…if you do, email me your piece and any other personal information you are willing to disclose (your name, age, w/e.) if you don’t want your name on the article, it will be written by “anonymous.”
Submit anything from life stories to fiction stories. Persuasive essays and articles are also welcome. In general, they should be about anything you feel strongly about in our society, for example LGBT issues. of course, they don’t have to be about LGBT issues.
Furthermore, all submissions will be edited by me before going onto the blog. If you have any issues with this, include it with your email, and i’ll send you back revisions until they’re to your liking.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Westboro Baptist Church will be in Delaware, Ohio to protest a screening of the “Anatomy of Hate” at the Ohio Wesleyan College. They will be protesting April 7th, 2010.
I’m with God Loves Fags (a new grassroots movement created in-response to the WBC), and I’m looking for volunteers to act as the coordinator of a counter-rally. If you live near or in Delaware and are in any way interested, please email me at email@example.com.
You can find us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=366450938880
If possible, send this message to as many people who you think will be interested. All and any help is greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for your time. Hope to see you in Delaware!
So, we’ve all heard the typical pro-gay marriage arguments. Separation of church and state, equal protection of the laws, there’s nothing wrong with being gay, and the list goes on.
Let’s take a look at a new argument, a fresh angle with which to tackle the whole marriage debate.
Freedom of Contract (also known as Freedom to Contract).
The legal definition of the term is this:
That men and women have the liberty of contracting as they see fit with the expectation that those contracts will be judicially enforced if necessary, subject only to public policy (source: http://duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/F/FreedomofContract.aspx).
This dictates that all people (let’s narrow it down to citizens) have freedom to contract as they please as long as they are not committing a felony. Furthermore, due to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State, without due process of law, can infringe upon a person’s freedom of contract. This was upheld by a rather unfortunate case in which a New York baker sued the State for disallowing him to ‘freely contract’ with his workers (in terms of working hours). Of course, keep in mind that this is a rather simple take of the legalities. And don’t worry, we’ll get back to that ‘public policy’ bit soon.
The definition of contract is this:
An agreement between two or more competent parties in which an offer is made and accepted, and each party benefits. The agreement can be formal, informal, written, oral or just plain understood (source: http://www.lectlaw.com/def/c123.htm).
Under this definition of contract, marriage is ultimately none other than a contract. Marriage is between two parties in which an offer is made and accepted. In marriage, each party benefits (there are medical and monetary benefits). In terms of marriage, the agreement is formal and is written out on paper.
So, under this logic, since all people have the freedom to contract, and marriage is a contract, all people have the freedom to marry, regardless of sex. Furthermore, no State possesses the right to infringe upon this freedom. Thus, it is unconstitutional for the State to ban gay marriage.
Now, don’t think I’ve forgotten about the public policy part of the definition concerning the freedom to contract. As per the definition, public policy can get in the way of freedom to contract. So what is the public policy?
The definition is this:
A principle that no person or government official can legally perform an act that tends to injure the public (source: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+Policy).
Fortunately, I don’t believe I need to expand as to why this does not extend to gay marriage. Ted Boies, pro-gay marriage lawyer of the Prop 8 Trial, portrayed this to a more than satisfactory degree: gay marriage does not injure the public in any way. Banning gay marriage, however, does injure the public.
Here, I’ve presented to you a rather fresh take on the gay marriage debate.
With this (long awaited?) post, I hope to enlighten a few of you on why the whole gay and lesbian thing should be boiled down to its fundamental core and viewed in the most simplest of terms…
Fifteen of us walked out of the classroom, fatigued from watching yet another documentary in “Health” class. The topic of the day? Gays and lesbians. The next day, we would have a quiz on them.
Teachers and students alike treated gays and lesbians as nothing more than zoo animals… And we studied them as such. Like I said. We had a quiz on them. In fact, the entire documentary had been focused around this is what gays and lesbians do. There was no real and enlightening information that actually painted gays and lesbians in a favorable way.
I walked out of that classroom thinking, “Oh, wow. I’m straight, and I’ll always be straight. I’ll never be gay.”
Well, look how things turned out.
Thoughts that I might be gay had always been a nagging feeling, annoyingly tickling the back of my brain. Of course, I never actually acknowledged these feelings until high school. The truth is, for the longest time, I thought the entire subject of gays and lesbians was a complicated one. Is it a choice? Is it not a choice? What about religion? What about family? I believed in full and equal rights for the LGBTQ community, but I was convinced that the subject was a complicated one.
