson’s logged 20 hours patrolling.

“Every time we go out, we’ve called 911 at least once,” Anderson said. “And we’re wanting more people to join.”

Anderson is collecting names of people interesting in joining the volunteer patrol program. If you would like to participate, contact him on his Facebook page.

—  David Taffet

More robberies on the Katy Trail

Screen shot 2016-01-15 at 9.54.33 AMThe spate of violent robberies and attacks in the Oak Lawn area seems to have died down over the last month or so. But don’t be lulled into complacency.

Dallas police are investigating two robberies that happened in the last week along the Katy Trail, which is, if not actually in the gayborhood, is at least gayborhood-adjacent.

Police say the two offenses — one on Jan. 9 in Reverchon Park and the other on Jan. 13 near the American Airlines Center — do not appear to be related. But for those who have been paying attention to the attacks in Oak Lawn, one of the two sounds eerily familiar.

The first attack happened about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, as a 31-year-old female jogger left the trail and entered Reverchon Park. Police say a black male stepped in front of her and began yelling at her, “Give me all your money!”

Police say the way threw a $5 bill at the man, sprayed him with mace and ran away. The suspect did not follow her. He is described as about 23 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was wearing a gray goodie, gray beanie and black headphones.

Because the suspect didn’t threaten the woman and did not display a weapon, police are investigating the incident as a third degree felony.

The second attack happened Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 4:24 p.m. in the 1600 block of Lyte Street. The victim, this time a man, had just come of Katy Trail near the AAC when he was approached by two black men who “engaged him in conversation,” according to police. The victim kept walking but one of the men attacked, hitting him in the head with “an unknown object,” knocking him to the ground.

The victim managed to get up and begin running, but the suspects chased and caught him. They slammed him to the ground and stole his cell phone, but then ran off when witnesses intervened, police said.

The first suspect in this attack was described as about 19 years old and 6 feet tall with short hair. He was wearing all black. The second suspect is described as a black man, 16 to 19 years old, and about 5-feet-8. He weighed about 150 pounds and had lighter-toned skin.

Detectives investigating the incidents have asked that anyone with information on either offense call 214-671-3584.

—  Tammye Nash

Rally planned Sunday outside DPD headquarters to protest lack of response to Oak Lawn attacks

Light UpDaniel Scott Cates, one of the main organizers for the Nov. 1 Light Up Oak Lawn march down Cedar Springs, announced today (Friday, Nov. 20), that activists are planning another rally to call for an increased police presence in Oak Lawn following a wave of robberies and assaults over the last three months.

The rally will be held at the DPD headquarters, 1400 S. Lamar St., at 7 p.m. Cates said those attending should bring “signs, flags, drums, people, voices.”

“Since Sept. 20, there have now been 15 reported violent assaults on gay men in Oak Lawn,” Cates said in a Facebook post announcing the rally. “Survivors have been beaten with bats, stabbed with box cutters, pistol whipped and pummeled with fists. In several of these attacks, homophobic language has been used by the assailants.”

Despite Dallas Police promises to increase patrols and visibility in the gayborhood, Cates said “such an increase has been spotty and largely invisible.” He also noted that no arrests have been made in connection with the assaults.

In contrast, Cates noted that within two weeks of a weekend-long spate of armed robberies on the Katy Trail, there were “cruisers driving the path, mounted patrols, bicycle units and arrests. Uptown gets visible, swift action for a handful of crimes while the LGBTQIA community lives for months in terror behind 15 violent attacks!?”

Dallas Police released a statement earlier today detailing the department’s plan to increase patrols and police presence, including the formation of a task force. Read about it here.

—  Tammye Nash

The thoughts and prayers of the world are with France

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—  Tammye Nash

Five robberies in four days reported on Katy Trail

Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 1.38.31 PMFive separate robberies along the Katy Trail were reported to police between Thursday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Nov. 1, according to a blog by Dallas police officials. In each one, two suspects robbed their victims at gunpoint.

