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May 24, 2016

Those Naval Academy plebes

A spring ritual in Annapolis.

Biden praises openly gay West Point 2016 class president

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My goodness. Congrats to first captain Eugene Coleman.

WaPo half-heartedly endorses Alexander; the record supports Gray

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The Washington Post has endorsed Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander based on the five-year campaign against Vince Gray by the U.S. Attorney that came up empty. Indeed, the Post concedes, "Mr. Gray is right about Ms. Alexander’s disappointing performance and about his own deep experience." The supposed endorsement of Alexander hardly mentions her.

As usual, I held back from expressing my personal preferences until after GLAA finished its evaluation of candidates. That was done two weeks ago. Here is my personal view: Vince Gray is head and shoulders above the competition. That being said, GLAA gave due credit to Councilmember Alexander for her good work, including her improvement during the past four years, as can be seen in GLAA's news release on our primary ratings.

Former Mayor Gray earned a +10 rating from GLAA (compared to Alexander's +5.5), as well as the endorsement of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club (with 70 percent of the vote on the first ballot). Gray's GLAA questionnaire response sets the standard in this election cycle for thoroughness and understanding stemming from his experience and commitment on LGBT issues.

Here is my 2014 citation for GLAA's special Distinguished Service Award to then-Mayor Gray. The list of accomplishments is a long one.

To be clear, GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan races. I am just giving you my personal opinion when I encourage Ward 7 voters to support this experienced and effective public servant, Vincent C. Gray. Personally I like Yvette Alexander, and I appreciate her growth in office. But on the range of issues that are my focus, Vince Gray is simply the best candidate in the race.

DC shelters frustrated by lack of funding for LGBT homeless youth

LBJ and Walter Jenkins

Top LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was arrested in October 1964 for sex with a man in a YMCA bathroom in Washington. Above is a scene in the movie All the Way referencing it, in which President Johnson makes a dig at FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Below is a recording of Johnson talking by phone to his wife Lady Bird about the scandal, which occurred a few weeks before the 1964 election. The conversation starts about 45 seconds into the tape. (Hat tip: Mark Thompson)

Really, Cornel?

Intellectual huckster Cornel West, who is big on Bernie, with his latest. How can someone be both hawkish and milquetoast? Oh never mind.

Bernie must drop notion that everyone who disagrees with him is corrupt or a dupe

Yes. It is tiresome and silly when Bernie True Believers reflexively call you either a paid Hillary shill or a dupe for disagreeing with them. This is like Thanksgiving with your crazy uncle only without the comfort food. The last time I remember being called a dupe I was in a Trotskyite bookstore and the culprits I was told had brainwashed me were "the sugar barons." How fitting, then, that Bernie once praised Fidel. At that bookstore, someone called for overthrowing the government. I thought of my security clearance, and I looked up at the light fixture and said, "I don't agree with these people." Then I handed the guy a voter registration form. So I guess you can blame me.

May 19, 2016

The Miss Alternate Universe Pageant

My latest column.

HRC taps Ted Olson in fight against NC anti-LGBT law

The Human Rights Campaign goes the celebrity route again. HRC President Chad Griffin, then leader of American Foundation for Equal Rights, previously brought Olson in, along with Democratic attorney David Boies, for the court fight against California Proposition 8, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. Olson and Boies ran up more than $6 million in legal fees in that case, despite the fact that other attorneys working in marriage equality cases often worked pro bono. So how much is HRC going to pay Olson?

It should be noted, by the way, that the Perry case did NOT win the nation marriage equality. It was sent back to a lower court by SCOTUS in 2013 for lack of standing. The 2013 SCOTUS overturn of the discriminatory federal definition of marriage in DOMA was in another case, United States v. Windsor, where Edith Windsor's attorney Roberta Kaplan argued before the high court. The ruling that granted civil marriage equality throughout the country came with Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. The plaintiffs in that case were represented at oral argument by civil rights lawyer Mary Bonauto and Washington, D.C. lawyer Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.

GOP congresswoman stands up for LGBT rights alongside her transgender son

The Lehtinens were at the Trans Equality fundraiser Wednesday evening at The Hamilton, where Rodrigo gave his mother an Ally Award. Another member of Congress honored was Rep. Mike Honda.

Lawmakers aim to curb anti-LGBTI 'religious freedom' bills in US

The Seychelles votes to decriminalize gay sex

May 18, 2016

Newsweek to Sanders: get control of your supporters' obscene behavior, or get out

Shocking and frightening.

Guard Charged with Assault After Confronting Transgender Woman Using Women's Restroom

This is getting increasingly scary. An epidemic of hatred is spreading in this country. People are going to be assaulted, and some of them killed, because of others' obstinate ignorance. Lord knows what chains of suffering will be set in motion as the summer heats up because of demagogues stoking intolerance. Mind you, this particular story occurred in DC, with as progressive a set of laws as anywhere. Social media are being used as a tool of hatred and provocation by people lacking all restraint and often hiding behind pseudonyms. We must stand together at every level and in every neighborhood and make it clear that violence will not be tolerated.

Mexican president proposes legalizing same-sex marriage

Billy Graham's daughter slams trans rights, claims God sends terror attacks "to show us that we need him"

I'm sorry, but why doesn't this noxious family get on a bus and drive off a cliff? In God's mercy.

Taking a leak is now a liberal "social experiment," Inhofe claims

We need to rid the Senate of this bilious ignoramus.

May 17, 2016

To all who deny Trump's racism, sexism, & anti-gay positions and say, "Prove it"

Council passes its own D.C. General closure plan, angers Mayor Bowser

Chairman Mendelson got the better of this exchange. For the Mayor to yell, "You're a f*cking liar!" at him in the hallway is not a refutation of the Council's plan, which passed unanimously. I got an informal briefing this evening from Councilmember Silverman. There were legitimate concerns that the Mayor's plan was too costly. And in any case, the Council has a role to play other than just rubber stamping the Mayor's proposal. If she doesn't learn from this, she is in big trouble.

Senate confirms Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army, first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service

The Crippled Supreme Court

The Times editorial board is right. But the Senate nihilists led by Elaine Chao's roommate do not care. It is past time for progressives and moderates to stop fighting one another and fight the Republicans who are determined by obstruction, gerrymandering and vote suppression to override the wishes of the majority and constitutional safeguards in service of the few.

Trump Says Gov't Must Protect All People – And He Will Rescind Obama Transgender Protections

Trump here taps into the old notion that targeting particular types of discrimination--that is, being specific enough to be at all useful--amounts to granting "special rights." But if the generic "discrimination is wrong" were sufficient, we would not be having the conversation. Instead of doing anything to combat bias, Trump just wants to put a fig leaf over the bigotry of his know-nothing, xenophobic, white supremacist base.

#TrumpIncoherenceWatch

What is the current state for LGBTI people across the globe?

Russian activists risks arrest and attacks by holding rainbow flashmob in St Petersburg

Kosovo holds second-ever Pride

Obama on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Obama at Rutgers: 'Ignorance is not a virtue'

Amen, Mr. President.

Geidner interviews President Obama on SCOTUS

Congrats to our friend Chris Geidner on his interview yesterday with President Obama on Supreme Court matters, including the Senate's refusal to grant a hearing to Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland. It was streamed live via Facebook and YouTube.

Norton stands up to House Republicans on DC budget autonomy

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Congresswoman Norton responds to House Republicans' assault on D.C. budget autonomy here and here. I will attend the House OGR markup today at 2 pm in 2154 Rayburn HOB to show GLAA's support for our congresswoman.

May 13, 2016

HHS Issues Regulations Banning Trans Health Care Discrimination

Another breakthrough ruling in what has become Transgender Week in the Obama Administration. Bravo.

House Republicans warn D.C. not to assert budget independence

Rep. Mark Meadows threatens to prosecute District of Columbia officials essentially for doing their jobs as the people we elect to represent us. If they are prepared to do this, they should sooner abolish Home Rule and stop pretending to respect our self-determination as American citizens. The outrage here against self-respecting Washingtonians is profound. I stand with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Council Chairman Mendelson, and our other leaders who are fighting this congressional paternalism.

See Congresswoman Norton's press release here.

Subsidies.

Subsidies

Simon Jenkins: Books are back. Only the technodazzled thought they would go away

This article from The Guardian was posted on Facebook with the blurb, "The hysterical cheerleaders of the e-book failed to account for human experience, and publishers blindly followed suit. But the novelty has worn off." I responded:

I am reading this on my iPad, which contains dozens of e-books. Near me are bookshelves filled with traditional bound books. Buying e-books allows me to have many more books than I would otherwise have room for, and gives me a wealth of portable reading material when I am traveling or just sitting in the park. I see no reason to go all one way or the other. Nor is it hysterical to promote the convenience of e-books. On this same tablet I keep my newspapers and magazines, which reduces clutter. A unique feature of e-books is that it facilitates searches, an invaluable tool for writers and scholars. The marvelous, elegant device I am holding also enables me to read the above-linked article by Simon Jenkins, were I not insulted by the blurb. If that is intended as click bait, it is not working for me.

Mr Gay Syria stands defiant against extremists who beheaded his boyfriend

Internet trolls drive up bidding for George Zimmerman gun

D.C. men charged with murder of transgender woman in Rockville

Italian civil unions bill receives final approval

‘Dancing with the Stars’ makes show history with first same-sex dance

This is much ado about little, if you ask me. But take a look.

Clinton calls for end to HIV/AIDS "once and for all"

Massachusetts Senate Passes Transgender Rights Bill