Tag Archives: gay

I Was Wrong. Bernie Sanders Deserves Your Gay Vote

dem-2016-sanders

At the risk of being branded a “Bernie Bro,” and being banished to internet troll damnation for all eternity, I feel we must take a second to acknowledge that Senator Bernie Sanders deserves the gay vote. Yes, I know. Having made that statement, I must now be a reckless leftist who would rather see a reptile like Trump or Cruz in the White House than cast my vote for Hillary Clinton, right? Wrong.

In a previous piece, I championed both candidates, and applauded their rhetoric as a far cry from the hateful, bigoted, violent tone we’ve seen throughout Republican rallies and debates. The truth is, we would ALL be remiss to not cast our vote for the democratic nominee in the upcoming election, whether it ends up being Sanders or Clinton. But since we are still in the primaries, and political discussion is far more worthy of internet time than food porn or Throwback Thursdays (which I love, don’t get me wrong), I see no harm in examining the political differences between our two democratic candidates.

Take a look at this clip of Sanders defending LGBT citizens in the military, dated back to 1995.

Years before LGBT issues would hit the mainstream, we see Sanders passionately defending gay soldiers who have served in the US military. Keep in mind, this was only one year after Bill Clinton signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law, a move that only allowed gays in the military if they were closeted. The policy prohibited people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” Senator Sanders voted against this policy.

Some argue that Sanders isn’t a true ally, as he supported civil unions in 2006. Interesting to note, however, is that he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Perhaps his support of civil unions was simply in alignment with his “before-it-was-cool” stance of passionate support for the LGBT community? Perhaps he simply wanted to extend whatever opportunity was available to us at the time?

On the other hand, we have seen some serious missteps from Hillary Clinton in regard to the LGBT community. It is often said that her reversal on gay marriage came too late, and was done only for political gain. Also, who could forget last month when she spoke incorrectly about the Regan’s involvement with the HIV/AIDS crisis? In fairness, she did offer any apology, one that seemed highly disingenuous, if you ask me:

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.11.52 PM

Hillary’s comment was clearly deliberate and intentioned. That is not what misspeaking is. That’s called misinformation.

In fairness, once Hillary turned the corner on the issue of gay marriage, she became a very vocal and prominent supporter. What we cannot forget, however, is how vastly different her stance was in 2004:

The best broadcast I have discovered, which gives a fair and in-depth look at Clinton’s LGBT history, can be found here:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/tale-tape-hillary-clintons-gay-evolution/

So, again, let me be clear. I am not trashing Hillary. I am also clearly stating that if she does receive the nomination, we need to vote for her. What I am saying, however, is that as it stands, Bernie Sanders deserves the gay vote. And with his recent victories, and vastly rising support, he may not have a “delegate problem” when it comes time to select our candidate. We support Bernie Sanders and we thank him for his lifelong support for the LGBT community.

LGBT Rights: Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Sanders-vs-Clinton1In case some of you missed the first democratic debate last Tuesday, allow me to bring you up to speed. It was not the moronic shit-show we are used to with the Republican debates, and instead was an engaging, interesting discussion between mostly intelligent people. While I would encourage everyone to watch the entire debate, if you are pressed for time, I recommend at least catching up on the greatest moments below.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in the past, I’ve loathed the presence of LGBT questions at many different debates, as it seemingly always results in at least one candidate’s homophobia being put on display. This debate was different, however. There was very little mention of the LGBT community at all. I believe the reason for this is that it is understood that each democratic candidate is a champion of LGBT rights, at this point.

Who can forget Hillary’s infamous 2011 speech in Geneva, when she called for global support for the LGBT community. Still, Clinton is often criticized for being “late to the game” on supporting same-sex marriage. The Economist called her move a “belated conversion” and deemed it “cautious to the point of cowardice.” Still, Hillary has since offered her full support, and I stand with many in the LGBT community who have watched our own family and friends evolve over time, understanding that doesn’t always happen overnight.

Representative Bernie Sanders, however, has been a longtime, fervent supporter, long before LGBT rights were even a hot-button issue. Check out a letter he published in the early 1970’s where he called for further LGBT support:
letter

So, with Hillary’s initial lack of support and change of heart, naturally people begin to question her authenticity. “You know, somebody is always first,” Clinton told NPR in 2013. “Somebody’s always out front and thank goodness they are. But that doesn’t mean that those who joined later in being publicly supportive or even privately accepting that there needs to be change are any less committed. You could not be having the sweep of marriage equality across our country if nobody changed their mind. And thank goodness so many of us have.”

