On Monday the editorial staff of the New York Times launched a series about transgender rights.
Transgender Today used up the entirety of the space usually used for editorials (usually three articles).
One of the great things about an editorial page is that you can decide to make a big deal out of something, and we decided to make a big deal out of transgender equality.
There has been progress in this area, but there is a long way to go. This is not a front-burner issue for people, and we hope to make it one. We want policy makers to read this and think about policies they need to change.
The Texas legislature has a slew of bills before it to try and circumvent a favorable SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. One of them is to protect clergy, and a state Senate commitee held a hearing on that one today. And, it brought out some paranoid pastors. I honestly do not understand this because no member of the clergy has ever been forced to marry anyone against their sincerely held religious beliefs. It just makes no sense. Nevertheless, far right evangelical pastors, ministers, and bishops are certain that they will be FORCED by law to marry same-sex couples if the SCOTUS rules in favor of marriage equality. And, then what is next?!
From that hearing, here is Pastor Bruce Engleman. He is terrified that he will be forced to marry persons into bestiality if something is not done to protect the clergy. I mean, did you not hear of the woman in Florida who wants to marry her dog? No? I didn't hear about it either. Here he is:
And, then here is Pastor David Joiner. He would like for you to know that he is not a "homophobia". And, does he ever have all the talking points down. He is quite fearful that he will be forced to marry pedophiles if not protected from this evil marriage equality.
And, then we have Beverly Roberts. She is quite upset that people might think that she is a homophobe and a hater just because she is against marriage equality. She would like to know just who are the REAL "bullies, bigots, and haters".
A Texas Senate committee hearing turned into an anti-gay hatefest on Monday.
As we told you last week, state legislators are considering a bill designed to protect clergy and churches from being forced to participate in same-sex weddings.
Pro-LGBT groups including Equality Texas and the ACLU of Texas have said that as long as the bill is crafted narrowly enough, they'd be wiling to support it. However, at the conclusion of Monday's hearing, the author of the Senate version of the bill rejected an amendment proposed by the two groups.
This was after dozens of pastors testified in support of the bill, with some comparing same-sex marriage to adultery, bestiality, domestic abuse, pedophilia and polygamy. Anti-LGBT witnesses also accused gay couples in other states of "bullying," "bigotry" and "hate crimes" for allegedly trying to force pastors to perform their weddings.
The Senate committee advanced the bill in a 5-1 vote. It now goes to the full Senate. An identical bill was approved by a House committee last week.
This clearly has to be the most optimistic prediction that I have read regarding how the SCOTUS justices will come down on the marriage equality issue/cases. Chicago Tribune editor, Eric Zorn, states that he believes that the ruling will favor marriage equality by a unanimous vote of the justices. All I can say is that that would be quite remarkable given how some of the justices of this Supreme Court have ruled on gay issues in the past. Mr. Zorn says that he realizes that, but that none of the SCOTUS justices will want to go down in history as being against marriage equality because it is the wrong side of history.
But some court observers thought they heard Roberts looking for a way to make it 6-3 when he said from the bench, "I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?"
The three outliers would then have to ask themselves, "Do I really want to earn the contempt of history with one last futile shake of my wizened fist at this expansion of human rights? Do I want my name in the Supreme Court rogues gallery that includes those justices now acknowledged as benighted who voted to uphold slavery in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), OK'd "separate-but-equal" segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and tried (but failed) to uphold anti-contraception laws in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)?"
That's the choice they face. Public opinion has undergone a dramatic and generationally driven shift on gay marriage.
A 9-0 ruling tells America "move on, this issue is settled." It enhances the legitimacy of the decision and, therefore, of the court itself while minimizing the potential for backlash.
It would be amazing if he turns out to be correct, but at this point I'm quite skeptical.
Hina Wong-Kalu is a māhū. That is the native Hawaiian term for a person who embodies both male and female spirit. In the language of Western culture a māhū would be called transgender.
But that is limiting the concept.
It is not a gender, it’s not an orientation, it’s not a sect, it’s not a particular demographic and it’s definitely not a race. It is simply an expression of the third person as it involves the individual. When you find that place in yourself to acknowledge both male and female aspects within and accept the capacity to embrace both … that is where the māhū exists and true liberation happens.
The Smith College board of trustees has voted to accept that transgender women are women.
The shift to a self-identification admissions policy at the women’s college in Northampton goes into effect for students submitting applications this fall. The decision was revealed Saturday afternoon in a message to students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae.
Under the new admissions policy, applicants who were born male but identify as women are eligible for admission. Applicants must select “female” on the Common Application to be considered.
From the civil rights perspective, we’re saying trans women are women. What we’re doing here is really affirming that we’re a women’s college and we have an unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college.
--Smith College President Kathleen McCartney
The move follows the leads of Mills College in California, and Wellesley, Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges in Massachusetts and Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania.
Our clarified admission policy reflects a women's college that is steadfast in its founding mission yet evolving to reflect a changing world.
Last Sunday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was on Face The Nation to discuss marriage equality. Prior to beginning the discussion/interview, Bob Scheiffer mentioned that CBS had gotten flooded with letters from viewers complaining about the network having Tony Perkins on because he is a member of a SPLC designated hate group. It seems that religious right leaders and Todd Starnes of FOX News are quite upset about CBS calling out the FRC in that way.
Teabagistan has been in an uproar all week after CBS' Face The Nation host Bob Shieffer correctly called the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group in the opening to his interview with Tony Perkins last Sunday. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted the below rant, bringing in foaming hater Brent Bozell to denounce CBS. Bozell, you may recall, is most known here for calling President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead."