These incidents are in addition to at least two more incidents — one robbery and one assault — that happened over the weekend in the Oak Lawn. Those two come on the heels of at least nine other robberies and/or assaults in Oak Lawn since the start of September.

The first of the Katy Trail robberies happened about 9:40 p.m. Thursday on the trail near 2740 N. Houston St. The location is near the intersection of North Houston and Victory Avenue West.

The next robberies occurred on Katy Trail Saturday morning, Oct. 31, about 30 minutes apart — at 6:50 and 7:30 a.m. — in the area of 3200 Maple Avenue, which is at Reverchon Park. The final two happened Sunday afternoon, Nov. 1 — at 1:40 and 1:45 p.m. — on the trail near 3100 Routh Street

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, at about 9:40 p.m., two suspects robbed an individual at gunpoint on the Katy Trail in the area of 2740 North Houston Street.

On Saturday, October 31, 2015, at about 6:50 a.m., and again at 7:20 a.m., two suspects robbed individuals at gunpoint on the Katy Trail in the area of 3200 Maple Street near Reverchon Park.

On Sunday, November 1, 2015, at about 1:40 p.m., and 1:45 p.m., two suspects robbed individuals at gunpoint on the Katy Trail near the 3100 Routh Street, about two blocks away of the robberies on Maple the previous day.

The suspects in all five robberies were described as black males in their 20s ranging in height from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 140 and 200 pounds. In each case the suspects have been armed with a silver revolver or some other handgun and have been wearing gray, black or blue hoodies with jeans.

Also in each case, the suspects stood on the trail, blocking their victims’ paths, and demanding their property. Stolen items have included cell phones, wallets and money.

Police said no one has been injured so far.

The Katy Trail robberries have occurred in Dallas Police Department’s Central Patrol Division, and officials there said they have increased patrols on the trail in the wake of the incidents. Police are also asking that anyone with information on theses suspects call Det. Loeb of the Dallas Police Robbery Unit at 215-671-3584. Information can also be called in anonymously to Crimestoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477).

Police urged those using Katy Trail to “always be aware of your surroundings, take note of the trail markers along the trail so that if you have an emergency you can advise 9-1-1 of where you are so that we can direct resources to you as quickly as possible. If you see something or someone you find suspicious, please call 9-1-1 or report it through the iWatch Dallas app.”

The attacks/robberies in the Oak Lawn area fall under the watch of DPD’s Northwest Patrol Division. Five of them are being attributed to a group of two to four Hispanic men, two of them by a single black male and two other by a group of three black men.

—  Tammye Nash

HISD trustee distributes anti-gay flier

Rodriquez Flier (excerpt)

Excerpt from the Rodriquez flier attacking Fonseco for his advocacy for LGBT people and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus (click to view full flier)

Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez Jr. is under fire for an anti-gay flyer attacking his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca. Both seek the HISD District III seat held by Rodriquez. Rodriquez’s flyer attacks Fonseca for his history of advocating for LGBT people, and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The flyer also suggests that Fonseca being 52 and unmarried is a reason that Houstonians should not trust him to make decisions affecting children, and points out that he has a “male partner.”

The GLBT Political Caucus was quick to denounce the flyer, issuing a statement on Saturday. “Manuel Rodriguez is assuming the voters of District III share the same bigoted, hateful views he holds,” said Caucus president Noel Freeman. “Houstonians have proven time and time again that such views are not welcome in our City, and have consistently rejected candidates who espouse such hateful views. We urge the voters of District III to reject Manuel Rodriguez on election day.”

Other HISD Trustees have joined in the chorus of people speaking out against the mailer. “I denounce the reprehensible, mean-spirited, bigoted mailer that was sent out in the HISD, District III race,” Trustee Juliet Katherine Stipeche said via her Facebook wall. “I ask my colleagues to maintain and uphold HISD’s total non-discrimination policy and treat every person, including other candidates, with dignity and respect. Let us embrace diversity and equality and treat every person as we would like ourselves to be treated ” Stipeche is seeking re-election to her district VIII seat.

