Michele Bachmann: Gays want to legally marry multiple partners and rape children

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Michele Bachmann

Failed Republican presidential candidate and right-wing nutjob Michele Bachman was back at it this week, warning on the conservative Christian radio talk show “Faith and Liberty” that gays and lesbians are gaining ground in our efforts to enact hate speech laws that promote “tyranny” and intolerance of any dissenting points of view, to enact laws allowing polygamy and to abolish age of consent laws so that we can freely “prey on” children sexually.

Bachmann also proudly displayed her ignorance of history with this claim: “For all of the thousands of years of recorded human history, about 5,000 years, there is no instance of any culture, nation or tribe ever having as the established standard for marriage anything other than between man and woman. It may have been multiple women and a man, it may have been something like that, but it was always between men and women.”

Right Wing Watch has this audio clip of the interview:

—  Tammye Nash

Mitt and I both have binders of women — but mine are mostly lesbians

At my desk with binders of women

In the advertising department at Dallas Voice, we keep binders of models to use in ads.

So I went to the advertising department and borrowed a stack of binders. Not just any binders. But binders of women.

This morning, I have a stack of those binders on my desk — binders of lesbians.

And why are the binders of women on MY desk and not fellow staff writer Anna Waugh’s? Because we sent Anna home early today so she could make dinner.

Of course I HAD to wait until our hot reporter Anna left the building. She thought there was something dehumanizing about thinking of women as nothing more than a page in a binder. We assured the little sex pistol that we have utmost respect for her. And for her ability to keep house, cook and clean. Oh, and raise children. And that we hired her because she was qualified.

—  David Taffet

Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

We Were Here, AIDS documentary at 14 Pews

We Were HereWe Were Here, the award winning documentary of the early days of the AIDS crisis, premiers at 14 Pews theater (800 Aurora) Saturday, November 20, at 4:30 pm. The film, from director David Weissman, will be proceeded by a panel discussion on the state of the AIDS crisis today.

I came out in 1998, right at the tail end of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. I remember, with vivid clarity, the days of the walking wounded: when every other gay man I met would tell how their doctor said they should have died five years ago, when the community told time by recalling if an event took place before or after a certain person’s funeral.

Fortunately those days are largely behind us, but as new HIV infections continue to rise and we struggle to maintain funding for medications that are keeping people alive (at a cost of thousands of dollars a month), it’s important that we never forget the early days of the pandemic. For people of my generation and younger the mysterious “Gay Plague” that threatened our community in the early eighties can seem more like a fairy tale monster than the horrifying crisis it was, and is.

We Were Here tells the real life stories of five people who survived. Their mundane and profound recollections highlight, not only their personal experiences, but the broad political and social upheavals unleashed by the crisis. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories which are not only intensely personal, but which also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, and the terrible emotional toll. The film highlights the role of women – particularly lesbians – in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.

Tickets for We Were Here are $10 and can be purchased at 14pews.org.

After the jump watch the trailer for We Were Here.

—  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

School officials condemn hateful response to lesbian couple elected homecoming king, queen

Rebeca Arrellano, left, and Haileigh Adams

It’s easy — and, I think, common — for those of us who are a bit older to bemoan the state of our youth today. We gripe about their lack of respect, their lack of ambition, the way they dress, the music they listen to — the list goes on.

But news this week out of San Diego indicates that perhaps we old folks could learn a few lessons from the young’uns.

On Friday, Oct. 28, during their homecoming pep rally, students at Patrick Henry High School elected lesbian Rebeca Arellano as their  2011 homecoming king. Then on Saturday night, Oct. 29, at the homecoming dance, they named Rebeca’s girlfriend, Haileigh Adams, as their homecoming queen. Read that again: The two girls were elected by their classmates. And if you read the articles about the event, it looks like their classmates are, for the most part, satisfied with their choice.

But some of the older folks are not so happy. In fact, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times and the Fox 5 news report video you can watch below, some older folks are being downright hateful about it.

Officials with Patrick Henry High say they have been deluged with hate mail and hateful calls since news reports of Rebeca and Haileigh’s elections were published, and some of those comments and calls have been, they said, “disturbing.”

San Diego schools Supt. Bill Kowba told the LA Times that adults sending the hateful calls and letters are “demonstrating such a lack of tolerance and are presenting such a negative role model for children with their hateful comments.” He noted that if it were students behaving so badly, they would be disciplined, and then, after congratulating Rebeca and Haileigh, declared, “I look forward to the day when all students can come to school, free of harassment and bullying.”

Looks to me like there are a bunch of us “adults” out there who could stand to learn a lesson from the youngsters at Patrick Henry High.

—  admin

Anti-gay tirade ruins family’s State Fair outing

STATE UNFAIR | Dondi Morse, left, and Latisha Pennington say they attended the State Fair of Texas with their seven-year-old daughter and were verbally attacked by one vendor.

