The graying of our leaders

From David Mixner:0

In the Bible in Palms 71:18 there is a verse that says, “When I am old and gray, do not forsake me…”
The LGBT community is about to lose their tribal leaders, elders and generational history without even a peep. In addition, our collective soul might be scarred for ignoring the plight and needs of those whose sacrifice made it possible for today’s generation. Most will never even know or enjoy the rights that they fought so hard for you to celebrate today. They couldn’t adopt children, run for office or serve in the military. Often they were institutionalized or forced to live lives of lies and fear.

The baby boom generation of LGBT citizens is the one that spans our history from the oppressive 50′s, to the transitional 60′s, the liberating 70′s, the plague ridden 80′s and the beginning of hope in the 1990′s. A good deal of the male population of those times already passed in the prime of their youth from HIV/AIDS. Some of the most remarkable women LGBT leaders came to power in that time. Epic battles and tragic stories are waiting to be recorded and told to future generations.

The LGBT community must acknowledge that this generation of LGBT baby boomers is getting old in a time with few services to meet their needs as LGBT seniors. Often they are in smaller and smaller living units, scraping by with little food, limited access to healthcare and almost no living facilities to share with other senior LGBT citizens. The few gay men that are still alive after the AIDS onslaught have few or no peers to share their senior years since the disease wiped out so many of their friends. Like it or not, what remains from the pandemic is an epidemic of loneliness among our seniors.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Family Research Council’s anti-SPLC campaign places bullseye on the backs of Republican leaders

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Those organizations either named as anti-gay hate groups or profiled for their tendency to defame the lgbt community via lies are running scared. On Tuesday morning, they brought out the “big guns”

From  People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch:

 . . . FRC announced that it was running this open letter [PDF] in both Politico and The Washington Examiner and that the effort had the support of dozens of Republican members of Congress and conservative leaders:

Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recent attacks on FRC and other groups.

SPLC has targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The open letter, signed by more than 150 organizational leaders, Members of Congress and other elected officials, calls for a “vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

The open letter was signed by many current and former elected and government officials including Speaker-designate John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, U.S. Reps Mike Pence (R-IN), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA,) Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX,) Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA,) Don Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-LA), Lamar Smith (R-TX,) Steve Scalise (R-LA,) Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sam Brownback (Gov.-elect, Kansas), Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Those look like some pretty heavy hitters, don't they? Personally I am not impressed. The vast majority if not all of these individuals have been very vocal with their tendency to stigmatize the lgbt community whether it be Mike Huckabee with his insults to lgbt households, Tim Pawlenty via his unnecessary and coldhearted vetoing of a bill that would allow same sex partners to make end-of-life decisions for their partners, or Jim DeMint who doesn't believe in the hiring of any gay teachers.

 

But it would seem to me that FRC, through its need to deny the obvious (that its hate group status does not come from upholding “Judeo-Christian” moral beliefs but its desire to smear the lgbt community via lies and junk science), have now expanded the bullseye placed on its back by the Southern Poverty Law Center to include Congressional leaders who have signed this madness.

If the lgbt community and our allies take advantage of this situation, we would communicate with any and all of these Congressional leaders via email, phone, or whatever and ask:

Congressman or Congresswoman so-and-so,

Do you really stand with groups who proclaim that:

•Gays should be exported from the country;

•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;

•”Moral perverts” need to be kept out of the military;

•There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Or how about organizations who will intentionally cite discredited research in order to smear lgbts the same way the Klan cites FBI statistics to smear African-Americans?

We need those questions continuously until we either receive an answer or, at the very least, send a message to these leaders that maybe they should know all of the facts behind a situation before interjecting themselves into it.

UPDATE – the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a what can only be described as devastating response to FRC's campaign. This is my favorite part:

Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

For another good list to ask Congressional leaders about, go to:

FRC's 'Start Debating, Stop Hating' effort: Let's look at some of those aligned debaters, shall we?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Today’s DADT Hearing: Top Military Leaders Split 3-3 On When To Repeal

The Human Rights Campaign recaps today’s hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke at length about the repeal of DADT.

Speaking today before a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chiefs of the military services all expressed that they would successfully implement “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal should Congress change the law. Testifying were General James Cartwright, General George Casey, Admiral Gary Roughead, General James Amos, General Norton Schwartz and Admiral Robert Papp.

Among the six testifying, three expressed that the law should be repealed and three gave a mixed reaction, expressing some opposition to repeal at this time. Only one – Marine Commandant General James Amos – expressed his opinion that there could be strong disruption. In contrast his fellow Marine, General Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, made clear that not only could Marines carry out successful repeal but also there was “benefit derived from being a force identified by honesty & inclusivity.”

General Amos did however express that he and his Marines would “faithfully support the law.” “Not only do a majority of senior military leaders support repeal, they are unanimous that they will faithfully carry out any repeal passed by Congress,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The vast majority of the American people are looking for action as are the thousands of men and women currently serving in silence.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Watch: Dan Savage Tells CNN That It Must Stop Giving Platforms to Hate Group Leaders Like the FRC’s Tony Perkins

Dansavage

CNN ran a segment on bullying and hate crimes inspired by the SPLC's recent report and their designation of 13 new organizations as "hate" groups.

