One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘Gay

Hillary Clinton campaigns at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015.

Hillary Clinton campaigns at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015. Photo: Hillary for America | FlickrCC.

Recently, Hillary Clinton made a speech to the Human Rights Campaign articulating her plan to continue her LGBT support moving forward. But her speech comes at a time that might be more than a coincidence: it’s not unlikely that Clinton is trying to regain lost ground in the current presidential election, as she was the last of potential Democratic contenders for the presidency to embrace LGBT issues, after Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

So do we believe that her address was heartfelt? Do we forgive her, pleased by her political turnaround—and do we forgive others in similar positions?

Clinton told the group that she would sign the Equality Act, to make repairs to a 1964 act to outlaw discrimination in housing and employment for LGBT individuals. But years ago, she was also highly supportive of Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act. It’s possible that her address was genuine, but it’s equally possible that her interest is in getting votes rather than making amends.

Clinton isn’t the first politician to switch sides. Ken Mehlman, former manager of George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, once held anti-gay sentiments. But when he came out in 2010 as gay himself, Mehlman became one of the very few openly gay members of the Republican Party. He came out to mixed but generally supportive reactions, despite his previously anti-gay beliefs. Subsequently, Mehlman and amici have written a brief in opposition to religious freedom laws’ impingement of gay rights.

Mehlman’s situation is different than Clinton’s because he has a personal stake in LGBT issues, and that makes his former sentiments and behavior easier to forgive. The ethics here are tricky, but as a gay Republican, Mehlman holds remarkable political power that could be used to further LGBT rights.

But what about Clinton? Her stake isn’t personal, it’s political. But at least she finally wants to work to support LGBT legislature. Better late than never.

You’ve helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that,” Clinton said in her speech.

Clinton can’t be quite as easily forgiven as Mehlman, whose history elicits a bit more empathy. But she can be forgiven, and she does have the power to help the LGBT cause. Calling Clinton on her tardiness to the issues without alienating her is the way to show her how to make amends—if her mind can be changed, so can the minds of many others, particularly with her guidance.

A balance of integrity is needed here. Mindful, open, and deliberate forgiveness will be the best approach, with the hopes of educating and forgiving others who have also been mistaken.

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According to the latest exit polls, 25-35% of gay voters routinely vote Republican, stunning democrats gay and straight alike. It’s been a slow yet steady rise in the Republican support for LGBT rights, specifically same-sex marriage. Another recent poll by Project Right Side shows that for every Republican that has said they have become more opposed to same-sex marriage, there are two that become more supportive of it. In just the last three years alone there has been an eleven point increase in support for marriage rights for same-sex couples among the GOP, allowing for a seven point drop in those opposed to legal recognition.

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On the congressional side, eight Republicans support same-sex marriage, and in 2014, there are ten Republican candidates that support marriage equality. Just recently, we’d written about Carl DeMaio, who is currently running for San Diego’s 52nd Congressional District. DeMaio, a Republican, squares off against Scott Peters, and has had big names in the LGBT community support him, including CEO and founder of Elliott Management Corporation Paul Singer, and a former campaign manager for president George Bush, Ken Mehlman. Both have made contributions to the Equality Leadership Fund, which even included the political action committee The Log Cabin Republicans.

The Log Cabin Republicans have a tremendous amount pull within the GOP, where in August Mimi Planas, The President of the LCR Miami Chapter, was selected for the “2014 Most Active GOP Club President Award”, after she organized and sponsored a summit with Governor Rick Scott’s Office. Planas took her own same-sex wedding vows in 2014, and has garnered tremendous attention for her endorsement of Republican Governor Rick Scott’s reelection campaign.

Many gay and lesbian people feel compelled to vote Democrat, and despite the growing amount of support for same-sex marriage and gay rights among the GOP, it isn’t enough to sway many gay voters. While the Republicans are slowly making progressive statements and are having more supportive candidates, it’ll only when they are truly inclusive in their standings of LGBT rights that gay and LGBT supporters can finally vote Republican without feeling as if they are betraying the community.

 

Just over a year ago, 16-year-old AJ Betts took his life at his home in Iowa because of bullying. He decided to become an organ donor months before his death, but now that wish won’t be fully granted. His eyes were rejected because of an FDA regulation that came about around the AIDs epidemic.

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The rejection of AJ’s eyes has made many question whether current regulations are out of date. “My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eye couldn’t be donated just because he was gay,” Moore said.

The regulation makes would-be donors ineligible to donate certain tissues because it is believed they have a risk factor. Gay men also are banned for life from donating blood because of the regulation. The Food and Drug Administration classifies eyes as tissue rather than organs, which means they have different standards for donation.

Luckily, not all of AJ’s organs have been rejected because of such antiquated laws. AJ’s mother, Sheryl Moore, received a letter letting her know what became of her son’s kidneys, liver, heart and lungs. “I was very happy to hear that a 14-year-old boy got his heart. He would have really liked that,” Moore said.

Alexander “AJ” Betts was taken off life support over a year ago after an attempted suicide caused irreversible damage that he’d never survive. The suicide came after classmates called him out for being gay and bullied him. At the time, AJ was the fifth student from Southeast Polk High School to commit suicide within five years.

“We had no indication that anything was wrong. He is the happiest kid I’ve ever met. Everybody who meets him says that,” said Moore.

Last week, the WNBA announced plans to is launch a campaign to market specifically to the LGBT community, making it the first pro league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered fans to its games. The WNBA has known for some time that a significant portion of its fan base is in the LGBT community, and now it plans to capitalize on that.

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hoenix Mercury drives for a shot under the basket during Saturday nights game against the Atlanta Dream
Doug James / Shutterstock.com

“For us it’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said. “This is one of those moments in the ‘W’ where everybody comes together.”