Currently, on both candidate’s websites, you can check out where they stand on LGBT issues, and it seems they are both aligned. Now that gay marriage has been voted a constitutional right, it is now a focus to end discrimination with housing and employment. It is true that Sanders was lightyears ahead of Hillary on that issue, but they have both certainly ended up in the same place, and they are running for president now, not in previous decades.

What I am most impressed by is what solid supporters and allies we have in these candidates. It was lovely to watch a debate and not have to worry that in some way, one of the candidates was going to decimate the LGBT community. Instead, we could go in knowing that each candidate will champion support, and ultimately our decisions can come down to other issues including race relations, gun control, environment, etc. Such a sweet relief from the homophobic, racist, sexist circuses that are the republican debates.

Hey, Madonna and Patricia Arquette, The Gays Are With You!


These two amazing women recently sparked controversy when they both separately made comments comparing the gay rights movement and the women’s rights movement. It started initially with Patricia Arquette, who in a recent Oscar acceptance speech stated “People think we have equal rights; we don’t. Until we pass a constitutional amendment, we won’t have anything changed. It’s time for all women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

This caused people to point out that many women are, in fact, women of color and part of the LGBTQ community. While this point is valid, it shouldn’t overshadow the poignant comments that Ms. Arquette made. We can’t forget that there is currently a website tracking equal pay amongst women in the United States, which can be seen at statusofwomendata.org. Here, you can see that women are marginalized and discriminated against in employment and earnings, and where each state ranks. The site promises to also offer data on female poverty, reproductive rights, opportunity, political participation, among other things. Time Magazine recently reported that if the current trend continues, women will not see equal pay in five US states (West Virginia, Utah, Louisiana, North Dakota and Wyoming) until 2100!

Discrimination against women is very real and and it is the worst for women of color. It is unbelievable, but true, that in 2015, there is still a pay gap. There is still a very strong movement attempting (and in some states, succeeding) to deny women of their basic reproductive rights. People who hold political office still think that women’s reproductive systems shut down during rape to prevent pregnancy. Others just don’t think pregnancy results from rape very often, despite the fact that it happens over 30,000 times a year. Don’t you think women have cause for concern?

Shortly after Patricia Arquette made these comments, Madonna made similar comments that sparked controversy. Keep in mind, Madonna has been a very outspoken ally for the gays for over three decades now, and whatever you think of her… It seems to me that the gay community owes Madonna an awful lot. There is actually a Wikipedia article titled “Madonna As A Gay Icon,” and she is considered by LGBT magazine “The Advocate” to be the greatest gay icon. She even recently admitted that she used to pine after gay men when she was younger, living in New York City.

“I didn’t feel like straight men understood me. They just wanted to have sex with me,” she explained. “Gay men understood me, and I felt comfortable around them. There was only that one problem, which is that they didn’t want to have sex with me! So…conundrum!”

Madonna recently had the following to say: “Gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights,” she stated. “People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period. It’s moved along for the gay community, for the African-American community, but women are still just treading on their ass… To me, the last great frontier is women.”
She continued, “Women are still the most marginalized group. They’re still the group that people won’t let change…You must fit into this box… You must behave this way, dress this way. You’re still categorized — you’re still either a virgin or a whore. If you’re a certain age, you’re not allowed to express your sexuality, be single, or date younger men.”

Despite the controversial nature of her comments, I must say that I agree. Gay rights, while they still have a long way to go, have come along way, but we have been extremely stagnant, and often even taken leaps backward, when it comes to equality for women. I think the real lesson here is that the struggle is never over. Just because gay marriage is legal in most states and will likely be legal in all of them before the end of the year, doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong resistance movement. Gays face discrimination every day… As do women and people of color. And we must not marginalize each other. Instead, we need to recognize this and be supportive of one another. If we don’t continue fighting together, we might face what women have faced – stagnation and regression of their personal liberties.

Daniel Ashley Pierce: LGBT Homelessness and the Word of God


If you have seen the viral YouTube video of twenty-year-old Daniel Ashely Pierce coming out to his family, you will know just how incredibly disturbing and disgusting it is… A dark reminder that even in our world today, coming out can be one of the most awful things a young gay person experiences. I think we can all agree that our teenage years and early adulthood is a very tender time for everybody. Discovering who you are and uncovering certain truths about life and the world is incredibly sobering and often disconcerting. Bullying is a real thing – it is not simply a gas in the air, and that bullying doesn’t only happen on the schoolyard. It also happens in homes. It can come directly from the people who are supposed to be the most supportive and loving figures in your life. Yet, all it takes is this almighty “word of god” and suddenly certain people feel they can justify everything – including abusing and abandoning their own son.

