My friend Walter Dellinger shares a priceless anecdote on the WaPo letters page. Here is an excerpt:
My grandfather ate the Charlotte Observer. Regularly. The entire paper. I’m not making this up. Ray Lawing was an off-and-on alcoholic. Even though he had abandoned my mother when she was a child, she took him in when he had no place else to go. (She did not claim to be acting out of moral duty: “He was just such good company,” she said. “Always good for a laugh.”)
He would consume the Observer while sitting in the yard watching me play. (For understandable reasons, he was not allowed to eat the newspaper in the house.) He would carefully tear each page into strips, then liberally salt each strip and chew it.
Happy birthday, Ernest Hopkins, one of the finest activists and persons I know. Many happy returns of the day.
(Photo: Ernest Hopkins stands behind President Obama as he signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, October 30, 2009.)
A note on the fight against HIV and AIDS—and the people who really started the conversation. https://t.co/7nT47FqDep— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 13, 2016
Thanks to Secretary Clinton for this statement.
We should all be embarrassed by our community's overreaction to Hillary's gaffe about Nancy Reagan on Friday. It was as if her entire record were reduced to one statement at a funeral. That was not true. Here is one example from her tenure as Secretary of State. She is a proven ally and we need to get serious. Too much is at stake in this election for us to be on a hair trigger, looking for excuses to be outraged.
The likelihood is that our next president will either be this woman or the Republican frontrunner, who never admits he was wrong much less apologizes or uses a gaffe as a teachable moment. This thoughtful, capable, and seasoned stateswoman, or an utterly self-absorbed, bullying goon. Let's help our country move forward, not be accessories in tearing it apart. So very much is at stake.
Thank goodness. South Dakota Governor Daugaard has vetoed legislation that would have prohibited transgender students from using bathrooms that match their gender. Congrats to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Law Center, and all who worked to persuade Gov. Daugaard to do the just and humane thing. More work ahead in states across the country, but this is encouraging.
If there is a hell....
Michigan gave purified water to state workers in Flint long before it acknowledged a problem with the city's water https://t.co/spmnvSzDtg— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 29, 2016
Lou Chibbaro reports for the Blade on the push to decriminalize sex work, or at least to de-prioritize enforcement of anti-prostitution laws, an effort which many LGBT groups including GLAA have supported because so many already marginalized LGBT youth and trans women end up in the criminal justice system due to their having to rely on survival sex. Here is an excerpt that mentions GLAA and quotes me:
In D.C., the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has been calling for decriminalization of sex work since 2008. D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, said at the time of the Amnesty International declaration last August that he was considering introducing legislation to decriminalize prostitution in D.C.
But Grosso has since said he’s uncertain about whether such a bill would have any chance of passing at this time and he was reconsidering his plans for the legislation.
At a news conference on Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans for a cooperative D.C.-federal government effort to crack down on human trafficking, including trafficking of sex workers. When asked by a Blade reporter what they thought about calls by some LGBT organizations to decriminalize prostitution, Bowser and Maria Odom, the head of a Department of Homeland Security project to combat trafficking stopped short of backing decriminalization.
Our friend Dana Beyer offers her two-part review of 2015 for the transgender cause.
My year-in-review column went online today at the Blade. My summary blurb is "Historic progress met the usual backlash." Here's an excerpt:
"Set the motherfucker on fire!" That recent call by a Donald Trump rally goer concerning a black protester, with another attendee yelling "Sieg heil," illustrates the viciousness fueling Trump's presidential campaign. If you take this lightly, Google "lynching." It is not just that what happened in Europe in the last century could happen here; what happened here could happen again. Trump's incitements, and those of his rivals, do not just pander to intolerance, they spray gasoline on the fire.
Hate-spewing demagogues were not the year's only newsmakers, but they produced its most dangerous legacy. The demons they unleashed cannot easily be tamed. But the haters cannot win the general election unless the rest of us allow it. Before we head back into battle, let us review some positive developments of 2015, though with cautionary notes.
The landmark victory for nationwide marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which President Obama celebrated by lighting the White House north front in rainbow colors, inspired opponents to switch tactics by pushing "religious freedom" laws (better dubbed "religious supremacy") to continue their anti-gay attacks. The Equality Act represented a new approach to LGBT anti-discrimination legislation, but stood no chance in a Republican-controlled Congress. Openly gay Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and several colleagues launched the smart, well-designed Campaign Zero policy website.
Please join us Saturday morning for the Washington, DC event:
Date: Dec. 5
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Location: All Souls Church Unitarian (1500 Harvard St. NW)
A chronicle of a grim time.
In February of this year, Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed reported on documents unearthed by Mattachine Society of Washington researchers showing that Nancy Reagan turned down a request by her friend Rock Hudson for help nine weeks before his death. It was a simple request for help in transferring to another hospital.
I am quoted in this article on the LGBTQ Cultural Competency Continuing Education Amendment Act of 2015, a hearing on which was held on October 28. My testimony for GLAA is here.