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August 21, 2015

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

Chelsea Manning found guilty for having expired toothpaste

Merits of her case aside, the treatment of Chelsea Manning is a disgrace.

Islamic State beheads leading Syrian antiquities director


Mike Huckabee's revival of the 'social experiment' fallacy

A good perspective on a persistent falsehood.

25 trans women of color have been killed in 2 years

As the article points out, these numbers may be the tip of the iceberg.

What You Should Know About the 2015 #USTransSurvey

PFAW mourns Julian Bond

The one time I met Julian Bond was a few years ago at the 90th birthday party for Norman Lear held by People for the American Way. Above, PFAW President Michael Keegan pays tribute to the civil rights leader.

(Hat tip: Craig Howell)

State Department fights for rights of gay envoys

Book ban in Venice ignites a gay rights battle

August 18, 2015

Wells Fargo gives $50,000 to help LGBTI businesses grow and prosper

Wells Fargo ruins @portmantina's day.

Police Units Blame Each Other For Security Failures At Jerusalem Pride

Obama appoints first trans woman of color to White House post

Very good news.

Decriminalizing the sex trade

Thanks to Councilmember Grosso.

GLAA discusses the issue in our latest policy brief.

The recent Washington Post commentary misses a key point. Keeping commercial sex on the black market makes sex workers less safe. Legalization does not solve everything, but it would help with that. Regulation and inspection are also needed. And of course alternatives are crucial, otherwise consent is illusory. Consent implies choices, which are all too often absent for (say) trans women of color who were driven into sex work because of transphobia and discrimination.

The arrests currently being boasted of by MPD generate criminal records, which only make it harder for the sex workers to get better and safer work. Imperfect solutions may still improve things for the marginalized populations that are most at risk. Equating all sex work with human trafficking is false and counterproductive. Disapproval of commercial sex does not make it the same as kidnapping and slavery. If we cannot make these distinctions, we are doing no favors to the ladies on the stroll who are there to avoid starvation and who are kept there by public policy.

August 16, 2015

Thumbs up for Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton is a stirring and superbly done movie. Not to be missed. It is eerie how current it is. This is compelling storytelling.

Christie 'seriously considering' ending presidential bid this month


More Monmouth Musings reports.

Tragic news, just when I replenished my supply of Ding Dongs.

August 15, 2015

He doesn't know from meanness


Kinda sorta.

Opinion | Republicans should be embarrassed

To be fair, one of the greatest lessons in the value of being unembarrassable was taught by the husband of the leading Democratic candidate.

Cost of treating transgender troops called negligible

Stars and Stripes reports. Another anti-trans myth collapses under scrutiny.

Chris Christie Laughs About Veto of Trans Birth Certificate Bill

Gov. Christie thinks the rights of trans people are laughable. What is laughable is that this smug bully is the governor of a state, much less a presidential candidate. But the rights of our transgender brothers and sisters are no laughing matter. The legal denial of trans people's existence is cruel, pointless, and must stop.

Our friend Andy Bowen at Garden State Equality comments:

Hey Governor Chris Christie: 33 trans women have been murdered in the US in the last two years. Our survival is ‪#‎nolaughingmatter‬

Erick Erickson posts angry emails from Donald Trump supporters

This story was shared on Facebook by Sean Bugg, who comments:

The guy who called a Supreme Court justice a "goat fucking child molester" suddenly discovers decorum and civility. I am sooooooo loving the GOP primary season.

Mississippi’s gay adoption ban somehow still exists—but not for long

The bad politics of the BLM protesters who interrupted Bernie Sanders

(Photo by Alex Garland)

Our friend Dana Beyer shares this commentary by Charles Mudede from Seattle's The Stranger, and comments:

Critical issues for moving forward. Alliances are crucial, as we are not a revolutionary society. Change must take root, or it will fade like the day's cable news. The teabaggers and Occupy arose in parallel; Occupy changed discourse but the Tea people changed legislatures.

I have been arguing with some people about this on Twitter. Here is one post from this morning.

Israel's Threat from Within

(Photo by Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press)

My latest column for Bay Windows looks at how home-grown fanaticism is isolating the Jewish state. Here is an excerpt:

A pair of recent atrocities by Israeli terrorists (which is what they must be called) underscores the futility of diverting attention from the country's oppression of Palestinians by emphasizing its pro-gay policies.

The fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Shira Banki at Jerusalem Pride, and the firebombing death of Palestinian Sa'ad Dawabshe and his baby son, Ali Dawabshe, in a West Bank village, point to increased Israeli fanaticism. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appropriately denounced the attacks, but that is small comfort coming from a man who has done so much to stoke the extremism that led to the crimes.

The deluge of threats against Israeli President Reuven Rivlin after he condemned the violence demonstrates that vigils for the victims are not enough. The present situation disturbingly echoes the one 21 ago when a right-wing extremist killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as he left a peace rally. At the time, Netanyahu eloquently said that bullets would not be allowed to determine the course of government, but in fact they did.

Israel is isolating itself more and more, including from American Jews, and failing to address internal threats for which it has planted the seeds. Netanyahu's pledge in March never to return occupied land was not just an election ploy. Israel continues to build new West Bank settlements while knocking down Palestinians' houses and cutting down their olive groves. In light of this, expressions of horror are unconvincing.

Read the whole thing here.

Stonewall trailer parody

Part of the controversy over the new Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots, of which we have only seen the trailer, is bound up in ongoing battles over historical revisionism and the substitution of favored myths for evidence. For those interested in what really happened, I recommend David Carter's Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution.

Michael Sam leaves Montreal Alouettes

This is terribly sad. I can only imagine the pressures he has been under. Here's wishing him the best.

Texas School Board Nixes Vote On LGBT Protections

Kerry raises American flag over our embassy in Havana

Secretary of State John Kerry opens our embassy in Cuba. Below, openly gay Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco reads his poem "Matters of the Sea," written for the occasion. Bravo to President Obama for making this happen. 54 years of a failed policy are long enough.