I won’t give the details, or names, because I don’t want to put anyone one the spot. But the moment I saw her my entire life fell neatly in place. In that moment, I realized that there was nothing complicated about the situation. See, in that moment, I fell in love. I fell in love with the kindest, most beautiful person you’d ever meet. I just happened to be a girl. She just happened to be a girl. In that moment, I realized that there was nothing complicated. In fact, I could hardly fathom why it could even be considered complicated.
I had fallen in love – not with the girl – but with the person.
There was nothing more to it than that.
A Field Guide to the Straight Girl:
A Field Guide to the Straight BFF
So here’s the next (over-due) installation to the Field Guide series: A Field Guide to the Homophobe.
I’m sure you all know what a homophobe/homophobic is, but if you don’t, a homophobe is someone who is either scared of gay people (homo meaning gay and phobe meaning fear) or, under a loose interpretation of the word, someone who dislikes (or hates) gays. For me, finding out someone is homophobic is probably just as scary for a homophobe to find out someone’s, well, gay. The situations are literally synonymous to each other. There’s no way to know that someone’s gay, and there’s really know way to know that someone’s homophobic, unless either of they say so themselves.
The only way to know if someone is homophobic is to feel them out a bit. Of course, some people just come right out with the fact that they simply do not like gay people. Or, on the more negative side, they could lash out. Ask around. Ask the people who you trust to give you the truth. See how she reacts whenever anyone mentions something gay-related. Keep in mind that a lot of people will say “Don’t be such a fag” or “That’s so gay.” That’s really no indication if someone’s homophobic. It could mean something, but not always. Words like fag and gay are just conventional words that don’t really mean anything anymore.
Now, I generally categorize homophobes into four categories: Passive, Moderate, Aggressive, and ‘Immatures.’ The most important thing, I think, is to calculate whether or not the person is under any of the three categories. To be completely and absolutely honest, it is important to deduce whether or not someone fits under the Aggressive category. Why? Safety. True, these days, everything’s getting better. We can be more open about being gay, and honestly, there are few people who still fit under the Aggressive category. But some still do. Never forget that there are still violent attacks on gays that have lead to serious injury and even, in extreme cases, death. Lawrence King, for example, died only last year. A girl in NJ was killed at a local bus stop. The list goes on. I don’t mean to scare people, but that’s the harsh reality. Thankfully, as I already mentioned, very few people these days fit under the Aggressive category. My only advice? Steer clear of them. Don’t be argumentative, and as much as I hate to say it, don’t be ‘flamboyant.’ Safety is the most important thing here.
The Moderate category and the Passive category is where most people are going to fit. The Moderate category are generally going to be the people who aren’t going to extend further than verbal lashings. The verbal bullies. Whether or not you stand up for yourself is your choice, and it’s totally understandable if you choose to say nothing. Oftentimes they’re not going to be swayed to believe anything other than gays are awful. Not much you can do here. How to spot them? They’re probably the most outwardly argumentative. “Bible-thumpers” fit underneath this category, evangelical types who make it a point to say they don’t like gays. Again, I say bullies. They’re looking for a fight.
The Passive category is going to include a lot of religiously motivated people, and people who are driven, by more logical arguments, to dislike gays. They’re not going to really outwardly say anything, but if anyone asks, it’s who they are. They don’t like gays. What I’ve found about the Passive category, is that they’re easily swayed. Most of them, like most homophobes, have never met anyone who’s gay. In fact, they know very little. Their extent of their knowledge rarely exceeds past what they’ve learned in Sunday School. Actually, all I can say is just to let them get to know you. Even engage in some friendly, healthy debate on the topic. Maybe you can change their mind on how they feel about gays. Most of the time, they’re not going to be outwardly hurtful.
Now there’s the “Immature” category. Here, you’re just going to have a lot of high school kids who are afraid of anything they don’t really know about, ie) gays. I hate to stereotype, but this category is going to have a lot of guys. Unfortunately, today’s society raises the male demographic to be ‘macho,’ which is anything but that stereotypical gay. Thus, a lot of guys are going to be afraid of ‘fags,’ and they’re going to be outwardly argumentative. Not much to say here other than be yourself. Maybe even open up their minds a little bit.