Haltom City lesbians say vendor’s verbal gay-bashing left their 7-year-old daughter in tears

UPDATE: Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America has sent an apology to the couple and the man in the booth who verbally attacked the couple has been removed from the fair.

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When Latisha Pennington and Dondi Morse of Haltom City took their 7-year-old daughter to the Texas State Fair last weekend, they just wanted to have a fun day seeing the animals and trying out the fair’s famed array of fried treats.

But the women said this week their plans were ruined when one vendor verbally gay-bashed them in front of their daughter, leaving the little girl in tears and forcing the family to cut their outing short.

Although Pennington acknowledges that it isn’t hard to look at her and know she is a lesbian, that same isn’t true for her partner. And the two of them weren’t doing anything that day to attract attention; they weren’t holding hands and they certainly weren’t kissing or engaging in any kind of public displays of affection.

“We were just there to have fun with our daughter,” Pennington said, adding that PDAs “just aren’t our style.”

But that wasn’t enough to ward off some unwanted attention from the men at the booth for the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America.

Pennington said she and Morse and their daughter had just left one of the animal buildings when she heard a man call out to them. He said, she recalled,

“Hey, come here, come here. I got something for you. Got a couple of questions.”

The women noticed that the man was one of several at the booth that were giving away T-shirts and visors so they decided to go over and see what was being offered.

Each man in the booth was holding a sign that said, “What would you take for $1 million?” And the man who called them over did indeed have a question for them: “Would you take $1 million for your right eye?”

Pennington said she closed one eye, and the man asked her what she was doing. She told him she was just checking to see how well she could see out of one eye before she answered.

She said the man laughed at her answer. But his next question was no laughing matter: “Would you take $1 million for your soul?”

That’s when Morse jumped into the conversation, telling the man that if he was trying to engage them in a religious debate, they weren’t interested in going further.

Pennington said the man assured them he wasn’t interested in a religious debate either. But his next statement proved otherwise. That’s when the encounter began to turn ugly.

Pennington said he asked them, “What do you think will happen to your soul when you die?” Then he answered his own question with, “I know what’s going to happen to your soul. You’re going to hell for being a homosexual.”

The man then began “slinging biblical quotes at us” that supposedly condemn homosexuality. And as his harangue continued, their daughter began to cry, prompting the mothers to get her away from the booth and the man there as quickly as possible.

“We were at the booth no more than two minutes,” Pennington said, adding that the first thing to go through her mind was, “Oh, wow! Nothing like this has ever happened to us before.”

Besides just ruining their family outing with his remarks, Pennington said she questions what sort of family values the man who accosted them thought he was teaching her.

They tried to calm their daughter, Pennington said, but she continued to cry, asking Morse, “Mommy, why are you going to hell?”

The couple soon decided that they needed to leave the fair as quickly as possible to get their daughter to a safer environment where she could begin to calm down.

Pennington said they contacted state fair officials immediately to complain. On Wednesday, she said, they had heard back from State Fair Director Kelly Pound, who offered the family free tickets to return another day.

But Pennington said that while she appreciates the offer, she and Morse feel their daughter was too traumatized by the encounter to risk a return visit to the fair this year.

Pennington also said she doesn’t think just offering the family free tickets was an adequate response, and that she worries that other families could be attacked and other children traumatized by the man’s anti-gay tirades, even if they aren’t LGBT families.

Pennington suggested that fair officials should remove the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America and their booth from the fair. Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for fair officials, said Thursday, Oct. 6, that while the group wouldn’t be asked to leave the fair, such behavior violates fair policy and will not be tolerated.

“That’s not the way we expect our vendors to act,” Gooding said, adding that vendors are expected to stay in their booths and should not call people over.

She said that Pound had gone to the booth already to have a discussion with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship after the incident was reported, letting them know that “We’re not going to put up with this.”

Gooding said that while “the conversation went well,” Pound may decide to have a second conversation with the group before this weekend, when some 200 people have indicated on the “Gay Day at the State Fair” Facebook group page that they will be attending the fair on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Fairgoers who would like to visit the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association of America will find its booth outside the Pan Am Arena located behind the Cotton Bowl, on Nimitz Avenue.

………………………

The FGBMF

For more information on the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America,
go online to fgbmfamerica.com/wordpress. According to the website, the group’s
mission is:

“• To reach men everywhere for Jesus Christ, taking particular note that in many instances men can reach others of their same social, cultural or business interests more readily than anyone else.

“• To call men to God: to help men become born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, operate in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and take the Good News to the nations.

“• To mentor young men who have never had positive male role models by being a spiritual father to them.

“• To provide a basis of fellowship among all men everywhere: by creating a fellowship not directly associated with any specific church, but cooperating with all denominations and inspiring our members to be active in their respective churches.

