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July 13, 2016

Florida driver praying with her eyes closed crashes into house

Our friend Joel writes, "She was praying for a house."

Barney Frank testifies against anti-gay 'religious freedom' bill

A fine performance by the former congressman at yesterday's disgraceful hearing on the anti-LGBT, so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which is simply a continued attack on gay families waged under a new (and false) banner.

President Obama Speaks at an Interfaith Memorial Service

A powerful speech by President Obama on another most painful occasion.

July 11, 2016

"Everyone kept saying, 'Why are you arresting him?'" DeRay Mckesson released from Baton Rouge jail.

July 07, 2016

Minnesota policeman kills Philando Castile during traffic stop

A 4-year-old girl comforts her distraught mother minutes after Philando Castile was murdered in front of them: "It's okay, Mommy.... It's okay, I'm here with you." Her mother, Lavish Reynolds, showed extraordinary composure, narrating the situation and disputing the officer's version of events, all while her blood-soaked boyfriend slumped beside her. The child will need lots of care and healing after what she witnessed, but she is a hero. The one ray of hope in this horror is her bravery and love. Her spirit is strong. At 8 pm this evening (July 7), there is a protest at the White House; I plan to go. This extrajudicial killing has been going on a long time. We have a long struggle ahead to put a stop to it.

July 06, 2016

Chelsea Manning hospitalized after reported suicide attempt

Chelsea Manning violated the Espionage Act. She released vast numbers of documents in a reckless fashion. That being said, it does not justify abuse of a prisoner. Those who say that appropriate transgender healthcare should be withheld as punishment are damnably wrong. I hope that Manning will get the care that any prisoner deserves, as well as respect for her gender identity. Healthcare is a right; its denial is not a legitimate part of punishment.

Philly Archbishop: No communion for sexually active gays

Gaping injustice and grief in Baton Rouge

Have you had occasion in your life to sob uncontrollably? Do you remember the raw grief and the sense of being lost, the free fall of despair? Were you 15 years old and facing TV cameras as Cameron Sterling was in Baton Rouge? His father Alton was shot multiple times point blank while already restrained. It is too awful for words; yet the heartbreaking video of Cameron's grief may be the only way to touch the humanity of some people. 61 years ago, Emmett Till's mother was faced with the awful decision of whether to have a closed casket or to open it and allow photographers to capture the horror. "I want them to see what they did to my son," she said. It is natural to want to grieve in private. Once again, a family reeling from the devastation of brutal injustice has found the courage to allow the cameras in. We are too good at distancing; we need to be confronted by the barbarity done in our name. But oh, for a child to have to bear that burden. I hope Cameron at least gets some sense of the countless strangers who longed to hold him as he shook. But he wants his father back, and we cannot give that to him. We must do more than cry in sympathy. We must make this stop.

Below, the horrific video of this point-blank killing of Alton Sterling while he was restrained. All cops are not monsters. But we have a terrible and recurring problem, and a big part of it is a refusal by people all along the chain of justice, including juries, to hold racist, murderous officers accountable. We have got to find a way to change this. But at least we can make some noise. Joan E. Biren writes: "Let the BATON ROUGE PD (@BRPD) know what you think. I did."
PHONE: (225) 389-2000
EMAIL: brpdinfo@brgov.com

Note: After he was shot, Sterling was mortally wounded but not dead. He died subsequently.

July 05, 2016

President Obama campaigns with Hillary Clinton in Charlotte

Impressive performances by both President Obama and Secretary Clinton in their first campaign appearance together this year.

BLM Toronto absurdly demands barring police floats and booths from future Prides

This is neither smart nor appropriate activism. I understand anger at injustice. I've been on the receiving end of "tone policing" since the moment I first spoke up decades ago. Even members of oppressed groups often dislike anyone rocking the boat, but rocking the boat is sometimes necessary. On the other hand, I've also gotten the "It's your turn to listen" aggression from people who neither know nor care that decades of listening and working in coalitions are reflected in my advocacy and writing. I will not be intimidated by or pander to ignorant and presumptuous people just because they make false assumptions and accusations about me. Reciprocity and mutual respect are key to productive alliances. Treating all white people or all police or all corporations as clueless or as irredeemable adversaries is poisonous. And it is not true. Our diversity includes diversity of opinion. You have to make your case, not just issue demands. One demand from the Toronto BLM activists was to exclude police floats or booths from future pride events. If you tried that in DC, where we are proud of our LGBT Liaison Unit, you would have a huge battle on your hands. Respect must be given to be received, and cannot be based on blackmail.