I know the approach I take to the ‘Homophobe’ might not be the best. But it’s a way that I’ve found works for me, and it’s a way that’s easy to put down on paper. If anyone finds this offensive, I sincerely apologize, I did not mean it as such.
To the gays, I know it can be scary to find out that someone’s Homophobic. Especially if they’re your friend, your teammate, or classmate. In the simplest of terms, here’s what I have to say: Be respectful and always take the high road. Show them that you won’t sink down to they’re level and that you are a respectable and all in all nice person. And above all, be safe.
The lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 will see the Federal Court in a couple months. As noted before, the lawsuit is likely to pass through the Federal Court and onto the Supreme Court.
Gay Rights activists everywhere are terrified by this prospect, in that if the Supreme Court rules that Prop 8 is constitutional, the Gay Rights movement will see major setbacks. Progress that has been made might be undone. These feelings are based upon the fact that the Supreme Court has a majority of conservative judges. In fact 6/9 of the current judge can be considered as conservative. Furthermore, there are rumors that the entire lawsuit is simply a shallow conspiracy; the lawsuit is to reach the conservative Supreme Court only to be shot down, thus creating the significant setbacks to the Gay Rights movement.
Of course, the lawyers proposing the lawsuit (David Boies, of the Gore administration, and Ted Olson, of the Bush administration) are denying these claims, stating that they only need to look into the eyes of gays and lesbians to know that Proposition 8, and any law infringing upon the rights of gays, is unconstitutional and is just simply wrong. Keep in mind, however, that Ted Olson worked for the Bush administration, and is typically considered a conservative. This, of course, could mean nothing, seeing as there are conservatives who vote favorably for Gay Rights.
I tend to take things at face value, and would like nothing more than to believe Mr. Olson’s claims.
However, whether or not Olson and Boies have good intentions at heart (they could simply be making an ill informed decision), I decided to take a quick look at the current make-up of the Supreme Court, and what decision they are most likely to make should they see the lawsuit against Prop 8. Keep in mind that this is a “shallow” scan of the Supreme Court. This is not an in-depth analysis. I, of course, mention the justices’ stance on gay rights. Further, I mention their stances on Roe v. Wade, a similar court case in that Roe v. Wade overturned a wide scale set of conventions. If gay rights were to enter the Supreme Court, the situation would greatly parallel that of Roe v. Wade. If anyone would like to see an in-depth analysis, contact me and I’ll try to post one up. Each judge is put on a scale of zero to ten, zero being, not at all likely to vote favorably, and ten being will vote favorably.
Roberts was nominated by George W. Bush and is a conservative. However, in a pervious ruling, Roberts ruled that it was unconstitutional for Texan boy scouts from accepting gay scoutmasters. Such decisions put Roberts on the rocks concerning gay rights issues. Nevertheless, Roberts is more likely than not to rule unfavorably concerning the lawsuit, not based on his opinions on gay rights, but due to his opinions on radical decisions like Roe v. Wade, decisions that change too much too quickly. 4/10
Alito was nominated by George H.W. Bush and is a conservative. Like Roberts, Alito has not made it clear to the public whether or not he is pro-gay marriage or not. He did, however, vote against discrimination against gays concerning the Texan boy scouts incident. In light of Roe v. Wade, Alito does not like the decision at all. Keep in mind, however, that he is extremely biased based on his views on abortion (he doesn’t like it). But Alito is also against overturning Roe v. Wade, as many rulings have built off of the decision as a precedent. This shows that Alito is much like Roberts; he is unlikely to vote favorably concerning the lawsuit, due to the fact that anti-gay marriage laws, such as DOMA, are currently prevalent in the US. 4/10
Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton and is liberal. Breyer is for gay rights and believes that it is unconstitutional that gays are denied civil rights. Furthermore, Roe v. Wade proves that Breyer is unafraid to vote favorably on radical decisions. 10/10
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ginsberg was nominated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton and is liberal. Ginsberg is, of course, for gay rights, and, of course, voted that it was unconstitutional that gay scoutmasters be discriminated against. Roe v. Wade proves that Ginsburg is not afraid to vote favorably on radical decisions. However, considering Ginsburg’s ‘slightly higher’ bias concerning Roe v. Wade, it is not clear whether or not she would make such a radical decision again. 8/10
