Watch: LGBT White House Staff Releases ‘It Gets Better’ Video

Whstaff

LGBT White House staff just released their own "It Gets Better" video, expressing support to bullied gay teens.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



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Prop 8 backers now free to insert names into pre-written ‘—, —, & — are judicial activists’ press releases

Screen Shot 2010-11-29 At 3.04.38 PmThe Ninth Circuit panel that will hear the Prop 8 appeal (December 6 at 10:00 a.m Pacific time) will consist of Stephen Reinhardt, Michael D. Hawkins, and N. Randy Smith, per an announcement this morning. And not surprisingly, social conservatives are already starting to worry/spin the “judicial activist” meme.

This from Ed Whelan:

Reinhardt (appointed by President Carter in 1980) may well be the most aggressive liberal judicial activist in the nation—and the most reversed judge in history. Hawkins, a 1994 Clinton appointee, is also regularly on the Left on the Ninth Circuit. Smith, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, is much more of a judicial conservative.

With two hard-core liberals, the panel is a fairly typical Ninth Circuit draw—which is to say, a bad one for supporters of Prop 8.

ED WHELAN: Bad Ninth Circuit Panel for Prop 8 Appeal [NRO]

Of course the truly bad draw for supporters of Prop 8: Supporting Prop 8 at all! Every other “win” or “loss” is but a contrivance.




Good As You

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FBI Releases 2009 Hate Crime Report

According to the 2009 hate crime statistics report released by the FBI yesterday, there were 1,436 reported hate crime offenses based on sexual orientation bias in 2009.  Hate crimes based on sexual orientation made up 18.5% of all hate crimes reported to the FBI during this period.  This is a slight increase in percentage over 2008 (17.7%).

However, the numbers in the 2009 report show that the total number of hate crimes reported to the FBI, as well as the total number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation bias reported to the FBI, dropped in 2009.  While this is promising news at first glance, it is important to understand that the FBI’s hate crime statistics report does not provide a complete picture of the number of hate crimes occurring in America. 

The FBI’s hate crime statistics report only represents a sample of the actual number of hate crimes that occurred in 2009.   A crime is included in the report only if a law enforcement agency decides to report it to the FBI.  Reporting to the FBI is voluntary.  Countless incidents are unreported by both victims and agencies.  Thus, the FBI’s hate crime statistics report only gives us a glance at a portion of the hate crimes that occur in any given year.  A drop in the number of hate crimes reported to the FBI does not necessarily signify an actual decrease in crimes.  Instead 2009 report only tells us that there were “at least” 1,436 hate crimes based on sexual orientation bias in 2009.

As in past years, the vast majority of the participating state and local crime reporting agencies (85.9%) reported that zero hate crimes occurred in their jurisdictions.  This does not mean that they decided not to report hate crimes; it means that they affirmatively reported to the FBI that there were no hate crimes in their jurisdiction.  This is difficult to believe – several large cities reported no crimes within their jurisdiction.  In addition, thousands of police agencies across the nation did not provide statistics at all.   Because participation is not mandatory and some agencies fail to report, the 2009 report fails to cover approximately 30 million Americans.  In order to have a more accurate snapshot of hate crimes in America, state and local law enforcement authorities must be pressed to provide hate crime data to the FBI. 

The 2009 report included data regarding crimes motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and/or disability.  However, as a result of the 2009 enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI has a new mandate to begin collecting information on hate crimes motivated by gender identity and gender.  While the 2009 report does not include statistics on gender identity or gender, HRC is working with the FBI to revise the hate crime statistics collection guidelines to account for this new mandate.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Pentagon Releases Angry Statement: No Information to Be Released on ‘DADT’ Report Until They’re Ready

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell released the following statement late today regarding leaking of information related to its report on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' which appeared in a report earlier this week, as well as demands from activist groups to release the study early.

Gates "Secretary Gates is very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release. 

"The Secretary launched this review in March to objectively ascertain the impact of potential repeal of the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ law on military readiness, effectiveness, recruiting, retention, unit cohesion and families. He made it clear then and throughout this process that it was ‘critical that this effort be carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner.’ He has also stated clearly that ‘given the political dimension of this issue, it is equally critical that…every effort be made to shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate.’ 

"For nearly nine months the Working Group has operated in strict accordance to that mandate.  Anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of this process.   

"The Secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of Department policy and his specific instruction. 

"The full report will be made public for all to review early next month. Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents.”

They certainly wouldn't want it to have any impact on DADT repeal passing in the lame duck Senate.


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HRC Releases Post-Election Analysis


Today the Human Rights Campaign released an analysis of the November 2nd election results as well as details on the organization’s involvement in the elections and a look toward the future in a new political environment.  The analysis and other documents are available online at www.hrc.org/2010election.

As HRC President Joe Solmonese commented last night: “Social justice movements always experience steps forward and steps back and this election turned out to be a mix of both.  Even though we will face greater challenges in moving federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level.  Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history.”

