20 years after the Violence Against Women Act, how far have we come?

 

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation today recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and calling “upon men and women of all ages, communities, organizations and all levels of government to work in collaboration to end violence against women.”

The proclamation comes a day after TMZ.com released video footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his then-girlfriend/now-wife Janay Palmer out cold in an elevator — video footage that prompted the Ravens to terminate Rice’s and prompted the NFL to suspend him indefinitely. That sounds reasonable, except that the incident back in March and in July NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell only suspended Rice for two games. (Rice was originally charged with felony assault but the charges were dropped when Palmer refused to testify against him.)

Originally, the only video footage made public showed the moments after the elevator doors opened and Rice dragged the unconscious Palmer part of the way out of the elevator and then left her laying in a heap on the floor. The video released this week by TMZ, taken by a camera inside the elevator, shows the brutal punch to the face that knocked her out.

As President Obama said in his proclamation today, it was 20 years ago that “our nation came together to declare our commitment to end violence against women.” The VAWA “created a vital network of services for victims,” expanded the number of shelters and rape crisis centers across the country, and established a national hotline, the proclamation says. The VAWA also “imrpoved our criminal justice system and provided specialized training to law enforcement … . It spurred new state laws and protections and changed the way people think about domestic abuse … .”

But watching that video of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer and considering the NFL’s initial lackluster response, it doesn’t seem like we’ve made much progress toward that goal.

Add in some statistical information, and it’s even more discouraging.

According to UNWomen.org, the website for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a global review of available data conducted in 2013 (World Health Organization, Global and Regional Estimates of Violence against Women) shows that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence . But some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experience sexual or physical violence from an intimate partner.

The UNWomen website goes on to cite The World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence and Health, which says that in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims.

President Obama says that he was “proud to renew our pledge to our mothers and daughters by reauthorizing VAWA and extending its protections” last year. And while the VAWA has “provided hope, safety and a new chance at life for women and children across our nation,” the president acknowledges “we still have more work to do.”

“Too many women continue to live in fear in their own homes, too many victims still know the pain of abuse, and too many families have had to mourn the loss of their loved ones. It has to end — because even one is too many.”

Absolutely. But in the LGBT community we have to take it a step forward and remember that women are not the only victims of domestic violence, and men are not the only abusers.

According to a “fact sheet” published online by the Center for American Progress, 1 out of 4 to 1 out of 3 same-sex relationships has experienced domestic violence. And domestic abuse violence victims in same-sex relationships face threats that their abuser will “out” them at work or to family, some face the threat of having their children taken away, and some are even afraid of doing damage to the LGBT rights movement by admitting that domestic violence happens in our community.

These and other reasons make LGBT domestic violence victims more reluctant to report such violence to police, and leaves them feeling isolated, alone and helpless.

President Obama is right. We’ve got a long way to go. We in the LGBT community have to make sure we are part of the effort against domestic violence, not just in the country as a whole, but in our own community — our own homes — too.

—  Tammye Nash

Lesbian Gay Band Association will again march in inaugural parade

The LGBA, which held its 30th anniversary conference in Dallas this year, is shown marching in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

The Lesbian Gay Band Association, which became the first LGBT group to participate in an inaugural parade in 2009, will make an encore appearance Jan. 21, the Associated Press reports:

The Presidential Inaugural Committee began sending out invitations Tuesday to participants chosen to march behind Obama from his swearing in at the Capitol to the White House on Jan. 21.

The first selectees include the Virginia Military Institute, which is a traditional performer in inaugural parades, and the marching band from Miami University of Ohio, where first lady Michelle Obama spoke near the end of the campaign.

Others include Military Spouses of Michigan, the Lesbian and Gay Band Association of St. Louis, Chicago’s South Shore Drill Team and marching bands from Little Rock Central High School and Washington’s Ballou Senior High School.

Watch video from the LGBA’s appearance in the 2009 inaugural below.

—  John Wright

Dallas anti-gay leader Cathie Adams: Obama ‘fried his brain on drugs’

Cathie Adams

Not that she was ever sane — not hardly! — but Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams has really gone off the deep end. Adams, the Dallas-based former chair of the Texas Republican Party, now says she believes President Obama is a Marxist who “fried his brain on drugs.” Adams also says watching Obama during the final presidential debate made her “want to go up and just smack his face!”

Adams made the comments just before the election at a “Call to Action” meeting where she spoke alongside the equally frightening Ted Cruz, Texas’ new U.S. senator. Right Wing Watch has audio and posted this transcript of Adams’ remarks:

Who is a Marxist in our White House?  Of course, it’s Barack Hussein Obama.  And I don’t know why we’re not calling him what he is as a Marxist.  It’s as if, when the wall fell that communism died; it didn’t.  Today, it is green on the outside and red on the inside. It is as red as ever and Barack Obama is implementing his green agenda, which is Marxism, and that is exactly why our economy is hurting as badly as it is and why twenty three million people are still out of work. That is exactly what is happening.

So for us to elect a US Senator or elect a President who thinks more of himself than he ought, who thinks so narcissisticly, as Barack Hussein Obama glared at Mitt Romney in that last debate, I was so offended I wanted to go up and just smack his face.

And folks we’ve got to be very careful about saying “well, that’s not for me but you can do whatever you want.” Folks, we have a rule of law, we have a Constitution and those things must be upheld.  We cannot think that, well, if what their trying to do, for example, right now on a ballot in Colorado is legalize marijuana.  And if we legalize it, will we empty out our jails and will we be safe for ever more?  No.  I’m telling you, Barack Hussein Obama has got to have a teleprompter because he fried his brain on drugs.

For those who don’t recognize her name, Adams has been one of the leading anti-gay voices in North Texas for decades. Given that she’s now confirmed as batshit fuckin’ crazy, I wonder if The Dallas Morning News will still call on Adams for comment every time a local LGBT issue comes up. Hey, let’s hope so! It’s hard to say what finally drove Adams over the edge, but we can only guess that her husband Homer’s defeat at the hands of gay Republican Rob Schlein in a race for GOP precinct chair in Far North Dallas this summer had something to do with it.

—  John Wright

Obama hasn’t replied to TX secession petition, but Rep. Garnet Coleman has

Garnet Coleman

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, a staunch LGBT ally who also happens to be African-American, sent out the below statement on Wednesday — complete with the image above — responding to a now-infamous petition we mentioned the other day calling for the White House to allow Texas to secede. Perhaps President Barack Obama should incorporate some of Coleman’s remarks into his own response to the petition. We’d especially recommend this paragraph:

The online petition, which currently has around 60,000 signatures and counting, is unfortunately not surprising. Ever since the election of this country’s first black president, there has been a surge of  rhetoric that had mostly lied dormant since the Civil War and subsequent Jim Crow era. After the election of President Obama, however, Governor Perry, whose hunting ranch was named “Niggerhead” until just recently, openly hinted at secession, and we spent much of last session talking about things like “states’ rights,” including a “Committee on State Sovereignty” and a House Resolution incorrectly asserting the state’s “rights under the Tenth Amendment.” This kind of rhetoric needs to end.

Read Coleman’s full statement below.

—  John Wright

LGBT vote a ‘key factor’ in Obama win

The LGBT vote was a key factor in President Barack Obama’s victory on Tuesday, according to an analysis by UCLA’s Williams Institute:

In a contest of razor-thin margins, the 4.5 million votes cast by the LGBT population was a critical component of the president’s winning coalition. …

“In this close election, data suggest that the overwhelming LGBT support for President Obama constitutes a key factor in his victory,” said Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar Gary J. Gates.

It’s an outcome that Gates predicted in a Gallup Special Report last month:

A new Gallup Report finds that 71% of LGBT Americans who are registered voters support President Obama for reelection, while 22% support Governor Mitt Romney. From June to September, non-LGBT registered voters preferred Romney to Obama by one percentage point, 47% to 46%. However, when LGBT voters are added to electorate, Obama moves slightly ahead of Romney (47% to 45%).  These findings suggest that the highly Democratic vote of the LGBT population could be enough to swing a very close election toward Obama.

—  John Wright

The gayest election night ever

Tuesday night was generally seen as a victorious one for gay and lesbian people across the nation: The reelection of Barack Obama, the first sitting president to endorse full marriage equality; the historic election of lesbian Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate; the defeat of anti-gay legislation. But even more gay was the coverage itself.

I watched the returns in a room full of gay people, ready to pop the bubbly cork as soon as Obama was called by one of the news channels (we were swimming in champagne by 10:15 p.m.). We flipped among the channels to see who had different predictions up. And we got to hear Rachel Maddow on MSNBC announce Barack Obama was the president still.

Lesbian.

Then we watched as Anderson Cooper oversaw coverage on CNN.

Gay.

And we logged onto Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog from the New York Times to check updates.

Silver’s also gay.

All of these people are out and proud and given principal responsibilities for overseeing election coverage for their media organizations. And so far as I noticed, none of them (or their fellows on TV in the cases of Maddow and Cooper) so much as hinted at their sexual orientation during their election night coverage. Because that was irrelevant to their reporting. (Compare that to the folks on Fox News, who acted as if the vote was a rebuke of Christian heterosexuality.)

We’ve reached a special plateau when the most respected newsmen in the country get to report on popular votes about gay folks and be on the side of the majority. The excitement wasn’t just at the ballot box Tuesday night. It was right up there on the screen.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SEE: Actor Elias Taylorson transforms himself into the Presidential candidates

Well, it’s Election Day. You’re probably trying to decide between voting for Obama or Romney (though I suspect most of you have already decided pretty easily). But to be fair, you don’t need to vote for either — you could  just vote for Elias Taylorson.

Taylorson is a local actor and theater entrepreneur who, even since he was confined to home temporarily following a childhood head injury, has entertained himself by playing dress-up in the mirror. (Well, he is an actor.) As a kid, it was cottonball wigs, flesh-toned Band-Aids to create saggy eyes and eye-pencil moustaches … plus plenty of mugging for the camera. Over the years, he says, he has continued to mug, but the process has become more formalized.

“The technique is just makeup and hair pieces — I don’t rely on Photoshop face morphing,” he explains. “I take the photo myself standing in front of my bathroom mirror.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Stonewall Dems to host watch party for 1st presidential debate at Pekers

Schlein.Rob

Rob Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans, says he believes Romney will win the debate because Obama is not prepared.

The first debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney — which some are calling a make or break moment for the GOP nominee — is Wednesday night in Denver. And the focus of the 90-minute affair will be domestic policy, meaning there’s a decent chance moderator Jim Lehrer will ask a question about marriage equality or some other LGBT issue. Either way, local gay Democrats plan to gather at Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue for a watch party. From the Facebook page:

FREE EVENT — You know you’re going to watch the Debate between Pres. Barack Obama and that other guy… so why not enjoy it with other progressives and help us cheer President Obama FORWARD!

The watch party will be at Pecker’s 2615 Oak Lawn Dallas, TX 75219. The debate begins at 8CST. We will have some Obama merchandise for donations and a great time will be had by all!

For more questions please contact info@Stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.

On the gay GOP side, Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein said he’s planning to watch the debate at home. Thomas Purdy, president of Log Cabin Republicans Dallas, couldn’t immediately be reached.

“Do I think it’s make or break? I think [Romney is] going to do just fine, and I think it’ll help him a lot,” Schlein told Instant Tea on Monday. “I don’t think Obama’s prepared. He has not done his debate prep, because he thinks he’s all that.”

Sounds like it’s on.

—  John Wright

Creep of the Week: Crackpot author Jerome Corsi says Obama is gay

President Barack Obama

By D’Anne Witkowski

Have you heard the news about Obama? He’s gay. A total homo closeted to the extreme who spent an awful lot of time at Chicago gay clubs and bath houses. Brave “author” Jerome Corsi, known for books such as Where’s the REAL Birth Certificate? and Obama Nation (get it? Abomination?), took to the pages of World Net Daily to expose Obama’s secret gay life.

And how does Corsi know about Homobama? Because he’s been doing some super-sleuthing. “This is something I’ve accumulated a great deal of evidence on,” Jerome Corsi says in an August video. “The evidence, I think, is very strong.”

Evidence includes a photo of Obama sitting next to his college roommate on a couch. He “seems to be sitting about on the guy’s lap,” says Corsi. “I’ve not seen a lot of roommate pictures where two guys are that chummy.” The photo in question shows Obama sitting kind of close to a skinny dude, though they aren’t touching. On the other side of the couch, next to Obama, is a bunch of stuff, which helps to explain why the two men are sitting where they are. Corsi also points out that this same roommate was Pakistani and that Obama went to Pakistan with him. Because Pakistan is such a gay vacation hot spot.

And then there are the photos of Obama wearing a band on his ring finger long before he was married to Michelle. “He’s not married as far as we know, unless this is a love affair with his Pakistani male roommate,” Corsi says. In fact, he ruminates on the Ring of Gay Mystery for an entire 13-minute video. “Was he married to a guy, I mean, what’s the deal?” asks Corsi. He calls these “legitimate questions” that people have a right to know the answer to.

One of Corsi’s “sources” is Kevin DuJan, founder and editor of HillBuzz.org, which has an entire page detailing a long and lurid conspiracy theory about Obama’s homosexuality and the lengths he’s gone to cover it up.

DuJan claims that Obama will go so far as to have you killed if you’ve ever slept with him and might talk. He then points to the tragic death of Alex Okrent, a 29-year-old Obama campaign staffer who died after collapsing in a campaign office. According to DuJan, Obama must have offed him and they must have been gay lovers.

Oh, and remember how earlier this month the big burly pizza shop owner gave Obama a bear hug? DuJan says this is more proof that Obama is light in the loafers. “I don’t think Van Duzer is gay, but Obama sure is for allowing this big ‘bear’ to hug him,” writes DuJan.

With sources like DuJan, how could Corsi possibly be wrong?

Lest you think Corsi’s “investigation” has nefarious purposes, Corsi insists, “The issue is, again, not an issue that we want to raise in terms of criticizing the homosexuality or the bisexuality or whatever Obama’s true inclination are. The issue is why does he have to lie about this, too? And why is Obama if he wants to go out and proclaim same-sex marriage, he wants to proclaim that all of this is great for everybody except he has to lie about himself?”

See? Corsi clearly just wants to help the president to come out of the closet. What a nice guy.

Corsi then, displaying a complete lack of irony, declares that this whole thing is an issue of “truthfulness.” Ha ha ha hoo. Stop, my sides.

—  John Wright

President Obama to attend LGBT Leadership Council fundraiser in Austin on Tuesday

President Barack Obama will visit Texas for a few fundraisers Tuesday including one in Austin hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council.

The only Texas stop on the Obama Victory Tour 2012, Obama will be in Austin briefly at 3 p.m. Tuesday for a meet and greet at the Austin Music Hall. Musical guest Jerry Jeff Walker will perform and guests can take photos with Obama for $5,000 for individuals and $7,500 for couples.

Before Obama rolls into Austin, he will attend an event in Washington, D.C., as well as two fundraisers in San Antonio, one at Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center with an estimated 1,000 in attendance. The other fundraiser will be hosted by lawyer Mikal Watts.

Jeff Strater of Dallas told Instant Tea that several members of Dallas’ LGBT community plan on attending the Austin event and have raised about $50,000 for the event so far.

The events are expected to garner around $2 million for the campaign, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Tickets for the Austin event start at $250 and can be purchased here. Pre-registration can be done until 2 p.m. Monday at Travis County Coordinated Campaign, at 2406 Manor Road in Austin. Those who pre-register can avoid registration Tuesday and proceed through security.

Before leaving Texas, Obama will attend a private fundraiser in Austin hosted by former Dell Inc. finance chief Tom Meredith.

—  Anna Waugh