In what appears to be a pattern of concern-trolling by players’ representatives in European soccer, the chief of the Italian players’ union, Damiano Tommasi, has advised against gay players coming out of the closet on the grounds that it would violate the sanctity of the locker room:
Homosexuality is still a taboo in football in the sense that there is a different kind of cohabitation to other professions. Expressing your personal sexuality is difficult in every professional environment and even more so for a footballer who shares a changing room with his team-mates, and hence also his intimacy with others. In our world it could cause embarrassment. In a sport in which you get undressed it could cause an extra difficulty in cohabitation. In other professions such as journalists or bank employees, this doesn’t happen.For them it’s easier to express themselves. But from a personal point of view, I think you can live without showing your own tendencies or you can do so in a discreet manner.
Let’s be clear: this isn’t about protecting gay players from having to feel strange and different. This is about protecting straight players from having to face their anxieties — and find out they might be false. This is about the false idea that locker rooms are already sexually neutral zones, because when it’s heterosexuality, it’s neutral and doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable, but if the specter of gayness creeps in everything is confused and weird and overwhelming. This is about the deeply illogical idea that if someone behaved in a dignified and professional fashion while they were in the closet, that they’ll suddenly become a sexual harasser upon coming out, an event that usually accords with people wanting to reassure their friends and family and coworkers that everything about them is still essentially the same.
This is the same kind of false expression of concern that happened back in August when Philipp Lahm, who captains the German national team, warned in his published autobiography that if gay players came out, they would be harassed into suicide. His only evidence for this, of course, as my colleague Zack Ford pointed out, was a teammate who killed himself over the fear that he would be arrested for sexual assault. And even if he’d had an actual example, this would be an argument about straight homophobes, not gay people living their lives openly and honestly.
In a way, this is a victory for gay people. There are no legitimate objections about the threat gay people pose to straight society. So homophobes have to find convoluted ways to pretend they care about the well-being of gay people instead. But it’s still kind of depressing.
Senate Approves Unnecessary ‘Conscience’ Amendment For Military Chaplains |
The Senate today approved an amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill, introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), that would ensure military chaplains will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages, even though nothing was actually requiring them to. In September, the Pentagon issued a memo stating that ”a military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony” but “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs.” Though the Senate’s amendment is unnecessary and redundant, it is better than the House’s amendment, which caters to conservatives’ demands to curb chaplains’ religious liberty by banning them outright from officiating same-sex marriages.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the United States and its allies to scale up their funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to “change the course of this pandemic and usher in an AIDS-free generation.” “No institution in the world has done more than the United States government,” Clinton said, praising President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for providing anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world. She called PEPFAR “one of the strong platforms upon which the Obama administration is building our global health initiative.”
But new analysis published Tuesday on the Health Affairs blog from Matthew Kavanagh and Marguerite Thorp suggests that “funding to AIDS treatment has actually fallen significantly since 2008 in both absolute dollars and as a portion of total budgets—just at a pivotal moment when investment could change the course of the epidemic”:
Taking advantage of decreasing treatment costs (as discussed more fully below), PEPFAR is continuing to enroll new people on ARVs—expanding support to reach 3.2 million people as of last year. Yet, enacting Clinton’s policy directive will require ARV access to expand much faster. In this context, reversing the decline in investments in treatment is critical—last year alone the funding could have paid for ARV access for nearly half a million more people.
According to AVERT — an international HIV and AIDS charity — funding for PEPFAR from 2009-2010, “was effectively flat-lined in contrast to the much higher previous year-on-year increases in funding, especially from 2006-2009.” “President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget included almost $7 billion for PEPFAR, representing a 1.8 percent increase on the previous year. However, according to some activists this slight increase actually represents a ‘step backwards’ due to inflation and increasing demand for treatment.” The FY2011 budget “included a 5 percent ($50 million) decrease in funding to the Global Fund compared to the previous year.”
Kavanaugh and Thorp note that new studies are showing that providing anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment could “dramatically” lower viral load and transmission rates, allowing populations to “begin to control and ultimately end the AIDS pandemic.”
AFA’s Bryan Fischer: Barney Frank Promoted ‘Deathstyle,’ Spread Of AIDS |
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer always manages to reinvent his anti-gay beliefs in more offensive ways. Yesterday, he rebuked those honoring retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), condemning the legislator for modeling a “deathstyle.” According to Fischer, being a gay man is a “dangerous, risky, immoral, unhealthy lifestyle,” and there’s no telling how many people were “sort of drawn or encouraged” by Frank’s example and died of AIDS as a result. Watch it:
Poll: Pennsylvanians Support Legal Recognition For Same-Sex Couples |
A new Public Policy Polling poll shows that a vast majority of Pennsylvanians (64 percent) support legal recognition for same-sex couples through either marriage or civil unions. When asked specifically about marriage equality, Pennsylvania voters are less enthused, with only 36 percent supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage. Despite Republican control of the state’s government, LGBT rights continue to progress at the local level with 25 municipalities now offering non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Last night, during a town hall meeting in South Carolina, GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich was asked if he supports a referendum to legalize the manufacturing, taxing, and regulating of marijuana in order to decrease revenue to drug cartels in Mexico. Gingrich dismissively responded that we just don’t do things by referendum in the United States:
Q: My question is, how would you feel about having a referendum on the ballot to legalize marijuana in the United States. To tax it, control it, sell licenses to manufacture it, and put the drug cartels out of business in Mexico?
GINGRICH: Well, I would oppose it. First of all, we don’t do things by referendum in this country. Because we are a republic, not a democracy. It’s been a very conscious design by the founding fathers. Second, I personally would be opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I think it is one of those passing fads where people don’t think through the consequences. If you legalize marijuana, as far as the drug cartels go, does that mean you’re going to legalize cocaine, which is a major source of revenue. Are you going to legalize heroin? I think what we need is a much more effective strategy of eradicating drugs in the United States in order to cut the off money that goes to the drug cartels of Mexico. I’d rather try to find a way to minimize American drug use, not find a way to legalize it and make it acceptable. That’s just my personal bias.
But Gingrich didn’t always think referendums were so un-American. In July 1995, Newt Gingrich actually endorsed a national referendum on whether illegal drugs should be legalized, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported at the time:
It appears that Gingrich is either being a hypocrite or changing his views on the fundamental nature of American democracy. Additionally, many of Gingrich’s allies in the social conservative movement are happy to use referendums to suppressgay rights.
Kentucky Church Votes To Ban Interracial Couples From Becoming Members |
A small church in Pike County, Kentucky voted not to accept interracial couples as members or allow them to take part in some worship activities, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Melvin Thompson, minister at Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, explained that the resolution “is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.” Thompson issued the ban after a white woman and her black fiance, a native of Zimbabwe, performed at the church in August.
Fox News Host Suggests Barney Frank Will Open Sex Brothel Upon Retirement |
Yesterday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld seemed to suggest that retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) — who was the first member of Congress to admit that he’s gay — will open some kind of sex hotel now that he’s out of public life, possibly referring to Frank’s 1985 Steve Gobie scandal. “Can I make a prediction? Where do we see Frank going,” he asked, adding, “I see a memoir in eight months called ‘Being Frank.’ [...] He’ll talk about being gay, struggling with his weight. And then, he’s going to later after that, opening up a bed and breakfast. There won’t be any breakfast, so it will just be beds. It would be highly successful.” Watch it:
Elena Babich, a deputy of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly and a supporter of the city’s proposed anti-gay propaganda law, has suggested that rainbow flags and homosexuality will lead to national extinction. Now, the St. Petersburg Times reports that Babich is linking the so-called “gay problem” to the “Jewish problem,” a term that is typically associated with Germany’s Third Reich:
Babich said she had “very many” friends who are gay, but all of them led “covert” lifestyles, and advised that LGBT people should act so as not to be visible to the public. She then compared them to the Jewish community. “It’s very important not to draw attention to oneself too much,” she said.
“One of the books that I have starts like this: The issue of same-sex love is somewhat like the Jewish problem. When there are too many Jews — in every field of management, on television, in the arts, everywhere — it ends badly for Jews themselves. They [Jews] always make efforts to regulate this aspect.”
The bill — which would fine groups and individuals for “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors” — has passed the first of three readings, but has stalled as lawmakers work to agree on specific language. The second reading had been tentatively set for Nov. 30, but has now been postponed “until after parliamentary polls on December 4.”
Anti-Gay Group Is Tweaking ‘Marriage Fidelity’ Pledge To Newt Gingrich’s Liking |
Iowans for Christian Leaders in Government, an social conservative group, is trying to prevent the FAMiLY Leader from endorsing Newt Gingrich, citing “his previous adultery with two wives and the former U.S. House speaker’s financial ties to [group president Bob] Vander Plaats.” Gingrich has also refused to sign the FAMiLY Leader’s controversial 14-point marriage fidelity pledge until the group adopts certain changes, and the Leader “has been in communication with the Gingrich campaign about the pledge and expects to hear something from them shortly.” Vander Plaats has previously brushed aside suggestions that Newt Gingrich’s multiple marriages and infidelities undermine social conservative beliefs.
Medical progress now ensures that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but only for those who can access good medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost three out of four Americans with HIV are not receiving enough medicine or regular health care “to stay healthy or prevent themselves from transmitting the virus to others.” Out of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV, 850,000 aren’t receiving regular treatment to keep the virus at a low enough level to prevent transmission or hurt their own health and 240,000 Americans don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.
For some, medical treatment is hard to come by. A Williams Institute study found that 5 percent of dentists in Los Angeles refused services to those with HIV/AIDs, a rate that is “lower than that of other health care providers. Over the past decade, “55% of obstetricians, 46% of skilled nursing facilities, and 25% of plastic surgeons” in L.A. “had policies that specifically discriminated against people living with HIV or AIDS.” Successful treatment rates “were lowest in blacks and women,” according to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
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 as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- North Carolina’s mayors are meeting this week and they’ve invited one of the marriage inequality amendment’s sponsors from the state Senate to join them.
- Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson says that North Carolina’s proposed amendment will tie the hands of future generations.
- A New York judge has allowed a lawsuit challenging the state’s marriage equality legislation to proceed.
- A former August State University counseling student continues to allege her religious freedom was violated when the program expelled her for not fulfilling the code of ethics when it came to working with gay clients.
- The new organization Justin’s Gift is working to create support for Minnesota’s LGBT youth.
- Jenkintown, Pennsylvania has become the 25th Pennsylvania municipality to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Minnesota Governor Issues Anti-Bullying Executive Order |
Today Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) issued an executive order creating a task force to address bullying in the state’s schools, calling on lawmakers to abandon party lines and imploring Minnesotans to “treat each other with dignity and respect.” Minnesota’s largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin, has had a particularly disturbing spate of suicides and earned much criticism for its faulty “neutrality” policy, which prevents teachers from talking about LGBT issues, even as students are being bullied for being gay. Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin committed suicide last year after being taunted for being gay, has called for a new law enumerating protections for LGBT students as several other states have done. State Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL) showed his support for such a bill, but said he is “dubious about the opportunity for passage of a bill that’s meaningful in this coming legislative session.”
Today, Perry made another pretty stunning constitutional mistake in New Hampshire, telling a group of college students that the voting age is 21. The 26th Amendment made 18 the legal voting age across the country.
At Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Perry told the crowd, “Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support” — eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd. Watch it:
Perry also got the date of the election wrong — the general will be held Nov. 6, 2012, while the New Hampshire Republican primary, which brought Perry to the state, will take place on Jan. 10.
Barney Frank: ENDA Won’t Pass Unless Democrats Regain Control Of Congress, Hold White House |
Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) attributed the failure of Congress to pass a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a “crowded agenda,” health care reform, and “transgender inclusion” during a press conference in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. “Given the polarization on this issue…[the bill will pass] the next time you get a Democratic House, Senate and President,” Frank predicted in response to a question from Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner, adding that in his 32 years in Congress, Democrats controlled all three for just four years. Frank said that openly LGBT members can also influence their fellow legislators to vote in favor of equality. “Legislating is the most personal form of governance…and personal factors mean a lot. Voting on the abstract on an issue is one thing, telling someone with whom you had good personal relations that you think he’s inferior, that’s harder.” Watch it:
Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R) said that he will not introduce social issues like marriage and abortion in the next legislative session beginning Jan. 9 and will instead focus on the economy and jobs. “Right now, the primary focus of the caucus, make no mistake, is on jobs and the economy,” he insisted. The House passed a resolution calling for a referendum to deny marriage to gays and lesbians last session, but Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D) blocked the measure. Gronstal praised Paulsen’s decision:
“We’re not afraid to address those issues, but we’re also not interested in squandering Iowans’ time,” he said. “We have a job to do and we’re going to do it.” Gronstal said he also expected to focus on economic issues and avoid drawn-out arguments of social issues.
“Iowans would prefer that we all work on things that would get 100,000 Iowans back to work,” he said. “Kraig and I have talked and he seems to be in agreement that this session is going to be much shorter than last session.”
Not all state Republicans seem to agree with Paulsen’s focus. Earlier this month, Iowa’s Republican senate minority leader Jerry Behn insisted that Iowans should have the right to vote on gay people’s marriage rights, despite the GOP’s recent loss in a special senate election that failed to change the balance of power in the senate.
Student Commits Suicide Because Of Immigration Status |
In a heartbreaking story, Action 4 News reports that Joaquin Luna, an 18-year-old undocumented immigrant in Texas, committed suicide Friday night because of his immigration status, family members said. Letters Luna wrote before his death showed that he was worried his immigration status would keep him from achieving his dreams of being an engineer, and he had been frustrated after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented students who met certain criteria. Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act in 2010. Luna’s brother Diyre Mendoza said his brother didn’t see any other options because of his immigration status. “He was saying he was going to do this because he wasn’t going to be able to continue with his college,” Mendoza said. Watch a local news report about Luna:
Illinois Couples In Civil Unions Can Files Taxes Jointly |
The Illinois Department of Revenue has announced that same-sex couples in civil unions will be able to file their taxes jointly starting next year. Unfortunately, because of the state’s flat tax, couples filing jointly won’t actually save any money. Plus, they will still have to file their federal taxes separately because the Defense of Marriage Act prevents the IRS from recognizing their unions.