The analysis looks at the factors behind pro-LGBT losses and how anti-LGBT candidates fared.  It further details the places in which pro-LGBT advancements are still possible and other avenues to move the ball forward on equality.  The full text follows:

2010 Post Election Analysis

The 2010 mid-term elections boiled down to the phrase made famous in Bill Clinton’s 1992 run for President – “It’s the Economy Stupid.” Voter anxiety over economic affairs created a difficult environment for incumbents and swept conservative majorities into the U.S. House and state legislatures around the country. Thankfully this election was not characterized by as much wedge-issue demagoguery as we’ve seen in the past but make no mistake, these new leaders are no friends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. While most races were not won or lost on LGBT issues, the equality movement may be collateral damage in the conservative wave that swept the country.

The presumptive House leadership team of Reps. Boehner, Cantor and Pence all score zeros on the HRC scorecard and many soon-to-be committee chairs have long anti-LGBT records. While the past four years of Democratic leadership stopped the most damaging legislation from seeing the light of day, there is no reason to believe that far-right conservatives won’t use every opportunity to push their narrow agenda. That job will be even harder without equality champions like Patrick Murphy in the House or Russ Feingold in the Senate.

Even though we will face greater challenges in moving positive federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level – from administrative changes to work on the state and local level. Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history and we will continue to highlight how far this new leadership is outside the mainstream of public opinion.

November 2nd was not without its bright spots however. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staved off a challenge from Sharron Angle, a tea-party backed candidate who is so opposed to workplace equality she said she’d refuse contributions from corporations who give equal benefits to their employees. In California, National Organization for Marriage-backed Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina lost to pro-equality candidates Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer respectively.

The elections also resulted in pro-marriage equality governors in California, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Openly LGBT candidates fared well across the country with a record number of new, out officials including Rep.-elect David Cicilline in Rhode Island. We can use these victories as footholds particularly in pushing for statewide legal recognition of our families.

Knowing this would be a hard fought election, HRC made significant investments to elect pro-equality candidates. We endorsed 21 candidates for U.S. Senate, more than 200 candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, 16 candidates for governor, and 14 candidates for the New York state Senate. HRC’s federal Political Action Committee contributed more than 0,000 to Congressional candidates and political committees and the organization also contributed nearly 0,000 to support pro-equality state and local candidates. We deployed 39 staff to 17 states, sent more than 3.3 million election-related action alert e-mails to HRC members and supporters and made tens of thousands of phone calls and recruited thousands of volunteers. Read more on HRC’s involvement in the mid-term elections.

Of course, the question now is “where do we go from here?” We won’t stop moving forward, because there’s more than one path to victory. When one door closes, others often open. Read a full report on our path forward which includes:

  • Putting every ounce of strength into pressuring the Senate to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before the end of the year;
  • Blocking harmful bills and continuing to introduce pro-equality legislation – and using both to make sure voters knows how out of touch radicals in the House really are;
  • Continuing to put pressure on the Obama administration to make policy changes that don’t require an act of Congress, following our “Blueprint for Positive Change,” where we’ve already made major progress;
  • Fighting for marriage equality and relationship recognition in states where there are now open doors – and continuing to expose NOM’s extreme agenda; and
  • Combating bullying in our schools and working with religious communities to amplify the voices of pro-equality clergy. We’re also going to enable more gay couples to adopt children and build loving families, and work to make corporations and hospitals more equal. And we will shine a light on bigotry and mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters to speak out against it.

There is a path forward. And that path requires HRC – and you – to continue fighting tirelessly for justice. Join us.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Nancy Pelosi Releases Most Uninspiring ‘It Gets Better’ Video To Date

Don't get me wrong: It's great to see Nancy Pelosi follow Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with her It Gets Better number. But my god, I can't think of any child who is going to see this and think, "Wow, am I no longer depressed." Not that these videos need to have pop soundtracks and be full of laughter, but, HEY NANCY: This is not a speech to Congress. You are talking to children. Ditch the speech writers. And sense the tone.

CONTINUED »


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Watch: NOM Releases New Ad Against Marriage Equality

Looks like The National Organization for Marriage is still trying to associate the King name with their cause.

Mlkjr NOM, which earlier this month released ad attacking New Hampshire Governor John Lynch for signing gay marriage into law, has now partnered with The Minnesota Family Council to release an ad that encourages voters to support Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer because he does not support marriage equality. The ad uses images and soundbites of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a voice-over that is a vacuous and blatant scare tactic.

Says the ad:

"Gay marriage has consequences. Legal experts predict same-sex marriage will result in a flood of lawsuits against individuals, small businesses and religious groups who don’t accept it. When Massachusetts imposed gay marriage, second graders were taught that boys could marry other boys. In the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities was forced to end its eight-decade old adoption and foster care programs."

