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GLAA is pleased to offer an online site for discussion of affairs that affect the quality of life of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of the District of Columbia. Through this social networking media GLAA aspires to connect to new generations of LGBT advocates and straight allies and to strengthen our organization's abilities to communicate and broadcast to a broad and diverse population.

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GLAA is an all volunteer organisation. Our expenses are paid by our yearly Awards Banquet and by membership dues and contributions. If you would like to join GLAA this can be done through PayPal or through our membership form.

September 25, 2014

The Lesbian Who Could Be The Next U.S. Attorney General

Jenny_Durkan
(U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan of Seattle. Photo: AP/Ted S. Warren)

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed has the story.

Jimmy Carter on gay rights

September 24, 2014

Why people use aliases on Facebook

MyNameIs

Change your uninformed policy, Facebook. #MyNameIs

(Hat tip: David da Silva Cornell)

Cute little baby bats

It's baseball playoff season, and what could be cuter than an armful of bats?

RI Supreme Court hears case on firefighters objecting to parade duty

Former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci is in the Rhode Island state Supreme Court over his having ordered a couple of firefighters years ago to drive a firetruck in a gay pride parade. Call out the waaambulance for these guys.

A gay-friendly mosque opens in South Africa

Missed this a few days ago. Ishaan Tharoor of WaPo reports from Cape Town.

While we're on baseball

From September 16, the Washington Nationals clinching the 2014 NL East division title. Go Nats!

Made in New York

Gatorade and Derek Jeter make a classic.

HRC: 10 things you might not have known about FRC

A report from the Human Rights Campaign about the Family Research Council.

Crazy Eyes: "Phyllis Schlafly Is My Heroine"

I find that after about 20 seconds, I can filter out Michele Bachmann and just listen to Pachelbel.

Seriously, this is what the right wing media is obsessed about

I guess the one below was better.

Bush_dog_salute

Who says there's no good news?

I am delighted to hear this news of a sequel. On the other hand, what could possibly outdo this reading by Samuel L. Jackson?

Trust me on this one

Very funny.

(Hat tip: Joel Lawson)

A tale of two rallies

Climate Progress

From Climate Progress.

(Hat tip: Rand Hoch)

Sims: PA Doesn't Protect LGBT Citizens

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims rages at his colleagues over the state's failure to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination.

Also, BuzzFeed reports that State Sen. Jim Ferlo came out at the same rally.

Debunking The Top Five Myths About LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

Carlos Maza at Media Matters debunks myths about anti-discrimination laws.

Michigan nuns to re-examine policy that led to gay teacher firing

Lancing State Journal reports:

The congregation of Catholic nuns that operates Marian High School have signaled they will re-examine policies that led to the controversial firing of a gay teacher who said she was let go because of her nontraditional pregnancy.

Well that's a start.

Leo at the UN: the urgency of addressing global climate change

Leonardo DiCaprio's opening remarks at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.

September 23, 2014

Scaring up another war

Armed_forces_in_Iraq_-_January_2008

My first column in my new perch at the Washington Blade is on America's latest Mideast war: How often do we have to respond to distant problems by charging in and making things worse before we bloody well stop doing it?

Also, Blade editor Kevin Naff graciously welcomes me to the Blade's list of opinion writers. As I start this new professional relationship, I want to thank Metro Weekly and editor Randy Shulman for giving my work a home for so many years.

D.C. concealed carry bill opposed by California pro-gun group

DCist reports.

Artie Raslich, whale photographer

Whale in NY waters

Ian Frazier in the Sep. 29 issue of The New Yorker writes about photographer Artie Raslich of East Rockaway, who took the wonderful photo above.

Philadelphia police wrapping up investigation into attack on gay couple

Aubrey Whelan and Mike Newall at The Philadelphia Inquirer report:

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Monday that the department has concluded its investigation into a Center City assault that left a gay couple seriously injured - and that the District Attorney's Office is now reviewing the case.

"We feel that there is sufficient evidence to have charges placed against some of the individuals there," Ramsey said in an interview.

As prosecutors review differing accounts of the Sept. 11 incident, the case has spurred calls for changes to the state's hate-crime statute, which does not cover crimes motivated by sexual orientation.

On Monday, Ramsey also said he supports modifying the state law, which he said "needs to change, and change very quickly."

Ramsay is D.C.'s former police chief. He received GLAA's Distinguished Service Award from Frank Kameny in 2007.

Tel Aviv party organizers slammed for ISIS spoof

Ynet News reports:

Drek – one of Tel Aviv's most popular gay party organizers – has inspired a massive wave of criticism and anger online after using imagery inspired by the Islamic State group's executions on a number of posters promoting the club's parties.

Here are a couple of the offending images.

Drek poster 1

Drek poster 2

It does seem in dreadful taste. But dark humor generally is. As I do not live in the Middle East, I am not inclined to judge the Drek promoters too harshly.

Klayman proposes nuking ISIS

Larry Klayman at right-wing site World Net Daily thinks nuclear weapons are the best way to deal with ISIS. Because sanity sometimes gets in the way of fun.

Chad considers criminalizing homosexuality

Pink News reports.

Catholics: Antigay Leaders Get Boot, a Progressive Becomes American Archbishop

The Advocate has some good news from Pope Francis.

A small flap over GLAA's ratings

GLAA issued its ratings last week for candidates in the Nov. 4 general election for D.C. mayor and several council seats. The Blade and City Paper reported.

Kris Hammond, Republican candidate for D.C. Council Chairman, posted comments below both stories. Here's his comment to City Paper:

In fairness to the many candidates who "didn't return the questionnaires at all," most of us never received the questionnaire. Many of the independent candidates and all of the major party candidates who were appointed after the April 1 primary never had an opportunity. My understanding is that GLAA is giving such candidates an opportunity to contribute after the fact, but this news cycle will be past.

As an aside, Democrat Phil Mendelson and I agree on LGBTQ issues-- I wish this bipartisan consensus existed at the national level.

Here is my reply:

Kris Hammond is incorrect in saying that “many of the independent candidates” never received a GLAA questionnaire. We sent questionnaires to all independent candidates listed by the Board of Elections. Most responded to us. In our ratings meeting for the general election cycle, we focused on independent candidates, having dealt with the major party candidates (Democratic, Libertarian, Statehood-Green, Republican) in the primary. Muriel Bowser, as the Democratic nominee for Mayor, chose to submit a new response, so we evaluated that as well.

The fact that some party candidates were recruited after the primary was something we initially overlooked. We have since reached out to everyone on the ballot that we haven’t heard from for whatever reason and invited them to respond. As to the news cycle being over, there are plenty more news cycles. We will announce our new ratings to the same member list and the same press list, as well as post the ratings on our website and include them in our planned ratings ad (which is still a month away). The handful of candidates being rated late have a better chance of receiving bloggers’ attention than had they gotten lost in the crowd of the first story. And I will tweet a link to each new questionnaire as we receive it. Surely this is more than fair on the part of volunteer activists.

Regarding At-Large Republican candidate Marc Morgan, I tried more than once to reach him during the primary season, and sent him the same email I sent other primary candidates. He recently told me that he intentionally waited for the general election. We await his submission. As for Independent At-Large candidates Khalid Pitts and Kishan Putta, we sent them the same invitation we sent other independent candidates. We have since received a response from Pitts, which we are evaluating. We would welcome a response from Putta as well, which we have communicated by (another) email.

GLAA is non-partisan and does not make endorsements in partisan races. We rate candidates based on their records and answers on our issues. Our questions are drawn from our policy brief, which was published in two formats on our website at glaa dot org on January 3, and which was provided to candidates along with the questionnaire–thus making the questionnaire an open-book test. We go through this process for the purpose of educating both candidates and the public, as well as being a resource for reporters, legislative staff, opinion makers, and other activists on LGBT issues. We appreciate the interest.

Louisiana judge rules in favor of the freedom to marry, 40th victory since June ‘13

Adam Polaski has the story at Freedom to Marry.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed follows up:

Far-Right Activist: ISIS Part Of The 'Homosexual Agenda'

Right Wing Watch reports:

Walid Shoebat took to BarbWire today to address the reports in a new documentary that ISIS is raping its recruits and using videos of the assaults as blackmail. Of course, the BarbWire columnist cited the rapes as proof that ISIS is part of the gay rights movement....

Of course, Shoebat doesn’t seem to believe that raping hundreds of women makes ISIS part of the “heterosexual agenda.”

Facts are a buffet to some people. They just pick what they want.

Ben Carson: Evolution Is An Absurd Myth, 'Give Me A Break'

Ben-carson

Right Wing Watch reports:

In a “Faith & Liberty” interview posted last week, potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson discussed his rejection of the theory of evolution, arguing that the science of evolution is a sign of humankind’s arrogance and belief “that they are so smart that if they can’t explain how God did something, then it didn’t happen, which of course means that they’re God. You don’t need a God if you consider yourself capable of explaining everything.”

He claimed that “no one has the knowledge” of the age of the earth “based on the Bible,” adding that “carbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”

Carson pointed to the “complexity of the human brain” as proof that evolution is a myth: “Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.”

Next we'll put the nucleotide sequencing in Dr. Carson's DNA molecules up for a popular vote. Because science is dependent on popular opinion. Actually no. Because, as Neil deGrasse Tyson recently told Stephen Colbert, "That's the good thing about science: It's true whether or not you believe in it."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Elections a 'more meaningful measure' if voters must pass a test

Hasselbeck

Raw Story reports.

In other words, the past 60 years mean nothing. This nitwit needs a pie in the face daily until she gets off the air.

September 15, 2014

September 16 - GLAA ratings meeting

Friends,

Here is the agenda for GLAA's DC general election candidate ratings meeting, set for Tuesday, September 16 at 7 pm in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. This is for independent and minor party candidates, plus any primary winners who choose to submit revised questionnaire responses.

This will be a working meeting. Only GLAA members can vote on ratings. We go carefully through each candidate's LGBT-related record and questionnaire answers. And we do ratings (on a scale of –10 to +10), NOT endorsements.

Due to the number of candidates we have to rate, we need to use our time efficiently. Please take the time to study the questionnaire responses beforehand if you plan to attend. You can find them online at:
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/nov4responses.shtml

Best,

Rick Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

September 11, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage cases on Sept. 29

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog discusses the matter.

President Obama addresses the ISIL threat

President Obama last night spoke to the nation on responding to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The past history of our military involvement in that region give us cause for skepticism regarding the effectiveness of our military solutions. The President's caution and coalition efforts are at least welcome in this regard.

13 years ago today

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(Photo courtesy U.S. Public Safety News & Events)

In lower Manhattan last night, a tribute in lights on the eve of today's 9/11 anniversary. Among the legacies of that awful day have been reckless military adventures abroad and threats to civil liberties here at home. Citizen, awake!

Dispute Over Decency

Welch-McCarthy-Hearings

My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:

It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.

If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.

After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.

Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.

September 10, 2014

Mayor Gray honors anti-gay activist Bob King

Bob_King_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key
(Photo by Michael Key, Washington Blade)

Mayor Gray has proclaimed September 29, 2014 "Robert 'Bob' King Day" in Washington, D.C.

We must object. Here are links to several stories and blog entries that detail King's efforts against marriage equality in the District.

Let us be clear: Bob King did NOT merely oppose marriage equality in D.C. He aggressively opposed us, stoked anti-gay bigotry, took money from anti-gay bigots for his efforts, and even asked the U.S. Congress to intervene in D.C. affairs because he didn't like what our own elected leaders had done. The latter is especially egregious.

As GLAA has stated:

The District has no business issuing official proclamations and ceremonial resolutions to honor people and organizations openly hostile to the LGBT community. Officials must put procedures in place to prevent such slip-ups. Good works in other areas do not excuse discrimination or bias.

Mayor Gray is a good friend who has done more than any other mayor for LGBT people in the District. But we cannot agree with his act to honor Bob King. Mr. King contacted me last year seeking to put the past behind us and work together for the sake of the District. I was interested in a reconciliation; but when he refused to express any regrets for his past anti-gay and anti-democratic actions, much less apologize for them, I declined to meet with him. We are not sore winners. But reconciliation requires a change of heart and mind. King merely said, "You won, and we lost." I was already aware of that. What I did not detect was any contrition, nor the slightest warmth in his voice. If you extend your hand to me in fellowship, I will reciprocate. If, on the other hand, you are merely a political operative who wants others to forget your transgressions without your having acknowledged them, it is another matter.

(Hat tip: Bob Summersgill)

September 09, 2014

Starnes: Pastors will go to jail for opposing gay rights

No, Todd, they won't. Unlike Canada, which you cite, America has something called the First Amendment. And we at GLAA have defended our opponents' First Amendment rights time and again. Here is the latest example.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

September 04, 2014

Andrew Cray: gone too soon, yet a lasting legacy

Andrew-Cray-638x425

The loss of extraordinary transgender health activist Andrew Cray last week at age 28 has been hard for a lot of us to get our minds around. The August 30 memorial service at St. Thomas Church in Dupont Circle helped, as gatherings of love and respect do. Working through his illness, Andrew played a crucial role in getting the details right for Mayor Gray's historic executive action earlier this year to guarantee transgender people non-discriminatory access to health care. The service was led beautifully by Bishop Gene Robinson, who had worked with Andrew at the Center for American Progress and had officiated at Andrew's wedding to Sarah McBride six days before. The mutual grieving and celebration of Andrew among the CAP staff and local and national LGBT activists at the service was especially poignant in that he had helped so many people in such a short life.

Here is the eulogy given by Sterling Washington, Director of the D.C. Office of GLBT Affairs:

Before Amy reads the condolence letter from Mayor Gray, I wanted to say a few words about Andrew Cray. I admit to struggling with what those words would be, which is a bit unusual for me. This all seemed to happen so fast and I haven't had time to wrap my head around it. And I know that if it is difficult for me, it is unbearably arduous for his family. After all, it was just six days ago that Andy and Sarah were married and now we are eulogizing him.

To say he was an indefatigable activist is an understatement. Andrew Cray did more in his 28 years than so many accomplish in a lifetime. And he did so in service to others. For example, he worked closely with the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs last September to educate the LGBT community about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the local DC Health Benefits Exchange. But, Andrew's most enduring work with the Office involved his legal research and advice when the District moved to bar discrimination against the transgender community in health insurance. This was no easy task and was a year in the making. As we approached the end of the process, there were several surreptitious calls late at night between my Office and a handful of advocates – Andy Bowen, Kellan Baker, and Andrew. Sometimes, it involved Kellan carrying messages to Andrew, whose health had really begun to deteriorate by that point. You see, Andrew was among a handful of legal experts in the country who understood the verbiage needed to ensure our policy was as inclusive as it could be. To be clear, many activists had begun laying the groundwork for this years ago; however, when it came to shaping and actually writing the policy clarification, Andrew was invaluable. Because of his work and that of a handful of advocates, the District has the most comprehensive policy barring discrimination in health insurance (including Medicaid) on the basis of gender identity of any jurisdiction in the country. We are mourning Andrew today, but the fruits of his labor will live on and help so many get the life-saving procedures they so desperately need. And not just here in DC. On Thursday – the day that Andrew died – the city of Cincinnati decided that it would cover gender reassignment surgeries.

Aside from his work, Andrew's passing leaves a hole in the heart of so many of us here. And that is harder to speak to. His love, energy, and friendship still endures albeit in a different state now. And we will carry with us every day the memory of those and we are indeed changed – in a positive way - because our lives were touched by his.

Mayor Gray's condolence letter was read by GLBT Affairs Deputy Director Amy Loudermilk.

News reports at the Blade and Think Progress. Cray wrote an op-ed at Advocate.com in March of this year. May this beautiful young man rest in peace. He has certainly left the world better than he found it.

R.I.P. Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers has died at age 81. Here is a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, her trademark style on full display. May she rest in peace.