Not only was young Daniel berated and shamed for being gay, he was also physically assaulted and forced to move from his parent’s home. Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, it should. In 2012, research indicated that 40% of homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT. An astonishing 43% of drop-in shelter clients identify as LGBT. In addition, 86% of LGBT people report having been verbally harassed at school for their sexual orientation. So, along with the adversity these young people face for being gay, they also now face the social stigma of being homeless. It seems this “word of god” is really incredibly harmful.

It seems a common debate has risen surrounding whether or not homosexuality is a choice. I’ve blogged previously about where scientific research currently stands on this, but ultimately – I am not personally interested in justifying my homosexuality with “it wasn’t my choice.” It is unfortunate that people feel the need to step back from homosexuality instead of embracing it and being unapologetic. We can also make the strong case that identifying as Christian is a choice. Identifying as a homophobe is a choice. But it seems to me that we are completely missing the mark in this conversation. This family abused their son both physically and verbally, and we are still sitting here trying to debate whether or not homosexuality is a choice? It doesn’t matter. This family abused and abandoned their son. End of discussion.

It seems apparent to me in this situation, and in situations I’ve experienced personally, that these anti-LGBT family members actually feel as though they are doing the right thing. They feel they are “honoring the word of god,” and balking at any sense of reason in the process. I’ve heard people justify this hatred with quips like “He’s just trying to do the right thing.” Let me ask you… would we ever look at what Hitler did and think “He was just trying to do the right thing?” Would we allow for any kind of justification of this blatant anti-semitism which resulted in a genocide that killed six million Jewish people? It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned Hitler might have considered himself, what he was doing was terribly wrong. The parents depicted in this video showed blatant disregard for their son, attacking him and making him yet another young LGBT homeless person. There is no justification for this. Not even your precious bible.

After this video went viral, donations collected on the Internet to help young Daniel with living expenses amounted to over $50,000. While this is such a wonderful gesture, we have to understand that Daniel is not alone. In order for stories like Daniel’s to stop happening, many things need to change. I would encourage every gay person reading this to stop apologizing for themselves. I would like to commend Daniel for his bravery and tenacity against such horrible circumstances. And ultimately, I wish that the next time we want to dump an ice bucket on our heads, we could donate to a charity that supports homeless people, including LGBT homeless people.

To donate: http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/lgbt/

Also, you can watch the video below. It contains obscene language and violence.

Bob McDonnell: The Hypocrisy. The Hilarity.


Bob McDonnell, the republican governor of Virginia, and his wife Maureen, were indicted on federal corruption charges in January 2014 and are currently standing trial. These charges were brought forth following a federal investigation which purported that McDonnell and his wife may have accepted over $165,000 in gifts from political donor Jonnie Williams, Sr, in exchange for political favors. While McDonnell has been quoted as saying he will fight these “false allegations,” he did, in fact, repay more than $120,000 to Williams in 2013 and apologized for bringing “embarrassment” to the state.

What is truly fascinating, however, is the embarrassment McDonnell is still bringing. A key defense in his corruption trial is feigning ignorance, and placing much of the responsibility on his wife, claiming he had no idea where such lavish gifts were coming from. On trial, however, it has been noted that McDonnell was well aware of where most of the cash was coming from, along with his numerous gulf trips, vacations, and sport-car rentals. To add to his embarrassing tactics, another central piece of his defense is that the governor’s marriage was so dysfunctional, there was no way they could have conspired together. He called the marriage “broken down” and stated they were “barely on speaking terms.” The prosecutor was quick to point out, however, that the former first couple was able to go on 18 vacations together in just 22 months.

In the wake of self-professed marital dysfunction, I think it is important to take a look at Bob McDonnell’s track record. In his controversial 1989 Regent University thesis, entitled The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade, McDonnell advocated “covenant marriage,” blasted feminists and working women as “detrimental to the family,” and surmised that “government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.” When the thesis went viral in 2009, McDonnell detached from it stating “Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and attorney general and the specific plans I have laid out for our future — not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven’t thought about in years.” What is interesting to note, however, is that throughout his tenure in public office, McDonnell has pursued at least ten of the policy goals outlined in his thesis, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers, and tax policies that favor heterosexual marriages.

Governor McDonnell earned the monikers “Governor Vagina” and “Governor Ultrasound” for his fervent support of trans-vaginal ultrasound requirements for women considering abortion. Following public protest, however, the governor chose to instead favor slightly less invasive abdominal ultrasounds, granting exemptions in the case of incest and rape, so long as it was reported to police. That same year, McDonnell vetoed HB 399, which sought to improve neonatal care by fast-tracking implementation of newborn screening for life-threatening congenital heart malformations. So, yes, the man who has pushed legislation to limit grounds for divorce, and has essentially made every move to restrict marital and reproductive rights for couples, is blaming his corruption scandal on marital dysfunction. But oh, wait… It gets even better.

McDonnell has a strong track record of homophobia (which I’m sure you could have guessed, at this point). In fact, one of his very first acts as governor was to rescind an order enacted by his democratic predecessor, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a 1965 Supreme Court decision which legalized the use of contraceptives, stating “man’s basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter.” Yet now that his marriage is in “shambles,” McDonnell has testified that he is currently staying with a priest at a local rectory, Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. What is interesting about Rev. Ball is that he was arrested in 2002 for “frequenting a bawdy place.” The priest, along with his male counterpart, pled guilty to a misdemeanor sex offense. The charges were dropped after both men completed 80 hours of community service. Rev. Ball was assigned to a different church.

So, basically, it’s hard to even digest the amount of corruption and controversy that surrounds this trial, and each day it just seems to become more hypocritical – and more hilarious. To be fair, however, I think the closing words should be granted to Rev. Wayne Ball, who blamed his gay sex scandal on a “bout of depression” and has defended McDonnell to the bitter end: “Is there any person at all who would want to stand up in public and tell the whole truth about their life?”

Umm…?

Michele Bachmann’s Greatest Gay Hits


Last month, in an interview with conservative radio show “Faith and Liberty,” Michele Bachmann had some interesting insight into the LGBT agenda. While making it known that the conservative “message is to spread goodness and joy and wholeness and healing, and we do that through a loving God,” she accused gays of wanting to “abolish age of consent laws, which means we will do away with statutory rape laws so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually.” I, personally, was unaware that marriage equality movement supported abolishing age of consent laws? Perhaps this is because that is entirely absurd. Alas, the Bachmann family is no stranger to making controversial statements concerning the LGBT community. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest hits.

March 2014: Gay Bullies

In response to Arizona’s pro-discrimination bill, Bachmann lamented the presence of the LGBT community. “The thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.”

July 2011: Gay Reparative Therapy

In the wake of scandal surrounding the Bachmann family’s private practice and Medicaid payments, a separate scandal emerged when therapists within their clinic were caught on camera engaging in “gay reparative therapy.”

November 2011: Gay people can get married. Just to members of the same sex

While campaigning in Iowa, Bachmann addressed audience questions with an interesting assertion – that gay people can get married so long as it is to a person of the opposite sex. This video might be my favorite, due to it’s awkwardness. What should be concerning, however, is that there are some people in the audience applauding Bachmann’s idiotic responses.

November 2005: “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda”

Marcus Bachmann delivered a presentation called “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda” at the Minnesota Pastors’ Summit. To conclude, he brought up three LGBT citizens who claimed they were “cured” of homosexuality. As per usual, Bachmann later detached from the notion that he supports gay reparative therapy, stating ““If someone is interested in talking to us about their homosexuality, we are open to talking about that, but if someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay homosexual, I don’t have a problem with that.”

2004: Homosexuals are “barbarians who need to be educated and disciplined”

In stark contrast to his statement that he “doesn’t have a problem” with homosexuals who want to “stay” homosexual, Marcus Bachmann had the following to say: “Barbarians need to be educated, they need to be disciplined, and just because someone feels it or thinks it, doesn’t mean we need to go down that road”

November 2004: Something about the Lion King?

At the November 2004 EdWatch National Education Conference, Bachmann said the “normalization” of homosexuality would lead to “desensitization”: “Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of “The Lion King,” for instance, and a teacher might say, “Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?” The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.”

2004: National Education Leadership lecture

On Homosexuality: “It leads to the personal enslavement of individuals. Because if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that’s why this is so dangerous…”

You have a teacher talking about his gayness. (The elementary school student) goes home then and says “Mom! What’s gayness? We had a teacher talking about this today.” The mother says “Well, that’s when a man likes other men, and they don’t like girls.” The boy’s eight. He’s thinking, “Hmm. I don’t like girls. I like boys. Maybe I’m gay.” And you think, “Oh, that’s, that’s way out there. The kid isn’t gonna think that.” Are you kidding? That happens all the time. You don’t think that this is intentional, the message that’s being given to these kids?

2004: Melissa Etheridge and Breast Cancer

The conservative education group, EdWatch, quoted Bachmann pontificating about Melissa Etheridge: “Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers. This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.” I wonder how Bachmann feels now that Etheridge is a breast cancer survivor, yet still a lesbian? In the same speech, she alleges that “almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or by a female.”

So, we all know Michelle Bachmann is a quack. It is both laughable and unsettling that she was actually considered by some to be a viable presidential candidate. Yet, I can already hear the comments on Reddit: “Why are we still talking about her!?” We are still talking about her because it is being reported that she may seek the presidency again in 2016. I feel it is important to call out these outrageous statements and the people that make them. I also find it fascinating, much like extra-terrestrials or the Chronicles of Narnia. Only these are real life politicians, elected into office. Scary.

Dear Gays, Stop Being Offended by Hilarious Jokes!

Sarah SilvermanIt seems to me that within comedy, whatever approach you take, you will inevitably offend somebody. Separate from being politically correct, it seems that even when comedians who are outspoken advocates and allies of the LGBTQ community, there is a public outcry following every edgy joke that is made.

In a segment called “No More Mister Nice Gay” on the show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, Guy Branum attacked the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, blasting several roasters for the “gay” jokes that were directed toward James Franco, stating that “gay sex shouldn’t be funny, it should be hot.” He specifically targeted Sarah Silverman, stating “Using gay as an insult doesn’t make you look cool, it makes you look old. And Sarah, you don’t need help looking old.” (Authors Note: Would anybody disagree that Sarah Silverman looks far younger than Guy Branum who is five years her junior?) Also, I would have to disagree with Branum’s assertion that “gay sex shouldn’t be funny, it should be hot.” Can’t gay sex, much like straight sex, be both funny and hot, depending on the context? How does one making a joke about gay sex make it any less “hot” for you?

To recap, Sarah Silverman had one gay joke during her set, which went “I don’t think James Franco is gay or straight, I think he just can’t open his eyes wide enough to see who he is fucking.” Although comedy, along with every art form is subjective, I personally found all of her jokes to be funny, some of which were even racist or fat-shaming. I would say that I found the homophobic ones funny too, but there weren’t any. Did anybody else notice that Sarah’s joke wasn’t at all a gay joke… it was a joke about James Franco’s eyes?

Sarah Silverman has a long history with the LGBTQ community. Who could forget her Comedy Central show a few years back, The Sarah Silverman Program, wherein her neighbors and best friends were a gay couple? The show saw Silverman ironically tackling many issues, including homosexuality. “I learned whether you are gay or bisexual, it doesn’t matter, you know, because at the end of the day, they’re both gross,” Sarah joked as she pet her dog. Sarah has never been afraid to include jokes about the LGBTQ community in her set, just as she has never been afraid to make edgy jokes about race, religion, 9/11, little people, just to name a few.

Silverman has also been a long time supporter and advocate of the LGBTQ community. She has been very outspoken about this, telling The Advocate that she wants “gay marriage legalized with a big fucking apology for the past few years.” She has stated that she refuses to get married until gay marriage is legalized, and blasted liberal people who get married. “It’s like joining a country club that doesn’t allow blacks or Jews.” She frequently performs at fund raisers and benefits.

I feel this begs the question – should all art be void of gay material? Would it be better for the LGBTQ community for actors, comedians, celebrities, and artists to completely skirt around the issue of homosexuality? Or instead, should you ask yourself why you were offended by something? What is the fear in people making gay jokes? That through comedy, we are somehow setting our people back? Or perhaps, what is more likely, is that a certain joke touched on an insecurity of yours, and that is why you became offended. Isn’t making people laugh the impetus behind telling jokes? Perhaps sometimes the mechanism for doing so is being somewhat shocking or offensive, but the ultimate goal is laughter. And perhaps a particular joke isn’t your cup of tea, but does that mean that nobody should be able to tell that joke or even appreciate that joke because it hurt your feelings?

What I find offensive far more than a light-hearted, well-intentioned gay joke is homophobic legislation. It is not a joke that there are laws on the books preventing LGBTQ citizens from having equal protection under the law. While comedians make off-color jokes that some will find offensive for their own personal reasons, there are politicians with completely homophobic agendas being voted into office. That is not a joke. These are homophobic people being placed into leadership positions in our country, and we worry that a comedian might make a joke that rubs us the wrong way?

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I would personally feel terrible if someone in my life felt that they had to walk on egg shells so as not to offend me. I want to hear funny jokes, including the gay ones, and I want people to feel comfortable saying them. Rather than responding to buzz words, I would encourage people to look at jokes within context, assess the intention behind the telling of the joke, and give people a break. I can’t imagine being offended by a gay joke, but I will absolutely be offended by those who vote homophobic leaders into office.