If you missed that interview, here it is.
The following video is called "the march of marriage equality." I'm posting it just because it's really cool.
Maggie Gallagher has penned a letter to Justice Kennedy and it is published in the National Review. In it she states four reasons she believes that Justice Kennedy should affirm the Sixth Circuit's ruling that the states' marriage bans are constitutional. She says that the gay community is no longer powerless and does not need his help, but that those who are in favor of traditional marriage do. The tone of self-victimization in this letter is palpable. And, she says that the government cannot bestow dignity on a relationship. Reason number four states:
4. Finally, dear Justice Kennedy: Government cannot confer dignity on our relationships. My best friends, my adult children, my godchildren, my brothers and sisters, every single intimate relationship that I have and that gives meaning to my life, government has no role there. To imagine that a government stamp of approval is what creates value in human relationships, or gives dignity to our sexual lives, is to accord to government a power it does not have: a power to impose an idea of equality that is not true, and to remove from the American people the hard work — of negotiating, compromise, and dealing with one another — that belongs to the democratic process, not the Constitution.
Justice Kennedy, you’ve surprised us before. Do it one more time. If originalism doesn’t move you, perhaps an honest plea for pluralism from the newly stigmatized might?
I don't believe a word of that. And, I don't think Maggie does either. If she didn't think that marriage bestowed a certain dignity upon a couple, why has she been working overtime the last decade or so to keep us out of the institution of marriage.
It is the sort of thinking that could only come from a movement as entitled as the one that fights us. More and more over the decade that I've done this kind of work, I've come to realize that the opposition movement, in general, truly does believe that they always get to have the upper hand over us. They truly believe that there is some sort of secret script that mandates their dominance in this world that we all share. Their driving narrative is one that leaves no possibility for their own wrongness or our own peace of mind. It's always about them and what our lives and loves and families and rights supposedly mean for them.
No, "livelihoods are not under attack" because of same-sex marriage. It only feels that way to the opposition movement because they keep lying to people and telling them they have right to ignore nondiscrimination laws that they do not favor, legal marriages that they do not wish to honor, and certain duties of their jobs (e.g. issuing marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples) that they feel they shouldn't have to perform. The anti-LGBT movement is pushing a huge lie that has turned fair compliance into some sort of undue burden. The only "attack" is coming from them, against reality.
Apparently Pew Research Center didn't want to be left behind in the transgender race, so Sara Kehaulani Goo dug up a survey from 2013 and spelunked in the data contained therein.
The online survey interviewed 1197 self-identified LGBT adults, of which 43 identified as transgender (3.6%). Forty percent of respondents identified as bisexual, 33.2% identified as gay men, and 23.1% were lesbians.
As often happens, all transgender respondents were apparently excluding from the other groups, under the apparent assumption that transgender people do not have sexual orientations (actually, a footnote acknowledges that transgender people might also be gay or lesbian).
New York is one of only three states which protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity. The other two are Wisconsin and New Hampshire.
Partially that is because too many people believe that the protections afforded to LGB people automagically extend to transgender people. But the law knows what we have have been enunciating for years: sexual orientation and gender are not the same.
Sexual orientation is about who you desire to go to bed with. Gender identity is about who we go to bed as. In other words, sex is between our legs. Gender is between our ears.
Some folks within the LGBT community clearly still harbor quite a bit self-hatred. Take for instance this North Dakota lawmaker who has been caught sending nude photos of himself to another man on Grindr. At the same time, his voting record would indicate that he is quite anti-gay.
State Rep. Randy Boehning, a North Dakota lawmaker who voted against bills protecting gay people from discrimination, was caught exchanging photos of his junk to another man on Grindr, the Grand Forks Herald reports:
The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.
"How can you discriminate against the person you're trying to pick up?" Smith said in a recent interview.
Boehning has confirmed he is "Top Man!" and that he is bisexual.
He also said that his family members and friends had not previously known that information but he is relieved that "the 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted."
Rep. Randy Boehning, a 52-year-old Republican legislator from Fargo, says a Capitol employee told him a fellow lawmaker vowed to out him as gay if he continued to vote against bills granting gays legal protections against discrimination.
Boehning refused to identify at this point who he believes is behind the purported political payback for his vote against Senate Bill 2279, the third such bill defeated in the past six years by North Dakota legislators.
Boehning said before he voted against the anti-discrimination bill on April 2 a Capitol employee told him a fellow House lawmaker who supported the bill said Boehning would be targeted for retaliation if he didn't vote for it. The 12-year veteran of the House still voted against 2279. He also voted against a similar bill in 2009 and would have in 2013, had the proposal not died in the Senate before a House vote.
The unrest in Baltimore, brought on by the death of Freddie Gray, has been the source of a lot of commentary in the world of social media. My Facebook feed is full of people offering their opinions about what many call the "rioting" or "violence" in Charm City. Mind you, most of those commenting use those words only to refer to destruction of property and throwing of rocks. Strangely, they're not talking about the actions of the police, this despite the violence that characterizes so much of the police's treatment of poor black communities.
Lots of those appearing in my news feed are gay white men like me. Some of them have been very critical of the protestors in Baltimore, and they've decried the resort to "violence" and condemned the people for rioting. I'm not a violent guy, and I don't support the indiscriminate destruction of property, but as a gay man, I find it a bit hypocritical when white members of my community wag their fingers at the so-called rioters.