Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Hampsire Speakers Claim Gay Marriage Leads To Disease, Polgamy by Carlos Santoscoy

Opponents of gay marriage at a Thursday hearing in New Hampshire said they fear the institution because it leads to disease and polygamy.

Supporters of the state's year-old gay marriage law greatly outnumbered opponents during a hearing to consider two bills that aim to end the institution in the state.

According to the Nashua Telegraph, 45 people signed up in support of the bills and 545 opposed them.

One gay marriage foe told lawmakers that he was intimidated by the hundreds who showed up wearing red in support of the law.

“Many people were intimidated to come here,” the speaker said. “And by the way, for all of you dressed in red, you are very intimidating. Even to a man like me. And honestly I only have a fear of God more than I have a fear of man.”

Republican Senator Fenton Groen alleged that gay unions “significantly increase” the risk of “serious diseases” and “can be expected to significantly shorten” the lives of gay people.

Representative Alfred Baldasaro, who has previously likened gay marriage to polygamy and incest, repeated his claims.

During a 2010 hearing, the Republican said: “What about [laws] being disrespectful to sister-sister that love each other, sister-brother, sister-mom, incest, it's in there. Aren't we discriminating against all of them? What about the Muslims, now? Everyone's praising the Muslims that are killing us. What about them? They want three, four wives ...”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WTF is going on with Montana?

I'm worried that what's happening in Montana is just the tip of the iceberg, but at this point, I dont think so.  What's got me all fired up and worried?  Read on gentle bloggers...

House committee approves bill to nullify Missoula's equality ordinance

HELENA - The Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday that would effectively overturn Missoula's 2010 ordinance banning discrimination against city residents based on their sexual orientation and gender.
House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, now moves to the House floor for debate this week.
It would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances or policies that seek to protect residents from real or perceived discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender as the cities of Missoula did through an ordinance and Bozeman did through a policy.
The panel voted earlier Monday to table HB514 by Rep. Edie McClafferty, D-Butte, which would have broadened the Montana Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination statewide based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. The move to table her bill came after the bill was rejected 14-6.
The state Human Rights Act now prevents discrimination based on age, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability, political beliefs or ideas (in case of governmental services and employment rights only), race and color, religion and sex (including pregnancy, maternity and sexual harassments).
The committee's votes on both measures followed party lines, except that Rep. Liz Bangerter, R-Helena, joined Democrats in opposing HB516.
Afterward, Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network criticized the committee's decisions on the two bills.
"They have essentially made it clear that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Montanans are not equals and that they believe the LGBT people do not deserve the same protections as anyone else," he said.
During committee discussions, there was little debate on either bill, with Democrats doing most of the talking.
Before the vote on the McClafferty bill, Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, spoke out for the bill.
"As an out member of the lesbian community, you may never have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, but I have," she said, adding. "In many ways, I am not your peer. I am probably the only person - well, not in this room - who can be asked to leave a restaurant, denied housing, refused to be allowed into a hotel simply because of sexual orientation.
"It is a fact that I am not protected under the law. You can go ahead and vote against this bill, which I know you will, but that's a fact, and I want to you to know the face of a person who's affected by it and it's me."
During the discussion on Hansen's bill, Sands told the committee that passing HB516 would encourage discrimination.
Hansen didn't speak Monday, but at the hearing Friday she said, "The crux of my testimony today is that I believe the Montana Human Rights Act pre-empts the city of Missoula from doing this."
Rep. Michael More, R-Gallatin Gateway, said Monday, "Are you going to do things in one city different than another city? We try to put things in contexts of the whole."
Missoulian State Bureau reporter Charles S. Johnson can be reached at (406) 447-4066 or at

If this law passes, then LGBT are exposed and defenseless.  I'm worried that Montana is a "test" state, to see how easy it is to pass anti-LGBT legislation. Because what ever legal ground we have manage to attain could all be washed away, state by state, with Montana showing how it's done.  I'm usually a very optimistic person, but when I read this, all I saw was a empty broken glass.  Between the tea baggers and the religious right, I'm afraid that life could become very different and quite quickly for our "family".  If this passes, there will be no stopping them from enacting many other anti-LGBT laws, possibly culminating in outlawing homosexuality.  Unless the federal government steps up and leads from the white house, with a full on war against hate, hate laws, and lack of civil rights aimed at all LGBT, then I shudder to think what our future could look like.  But then, I read this....and realize that things could be even bleaker than I thought....

Gov. Schweitzer: 'Nullification' bills in Montana Legislature are 'anti-American'


HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer told fellow Democrats Monday that bills advancing in the Republican-controlled Legislature to "nullify" federal laws in Montana are "anti-American" and do nothing to solve problems faced by the state.
Schweitzer, speaking to a meeting of House Democrats, said if Montanans and others disagree with federal polices, they can advocate for Congress to change them.
"But a state like Montana saying, ‘We will pick and choose which laws we will enforce?' " the governor said. "That's not the American way. ...
"Some of these (bills) are actually passing. ... The nullifying bills are anti-American."
Nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority "null and void" or unenforceable in Montana have been introduced by Republicans at the 2011 Legislature. Some of the bills have been killed; some are still alive. (See related story.)
On Saturday, the House voted 61-39 for a bill to nullify the federal Endangered Species Act in Montana. All House Democrats and seven Republicans voted against it.
Other nullification bills and resolutions have taken aim at federal health-reform laws, food-safety legislation and the Environmental Protection Agency's authority on greenhouse gases.
One bill would set up a permanent legislative commission to review all federal law for potential nullification; a resolution endorsed Monday by a House panel says Montana can protect itself against "federal incursion" that violates personal freedoms.
Schweitzer walked unannounced into a House Democrats' meeting Monday morning and started talking about the nullification bills, saying they don't represent Montana values and "make us look like we're harkening back to the days of South Carolina" and the Civil War.
"Could you ask (Republicans) just once - Does (this) create a job?" he said. "Does it educate a child? Does it help even one disabled person?"
House Majority Leader Tom McGillvray, R-Billings, brushed off Schweitzer's comments as political theater, and said voters should judge the Republican-controlled Legislature on the work it will complete to help revitalize the economy and bring jobs to the state.
"When all is said and done, that will define what we've done here," he said.
McGillvray also said every lawmaker has the right to introduce bills important to them and their constituents, and that leadership doesn't control them or wish to restrain their enthusiasm.
"We have a lot of passionate representatives (in our caucus)," he said.
House Minority Leader Jon Sesso, D-Butte, said the federal government is "inextricably linked" to the state's economy, with Montana receiving much more in federal funds than its citizens pay in taxes.
"We've earned that money," he said. "If there's something we don't like, we need to work to change it ... not just walk away from it."
Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or at

What say you?  Am I jumping at mere shadows?  Or do you agree with me, and things are looking very scary?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gay Youth 'Safe Houses' remain 'hidden' in California

Wow.........I had no idea that there were even such things out there. That these kids are on the run like this, afraid, without a home, without much hope really at all.

While I think fighting for civil rights, ie marriage and ENDA is very important, the needs of these kids need to be addressed. There has to be some way for these "hospitals" to be shut down, and for good. If it's a legal loophole that allows for these places to stay in business, that loophole must be changed.

These places need to be raided, all employees arrested, and the children removed to foster care, or half way houses, but NOT returned to the care of their parents. If the legal penalties were the maximum allowed by the statues, AND if the churches behind them were also taken to court, we might just see an end to this nonsense.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

San Francisco to Advertise Female Condom to Gay Men by Alex Blaze

The ads themselves haven't been released yet, but the Bay Area Reporter is reporting that the city of San Francisco will start a campaign for the female condom female-condom.gif(also known as the Reality condom) for men who have sex with men.

In 2009 the FDA approved a new version of the condom that was cheaper, thinner, and better-designed, and promoted it for use in vaginal sex. Such ads aren't likely to get men who have sex with men to use it since they might not know that it works for anal sex or how to use it (video after the jump - it's different from the other condoms you've met). Plus, if they keep on referring to it as the "female condom," it might make it hard to get men to use it.

That's only a year and a half after the new one was approved and over a decade after the old version was approved - you can feel the pressure to prevent an epidemic. My guess is that promoting the female condom will provide more protection than promoting, say, circumcision, but the latter gets debated back and forth and back and forth... while the former is forgotten.

It's not for everyone, some people will prefer it and some people will like the old-school condoms better, but the more effective choices for STD prevention there are out there, the better.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dr. Phil Doesn't Want 'Confused' Boys to Play with 'Girls' Toys by Alex Blaze

I don't particularly like Dr. Phil's brand of pop psychology, which is more focused on being normal than it is on being happy. No matter how many times he asks "How's that working for you?" it's fairly clear that he hardly cares if the people who ask him for help are actually happy and is more concerned with telling people to be normal based on a very American bourgeois narrative of How Life Works.

dr_phil.jpgSo no matter how many shows he does about gay teen suicide, he's going to be one of the forces promoting internalized homophobia among young people. Consider this segment from a recent show where a mom asked what to do about her son playing with girls' toys:

Robby's 5-year-old son loves to play with Barbies and prefers wearing girl's clothes. She asks Dr. Phil how to deal with this behavior, which she doesn't think is normal.[...]

Dr. Phil tells Robby that she has a job to do: "Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don't buy him Barbie dolls or girl's clothes. You don't want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game ... Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys."

Most importantly, he tells Robby, "Support him in what he's doing, but not in the girl things."

It's not hard to imagine Pat Robertson saying the same thing.

Dr. Phil's style works for what he does. No one wants to actually watch a real psychologist talk to a patient for hours, discussing how to best reach the patients' goals and with no concrete advice, no finger-wagging, and no scolding. He has to have a formula to fall back on, an understanding of what people should be doing that doesn't require him to actually know much about other people's lives, and it makes for better TV.

And, surprise surprise, in the lowest common denominator world of television entertainment, the easiest narrative of normality is straight, white, Christian, and middle-class.

So while he assures the mother that her child is just going through a phase, he makes sure to tell her that it's her "job" to shame her son into acting more macho. Send him a "direct message" that he's a boy, just in case he forgot (since people have a way of just forgetting their gender like that), and a direct message that being himself is unacceptable.

The goal is not to make this boy happy. What the boy wants does not concern Dr. Phil; he neither asks about it nor does he respect what he's told the boy wants, advising the mother to steam-roll over her son's personality and force him to replace his desires with other desires.

The goal is to make the boy normal, because everyone's goal in life is to make the Dr. Phils of the world more comfortable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Russian HIV Ad

Weapon Detected from Georgy Molodtsov on Vimeo.

This ad is the best of both worlds, sexy and it gets the message across.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Injustice at Every Turn by Rea Carey

When I was a young person living in Washington, D.C., in 1995, a well-known local hairstylist was driving home one night and her car hit a tree. Paramedics rushed to the scene and cut off her clothes in an attempt to provide lifesaving medical care.

When they saw that Tyra Hunter was transgender, the medic swore at Ms. Hunter and stopped all medical treatment.

Stopped all medical treatment.

Tyra Hunter died later that night, and today, the discrimination and abuse that caused Tyra Hunter’s entirely preventable death are still firmly in place. I could not help but think of Tyra when I read the following comments that are part of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality’s just-released report, "Injustice at Every Turn."

“The fear of being the victim of a hate crime has also meant that I haven't lived completely freely; I know that if people on the street knew that I was born female, I'd be at risk of violence or harassment.”

“People are suffering in my school. There are so many trans kids that just can't come out because they are afraid.”

“I have been harassed and physically assaulted on the street. One time, I didn't go to the hospital until I went home, changed [out of feminine] clothes, and then went to the emergency room in male mode. I had a broken collarbone as a result of that attack.”

These are the words of transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans, and sadly, their experiences are not uncommon. The hunger to be visible, to share experiences of harm and resiliency is notable, as this became the largest ever study of its kind. A total of 6,500 transgender and gender-nonconforming people from all 50 states and several territories shared with us their experiences of discrimination.

The data we collected was shocking. I know firsthand, from my friends and my work at the Task Force, that discrimination remains a tragic fact of life for far too many in our community. I know that if we do not act in stereotypical “male” or “female” ways, many take this nonconformity as an open invitation to harass or act violently toward us.

Even with all I have seen over the years, the picture coming out of our study is deeply disturbing. Transgender individuals live in poverty at nearly four times the national rate. They are twice as likely to be unemployed. Over 25% reported that they had lost a job due to their transgender identity. They are twice as likely to be homeless, four times more likely to be HIV-positive, and perhaps most appallingly, 41% have attempted suicide, more than 26 times the rate (1.6%) of the general population.

These are not problems that any of us who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or civil rights-minded, progressive, or feminist can afford to ignore.

People of color consistently experienced the greatest degree of discrimination, especially African-Americans. They had four times the unemployment rate of the nation, and had over 40 times the general population rate of HIV infection.

This must stop. Let us all make this the moment that the civil rights, progressive, feminist, and LGBT rights movements wake up and change the way we do our work. No longer can the needs of transgender and gender-variant people in our society, in our organizations, and in our communities be pushed to the side. It is literally killing people and we must work together to stop it.

While great strides have been made for equality in the last several decades, most recently with the powerful repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the last letter in “LGBT” has simply not seen the same progress. Indeed, the successful repeal of DADT will still not allow out transgender people to serve in the military.

Sadly, even some members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual community turn our backs on transgender people. And yet our struggle is one that is shared. Each of us has a gender identity and gender expression. and those of us who diverge from the norm are subject to the same discrimination. Feminine gay men and masculine or androgynous lesbians are far more likely to be discriminated against than gay men and lesbians whose behavior and appearance conforms more to societal norms about how men and women “should” act. Simply by being gay, lesbian, or bisexual, we are breaking society’s rules about what it means to be a man or woman.

Transgender people face this same prejudice, yet taken to the life-threatening extreme. This is about all of us. For those who do not think so, I hope this information will be a wake-up call and an opportunity to examine their feelings and yes, biases, that prevent our community from uniting in the ways we must to achieve equal treatment for all of us.

This report is a clarion call to all of us, and its findings cannot be ignored. We must stand against all forms of discrimination and end injustice for all LGBT people, wherever it exists. Together, we can eliminate this prejudice and work toward a society where we are all truly free to be who we are. There is a role for each of us in reckoning with the pervasive inhumanity we’ve documented in this report.

Transgender people are discriminated against because they don’t act or look in a way that fits with conventional ideas about gender. All men, women and children – regardless of how they identify – are hurt by these rigid gender codes. They suppress authentic expression throughout our society and negatively impact relationships across gender, as family, friends, coworkers and spouses “police” acceptable gender expression.

If there was a ray of light in our study findings, it is in the resilience of transgender people and their families. Contrary to popular mythology, transgender people often maintain ties with their families of origin and their spouses, partners and children. We found that family acceptance had a protective affect against suicide, HIV, homelessness and other negative consequences of discrimination for study participants. This finding affirms what we know as advocates working on the front lines: families are enormously burdened by the hostile environments their transgender children, spouses and parents are living in, but they press on.

They often strain to find a way out of no way.

Over 1,000 people came to Tyra Hunter’s funeral in DC. Her high school shop teacher, her parents, her clients, and her big, extended family. But no medic was ever disciplined or fired because of what happened that night. This report is written to draw a line in the sand against this pervasive inhumanity in our midst.

We all need to use this opportunity to change the way we work and live to create a world that affirms the humanity of and empowers transgender people to fully participate in our society. We must all work strenuously and continuously for justice.

You can read the report yourself by googling Injustice at Every Turn.  It is a PDF file.