Via Bob Mann:
Gay people, more often than not, throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to religion. But we have a good reason. We’ve been scarred. Religion has damaged us. And I try to share with them the light I have seen in the Episcopal Church. But every time I get close to a breakthrough, something happens that brings out the worst in people.
One year it was Chick-fil-a. This year it’s Phil Robertson.
Thanks to Phil, I now know where everyone in my family stands on the issue of whether or not I’m a human being.
I even saw a “friend” of mine post something about how gay people can’t be Christians. Wow. Not only will they keep us from having equal rights, but they’ll keep us from equal salvation. We can’t just be second-class citizens. We have second-class souls.
The worst of my problems from being openly gay is that I get some nasty email. That means I have it really easy. In a country where gay teenagers are being bullied at school and thrown out of their homes by their parents and told by their clergy that they’re going to Hell, we should not count my inbox as a hardship.
Rather than hurting me, these emails are a reminder that I have not just an opportunity but an obligation to be out of the closet — an obligation of which other people in my position should be mindful.
The only reason these emailers make me angry is that I think about how their insults affect other people. I’m too arrogant for self-loathing, but that’s not true of everyone. A lot of gay people still live in communities where these hateful attitudes are dominant. A lot of gay children and teenagers are at the mercy of parents, teachers and clergy who hold bigoted views.
Being open and unashamed about being gay is just one small thing I can do to change the culture and make life easier for people who haven’t had my luck.
Great News! Rep. Jerrold Nadler plans to reintroduce the Uniting American Families Act on Feb. 13!
You can make the bill a success by convincing your Representative to support the bill from Day One. Reintroducing the bill with as many cosponsors as possible will show powerful momentum for the rights of gay and lesbian binational couples!
Please call your Representative and ask them to be an original cosponsor of the “Uniting American Families Act of 2009”
- Find out who your U.S. House Representative is. Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm, enter your address, and you will be provided the name of your U.S. Representative.
- Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.
- Tell your representative’s staff:
I am calling to ask Representative ________________ to be an original cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2009. To cosponsor, he/she must contact Rep. Jerrold Nadler who is the lead sponsor.
The U.S. government discriminates against gay and lesbian binational couples by not allowing us to sponsor our foreign-born life partners for immigration. Because of this, we face the terrible choice of separating from the person we love or leaving our country. As Americans, we should not have to choose between family and country. Please ask Rep. _________________ to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 by reaching out to Rep. Nadler before February 12.
Thanks for asking your member of Congress to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day by cosponsoring UAFA!
h/t Sarah J
For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008
Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis
On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.
We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.
The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.
The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.
This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.
We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.
We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.
We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.
We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.
For more information, or to make a donation, contact:
Update: Renee, bumped from comments:
What bothers me most about this is the way in which these acts of violence and murders are ignored. When I wrote about this issue I focused on the race aspect. Trans women of color are being targeted. At remembering our dead over 65% of the women listed are of color. I want to know where the hell the NAACP is. I want to know where the hell NOW is. When are we going to decide that these women matter?
Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.
Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.
Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.
Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.
I would like to sign on to the following statement from Truth Wins Out:
Truth Wins Out today expressed its grave disappointment in those in the LGBT community who have emulated our bigoted opponents by scapegoating minorities. It has been reported that African Americans have been verbally abused and have had racial epithets hurled at them during Anti-Proposition 8 rallies.
“It is reprehensible to look for scapegoats and target innocent people with vile racial epithets,” said TWO Executive Director, Wayne Besen. “We call on all GLBT people behave intelligently and act responsibly, so we can figure out – together – the best way for our movement to proceed and achieve equality.”
What specifically was Besen referring to?
From the Rod 2.0 post linked to in the TWO statement:
A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night’s marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.
Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.
It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.
Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.
Three older men accosted my friend and shouted, “Black people did this, I hope you people are happy!” A young lesbian couple with mohawks and Obama buttons joined the shouting and said there were “very disappointed with black people” and “how could we” after the Obama victory. This was stupid for them to single us out because we were carrying those blue NO ON PROP 8 signs! I pointed that out and the one of the older men said it didn’t matter because “most black people hated gays” and he was “wrong” to think we had compassion. That was the most insulting thing I had ever heard. I guess he never thought we were gay.
Yeah, so much for the (apparently premature) eulogies for racism now that we’ve entered the Age of Obama.
