The Latest

Calling All Allies!

I think most everyone that heard about recent events against the gay community is rightfully outraged, but what are we willing to do about it? I have been as active as I can be since getting involved in the struggle for marriage equality. My personal experience in this cause gives me the feeling I am entitled to say that the apathy of much of the gay community gravely concerns me. Perhaps people think it is someone else's job to champion their rights? I have heard some say that they had made a large donation to groups like MassEquality, so they feel as though they have done their part. This is a dangerous line of logic. Our community is under constant attack, and the people who are at the front of the battle have a huge weight on their shoulders. I see the same faces time and time again at the rallies. What we need is to have more involvement from those who have not yet picked up a sign, or even stood in silent opposition to our oppressors.



If we do not take a stand for our own rights, if violence against those who would support us is not enough motivation to get out and be heard, what does it take to motivate us? I propose that by sitting back idle we are encouraging our opponents while wearing out our allies. The time for all to act has come. I urge everyone who has a stake in equality go to the State House on January 2, and bring everyone you can to show appreciation and support for those who have fought so long and so hard for you. Send a clear message of thanks to the legislators for placing themselves in harms way for justice's sake. By showing up you will be able to see for yourselves all those who have been there for you, and your presence will energize them for future fights. It may also spark the flame inside you to act in other ways.



"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live." ~Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963

just ask, and we won't tell

"We are proud of our service and we are happy to share our lives with you. Just ask, and we'll tell!"




The militirization of Pride aside for the moment, I find something profoundly disturbing about this part of the description. The first sentence implies that the service of which we are proud includes sharing our lives with "you." As if it were somehow the duty of the queer community to share our lives as part of our "service" to straight people. To me, this seems absurd. I do not have to share my life with anyone, especially not as a service. If I choose to share my life with someone, it's because we have built a relationship of trust, and they have also shared their lives with me. The statement from Pride makes it seem like queer people are unproblematically content to share our secrets on command, to put our sexual lives on display for the consumption of the curious straight. While coming out can be a strong political act, that does not mean that we come out and share in service of straight people. We come out for ourselves and our community. Yes, we can also come out to help educate straight people, or other queers, but this is not a service provided. If it were, I don't think any of us are being reimbursed for this service, and so are we providing these services free of charge? Should I start charging straight people every time I come out to one? I should I do this labor wage-free?





The statement also makes it seem like outing ourselves is a simple process that no one has problems with. "Just ask, and we'll tell!" Who is this "we" that they are talking about? All queers? White queers? Male queers? Queers with cash? Queers with homes? Adult queers? Some intersection of all the above? Most likely. Which members of our community have the privilege to tell so easily? Which members of our community have the privilege to even tell at all? Some queers do not want to tell, whether it's because they're post-op and passing, or because it could mean losing their lives or jobs. The reasons for not outing ourselves are endless. Boston Pride should not forget that the closet not only still exists, but it is also a necessary reality for many queers, and not all of us want to come out just to serve straight people.





As for service, Boston Pride assumes that "we are proud of our service." Again, I pose the question, who is this "we" that Boston Pride keeps referring to? Not all of us work in service, and for those of us that do work is service, it is not necessarily in service of our oppressors. Like many other queers, I work for queers. My service is for the queer community. But not all of us are even able to be "proud of our service." It's easy to be proud if you're one of the "doctors, lawyers, teachers, leaders..." that Boston Pride lists, but what if you're a domestic worker? A sweatshop worker? An undocumented worker? A sex worker? All of the above? It is not always easy to be proud of our work when we are taught to feel shame for certain labor acts.





Lastly, I am curious about why Boston Pride insists on solely addressing straight people in their description of the event with a supposedly unified queer voice. The idea that Pride exists as a performance, a service, for the straight community and that "we," queers, are doing this for "you," straight people, is preposterous. Pride should be for queers to feel pride. Not for straights to stare at and be visually serviced.

Boston Pride Shame 2007

Please join me in boycotting the military inspired theme for this year's boston pride. While fetishizing military garb can be fun, using the issue of "don't ask don't tell" to inspire this year's pride theme is in bad taste for several reasons. First of all most of us are against the current war in Iraq and it is nothing to be made light of. Our LGBT brothers and sisters are dying for a war based upon lies, a war that no one should be "proud" of serving in. Furthermore, the language around "serving you" seems a bit odd. As if we are servants to straight people... We have some other more pressing issues to be discussed. Our trans friends are attacked daily. 42 percent of homeless youth are LGBT. And we need to discuss HIV/AIDS.






The Boston Pride Theme:



"Ask. Tell.Proud to Serve Our Community, Our Country, Our World.
The LGBT community is an integral part of society at every level of organization: community, country, and the world. We are your doctors, lawyers, teachers, leaders, engineers, custodians, bankers, and bakers. We our proud of our service and we are happy to share our lives with you. Just ask, and we'll tell! Please consider this theme when building your float and organizing your parade contingent -- an award will be given to the group that adapts this theme best in the parade! "






Here are just a few better (I think) theme ideas:

  • Support Our Youth: Celebrating and supporting our LGBT Youth!
  • Beyond Bianary: Celebrate your unique gender expression and identity!
  • Health Care For All!
  • Proud To Resist: No More War, Oppression, Racism, & Sexism!

Plan of Action:

1. Contact the Pride Committee and let them know how you feel about the theme

2. Write a letter to the editor of BayWindows, InnewsWeekly, & EdgeBoston

3. Post your comments and thoughts on this blog and other blogs

Contact the Boston Pride Committee today, and we will keep you informed about our future actions to encourage the committee to change the theme. http://www.bostonpride.org/

Cirignano May Face Civil Rights Charges



BayWindows.com has just released this photo of Mrs. Sarah Loy immediately after the incident where the Head of the Catholic Citizenship Group "escorted" her to the ground, her head hitting the concrete sidewalk.




In an attempt at damage control the radical right is spinning this as a staged incident, but that begs the question; how would gay rights people know Mr. Cirignano would act this way? Are we to believe that the many eye-witnesses, including a Reverend, an EMT, and a reporter sent to cover the story from a non-bias newspaper are all involved in some sort of conspiracy?




" Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme told Bay Windows that a decision on whether to seek charges accusing Cirignano of civil rights violations would likely be made by Dec. 22." Read the full story from BayWindows.com.

Violence A Daily Threat

Gay Couple Beaten In Scottsdale, Arizona Hate Attack
"(Scottsdale, Arizona) A gay couple holding hands as they left a Scottsdale restaurant were attacked by as many as seven men leaving the pair badly beaten."

He Pushed Her

BlueMassGroup.com contacted the reporter eye-witness to the attack on Ms. Loy at the same-sex marriage rally in Worcester.
"I was able to witness what was clearly an assault and battery." - Richard Nangle, reporter for the Telegram & Gazette. It looks like there will be a solid case against Larry Cirignano, executive director of the Boston-based Catholic Citizenship Group.

Calls Begin For Cirignano's Resignation

Tom Lang, co-founder of KnowThyNeighbor.org forwarded me this letter sent to him by its sender, Mr. Don Gorton, chairman of The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project:



December 18, 2006



The Hon. Raymond Flynn
President, Catholic Citizenship
198 Tremont Street, Suite 450
Boston, MA 02116 -4705



Re: Incident at "Rally for Democracy" in Worcester



Dear Mayor Flynn:



I am writing to express grave concern over the incident reported to have occurred at your "Rally for Democracy" in Worcester on December 16, 2006, involving the Executive Director of Catholic Citizenship, Larry Cirignano. The use of force against a pro-marriage equality demonstrator, as reported in yesterday's Worcester Telegram and Gazette, is a serious matter. While Mr. Cirignano, in today's Boston Globe, denies that he pushed the target of the incident, Ms. Sarah Loy, to the ground, he apparently admits that he laid hands on her in an effort to interfere with her exercise of constitutionally protected rights. There apparently is no dispute that Ms. Loy fell down, irrespective of whether Mr. Cirignano intended the fall to happen. There are reports that Ms. Loy suffered cuts and bruises.



