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!