Dan Choi’s Reenlistment Circus Makes Times Square Tolerable For 5 Minutes

This afternoon, following the Pentagon instructing recruitment offices to let gays apply to enlist, discharge Lt. Dan Choi — who has mastered his public speaking tone — strolled over the Times Square military office to sign up. While gay wannabe soldiers are allowed to sign up, the Pentagon warns them that any "admission" of homosexuality could be used against them at a later date if DADT manages to stay alive. [video via]


Permalink | 1 comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  John Wright

Where In The World Is The San Diego Gay & Lesbian Times?

The San Diego Gay & Lesbian Times wasn't in print this week, relays Don Bauder, nor was its online edition posted on its website. (The cover image, seen here, does appear online; the link to the digital edition brings up last week's issue.) Google says the website was last updated since Oct. 7. "Owner Mike Portantino is ailing. According to one rumor, employees have been told they have been laid off, but I could not pin that down. According to a recorded message on his phone, Portantino's mail box is full and can't accept more messages."


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to , ,

Queerty

—  John Wright

The times are changing

One more from Keith Hartman:




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Man in his own home tased three times by cops sues

Another to add to the Taser files, this time a man in Marin County had the “pleasure” of being electrocuted by law enforcement in front of his wife while in his home. The deputy sheriff captured the whole thing on video. The deputies, by the way, had no search warrant or any other legal reason to enter McFarland’s home. (Via ABC):


On June 29, 2009 McFarland and his wife Pearl were returning home from a charity fundraiser just before midnight. McFarland injured himself as he stumbled and fell down the long steps to his front door.

“Mainly it was to my knee and the front of my leg, my shin,” McFarland said.

His wife called paramedics, who helped him into the house and treated him. As the paramedics were leaving, two sheriff’s deputies arrived. “All of a sudden, they just showed up, they came in here like there was a fire going on, like a gunfight was going on,” McFarland said.

…The deputy tells McFarland he is going to take him to the hospital because he may be suicidal.

“We want to take you to the hospital for an evaluation, you said if you had a gun, you’d shoot yourself in the head,” the deputy can be heard saying. McFarland says it was just hyperbole. He was tired and in pain.

The deputy orders him numerous times to get up or else. “Stand up, put your hands behind your back or you’re going to be Tased,” the deputy says. McFarland keeps refusing.

The exchange goes on for about five minutes; his wife keeps pleading with the deputies not to Tase him, saying he has a heart condition.

Then, McFarland tells the deputies in no uncertain terms to leave. As he gets up to go to bed, McFarland is Tased. Not once, but three times.

“There’s got to be a problem in terms of training and on supervising deputy sheriffs in the county; it’s hard to imagine something so shocking could happen,” McFarland’s attorney John Scott said.

McFarland says he never had any suicidal thoughts. In fact, he considers himself lucky to be alive.

“I’m a survivor of pancreatic cancer; one of 4 percent in this country,” McFarland said.

After the multiple Tasings, he was arrested, thrown in the clink, charged with “resisting arrest.”  That was later tossed out by a judge.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

New York Times Outs Christwire

Today the New York Times does what numerous other publications have tried and failed to do, they’ve gotten the guys behind Christwire to come clean.

Christwire has lately reached new levels of popularity, in part thanks to an Aug. 14 column, “Is My Husband Gay?” Written by Stephenson Billings, the piece is a 15-point checklist to help wives diagnose possibly closeted husbands. “Gym membership but no interest in sports” is one warning sign. So is “Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends” and “Love of pop culture.” “Is My Husband Gay?” was picked up on The Huffington Post and mentioned by Ryan Seacrest on his radio show; so far it has been viewed 8.3 million times. Oh, by the way: Christwire is all one big joke. Not the readership — which hit a high of 27 million page views in August — but the content, the opinions and the fake authors who write the stuff. (There is no “Stephenson Billings.”) Neither of the two founders is a conservative Christian. They are just like-minded 28-year-olds who met on the Internet, have never seen each other in person, and until this week had never given their real identities to a reporter. Bryan Butvidas is a software developer who works out of his house in Southern California. Kirwin Watson is a former Pepperdine student who moved back home in Kansas, where he now works “on the patient-care staff” of a local hospital. According to phone interviews with both men, they met online in 2005, when both were contributing to the news aggregator Shoutwire.com.