This episode represents a regrettable development in the divisive fight to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. It is my understanding that assault and battery charges are pending. Moreover, reports suggest that Mr. Cirignano violated Ms. Loy's civil rights by the exercise of force. It is not clear whether Ms. Loy suffered injury within the meaning of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, but even a bruise can be enough to elevate the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.



I trust that your organization does not condone actions which forcibly deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected rights, or resort to unlawful battery as a means of promoting a ban on same-sex marriage. I accordingly ask that you place Mr. Cirignano on administrative leave from his position with your organization while the matter is investigated. I also ask that Catholic Citizenship formally apologize to Ms. Loy for the offense to her person and her liberty, going beyond the statement attributed to the organization in today's Boston Globe.



As Mayor of Boston, you earned a reputation for vigilance in protecting the civil rights of citizens. I am hopeful that you will see the importance of the serious civil rights concerns that are at stake in this matter, and deal appropriately with Mr. Cirignano's conduct.



Sincerely,



Don Gorton
Chair, The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project






There is now a chorus of people calling for Larry Cirignano's resignation over his unprovoked attack on Mrs. Sarah Loy. If you have not had the opportunity to fully inform yourself on this issue, check out the many blogs covering the story, like KnowThyNeighbor.org. I am aghast at what Mr. Cirignano has done, but it just keeps getting worse. Be sure to read his email correspondance with people even after this event was covered in the newspaper. It seems to me that the man running Catholic Citizenship is a lunatic.

Woman Attacked at Anti-Gay Rally by Head of Catholic Citizenship Group


On Saturday December 16, in front of Worcester city hall there was an Anti-Gay rally promoted by VoteonMarriage.org in which a woman was attacked by Larry Cirignano, the executive director of Catholic Citizenship Group. According to eye witnesses that have given their statements to police, Mr. Cirignano became enraged when he saw a woman protesting his rally was in a group of his supporters, he then "ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk. The visibly shaken Mrs. Loy was helped to her feet by witnesses who came to her aid, and although she was rattled she was able to declare to no one in particular, "That's what hate does!"





“It was definitely assault and battery,” said Ronal C. Madnick, director of the Worcester County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Police interviewed Mr. Madnick and several others moments after the incident." ~Worcester Telegram and Gazette.





Being at the scene of the attack I was there to hear Worcester police sargeant Wells tell Mrs. Loy "We cannot arrest him right now because the law states we have to actually see the attack, and none of my men did. You will have your day in court though." A visibly shaken Mrs. Loy and her husband Brian Loy say that they are outraged that a man of Mr. Cirignano's position would act so hatefully, and they plan on pursuing this in court as advised.





Here is a quote from Chris Mason's blog TakeMassAction from someone who posted to his blog:





"At 10:46 PM, pdmt99 said...
I spoke with Cirignano after the rally and asked him his side of what happened, “That lady came up to the podium and I escorted her back into the audience.” Given what had transpired, I followed-up to make sure I heard correctly, “Escorted?”, “Yes, escorted”, he replied. Asked if he felt he assaulted her he shot back without hesitation, “Hell, no!” adding,“She’s an actress, she’s a professional actress.”





I have photos of the police interviewing Cirignano after the assault, as well as the rest of the rally and demonstration.





http://worcester.indymedia.org/news/2006/12/6689.php





FYI, others have not covered this, but Sarah Loy who was assaulted is a member of the Board of Directors of the Worcester Chapter of the ACLU."





Here is what Cirignano now claims in the Boston Globe as reported By James Vaznis:





"In a telephone interview last night, Cirignano acknowledged guiding the woman away from the event with his arm on her back, but said he had a portfolio in his left hand and did not knock her down.





He said he did not see her fall. "I promise you, I did not throw her to the ground."





It seems that Ambassador Flynn is already distancing himself from Mr. Cirignano, ans his written comments come just short of a reprimand:





"I didn't see any incident, but nobody has the right to push anyone. The marriage issue is very important and everyone is entitled to protest and demonstrate peacefully."





The story that Mr. Cirignano paints leaves more questions than it answers. If Mrs. Loy approached the podium like he said, why aren't there any pictures of this? If he "escorted" her to where she should be with the other protesters, why did she fall still in the middle of his supporters, and why did he not see that? I'll tell you why; because that is not the truth, and there are too many witnesses to this event to deny all their claims. If words are not enough, as they say pictures are worth a thousand words. Stay tuned as more evidence becomes available you can be sure it will be kept current on QueerToday.com





Additional links for this story are:





KnowThyNeighbor.org
Ryan's Take
TakeMassAction
BlueMassGroup
MassResistanceWatch
DailyKos
365gay.com
pieandcoffee
massmarrier
nodrumlins
Live, Love and Learn
gay blog
volcano boy
Worcester Telegraph
Boston.com





Updated December 18, 2006: Since this story was released Mrs. Sarah Loy has in fact filed a criminal complaint against Larry Cirignano. I expect we will see very little further information on this issue since all invovled are being told to remian silent and wait for the court hearing.

LGBT Youth Homeless Epidemic

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has released a study today showing that while only 3-5% of the general population identifies as LGBT 42% of homeless youth are LGBT, and up to 8,400 LGBT youth will be homeless in NYC this winter. Please contact HRC and NGLTF and urge them to devote more energy and resources towards forming and educating coalitions or organizations that can help solve this problem.

The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 1901



In 1901, Mexico City police raided a clandestine party and arrested 41 men, half of whom were dressed as women. The police paraded the prisoners in public, and many of those arrested were sent away and subjected to slave labor. During the same period, Mexican culture was developing in an atmosphere of sexual curiosity, and the media coverage of the arrests resulted in a movement that some believe led to the birth of the concept of homosexuality in Mexico.

The book, "The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 1901," situates the event within the context of Mexico City's underworld in the early twentieth century.

Mexico City has come a long way since 1901 with its recent support of same-sex civil unions, yet the number 41, for many in the nation, continues to signify homosexual mockery, shame, and vulnerability.

the victory in new jersey today was...

From Press Release: (Washington, DC) — Today New Jersey made a historic stride forward in protecting the civil rights of transgender people. New Jersey’s Senate passed bill S362 on Monday, December 11, by a vote of 31-5. The Assembly version, A930, passed New Jersey’s lower house today by a vote of 69-5, and now goes to Governor Jon S. Corzine, who is expected to sign the bill into law. Once signed, New Jersey will become the ninth state in the country to make discriminatory practices based on gender identity or expression illegal. New Jersey joins California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island in legislating statewide transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. These state-level laws in addition to similar transgender-inclusive protections in the District of Columbia and in over 80 cities and counties now protect one-third of the US population based on gender identity or expression.




Founded in 2000, GRAANJ is New Jersey’s civil rights organization that works for full equality for gender nonconforming people, including those who identify as transgender and intersex. For more information, please visit www.graanj.org.






About the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE):
The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information, please visit www.nctequality.org.

Victory! Deval Event Moved!

Boston Bud said...

"I just got a call from the person handling the event and the Tremont Temple is no longer the place for the January 4th event. The staff member thanked me and said a number of people called and they were not aware of the Temple's past homophobic events.


Thanks for posting this!"