HISD District I member Anna Eastman echoed Stipeche’s comments. “My fifteen year old son could not comprehend why someone would think that distinction would change a vote for school board and would be used as such by a candidate.”

The GLBT caucus is urging people to contact the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle to encourage them to rescind their endorsement of Rodriquez in light of his campaign tactics.

HISD elections are part of the general elections taking place this Tuesday, Nov 8. Visit HarrisVotes.org to find your voting location and view a sample ballot.

—  admin

‘Perform or provide’

DADT repeal gives progressive chaplains a chance to counter evangelical clergy in the military

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CATCH-ALL CHAPLAIN | Chaplain Chris Antal (Lt.) attended the meeting of the Forum on Military Chaplaincy at Cathedral of Hope in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com
When a soldier recently came to Chaplain Chris Antal, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard in New York and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and asked if he’d pray with her even though she was a pagan, he said he replied, “Of course I will, but you’ll have to show me how.”

Several weeks later, when he saw her again, she told him that the day she had come to visit him, she had hit rock bottom. He had, she told him, saved her life that day.

But Antal said he was only doing his job — helping any soldier who comes to him.

“I’ve earned the nickname, the Catch-all Chaplain,” he said, explaining that it means he takes everyone the other chaplains don’t want to deal with.

Carpenter.Dodd

Capt. Tom Carpenter (ret.) and Col. Paul Dodd (ret.)

Being there to help a soldier in need is what it’s all about for a military chaplain, said Col. Paul Dodd, a retired chaplain who now lives in Austin.

“The duty of a military chaplain is to perform or provide,” said Dodd, adding that he once sponsored an Islamic conference.

Dodd said that no chaplain can perform every service needed by every member of the military. But if a chaplain can’t perform the service requested, he or she must provide that soldier with a referral to someone else who can.

Antal said that chaplains who enlisted knew what they were getting into — to some extent. But none of them really expected the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And for many, that repeal was a game changer.

In October, a group of active and retired chaplains and military personnel and other people of faith, such as the Rev. Steve Sprinkle from Brite Divinity

School in Fort Worth, met at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to begin looking at ways of addressing the issues that arose for military chaplains around DADT repeal.

Dave Guy Gainer said The Forum on Military Chaplaincy is not exactly new. It formed in 2005 as a project of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and worked under the radar until DADT was repealed.

Sprinkle said people in the Pentagon, up through Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew about their work and considered their statements throughout the DADT repeal process.

And now, with repeal complete, the group met to “come out.” At their meeting in Dallas, forum members considered ways to become an independent organization helping to ensure newly out service members receive the pastoral care they need while serving in the military.

Susan Gore, principle of The Mentor Group and editor of the book Coming Out In Faith, moderated the Dallas conference. She said the group started with several retired military officers “who wanted to push back against the far-right skew.”

Sprinkle has been part of the forum for four years and said he was recruited to participate because of his work on hate crimes.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sprinkle said, more and more members of the Chaplain Corps have come from just one school — Liberty

University, founded by far-right evangelical Jerry Falwell. Today, Sprinkle estimated, one-third of military chaplains come from Liberty University.

“They instituted a program that barely meets minimum requirements,” he said of the evangelical school. “It’s an online course.”

And, Sprinkle said, Liberty University’s goal is to take control of the Chaplain Corps and use the military as a pool for religious recruits.

“This is fertile ground to bring people to Jesus at taxpayer expense,” said Tom Carpenter, a retired Marine captain and one of the forum’s founders.

“I’ve heard stories of them holding the hand of someone who’s dying and trying to bring them to Jesus.”

And although such actions contradict military policy, no one in the corps has been disciplined or dismissed for it.

“They give chaplains a lot of leeway,” Carpenter said.

Gainer said the military is looking for well-rounded ministers who bring experience with them to the military.

According to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., candidates must be endorsed by their denomination or faith group and be “sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.”