“• To bring about a greater measure of unity and harmony in the Body of Christ; where members are united in a common effort to spread the Good News and to be in full fellowship and submission to the true Head of the church . . . the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  John Wright

2 new local pubs target LGBTs of color

Online publishing seems to be the way to go for upstart magazines. Two local LGBT pubs recently announced their debut and have their sights set on specific audiences.

Reina is the creation of Ashlei Spivey, who apparently also goes by Vonnie Spiv.  The launch party was held July 10 at Chocolate Secrets. Here’s the mission of Reina as stated in their press kit:

The magazine envisions bridging resources in the lesbian community of color through discourse surrounding various subjects pertinent to this community. Reina believes in expanding the voice of the community. Even though the magazine is targeted to lesbians of color, there is something is this magazine for everyone. We embrace our community and our allies.

View the current issue here. According to their Facebook page, the mag’s website goes interactive on Thursday.

While Spivey’s magazine will be geared mostly to lesbians of color, BlaqOut Dallas is gearing up to be a resource for the entire black queer demographic of the area.  Fahari’s Harold Steward is behind the magazine but said, “the community is my team.” The official launch for the magazine is expected to be this fall, but he encourages everyone to visit their Facebook page until the website is built. This is the current description of the mag:

BlaqOut Dallas is an online publication that profiles the people, organizations, arts, politics and culture of the Black Queer North Texas community.

Roneka Patterson did an impressive photo shoot for the mag that can be seen on their page.

When asked if there was room for two magazines devoted to LGBTs of color in Dallas, Steward replied, “There is room for many more.”


—  Rich Lopez

Not just a ‘third-world’ problem

News of yet another ‘corrective rape’ in South Africa makes headlines, but a quick bit of research shows the U.S. faces similar problems

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Flagging Left

I grew up in a different age. It was the 1950s and everyone was supposed to live in a Donna Reed family with 2.5 kids and a dog. At home, Father knew best and wives were re-christened “homemakers,” clearly showing their place in the family hierarchy.

Outside the hetero-normative illusion, there were those strange folks who lived on the shadowy fringes of society. They were never called by name, but I soon learned they were “pansies” and presented a marked difference in their mannerisms and speech.

One group that was never spoken of was lesbians. They were there, but so invisible they were beyond consideration.

Oh sure, I had female gym teachers who were more masculine than any pre-teen boy ever hoped to be, but they were “athletic.” And my maiden aunt and her “friend” who lived together for 30 years after serving in the WACs were just “spinsters” who never met the right man.

When I finally did hear of lesbians, it was in the context of some strange porn fantasy. The voyeuristic thrill of watching women together was an ideal teenager fantasy, at least for straight male teenagers.

Over and over again I heard men and teens boasting that the only “problem with lesbians is they never got it from the right man.”

It seemed that men — or more specifically a man’s penis — could solve any problem when it came to sexual orientation.

That myth has died down somewhat in this country. But apparently it is alive and well in South Africa.

A 13-year-old girl who was perceived as a lesbian was “correctively raped” in that country. The savage attack on her is not the first, as violence against lesbians increases. Last month, well-known LGBT activist Noxolo Nogwaza was murdered, presumably because of her sexual orientation.

The trend toward men raping lesbians to “fix” them has risen alarmingly in a country with some of the most progressive laws in the world concerning LGBT people. In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Dipika Nath, a researcher with Human Rights Watch said, “The vicious nature of the assault is a potent reminder that these attacks are premeditated, planned, and often committed with impunity.”

This isn’t a new trend. Last year last, Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa’s national female football squad, was a victim of a “corrective rape.” She did not survive the gang rape and subsequent stabbings.

So far the South African government has not made these crimes a priority. A “committee” was formed to investigate the latest case, but this has been going on for several years.

You might think this is just a problem in Africa. Well, think again.

An American judge, Joseph A. Rehyansky (actually a part-time magistrate), was quoted as saying in an online interview that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military and not gay men.

Why? Well this quote explains it pretty well: “It would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

He goes on to further muse about evolution: “It fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate — a tough job but someone had to do it.”

Once again all those pesky lesbians need is the right penis!

Old myths die hard, and this one has a zombie-like ability to resurface again and again. I have to wonder what it will take to put a stake in its heart forever.

I serve on the board of a non-profit human rights organization, and I am amazed at how people in the United States always think “human rights violations” are things that only happen in third-world countries.

Well, welcome to reality. If you consider sexuality a basic human right, the U.S. scores pitifully. With attitudes like Rehyansky’s and with the continued myth of “corrective rape” that apparently is still in our nation’s consciousness. we still have a long way to go.

It’s time we began looking at the reality of human rights in our own country. It’s time we discarded the 1950s mythos when most problems could be solved by just letting the “right man” handle the job.

I am reminded of the adage that says, “To a carpenter with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Well, being a lesbian is not a problem, and it certainly doesn’t need fixing by a man swinging his “hammer.”

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

—  John Wright