Sunday, June 27, 2010

New York City Pride 2010 [EDIT 6/28/10 1:41AM]

Today, I went to my first Pride parade! It was getting to a point where they were going to take away my gay card - I've been gay for sooo long but haven't been to Pride at all! But, I think I made up for it by marching with the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. I even got to hold the banner for a bit with my boy!

;-)

Since me going to Pride is epic, earth-shattering news, I've included some pictures I took during the route. Speaking of the earth-shattering, the shaky video at the end might make you puke a little in your mouth.

Set - Up

Here we go...




Going into the gayborhood...


STONEWALL!!!

Off to celebrate some more! Check back later for some pictures of my favorite scary people from NYC Gay Pride 2010!

[EDIT] Video #1

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking the Other Way: How the US Sanctions Anti-Gay Hate Crimes in Iraq

It's not uncommon for me to encounter hate mail from "well-meaning Christians," parents trying to "protect the children" (only the straight children of straight couples, of course), or just plain crazy people. After the initial punch to my gut that I feel upon opening an email, it becomes the source for my daily laugh. Most of the haters haven't used their powers of reason or logic, assuming they have any, to actually think through what they are writing. Besides the language, I can tell the letters were written with the red-blurred vision of the truly angry - all I have to do is look for ALL CAPS and typOs.

The hate mail that really gets under my skin is from clergy members or the truly religious (haven't gotten one from a non-Christian yet, but I'll let you know when I get one). The "I-love-you-so-much-let-me-help-you" tactic is one of the most painful to endure. It almost makes me think that I'm actually dealing with caring people. When I worked for the marriage campaign in New Jersey, a clergyman followed me at the Black Heritage Festival where I was gathering signatures. I left the event and cried in my car. Sometimes, it's better when people yell and scream at you.




But here I am complaining about the pain of words, when queers in Iraq are having their anuses glued shut, are being induced to have diarrhea, and are dying from gut rupture. Yep. I'm NOT FUCKING KIDDING.

If I didn't have such a strong stomach, I would've lost my lunch in the Financial District today. I was walking back to work after getting a superbly delicious sandwich (although, at the time, I did not know how delicious it would be), when I turned on my Edge iPhone app to check the day's daily gay news. I found this.

The article is an in-depth look at some of the recent attacks on queer people in Iraq. Attacks that the Edge argues the US is complicit in. Before the invasion, LGBT people could at least meet in private. Now, death squads roam the land, and when they find a queer, they take "the law" into their own hands. The US government is largely ignoring these attacks as evidenced later in this post by The Guardian.

The news: A safe house run by Iraqi LGBT was raided yesterday. Six LGBT people were blind-folded, beaten, and arrested. One of the victims managed to make it to a hospital with a throat wound. The other five have effectively disappeared, according to Edge and The Guardian.

According to Examiner.com, "[t]he country's highest religious authority, the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, posted a fatwa in October 2005 saying 'the people involved (in homosexuality) should be killed in the worst, most severe way.' The gay neighborhoods of Baghdad were cleared by religious radicals. Victims can not go to the authorities for protection, because attacks by the police are just as likely as attacks by the various militias.


This brings back bad memories. Two Iraqi teens, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Mahoni, were killed in 2005 for homosexuality. After a jail sentence and 228 lashes, they were publicly hung. Iraqi authorities tried to mask the killing by saying that the two were convicted of rape.


Photo

The truck that the boys were standing on drove off. Presumably, they died of asphyxiation since the drop was probably not sufficient to snap their necks.

executed gay teenagers

The Guardian reports:

"Last year, the US state department, following representations by Rep Jared Polis, said that it was investigating reports of trials and executions of LGBT people – including for membership of the Iraqi LGBT group – as well as reports of arrests, beatings and rape by interior ministry security forces. Polis said that at least one gay man has been executed by the government for "membership of a banned organisation" and that "egregious human rights violations ... [are] being carried out by Iraqi government officials from the ministry of the interior".
But this was immediately undermined by the US embassy in Baghdad. Patricia Butenis, its chargĂ© d'affaires, said: "We have no evidence that security forces are in any way involved with these militias."
This official dismissal is echoed in the British foreign office's latest human rights report that does acknowledge persecution in Iraq but claims that "official figures do not show a significant overall increase in violence against, or systematic abuse of, the homosexual community by fundamentalists or militia groups". It makes no mention of allegations of state involvement and repeats claims by Iraq's human rights minister and the interior ministry that murders of LGBT people "will be prosecuted" (none have) and that "homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Iraq". Iraqi LGBT, however, has two documents from a judge ordering arrests of homosexuals in Babel province earlier this year; those arrested have disappeared."

The Guardian article goes on to say that the most recent human rights report from the US State Dept. claims that Iraqi authorities have not announced any arrests for those who harm LGBT people in the past year.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories, and this might not really be much of a cover-up. It's probably a case of the Western world not caring. We used up all of our caring for international gay rights victims in Africa, and now we're done. Remember how Hurricane Katrina was all over the news? Do you remember the tsunami that happened shortly before the hurricane that killed exponentially more people? Yeah...barely. Me, too. The news on the tsunami dried up. People are just mean fucks, myself included.

It seems to me that we're largely ignoring what's happening in the Middle East. Iraq isn't the only place where queers are killed. However, Iraqi LGBT has come up with some scary statistics - the likes of which I haven't seen in awhile. In the past five years, Iraqi LGBT has documented 400 queer murders. Of the murders we know about, we can translate that to one LGBT person murdered every week. Just for reference, the US has about 10 times more people than Iraq does.


"After the fall of Baghdad, I was kidnapped for money. ... But when they found out I was gay, they started raping me by force. They did it almost every day." If you have a soul, you should watch this and visit Iraqi LGBT.

Queer Fear 2, from The Examiner:

Check out Iraqi LGBT's YouTube page for more disturbing videos. I can't even write anymore...my heart hurts too much.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cutting the oil spill with...more oil.

From ship captains to bird-scrubbers, oil spill clean-uppers seem to prefer the grease-cutting power of Dawn (NPR). The dishwashing detergent is tough enough to cut the oil, yet gentle enough not to exfoliate the birds. Apparently, the animal rescue groups swear by it.

Thank goodness for dish soap!

The ironic part? Dawn uses petroleum in its recipe.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poor kids should just go dumpster diving.

At least, that's what Rush Limbaugh thinks. JoeMyGod reported on the following video. The clip tells starving kids to look in the refrigerator for food. If that fails, they should resort to dumpster-diving.

Let's not forget that children who do not have access to a healthy diet have poorer test scores in schools. Limbaugh says that progressives are stupid to think that families don't love their children enough to feed them properly. What if those loving families CAN'T feed their kids?







A March 2009 report from the Williams Institute of the UCLA says that "One in five children living with a same-sex couple are living below the poverty level." The implications of this are profound. Limbaugh must be exceedingly happy that he can tell the children of gay couples to go dumpster-diving.

Speaking of poverty, some Chinese stores in Queens and other parts of New York City are harshly punishing shoplifters and suspected shoplifters (NY Times). With fines of up to $2,000 for repeat offenders, many shoplifters scrounge the money from friends and family 4 fear of being deported. Not only are alleged offenders fined, their pictures are taken and hung up in the store. Some stores also put personal information including social security numbers by the picture. Cruel and unusual punishment? Try extortion - threatening legal action in exchange for huge sums of money. You might be all for punishing people up the wazoo. That's your business (ya dumb fuck), but when people are being punished without trial...that's some scary shit.

"Two weeks ago, a woman tried to take two bags of grapes worth maybe $10,” he said, speaking in Chinese. 'The woman first said she had no money, but somehow found some. “She came back with eight new $50 bills,” Mr. [Tem] Shieh said." Somehow, this proves to the shop-owners that these dirty, rotten thieves actually have loads of cash. It convinces me that these dirty, rotten hungry-people are so scared that they find the money. I don't know how, and part of me is too scared to find out.

People have to eat.

Hawaii Gov Considers Whether She Wants to Veto Gay People's (Almost) Humanity

I was thinking...like I sometimes do...

From a business person's perspective, same-gender marriage or almost-marriage shouldn't suddenly become legal in all 50 states. Because then, the states that let teh queerz get somewhat married (somewhat meaning domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other almost-marriages) won't benefit from the increases in tourism.

For example, Hawaii wouldn't enjoy the plentiful tourism revenue from civil unions if every state already allowed same-gender marriage. So, really the progressive states get to enjoy the moneyz, and the backwoods scary places continue to be poor. When the backwoods-scary-places do become real people places and let the gays get hitched, they don't get any extra moola. Gays can already get married in every other state, so it doesn't make sense to travel to get married anymore. So the poor states stay poor and the rich states stay rich.

Status quo safe.

(These wonderfully insightful, slightly incoherent thoughts are brought to you by the Advocate, reporting on Hawaii governor Linda Lingle's [R] possible veto of the civil union bill.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pride Time

''If you disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, support overturning Prop 8, and make them get married like the rest of us.'' (MetroWeekly)




It's Pride Month, or so says Obama and the queers of the world.

What does that mean? Michael Crawford of The Bilerico Project speaks of a new CBS poll that demonstrates that the increasing visibility of the community is helping to increase acceptance of the gays. But wait, only 43% of Americans see homosexual relationships as wrong now. Hooray! Only half of the country hates us! How great? 51% of people say that being homosexuals are born, not chosen (by the Force, of course)...although 47% say that gays and lesbians are born that way. Language is important, kids. Also, science is not important. And evolution is only a theory...just like gravity. I don't believe in gravity. It's stupid.

However, though Pride is fun and all (don't kill me, but I've never been to one...worst. gay. activist. ever.), it does give the other side their best ammunition pictures. Except for the preacher in Africa who just used hxc porn. Let's remember! Keep it in our collective pants. Or tight underwear, depending on the day.

Out In Jersey magazine reports that Newark, NJ mayor Corey Booker presided over a rainbow flag raising ceremony. He said some elegant wordz. OIJ has the video.

Speaking of Jersey, a guy from Garden State Equality smacked an anti-gay Democrat down.  Senator John Girgenti (who not only voted against marriage in committee and on the floor, but also gave a little speech about how gays are not important or people) lost 19 of his people in town committee. Jeff Gardner, vice chair of GSE, took the 19.

A Pride flag has caused controversy when it was raised over a Veterans Affairs hospital in Albany, NY. Some VA dudes can't heal with the contagious gay all around them.

Maybe as many as 100,000 people in Tel Aviv honored victims of a lone shooter during their Pride celebration. Last year, some crazy went and shot up some kids in a semi-secret LGBT center. Too many news services were reporting that it was not a hate crime...He just happened to walk into a slightly hidden LGBT center and happened to shoot some gays. It could've happened to anybody. Thank goodness that chorus of stupidity died quickly.

Fun Pride events:
1. Toss tea bags into Sarah Palin's mouth (L.A. Log Cabin Republicans)
2. Kisses for homophobic Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli (D.C. Pride)

And, an article on how to deal with anti-gay protesters. I disagree. Don't talk to them. Don't engage. If they're protesting at Pride, don't waste your time. You're using cognitive arguments to reach them. They're using emotional arguments. Smarts and heart are too different parts of the brainz. You're gonna talk crossways, and no one is going to hear the other.

A nice video from Freedom to Marry:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Margaret Cho and Clay Aiken - Give A Damn Campaign



Today is Advocate-Watch Day. The above video is c/o The Advocate.

Examiner.com reports that New York City is providing civil ceremonies when couples sign up 4 a domestic partnership. Surprisingly, not many same-gender couples are taking the city up on the offer... Queer people still can have less-than-marriage, but now the city wants to help them play pretend. Sure, we'll let you pretend to get married, NYC says. I appreciate the gesture, but it's fallen flat on its face. And, apparently, this is supposed to bring tourism to the City. You know what would work better? Give out real marriage licenses.

The Advocate reports, that the Malawi "gay" couple who recently were released from jail might really be a heterosexual couple - a man (Steven Monjeza) and a woman (Tiwonge Chimbalanga )...although Malawi doesn't recognize a transgender woman as a real woman. As I previously blogged, Chimbalanga was required to clean up her own vomit in the courtroom after becoming sick from a malaria infection - a stereotypically female task (yes, women in Malawi clean up their own sickness). Ignoring the women's rights angle for a moment here, it's a cruel irony that Chimbalanga was treated as a woman only in order to degrade her.


Un4tunately, it is to be expected that the gay press has their biases. Although, thinking on it, I wonder if it's the Malawi press that is the issue...that's where we're originally getting most of this news from.


Speaking of trans rights, The Advocate reports that people are still dumb. Florida congressional candidate Donna Milo (R), a trans woman, has decided that gays shouldn't be parents or get married and that gender reassignment surgery should not be subsidized by the state. Why. Are. People. So. Dumb?!


More dumb people?! Could it be? Yep. Oklahoma City council member refuses to vote to approve a permit for the Pride parade...because he doesn't support pedophiles or husbands beating their wives...just like he doesn't support gay people (Advocate). Thanks, Councilman Brian Walters. Ass-hat.


Something awesome was brought to my attention today: Rainbow Response, an organization working to increase awareness of Intimate Partner Violence among the queer community. Domestic abuse is about as prevalent among gay men and lesbians as it is among straight women, according to Lambda Legal. Just like among heterosexual couples, abuse is often shoved under the carpet. Or, in our case, shoved back into the closet. Because fundies love to pick up on anything "abnormal" in queer relationships, some queer activists ignore intimate partner violence as a political tactic. Unfortunately, abuse isn't abnormal in any community - it's there, and it's largely ignored. I remember searching for a NJ shelter for battered men 4 a workshop I was doing...did I find any? Nope.

A shout-out to how awesome Rainbow Response is!

LGBTQ Nation reports that McDonald's is doing something almost right. They're urging French customers to "Come as you are." Of course, this ad wouldn't fly in the good ol' U.S. of A-holes.

Family Research Council Lobbies to Kill Gays

In an effort to improve the lives of families everywhere, the Family Research Council paid two lobbyists to work AGAINST a congressional resolution denouncing the Kill the Gays Bill in Uganda, Joe.My.God reports. The FRC spent $25,000 on the lobbyists in an attempt to defeat the resolution which would pretty much say, "Oh, heyyyy! Uganda, we don't like it when you want to kill gays. K? Don't do that!*"

*But feel free to persecute them and deny their rights. I mean, they shouldn't be able to marry. Feel free to fire them. And feel free to hate crime them...just don't officially sanction it. Make that shit off the record, okay?

As I previously bloggededed about, the Ugandan bill would create a provision to execute serial homosexuals. The legislation has further penalties for men who have sex with men including prison sentences. And, taking this logically, we can expect to see a decrease in HIV/AIDS treatment among MSM.

On Joe.My.God's blog, user celticdragonchick mentioned the Pink Pistols. I simply had to look it up! With a tagline of Pick on someone your own caliber., the Pink Pistols website explains that they are a shooting group that encourages queerfolk to legally carry arms in order to protect themselves. It reminded me of the whistles that gay men would wear to call for help in San Francisco (mentioned in Milk). Expect guns make a louder noise.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about the Pink Pistols. It's important that people, especially oppressed minorities, are able to protect themselves. And, I'm also scared to death of seeing some dude carrying a gun on his hip under some states' open-carry laws. It might be unfair, but I feel like that guy would probably be homophobic to begin with (and gods forbid he gets drunk). But, I don't like the whole fighting violence with violence. The mere presence of a gun stimulates aggression (yeah, there's research on that). If two people are screaming at each other and one pulls a gun...it's much scarier than if two people are screaming at each other and one pulls a fist. Sure, fists are deadly. It is harder to kill a person with your fists, though.

Let me know your thoughts on this. It's bed time, so I'm off.