But Sprinkle said that Liberty University is transparent about its goals, and those goals do not line up.

“They’re not committed to pluralism or serving all the troops,” he said.

Gainer said that the greatest opposition to repealing DADT came from the Chaplain Corps because military chaplains answer to two groups — the military and their denomination. Those chaplains that didn’t adhere to a strict stance of maintaining the ban on gays and lesbians were threatened with losing their accreditation from their endorsing religious body — and with it their livelihood and their pensions.

But that contradicts the stated goals of the Chaplain Corps.

“Someone has to say, ‘Either you comply and serve all the troops all the time or get out,’” Sprinkle said.

Gore said that one of the goals of the newly public forum is to “rebalance the Chaplain Corps by bringing in more mainstream faiths.” She said that for many who come from more liberal traditions, questions of what’s a just war make it hard to serve in the military. Antal, for example, is one of just four Unitarian Universalists in the Chaplain Corps.

During its push for repeal of DADT, members
said, the forum had several successes working behind the scenes.

Despite the assumption of confidentiality between parishioner and clergy, that wasn’t always the case between gay soldier and chaplain. Dodd said that a number of discharges under DADT occurred after a soldier talked to a chaplain and the chaplain turned them in.

In fact, he wrote a white paper on the practice. After he submitted it, the military tightened up on chaplain confidentiality, Dodd said.

Carpenter, an attorney, wrote an amicus brief for the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit against DADT. The court found in favor of declaring DADT unconstitutional, but Congress repealed the law before the decision could be enforced.

Carpenter said that the repeal allows gays and lesbians to serve with no protection. The legal decision, had it not been vacated upon repeal, would have allowed gays and lesbians to serve equally.

Now that DADT is gone, the forum is examining how to ensure LGB personnel receive the same services as other troops from chaplains.

Dodd said that right-wing chaplains charge that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military will force them to act in ways that go against their beliefs. Some have said they would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

Dodd called that ridiculous. Chaplains are never asked to perform duties that go against their religious beliefs, he said.

“I turned down weddings,” he said. “An officer came to me who wasn’t divorced.”

He said the officer tried to pull strings and force the issue, but Dodd wasn’t going to discuss marrying someone who was still married to someone else.

“But we’re insisting chaplains have the authority, if it’s in keeping with their faith, to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal provides no family benefits. For some issues, Dodd and Carpenter suggested work-arounds.

Issuing ID cards would be extremely helpful, especially to same-sex couples with children, Carpenter said, noting that “That way either parent could get on base to get a child to the hospital.”

In another example, joint assignments can be offered at the discretion of a commanding officer, and married couples are often assigned together when they both qualify for positions that are available at the same base. Same-sex couples could be given the same priority.

As the forum looks ahead, rebalancing the Chaplain Corps with members from a more diverse background to reflect the membership of the military is a priority.

“And we need to take care of our trans brothers and sisters,” Carpenter said.

The repeal of DADT did not address any transgender issues and does not allow transgender men or women to serve in the military.

Gainer believes representatives of the forum need to sit down with far-right members of the Chaplain Corps and agree to disagree. He said that before the repeal of DADT, they talked to people at Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While both groups testified against the repeal, they met with some success.

“The president of the VFW in Pflugerville said it was the right thing to do,” Gainer said.

That dialogue, he believed, would help chaplains perform or at least provide a useful referral, rather than doing more damage to a soldier seeking help.

Gore thought that the focus of discussion should be with the majority of chaplains “who want to do a good job and are part of the moveable middle.”

“We have to convince administrators and educators in divinity schools to encourage some of their best and brightest to serve,” Sprinkle said. “So many schools dropped what they were doing during the Vietnam era.”

Antal thinks that gays and lesbians will gain more acceptance as they tell their stories in non-confrontational settings and others see “their identity as professional service members is primary.”

While the work of the forum will concentrate on helping LGB military personnel, creating a more diverse Chaplain Corps may help a majority of service members. Recent polls show that a majority of troops find the chaplaincy irrelevant.

