The Pentagon and the Air Force have confirmed to Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner that one servicemember has been discharged since the military announced more lenient guidelines for enforcing the ban against homosexual conduct. The new rules — announced in March and October of 2010 — introduced various changes from raising the level of the officer who is authorized to start a fact-finding inquiry or order a separation proceeding to requiring the service branch secretary to approve the separation.
An Air Force spokesman confirmed today that the secretary of the Air Force approved a discharge under the military’s ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on April 29 of this year. The discharge, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman, is the only such discharge since the Pentagon on Oct. 21, 2010, directed that DADT discharges would require the approval of the service branch secretary. [...]
Air Force Major Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman, clarified the specifics of the discharge to Metro Weekly, writing, ”On April 29th, 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of 10 USC 654, after coordination with the DoD General Counsel [Jeh Johnson] and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness [Stanley].”
Harper continued, ”Each of these officials evaluated the case carefully, and concluded that separation was appropriate. The Airman in the case asked to be separated expeditiously.”
President Obama signed repeal of the ban on open service in December, but the policy will remain in place until 60 days after the president, defense secretary, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that repeal will not undermine military readiness and effectiveness. Just yesterday, the White House revealed a new website touting its accomplishment of repealing DADT.
When word first emerged that Kevin Keller, the first out gay character in the Archie comics universe, came from a military family, I assumed that the comics were just going to hint at “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rather than addressing the issue head-on. Turns out, my expectations weren’t ambitious enough. In his stand-alone comics, Kevin’s going to come out to his family and directly discuss with his father whether the fact that he’s gay means he should abandon plans to serve in the military.
There’s no question that decision is going to polarize, and it will lose the comic readers. But the Archie franchise has needed a major revitalization for a long time. It’s true the series has persisted for an amazingly long time, but it probably can’t go on as a cheerfully irrelevant product that sells decently but unspectacularly and is entirely absent from the national conversation. There are things that should happen just on the marketing end, for sure. The website for the company badly needs a face lift so it’ll load quickly and be more social-media friendly. The Josie and the Pussycats movie, with the exception of Adam Schlesinger’s soundtrack, was a disaster, but there’s no reason that someone couldn’t make a tween- and teen-friendly Archie movie that’s not unbearably stupid.
But really, the core content has needed a facelift to at least catch it up with more serious and sophisticated trends in young adult literature. This may be too polarizing to work, but it’s at least a way to have the characters thinking about their lives and careers beyond Riverdale. And more importantly, it makes the Archie comics look a bit more like the actual experiences of contemporary teenagers. It’s been great that Kevin’s experience in Riverdale has been so positive, but it’s really kind of wishful thinking, almost speculative fiction. I don’t really want to see Kevin get bashed or bullied for the sake of realism, but I do think that dealing with real problems will make him a more relatable, and thus more viable, long-term character.
Harlem Pastors Fear ‘Harmful’ Pride Picnic Will Promote Pedophilia And Bestiality |
Some New York City pastors are concerned that a Harlem gay pride picnic is going to tear apart the fabric of their community and have attacked it using absurdly offensive stereotypes. Dr. Ronald Ferguson is afraid children “will think it’s okay to be a pedophile or have sex with animals” because “God does not want to see homosexuals in our parks.” Pastor Charles Curtis is worried because “the park is a family area, and the homosexual agenda will do nothing but harm the community.”
Nevada Governor Signs Transgender Nondiscrimination Bills Into Law |
Three laws will go into effect October 1 that protect transgender Nevadans from discrimination. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed the employment protection bill (AB211) last week and yesterday signed the complementary bills for housing (SB368) and public accommodations (SB331). Though it was unusual for the protections to be delivered in separate bills, they together represent a comprehensive approach to ending discrimination based on gender identity.
Vandy Beth Glenn lost her job with the Georgia General Assembly for being transgender.
Think you know about LGBT employment protections? Take this quiz and see how much you know. A new poll from the Center for American Progress shows that 9 out of 10 voters think there is a federal law protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination. They’re wrong. The poll found that 73 percent of voters do support such protections, including strong support from Catholics (74 percent), senior citizens (61 percent), and even people with unfavorable attitudes toward gay people (50 percent). Unfortunately, in most states the protections don’t exist, and levels of discrimination and harassment are high.
As many as 43 percent of LGB people and a staggering 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace mistreatment. Another column from CAP shares some of the personal stories of individuals who had these negative experiences and the consequences that come with, such as the fact that gay men earn 10-32 percent less than their heterosexual peers (PDF). Meanwhile, transgender individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed and four times as likely to be living in poverty (PDF).
If support for protections is so strong and people think they already exist, it’s peculiar that employment protection bills face such challenges in getting passed. The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been introduced for decades now without passing. Just last week, non-discrimination protections in Connecticut got a very transphobic pushback. Equality opponents raise alarm over these bills, focusing on nuanced details and promoting untrue fears. This new polling suggests that the number of people actually concerned about offering these protections is near-negligible. Legislators need to begin listening to the stories of those truthfully affected by discrimination instead of the absurd cries of a small pocket of extremists.
Kerry Eleveld On The Importance Of LGBT Journalists |
Over at The Bilerico Project, Adam Polaski reports on yesterday’s panel discussion about LGBT journalists and the media landscape. Equality Matters’ Kerry Eleveld summed up the importance of LGBT reporters, “saying that as long as there are laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity, journalists will need to cover those stories, provide that information, and continue to expose inequalities.” Eleveld said: “I would hope that some time in the next decade, LGBT political journalists will be unnecessary, [but at this point] LGBT journalists are more necessary than ever.”
NOM Blog Churns Out Non-Marriage (But Still Anti-Gay) Posts |
Despite the fact the National Organization for Marriage prides itself on its defense of marriage, Equality Matters points out that a significant quantity of their recent blog posts (20 percent) have nothing to do with marriage. With posts opposing civil unions, pro-LGBT curricula, same-sex parenting, and non-discrimination law as well as others that are just generally anti-LGBT, self-victimizing, or pro-conservative, it’s clear that NOM’s agenda is not as genuinely about “marriage” as they like to claim.
Texas A&M Deemed Unsafe For Third Annual Transgender Summit |
In April, the Texas A&M Student Senate “voted to support a budget amendment by State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, that would have required schools with LGBT resource centers to equally fund centers for ‘family and traditional values.’” The effort was ultimately defeated, but the scars remain. John Wright of the Dallas Voice reports that organizers of the third annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit are now moving their conference — which was supposed to take place at Texas A&M University in August — to the University of Houston to protect “the safety for the participants.”
Why Is Catholic Charities On The Board Of A Progressive Organization? |
AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis wants to know what Catholic Charities — an organization that is choosing to close its doors rather than place children in gay households — is “doing on the board of director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a liberal advocacy group that includes some of the biggest progressive organizations in Washington.” “I wonder if the Coalition on Human Needs would permit a racist organization to be a board member. Or is anti-gay animus somehow less offensive to the Coalition on Human Needs,” he asks.
LGBT blogs and news outlets (including this one yesterday morning) have offered coverage of the case of Nikki Araguz of Texas. She is the widow of a deceased firefighter whose ex-wife sued after his passing, demanding that Araguz not receive any death benefits because she was born male. The ex-wife successfully convinced a judge that the marriage was thus a same-sex marriage, prohibited under Texas law. However, Araguz has now shared on her blog that she was actually born intersex and she is not transgender as has been reported:
While I appreciate all of the support, I am setting the record straight: I am a heterosexual woman, who happened to have born intersex, and yes, I did have a transsexual medical condition, yet that has been treated and corrected. I urgently ask the gay and transgender communities to stop inaccurately identifying me as “transgender” because this falsehood is continuing to make my battle even more difficult. The media has picked up on this mislabeling, and it may lead to the assassination of transsexual and intersex marriage and rights in Texas. The clueless appropriating of my situation is dishonest and hurtful. My birth defect is a medical condition, and has nothing to do with “gender and lifestyles”.
Araguz is referring to a disorder of sex development (DSD), which presumably means that at birth, she did not present as typically XX-female or XY-male and was misclassified as male. The Intersex Society of North America estimates that about 1 in 1500 are classified as intersex at birth, but because of the different ways intersexuality presents at different points in life, the number of people who are intersex is likely much higher.
While the identities of intersex and transgender face a lot of similar challenges in society, they are not the same. Intersexuality refers to an ambiguity of biological sex, whereas people who are transgender are struggling with a gender identity that does not match their sex. It is easy to confuse the two because individuals with either identity may pursue surgical options — as Araguz did — to achieve identity cohesion.
The judge’s decision to void her marriage because of her identity reveals the way the law’s oversimplification of identity hurts individuals. The construction of “one man, one woman” marriage that equality opponents champion makes no room for people like Nikki Araguz who have unique sex and gender identities. Essentially, the judge ruled that she is male only because a doctor checked that box on a form when she was born. No one should be able to dictate who Nikki Araguz is except Nikki Araguz, and no one should ever have to.
Why George Allen Doesn’t Talk About Gay People Anymore |
Roll Call’s Joshua Miller reports that as a senator, Virginia’s George Allen (R) “co-sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and worked a pledge to keep marriage ‘traditional’ into just about every re-election stump speech. But these days, as Allen tries to get his job back, he doesn’t talk about gay marriage.” That’s because voters in Virginia are now far more accepting of gay people than they were just five years ago. Then, “a strong majority of voters supported a state constitutional amendment to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions.” Today, 47 percent support same sex marriage, and 43 percent of Virginians oppose a constitutional amendment.
Since 2008, same-sex couples in Connecticut have had the legal right to marry. I find it disgraceful that citizens of our state serving in the armed forces aren’t afforded that same basic right. It should go without saying that government policy should not prohibit the religious or civil official of their choice to perform the marriage — that should be left up to the couple and the official. When the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been eliminated, neither the Navy nor Marine Corps will be able to discharge a service member for marrying someone of the same sex. With our state’s proud Naval and Marine Corps tradition, I anticipate that some number of same-sex couples will want to marry in Navy chapels by Naval chaplains.
Via Andy Towle, Fox News’ Sean Hannity hosted a panel discussion about “Primetime Propaganda,” Ben Shapiro’s book about “how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.” During the segment, Shapiro and former Ohio Attorney General Ken Blackwell specifically attacked Sesame Street and children’s television, suggesting that producers somehow indoctrinated children with liberal values — like tolerance for gay people — that are causing them to become gay or support gay causes:
SHAPIRO: By the way, if you go on the Sesame Street web site, it talks about when bringing up child, make sure that you use gender neutral language. Make sure that you give your boys dolls and make sure that you give your girls fire trucks.
BLACKWELL: That is setting up a problem. Just this year, a high school in Virginia named a guy who was openly gay as prom queen and so sometimes fiction does inform reality. And as we layout in our book, there’s a direct assault on this country’s moral foundation. That’s a problem…What really concerns me is that if you look at any big government regime, any totalitarian regime, they attack two basic intermediary institutions, the family and the church. That’s what is happening in our culture right now and it sets up an appetite for governmental largesse, government becomes the family.
Gay people are more prevalent in Hollywood, and schools are now increasingly focusing on policies that protect gay students from taunting and bullying. All of this is part of a larger evolution towards a more tolerant society — one that is increasingly accepting of differences whether they be sexual, religious, or cultural. People like Shapiro and Blackwell, meanwhile, are trying to preserve an America that, due to the civil rights movements of the past decades, no longer exists and seem surprised when those changes are reflected on television.
AFA’s Bryan Fischer Predicts Gays Will Commit ‘Genocide’ Against Christian Servicemembers | Via JoeMyGod, Bryan Fischer — the man supported by Newt Gingrich and almost every other GOP presidential contender — says: “You’re gonna have the homosexual lobby committing one hate crime after another against servicemembers, especially officers who have deeply held religious convictions about the acceptability of homosexual behavior…This is going to be a pogrom, virtual genocide, military genocide, career genocide”:
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but let us know what you’re checking out too.
- According to Public Policy Polling, Minnesotans are “dead even” on amending the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, with 47 percent opposed to the discriminatory amendment and 46 percent supporting. The numbers were similarly split (46-45) over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
- Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage has now partnered with the Minnesota Family Council, the organization that claimed gays and lesbians are more likely to engage in bestiality and consume human excrement. Now there’s a “defense of traditional marriage” you don’t hear coming from national groups very often.
- The marriage battle is also underway in North Carolina, where an amendment isn’t on the ballot yet, but the legislature is considering one. Change.org is hosting a petition to tell NC business leaders like Bank of America, Hanesbrands, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Lowe’s to voice their opposition now and help keep the measure from ever making it to the ballot.
- Speaking of state-level marriage issues, did you know that there are 19 states who allow you to marry your first cousin? That’s compared to the six (plus DC) who allow two unrelated adults of the same-sex. What exactly is “traditional marriage” anyway?
- In non-marriage news, an interesting case is underway in which a San Francisco gay softball team is being sued by three bisexual men who were excluded from the team for not being gay enough. A U.S. District Judge has said the suit can proceed.