But I’m wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can’t ever be persuaded on this issue because… well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):
* The elderly (65+)
* People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
* People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
* White Protestants
* Those who attend church weekly
* Married people
* People with children under 18
* Gun owners
* Bush voters
* Offshore drilling supporters
* People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
* People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
* Supporters of the war against Iraq
* People who didn’t care about the age of the candidates
* People who are from the “Inland/Valley” region of California
* McCain voters
Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we’re focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.
From which we can infer three things. First, breaking the statistics just along racial lines is an overly simplistic way to look at the results. Black people, like white people, are not a monolithic group, and LGBT people can make inroads by reaching out to African Americans if we try. Flapping our mouths about how we’re not PC, how all blacks are homophobic, and how there’s no use in reaching out to African Americans doesn’t endear people to us, and there is work to be done here that hasn’t been done.
Second, religion is the overwhelming factor in Prop 8′s win, in terms of organizing, funding, and voting. Since it’s not going anywhere, we have to take a more serious approach to religious voters. And, yes, their leaders make bank off homophobia, but we’re going to have to be more creative. No writing off fundies as idiots allowed – they get votes too.
Civil rights is not a zero-sum game; there is enough shared blame for the debacle that is Prop 8, and it cannot be undone. We have the choice to educate or alienate going forward.
Your move, Mr. President-elect…
Update: I swear I didn’t see Antonia’s post before putting this up–great minds, etc.
Update 2: hekebolos @ dKos:
I would like to encourage you to take specific action to increase the number of people who are expressing their outspoken opposition to discrimination.
The “REPEAL PROP 8″ movement is underway. And I’d love it if you added your voice.
The Courage Campaign has been leading a grassroots and netroots effort against Proposition 8. Sign their petition calling for the repeal of Proposition 8:
If you’re on Facebook (and if you’re not, you should be) there is also a “Repeal Prop 8″ Facebook Group that I would encourage everyone to join.
As Barack Obama said: nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.
But we need those voices to get it done. Add yours to the mix. And be watching for further news about what you can do to support marriage equality not only in California, but across the entire country.
h/t Dr. Prole (who is creatively agitatin’ to get the LDS Church’s tax-exempt status revoked–gogogo!) Also make sure to check out this dKos diary from shanikka, who debunks the exit poll results that have been cited as ‘proving’ African-Americans are to blame for the passage of Prop 8.
Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8, Should It Pass (11/5/2008)
Legal Papers Claim Initiative Procedure Cannot Be Used To Undermine the Constitution’s Core Commitment To Equality For Everyone
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.
The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.
“If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution. Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw – it removes a protected constitutional right – here, the right to marry – not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” said Jenny Pizer, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal. “That’s too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters.”
“A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities. Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the constitution itself, only the legislature can initiate such revisions to the constitution,” added Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.
The groups filed the lawsuit today in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Equality California and 6 same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday’s election but would like to be able to marry now.
The groups filed a writ petition in the California Supreme Court before the elections presenting similar arguments because they believed the initiative should not have appeared on the ballot, but the court dismissed that petition without addressing its merits. That earlier order is not precedent here.
“Historically, courts are reluctant to get involved in disputes if they can avoid doing so,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “It is not uncommon for the court to wait to see what happens at the polls before considering these legal arguments. However, now that Proposition 8 may pass, the courts will have to weigh in and we believe they will agree that Proposition 8 should never have been on the ballot in the first place.”
This would not be the first time the court has struck down an improper voter initiative. In 1990, the court stuck down an initiative that would have added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the “Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United States.” That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip California’s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state’s constitution.
In a statement issued earlier today, the groups stated their conviction, which is shared by the California Attorney General, that the state must continue to honor the marriages of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who have already married in California. A copy of the statement as well as the writ petition filed today is available at: www.aclu.org/lgbt, www.lambdalegal.org, and www.nclrights.org.
In addition to the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR, the legal team bringing the writ also includes the Law Office of David C. Codell; Munger Tolles & Olson, LLP; and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.
h/t DKos (by way of pale via IM).
More from Digby (h/t Paul the Spud) , Faith @ Shakesville, Ta-Nehisi Coates (h/t Sebastian) Amp, Mandolin, The Girl Detective, Jeff Fecke, Thomas @ Feministe, VivirLatino, Kyle @ Right Wing Watch, Bil Browning, Darkrose and Pam Spaulding