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August 27, 2015

Watch: Janet Mock on murders of trans women

Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson dies at 104

I cannot improve on these Facebook comments by our friend Ernest Hopkins:

A giant in the Civil Rights Movement and U.S. history is gone. Mrs. Boynton Robinson's contributions were critical and immeasurable. Job very well done. R.I.P.

President Obama's statement is here.

Gun violence and mental health

My initial reaction to Wednesday's horrific shooting death of a Roanoke television reporter and cameraman during a morning news broadcast, other than shock and sadness, was that we need fewer guns and better mental health care. But I like a friend's comments on Facebook:

There is a really offensive meme going around that says to "like & share if you blame [Vester Flanagan] for the Virginia shooting...not the gun." My response to the people who have posted it and it showed up in my feed:

"I blame every single person who prevents implementation of policies and procedures to keep people like him from having access to guns in the first place. I blame everyone who refuses to recognize the critical need and provide funding and help for people who suffer with mental health issues. Then I blame him. I don't blame the gun."

Mr. Flanagan was sufficiently responsible to know what he was doing...otherwise he would not have had the wherewithal to send a manifesto or liveblog his actions. He could and should have voluntarily walked into any hospital or police station and declared he was in crisis and the tragedy could have been averted.

He plainly was a troubled man. I hope his family tried to get him help. Even so, the system failed everyone in this case...same as it has before...same as it will again. Anyone who claims they are pro-life, pro-family, and a Christian, is anything but if they oppose fixing our laws and our society to prevent tragedies involving guns. It's just that simple. Stop playing along with them and they will lose their power.

Some on the right, I suppose inevitably, are blaming the shooting on #BlackLivesMatter activists, whose advocacy is nonviolent and in protest against state-sanctioned violence against black citizens. The fact that the shooter, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot, was also gay (according to a manifesto posted in his name, purportedly by him) only gives more red meat to the haters.

A few months ago, around LGBT Pride, I announced a policy of apologizing for every crime or calamity that anyone blames on gay people as a class. This of course is ridiculous, unless you are prepared to blame (say) Ted Bundy's serial murders of women on all straight guys. But reason has little to do with scapegoating of minorities, so I wish to apologize for these horrific killings. I am so sorry. What was I thinking. Please forgive me. And fuck you ignorant motherfuckers. Oh, sorry, I was temporarily channeling Samuel L. Jackson.

Seriously, we need to do something about the proliferation and glorification of guns in this country. Due to a second fatal shooting Wednesday, you couldn't bring up "the shooting" without clarifying which one you meant.

As another friend said last evening, in response to a colleague who snarkily suggested it is "peak assimilation" when a deranged shooter announces he's gay:

The fact he was gay, and his complaints around such, are irrelevant. He was severely mentally ill. If he'd been told they were out of his favorite cone at Dairy Queen, he'd have imagined some slight that was worthy of massacre.

Yes. Let's address the problem, not exploit it to score cheap points on social media.

August 25, 2015

Rosendall wins 2015 Excellence in Journalism Award in Opinion/Editorial Writing

I am happy to report that I have won third-place honors from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in the 2015 Excellence in Journalism Awards in the category Opinion/Editorial Writing, for my piece "Cutting Holes in the Law," published last December. Thanks to NLGJA for the honor, to the Blade for giving my work a home, and to those wonderful people out there in the dark (wait, that's Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard).

On Ashley Madison hack: Can feds be fired for adultery?

Ashley_Madison_laptop

Lisa Rein at WaPo looks at the fallout for federal employees who turn up on the customer list:

Now that the Ashley Madison hack has outed as many as 15,000 federal employees and active duty military, government agencies say they’re combing through the e-mail addresses of possible adulterers to see if their extramarital activity on work time amounts to anything punishable.

The question for me is not whether government employees should be logging onto an adultery site on the job. The question is what kind of society we want, and how much further we are going to replace the walls and curtains of privacy with the electronic equivalent of glass and floodlights. It is easy to say "improve security," but there will always be a hacker somewhere with no compunction who can punch through the next layer you build.