Watch the very predictable radio spot which has been turned into a Web video, AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

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HRC Releases Statement on New York City Hate Crimes

Today, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement on the news that a group of nine men reportedly beat, sodomized, and robbed two men and attacked a third for being gay:

“It is tragic to see what hate can do. These three men were brutally attacked and sodomized simply for who they are. Authorities must vigorously prosecute the perpetrators of these hateful crimes. Unfortunately, these crimes come on the heels of several other recently reported hate crimes in New York City. These crimes only emphasize the need for strong federal and state hate crimes laws.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

GLSEN Releases LGBT Student Survey – School Safety Still a Serious Concern

Today, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, released its National School Climate Survey, which documents the experiences of LGBT students from across the country. The 2009 National School Climate Survey shows that while progress has been made in providing safe schools for LGBT youth, much work remains to be done. Among the report’s key findings:

• 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

• 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.

• Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.

• The presence of a gay-straight alliance, supportive teachers and staff members, and a school anti-bullying policy all contributed to an improved climate for LGBT students.  Click here for the full report.

HRC thanks GLSEN for its extensive efforts on this report, which included gathering data from over 7,000 LGBT students, and for its pioneering efforts to improve the climate of schools for LGBT youth. As the report indicates, much work remains to be done to ensure that safe schools become a reality for LGBT youth across our nation.

HRC, along with GLSEN, is currently supporting two bills in the U.S. Congress that would foster a safe and inclusive environment for LGBT students – the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA, H.R. 2262, S. 3739), which would require school districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct prohibiting bullying and harassment, and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA, H.R. 4530, S. 3390), which would prohibit any school program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any public school student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Let your Members of Congress know that you support the SSIA and SNDA because all students deserve an education free of discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Thanks to HRC staff counsel Aaron Welo for his contributions to this post.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Movies: New Releases, Disturbed Nuns, Black Swans and Musical Bios





Picture 40
Patrick Wilson, sperm donor of choice.

GuestbloggerNATHANIEL ROGERS
…prefers air conditioned movie theaters to hot beaches in the summertime. He blogs daily at the Film Experience.


Now Playing
It's a crowded weekend for new releases. Nanny McPhee Returns and Bow Wow has a winning Lottery Ticket. If you're in the mood for gore comedy, there's Piranha 3D. Meanwhile over in The Switch, Jason Bateman spills Patrick Wilson's sperm and — uh, wait, that sounds way more interesting than it is — and he improvises with his own to make sure Jennifer Aniston stays on her babymaking track. In limited release you can see Mao's Last Dancer or the very funny and horny Soul Kitchen from acclaimed Turkish-German director Fatih Akin.

Bonus Scenes

Road Fall film festival season is almost upon us. New York, Toronto and Telluride are finalizing their glittery lineups and pedigreed Oscar hopefuls will follow those premieres into regular theaters in time. Venice will kick off their fest with the psychological ballet thriller Black Swan which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rivals and more.  

Don't look so worried Natalie!

More, AFTER THE JUMP

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If anyone can pull off a possibly supernatural ballet thriller with psychotic breaks and lesbian mashing, it's director Darren Aronofsky who knows from hallucinatory visuals (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain), self immolation (The Wrestler) and general psychosis (Pi). I'm totally obsessed with this already and it's only a trailer. "What happened to my sweet girl?!?" Chilling. Watch it.

RoadThe Awl has published a hilarious celebrity forgiveness chart. Oh, the court of public opinion. It's a sometimes nonsensical place but some of the "forgiven" people never fully got their careers back so is that true forgiveness? Do you hold any grudges with celebrities? I would gladly forgive Lindsay Lohan all if she would only become a good actress again.

Sisterruthiscreepy
Road Did you know that the technicolor marvel Black Narcissus (1947) about a group of nuns overwhelmed by the Himalayas was recently rereleased in a special Criterion Collection edition? See it. Trying to choose a favorite shot is hugely difficult since the whole thing is such colorful fascinating weirdly erotic cinema. It's way ahead of its time for 1947 which is why this fanmade trailer, setting it against 2010 Inception music is such a treat. But be warned. That faux trailer is kind of spoilery. Why do nuns always make such smashing movie characters?


Road Toy Story 3
became the highest grossing animated film of all time (unadjusted for inflation) a short while ago. Yay Woody! A box set of all three Toy Story films arrives in November. Let's hope they make a promo reel about Ken & Barbie losing their minds over what to wear for Oscar's red carpet in February 2011.

Picture 34
Road Broadway's Fela, which tells the life story of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, is closing in a few months and Patti LaBelle is just the diva to wrap things up as Fela's mother. Whoever plays Fela in the movie –with Will and Jada as producers, someone has
got to have considered making it a movie by now — will be Oscar nominated. It's a juicy 'star' role: sex appeal, comic and tragic beats, opportunities for biopic mimicry, political fire at a safe distance (read: the past and in another country). It could easily add Oscar gold to its already exuberant colors.

Road Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard probably don't say "no" enough to movie offers given their respective talents (better suited to actual full bodied characterizations that one-note support) but maybe the marrieds will rock a supposedly Sid & Nancy type love affair in a biopic about bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe.

Peter is still waiting on his first Oscar nod (if you can believe it) but which Gyllenhaal will win the race to a second Oscar nod, Jake or big sis Maggie?


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright