I can’t think of the last time Adam Carolla seemed remotely culturally relevant, but you’d think that he’d have learned from Tracy Morgan’s stations of the cross after his anti-gay routine earlier this year that verbally bashing gay people is probably not going to get you much work or positive attention. Carolla, charmingly, said on a recent podcast: “What percentage is transgendered. Let’s say I’m a politician and I say “hey, transgendered folks. I don’t need your vote.”…What the fuck? When did we start giving a shit about these people? Then we gotta work it out…there’s all these variations, where it’s like I’m a pre-op…shut the fuck up…Gays, shut up. Just get married and please shut up. You’re ruining my life.” There’s nothing bold and surprising about saying transgendered people are irrelevant or that you wish they would go away. What is kind of shocking is the extent to which folks like this mistake their ignorance for daring—and to which they, collectively, seem incapable of learning that this is a strategy that is not going to miraculously work for them this time after not working for other folks many times before.
The entire purpose of a university LGBT resource center is to provide resources that its students (and often faculty and staff) can utilize to have a positive college experience in spite of any stigma they might face on campus. This often includes connecting students to “safe spaces” on and off-campus that are LGBT-affirming. According to FoxNews.com, the resource center at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington is under fire for doing just that — offering a list of LGBT-affirming religious communities in the Wilmington area. What Fox News neglects to mention, however, is that the professor criticizing the list, Mike Adams, is a conservative columnist for Townhall who regularly attacks the LGBT community and non-Christians:
But Mike Adams, a criminology professor on campus who went from atheist to Christianity, said the university should not be in the business of recommending churches.
“It’s just amazing,” he told FoxNews.com. “It appears to me to be the height of not just silliness, but government waste.”
Adams just happens to be a professor at UNCW. He published his rant on Townhall today, including the list the resource center had sent out and snide commentary for each church on the list. And who did Fox News feature to support Adams’ claim that UNCW is “telling people where to go to church”? A representative from the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay hate group.
At no point did Fox News bother to investigate what purpose the list might serve nor how it was generated. Instead, the entire point of the article is to provide a pedestal for Adams’ radically anti-gay views, including calling for the complete abolition of all on-campus LGBT resources. Proper context would have included data from last year’s higher education LGBT climate study, which found that LGBT university students experience high rates of harassment and discrimination that can impact their academic success and retention at the university. In other words, by creating a safe space for LGBT students, universities are actually likely to save money because the efforts will keep students enrolled at the university, and thus paying tuition.
Many campus life offices offer lists of religious communities, but Adams only seems concerned with the LGBT-affirming list. Perhaps his next complaint will be against offices of multicultural affairs for suggesting locations where students of color can get their hair cut.
Gay GOP Presidential Candidate Karger To File FEC Complaint Against Fox For Debate Exclusion | Openly gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger told SiriusXM’s Michelangelo Signorile this afternoon that he plans to take legal action against Fox News for excluding him from Thursday’s GOP debate. Karger, who met all of the qualifications set forth by the network, was denied a podium and never received an explanation for the snub. “I’m at this moment drafting with my lawyers…a complaint to the FEC,” Karger said. “I’m probably on Wednesday going to go across the street from here, deliver a complaint, which I will file with the Federal Election Commission that day that will require an investigation of Fox to see if they filed this pre-established election criteria.”
Last week, SPLC-certified hate groups MassResistance and the Family Research Council attacked the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for distributing an adult-oriented same-sex pamphlet called the “Little Black Book,” which GLSEN had nothing to do with. Watch the smear video — still hosted on FRC’s YouTube channel:
The anti-bullying organization has responded today by sending a cease-and-desist letter to FRC demanding that any publication of false and defamatory statements come to an end:
This morning, GLSEN’s attorneys delivered a cease-and-desist letter to the Family Research Council (FRC) demanding that FRC cease distribution and publication of a video clip containing false and defamatory statements about GLSEN, as well as any other similar false and defamatory statements that may be contained in a longer video associated with that video clip.
The false statements in the FRC video can do real and lasting harm to our work. FRC has made those false and defamatory statements in an obvious effort to raise money, undermine GLSEN’s work and maintain the status quo: school systems where LGBT students face unacceptable levels of harassment and violence and where anti-LGBT bias is a weapon of choice for bullies. We must respond forcefully and aggressively to defend our ability to fulfill our mission, and to protect ourselves and our partners in this critical work – the countless people in school communities across the country who work with GLSEN and our chapters to ensure safe and affirming schools for all students, utilizing our resources, attending our trainings, advocating with us for urgently needed change to make a positive difference in schools.
An affront against GLSEN, such as the false and defamatory statements by FRC, is an affront against every educator who places a Safe Space Sticker outside their door to encourage a student who may face despair; every Gay-Straight Alliance member who takes part in the Day of Silence to raise awareness about anti-LGBT bullying; every person who intervenes when a student calls another an anti-LGBT name; and so many dedicated education professionals – teachers, administrators and other school staff – who do their best to bring positive change to our schools and our future every day.
Anti-gay groups target GLSEN because it is an organization that reaches out to LGBT youth. FRC regularly refers to anti-bullying efforts like GLSEN’s as “indoctrination programs” that attempt to “recruit children.” These scare tactics ride on the decades-old myths and stereotypes that homosexuality is evil and amoral, that children can be “recruited” into a homosexual “lifestyle,” and that homosexuals are pedophiles. It is exactly this kind of demonization that earned FRC its “hate group” label.
Here is a snapshot look at where all the current presidential hopefuls stand on LGBT issues (click to see it full-size):
For a more in-depth look at the candidates’ positions, the Center for American Progress offers an interactive with quotes that inform their views on LGBT issues.
There’s been a lot of discussion of a series of illustrations, some of which are reproduced here, that show what male superheroes would look like if they were posed like Wonder Woman is on the cover of the latest Justice League. I was particularly interested to see those images in conjunction with a new study that looks at 1,000 Rolling Stone covers and determines that the images of both men and women have become more sexual more frequently over the 43 years the magazine’s been published, but that over time, the number of sexualized and hypersexualized images of women has increased faster than the number of comparable images of men. I mention this because while I think reducing women to their sexuality is a problem, we’ve also got something of an equal opportunity problem here.
The reason those images of superheroes posed like Wonder Woman are resonating is in part because they’re funny, they’re superheroes in drag. They help make clear why it’s ridiculous to have Wonder Woman running around fighting evil in a swimsuit — it can be hard to see things as ridiculous when they’re all you’ve ever seen, but when you see a reversal, like a pantsless Batman, it’s usefully jarring. But these images don’t accomplish their full purpose because they aren’t actually meant to be sexy. They don’t communicate to men what it’s like to see another man held up as an object of pure sexual desire for women’s consumption.
That’s one of the reasons I cracked up in the 2 Broke Girls extended trailer when Kat Dennings explains that she can’t resist her cheating newly-ex boyfriend because of “he had these muscle thingies [adjacent to his abs]…I don’t know what they’re called but they make smart girls stupid.” Or why Crazy Stupid Love is selling the joke where Emma Stone tells Ryan Gosling, “It’s like you’re Photoshopped!” when he takes off his shirt. There’s this idea that female desire doesn’t exist, or if it does, that it’s sort of laughable, which both of those examples thankfully reject, but as a result, we have fewer images of men that are just purely about being beautiful and covetable. Patrick Swayze’s incredibly desirable in Dirty Dancing, but the fact that there are so few images of men that are just available for the female gaze like that hugely magnifies the significance of his performance and his self-presentation in the movie.
I don’t want to live in a world where we remove all images of women that are desirable. I just want more of other kinds of images, and equal opportunity for women who like to sigh over dudes to have images to sigh over.
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) — who has been embroiled in a personal scandal surrounding late child support payments — suggested that gay people don’t make for good parents during a recent town hall in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The Tea Party congressman said he believes in “traditional marriage” and that children do best when raised in a home with a mother and a father:
Roberts’ wife, Dayle, brought up the topic of gay marriage and the rights for those involved in those unions.
Walsh is a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman for economic reasons. He also stated that studies have shown it is more beneficial for a child to be raised in a home where a mother and father are present rather than in same-sex households. The congressman, however, said he was open to further information and research that might disprove that.
Setting the irony of Walsh’s own situation aside, studies haven’t shown that children do worse in households headed by two parents of the same sex or that sexual orientation is related to parenting ability. Conservatives like to cite a government study — which found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families — as proof that gay couples should be prohibited from adopting children, but as Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) explained during the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, that study included same-sex couples in its definition of family.
A group of LGBT protesters marched 99 miles through 18 cities — from Parker, Arizona to Phoenix, Arizona — to push for the repeal of a constitutional amendment that outlaws same-sex marriage. The state passed the measure in 2008, after a similar effort failed two years earlier. Watch local news coverage of the story:
Arizona does not offer any legal recognition for same-sex relationships (although domestic partnership registries are available in certain cities) or extend discrimination protections for gender identity or sexual orientation. Earlier this year, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a bill that requires state-funded and private adoption agencies “to give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman, with all other criteria being equal.” Gay couples are still able to adopt, but they now fall to the back of the line because of their sexual orientation.
North Carolina Marriage Amendment Campaigns Underway | North Carolina advocates for LGBT equality are collecting postcards targeting state senators, urging them to oppose a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Supporters of the discriminatory amendment are taking a “low-key approach” by talking to individual legislators, but many across the state are getting fired up about the issue. The Sea Gate Community Chapel in Wilmington featured a sign that said, “God loves gays but he hates a perverted life… Turn or Burn” that was smashed over the weekend by a hammer. The sign’s maker, Anna Benson, said she feels no animosity towards homosexuals because “I love the gays.”
On yesterday’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory challenged Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann on some of her anti-gay views. After grilling her about whether sexual orientation would be a factor she’d consider in making presidential appointments, he asked whether a same-sex couple raising children constitutes a “family.” She doesn’t:
GREGORY: Can a gay couple who adopt children, in your mind, be considered a “family”?
BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage, and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that’s been my view —
GREGORY: So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a “family” to you?
BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.
Bachmann then tried to downplay the importance of the question, even though, as Gregory pointed out, Bachmann has said that same-sex marriage is a “defining political issue of our time.” Bachmann simply responded, “I think my views are clear.”
Watch it (starting at 2:45):
The 2010 Census shows that there are at least 13,718 same-sex couples living in Bachmann’s home state of Minnesota, and 2,372 of those couples report raising children. If those are not “families,” it’s unclear what Bachmann thinks they might be.
(HT: LGBTQ Nation.)
Same-sex Zebra Finch Couples Bond For Life | Zebra finches are the latest non-human species to demonstrate same-sex attraction and mating. Researchers found that male same-sex pairs of finches sang and preened each other just like opposite-sex pairs, and usually stayed together even when tempted by female finches. Lead researcher Julie Elie explains: “A pair-bond in socially monogamous species represents a cooperative partnership that may give advantages for survival. Finding a social partner, whatever its sex, could be a priority.”
Iowa State University Professor Warren Blumenfeld ran into Marcus Bachmann at the Iowa State Fair this weekend and cornered Michele’s husband about his claims that gay people are “barbarians” in need of “discipline” and allegations that the couple’s Christian counseling clinics practice “pray away the gay” reparative therapy. Remarkably, Bachmann denied both charges, despite abundant audio and video footage to the contrary:
BACHMANN: The word barbarian was never, ever…there is a myth out there that I don’t accept the homosexual community… I have never called the homosexual community barbarians and that’s a myth…I have never rejected…people can decide for themselves what they want and who they are, that I don’t have a problem with.
BLUMENFELD: But your mode of therapy is trying to convert them …trying to make people what they’re not. You’re trying to convert them to this dominant heterosexual…
BACHMANN: That’s absolutely not true. I do not use reparative therapy. None of our clinic therapists do. What we do is we counsel, we talk to them about whatever what they want to talk about. There is not a [inaudible] there is not a motivation to use anything close that comes to reparative therapy.
In fact, Bachmann’s denial even contradicts his own admission that the clinics would perform the discredited therapy if patients specifically requested it. In an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune in July, Marcus “didn’t deny that he or other counselors at Bachmann & Associates have attempted to convert gay patients, but he said it is not a special interest of the business and would only be attempted at the client’s request. ‘Will I address it? Certainly we’ll talk about it,’ Bachmann said. ‘Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? … It is at the client’s discretion.’”
Earlier this summer, an undercover investigation by Truth Wins Out and a testimonial from one of the center’s patients confirmed long-standing rumors that Bachmann’s centers did practice so-called “ex-gay” or reparative therapy while receiving federal Medicaid funds. The centers also sells the autobiography of Janet Boynes, a self-proclaimed former lesbian.
Marcus also claimed that he never used the phrase “barbarians” and suggested that the interview had been doctored to embarrass the campaign. This too is not true.
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.
- Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, but not before she and her husband each enjoyed a corn dog. Yesterday, she said on CNN that she would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because it “has worked very well.” She also told David Gregory on Meet The Press that she would appoint an openly gay person to her Cabinet if they were competent and “shared her views.”
- Rick Perry also announced his candidacy at an event in South Carolina. Here are five things you should know about his anti-gay agenda.
- Fred Karger vied for votes at the straw poll pushing around a wheelbarrow full of frisbees.
- Rick Santorum says he’ll “never back down” from opposing abortion and fighting gay rights.
- Gay service members may have a tough time returning to service after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed.
- Oregon’s LGBT activists are gearing up for a ballot campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012.
- Unfortunately, the Minnesota Family Council has its organizing under way as well, but to ban same-sex marriage in 2012.
- Former Iowa state senator Jeff Angelo reminds us that many Iowa conservatives support marriage freedom.
- At a forum in Humboldt Park, Chicago, Vida/SIDA and Lambda Legal looked at the intersection between immigration and Illinois’ new civil union law.
- Prague held its first gay pride march this weekend!
- Some openly gay servicemembers marched in Germany’s pride parade.
- A man in Cameroon was detained for “homosexuality.”
- A bishop from Uganda has vowed to fight the “sexual apartheid” of discrimination and oppression against LGBT people.
- A gay man and transgender woman have married in Cuba, and some are calling it the country’s first “gay wedding.”
- Author Terrance Dean looks at the intersections of homophobia and hip-hop.