Sprinkle called the work of the forum a gift from the LGBT community to the nation.

“You wouldn’t think we’d be the ones opening the doors so that all troops will be served with dignity, integrity and respect,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Dave Wilson robo-calls Houstonians, warns of Annise Parker’s ‘alternative lifestyle’

Houston mayoral candidate Dave Wilson has stepped up his homophobic attacks against incumbent Mayor Annise Parker with a recent robo-call targeting Houston voters:

“Hello Houstonians, this is Dave Wilson, candidate for mayor. In 2009 I warned voters that Annise Parker would use her position to promote her alternative lifestyle, and she’s done that. Her very first executive order was to allow men dressed as women to use the women’s restroom. Her appointments have been based on sexual orientation, rather than ability. She appointed George Greanias, head of Metro, who was caught viewing porn sites such as rentaboy.com. Dave Wilson would have fired him on the spot. Join me in taking our city back, vote Dave Wilson, paid for by the Dave Wilson for Mayor.”

Wilson’s call contains several misleading, or outright false, claims, such as saying that Parker’s first executive order was to allow “men dressed as women to use the women’s restroom.” The first executive order Parker signed after being sworn in (E.O. #1-50), clarified the process for filing sexual harassment claims for city employees. The second (E.O #1-25) dealt with city operations during a natural disaster, the third (E.O. #1-42) with city credit cards, and the fourth (E.O. 1-14) with the city’s procurement procedure. The fifth and sixth executive orders signed by Parker (E.O. 1-8 and E.O. 1-20) dealt with discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression and the use of hate language by City of Houston employees while on the job. Both order were signed on March 25, 2011, 2 months and 23 days after Parker took office. These are is the ones that chafe Wilson. Under order 1-20 access to public accommodations in city buildings, including restrooms, cannot be denied to any member of the public because they are LGBT. While Wilson fears “men in dresses” discretely handling their business in the stall next to his wife, he seems to miss that it also allows burly, bearded men who happened to have been assigned a female identity at birth to use the men’s room. One wonders if he’s ever thought about that.

Executive Order 1-20 is about basic courtesy and access to public facilities that most of us take for granted. No one should be put in the position of risking arrest for using a public restroom (which happened shortly after E.O. 1-20 went into effect), and it is humiliating to expect trans Houstonians to have to ask “which bathroom do you expect me to use” every time they’re in a city building.

The situation with George Greanias, CEO of Houston’s public transit system Metro, is far more complicated than Wilson describes it. To hear the robo-call you’d think Greanias was simply caught looking at pornography, a constitutionally protected right. The issue is that Greanias was caught looking at porn on Metro’s internet wi-fi, all be it accidentally. According to the Metro investigation Greanias accessed sites containing gay oriented adult material on 14 separate days between February 9, 2011 to July 1, 2011. The access was from Greanias’ personal computer and he believed through his personal internet access. In a letter to Metro employees he explained that “the violation was unintentional. I thought I was using my own computer, but was in fact in Metro’s system — but it was a violation all the same. The sites I accessed were of a sexual nature — to say the least, highly inappropriate, and embarrassing.”

Typically a violation of this nature by a Metro employee would have resulted in a verbal warning. Because of the high profile nature of Greanias’ job he received a much harsher punishment. According to Metro’s official statement “Chairman Gilbert Garcia has concluded that, as president and CEO, Mr. Greanias must be held to a higher standard, and decided instead of a warning Mr. Greanias would receive a more stringent punishment of one week suspension, without pay.”

None of that matters to Wilson. He “would have fired [Greanias] on the spot,” bypassing the review process guaranteed to all Metro employees and likely subjecting the city to a very expensive lawsuit. More than his overt homophobia, it’s Wilson’s blind ignorance of the procedural facts of running a city that should frighten Houstonians.

Early voting in Houston municipal elections (including mayor) continues through Nov. 3 at all early voting locations. Election day is Nov. 8. Early voting turnout continues to lag; votes cast during the first four days of voting have trailed the 2009 municipal election turnout by 21%.