"An event for hundreds of high school students from around the state is being planned on Jan. 4 at Tremont Temple in Boston." -Boston Globe



Please urge the Patrick Team to not relocate any events at the Tremont Temple - the home of Liberty Sunday and Love Won Out. While the history of this church is admirable, their current leadership supports the most horrific right-wing groups in the country including James Dobson's Focus on the Family, and Exodus International who send gay teens to dangerous conversion camps. Tremont Temple is considered one of the most hostile places in MA for the LGBT community. It has been the hotbed of homophobic political action in the past two years.










Call The Patrick Team and urge them to move the event: Victory!

Racism Skin Care




From Australia, where a high a rate of skin cancer has increased dermatological concerns, comes this anti-racism advertisement, "Skincare," that shows a young white female applying cream to her face. The more she applies over a seven day period, however, the more blemished her face becomes. At the end of the commercial, the name of the cream is revealed to be "Racism."

Directed by Tim Gibbs and produced by 8 Commercials, Sydney, for Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney, the commercial won the Silver Plaque at the United Nations Department of Public Information Awards in September.

Racialicious recently hosted a multifaceted discussion of the print advertisement related to the campaign.

In using skin care as a theme, the commercial directly confronts not only racism, but any kind of discrimination that is based simply on the appearance of someone's outer layer.

VoteOnMarriage Sues

VoteOnMarriage.org is launching a lawsuit against the 109 state lawmakers who decided to recess last month without taking a vote on the anti-gay proposal.
Details of the lawsuit are slated for announcement during a news conference
on Wednesday, but the group said it will seek relief and damages in U.S.
District Court. VoteOnMarriage.org, as well as Gov. Mitt Romney, a supporter of
the ballot question, have said they would seek a remedy that would force
lawmakers to vote. - AP/EdgeBoston

tofu makes you gay!

A conservative news source is claiming that soy makes you gay. Finally, a way to make the whole world gay! I'm going to start by forcing soy down the throats of right-wing leaders' babies. Who's with me?

"Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products." - Jim Rutz Read More!

Evangelical Outed...Again!

The senior pastor of an evangelical mega-church in Colorado has been outed. No, not Ted Haggard. This time it is Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in South Denver who announced via video to his huge congregation that he has been struggling with homosexuality since childhood. Imagine having that much shame! He needs "saved." Read more about Barnes in the Denver Post.

Conservative Evangelicals Harm Fight Against AIDS

The latest UNAIDS report places the number of adults and children living with HIV currently at 36.9 million people and the amount of adults and children newly infected at 3.9 million. With such depressing statistics haunting countries worldwide one would think that conservative Evangelicals taking up the cause of HIV/AIDS prevention might be seen as a blessing. Such a blessing should be viewed with a considerable grain of skepticism, however, when examining their history with HIV/AIDS, their archaic prevention policies and recent comments by their most fundamentalist over Pastor Rick Warren's speaker invite of pro-choice Senator Barrack Obama to an Evangelical event observing World AIDS Day.




It's frightening that conservative Evangelicals are now taking up the cause of HIV/AIDS prevention. Such an epiphany on their part emphasizes how even the most ignorant can no longer ignore its effects. Icons like Phyllis Schlafly, those closest to its history, must be scrambling to revise their role in the genesis of this epidemic. How else could they rationalize their new white savior role from their more antagonistic role in the 80's when they stigmatized the disease as a 'gay plague?'




Had conservative Evangelicals not alienated the infected, perverting the scope of discussion away from treatment and prevention, heterosexuals and minorities might have been more aware of the threat the initial outbreak posed to them and taken greater precaution in preventing today's epidemic. Had conservative Evangelicals and the Reagan administration responded to the alert of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and the role condoms could play in disease prevention instead of stonewalling it and pushing for his resignation, realistic sexual education, research, and HIV/AIDS prevention measures could have been enacted here in the U.S. and then adopted worldwide. This is not to imply that they have done a complete one-eighty today, as evidenced on World AIDS Day, old habits are hard to break.




Obama's recent invitation to speak at a church event in observance of World Aids Day brought forth a furor of condemnation from fundamentalists. Schlafly, older but undoubtedly not wiser from her days of sending care packages to Nicaraguan death squads ('New for the Holidays: The Eagle Forum's Contra Kits', Washington Post December 10, 1985), stated, "If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens [unborn fetuses] in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis."




The truth is conservative Evangelicals 'have nothing to say to the AIDS crisis.' They would first need to confront their homophobia, racism, sexism and temper their greed for political power. They would need to exercise humility and do what's best for the sexual health of humanity by supporting condoms and other preventative measures supported by science, instead of selfishly enforcing dogma with their sole promotion of abstinence. Until then, they can never contribute solutions to this epidemic. How can they when they are a major part of the problem?

Protest Romney Budget Cuts Dec. 6

Wednesday December 6

11AM

State House


Sponsored by a huge list or organizations including SEIU, Health Care For All, Jane Doe, Gay Mens Domestic Violence Project, NARAL, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and many more!

World AIDS Day

photo: Thai AIDS activists wear condom costumes.

Rosa Parks Human Rights Day March & Rallies






Endorsed by QueerToday.com.
Join us on Friday for a march and rally you will never forget. We will speak out about Romney's vicious budget cuts at the rally.








December 1, World AIDS Day


1PM


Dudley Square












Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Demands





• Stop spending money on war and use it for social programs at home - bring the troops home NOW! • Union jobs at union wages • Decent & affordable housing • Full and complete health coverage • Fully funded equal & quality education for our children • Stop racial profiling & police brutality • Healthy and safe environment to live • To be treated like human beings and live with dignity • Full rights for ALL immigrants - NO immigrant is illegal • Full funding for AIDS research, education and treatment • Full reproductive rights for women • End LGBT oppression



World AIDS Day Links:

Let's NOT Go To Prison!

Rape is not funny. Prison is not funny. Prison rape is not funny. And jokes about bending over for the soap in prison because you might be raped are outdated and not fucking funny. The new movie Let's Go To Prison will not be funny.




A few years ago QueerToday.com was the first web site to start a petition and generate hundreds of calls to the 7UP marketing team when they had an advertisement with the joke resting on male to male prison rape. The advertisement was banned once prison rights groups started speaking up. The new movie Let's Go To Prison will present us with the same problem.




Snippet of the description on rottentomatoes: "...what's been missing from the typical prison movie in his fresh, probing look at our penal system—rife with plenty of sweet, cloistered, man love. "



1. Write to Universal Pictures Here
2. Tell the Boston Globe to Stop Advertising the Movie on Boston.com
3. Write a letter to the editor and make phone calls to newspapers asking them to stop advertising the movie

Take Action for Trans People

On Sunday November 19th at 7PM at the Arlington Street Church in Boston (corner of Arlington and Boylston) the queer community and allies will gather for the most important event of the year - to remember those killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event was founded to honor Rita Hester who was brutally stabbed to death in Brighton Massachusetts in 1998. The crimes against Rita and countless other trans people remain unsolved.



Trans people are not included in our state's hate crime laws or employment non-discrimination laws. It is long past time for allies and the LGBT community to speak out in support of transgendered people. We have a crisis in this country. Trans people are murdered and discriminated against every day and we have the power to change that.

Historic LGBT Wins & More!

New~A Hawaii woman won a seat on the state Board of Education and, according to national advocacy groups, a place in history as the nation's highest-ranking transgender elected official. (gay.com)
A record breaking sixty-seven openly gay and lesbian candidates were elected (365gay) to various offices nationwide yesterday. Arizona became the first state where voters rejected a ban on same-sex marriage.



More Victories...



Rumsfeld Steps Down




Democrats win house




Democrats win senate (Barring any recount changes)




Bernie Sanders becomes first socialist elected to senate




First Muslim elected to congress




Nancy Pelosi first woman speaker of house




record breaking 67 openly gay people elected nationwide




Deval Patrick nation's second black governor




Massachusetts and New York elect first pro same-sex marriage governors




Arizon
a defeats gay marriage ban




Missouri supports stem cell research




South Dakota defeats abortion ban




Several towns in California decriminalized marijuana use, and nationwide ballot questions show voters support legalizing medicinal use and small amounts for personal use




Democrats win majority of governorships




Democrats control most state legislators




Ballot questions nationwide show disapproval of war in Iraq and call for withdrawl




Victory over viciously right-wing Santorum




Democrats win every major statewide office in Ohio hopefully preventing another vote stealing situation




1/3 of evangelicals voted democrat this time









History has been made. Now that momentum is on our side we must fight harder than ever for justice. We must hold the elected officials accountable to their promises, and pressure them to bring the troops home from the disgusting war in Iraq.

Republicans Act under Muse of Morality

Guest Post by Daniel Spigelmyer

The Republican Party is the party of moralists. This message is transmitted through the airwaves, through television screens, and over the internet. The general populace cannot escape the Republican claim to be the epitome of morality. With a coming election, issues such as moral values once again take center stage. In previous elections, Republicans in the upper echelons of the party realized that morality is an excellent mobilizing force. The party simply had to find a way to harness that power and use it advantageously. Considering the slight Republican majority in Congress and the Republican President who narrowly won the last two elections, it is probably safe to say that they have found which methods work best to appear moral. Just how moral are the members of this party though?


Morality is really nothing more than a pretext for the Republican Party to implement its political agenda. Although some people may argue that all political parties simply strive to further their own political agendas, none have done so with such deceptive and surprisingly successful means as the Republican Party with its stance on moral values. Americans, a people desirous of good morals, prize their integrity and will do anything to preserve their image throughout the world. After recognizing this trait in Americans, Republicans had a deadly weapon, which they found surprisingly easy to wield.

Calling the moral values issue a pretext requires that there be some hidden purpose behind the name. That purpose is twofold: to discriminate against gays and the poor. Ever since politicians noticed the value of currying favor with the gay subculture, Republicans have either been unable to do so or not wished to do so, depending on the political mood and issue at hand. Now, with the moral values propaganda and the sanctity of marriage crusade, the Republicans are seemingly striving to alienate any possible wellspring of votes from this group within American society. Furthermore, the Republican Party is predominately a stronghold of wealthy men with families stemming from the aristocratic and repressive south. Supercilious attitudes amongst the generations have engendered great disdain for people who are less fortunate—the poor. People who do not have significant wealth do no deserve to maintain some form of respect and should therefore be denied the ability to improve their lot in life, or so believes the Republican Party. What better way to cripple financial and social progress than through failing to raise the minimum wage? For that matter, why not grant the rich huge tax cuts to ensure that there remains an insurmountable gap between the rich and the poor? In the eyes of the Republican Party, these were the necessary steps taken to ensure that they remained the elite as well as that “moral values are preserved.”

This issue comes to light once again because it is an election year. It is of utmost importance that the electorate pays attention to the issues at hand. The voters must be aware of the furtive agendas of every candidate so that they can cast an educated vote. This election is especially important to Pennsylvanians because a hotly-contested Senate seat is in question as well as the governorship. Both races have brought moral values to light, more than once, but the Senatorial race seems to be focusing on them more so than the gubernatorial. Incumbent Senator Rick Santorum (R) constantly brings up the issue of moral values in discussions about the expected winner, Bob Casey, Jr. (D). Senator Santorum, however, does not exemplify the most upright moral values. While Casey campaigns through focusing on the issues, Senator Santorum finds it necessary to throw constant obloquies at his opponent, and on several occasions these accusations have proven to be blatant lies. Does it require true honesty and integrity to manufacture a lie and broadcast it throughout the commonwealth? Pennsylvanians will have to be the judges of that question. In addition to the race for the Senate seat, the race for the governor’s office has focused some of its attention onto moral values—although not per se. Republican candidate Lynn Swann has numerous times announced that he would not favor raising the state minimum wage and that he would reduce the size of the government in order to lower taxes (although the rich would see the most benefits from lowered taxes). Neither present governor Ed Rendell (D) nor Swann have state equivocally that these are issues of morality, but in other, even nationwide elections, these issues of minimum wage and tax cuts have been implicated into the moral values campaign and therefore could be seen as such in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race.

Republicans have found an “issue” that is volatile simply because of the American people’s desire to be honest and overall good people. Through framing themselves as the party of moralist, the Republicans have in turn portrayed their opposition as debauched and morally unsound. The question that begs to be asked is if the Republicans are trying to imply that the Democrats do not possess any good morals. Perhaps in the new age of Republicanism, passing judgment on one’s neighbor is a good moral value.



---------------
Daniel Spigelmyer is a gay teenager who lives in predominately conservative Snyder County in central Pennsylvania. He is a senior at Midd-West High School and writes occasionally in the school newspaper on assignment from the advisor about topics “that students [his] age should care about.”

Fighting for Same-Sex Marriage the "Right" Way

Fighting for Same-Sex Marriage the "Right" Way

Mark D. Snyder
Published in InNewsWeekly Nov. 2, 2006


A sea of red-white-and-blue, religion front and center, and a tightly censored crowd of supporters—The Republican National Convention? Nope. This is the scene outside of the state house each time our legislators gather to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage. And it is not the scene of our opponents.


The rallies coordinated by MassEquality serve a great purpose. They bring our community together, inspire us, and motivate us in our fight for equality. Unfortunately some organizers seem to be better trained in censorship than democracy.


I have witnessed MassEquality organizers coordinate efforts to squash freedom of speech by gathering groups of people to out- chant those initiated by the crowd, asking people to remove signs they deemed "offensive," and admonishing young activists for shouting at the bigots across the street.


There is a difference between de-escalation techniques used to quell violence, and outright censorship. There must be room for all forms of dissent and public discourse when the LGBT community gathers for a rally as large and significant as the same-sex marriage demonstrations. There is room for the Religious Coalition for the Freedom To Marry to lead religious songs of social justice. There is room for patriotic gays to wave their American flags. And in the spirit of the many historical protests that propelled the gay rights movement, there should always be room for us to non-violently express our anger and resist the oppression of the radical right.


Censorship is just one component of MassEquality's flawed public relations strategy that includes presenting the LGBT community as more normal, more mainstream, more religious, and more patriotic than our opponents. This strategy plays into the linguistic hands of the right-wing, and ultimately hurts the most marginalized members of our community. How many queer immigrants or anti-war activists want to sing the national anthem at a time when our country is slaughtering innocent Iraqis? How many genderqueer people worry about presenting themselves as mainstream? MassEquality should not be embarrassed by drag queens shouting at bigots, they should be embarrassed by their own blatant attempts at censorship.


If we want to create long-term societal change we should educate people about the beauty and value of our diversity instead of obsessively trying to prove our normalcy. Garden State Equality, the New Jersey based LGBTI rights coalition formed out of the struggle for marriage equality, has made an attempt to do just that. In all of their publicity they use the term LGBTI instead of gay and lesbian. Rainbows are abundant at their rallies. They shamelessly call the radical-right "hatemongers." And the organization was the first in the country to launch a television advertisement in support of transgender rights.


Our friends at MassEquality have good hearts and good intentions, but they should not be immune from criticism, questioning, or suggestions from the community they represent.


If we do not speak up, the days of rainbows defining the imagery of our movement could be lost to red-white-and-blue. At the rally this Thursday November 9th wave a rainbow flag to show you are proud to be queer, and proud of our community's diversity. Bring a sign that points out the connections to racism of the radical right. Chant about the oppression of LGBT youth and the trans community. Above all, exercise your constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression.

