My Blade column this week responds to the right wing's disgraceful exploitation of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Here's a portion:
As many Americans sang "La Marseillaise" and expressed solidarity with the French after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, Republicans rushed to seize political advantage.
Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee threatened savage bombing campaigns. Cruz, possibly inspired by Herod the Great, promised he would not worry about slaughtering innocents. These holy warriors will say anything to win cheers from the xenophobic, Christianist GOP base, ignoring the spectacular failure of reflexive, ill-targeted militarism in the past. Meanwhile, President Obama's Pentagon quietly took out ISIS leaders in Syria and Libya.
Instead of showing strength amid tragedy, conservatives turned cowardly and demanded that Syrian refugees be turned away lest a jihadist be lurking among them. Never mind the major role America played in creating chaos in Syria, where civilian deaths dwarf those in Paris. On the night of the attacks, ordinary Parisians took stranded strangers into their homes. They displayed more courage than is being asked of Americans. Despite more than half of America's governors absurdly announcing their own harsh immigration policies, refugees face extensive screening procedures.
Muslims across the world have denounced the attacks. Ignoring this hampers the relationships we need to defeat the extremists. Appropriately, many Western leaders have begun using the Arabic acronym for ISIS, "Daesh," which has a mocking connotation. Declaring yourself a caliphate does not make you one.
We must respond to the attacks intelligently and in cooperation with our allies. We cannot simply bomb our way to safety. We cannot wall ourselves off from a world in which we are deeply engaged commercially and culturally, and in which we extensively project ourselves militarily. We cannot prevail unilaterally or by holding ourselves above the rest of the world. We cannot paper over legitimate grievances resulting from our past actions.
John Riley at Metro Weekly follows up on the controversy over an online petition to "drop the T" from the LGBT movement.
Dana Beyer and I are quoted (agreeing with each other) on this obnoxious and historically ignorant petition. Here's a portion of my remarks:
“For gay folks to support dropping the T would be like the turkey inviting the cook to lunch,” Rosendall says. “It would be suicidal. Our opponents are not going to be fooled. They will continue to lump us all together because they consider all of us a threat to what they believe are proper gender norms.
“That reality of diversity needs to be asserted and defended because our opponents want to pretend that everybody in the country looks like them, loves like them, believes like them and thinks like them. And they want to make the rest of us effectively disappear or disenfranchise us. It would be the politics of subtraction for us to consider dropping any of us, and that simply is not going to happen.”
Here are the remarks I delivered this morning at the dedication of Frank Kameny's headstone, which is near the grave of Leonard Matlovich in Congressional Cemetery, as part of an LGBT Veterans Day observance. It began at 11 am.
[Impromptu preface: Good morning. I prayed to the Goddess for sunshine. I think she smiled on my request because last night the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance signed on to the NARAL letter asking the Justice Department to investigate the clinic bombings as acts of domestic terrorism. So thanks for the sunshine.]
Frank Kameny considered nothing sacred. Challenging orthodoxy was his life's work. Yet we stand on what many consider sacred ground. There is no great conflict. Honoring the dead can simply involve recognizing that our every step touches the stuff of those who preceded us. Frank confronted the mystery of the universe with the tools and habits of a scientist, which stood him in good stead after intolerance cut short his career as an astronomer.
His biographer David Carter will shortly remind us of Frank’s exhortations to embrace and celebrate who we are and demand our full and equal rights as citizens.
We will touch with pride the headstone to which Frank was entitled as a veteran. He resented having to lie to fight for his country in World War II. But thanks to his long and pioneering service on the domestic front afterwards, no one has to tell that lie again. His historic role is suggested by the footstone bearing the affirmation for which he wanted to be remembered: "Gay Is Good."
The magnitude of Frank's contributions compelled some of us to help preserve his papers in our great national library whose collection was begun by the man who wrote the most liberating words in history, that all men are created equal. Our long struggle to make our country live up to that creed is ongoing. A new generation has taken up the standard that Leonard and Frank and countless others left behind.
My first visit here was in 1988 for Leonard’s burial, after my colleagues and I in the Gay Men’s Chorus sang for him and followed his caisson. We knew Leonard from his volunteer work for the chorus. Frank spoke here that day. Whether these warriors are honored in polished granite or a simple soldier’s headstone, their service will shine for all who pass here.
After Frank’s death, Charles Francis and I revived the Mattachine Society of Washington, which Frank had allowed to lapse. The new Mattachine’s mission is archive activism. It works to rescue the LGBT history that mainstream historians erased. The legacy of Frank and our other forebears will not be forgotten. We and generations unborn will make sure of it.
The legal dispute that made these past four years such a long goodbye has finally been resolved in time for Armistice Day. Now, Frank, the respect you earned is memorialized by the nation for whose values you fought. We commit you to the ages.
New details surface in 1992 murder of gay sailor https://t.co/jpyCnrQhZ5— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) November 10, 2015
Thanks to Michael Petrelis for his faithful work on this 23-year-old case in pursuit of justice. He just called me from San Francisco to thank GLAA for our moral and financial support of his early efforts back then. I remember he traveled to where the murder occurred in Japan. (Note: the second paragraph includes a link to the 900-page Naval investigative report.)
This year’s LGBT Veterans Day observance has extra meaning as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Frank Kameny and Leonard Matlovich starting the formal fight against the ban on gays in the military. A Veterans Administration memorial for Frank, a WWII combat veteran, will be dedicated.
Participants include Gordon O. Tanner, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force; Joe Zuniga, who had been the Sixth Army Soldier of the Year before outing himself in 1993 to fight the ban; and Stonewall author David Carter who is writing a biography of Frank. Music will be provided by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. Paul Kuntzler, who was a member of the Mattachine Society of Washington with Frank in the 1960s before co-founding GLAA (then GAA) in 1971, will speak, as will I.
The event is free and open to the public. It is set for 11 am on Wednesday, November 11 at the Matlovich gravesite in Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street SE near the Potomac Avenue Metro Station. Please join us.
It will be a relief finally to have Frank's memorial in place after nearly four years of gratuitous legal wrangling. It is in what has become informally known as a gay neighborhood in the cemetery, not only adjacent to the Matlovich grave but near the graves of other gay veterans as well as those of the notoriously homophobic former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and his longtime companion Clyde Tolson.
#BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson talks to the GLAAD gala in San Francisco on being black and gay, and the power of "coming out of the quiet." Bravo to him. Check out the #CampaignZero policy website created by him and several colleagues.
D.C. Council backs domestic partner ‘termination’ bill https://t.co/VVkvLhYljW— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) November 6, 2015
One of our last bits of cleanup. Thanks to the DC Council members, in particular Judiciary chairman McDuffie and the other committee members. And thanks to GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz for his work on this bill.
A transgender friend alerted me last night to the Change.org petition. Here is my short comment:
No. Over thousands of LGBT activists' dead bodies will this exclusion ever happen. For us to buy the "male predators in dresses" slander, or allow it to stand, would be like the turkey inviting the cook to lunch. As Ben Franklin said, "Let us hang together, for surely we will hang separately."
Regarding Stonewall, I recommend the book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter.
My Blade column this week (written before Tuesday's election) is now up. While it may be tempting, please do not take my humble musings as a cue to go crashing out of bedroom windows. I only recommend that for deranged candidates who are eager to defeat Satan.
Signorile is spot on. Prop 8 redux, indeed. So many of our allies with deep pockets have a fear of flying, to use a 70s phrase. The bathroom panic lie deserved a powerful, hair-singeing response. I can imagine someone suggesting it at a meeting of overpaid "experts" and being shot down.
We know what Tony Perkins is going to say. What is more scandalous at this point is how our community's and its allies' money is squandered by people afraid of pressing the fight. It's like people still sending money to the Red Cross after $500 million in Haitian relief donations translated to a total of six houses being built. These incompetent people, these wet noodle warriors should be run out of town on a rail, not rewarded. Instead, we'll get more hand-wringing appeals from them saying, "We're not done, send your faith offering now and we'll send you this lovely rosewood crucifix." Sorry, I'm confusing them with religious hucksters.
We need to put our armor on and get ready to fight! No, our rights should not be subject to a popular vote. That's part of it. But when a fight is on, we've got to bring everything we've got to it.
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.
[Dale Carpenter] Israeli academic shouted down in lecture at University of Minnesota: On Tuesday afternoon an ... https://t.co/k2VyV6DhHf— Volokh Conspiracy (@VolokhC) November 4, 2015
Superb article by Dale Carpenter on the latest assault on free speech and academic discourse at a public university because the speaker was Israeli. I myself am critical of Israel (I am a longstanding supporter of Israel horrified by the policies of Netanyahu), but shouting down an academic lecture in this way is wrong and inimical to the mission of a university. Such illiberal behavior in the name of justice should be punished and rebuked.