March 08, 2007

Hate-Crime Laws Are Needed, For the Entire Nation

Currently, the level of protection GLBT people have varies greatly depending on the state in which they happen to live. A federal hate crimes law would go a long way toward rectifying that, and it might become a reality in this Congress.

Here is an op/ed in The Advocate written by Judy Sheppard, mother of the late Matthew Sheppard, and Joe Solmonese, making the case for passage of this important legislation and telling us why they think it will happen.

Remember, this is not the granting of "special rights" like right wing opponents would like people to believe. Instead, this is protecting people and leveling the playing field and helping to insure them equal protection under the law.

March 07, 2007

Ex-Gay Leaders Need to Stop Talking and Listen

That's the point of this post by Peterson Toscano. Toscano has first-hand knowledge of the Ex-Gay movement being a survivor of their "counseling." Here are a couple of excerpts from his post:

But the ex-gay movement needs to take an accounting of its activities. They need to sit and listen to the stories of the majority of people who have been through their programs only to come to the understanding that change is not necessary, particularly in the way it was promised.

They need to hear how many of our lives grew worse as a result of our ex-gay experiences. They need to hear about our faith journeys, our loss of faith communities, our doubts of God and God's love and the ways that some of us have been able to reclaim a spiritual life and how many have not.

They need to hear about the healthy lives we have miraculously been able to create for ourselves, the healthy relationships and new direction, the forgiveness we have been able to extend and the freedoms that we have achieved.

They need to stop listening to their own testimonies and start listening to our stories. And when they refuse to do so, they reveal something that they may not even acknowledge to themselves. That at the end of the day, they care more about issues and their constituents than they care for us.

Are ex-gay ministries more interested in sustaining their own existance than actually helping people, especially since they apparently don't do any follow-up or after care? If that's the case, what is the chance that they can actually effect change, even if you take the leap and believe that change is even possible?

March 06, 2007

How About Keeping Hate Off the Airwaves?

That is the excellent suggestion blogger Eric Williams makes on the Huffington Post as a response to the latest spewing from far-right-wing tool Ann Coulter.

While defending her right to insult/slander anyone or anything she doesn't agree with (see this post from Arianna Huffington for some classic examples), blogger Williams points out that she nor anyone else has a constitutional right to television and radio airtime.

To borrow a phrase from former First Lady Nancy Regan, broadcasters need to "just say no" to anyone spewing venom, from either the right or left wings.

So-called "experts" can express views on either side of an issue without showing hatred toward anyone. Broadcasters should establish that most basic of standards and then hold their guests to it. Too often so-called "news" programs more closely resemble the Jerry Springer show than intelligent debate and only result in further polarizing and dumbing down viewers.

If I want to be entertained by anger and rage, I'll watch some of the old "Celebrity Deathmatch" shows from MTV and see claymation representations of celebrities rip each other's heads off (literally on that program). Beyond that, this nation needs and deserves broadcasters focusing on guests and experts who can offer information and educated opinions without spewing hatred.

We need people like Ann Coulter to be moved off the airwaves and the best-seller lists and become marginalized on the outer fringes where they belong.

March 05, 2007

Scoring Points Off the Court

Former NBA player John Amaechi, who recently came out as gay and has written a book titled "Man In the Middle" recently participated in a chat at Here are what I thought were some highlights from the transcript.

I think that while being gay is a significant, important part of me, not knowing I'm gay doesn't shroud the rest of me.

I don't think that Europe and the UK is a utopia, but governmental backing of homophobia doesn't exist in the same way it does in America. As for the white and black communities, I think they have a disconnect that is being manipulated by people for political gain. I think both regional and national elections are being won on the back of trumped up bigotry.

(regarding being in locker rooms and showers with straight men) .....the idea that gay people can't keep their hands or eyes or thoughts off other men, especially straight men, is absurd. It's based on all the worst stereotypes. This is all based on the idea that gay people are predators and cant keep their hands off people. If people can't look back 60 years at separate water fountains and separate bathrooms, then people will never learn from history.

I must admit that I was sceptical about Amaechi's motivations when I heard his announcement coincided with a new book being published. The more I hear of his interviews and his involvement with the Human Rights Campaign, I believe he is sincerely looking beyond himself and trying to help the overall GLBT community.

March 04, 2007

Is the Religious Right Dead?

Dr. Welton Gaddy, the president of The Interfaith Alliance and host of the Air America radio show "State of Belief," doesn't think so:

People who think the Religious Right is dead had better wake up. These people who see themselves on a mission from God are even smarter than they were in the past and now even more skilled in political strategy. They are not about to give up. To have progressive people celebrating the victory of the Religious Right's demise is to put our constituency right where the Religious Right wants us to be--confident without cause and vulnerable to a surprise that will cause us to say again with regret, "We just didn't see it coming. We weren't ready for them!"

Click here to read his entire essay at Talk To Action.

I couldn't agree with him more. These modern-day religious zealots are like vampires--they just won't die and they certainly won't give up. The best progressives can do is marginalize them so all they produce is annoying, ineffective, background noise when they spew hatred and bigotry.