I mean, I guess if you take a marker and scrawl "Don't Ask Don't Tell" on the ass of porn star and "actor" François Sagat, a Terry Richardson photoshoot (possibly NSFW) becomes activist art, rather than simply muscle worship, yes?
You’d be hard-pressed to find many Americans from any political stripe who’d consider President Obama’s mention of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal to be one of their most frustrating parts of last night’s State of the Union. But then again, most Americans don’t work at Focus on the Family:
Okay, first off, Ashley: We on the pro-equality side worked even harder. For years. With actual human lives and emotions attached. We worked in every way possible to come to the bipartisan vote that ultimately went in our favor. A vote that will ultimately allow brave Americans like Daniel Hernandez to serve without added fears. A vote that the majority of the American public clearly supports. A vote that was long overdue.
So please, Ash: Spare us the “but we wanted it” rationale! We wanted it more, obviously.
You may not realize it, Ashley, but when you get to this part about the supposed “57% of military personnel and families,” your whole characterization changes. You stutter. You look like you are trying to convince rather than inform. There’s a noticeable difference that immediately made us go, “wait a minute, she’s using that B.S. poll, isn’t she?!”
We don’t expect such poll utilization to change during your Focus on the Family employ, Ashley, as “pro-family” advocacy is built on squeezing “data” into a preconceived script. But just as constructive feedback, we thought you’d want to know that on this one: The disingenuous mask cracked. Hopefully when we inevitably when the rest of our equality, you’ll bring the full Streep.
Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the gay intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in Tucson, will sit next to First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday at the State of the Union address. Advocate.com: Daily News
On Sunday morning Instant Tea broke the news that Daniel Hernandez Jr., the intern credited with saving the life of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after Saturday’s shooting, is gay.
Unfortunately, just a few hours after we posted this exclusive story, our website went down for maintenance. Talk about bad timing!
Anyhow, we thought we’d follow up on our little scoop by sharing Hernandez’s interview with CNN, in which he refuses to take credit for saving Giffords’ life.
“People have been referring to me as a hero. I don’t think that’s something that I am,” Hernandez tells CNN. “I think the people who are heroes are the people like Gabby who are public servants and who have dedicated their lives to public service. So it just makes me happy that I was able to help her in any way that I could.”
Hey FRC: You know how you could help reduce America’s finger pointing literally overnight? You could stop giving the middle finger to all humans that fall outside of your personally-palatable purview!
We are mothers, daughters, fathers, friends, lovers, interns, members of congress, heroes, and everyday Americans. We are families. When you all end your discriminatory “research” into what needs no cure, at least one of America’s vestigial woulds will begin to heal. Then, perhaps, we can finally work together to prevent actual tragedies.
Daniel Hernandez, Jr. was the right man in the right place at the right time. Just five days into his internship for Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, the 20-year old college student was checking people into Rep. Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” event when the shooting started.
According to Arizona Republic, Hernandez started assisting victims before the shooting even stopped.
When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.
“First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.
Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. [snip]
Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her.
He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived. They strapped her to a board and loaded her into an ambulance. Hernandez climbed in with her. On the ride to the hospital, he held her hand. She squeezed his back.
Hernandez’s immediate actions probably saved her life, a hospital physician said.
Like Mark Bingham, the gay rugby player who helped thwart the plans of the 911 hijackers on Flight 93, and like the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender soldiers still serving in silence in our military under threat of expulsion, Daniel’s actions remind us that LGBT Americans are actively serving society. A society that is over 90% heterosexual.
Like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez and Speaker of the California Assembly John Pérez, Daniel’s actions remind us that Latino Americans are actively serving society at large, a society that is 85% non-Latino.
Andr?s Duque from Blabbeando so beautifully encapsulates the significance of Daniel Hernandez’s actions to the Latino and LGBT communities:
Of course, from the accounts, Daniel is a hero regardless of whether he’s Latino or gay or Irish or purple.
But it’s striking that in a state that has unfortunately become a national standard-bearer for some of the worst xenophobic sentiments in the current political climate, it IS a Latino man who happens to be gay who decided to stay by Congresswoman’s Giffords’ side and might very well have saved her life.
I can’t help but be moved at how such a selfless gesture can cut straight through all those efforts to demonize Latinos – or gays – specially in light of recent events in Arizona.
Bigotry is often accomodated as a civil rights cause advances. Redundant parallel institutions like civil unions emerge and misguided policies like DADT are enacted. Sometimes the accomodations are temporary measures that can incubate further change. Sometimes they wind up perpetuating the status quo. Half-measures like these are taken because people are slow or unable to come to grips with the simple truth that equality means equality for everyone.
DADT, instituted in 1993, will go down as an accomodation that did little or nothing to advance the cause of equality. Prior to DADT, gays were formally banned from serving in the U.S. military regardless of whether they were open or closeted. DADT may have been intended to end witch hunts, provided that LGB soldiers remained closeted. But the military failed to hold up its end of the bargain, and DADT looks like a feeble attempt by a beleagured Clinton administration to save face, not a potentially useful half-measure to further civil rights.
Leonard Matlovich, the first person to challenge the ban on LGBs serving in the military, had the foresight to reject a DADT-type compromise eighteen years prior to the enactment of DADT. Matlovich was an Air Force technical sergeant who had been the recipient of a purple heart and a bronze star and taught classes on race relations. In 1973, he got in touch with gay activist Frank Kameny, who was looking for a soldier with an exemplary record to help bring a test case against the ban. Matlovich agreed to be that soldier, and in March, 1975, he came out to his commanding officer in a letter. He was promptly discharged.
Matlovich fought the discharge. In the process, he was offered an accomodation that would have allowed him to remain in the Air Force provided that he promise never to practice homosexuality again. In effect, he could remain in the service if agreed to live a lie.
Matlovich rejected the lie and became a national LGBT rights activist instead. He helped combat and the Briggs initiative in California and Anita Bryant’s attempt to overturn an anti-discrimination clause in Miami. In his day, Matlovich was as well-known as Harvey Milk, if not more so, and appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He later campaigned for adequate HIV and AIDS education and treatment, and was arrested at a protest at the White House. He himself died of complications from HIV / AIDS in 1987.
Matlovich possessed a foresight and clarity of purpose that served him and the movement well, as he demonstrated in this interview broadcast on Good Morning America in 1987. The famous inscription he created for his gravestone eloquently expresses the injustice of the military ban:
When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.
People are often slow to recognize injustice. Some always refuse to see it, while others need time and half-measures. It has taken a long time for the country to allow open service — much too long for Matlovich, unfortunately. But by sharing his clarity of vision, he helped bring it about.