I’ve exchanged some emails with the guy writing as Stephenson Billings, who remains anonymous in the Times article. Last week another well-known New York publication wrote me several times in an attempt to divine Billings’ true identity, asking me if he ever “broke character” during our email exchanges.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Rewriting recent history, NY Times now reports Mehlman ‘tended to avoid social issues’

This deification of Ken Mehlman over his recently discovered homosexuality is already getting absurd.

Tonight, Michael Luo from the New York Times absolved Ken Mehlman from any involvement in George Bush’s fiercely homophobic campaign back in 2004:

Mr. Mehlman was in Mr. Bush’s inner circle in both presidential campaigns, and ran his campaign in 2004. But Mr. Mehlman, in his work as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as head of Mr. Bush’s campaign, tended to avoid social issues, arguing that they would undercut the Republican Party’s efforts to expand its appeal.

I’m not sure how Mr. Luo determined the Mehlman “tended to avoid social issues.” Maybe Luo took Mr. Mehlman at his word (just like reporters took Mehlman at his word when he said he wasn’t gay.)

But, perhaps Luo should have at least checked the archives of his own newspaper. For example, there’s this story from James Dao from November 4, 2004:

Proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in many of the 11 states where the measures appeared on the ballot on Tuesday, political analysts say, providing crucial assistance to Republican candidates including President Bush in Ohio and Senator Jim Bunning in Kentucky….the ballot measures also appear to have acted like magnets for thousands of socially conservative voters in rural and suburban communities who might not otherwise have voted, even in this heated campaign, political analysts said. And in tight races, those voters – who historically have leaned heavily Republican – may have tipped the balance.

Hmmm. Who came up with that strategy. Well, maybe if Luo googled something like “mehlman” “gay marriage” 2004, he would have found this:

According to religious leaders, the conference calls with White House officials started early in the Bush administration and became a weekly ritual as the campaign heated up. Usually, the participants were Rove or Tim Goeglein, head of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Later, Bush campaign chairman Ken Mehlman and Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and the campaign’s southeast regional coordinator, were often on the line.

Yes, Mehlman was in the thick of it. I don’t think that strategy decided the election, but Mehlman and his colleagues used it.

Luo might have found this, too, from 2006:

“I think the issue was injected when a liberal court in Massachusetts said they were going to redefine a 200 year old institution in this country by judicial fiat,” said Mehlman, who also endorses a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — political catnip for the Christian Right.

See, we gays tend to see using those strategies and that kind of language as engaging in social issues, specifically anti-gay engagement.

So, let’s not rewrite history. Many of us remember vividly how the Bush campaign, managed by Ken Mehlman, used gay baiting and gay bashing as a core part of its strategy. It was ugly. And, it happened.

I get that Mehlman is now trying to make amends. After what he did to the gay community in 2004, he has a long way to go.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

The Seattle Times models heterosexual privilege

Whenever someone says in the same sentence “I support LGBT equality” and “I’ll vote for the anti-equality bigot anyway”, I know I’m dealing with a bad case of heterosexual privilege.  The Seattle Times, which has consistently editorialized in favor of LGBT equality in the past, has just endorsed raging homophobe Jim Johnson for reelection to the Washington state Supreme Court.

You will recall that Johnson is the Washington Supreme Court justice who likened marriage equality to polygamy and wrote on the “unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing” in his venomous anti-gay judgment upholding the state’s DOMA law.  While on the Supreme Court Johnson has also voted consistently in favor of Big Tobacco and his financial backers, the Building Industry Association of Washington as well as voted anti-environment and anti-tribal rights.

In their endorsement, the Seattle Times Editorial Board admits that Johnson used erroneous reasoning when he ruled to uphold WA’s DOMA, saying “Johnson argued that it was not the court’s business to change the traditional definition of marriage.” Yet they endorse his reelection, saying he’s “top-notch”.  This makes no sense whatsoever unless viewed through the lens of privilege.  Only people secure in the enjoyment of their own civil rights would dream of shrugging off such an egregious attack on the civil rights of others, then go the extra mile of promoting the culprit.

Vote for Stan Rumbaugh, who is running to replace Johnson.  Because Stan Rumbaugh is Johnson’s only challenger, the race will be won or lost in the August 17, 2010 primary.  You can still register to vote in the primary by showing up in person at your county elections office.  Deadline is Aug 9th.  Please help get the word out about Stan Rumbaugh by joining Rumbaugh on Facebook or making a donation to the Equal Rights Washington Political Action Committee, whose top priority is electing fair and impartial judges and pro-equality legislators.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

LA Times: There is no rational reason for Proposition 8

LA Times: There is no rational reason for Proposition 8
PageOneQ.com Latest

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

—  admin