Dan Savage tells Kyra Phillips, who is incredulous over the numbers of violent crimes committed against gay people, that change must begin with organizations like CNN, which give platforms to leaders of hate groups like the Family Research Council, which masquerade as religious organizations.

Says Savage: "There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

(via two)

UPDATE: Savage says, "The question about what could be done to lower the rate of anti-gay hate crimes was the planned final question in the segment, CNN knew I was going to slam 'em when they asked it, and they had me on anyway. Which is to CNN's credit."



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan Elected President Of All American Homophobic Catholic Leaders

dolanbw

New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who's long insisted he's not anti-gay (just anti gay-marriage), and that homosexuality is a compulsion that needs controlling, and that we are born with the knowledge gay relationships are gross, was just elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — a surprise move, given vice president Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson was in the running, and the Catholic Church's American leadership body usually chooses the next in line. (Kincanas beat Dolan three years ago for the VP slot by two votes.) Which means Dolan will now lead the way … in the church's political issues, like railing against Obamacare (because it uses taxpayer dollars for abortion!) and branching out from his campaign against legalizing same-sex marriage in New York to every other state.


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Obama Stops in to Meeting with Gay Leaders on DADT

President Obama stopped by a meeting held today at the White House with representatives of the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the University of California Santa Barbara's Palm Center, Stonewall Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans, the Washington Post reports:

Obama "The president stopped by the meeting 'to directly convey to the participants his personal commitment on this issue,' a senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

There was discussion of DADT elsewhere Tuesday at the White House as well:

The WaPo adds:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod defended the administration's decision to appeal the case during an online video chat Tuesday. 'It is the custom of the U.S. government to appeal laws of Congress that were challenged in lower courts,' Axelrod said during the chat, arranged by the White House. 'It should be by no means read as an abandonment of a commitment, and we intend to keep it.'"

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also addressed the issue at today's press briefing, reaffirming the President's desire to see the Senate vote on the measure.

When asked if Obama had reached out to individual Senators in order to change "no" votes to "yes", Gibbs replied:

"To my knowledge, it hasn’t taken place yet.  But, look, the only way we’re going to get something through the Senate is to change the vote count and to move past — look, you got to get — you’re going to have to get past a promised filibuster and — in moving to the bill.  And certainly the only way we can move to that bill is to change some of those votes."

Gibbs also declined to say whether the President would issue a stop-loss order should the legislation fail to pass:

"I think that — look, you’ve seen steps that have been taken over the past several days at the Pentagon involving service secretaries.  You have for — you have a sitting chair of the Joint Chiefs that believes it’s time for this law to end; the President working closely with the Secretary to make that happen. And our efforts in the short term will be focused on the durable repeal of a law that the President thinks is unjust, and that’s where our focus will be."

Press briefing clip, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

House Republican Leaders Want to Turn the Clock Back with “Pledge to America”

Today, House Republican leaders released their “Pledge to America,” outlining how they would govern should they win back control of the House in November.  While the document focuses heavily on economic issues, its “pledge” also includes hostility to LGBT equality, promising support for “traditional marriage” and, in a thinly-veiled attack on LGBT advances through legislation and the courts, criticizing actions that “thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values.”  While the document itself doesn’t tell as much more about how these Republicans would treat our community, the lengthy record of anti-LGBT efforts during a decade of Republican control of Congress speaks volumes.  LGBT people should see this “Pledge” for what it really is – a promise to try and turn back the clock on the LGBT equality on Capitol Hill.   

When anti-equality forces controlled Congress for a decade (1994-2005), they stymied any progress on LGBT issues, instead making attacks on our community part of their governing agenda.  Among these were:

  • Attempting twice to amend the U.S. Constitution to deny marriage equality to same-sex couples nationwide
  • Trying to strip federal courts of the authority to hear marriage equality cases
  • Blocking the District of Columbia’s local efforts to provide domestic partnership benefits to its employees and to fight astronomical rates of HIV infection through proven needle exchange programs
  • Cutting funding for HIV prevention, research and treatment despite a growing epidemic, while pouring federal dollars into disproven abstinence-only programs that exclude or even denigrate LGBT youth
  • Standing in the way of the appointment of openly-LGBT administration officials, like openly-gay Ambassador to Luxembourg James Hormel

A Congress controlled by anti-equality Republican leaders could very well return to this playbook, and even go further by:

  • Cutting Justice Department funds for enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Trying to roll back Obama administration advances for LGBT people, like benefits for the partners of Foreign Service officers or hospital visitation protections, by threatening appropriations dollars for federal agencies
  • Standing in the way of the nomination of pro-equality federal judges

Under a Republican Congress, key positions that control the fate of pro-LGBT legislation would be held by notorious anti-equality legislators.   In such a world, for example:

  • The House and Senate could both be led by a group of legislators who, at best, rated a 20 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard for the 110th Congress.  In fact, potential House leaders Reps. John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence have consistently scored a perfect zero since they came to Congress.  The highest any potential Senate leaders – including Senators McConnell, Kyl, Thune and Cornyn – could muster on our Scorecard is a 20.     
  • Arizona Senator John McCain, the notorious opponent of repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, could become Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee could be led not by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a supporter of marriage equality, but by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who attacked then-Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as Dean of Harvard Law, arguing that in doing so she “punished the military, and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas”  
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), a champion of the hate crimes law, could be replaced by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who said expanding hate crimes protections “undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system — ‘equal justice for all.’”
  • The House Education and Labor Committee, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is considered, could be led by Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, who called ENDA “a significant departure from longstanding civil rights law” that could “lead to an explosion in litigation “
  • Instead of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a longstanding leader on LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we could have Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who recently opposed a bill that would collect health data on LGBT people in an effort to address health disparities, saying, “for the life of me I do not see any reason at all to do this bill.” 


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Anti-LGBT Leaders Fail in Court Challenge of Hate Crimes Law

Yesterday, Judge Thomas Ludington of the U.S. Federal Court for the District of Eastern Michigan dismissed the case of three plaintiffs seeking to strike the criminal provisions of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The court challenge by three anti-LGBT clergy from Michigan made the ridiculous claim that the hate crimes statute creates “a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.”   They claimed that this law – so important in protecting the rights of LGBT persons across the country – violated their First Amendment rights, their guarantee of Equal Protection, the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.  Their arguments mirrored the ones made urging Congress to defeat the legislation last year.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought the dismissal, claiming that the law does not violate the Constitution and further, that the plaintiffs do not have the right to bring such a suit regarding a theoretical harm, since none have yet been prosecuted under the act, nor is there any evidence they ever will be.  The Judge agreed, dismissing the case on all counts.

Thanks to HRC Law Fellow Adam Thomas for his contributions to this post.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Montana House GOP Candidate Declares ‘War’ on the Gay Community Over Tea Party Leader’s Removal

Kristi

Kristi Allen-Gailusha, a GOP nominee for a Montana House seat and secretary of the Big Sky Tea Party Association, has left the latter group, angry that its president, Tim Ravndal, was forced out following revelations that he posted remarks condoning violence against gay people to his Facebook page.

Allen-gailushas Ravndal, in a Facebook posting dated July 23 and since removed, expressed his views that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The post was in response to an ACLU lawsuit in Montana brought by seven gay couples who want to get married.

In the post's comment thread, Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."

In response to the Ravndal controversy, Allen-Gailusha posted a comment to her Facebook page declaring "war" on the gay community (see screenshot above).

The Helena Independent Record reports:

"Allen-Gailusha said Ravndal wasn't even referring to the Shepard case, and that his comments were taken out of context. She said she would submit her resignation from the association at Tuesday night's meeting. She may have also been heading for trouble with the group’s board, following the revelation of one of her own Facebook postings that takes aim at gay people."

Allen-Gailusha is the Republican nominee in House District 82.

(top image via montana cowgirl blog)


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

8PM ET: PHB Liveblog with leaders of the LGBT ‘military underground’ org Outserve

UPDATE: Bumped up for the liveblog.

Tonight is the liveblog with the leaders of Outserve, the “underground network of LGBT actively serving military members.”

We are active duty and veteran gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and members of the Coast Guard who are currently serving and who have served – some in silence, some with the open support of our comrades – in defense of our nation. We include service men and women who graduated at the top of our classes at the service academies and enlisted at recruitment centers around the country. Some of our members have lost their lives in service to their country.

Ty Walrod and JD Smith will be taking your questions.

Ty Walrod is the civilian co-director of OutServe. He graduated in 2006 from Washburn University. He runs OutServe’s operations in San Francisco where he has worked at Deloitte LLP and Coverity Inc.

JD Smith is the active duty co-director of OutServe. He is a graduate of a U.S. service academy and a current officer in the U.S. armed forces.



The org announced on Monday the creation of several base and regional chapters around the globe. At least ten will be organized by OutServe this week on military bases and regions where the organization has significant presence, including Afghanistan and Iraq. For safety reasons the exact location of the chapters will not be known, except for inside the exclusive network, but 5 chapters will be located overseas and 5 chapters will be located stateside. Although the demand to establish additional chapters is high, OutServe will start with ten this week and expand in the near future.

The goal of each base and regional chapter will be to provide information, resources and social support to actively serving military personnel. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” places an immense burden upon individuals who think they are alone at their base and these networks will seek to fix that. Each chapter will be charged with growing and expanding their networks and offering support in their specific areas. OutServe Headquarters will be tasked with supporting those networks and serving as the voice of the national organization.

We need to start to empower local military networks to expand and unite them under one banner,” said JD Smith, OutServe’s co-director and active duty officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. He continued, “Informal networks of gay and lesbian military members have existed well before World War I and it’s time to take those networks and start connecting them and giving them more resources.”

The URL for the liveblog is: http://tinyurl.com/PHBOutserve
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright