Wednesday, April 25, 2018

All four service chiefs contradict Trump's reasoning for ban on transgender troops

Recently, something very crucial happened in the fight against Trump's ridiculous ban on transgender troops. People should be paying more attention to it, but they can't if they aren't informed about it:

According to Military Times:

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein told Congress Tuesday he was not aware of any negative effects from transgender personnel serving, joining all three other service chiefs in a rare public split with President Donald Trump over the issue. 
Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as she had with the top military leaders of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps when they appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for their budget hearings, used the opportunity to question Goldfein as to whether he was aware of any “issues of unit cohesion, disciplinary problems or issues of morale resulting from open transgender service.” 
“In the last two weeks Gen. [Mark] Milley, Gen. [Robert] Neller, and Adm. [John] Richardson have told me that they have seen zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale as a result of open transgender service in their respective service branches,” Gillibrand said, referring to the chiefs of staff of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy, respectively. 
Goldfein said he was not aware of any issues with transgender service members, but emphasized that each case is unique. Goldfein said among the transgender service members he had talked to, he had found a “commitment to serve by each of them.”

And just in case you need a video of it, the following is courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign:

So all four service chiefs contradict Trump when it comes to transgender troops. Just who is Trump listening to when it comes to his ridiculous trans ban?  I think we know and slowly as the truth comes out, the entire country will know.

'Teacher asks about anti-discrimination protection & gets branded as a 'radical homosexual activist'' & other Wed midday news briefs

LGBT rights debate heats up Mansfield school board meeting. And the winner is ... A suspended lesbian art teacher in a Texas elementary school is under fire. She has lots of supporters and will probably come out as the winner, but the entire situation underlines a huge problem. She didn't do anything that could be perceived as remotely eyebrow raising. All she did was to inquire about about anti-discrimination protections in her area's schools. That's right. Simply asking about anti-discrimination protections will get you accused of violating religious liberty, wanting girls to be attacked by "male predators" in the bathrooms (i.e. the transphobic horror story du jour) and being accused of attempting to indoctrinate students. It's about homophobia and prejudice, but folks won't admit it and why should they.  They can use the language created by the anti-LGBTQ industry. They will tell you that they don't hate gay people, they are just concerned about their children. That's the hidden danger of religious right anti-gay propaganda. They give people a seemingly justifiable reason to not only hate us but deny us equality. 

Joy Reid Doubles Down: Homophobic Posts ‘Hacked,’ ‘Fraudulent’ - I'm going to say this point blank. Folks need to pay attention to how outside interests are manipulating us to turn against our own. I'm on Reid's side here in this situation. Check out the scenario - we have someone doing good work to call out lies, someone goes digging into the person's past and finds negative things. She acknowledges these things and apologizes. Someone conveniently goes digging again and supposedly finds "new things." There is a time and a place for everything but folks need to recognize game, especially when the players of the game are familiar ones (i.e. that jerk Glenn Greenwald). Now is not the time to allow folks to exploit what they perceive is your weakness. If it happens in this case to Reid, count on other allies having things dug up on them and/or made up against them. I remind folks of how Strom Thurmond tried to use Bayard Rustin's past arrest for being caught having public gay sex in a car to undermine the 1963 March on Washington. Black folks were hip to the nonsense and didn't fall for it. Let's act the same. 

Massachusetts schools to give LGBT history and health lessons - Possibly one of the newest battlefields in our pursuit of equality and self-determination. 

Virginia GOP candidate freaks out after learning kids in California may learn LGBTQ people exist - My point of the above news brief better expressed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

(once again for the folks in the back) Your Religious Liberty Doesn’t Give You The Right To Steal My Gay Tax Dollars

Editor's note - I'm reposting this again because it's not being said loud enough and it's not being said by more people.

If your religion says you can’t accept me, that should include all of me, especially my tax dollars.

With Trump in the White House, religious right groups such as the Family Research Council and figures like Franklin Graham and Fox News personality Todd Starnes are eager to get certain goals accomplished.

High on their list is a dehumanization of the lgbt community under the seemingly innocent courtesy of “religious liberty,” or allowing entities and people to discriminate against queers under the guise of “personally held religious beliefs.” It’s been a goal they have been working on for a long time and with Trump as president, they hope to reap benefits for all of the stories and hype they have spun about bakeries and florists “forced” to accept money from queer customers for their services, government employees like Kim Davis “forced” to do their jobs, and religious groups such as Catholic Charities with its adoption services which are “forced” to say no to government money because they refuse to not discriminate against lgbts.

They imply that it’s all about preserving the integrity of the “faith” of groups and people supposedly targeted by lgbts with a huge phone book, an obscene amount of Facebook friends, a pipeline to a secret worldwide organization not unlike the one James Bond has fought against, and long list of IOUs to cash in for being denied the right to supposedly “flaunt” their lifestyle or “pervert” marriage all of these years.

Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit, but the gist of what I said is true. And so is my next statement. Like so many times before, the entire truth about “religious liberty” is a world of difference from what is fed to us by the religious right. Unfortunately, the terms of this debate are usually dictated by them because they appear to have the loudest megaphone and the most access to the media, even if what they say isn’t necessarily true.

'Trump's anti-gay pick Pompeo set to be Secretary of State' & other Tue midday news briefs

Mike Pompeo

The Senate is set to approve an anti-LGBTQ Secretary of State. People could die if they do. - Barring any fortunate change, Mr. "homosexuality is a perversion" Mike Pompeo will probably be Secretary of State. The only thing we can do is raise hell when he crosses up against the community, collect the receipts, and create a betting poll as to how long will he last before Trump fires him.

Gay teacher suffered harassment at his New Jersey school for being a foster parent: lawsuit - (In my best imitation of Eddie Murphy acting like someone telling her friend to sue for alimony after the divorce) - "That's right honey! Get as much as you can! Get it all! You deserve it! Take all of their money!" 

Religious right says CA legislation will outlaw the Bible, but didn't they claim the same thing about hate crimes legislation? - Reposting this from last night because why not.

Trans youth more likely to suffer from mental health issues - Because they constantly have to deal with transphobic nonsense and jerks. Those of us who are allies need to do more to let them know they are loved and perfect.

White House won’t comment on HHS proposal to nix rule for trans health - Stuff like this creates situations in the above news brief and it's not by happenstance. 

  Montevallo, Alabama OKs LGBT Protections - Things are not all bad. Again places in the Southern states prove stereotypes about the South wrong.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Religious right says CA legislation will outlaw the Bible, but didn't they claim the same thing about hate crimes legislation?

Religious right and conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council are quick to cry about persecution and make predictions about future persecution Christians like them will suffer if certain pro-LGBTQ bills become law.

The ease with which they do it would be funny if it weren't for the fact that they are able to repeatedly do it even when their dire predictions prove wrong.

For example, there is a bill in California which would outlaw marketing or selling the fraudulent practice of ex-gay therapy.  At first, religious conservatives were attempting to portray it as something called a "must stay gay" ban. However, sensing how inane that was, they moved to a familiar lie - claiming that the bill would ban  the Bible.

On several fronts, from the Family Research Council, to the American Family Association's fake news source One News Now, and to other areas, the religious right and conservatives portrayed California's bill as an attack on Christianity.

The claim is a basic lie. According to the fact-finding site Snopes:

In reality the legislation, which was introduced in February 2018 by San Jose-based Democrat Evan Low, enhances California’s already-existing prohibition on “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), commonly known as “gay conversion therapy.” In 2012, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 1172, which banned mental health professionals from performing SOCE on children under the age of 18.  
The law defines SOCE as: “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” 
A.B. 2943, as it stood on 20 April 2018, would extend that earlier prohibition in the following ways: 
Prohibit SOCE from being performed on anyone, not only children under the age of 18
Prohibit the advertising or sale of SOCE as a service 
 . . . Anthony Samson, a Sacramento attorney and policy advisor told us by email that the bill would prohibit conversion therapy “as a commercial service in exchange for monetary compensation,” adding: It does not apply to the sale of books or any other kind of goods, and it does not prevent anyone from speaking or writing on the subject of conversion therapy in any forum. 

So again, the religious right pushes a horror story which they claim "could happen" if a pro-LGBTQ law is passed.

'Anti-LGBTQ groups, personalities weaponized religion to smear Sen. Booker' & other Mon midday news briefs

With ugly coordination, the religious right and their allies tried to smear Sen. Cory Booker (left) as anti-religious because he grilled Sec.of State nominee Mike Pompeo (left) on his history of homophobic statements.

Anatomy of a Smear: The Religious Right’s Dishonest Attack On Senator Cory Booker - The religious right weaponized religion in a smear attack on Sen. Cory Booker because Booker asked critical and appropriate questions about Sec. of State nominee Mike Pompeo. This will probably occur more - i.e. the religious right exploiting religion to play the persecution card when asked about their homophobic methods or how Trump is bending over backwards to fulfill their homophobic desires.

Republicans introduce a bill to make it legal for adoption agencies to discriminate - And watch how they weaponize religion to push for discrimination. This bill would allow adoption agencies which discriminate against our community to still receive tax dollars (which are paid in part by our community). 

Trump administration health announcement is latest blow to transgender Americans - The Trump administration is trying to roll back anti-discrimination protections in healthcare. Just another nasty attack on the LGBTQ community, particularly our transgender brothers and sisters.

HRC Calls on the Senate to Reject Anti-LGBTQ Judicial Nominee Kyle Duncan - AND by making sure there are homophobes on the bench, the religious right hope to win cases without even having to prove their arguments. This always has a way of backfiring on them. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Daily Beast - Attempts to ban trans troops has been a disaster for Trump

Editor's note - On Thursday and Friday, there were no midday news briefs because of location difficulties. As far as I know, the situation has been taken care of. However, please bear with me if the problem continues.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump's attempt to ban trans troops has backfired.

According to columnist Samantha Allen in a recent edition of The Daily Beast, Donald Trump's sloppy method of banning transgender men and women from serving in the military has backfired on several levels. It has not only taken the attention mostly away from "bathroom bills," but overall it's causing the entire transgender community to gain public support:

Ever since July 2017, when Trump acceded to the religious right and tweeted a ban on transgender military service without consulting military leaders first, the administration has been dealt blow after blow, suffering two major defeats in the past week alone. 
. . . Indeed, by trying to hurt the transgender rights movement at a crucial and vulnerable moment, the Trump administration will only help speed it along 
It’s important to remember that the political discourse around transgender people was literally in the toilet before Trump tried to ban transgender military service. 
Restroom use was the transgender controversy of 2016 and early 2017—and public opinion was actually fairly divided on the bathroom question, with some polls like Gallup’s, showing narrow support for requiring transgender people to use restrooms according to their assigned gender at birth and others, like Pew’s, showing narrow support for allowing transgender people to use restrooms matching their gender. 
Fast forward to 2018 and not only are anti-transgender “bathroom bills” failing, but thanks to Trump, the battlefield has displaced the bathroom as the trans topic du jour.
Public opinion on transgender military service is not nearly as divided as it is on the bathroom question. The latest Economist/YouGov poll—published in March 2018—shows that only 34 percent of Americans oppose transgender military service, while 49 percent support it. 
To me, it's simply a matter of history repeating itself.  The enemies of LGBTQ equality haven't taken heed to the lessons their loss in the marriage equality fights should have taught them. In the long run, it doesn't matter how much money you have, resources you have to craft the narrative the way you want, or influence to spread your narrative. If your foundation is made up of lies and distortions, it will crash and fall on your head.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

HRC campaign exposes Mike Pence as a homophobic hot mess

The Human Rights Campaign has just launched a campaign to remind folks that while Trump is an incompetent disaster, his vice president Mike Pence is a homophobic disaster.

With Donald Trump mired in lurid scandals and investigations that threaten his presidency, Mike Pence has flown under the radar, amassing enormous power in an administration hobbled by clueless advisors, inexperienced staffers and a revolving cast of lawyers. Pence is exploiting that alarming leadership void by quietly spearheading a charge to radically undermine the rights of LGBTQ people and women, attack voting rights, undercut sound science, and enable the greatest assault on American institutions in modern history. 
“Mike Pence has made a career out of attacking the rights and equal dignity of LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized communities. Now as vice president, he poses one of the greatest threats to equality in the history of our movement,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “With the world distracted by Donald Trump’s scandal-ridden White House, Mike Pence’s nefarious agenda has been allowed to fly under the radar for too long. He has become not only the most powerful vice president in American history, but also the least scrutinized. No more. With this comprehensive new report, HRC is exposing the extent of Pence’s extremism, the threat he poses to equality, and all that we’re doing to combat his hateful agenda.”
. . . HRC’s comprehensive report pulls back the curtain on Mike Pence and his inner circle to dispel the specious notion that Mike Pence is the “rational” voice in this unhinged administration. That narrative defies reality, ignoring the deeply troubling history of this deeply discriminatory politician and his aggressive agenda to advance an extremist ideology. 
HRC’s new report and microsite shine a spotlight on Pence’s inside-the-White House efforts to continue his decades-long crusade by leading the Trump-Pence administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people, including those who bravely serve our nation in the military. It lays out his long record of support for the abusive practice of so-called "conversion therapy"; his relentless pursuit of a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people; his attempts to block hate crime legislation and funding for HIV and AIDS prevention; and his efforts to undermine access to health and reproductive care essential to LGBTQ people. He also keeps busy with his extremist agenda by working to undermine science, health, transparency, education, justice and public safety.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Jesse Lee Peterson or Uncle Ruckus - which homophobe dislikes black people more?

Jesse Lee Peterson (top) a homophobic black man who thanks God for slavery. Uncle Ruckus (bottom), also a homophobic black man who is appreciative of slavery.

How about before the next time the African-Americans and LGBTQs get caught up in another useless skirmish about comparisons, both communities pay attention to the fact that more often than not, they have the same enemies working and speaking against their rights. That way, we can do more vital things like call them out . . . or make fun of them.

Take Jesse Lee Peterson for example. He doesn't the queer community:

And thanks God for slavery:

Instead of arguing about comparing the African-American and queer civil rights movement, I would rather compare Peterson to Uncle Ruckus, a fictional character from the television series 'The Boondocks.'

After all, Uncle Ruckus has wacky views of the LGBTQ community:

And is also thankful for slavery:

Wouldn't that be more conducive to succeeding in our struggles for equality instead of another round of the "Oppression Olympics?"

At the very least, it's funny as hell.

'Community supports gay teacher who told students about his husband' & other Wed midday news briefs

Teacher Says School Reprimanded Him After His Husband Sent Flowers - Apparently to some folks, same-sex couples are supposed to think of our relationships as purely physical endeavors of carnality. God forbid we show the simple truth that our relationships involve more than sexual intercourse. It's good that this teacher was supported by the community. 

Parents took over a school board meeting to support a gay teacher & his husband - More about this situation. 

Jesse Lee Peterson: Gay Couples ‘Are Not Mentally Capable’ Of Raising Children - I'm going to say this and I don't care who disagrees. Not only do people conveniently forget the times when being black and being queer overlap, they also forget the similar indignities the two identities have to deal with. Whenever I hear about a crime, I sometimes wish under my breath that the perpetrator isn't black because I know that it will be further ammunition for those who generalize about how all of us are criminals. This news brief demonstrates the same for the queer community. A lesbian couple did something truly awful to their kids and here comes this fool to denigrate all gays and lesbians who are raising children. 

The Trump administration is paying Focus on the Family to stop the AIDS epidemic in South Africa - And they are pushing "purity pledges" on the young folks there. 

"Tiny Beautiful Moments": One Gay Couple's Turn to Fatherhood - Wonderful story!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Basic economics helping LGBTQ community defeat bills in state legislatures

Businesses fear the connotation of this message like it's the plague.

According to the Associated Press, despite the age of Trump and the evangelical right feeling motivated to undermine LGBTQ equality, bills devoted to that effort are being defeated in state legislatures. And the reason is a fear of economic backlashes:

In the thick of this year's legislative sessions, LGBT activists were tracking about 120 proposed bills that they viewed as threats to their civil rights. Not one of them has been enacted as many sessions now wind down; only two remain under serious consideration.
A key factor in the shift: In the Republican-led states where these types of bills surface, moderate GOP lawmakers and business leaders are increasingly wary of losing conventions, sporting events and corporate headquarters. 
. . . . This year, certainly, conservatives have struggled to gain much traction at the state level on LGBT-related issues. Among the many bills that failed: 
—A Tennessee measure that would have required the state to defend schools in court if they were sued for limiting transgender students' access to bathrooms. 
—A South Dakota bill that would have required signs on some public restroom doors notifying users that a person of the opposite sex might be inside. 
—A "religious liberties" bill in Georgia that would have given legal protection to faith-based adoption agencies that decline to place children with same-sex couples. 
An ever-growing number of states — at least a dozen — have passed bills banning the practice of "gay conversion therapy" on minors. And voters in Anchorage, Alaska, rejected a ballot measure that would have restricted transgender people's access to public restrooms.  

And, according to the article, there will be a huge upcoming campaign devoted to showing the need for anti-discrimination laws. And in June, SCOTUS will decide a case which may or may not allow businesses refuse to service on the basis of religious objections.

'How anti-LGBTQ group convinced the IRS to call it a church' & other Tue midday news briefs

Here’s How Focus On The Family Convinced The IRS To Call It A Church - How the anti-gay group Focus on the Family convinced the IRS to call it a church should be a warning to us all. Focus on the Family presents itself as mainstream so much so that it generally flies under the radar and is not considered as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is very rare that I talk about it on this blog. But it is still nonetheless devoted to undermining LGBTQ equality and safety.

Debate Over Maine Conversion Therapy Ban Sees Lawmakers Shouting, Put In A Time Out - It got ugly, alright. And this fight is far from over even though we won the first round. 

‘Queer rights activist’ hosts ‘BGLTQ-accepting’ Bible reading at Harvard - This is a good idea. Too many folks are afraid to discuss the interpretation of Biblical verses. 

These Stunning Portraits Show What It’s Like To Be A Two-Spirit Native American Today - Fascinating. The more we know about our history . . . 

LGBT ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Dying a Quick Death Across America. Good. - Yeah but it is kicking and screaming big time.