—  admin

More religious right attacks on SPLC fail to yield results

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center by religious right groups continue and like the others, the new attacks are not only pitiful, but give ammunition to the idea that the SPLC was correct in branding these organizations as anti-gay hate groups..

This time, the attacks are coming from Peter LaBarbera, head of the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (surnamed Porno Pete by members of the lgbt community for his “penchant” of going to subcultural leather events, taking pictures, and describing in intimate details all of the “interesting” encounters he saw there between gay men while ignoring the heterosexuals attending said events) and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute.

Conveniently, both groups have been profiled as anti-gay hate organizations by SPLC for their attempts to smear the lgbt community through junk science or outright lies.

LaBarbera said the following:

The leftist SPLC is now slandering conservative, Christian and Tea Party groups by mislabeling them as “hate groups” on a par with genuine, fringe hate groups like the KKK. American taxpayers should insist that the federal government have no role in legitimizing the SPLC, which has politicized “hate” and turned it into a fund-raising business to demonize conservatives – including mainstream pro-family groups that oppose homosexual activism.

 

Photobucket LaBarbera's whining about being unfairly smeared for supposedly simply standing against homosexuality is rather ironic. Days before, he published the following picture on his site.

The man in this doctored photo, for those who don't know, is openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). LaBarbera put this awful thing on his page to illustrate a ridiculous phony panic he made earlier about gay TSA agents getting their “thrills” by feeling up men.

Seems to me that there is no difference between this picture and a photo of a black man with a toothy grin biting into a huge slab of watermelon.

For all of LaBarbera's posturing about being “persecuted due to his supposed Christian beliefs, it's things like this picture which more than makes the case for SPLC.

Higgins (Illinois Family Institute) took it upon herself to attempt to debunk SPLC's list of anti-gay myths in a piece below LaBarbera's whining. However, she doesn't seem to be familiar the rules of debunking claims, especially the first rule that if you debunking a claim, you simply must address the claim.

You read that right. She doesn't even try to debunk SPLC's anti-gay myths more than she offers a weak explanation as to why there is nothing wrong believing these myths.

For example:

SPLCMYTH # 1
Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.


Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

Higgins –  The SPLC thinks that the belief that same sex parents harm children constitutes hatred. The first problem is that Schlatter and Steinback fail to define harm. If one believes that homosexuality is morally flawed, then a household centered on a morally flawed relationship cannot be beneficial.


It is entirely possible that a brother and sister in an incestuous relationship or that polyamorist parents could raise children, providing for their physical needs, comforting them, and teaching them their ABCs. But most of society believes that such relationships would harm children because they would teach children that incest or polyamory are morally permissible. Would Schlatter and Steinback include organizations on their “hate groups” list that propagate the belief that incestuous parents or poly-parents harm children?

As I pointed out in an earlier post, in its profiles and list of anti-gay myths, SPLC cited many sources including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, The Child Molestation and Research Institute, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Organization of Male Sexual Victimization, Nicholas Eberstadt, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, The Palm Center, and Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For her supposed debunking, Higgins cited only one source (and it was the distortion of the 1997 Oxford study which supposedly said that gay men have a short life span. In an absolute bizarre move on her part, Higgins refutes her own point that gay men have a short life span by also citing the 2001 complaint of these researchers that religious right groups were distorting their work).

Higgins's entire argument seems to be “yes we say all of those awful things about lgbts .  . . but . . . but . . . “

At the end of the piece, LaBarbera and Higgins tries to shift the argument by providing links to article that supposedly demonize SPLC.

But I didn't bother to read those links. After seeing the depths of duplicity LaBarbera and Higgins sunk to in order to defend their own organizations, I have a problem with believing anything they say.

You see that's the problem of being caught in a lie. People have a problem with believing anything that you say.

And it's a much deserved denouement for LaBarbera, Higgins and the rest involved in anti-gay groups.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin