Demand that Governments of the World Condemn LGBT Executions!

Last month in a United Nations committee, 79 countries endorsed a proposed amendment to remove references to sexual orientation from the UN Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.  Only 70 countries supported retention of the term, while 43 countries abstained or didn’t vote.

This is the only UN resolution to include an explicit reference to sexual orientation, and it has passed successfully for the past ten years.  We cannot allow this backslide to occur.

The good news is that “we have the opportunity to restore the reference to sexual orientation – and hopefully extend it to also include gender identity – when the resolution comes up before the UN General Assembly on Monday 20 December”, according to International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

What can you do?

* Demand that the Member States of the United Nations condemn extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people by signing this petition.

* No matter what country you live in, learn how to contact your government, how they voted last time and what to say here.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s reaction to the proposed removal of “sexual orientation” from the resolution:

When individuals are attacked [or] abused … because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out. …It is not called the ‘Partial’ Declaration of Human Rights. It is not the ‘Sometimes’ Declaration of Human Rights. It is the Universal Declaration, guaranteeing all human beings their basic human rights, without exception.

United States Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice indicated that the US would “champion the rights of LGBT people at the UN”, reported International Service for Human Rights.  Ambassador Rice and Secretary General Ban keynoted “Ending violence and criminal sanctions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”, a high-level discussion held on Human Rights Day and organized by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the US and the Delegation of the European Union.  Read Ambassador Rice’s speech here.

Related:

* Association of British Muslims criticizes UN for removing sexual orientation protections

* Gays on safari in Kenya are now themselves fair game
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Do not censor religious right groups. Demand that they answer questions

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

I am in TOTAL disagreement with other lgbt activists (such as Dan Savage) who think that the news media shouldn't have religious right organizations on their shows on the grounds that their opinions are akin to those of the Ku Klux Klan.

It's not that I don't agree with the root part of this argument. Just like the Klan demonizes African-Americans based on ignorance, fear, and (in some extreme cases) religion, religious right groups do the same to the lgbt community.

But I think veteran newscaster Tom Brokaw put it best:

Asked how antigay views should be presented, he said, “You just say that they’ve got strong opinions. You treat like them like anyone else. You cross-examine and ask them the right questions.”

That's the thing which as been solely missing from this controversy regarding the religious right and the lgbt community. No one in the lgbt community has issued a clear plan of attack. It has been a morass of words thrown around, such as “bigots” and “haters, and tangents devoted to the issue of gay marriage or sidetracked to the larger issue of condemnation  of the Christian religion.

And in the middle of  this complicated muddle, religious right groups zero in on one issue, i.e. censorship, and begin to control the debate.

This issue is not about gay marriage per se, nor is it about condemnation of religion. It's about the intentional propagation of falsehoods and junk science in order to smear a group of people.

Therefore demanding that the news media keep people like Tony Perkins or groups like the Family Research Council off television is extremely counterproductive. It gives the inaccurate notion that somehow their ideas are so truthful that the lgbt community is fearful of letting them be heard.

 

Instead, we need to demand that certain questions be asked. For example:

“Mr Perkins, why did your organization freely and unapologetically cite the work Paul Cameron, a discredited researcher who thinks that gay men stuff gerbils up their rectums?”


“Why do religious right groups continue to cite a 1997 study to claim that gays have a short lifespan when in 2001, the researchers of the study complained that you all were distorting their work?  To be more specific, why do religious right group ignore legitimate researchers who complain about how they distort their work?


“Mr. Perkins, why did your organization remove several anti-gay studies from your web page on the grounds that they used outdated studies? And this being the case, why did you cite those supposed “outdated” studies in works that do appear on your pages?”

Or even better, demand that the news media interview some of us on their shows when they have people like Perkins on. The lgbt community is a bit more intelligent and sophisticated than we were in the past in terms of calling attention to how religious right groups lie. We should be chomping at the bit to confront them on national television and making them spell out in exact terms why their distortions and junk science are accurate.

But instead of relishing the thought of a public feud, we seem to be backtracking from it or trying to sidestep it.

The lgbt community should take note of the recent hell President Obama has been getting from progressives about his need to compromise with the GOP. Just like it seems that President Obama has been reluctant to get into a war with the bullies of the GOP, the lgbt community seems to be reluctant to get into a needed fight with our bullies, i.e. the religious right.

But whereas as Obama tries to compromise with the GOP, the lgbt community seem to view the media as our parents and we run to them crying that they keep the big, bad bullies of the religious right from picking on us.

The media is not the parents of the lgbt community and it's not their job to stop the religious right from picking on us via their lies. It's our job to call them out and not just with words like “bigots,” but with demands that they either explain their propagation of lies (such as linking homosexuality to pedophilia or claiming that gays caused the Holocaust) or apologize for them.

But we can't do this adequately without calling them out.

Doesn't anyone think that it's time we started?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Groups Demand DeMint Apologize

Jim DeMint x390 (getty) | ADVOCATE.COMSeveral women’s and gay rights groups called on U.S. senator Jim DeMint to
apologize for his reassertion last week that gay people and unmarried
pregnant women should not be allowed to teach in schools.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

This is why heterosexuals must demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit discrimination in employment based on an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Federal law already prohibits employers from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, physical disabilities, national origin or genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee.  Yet it is still legal in 38 states to fire or refuse to hire someone based on their gender identity.  Likewise it is still legal in 30 states to fire or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation.

Because it is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who suffer from the employment discrimination that ENDA addresses, the legislation is generally portrayed as only benefiting LGBTs and its passage as a sort of “gift” from the mostly heterosexual Congress to LGBT people.  This is an unfortunate distortion.

While it is true that LGBT people are in dire need of the protections ENDA would provide, ENDA is in the best interest of heterosexuals too.  And I’m not just talking about heterosexuals facing employment discrimination because they are perceived to be gay.  The truth of the matter is that everyone benefits when the best person is hired for the job.

This was brought home to me earlier this week when I heard that Judge Anne Levinson was confirmed as the new civilian auditor for the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability by Seattle City Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee.  Her qualifications and commitment to excellence in public service are clear in her distinguished civil service resume.  The Stranger‘s Riya Bhattacharjee summarized:

A Seattle Municipal Court judge from 1999 to 2001 where she dealt with criminal cases, Levinson developed and presided over one of the country’s first mental health courts. She served as chief of staff and then deputy mayor for Mayor Rice and was legal counsel in both the Rice and Royer administrations. Levinson also chaired the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission-a quasi-judicial body that regulated private telecommunications and energy companies. She is one of the four owners of the Seattle Storm. Levinson was also part of the Seattle Police Chief Search Committee. “It’s important that the chief fosters an environment that actively investigates misconducts and implements reforms when necessary so that the public has respect and confidence in the police,” she says. ‘We have a mutual goal here of treating all citizens equally.” Levinson underscores the importance of encouraging community policing in Seattle. “It’s also important to have early warning systems to identify potential problems,” she says.”

Not insignificantly, Shaun Knittel at Seattle Gay News reminds us that Levinson was one of the state’s first openly LGBT public officials.  Folks around the Blend will recall that as Chair of Washington Families Standing Together, Levinson lead the Approve Referendum 71 campaign to victory in 2009, making Washington the first state in the nation whose electorate ratified an LGBT family recognition (domestic partnership) law at the polls.

So yes, Judge Levinson is a highly-qualified and respected public servant.  She is also a lesbian.  We here in Seattle are protected by several layers of anti-discrimination law at the city, county and state levels, so sexual orientation wasn’t a factor in the City’s decision to hire her.  But I can’t help but wonder if Judge Levinson had applied for the same job in Tampa, say, or Salt Lake City, whether her appointment wouldn’t have been summarily rejected due to a characteristic that has no bearing on her ability to bring excellence to the job.  Such an outcome would not only have been a loss to her as an individual, but to the predominantly heterosexual population she sought to so ably serve.  When heterosexuals discriminate against an LGBT person in employment when the LGBT applicant is the best person for the job, they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

A video of Judge Levinson’s confirmation hearing is below the fold.
If you watch the video directly on Seattle Channel’s website, you can jump to the pertinent part of the video by clicking on “Appointment of Judge Anne Levinson”.  Otherwise, click ahead to about the 24:45 mark.

Cross-posted at Washblog.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright