Amy Contrada, author of the vehemently anti-gay MassResistance blog and tireless crusader against the Laramie Project play, failed to report that her own daughter will star in Acton High School's production of the play this November. Despite the fact that her daughter will play a TV reporter and serve as a Moderator for the play, which sensitively chronicles the death of Mathew Shepard, Contrada remains committed to organizing an anti-gay forum at the same High School in October.
Friends of Contrada's daughter first posted messages on QueerToday.com on the evening of September 25. "When you meet her (The daughter of Amy Contrada), it's hard to believe that her mom is like that - she's such her opposite," wrote one classmate. Another drama club friend showed their support by posting "Go C****!"
Contrada's daughter is clearly a brave, compassionate, and inspiring young woman who is willing to lead in the face of adversity - in this case coming from her own mother. Her efforts to encourage acceptance instead of hate is both a testament to her own courageousness and to the power of social support. She clearly has strong allies in the Acton Drama Club. We at QueerToday applaud Contrada's daughter, and we will keep her family in our thoughts because have seen how Contrada's style of homophobic religious terrorism can painfully tear families apart.
Contrada insists that the Laramie Project is "an extremely offensive piece of propaganda that uses the murder of the gay college student Matthew Shepard to push acceptance of homosexuality and horribly demonize Christians and others who have moral issues with homosexual behavior." The forum that Contrada has organized will feature a prominent "ex-gay" leader and several other right-wing speakers who will present theories about "homosexuality" that have been debunked by every major psychological association.
Contrada has also been very active in the controversy in the Lexington school system surrounding the popular children's book, King & King. The issue was referenced in the Democratic debate on September 26th. In response, all of the Democratic candidates said they would be comfortable teaching second graders about "all types of families." John Edwards acknowledged that young people are "leading us on this issue."
While Contrada dealt with her family drama, her cohort in hate Brian Camenker, who was recently slammed on the Daily Show, was caught trying to sneak into a meeting of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It would do Amy good to have a Mayor Sanders moment. May we recommend her local PFLAG?
Mathew Shepard's mother is currently working to ensure that the Mathew Shepard Act will continue to gain support. On September 27th the hate crimes bill passed in the Senate setting up a potential battle with the Bush Administration.
The Acton High School production of the Laramie Project will begin November 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at abdrama.org.
The anti-gay forum at Acton High School is on October 3rd, at 7PM and is open to the public.
LGBT youth seeking friendship and leadership opportunities should contact the Boston Alliance of LGBT Youth to learn about a group near you.
For more information about this story or QueerToday.com contact Mark Snyder. (Please note that it is our legal right to post any e-mail sent to us in regards to this issue.)
Update: Sept. 30, 2007 MassResistance took our article out of context, reworded our comments, and encouraged their readers to send us hate mail. Compare their version of what we said, to our original post above.
From MassResistance E-mail Blast:
This is the face of evil - targeting a family and child.
The Boston-based homosexual newspaper "Bay Windows" has done a lot of
disgusting things over the years, from their hate-filled,
sexually-laced attacks on Pope John-Paul II when he died, to their
pornographic "personal ads" featuring sickening homosexual sex acts.
But this is among the worst. They are attacking a mother and her
vulnerable high-school-age adopted daughter in a particularly vicious
way. They've published an article with the message that the daughter
should be ashamed of her mother and distance herself from her mother -
calling the mother horrible, vulgar names.
They appear to be doing this because Amy Contrada, a MassResistance
activist, has spoken out on issues and because MassResistance is
helping parents on a forum on a homosexual play being presented at the
high school in Acton, MA, where Amy lives.
Amy Contrada's 17-year-old adopted daughter has shown great talent as
an actress, and has won awards over the years. As many of you know,
adopted children, particularly those of a different race (she is
Asian) face particular emotional struggles. Claudia loves acting and
it has helped the bond between Claudia and her parents, who also have
a love of theatre.
The Bay Windows article links to a disgusting blog posting about her
and her daughter, which says:
". . . Contrada's daughter is clearly a brave, compassionate, and
inspiring young woman who is willing to lead in the face of adversity
- in this case coming from her own mother. .. we have seen how [Amy]
Contrada's style of homophobic religious terrorism can painfully tear
families apart . . . I can't even imagine the horror of living in a
house with that bitch Amy. Poor, poor kid."
The Bay Windows article also links to a list of students in the
Acton-Boxborough High School Drama Club. (Why is an adult homosexual
newspaper doing this?)
Even worse, quotes from students from the high school are included in
these "reports." It seems that the adult homosexual activists at the
school's "Gay-Straight Alliance" club have been working with the
blogger and others.
(These attacks on Amy, involving her daughter, began last May, after
she helped expose the atrocities of "Youth Pride." )
Here's the link to the "Bay Windows" article.
Here's the blog which the article links to. It also includes the
quotes from the kids from the high school appear. The blog,
"QueerToday", is run by an extremely disturbed 24-year-old man named
Mark Snyder. He is a "GLBT queer" activist who is connected to a
number of extremist homosexual organizations that target children,
including BAGLY (where he used to be office manager), which has led
kids to counseling on body mutilation in order to "become" the
opposite sex. Some of the regular contributors to the blog include
"firecrotch", "queerfemme" and "Becca dBus" [See YouTube video of this
person]". [NOTE: If the blog entry changes or disappears, we will
re-post it at MassResistance.org.]
But Snyder is mostly known for organizing vulgar and hateful protests
against churches. In 2005 his protest outside of the Tremont Temple
Baptist Church in Boston included dragging coffins in front of the
church doors screaming obscenities with megaphones. It was so horrific
that Boston riot police were required to protect the parishioners.
(Amy was also our reporter and photographer on the scene that day.)
Snyder also led the "Queer Kiss-In" demonstrationat the Cathedral of
the Holy Cross in 2002.
Here's the church riot that Mark Snyder organized in 2005.
Amy and her husband were forced into a no-win situation by the school
when the "Laramie Project" was chosen as the fall play. Their daughter
had her heart set on acting during her senior year; being involved
means a great deal to her. A number of parents, including Amy,
beseeched school officials not to select this very controversial play.
But they arrogantly refused. So parents have organized the Oct. 3
forum to publicly voice their concerns.
(In fact, Amy Contrada has no part in the forum. She is putting her
efforts into our banquet which takes place the following day.)
Imagine what it must be like for a very sensitive and vulnerable
17-year old, and for the Contrada family, to have to deal with this.
But the "queer" activists seem to be reveling in it. This is the true
sleazy, self-centered face of the homosexual movement, that cares
about no one else's rights and nothing but their immediate emotional
(Why is a Boston-based adult homosexual newspaper so obsessed about a
high school play in Acton? Probably for the same reasons they focus on
children's activities in schools around the state.)
This is an evil, disgusting thing to do to a wonderful (and
courageous!) family with a beautiful daughter.
DO NOT allow these people get away with this. LET THEM KNOW that good
people will not stand for it.
The Hate Mail:
From: Takeshi & Jennie Kurono
putrid. This is why we need to get you homosickos under control. Someone
needs to stuff you asses back in the closet and bolt the door shut. You do
nothing but destroy the peace. I can't wait until you crash and burn. You
On Wednesday, September 26, 2007, officers from the New York Police Department's 9th precinct made an unprovoked attack, employing excessive use of force against members of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and other community members. While pepper-spraying a group of people who were gathered outside of a celebration and benefit for the organization's five year anniversary, the police also violently arrested two people from the crowd, Ileana Mendez-Penate and Reggie Gossett. These two people were released the following night, and all charges were dropped.
A press conference will be held on Monday, October 1st @ 2pm on the front steps of New York City Hall in Lower Manhattan. We at The Sylvia Rivera Law Project would like to thank all the local elected officials and their staffers, especially Rosie Mendez and her staff, who had a hand in the eventual release of the two detainees.
WHO: Community members and Allies of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, including the two arrestees, Reggie Gossett and Ileana Mendez-Penate.
WHAT: A press conference on the steps of New York City Hall.
WHEN: 2:00 pm, Monday October 1, 2007.
WHERE: On the Steps of New York City Hall, in City Hall Park between Broadway, Park Row and Chambers Street.
WHY: By holding this press conference, transgender activists and allies prepare to send the message that excessive unprovoked police force and false arrests by the 9th precinct or any other precinct will not be tolerated.
UPDATE: 8:30pm Thursday 9/27
Reggie and Ileana have just been released from police custody! The DA declined prosecution, which means that no charges are being pressed. They are free and clear, and are now getting the suppvort they need from their community - in person.
We are all thrilled by this result, the only truly just outcome after a long night and day of injustice. Thank you to everyone who has helped out and expressed support, including all of the allied organizations, fellow activists, community members and councilpeople who stepped up to support us.
Although they have thankfully been released, our work around this incident is not finished. Now it is time to hold the police accountable for the unnecessary force and community targeting that occurred last night, and work so that no more incidents like this happen again. We will keep you all posted as to our next steps and ways to plug in.
I found this interesting five year old column from Counterpunch. It makes some very good points about sexual moralism and disease. Califa points out that if penicillin, not Victorianism, was what stopped syphilis, why do we think that sexual moralism and shame will stop AIDS and other STDs?
So here is the scoop! Avalon, Axis, and Embassy are all moving their gay nights. Emersonians will be delighted to know that they will have easy access to all three of the new nights which will be moved to The Estate and Suite, recently remodeled clubs in the Alley at 1 Boylston Street.
The new Axis Monday club night and drag show will be at Suite on October 1. Avalon Sundays will be moving to The Estate, and Embassy Glamorous Life Thursdays will move to Suite as well.
Avalon Saturdays will be at Epoch, previously the Roxy.
And now the exclusive QueerToday nightlife news, the dyke-a-licious and oh-so-loveable Susan Esthera
is making a big glamorous nightlife announcement of her own tomorrow. She is launching her own Thursday night due to her recent, sad departure from Axis/Embassy. Admission will be free on the first night.
And for those of you who are not 21, do not fret. Shine in Cambridge has you covered on at their new 19+ "Manic Monday" night.
Now, where to preparty for the Monday club nights? Jacques of course. We just learned that on the 1st and third Mondays of the month Perestroika and The Jaded lounge will be from 9-11pm. And you can walk to Suite from there or take the T to Shine.
Also, on September 30th the folks of BUZZ will revive the Sunday night T-dance in Boston at Gypsy bar, also right next to Emerson College.
"We don't have homosexuals like in your country!" -- mainstream/LGBT society has got it twisted...again
Columbia kids at this forum, the LGBT media, and mainstream liberal-democatic-"progressive?" America have been bantering on about how Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement on homosexuality in Iran is absolutely ludicrous, reflecting a large-scale motivation to 'repress homosexuals' by literally executing them into non-existence. Through this perspective, the end result would be exactly what Ahmadinejad contended: "we don't have homosexuals..." In other words, they are all dead because 'we have executed them into disappearance.'
I have a COUPLE of comments. First and foremost, let's write down what precisely Ahmadinejad said:
"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon; I don't know who's told you we have it."
Immediately after the first sentence, the audience is laughing hysterically. Why? Because "we," mainstream liberal 'progressive' America, we, Columbia kids, "we," the HRC and the Task Force and gay rights advocates, continue to presume that a 'homosexual identity' is an unproblematic monolithic given. Their job--"our" job--is to get this unproblematic given publically articulated in the best way possible. Gay America and the liberals who superficially embrace this tacky queeny faggoty America in order to put themselves in pleasurable accord with being liberal--*cough* neoliberal, democratic, egalitarian subjects (woohoo yay!) appear to have forgotten or not stopped and realized that gay *identities* have only RECENTLY been culturally exported through globalized capitalist forces (a neoliberal new world order, yay! let's downsize democracy and up-up-up the [western] wealth using rhetoric and coercive tactics that pretend to be surface-level socially democratic) into areas such as the Middle East.
Yes, the 'homosexual identity' is in fact NOT a static, fixed, stable, and universal organic thing that has merely been repressed by 'uncivilized' societies like pre-1969 United States and the primitive savagery we tend to consider the non-western world. Historians have widely agreed upon this since AT LEAST Michel Foucault's debut of Intro. to History of Sexuality into the United States in the early 1970s, yet most liberal Americans, gays, and LGBT/queer folk alike have disregarded this, succumbing to our society's complete indoctrination into postivist science's mechanistic dissection of our "inner selves," (gay gene anyone?!), and the relentless legacy of philisophical humanism which makes almost all of us believe that nearly everything about us including our "sexual orientation" (what is this again?) is an essentialized truth that may be found at some central spot in our "core identity."
But not everyone goes soul-searching if you're talking about two men or two women fucking. In fact, only until the late 19th century in sexological Europe do people begin to start digging into the depths of their soul to understand their "invertedness" or "Uranism," the pathological predecessors of the modern "homosexual," a term employed by a rising biomedical discourse which sought to exert social control over deviance of all kinds, "homosexuals" being one brand of widespread DEVIANCE. And it makes it a hell of a lot easier to control people if you can get them to not look to the state or sovereign any longer to be regulated, but actually police THEMSELVES. Through what Foucault calls biopower, subjects begin to police themselves into accord with state apparatuses, e.g., a state-sanctioned pathologizing biomedical discourse, to the point where a "homosexual identity" is constituted, coerced, and "stylized" as Butler will later refer to the process, into the very core "self." So, if society wants to regulate heternormative reproduction and all those other goodies, sovereign power doesn't need to waste its time any longer with these stupid things like homosexual acts and behaviors and instances of sodomy---(again these were not linked to an identity, but rather seen as behaviors)---but now homosexuals have been invented so they will internalize their deviancy in order to police themselves more effectively (if you have people policing themselves, it is far more cost-effective than to have a sovereign power policing subjects indirectly).
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but bringing it all back, it is only of late that the "homosexual identity" has been exported over to regions such as the Middle East. With massive globalization, we export our cultural 'knowledges,' and they eat it up. While of course homosexual BEHAVIORS, same-sex desire, etc. have existed as long as sex and eros have surely, it is only very recently that the west has been transmitting The Gay and The Homosexual as some fixed truth-speaking essentialized identity (we just gotta find that gay gene and LIBERATION, voila!). Now, places like the Middle East, Thailand, South Africa, etc. have been faced with a very queer problem: what is a "gay" person, what is a "homosexual" person, if heretofore they have been considered behaviors, not identities, and not people. It would be like suddently reifyng in the United States, "chocolate-lovers" and "vanilla-lovers!" What the hell does that mean? Since when does our preference for chocolate or vanilla constitute my very being? You could ask the pre-1860 western world and the pre-1970s non-western world this same question except substitute "chocolate-lover" for "heterosexual" and "vanilla-lover" for "homosexual" and you would get very similar strange looks at you. Before 1860s, one was not a homosexual, one does homosexual things. You like chocolate, you like vanilla, but these are spontaneous desires that are subject to change. Since when do they speak to the truth of your soul, and when do they reflect some core identity? When a biopolitical disciplinary regime seeks to regulate your food preferences (as it did in the 1860s towards your sexual preferences), then you might start to make sense of your 'food identities.'
SO, my point---sorry for how longwinded this is--is that we need to understand a little bit more about history, the social construction, and discursive production of the homosexual identity and consciousness, instead of laughing in Ahmadinejad's face as he tells us that "there is no such phenomenon here." He is right, the western Gay or Homosexual is an incredibly recent concept, and they have only experienced it as it has been rapidly and powerfully exported through globalization and a capitalist new world order in which they are coerced into our cultural categories, identities, beliefs, and "truths."
In traditional Islam there is no "homosexual" as some fixed identity or role. In its earlier times, adult males were seen as predator and women could be penetrated provided they were married or were a slave. Slave-boys could be penetrated as well, although met with slight disapproval from authorities. Private adult male-male sexual relations went undocumented, but married wealthy men often would not resist sex with a slave-boy or affairs with slave girls. Many famous love-poems of pre-'modern' Baghdad seem to have been addressed from male to male. A modern homosexual idenity has only begun to emerge in places like Iran. Real-life Muslim societies are not necessarily as puritanical as outsides imagine. For instance, in cosmopolitan centers like in Egypt, the contemporary gay subculture is sometimes given a hard time with some occasional crackdowns (remind you of the club scene in NYC even now)? The state of affairs currently is reminiscent of the early 20th century in New York, for instance, as George Chauncey unveils, when police would readily arrest gays and disband gay nightlife. However, in radical fundamentalist leadership like Taliban Afghanistan, same-sex-practicing men are certainly executed, very tragically. But Taliban Afghanistan is not the entire Muslim world by any stretch of the imagination, despite mainstream liberal America's sensationalizing "war on terror"/anti-terrorist discourse would like to pretend.
So, before we laugh at Ahmadinejad's words on 'having no homosexuals' in Iran and immediately construe him as some gay-killing truth-denying monster, I feel we ought to have a better understanding of the social constructivism of the homosexual identity and its only very recent debut in places like Iran due to our mass cultural export coinciding with globalization and transnational capitalism. But when mainstream liberal-democratic-"progressive" America and the mainstream gay movement engage a politics that starts with the gay identity as some unproblematic universal given (spanning all times and spaces) that just needs maximum visibility, rights afforded to it, and as much social status as they can reap, these are the things we surely miss---among just a HANDFUL of other things like a completely debilitated "left-progressive" politics which really has become a tunnel-visioned political crusade that seeks status elevation in the narrowest of possible terms---but anyway, I made my point I think, I'll let it go. Thanks for listening!
I had a great time that night, but as the bar filled up, I kept looking around me only to see that I was still the only person in a dress. There were femmes and feminine people there, sure, and there was at least one jean skirt. But I was wearing an orange paisley slip dress and carrying a white beaded purse and I felt pretty conspicuous, which is never fun for an introvert like me. An old friend from college was there and she kept making fun of the purse. "What is this? You can't even dance with it! Why do you need a purse?" I rolled my eyes and tried to explain that it is a very practical way to carry my cash and cell phone because most of my clothes don't have pockets.
Two years later, I can go out in Boston in sequined, head-to-toe pink and know that there will be other out, proud femmes who are just as flamboyant. There has been a femme renaissance, in no small part thanks to MadFemmePride, an awesome grass roots MeetUp group for femmes and queers of all types. But there are still a lot of misconceptions out there. Many of us still get read as straight. Many queer-identified people think we're selling out or upholding the gender binary, when we're only expressing what for many of us is an authentic, essential part of our selves, our gender identity. Some people assume that femmes have just come out and that we'll become more like "real lesbians" eventually. Femininity is so devalued in our society that some people can't imagine that some of us like being feminine and embrace it.
The Femme Show is my new contribution to Boston's growing femme-friendly community. It's a 100% independent, interactive evening of entertainment about femme identity. There is no production company, no committee, just me, my friends, and some awesome artists in a church basement. Artists in the femme show are exploring gender, social policing of gender and bodies, sex, clothing, body image, misogyny and heterosexism. Come, you might learn something and you will definitely be entertained.
The Femme Show offers smart, sexy, interactive performance about queer femme identity taking place in Jamaica Plain October 12 and 13, 2007. Some of the area's hottest, most provocative artists have banded together to bring you an evening of film, dance, literary readings, burlesque, drag, and performance art that is sure to delight. In addition to an evening of rocking performances, the Femme Show offers an art show, femme-tastic vendors, and a bake sale to benefit the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
October 12 and 13, 2007
8:00 PM Capen Auditorium,
Central Congregational Church, JP
85 Seaverns Ave, 1 block from the Green Street T Stop
$11 in advance, $12 at the door
I'll admit it. I'm surprised that HRC actually supported a political event that was not specifically related to gay people! Though they did raise a furor over James Byrd's brutal murder (a black man dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas) years ago, this is unprecedented. In fact, the HRC has been talking about this issue for the last week. What's going on here? Has hell frozen over?
As I said in my commentary on the Don Imus brouhaha, black people are getting tired of this crap. This is another explosion in less than a year that has galvanized black people. I know for me, on a personal level, after seeing my people left to drown and starve in New Orleans two years ago, my tolerance level for obliviousness about racism went down to almost nil. I have very little patience for people who refuse to critically engage the world around them when it comes to race.
No one is going to deny that some things have improved for blacks since the 1950s (note, however, that we are going backwards in some of these areas as well--see the statistics on housing and school segregation, for instance). But the Civil Rights Movement was stopped in its tracks in the late '70s, and blacks recognize now, as we did then, that we have a long way to go. I think many blacks now want to continue down that path, so courageously forged by the early Civil Rights leaders. We are ready to pick up where we left off, and the eruption caused by the Jena 6 case reflects that.
I was watching CNN's coverage of the Jena 6 earlier today (inbetween doing Attic Greek paradigms) and I heard one of the reporters say that it sounded like they were in the 1960s with cries of, "Black Power!" coming from the audience. I don't know if this was just typical media sensationalism or whether this was an accurate reflection of sentiments at the rally. If there is any truth to what she said, I'm not surprised. It shows that many of us long for a radical movement that will truly liberate black people one day.
I think this move by the HRC is a good sign and a small step in the right direction. It is a sign that people are beginning to feel more comfortable making political connections--even really conservative groups like HRC. I suspect Solmonese and his staff recognize that something important is going on in Jena, Louisiana and that this mass galvanization of blacks and their supporters has wider political implications for everyone--especially queer people. Of course the HRC's overall corporate, mainstream orientation has not changed, sadly. But something about this case caused them to do something unusual and I wouldn't sneeze at that.
No, revolution is not right around the corner. But we may be in the very, very early stages of what could turn out to be some pretty important changes in this country.
"J. Matt Barber is a non-practicing attorney, an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer (Matt “Bam Bam” Barber), and a jazz drummer in the Chicago Land area. In addition to his Law Degree, Barber holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA). Matt is a Contributor to the Washington Times “Insight Magazine,” and a Columnist and Contributing Editor for TheConservativeVoice.com e-news publication.
E-mail your comments to Matt, at email@example.com"
Felony Gaybashing in Provincetown
At approximately 12:30 AM on Monday, September 10th, a New Bedford resident was the victim of a violent assault and battery near Spiritus Pizza in Provincetown. The victim was discovered unconscious at around 3 AM, lying on the beach covered in bruises, dried blood, and lacerations. He had suffered serious head and facial trauma, but the responding officer failed to arrange for medical care. The last thing the victim recalls hearing before he was struck in the head with a blunt object and blacked out was the word “faggot.” The perpetrators remain at large, but it is unclear whether Provincetown Police are conducting an active investigation.
Given the serious bodily injury the victim suffered, and the clear bias indicator evidence, the assault and battery qualifies as a felony hate crime under G.L. c. 265, § 39 and felony interference with civil rights by force under G.L. c. 265, § 37. The penalties for these two crimes alone are a maximum 15 years in state prison; coupled with the penalties for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the perpetrators face a possible sentence of 25 years in state prison.
This horrific assault comes at a time when the Provincetown Police Department is under fire over the violent arrest of Boston DJ Barry Scott at a backyard birthday party on July 14th. Mr. Scott was left bloodied and bruised by the arresting officers, although he had complied with their demand to stop the music, and announced that he was not resisting them. Mr. Scott, 44, stands 5’ 4” and weighs 130 lbs. The arresting officers, summer cops who had received little training, were both strapping six footers of college age. Mr. Scott is currently facing charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the police for allegedly uttering the words “The Provincetown Police are here to ruin our night. We hate them.” after the music was turned off.
The Anti-Violence Project has mounting concerns about the safety of LGBT visitors to Provincetown given these two cases of serious violence in a short time period. According to Chairperson Don Gorton, “We lack confidence that the Provincetown Police Department, under its current interim leadership, is willing or able to adequately protect LGBT visitors. The Department is incapably led, seriously understaffed, undertrained, and undersupervised”. Gorton announced that the Anti-Violence Project would continue and step up its advocacy efforts until confidence is restored in the Provincetown Police Department: “The Provincetown Police Department desperately needs to be reformed.”
But our response is neither significant, nor decisive, nor effective. Most offenses are still not reported and sexual abuse is still fairly widespread (if the statistics are to be believed)
Our response is, quite frankly, hysterical and it has to stop. Sex offender registries that brand all sex offenders, across the board, with a scarlet "M" (for molester) for the rest of their lives and set them up for harassment by neighbors is one example of the extent of the hype.
And let's not forget the popular NBC program "To Catch a Predator." I've seen a few of these programs and I have to admit they are entertaining. But that's the problem--sexual abuse is something that requires a rational, well thought out response, and it is beyond despicable when TV networks and politicians see it as an opportunity for profit. My favorite part of "To Catch a Predator" is when Stone Phillips comes on and tries, oh so sanctimoniously, to convince us that the reason for the program is to warn parents about the dangers of online predators, instead of the real reason--it's a ratings bonanza. The blatant disingenuousness is pure comedy!
While sexual abuse is something that needs to be taken seriously, US society's lynch-mob response to sexual abuse shows that our response has more to do with our culture's obsession with sex (and suppressing it) than with protecting children. Also disturbingly, it is an area in which the prison-industrial complex and criminal justice system continue to extend their reach.
I, for one, am amused by a hypocritical society that shrieks and howls in the name of "protecting our children" when it comes to sexual abuse, but nonetheless allows millions of its children to live in poverty, to go to substandard schools, or to not have health insurance. So when someone blubbers, "What about the children?" I say, "What about the children?"
For an excellent article on dealing with sexual abuse from a progressive perspective see Betty Schneider's "How to Deal with Sex Offenders."
Unfortunately, American Eagle Outfitters does not do this these things. According to labor union, UNITE HERE....
American Eagle Outfitters says it cares about workers – its Code of Conduct requires contractors to respect the right of employees to form a union. Yet workers at the warehouse contracted to ship AEO clothing in Canada faced harassment and intimidation when they tried to improve conditions by forming a union. And American Eagle hasn't lifted a finger to enforce its Code of Conduct.
A majority of workers at National Logistics Services (NLS) applied to join UNITE HERE. Workers wanted a union because they had not received raises in two to three years, lacked a fair process to move into permanent employment, dealt with daily disrespect from management, and faced unfair policy changes, like increased hours before overtime is paid.
The same day workers applied for union certification, NLS management intensified its anti-union campaign, hiring a US-based labor relations firm that arranged daily two-hour anti-union meetings, hung huge "vote no" posters in the workplace, and mailed an anti-union DVD to workers' homes.
American Eagle is NLS's largest client and owned and operated the NLS distribution center until early 2006.
"We work hard and want to be treated fairly.We feel insecure about our jobs because of the company's intimidation. We need a union because we have no voice."
-NLS Worker, speaking anonymously for fear of retaliation
This kind of exploitation and intimidation is unacceptable. As members of QueerToday, and the greater queer community, we need to take action on this issue. UNITE HERE has a strong history of working with the LGBT community and supporting LGBT rights. Their group, Sleep With the Right People, is just one way in which UNITE HERE's work has been directly involved in the queer community.
American Eagle is a store that many (certainly not all) queers have worked or shopped at. It is now our responsibility to use that leverage against them. Additionally, American Eagle upholds heteronormativity in their marketing campaigns. From utilizing models that maintain (white) heteronormative beauty standards to actually placing heterosexual coupling in their advertisements as a means to sell their products, American Eagle serves to maintain heterosexual supremacy.
So, what can we do about the messed-up-ness that is American Eagle? First off, learn more about the campaign. Second, take action by writing American Eagle. Third, don't shop there.
Together, we can simultaneously work against heterosexism and anti-labor practices in an evil company.
"The teachings of my upbringing and faith frame my belief that marriage exists between a man and a woman, and I will not try to spin that belief for political purposes. But the fact is, it has nothing to do with being mayor, and I will fight any attempt at character assassination that stretches this position any further than what it is: My personal belief.
I believe every person should be treated equally, and with respect and dignity. This is who I am, and I will challenge anyone who suggests otherwise. I built a 20-year public service career on these values and I am proud of my record. I am running for mayor because I believe strongly that we need to treat people, no matter who they are or what they believe, with dignity and respect.
We’re a city of many different people with many different backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives, and we need a mayor who stands up for everybody. That is the leader I believe I am and will be in the future.
As mayor, I will swear to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth, and that is exactly what I intend to do. I believe strongly that we have many issues that we need to address as neighbors and as a community – from taxes, to public safety, to traffic and over-development. None of them are related in any way to marriage.
I understand this is a deeply emotional and important issue to many, and I that may lose votes because of my personal belief. That is unfortunate, but it will not change our pursuit of an open, responsive and respectful City Hall. Our community deserves that, regardless of where our neighbors stand on this specific issue.
I will say we have many people who strongly support gay marriage and are in leadership roles in various organizations who are working just as hard on our campaign. I know they would be happy to explain how they have separated the two issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you have any questions about this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me anytime."
I'm sorry Tom, I'm not buying what you're selling. I do not believe that someone who signs a petition to vote away the rights of their fellow citizens has a place as the mayor of a major Massachusetts city, especially when your campaign bumper sticker shows up next to a hateful one like shown in this picture. Explain all you want Tom, the only way you are going to convince me that you are not a bigot is by walking the walk. When you can say that all people are created equal in the eyes of their government and that you will do everything in your power to protect marriage equality, then and only then should people start to listen.
Attorneys and civil liberties groups say they have long sought to dissuade law enforcement officials from using such tactics because they can unfairly target gay men, and often skate a fine line between policing and entrapment. - Read More at Huffington Post
people haven't heard of PEP. I hadn't heard about it until I starting
working in HIV prevention, but even there it doesn't get talked about
too often. The basic idea of PEP is that by taking href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAART">HAART, AKA HIV meds, after being exposed to the virus, you can greatly reduce your chance of infection.
So,perhaps it's the morning after a one night stand and you didn't use a
condom and don't know your partner's status. Perhaps the condom broke
with your positive partner. Perhaps your were sexually assaulted. Maybe
you shared a needle with someone who is positive. There are lots of
situations we can find ourselves where we may be at risk for HIV
infection. While there are many things we can do in the moment to
reduce risk, e.g. wear a condom, use lube, participate in a needle
exchange program, etc. we generally don't think about things we could do AFTER a
potential exposure to HIV. That's where PEP comes in.
If you think you may have recently been exposed to HIV and are worried
about it, it might be worth looking into PEP. In MA, you should be able
to get it for free through href="http://www.crine.org/index.php?id=151">HDAP (the HIV Drug Assistance Program). Mostly, the program is used for HIV+ individuals to help get their meds, but HDAP can also assist HIV- folks in need of taking PEP. Private insurance may
also foot the bill, if you have it. Either way, you risk either the
State (HDAP) or a private company knowing that you take PEP. While this
may not be a big deal for some people, others may have concerns about
Witht the development of HIV meds over the years, there has also been a development of PEP. This means that PEP no longer involves taking meds that will give you terrible stomach aches (hopefully). Right now, the standard PEP med is called Truvada
and has relatively few side effects.
So, where does one actually get PEP? You can go to an emergency room, or see your physician. Fenway
Community Health is one place that has a lot of experience with PEP and
generally has same-day appointments. Ideally, you want to start PEP as
soon as possible, but it's generally deemed acceptable to start within
36 or 72 hours of exposure.
The exact effectiveness of
PEP is still unclear. There is research currently being done on it, and
initial signs indicate that it can help prevent infection. Still, PEP
is not something to
For those of you paying attention, you may
remember I've blogged about PEP before. I'll probably blog about it
again. I think it's a hidden method of HIV prevention that we should be
talking about more. I'm curious if other people have heard of it, taken
it, think people know about it, would take it, etc.
On the inside, a set of bathrooms at Emerson College looks like standard fare. On the outside, there are newfangled signs to ease the concerns of students who prefer not to signal that they are entering a men's or women's bathroom.
The symbols are gender-neutral, a picture of a man and a woman. In response to students' pleas, Emerson has changed the signs that used to be aimed at a specific gender on 21 restrooms in campus buildings and one of the college's two dormitories.
Click here for the rest of the story on boston.com
And not a whiff of Landsdowne Street.
At Great Scott 9pm
At 711 Boylston till 2am
At Jacque’s Cabaret 10pm
At Machine till 2am
At the Milky Way 9pm
This is the first in a (hopefully)weekly roundup of things to do as the sun goes down and we're hungry for entertainement. Tell me about what's going on next week or after! Images are great too! email beccadbus (at) gmail [dot] com.