Happy Voting

Today Deval Patrick will be elected our state's first, and our nation's second black governor. He will return democrats to power after 16 years of regressive rule. Regardless of whether or not you love Deval Patrick as a candidate, and regardless of how jaded you are regarding the current political system, there is no doubt that today we are moving forward towards our ideal version of society. Unlike other places in our nation, we are inching towards the fulfillment of universal healthcare, solidifying same-sex marriage rights, opposing the war, being fair to our immigrant friends, and protecting the environment.







It must be noted that Deval's extensive grassroots campaign has united people in extraordinary ways: "People who hadn't spoken to each other since busing were in that room talking to each other," said Bell, referring to the period in the mid-1970s when court-ordered school desegregation split the city." - Boston Globe. Deval has also inspired many new voters. Some neighborhoods are reporting that immigrants are now registered to vote at the same level as non-immigrants, at the Convention I met many people who were entirely new to politics, and the Boston Globe reports that we are expecting record breaking voter turnout today.








Grace Ross played an important role in this race too. Without her reality checks the debates would have been mighty boring, and we would have had to endure endless Healey/Patrick soundbites. Grace and her runingmate Martina will no doubt continue to fight for social and environmental justice. I wish them well. Hopefully one day soon we will be able to enact instant run-off voting so that we are able to unite progressives and vote for more than one candidate, and finally stop the "spoiler" debate.











This election will not be fair or victorious for most folks in this country. Legal battles are sure to ensue as voting machines fail and Republicans attempt to steal yet another election. But in this state we are moving forward for once - and after sliding backwards for so long it feels damn good.

Happy Voting Friends!










Mark

Bush pushes abstinence for twentysomethings

As if pedding lies and misinformation to teens wasn't enough, now the Bush administration is wasting more money on abstinence for 20-29 year olds...




Abstinence message goes beyond teens

Homophobe DePetro Finally Fired!

Today John DePetro of WRKO was fired for calling Grace Ross a "big fat lesbian" on air (listen to clip!). But this isn' the first time DePetro has been a homophobic jerk. Back in July he said “And I don’t mean gay fag, I just mean the way when you’re a sophomore, juvenile, in grammar school and somebody would say you’re like a sissy boy fag. I don’t mean gay fag. I mean like sissy boy. He’s a little sissy boy." So why wasn't he fired when he said that!!? Oh wait it is because WRKO is FULL of right-wing bigots.




Grace, of course, handled this situation beautifully as she has handled herself in the debates saying that it is no secret she is a lesbian, and yes what he said was offensive but she has thick skin.




In other election news: BlueMassGroup has made an excellent endorsement of green-rainbow party candidate Jill Stein for Secretary of State.

Haggard: I um kinda maybe had some gay sex

This story has been too much fun to watch!

ABC NEWS: Nov. 3 - The president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who has resigned amid allegations that he had sex with a former self-described male prostitute, is now admitting to some indiscretions after initial denials, according to the acting senior pastor of the New Life Church in
Colorado. The Rev. Ted Haggard temporarily stepped down as the senior pastor
at a 14,000-member megachurch in Colorado Springs, Colo., and resigned as
the president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals on Thursday after the allegations surfaced. Time magazine had named him one of the 25 most influential evangelicals, and Haggard has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage...



Fred Phelps Pledge-A-Thon: Counteract The Hate

Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church (GodHatesFags.com), will be protesting the memorial service of the first openly gay congressman, Gerry Studds, at the JFK Library & Museum at 12:15PM on Saturday December 2nd. View their hateful press release (pdf).





Please honor Gerry Studds by pledging a donation to the LGBT or HIV/AIDS organization of your choice. CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE! We will keep a tally of how much has been pledged, and we will remind you to donate after the event.













FRED PHELPS PLEDGE-A-THON: OVER $1200 Pledged So Far!









Donate by # of Picketer or Length of Time The Picketers Stay. We'll keep track for you. Even if no picketers show up we encourage you to pledge a minimum donation in honor of Gerry Studds.















David: $10 per picketer up to $250








TheOpenSociety: up to $50 to AIDS Research








FieldsCornerGuy/MisterGoat: $5 per protestor, or $18 if none show up to
FierceNY or AIDS Research








Janet444: A
small donation








Smadin: $10 per picketer, up to
$100








PeterPorcupine: $10 per picketer to LogCabin Republicans








Jim Caralis: $10 per protestor
up to $250








Mark Snyder: $10 per hour to
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition







Gary: $500 donation to BAGLY







RollBiz: $2 per picketer from me. $20 minimum,
$50 maximum.







DBang: $2 per protester pledge as a statement.



Laurel: $5 per Phelpser up to $50 to SpeakOut Boston



Chris: $2/Picketer- $20 min./$50 max. BAGLY







Some great organizations to donate to:





Boston Alliance of LGBT Youth





Mass. Trans Political Coalition





Greater Boston PFLAG





Boston Living Center





Community Servings












Can't Donate Money? How about time?
If you are low on cash make a pledge to donate volunteer hours to a worthy organization such as
AIDS Action, The Boston Living Center, BAGLY, Community Servings, or others...

MBTA Begins Searching Passengers: Act Now!

Guest post by Michael Coy




The MBTA is, once again, taking the liberty of saving us from ourselves. Three weeks ago, T police began searching passengers for…anything suspicious. According to the policy, drafted in 2005 (which, notably, was not instituted until now—only a matter of weeks before a very contentious gubernatorial race comes to pass), the searches are designed to “prevent potential attacks while honoring the spirit and the letter of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”






Having stated such intent in its introductory paragraph, one might think that the policy was created with some respect for the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (which addresses privacy rights) in mind. One would be very wrong, however: Nowhere in this policy is it stated that MBTA police are prohibited from either reading or inspecting any printed or written materials you may have with you, demanding personal information to prove your identity or citizenship status, or arresting you for carrying personal items other than explosives.






I note the latter because a recent ruling in the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals (whose jurisdiction includes New York City), in short, allowed that police could search for explosives in the New York City transit system. New York City’s search policy was based on Boston’s search policy, which was originally conceived prior to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. New York’s policy, however, is quite narrow in its scope. Boston’s current policy (the content of which the public has no access, incidentally) is not narrow. For instance, if a scanning machine is not available to the T police in these searches, then trained dogs will be used. If neither scanning machines nor trained dogs are available, then the T police may detain you and search through your belongings. You do, of course, have the right to refuse a search, but then you must leave the station (or exit the train at the next stop, if the search is conducted on the train itself). Also, some T police have also been trained in what have been termed “behavioral assessment techniques”—also known as profiling. What kind of behavior they are the looking for? This is a very good question, but no answer is really forthcoming. They are on the lookout for “suspicious” behavior.






As with most issues of import in our society, this is by no means a cut-and-dry affair. There is much debate, even among those in Boston who do not support infringements upon our civil rights (including strongly leftist civil rights lawyers), concerning the pros and cons of random searches when there is no imminent threat. I will not discuss the finer points here—both because I am not an attorney and because this post is meant to be somewhat brief—but the current response is to educate the public about their rights in this oft-celebrated democracy. Thus begins my current involvement with this issue.






The National Lawyers Guild is a progressive collective of activist attorneys, law students, and interested others (myself included). The Guild is most well known for representing individuals stained by the Red Scare. They are quick to respond when threats to civil liberties arise. We are challenging the policy because of the great potential for both abuse of power toward and oppression of already marginalized peoples in the United States. This political action begins this Wednesday, October 25, 2006, and continues (during business days only) through Tuesday, October 31, 2006, from both 6:30a to 9:00a and 4:30p to 7:00p—the heaviest travel periods on the T.






If threats to civil liberties issues resonate with you, then I highly encourage you to participate in this education project. I speak as a queer man who does not think that oppression begins and ends at the wedding chapel, and as one of many who participated as a foot soldier, passing out flyers and “I DO NOT CONSENT TO A SEARCH” buttons, two years ago. This also serves as a great opportunity both to meet more of your fellow humans and to talk to some of them about their concerns, hopes, and fears. As with all volunteer work of this kind, it can be a bit heartbreaking to realize that many people turn a blind eye to, or ever scorn, the civil liberties-informed side of T searches. However, the beacons of hope do peek out from the murk periodically. The point of such work, in my estimation, is to illuminate rather than to indoctrinate. We are targeting T stations that see larger populations of non-White and/or lower income passengers—those who are more at risk for profiling and detainment for no other reason than their appearance, etc.






We are in great need of volunteers. More information, including locations, dates, and times, may be obtained by sending an email to nlgmass_mbta@yahoo.com.







D. Michael Coy, who is currently coordinating the MBTA Education Project for the National Lawyers Guild, has been a queer activist in both Chicago and Boston. He is currently in the process of obtaining his social work licensure and resides in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Tremont Temple, Liberty Sunday, & Racism


Photo: Tony Perkins at a meeting for the Council of Conservative Citizens - found in their newsletter the Citizens Informer - Vol. 28 Summer 1997, page 7.







Carlo and Brian of QueerToday.com have drafted an article exposing the racism of the leaders of the Liberty Sunday event held today, and attended by Mitt Romney, at the Tremont Temple. Click Here to Read the Entire Report...












Summary of Findings:






1. Dr. Gerald Schoenewolf, Scientific Advisory Board member for the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) made racist comments in a recent paper posted to the NARTH website. This paper was taken down due to outcry from the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as other groups. Joseph Nicolosi, President of NARTH was featured at the Love Won Out, anti-gay conference at Tremont Temple.










2. In 1996, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, and featured Liberty Sunday speaker was implicated in a cover-up involving the purchase of a mailing list from former Imperial Wizard of the KKK and neo-Nazi sympathizer David Duke.






3. Perkins also spoke *twice *in front of the white supremacist Council of ConservativeCitizens (CCC), once in 1997 and once in 2001.






3a. Perkins spoke in front of the CCC a second time--well after a 1998 scandal involving Sen. Trent Lott and Rep. Bob Barr, who were publicly chastised for speaking in front of the CCC, and In 1997, he spoke in front of a Confederate flag specially designed to represent white supremacy (see pic above)










4. Both in regards to Duke's mailing list, and his speaking engagements for the CCC, we believe the evidence shows that Perkins is either one of the most ignorant and unobservant people on earth, or he knew what he was doing when he made these connections with white supremacists.












Read The Full Article Online Now>








Download & Share The Full Article (PDF)





Bullet Points Flyer (PDF)




Boston's "Liberty Sunday" Exposed!

On October 15th the radical right-wing congregated at the Tremont Temple in Boston for their Liberty Sunday event. Mitt Romney spoke alongside Tony Perkins who has spoken in front of white supremecist groups, and Alan Chambers who refers gay teens to dangerous and discredited conversion camps. Ironically Tremont Temple was the first integrated church in America, the first to speak out on abolition, and the first church in New England where the emancipation proclamation was read.







"...one of the more provocative displays by Liberty Sunday protesters was a banner held by members of QueerToday.com featuring a photo of Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in 1997, when he was still a Louisiana state representative. The photo shows Perkins addressing a meeting of the Louisiana Council of Conservative Citizens (CC of C), a white supremacist group..." - BayWindows








Liberty Sunday Response: Video Montage by Beth Long
















QueerToday.com Exclusive:



More Coverage of Liberty Sunday:








"Another speaker took issue with a conservative religious view of liberty in the Bible having much, if anything, to do with sex. 'Liberty, in my Christian tradition, real liberty is concrete," said Cambridge resident Brian Rainey of QueerToday.com, a full-spectrum GLBT advocacy organization. "Liberty is tied to poverty and the liberation of disenfranchised people," he added. "When someone violently rips [liberty] out of its theological context, using it to support a political agenda which has nothing to do with [the interests of the poor and dispossessed], we should stand up and say something.' " - InNews Weekly




“The Family Research Council is actively trying to align itself with black communities and black churches, and we think it’s important that these churches understand that Tony Perkins does have ties with white supremacy … I’m not exactly sure that these are the types of groups or people that black churches and the black community want to associate with,” said Carlo Baca, a QueerToday.com activist holding the banner. - BayWindows

thanks mom

October 15, 2006: Today my mom made front-page news in our conservative rural hometown for starting a support group for parents of LGBT people. Thanks mom!

Click here to read the story and help make it the most clicked story of the day for the Daily Item.

Grace Ross Uncensored

On Sunday night Grace Ross joined me on instant messenger for a late night/early morning am chat. She responded to Bay Window's criticisms and talked about legalizing marijuana, the ballot questions, her thoughts on Deval, and much much more! Read the entire interview here.





"... since Patrick is not really addressing racism and Healey, not sexism and none of them economic divide issues - there is lots to cover..."




On Immigration: " Patrick just waffles… like on many things...."





"If everyone who had ever worked for something important had waited to be told they could win, we would still have slavery, no public education, most of us still would not have the vote, not worker protections or social security, and we'd still be subjects of England I think"





On public transportation and the big dig: "Common sense - the state had a contract, they were suppose to deliver a bill of goods - they did not. and then the other candidates talk about running the state like a business - which business - Enron? Wal-Mart?"



Read the entire interview here>



Read about Grace's Inspiring Runningmate here>



From the Boston Herald:
"Grace Ross gave an extensive interview recently with gay/lesbian Web site QueerToday.com, during which she spoke about a plan to legalize and tax drugs and her battle with a South End publication that doesn’t consider her “out” enough. Ross has butted heads with editors at the gay weekly Bay Windows who have criticized her for not playing up the fact that she is the first openly lesbian candidate for governor. In the QueerToday interview, Ross shot back that the newspaper hasn’t endorsed her and criticized the gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgendered media as a whole for lax coverage. “How out I am is partly up to the GLBT media,” Ross said. “If they want me out it is a significant percentage in their hands.” Ross also revealed a list of her “heroes,” who included lesbian poet Audre Lorde, feminist Barbara Deming, Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nat Han, Tiananmen Square protester Chai Ling and . . . Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. Turner once released porn pictures to the media that he falsely claimed were evidence of rapes of Iraqis by American soldiers. "

queer family needs recognition

James Dobson's Focus on the Family has joined the fight against a queer family in Canada who wish to designate three legal gaurdians for their son. The boy's biological father and mother are legally recognized but not the mother's lesbian partner. We need a way to ensure that families of all kinds are protected and cared for.


Gay Family Want 3 Parents For Childby 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
September
(Toronto, Ontario) In the first case of its kind in Canada, possibly the world, a court is being asked to designate a lesbian couple and their son's biological father all the boy's legal parents. One partner, the biological mother, and the father already officially are the legal parents. The other partner is seeking to be named the third legal guardian. Both biological parents support the application by the mother's
partner. Since the case involves a minor the names of all involved are protected
by the court. Final submissions were made this week to the Ontario Court of Appeal - the highest court in Ontario.
"The family has evolved over the years in a way that the law should recognize the reality of this little boy," the father's lawyer, Alfred Mamo, told the Globe and Mail.
"his reality being that he's got two mothers and a father with whom he thrives.
They all want this for their son." The lawyer for the partner seeking to be
the third parent argues that Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms would be
violated if she is rejected. "It's discriminatory, because one of them gets
legally recognized -- the biological mother -- but the non-biological mother,
who is equally part of the process except for the biological bits, can't be
legally recognized even though they both decided to have a child, planned for
the child, arranged for the procreation and the birth, and they both jointly
parent the child," attorney Peter Jervis said.
Conservative social action groups, including the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Focus on the Family have filed a so-called friend of the court brief opposing the appeal. In 2003 a lower court rejected the partner's attempt to be listed as a co-parent.
In his ruling, Mr. Justice David Aston said the woman plays the role of parent to the child in every sense imaginable, and suggested that allowing the trio to share equal rights as parents would be in the boy's best interests. "The child is a bright,
healthy, happy individual who is obviously thriving in a loving family that
meets his every need," he said. "The applicant has been a daily and consistent
presence in his life. She is fully committed to a parental role."
But Ontario law, he ruled, binds his hands. Provincial family law allows two parents of the opposite sex, or two parents of the same sex, but not three parents.
Among the Court of Appeal justices hearing the case is Chief Justice Roy
McMurtry. The court under McMurtry was the first in Canada to strike down
the ban on same-sex marriage leading to similar rulings in most other provinces
and resulting in the federal government rewriting marriage law to provide for
gay marriage.

where do i vote?

If you're planning on voting in MA tomorrow, visit this easy to use web site to find your polling location.

And for a bit of humor, to see a mock Gabrieli ad I made click here.

Racism and the Ex-Gays, AGAIN

(Thanks to Ex-gay watch for the heads up)



A year ago, I posted an article suggesting that there is a relationship between racism and the Christian Right. Here is another shocking quote from an advocate of "ex-gay" groups, Dr. Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of the advisory board of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). NARTH is an organization that attempts to give crackpot "ex-gay" theories scientific legitimacy, and its President Joseph Nicolosi was featured at Boston's Love Won Out conference last October at Tremont Temple Baptist Church, a predominantly black church. Dr. Schoenewolf said:

With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those [slaves] brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.


WTF?!?!? That's because you would have to be a madman to say something this fucking racist. To think, Tremont Temple Baptist Church, a church with historic ties to abolitionism, would host an organization with an open racist on their advisory board is sick, cruel irony. I only wish we had had this quote last year to ask the pastor of Tremont Temple what he thought of Dr. Schoenewolf's comments.



Schoenewolf dregs up some shockingingly primeval justifications of the slave trade, even going back to eighteenth and nineteenth century portrayals of Africans as "savages." He rehashes the old pro-slavery arguments that America was "Christianizing" and "civilizing" Africans. The idea that Africa may have had its own, proud, sophisticated culture (nah, they were just a bunch of primitive bushmen) and may have wanted to industrialize on its own terms (yea, even that they may have had the right to do this!) escapes the good doctor.

These terms were also applied to other victims of European conquests, e.g. Native Americans, Aztecs, Incas, Africans, Indians, the Chinese, aboriginees, Arabs, etc--cultures with very different worldviews than that of Europeans.



Equally disgusting is the fact that Schoenewolf has no concept of the scope and scale of slavery's brutality in the United States. While slavery in all contexts is immoral, there is no comparison between the ravaging and kidnapping of African slaves and the slavery practiced by indigenous Africans. Slavery was practiced by Africans, but their entire economic system was not based on chattel slavery. Slavery was critical to the economic foundations of this country and the free labor gave capitalism a big kick--and led to the industrial capitalism Schoenewolf was talking about.



The problems that indigenous peoples have are often used to justify their conquest. Of course, the problems of the "civilized" Europeans with their two extraordinarily destructive world wars, not to mention their unjustifiable acts of cruelty and brutality to third world countries, are never used to suggest that the West deserves to be conquered.



Schoenewolf's comment was made in the context of a tirade against how the gay rights movement and civil rights movement used "hysteria" and "emotion" to get their points across. Now, let's see. You had millions of people living in deplorable poverty, segregated schools, under regimes of police brutality and everytime blacks protested they were confronted with angry white mobs, fire hoses, attack dogs, tear gas and horses. Add on top of that a slow federal government that had to practically be threatened into doing anything. Why in the world would black people get emotional? Again, Schoenewolf's inability to grasp the scope and scale of black suffering is incredible. So, he added this gem to his essay:

The irony is that the Civil Rights Movement has been vehement about pointing out the hysterical lynchings that took place in the old South, but completely blind to its own hysterical tactics.


Yes, the horror of a lynching (he obviously has not seen a picture of a lynching) is the same thing as advocating for being treated like a human being. And furthermore, WHAT hysterical tactics? Marching? Sitting at a lunch counter and demanding to be served? Not moving to the back of the bus?



There are a lot of other criticisms I could make of Schoenwolf's essay, such as his juvenile understanding of Marxism, its influence on contemporary political movements and his attempts to use the bogeyman of Communism to delegitimize any movement for social justice (another old tactic), but his boorish racism is more than enough to, once again, ask anti-gay black churches whose side they really want to be on.

protest dick. protest bush.

Dick Cheney (& Kerry Healy)


September 8th, 5PM


Harvard Club: 374 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston



George Bush Sr.


September 21, 11AM-1PM


Boston Common

both gay papers get trans pronouns wrong

Susan Ryan-Vollmar, editor of Bay Windows, failed to follow the Associated Press's Style Guide on how to refer to transgendered people in last week's letter. The 2000 version of the style guide specifically says you should refer to a person by the gender they prefer regardless of whether or not you are talking about the person in the past, present, or future. And considering Vollmar writes that Michelle Kosilek had been struggling with her gender identity since she was three, you'd think she would understand that the right thing to do would be to call her by the pronoun and name she has identified with for most of her life.

(Michelle) Kosilek has struggled with gender dysphoria since he was 3
years old and his mother abandoned him at
an orphanage where he was punished for dressing as a
girl.......

Later in the article:
While in prison, Kosilek was initially denied treatment for her gender dysphoria. She attempted suicide twice and once tried to castrate herself. She sued the Massachusetts Department of Corrections for its failure to treat her medical condition.

This week, InNewsWeekly also failed to use the appropriate pronouns when refering to Michelle. On page A11 they write:

Kilosek was Robert Kosilek when he was convicted...he legally changed his name
to Michelle.

The sentence should read "Michelle Kilosek was Robert Kosilek when she was convicted...in 1993 she legally changed her name."

george bush hates black people!




Rally - Katrina, One Year Later

Tuesday, August 29 4:00pm Dudley Common - Blue Hill Ave. and Dudley St.



August 29th is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit it devastated the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The images of New Orleans even shocked people from developing countries. When the levee broke and people were stranded, the U.S. government did nothing for 4 days, they just left poor, Black, Native Americans and Latino’s there to die. This criminal negligence on the part of the government highlights how poor and oppressed people of color are treated less than human.



The reality is that all across this country, the conditions for poor, Black, Latino and other people of color are one in which our lives are Katrina-ized (criminally neglected). We can see this in the Immigration movement where undocumented immigrant workers receive ridiculously low wages, dangerous work environments, no health care and often unsafe overcrowded housing.


In general, the lives of the poor, Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos and other peoples of color are Katrina-ized by the lack of adequate money for decent housing, education, health and jobs with livable wages. The money that could be spent to improve the quality of life for all people here is used instead on war and occupation in Iraq and bombs killing women and children in Lebanon.



All of these things are connected. We cannot stop the violence in our community without the government stopping the violence and war in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. We can not build state of the art Levees, a wall of life, instead the government will spend our tax dollars to builda wall of death on the Mexico borders.



We will not have quality schools, heathcare, housing and jobs at livable wages as long as this government spends billions after billions on violence and war in other countries. We need those resources to make our lives better here in communities across the United States.



Like Rosa Parks we want a better society for poor, Black, Native American, Latino, Asian and all people in need. We want a society that is truly free, safe, equal and just. We want to be a central part of making decisions that impact our lives:



•We want to stop spending money on war and use it for social programs at home.• We want jobs with a livable wage (one that we can pay rent, utilities, food and transportation, clothes and other important necessities.)• We want decent and affordable housing that correspond to our income.• We want full and complete health coverage.• We want fully funded quality education for our children.• We want a healthy and safe environment to live.• We want to be treated like human beings and live with dignity.





Tell your family and friends. Be like Rosa Parks and stand up for dignity and human rights. Support the August 29 Rally to commemorate the horror of Katrina and the Katrina-ization that exist in our communities.

Endorsers: Tony Van Der Meer, Prof. UMASS Boston*; Chuck Turner, Boston City Council, District 7*; Clemencia Lee, Co-Founder Cultural Cafe; Dorotea Manuela, Puerto Rican Activist; Askia Toure, Poet & Political Activist; The Most Rev. Filipe Teixeira, OFSJC, Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, CCA; Boston Workers Alliance; Encuentro Diaspora Afro; International Action Center; Women's Fightback Network; QueerToday.com; Survivors Inc.; MOCAA@MAC; Community Change, Inc; Committee to Defend the Somerville 5; New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti; MLK Jr., Bolivarian Circle; Dorchester People for Peace; Ed Childs, Chief Shop-Steward Unite/HERE L. 26*; United for Justice with Peace; Boston Anti-Zionist Action; Mystic River Green-Rainbow Action; Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts; The Lucy Parsons Center; Diocese of Saint Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church of the Americas; Greater Boston Stop The Wars Coalition; Workers World Party; Safety Net*id only

Back up Your Birth Control!

At 9:20 AM this morning, the FDA approved Emergency Contraception to be sold at pharmacies over the counter! This is huge success that people have been fighting for for years. While this is great, there is some not-so-hot news to accompany it. Unfortunately, it was only approved to be sold over the counter to people over the age of 18. This is bad for two major reasons. The first being that it totally de-recognizes (or condemns) the sexuality of young people. Without acknowledging and accepting the fact that people under the age of 18 are sexually active, the teen pregnancy rate will increase, as will the rate of STI and HIV infections, dating abuse, and a whole slew of other related sexual/relationship health problems.

The second reason this under 18 limit is bad is that it means that while you don't need a prescription to get EC, you may have to get it behind the counter, like cigarettes or condoms at some places, so that the pharmacist can ID you. This, as we know, is dangerous. Putting the sexual and reproductive health of women in the hands of pharmacists is not a good thing. Placing it behind the counter will make it harder to ask for, especially for young people, people of color, immigrants, and trans people. And, these are also the people most likely to be denied access to reproductive health care in the first place.

So, back up your birth control, learn more about EC (including why "the morning after pill" is a terrible misnomer and that you can also order EC online!), and talk to your friends about it. Yay reproductive health!

HIV Rates May Soar in the Future

In a disturbing article in Advocate.com, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are expecting HIV rates to skyrocket in North America and Europe in the future.



The report projects that while only 1 in 12 gay men were infected in their 20s, 1 in 4 of this generation will be HIV+ when they turn 30 and 58% of these same gay men will be HIV+ at 60! The projected stats for people of color are even more grim. On the whole, HIV rates have been rising at about 2% per year since 2001.



While projections like this tend to be on the high side, it is still cause for serious concern. This study is like a tornado watch--the tornado may not happen, but the conditions are right for it to happen, so watch out.



In 2006, twenty-five years after the AIDS epidemic first made its appearance, I still hear things like: "Can you get it from kissing?" or "Can you get it because some cum got on my chest?" or "you look healthy so you don't have to use a condom with me." After hearing comments like these, I have to conclude that a major part of the problem is widespread mis-education.



It is often said that "this isn't the '70s" and so we have to just accept that the sexual landscape has changed. We can no longer have "carefree" sex anymore, some say. Use a condom everytime, HIV prevention specialists say. And they are right--indeed, the sexual landscape has changed and if you are going to have anal sex, USE A CONDOM.



But what HIV prevention specialists also have to take seriously is that this is also not the late '80s and early '90s. Since 1996, anti-retroviral drugs have significantly prolonged the lives of people who are HIV+. Furthermore, the antibody tests have become far more sensitive and now, with the fourth generation antibody tests you can actually know whether or not you are positive only six weeks after a risky encounter! The CDC still recommends three months, but in the state of Massachusetts, six weeks is considered definitive.



With the window period for testing getting smaller, the antiretroviral drugs getting more effective and side-effects becoming more manageable, we may be seeing more incidents of unprotected sex because people are becoming more relaxed and experimenting with new ways to keep themselves safer--e.g. serosorting. People are using "trial and error" to negotiate the changing effects of HIV. But unfortunately, with a lot of "trial" comes a lot of "error" and the rate of new infections continue to rise. That means that there does need to be some leadership and guidance from prevention specialists.



Unfortunately, many of our prevention specialists are still acting as though this is 1988 or 1992 when they need to be ahead of the population at large and creating prevention strategies that take into account the new HIV landscape. "Use a condom every time" is no longer an effective message. The same idea needs to be expressed differently and with some understandings of the complexities of people's lives.



Some say that in the old days (late '80s, early 90s) the fear of getting sick and dying was what kept people in line. So, the logic goes, if we want to stop the spread of HIV, we have to recreate that fearful environment. As a result, some prevention specialists are intensifying the use of fear-mongering and scapegoating to deal with the problem. A recent prevention ad aimed at the black community with the picture of a black man in the crosshairs asking, "HIV: Have you been hit?" is a great example of what's wrong with some HIV prevention strategies. Many critics commented on the ad's most egregious and blatant outrage--racism (as if blacks can only understand the language of violence and guns). The other problem with the ad is the very insinuation that HIV positive people are like snipers! It only reinforces the stigma associated with HIV and encourages people to do the very opposite of what the ad suggested--that is, get tested. Who wants to find out they're a potential sniper?



Fear and scapegoating do not promote testing or safer sex; they produce guilt and shame--which lead to lies and infection. Instead of resorting to fear tactics we need to take on the issue of HIV prevention holistically and address the various social, economic and psychological dynamics that are at the root of the epidemic. That may mean that we reevaluate things like social priorities (what government money gets allocated where), the political and financial priorities of the LGBT movement, etc.



First, it is clear to me that even twenty-five years after AIDS first hit, many, many people simply do not understand how the virus works. Everyone needs to understand that HIV usually means a significant reduction in quality of life--even with anti-retrovirals. Thanks to the pharmaceutical industry's advertising campaigns, the imagery of people who are on HIV-meds is skewed and unrealistic.



Also critical is that people know how HIV is transmitted without obfuscation and fear-mongering. The fact that people are paranoid of infection because they gave someone a blowjob is indicative of widespread mis-education. Sometimes transmission statistics are unclear, but we need to be as clear as possible and allow people to make informed choices.



Second, and most importantly, many prevention campaigns assume that people care enough about themselves to actually take steps to protect themselves. Most of the campaigns say, "Use a condom" and the subtext (and sometimes even the overt message) is if you don't use a condom you're stupid or evil. That's the wrong message. People make mistakes sometimes. Others get to a point in their lives in which they no longer want to live because they feel that their lives have no value--so why would they take steps to keep themselves safe? Some desire so much to fit in or to be loved and accepted that they put the desires of others over their own safety. As someone who works with HIV-positive people, I have heard all of these scenarios multiple times. To say "put on a condom" or "practice safer sex" to people who are hurt and alienated is putting the cart before the horse.



Is it really that inconceivable that people don't take steps to protect their own life if they believe that their life has no value, or they believe that their life isn't going anywhere? I have never seen an HIV prevention ad that says things like: You're special. Your life does have value. You are loved. You're not a slut, you're a good person.



Until we decide that we are ready to treat HIV as something that involves social, psychological and political dynamics, the spectre of rising infections will continue to haunt us.