Posts tagged ‘gay rights’

You Don’t Know Barney Frank

Jeffrey Toobin has an exhaustive profile of Rep. Barney Frank in the New Yorker. Frank is the dean of gay members of Congress and widely considered the funniest member of Congress for his quick and biting sense of humor. Thumbnail image for Barney Frank.jpg

While Frank has become the congressional go to gay and all issues LGBT, his status as one of three openly gay members of Congress has taken a back seat to the credibility and influence that he has built over the years specifically on financial and economic issues. As chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, Frank has had a key role in the federal responses to the banking and auto industry crises.

There’s nothing like a gay with real political power.

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January 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm Leave a comment

Knowing Our History

An intense discussion is being played out over the film Milk and whether or not it offers a sanitized version of Harvey Milk’s life and gay movement history.

In the Huffington Post Nancy Goldstein says:

Was Van Sant afraid that audiences wouldn’t be sympathetic if 70s-era gay activists were people who suffered, swore, fought back, and fucked like they meant it? If the street kids actually looked like dirty, starving, broke-ass teen hustlers?

Gay history — unedited — is ugly, angry, and violent. It’s police dragging us out of cellar bars and down to the station to gang fuck the femmes and face-rape the butches, queens, and trannies. It’s military witch hunts; suicides and “experimental therapies,” from lobotomies and electro-shock to Christian boot camps. It’s Stonewall, where we showered raiding police with bottles, locked them in the bar, and set it afire. It’s ACT UP and chaining ourselves to pharmaceutical companies’ fences to protest AIDS drugs price gouging.

Of course, Milk offers a sanitized version of Harvey’s life and that particular moment in gay movement history. It is a film produced and distributed by Hollywood that stars mainstream actors like Sean Penn, Diego Luna and James Franco. But, that doesn’t make it any less an important film.

I say that not because the film is likely one of the first film’s about a hero of the gay movement that straight people will see. Or, even that it is the first film about a gay movement hero that a lot of gay people will see.

The importance of Milk is that it will open the eyes of young people, both gay and straight, to a key figure in the movement for gay rights and ideally will whet their appetites to learn more.

Along with telling stories about how they walked 12 miles to get to the lone gay bar in the next town over across unpaved roads wearing homemade outfits cobbled together with pluck and a Bedazzler, older gays love to point fingers at young gays and accuse them of being ignorant of gay history and the gay movement. This may be true, but ignores the reality that the straight majority has colluded to render us and our history invisible. And, it ignores the fact that older gays have a responsibility to do more than pass judgment about what younger gays may or may not know.

We have a responsibility to share that knowledge and to create opportunities for gay and straight, young and old to learn about the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and the straight allies who have stood with us in our fight for equal rights.

January 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm 1 comment

What Would Harvey Milk Do?

In this time of incredible passion, anger and energy in the LGBT community, these words by Harvey Milk could not ring more true.

It is amazing to see how quickly our community catapulted from grief to outrage over the passage of four anti-gay state amendments on November 4. Tens of thousands of LGBT people and allies have marched in the streets to demand an end to the bigotry and hatred used by right-wing religious extremists to harm our families and fill their coffers.

Some people are calling this Stonewall 2.0. I call it the kick in the ass that the LGBT community has needed for quite some time.

We have become way too comfortable with television shows like Will and Grace and The L Word lulling us into believing that everything really is okay.

Now is the time to turn that anger and passion into effective action that will win full equality for LGBT people. It won’t all be as glamorous and self-expressive as protests, but we need to use a multiplicity of tactics to get the job done.

November 15, 2008 at 9:30 am 1 comment

Apple Comes Out Against Prop. 8

Here’s another reason I am proud to own a Mac:

No on Prop 8

October 24, 2008

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

October 25, 2008 at 12:03 am 3 comments

Gays Won’t Let Friends Vote McCain

Just as friends don’t let friends drive drunk, we should declare right here, right now that as LGBT people we won’t let our friends vote McCain. At least not without a fight.

If you think I am overstating the importance of this, watch this video by the Human Rights Campaign on McCain’s long record of opposition to LGBT equality.

I understand that voting is a personal thing, but it is critical that we let our friends, family and co-workers know how much a McCain/Palin administration would hurt us and our families.

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October 7, 2008 at 11:36 am 7 comments

Gay Democrats on 2008 Democratic Party Platform

National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley released this statement on the 2008 Democratic Party Platform:

The 2008 Democratic National Platform is the most pro-equality Democratic platform in history. The 2008 Democratic platform includes everyone in our community, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. With the addition of gender identity in the 2008 Democratic platform to the categories of discrimination we are opposed to, Democratic Party is now standing with the majority of LGBT Americans in our belief that advancing pro-equality policy means comprehensive protections for our entire community.

The hard work of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied Democrats has moved us to this point. In regards to pro-equality issues, the 2008 Democratic National Platform now clearly addresses a comprehensive domestic HIV/AIDS strategy, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” non-discrimination law, and the passage and equitable enforcement of hate crimes legislation, among other points of broad inclusion throughout the document. Additionally, for the first time, all same-sex couples are included in the Democratic Party’s definition of family within the Party platform. This is an important distinction as this inclusion now binds reflects the Democratic Party’s commitment to full equality including a host of issues such as retirement, health care, family policy and more.

This platform stands in stark contrast to a Republican Party which continues to marginalize millions of Americans from full inclusion in public life just because of who they are or the person they love.

The 2008 Democratic National Platform will be a guiding document for policy and legislation that embodies the values of our Party. These advancements in our Party’s binding document are thanks to the work and input of LGBT delegates, Senator Obama and his campaign, LGBT advocates, and Stonewall Democrats across the country.

August 10, 2008 at 6:48 pm 5 comments

Gay Marriages Haven’t Caused Fall of Western Civilization

In a frenzy befitting the most histrionic of drama queens, anti-gay right-wingers claimed that allowing gays to marry would be the fall of Western Civilization and all life as we know it. As this article from the Houston Post looking at Massachusetts four years after same-sex marriages became legal shows, the homophobic rending of hair and gnashing of teeth was much ado about nothing.

When Michele Frost and Mary Helen Walker enrolled their 3-year-old daughter, Shea, in preschool, it required a change in the school application form. But it was no big deal: Officials simply substituted the words “mother” and “father” with “parent 1” and “parent 2.”

When they got their marriage license, city employees behind the counter were more interested in the child than they were in questioning the two lesbians about their relationship.

“We have been greeted so warmly,” said Frost, 42, who moved three years ago from Chicago to Quincy, Mass., just south of Boston. “We’ve just had a great experience.”

Nearly five years after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, the battle that brought international attention and apocalyptic fears to Massachusetts is all but dead. Since the first marriages on May 17, 2004, more than 11,000 couples have tied the knot. They’re busy mowing lawns and hauling kids to soccer practice, and the sky has not fallen.

Of course, this won’t stop the theocratic right from bashing gay families to raise money and keep themselves in the news all while claiming to “love the sinner, but hate the sin.” They will just have to stew in their bitterness while LGBT people go about our business of building relationships, taking care of our families and fighting for our right to equal treatment under the law.

August 10, 2008 at 10:09 am 7 comments

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