Freedom and Responsibility (Phil Robertson Edition)

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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.

Josh Barro:

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.

PSA: Support the Uniting American Families Act of 2009

by matttbastard

Immigration Equality:

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”

It’s easy!

  1. 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.
  2. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.
  3. 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

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PSA: A call for action on trans rights in Tennessee

by matttbastard

Via The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:

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.

Marisa Richmond
President

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:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

h/t Cara by way of Queen Em.

Related: More on Leeneshia Edwards from Em and Monica Roberts

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?

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More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

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.

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Re: the passage of Prop H8: “resist racist media schemes”

by matttbastard

Via belle:

Dear Friends,

I am writing because I am disturbed by the string of articles, blog entries, and list serve threads that have come out in the last few days suggesting that the high turnout of African American and Latino voters for the presidential election was responsible for the passage of California’s proposition 8, which dealt a heavy blow to LGBT families by banning gay marriage.

These articles mistakenly imply that the struggles for civil rights for LGBT people and communities of color are separate or even at odds with each other. They deny the work that LGBT people of color do to combat homophobia and transphobia in their families and communities, often while facing racism within the queer community as well. These articles deny homophobia among white people, and they displace blame away from those who actually have the power to consistently deny others civil and human rights, and instead, charge that when communities that have long been disenfranchised and alienated from political processes begin to participate, that the results with be negative for LGBT people.

I believe all communities need to be held accountable for their homophobia and transphobia. I want to acknowledge the suffering and hardship that the passage of Proposition 8 has caused for LGBT couples and families. But, while the media casts blame on communities of color for the failure of civil rights for LGBT people, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate, and that we examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.

In the months leading up the election, I saw a massive mobilization within the queer spaces in which I spend time in San Francisco to get people to vote no on 8. We live in a state that has one of the highest incarceration rates in a nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. Studies have estimated that at any time, 40 percent of black men in their 20’s in California are under control of the correctional system. Criminalization affects many LGBT people, in particular, those that may be experiencing addiction or who, lacking familial support, move to expensive cities where they may have a hard time accessing affordable housing and living-wage work. Despite this, I saw little or no public discourse among LGBT people about very important state propositions: 5, 6, and 9, all of which potentially impacted things like funding for prisons, alterations to sentencing for drug crimes, or the trying of minors as adults in this state.

In the last months, we have seen raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) throughout the state and in San Francisco. Many people immigrate here as a result of the US foreign policy of destabilizing foreign economies. Additionally, San Francisco is home to many LGBT immigrants who have come to the country seeking safety and asylum. While my inbox was flooded with emails pertaining to Prop 8, I heard from very few queer people who were seeking to mobilize around the October 31st demonstration to protest ICE raids, or other work pertaining to ICE raids, and San Francisco’s establishment as a sanctuary city.

The November ballot contained several important city initiatives that could have affected the livability of our city both for low-income people of color and for many queer people. Proposition K, an initiative to decriminalize prostitution would have helped sex workers in this city to make major strides in their ability to organize for their rights and safety, allowing them to better protect themselves against violence and police harassment. Despite the fact that many, many young LGBT people in this city earn their livings as sex workers and daily face risks to their safety, and that two trans women working as sex workers lost their lives while working in San Francisco in 2007, I saw shockingly little effort among LGBT people to educate themselves on the realities facing sex workers or the background on Proposition K, let alone to spread any word about it.

Similarly, proposition B, which would have mandated that the city set aside part of its budget for affordable housing was defeated by SF voters. In a city with a history of racist schemes of redevelopment and displacement (SOMA in the 60’s, Justin Herman’s redevelopment of the Fillmore, illegal evictions in the Mission in the 90s, contemporary cuts to county welfare, and most recently, the gentrification of Bayview—to name a few), San Francisco voters have failed to stand up for working families’ ability to live affordably in this city—a city with where remaining working class communities of color face major threats of displacement. Despite the fact that white LGBT people often play complicated roles in the gentrification of the city and displacement of communities of color, I saw no media reports released on November 5th scrutinizing the voting trends of white LGBT San Franciscans on Propositions B, N, K, 5, 6, or 9, as juxtaposed to the numerous articles scrutinizing the voting habits of Black and Latino voters on Prop 8. And despite the overwhelmingly negative outcome of several important local and state propositions, outcry among the wider LGBT community seems to have been reserved only for Prop 8.

As a young, queer, person living in San Francisco, I feel very strongly that affordably in this city is vital to the creativity and well being of the LGBT community of San Francisco. As a white person living in the Mission, I have to think and act critically in regards to the complicated role I play in the gentrification of this neighborhood and the larger schemes of displacement within this city. I love my queer life and love living in this city. I get to witness the ways of living and congregating, making new families, new cultures, and envisioning new worlds that are possible living in a city with so many other brilliant and creative queer people. While I would like to lend my support and compassion to the people who lost the right to marry this week, I also question the logic that tells me that my only struggle as an LGBT person centers around my right to marry, rather than my ability to live and create in many other ways within a city I love. Affordable housing is central to the vitality of the LGBT community in San Francisco, to all communities, and while I sign petitions to support marriage as a right, I would like to see LGBT Californians take a serious look at the fact that housing, healthcare, and freedom from incarceration are also civil and human rights.

I would like to see LGBT Californians talk not only about their right to receive their partners’ health benefits but about universal healthcare. I would like to hear us talk not just about how many LGBT people’s partners cannot receive citizenship rights because of a lack of marriage rights, but connect this to struggles for immigrant rights in this state. I would like to hear LGBT people not only talk about how their families are discriminated against, but think about how many families in California are living in alternative family structures because of the mass incarceration of parents with children.

The passing of Proposition 8 is a sad day and indicative of the work that lies ahead, however, as we heal from these blows, I would like to challenge us to consider how our struggles are bound up with struggles for racial and economic justice, and how our fight for civil rights, and the health of our communities could be strengthened by taking these connections more seriously. Above all, I would like to challenge us to resist racist media schemes that, during our moment of need and a moment of possibility, are attempting to pit LGBT people and supporters against communities of color in California.

I apologize for the hasty construction of this, but time is of the essence. I welcome your thoughts.

In struggle,

Adele Carpenter

Rewind my selekta:

[W]hile the media casts blame on communities of color for the failure of civil rights for LGBT people, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate, and that we examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.

This.  Less hateful, divisive rhetoric, more reflection, reorientation and preparation for the next stage of the struggle, plz.

sign the petition to repeal Proposition 8!

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‘No’ on Prop 8 — and ‘No’ on Race-Baiting UPDATE: TAKE ACTION!

by matttbastard

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.

Alex Blaze FTW:

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+)
* Republicans
* Conservatives
* 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
* Protestants
* Catholics
* 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
* Anti-choicers
* 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.

Last word goes to Pam Spaulding (h/t):

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:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/…

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.

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