Video: FBI Director Comey recommends no charges against Hillary Clinton

Naturally, Trump quickly said it's rigged. Yawn.

July 03, 2016

Letter from a predecessor

Hillary Clinton was hoarse from a heavy speaking schedule when she told this story about the letter George H.W. Bush left for her husband in the Oval Office in January 1993. It speaks to something essential that we have lost, and must get back.

July 02, 2016

North Carolina governor protects HB2 bill with $500,000 taken from disaster relief fund

July 01, 2016

Federal judge strikes down MS so-called "religious freedom" law

Bravo to Judge Reeves, and congrats to Robbie Kaplan.

Thought for Independence Day weekend: a history of shame and struggle, interwoven

Douglass Fourth of July quote

153 years ago on this day, the Battle of Gettysburg was underway. Eleven years earlier on July 5th in Rochester, what is possibly the greatest oration in American history was delivered by an escaped and self-taught slave named Frederick Douglass. His main competitors in the oratory category were named Martin and Abraham. I am attaching a passage from what has come to be known as the Fourth of July speech. Things have improved since 1852; on the other hand, the catalog of American crimes against peoples of color at home and abroad, just since 1940, is a long one.

Recalling the rebuke from Douglass so long ago is a useful counterbalance to the usual Independence Day rah-rah stuff. And it reminds us that many generations struggled so that we could continue the struggle today, in Martin's words, to make our nation live out the true meaning of its creed--a creed written in 1776 by a slave owner. The shame and the struggle, inextricably interwoven, are part of our nation's DNA.

June 30, 2016

Blade, @dcpl announce partnership to digitize newspaper’s 47-year archive

UN Human Rights Council approves creation of first-ever LGBT rights watchdog

Pentagon lifts trans military ban

Another historic advance from the Obama administration.

Opinion: Amid Chaos, Don't Count Trump Out

My latest column in the Washington Blade looks at Britain's #Brexit debacle and its implications for the American presidential election. [Note: since I filed the article just before noon on Monday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn suffered a no-confidence vote from his party members in Parliament, and #Brexit leader Boris Johnson said he would not be a candidate to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister and Tory Party leader. Also, Trump suffered further in polls, even as he was attacking the Chamber of Commerce.]

Trudeau and Obama speak to Canadian Parliament

A love-fest all around. After Obama spoke, members of the Canadian Parliament chanted, "Four more years!"

June 29, 2016

Blade wins 8 journalism awards

Congrats to the winners.

New PAC debuts amid energized LGBT gun control efforts

Gay Pride vs. Straight Pride

June 28, 2016

The 2016 anti-LGBT March for Marriage was a complete flop

North Carolina Republicans want trans people to literally show their papers at the bathroom door

All these desperate fear mongers are doing is exposing and diminishing themselves.

June 27, 2016

Boston bombing survivors to Orlando victims: "We are family now"

Congresswoman Norton fights for D.C. abortion services

Obama Designates Stonewall Inn National Monument

Breaking: Federal Judge Rules Clerks Cannot Cite Religion to Recuse From Issuing Marriage Licenses

Agreement to end Colombian war acknowledges LGBT victims

Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance at New York Pride parade

Activists arrested for challenging Istanbul Pride march ban

Pope Francis: Church should 'ask forgiveness' from gay people

House floor sit-in on gun safety recalls early days of LGBT activism

The Daily Mail is now claiming gay marriage caused #Brexit

Mike Huckabee pays $25,500 for using Eye of the Tiger at Kim Davis rally

Powerful speech by Jesse Williams at BET Awards

This video has gone viral. A tough and wise speech.

June 23, 2016

Robert White wins most ‘gay’ precincts in at-large Council race

If ever I would Brexit, it wouldn't be in summer

Early reports indicate that British voters have decided not to leave the European Union. I always knew it wouldn't be in summer.

June 22, 2016

College coach tells players they can leave the team if they don't accept gay teammate