It is easy to make light of social standards and boundaries when we are not the ones affected. With Ashley Madison, one boundary buster has its own boundaries busted. So we mock the religious hypocrites who turn up on the list. Then we find out that some people's lives are now in danger, such as gay men from anti-gay countries. And we are starting to hear about suicides. Most of us have done things that it would be mortifying to see splayed across TV screens. If we only respect the privacy of people whose behavior and beliefs and politics meets with our approval, we have already lost.

An omen in butter

Melt him and pour him on someone else's popcorn.

August 24, 2015

John Oliver: ‘Long Past Time’ to End LGBT Discrimination in America

Some Duke Freshmen Won't Read Graphic Novel 'Fun Home' Because of 'Moral Christian Beliefs'

Perhaps they thought they were at Liberty University.

Hollande presents train attack heroes with Legion of Honor

Vive la France!

August 23, 2015

Islamic State blows up ancient temple at Syria’s Palmyra ruins

These barbarians need to be exterminated before they destroy every intiquity in the Mideast. Astonishing that anyone is willing to embrace any faith or worship any God that demands of them such atrocities.

An old path through new rubble

Gay Rights and the Race Analogy

An essay by John Corvino.

RNC endorses 'Indiana on steroids' religious freedom bill

Bush advisor Vin Weber will lobby for anti-gay Ugandan government

Thousands rally in Kentucky against anti-gay county clerks

Ellen Page confronts Ted Cruz: 'You’re discriminating against LGBT people'

Sen. Cruz simply turns the truth on its head and portrays discriminators as victims of persecution. That only makes sense if gay people are not human beings, or not rightful citizens, or if there is no secular public space. What Cruz and others call religious freedom is really religious supremacy for them over the rest of us. We have no choice but to fight back.

Giant panda at National Zoo gives birth to healthy twin cubs

There are now five giant pandas at the National Zoo. Panda Cams here.

Americans who stopped a train attack in Europe were boyhood friends

More here on the focus this attack puts on the vulnerability of U.S. rail.

August 21, 2015

The Ashley Madison Hack and the Cold and Permanent Danger of Online Privacy Invasions

Gay D.C. film festival returns from hiatus

Slugger’s journey to coming out

Cruz's latest mischief in Iowa

Ted Cruz is more dangerous than Santorum or Huckabee. He is smarter, for one thing.

'We can end police violence in America' - #CampaignZero

#CampaignZero local policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their local policy agenda to end police violence.

#CampaignZero state policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their state policy agenda to end police violence.

#CampaignZero federal policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their federal policy agenda to end police violence.

Illinois becomes fifth state protect youth from conversion therapy

Congrats to our colleagues in Illinois, and welcome to the club!

I may get stoned to death for gay sex, says Saudi man outed in Ashley Madison leak

Brewers would be ready to welcome openly gay teammate

Scott Walker, translated

Jeb and Jindal on dropping babies

In a long-ago Doonesbury cartoon, Joanie Caucus says to her dying friend after he and his doctor trade some gallows humor, "How can you joke about this?" He replies, "How can you not?"

Rep. Nadler supports Iran Nuclear accord, condemns troubling rhetoric

Thank you, Congressman.

August 20, 2015

Trump: Gay marriage is a dead issue

I'm sure we are all relieved to learn this.

Not lesbian enough?

Panti Bliss, Ireland's accidental activist

President Carter discusses his cancer

A remarkable display of grace by our 39th president.

Rauch: It's George Wallace's GOP now

Our friend Jon Rauch summarizes the history of the modern Republican Party in one sentence: "Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller got into an argument and George Wallace won." His elaboration (click on the link) ends with this:

Conservatism is wary of extremism and rage and anti-intellectualism, of demagoguery and incoherent revolutionary rhetoric. Wallace was a right-wing populist, not a conservative. The rise of his brand of pseudo-conservatism in Republican circles should alarm anyone who cares about the genuine article.

Rauch wrote this in 2010, but it could not be more true today.

Progressive Groups Ask Obama To End Bush-Era Religious Protection

GLAA is a signatory to this letter.

August 19, 2015

On Hillary's frankness with #BlackLivesMatter activists

A good read on Hillary Rodham Clinton's videotaped backstage encounter with BLM activists. On balance I think it helps her. Many black activists are agreeing with her.

FTSE 100 companies not doing enough to promote their LGBT diversity claims