But marketing to the LGBT community is something the Lynx have been doing for a while, according to Carley Knox, director of business operations for the team. Now, it seems the WNBA is finally catching on.

“This is exactly what we do every year,” Knox said. “Almost all the teams have been doing local events. This is the first time the league has made it a big initiative as far as a marketing platform.”

The initiative, known as “WNBA Pride” included the launch Wednesday of a new website, WNBA.com/pride. The site encourages teams to take part in local pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups and advertising with lesbian media. The league will have pride games during June in which players will wear commemorative warm-up shirts. One of the games, between Tulsa and Chicago on June 22, will be televised nationally.

Rick Welts, who was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the NBA when the WNBA started in 1997, said that when the league began, executives figured the fan base would be a carryover from the NBA.

“We guessed very wrong on that,” said Welts, who now is the president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors and became the highest-ranking executive in men’s sports to publicly acknowledge being gay in 2011. “Maybe we should have known better. I think from its outset, the WNBA attracted a fan with different interests than our profile of an NBA fan.”

The first Ugandan trial since the adoption of tough anti-gay laws recently took place, with two men accused of having homosexual sex before a Ugandan court this week. Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa, who appeared in the court in the capital Kampala, are both expected to plead not guilty.

Kim Mukisa, 24 is a businessman who reportedly identifies himself as gay and Jackson Mukasa, 19, is his alleged trans partner. The two men face a potential life sentence in jail. The Ugandan police arrested the couple in January as they fled an angry mob, according to The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, a local watchdog group.They are being charged under Section 145 of the Penal Code that bans consensual same-sex relations, according to Sexual Minorities Uganda.

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Uganda is one of 82 countries where homosexuality is illegal. Pecold / Shutterstock.com

Although there has been anti-gay legislation in Uganda since colonial times, President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill in February that calls for “repeat homosexuals” to be jailed for life and makes it a criminal offence to not report someone for being gay. Prosecutors have lined up several witnesses to testify against the two, who have been charged with engaging in sex acts “against the order of nature,” said their lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi.

The law’s passage drew international condemnation, with US Secretary of State John Kerry likening it to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany. Western countries have ever since withheld or cut aid to Uganda over the law, hoping the country’s legislators will repeal it. Several Ugandan government officials have described the Western pressure over the bill as blackmail.

Uganda, is just one of 82 countries where homosexuality is illegal. Most of these countries are in Africa and Asia, though homosexuality is also condemned in countries such as Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, and Indonesia. As of January 2014, no country in Europe has an official law against homosexuality—though countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova have unofficial anti-gay agendas.

The premise of MTV’s new show, “Faking It,” is very basic—two teenage girls pretend they are a lesbian couple to become popular in high school. This offbeat premise allows for “high school stories that feel really fresh and different,” according to an interview between executive producer Carter Covington and TVLine.

You can watch MTV’s trailer below:

“The show feels very unique and very current. I am very happy about that,” he adds.

Even when the show was first announced, it received many detractors but Covington says there is an inspirational message behind it. Although there is still drama to the show, the story has much more complexity as well.

For example, the show has a number of scenes that are non-confrontational yet uncomfortable. They make the watcher questions whether or not they should be offended, as in the scene below quoted by FlavorWire:

“In one scene the girls’ nemesis/Amy’s stepsister Lauren (Bunheads‘ Bailey Buntain) outs (ins?) the “couple” by screeching, ‘They are mocking the gay rights movement!’ Again, she’s right, but Faking It doesn’t care. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue in Faking It that misses the mark and just feels tone-deaf.”

The show could also be off-putting because in high schools across the country, gay high-schoolers are bullied and persecuted, not seen as the path to popularity. Glossing over this fact could easily become offensive to viewers, especially those with personal experiences.

Will the show get past its initial shaky moments? Perhaps. But for now, it’s certainly treading a thin line.

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If heterosexuals are “straight as an arrow,” what does that imply about non-heterosexual people?
Image: Shutterstock

What’s up with the word “straight?”  Does it ever seem a little offensive that heterosexuals are called straight?  What does that mean for those who are gay or lesbian – that they are somehow crooked?  I mean, if the opposite of straight is bent or crooked, isn’t that sort of what’s implied?

Then again, the word “gay” also means happy or joyful.  It didn’t used to be associated with sexual orientation at all, at least not until the late 1700s.  At that point it started to be associated with people who were happy enough being themselves that they didn’t stick to the norms of the day.

Yet, it soon got tainted with the notion of morally sinful behavior usually associated with prostitution and men who frequented such ladies (still about heterosexual people at this point.)  Later such authors as Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein stated using the word as a sly reference to homosexual trysts.

Soon people were using the word gay so as not to have to say “homosexual,” as people in those days were not supposed to talk about such a thing in public.  Later people stopped using the word, though, since they didn’t want to accidentally accuse somebody of being homosexual.  During the 60s and 70s people did start to talk about sexual orientation more and the word stuck.

Some believe that the world “straight” comes from the biblical reference in Matthew 7:14.  It states, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.”

The spelling is different, but many words were spelled differently in the bible and in old-fashioned English.  There are many other references to the word “straight.”

Some are “straight as an arrow,” “on the straight and narrow,” etcetera.  Both refer to following the moral code to a tee.  That would mean to be heterosexual.
The last one is “be straight with me.”  That means be honest and tell me the truth. If you were straight, meaning heterosexual, you would be a better person who is honest and true.

The more I find out about these metaphors and similes, the angrier I get.  It’s frustrating to see only positive references to the world “straight” when there are no such ones for gay people.  Perhaps in 50 years all the words we use now will be obsolete anyway.