Kennedy was nominated by Reagan, and, based on his court decisions, he swings both on the conservative side and the liberal side. In terms of gay rights, Kennedy leans towards the liberal side, and consistently favors that constitutional rights be extended to gays. According to Roe v. Wade, Kennedy seems on the edge. He did vote favorably in Roe v. Wade. Whether he would make a like decision for gay rights is unclear. 7.5/10
Scalia was nominated by Reagan and is considered to be one of the stronger core conservatives. Scalia is not likely to the least bit to vote favorably for gay rights. It has been said, but yet to be clearly proven, that Scalia is a homophobe. However, whether or not Scalia dislikes gays and does not advocate gay rights, Scalia will not vote favorably for the same reasons he did not vote favorably for Roe v. Wade. He will simply not pass such a wide-scale and radical decision.0/10
Sotomayor was nominated by current President Obama and is liberal. She has yet to rule on any gay-related issues or make any formal comments regarding such. However, gay legal activists look favorably upon her (a definite plus). Sotomayor was not on the panel during Roe v. Wade, and it is unclear what her status on such decisions are. Currently, she defends Roe v. Wade as “settled law.” 6/10
John Paul Stevens
Stevens was nominated by Ford and is considered to be the most liberal justice in the current Supreme Court. However, Stevens has also been considered to place, ideologically, as a dead center moderate. He advocates gay rights, and he voted that Boy Scouts should accept gay scoutmasters. He is not afraid to make radical decisions (he upheld Roe v. Wade), making him likely to vote favorably for gay rights. Stevens is set to retire during Obama’s presidency. Of course, Obama is extremely likely to nominate a liberal justice, keeping the current balance of liberal and conservative. 7/10
Thomas was nominated by George H. W. Bush and is considered to be one of the most conservative members of the Supreme Court. He voted unfavorably concerning whether or not the Texan Boy Scouts should accept gay scoutmasters. Also, Thomas has not formulated a stance on Roe v. Wade, making it unclear whether or not he would vote favorably on a radical wide-spread decision. 2/10
Altogether, everything adds up to 48.5/90, which would be about 53%. Furthermore, 5 out of the 9 justices rate above ’5′ on the scale from 0 to 10, giving Olson and Boies a slight advantage going into the Supreme Court. Keep in mind that this advantage is slight, and can sway either way quite easily. It is completely unlikely that the Supreme Court will come to a unanimous decision.
Hopefully, the coming decisions concerning Prop 8 will spark media debate and awareness, and make gay rights an important issue in the eyes of the people.
I can only hope that Olson and Boies succeed.
In January, the United States will witness the beginning of a series of events that is unprecedented in the history of its country. In January, the federal courts will take on California’s Proposition 8, and they will attempt to deem whether or not the bill is constitutional.
A couple years ago, in the wake of 9/11, the world craned their necks to see who would be elected, Al Gore or George W. Bush. The two lawyers of both parties are now working in unison to tackle Prop 8.
This is the significance: Proposition 8, under the Constitution, should not have been passed. The Fourteenth Amendment clearly states that any person who has been born or naturalized in the United States of America is a citizen. Furthermore, a citizen of the United States cannot be denied equal protection of the laws, nor can any state pass laws that will infringe upon the privileges or immunities of any persons. Moreover, there is a high emphasis on the fact that (as defined by Brown v. Board) there can no longer be any cases of “separate but equal” (in terms of the gay rights movement, any sort of denial to grant gay marriage, or the settlement of civil unions over gay marriage). Furthermore, it is clearly stated that the church must remain separate from the state (as dictated by Separation of Church and State).
To further reiterate of the final argument mentioned here (pertaining to the Separation of Church and State), I will simply say this: Due to the fact that church and state are separate entities, the federal institution of marriage is not an exclusively religious institution. If the Catholic Church, or any other religious entity wishes to make marriage an exclusive institution, they must severe any connections marriage has with the federal government – and all federal rights now associated to marriage.
Now, these arguments have been repeated over and over again, not only by me, but also by countless of other gay rights advocates.
The significance of January is extremely profound, unprecedented in the gay rights movement altogether. Prop 8, just like Prop 1 in Maine, was passed by referendum, by the vote of the people. The legal standing of Prop 8 will now see the federal courts. Unlike the California state courts, the members of the federal court are liberal. Thus, there is a high likelihood that the case against Prop 8 will move beyond the federal court and to the Supreme Court.
What occurs thereafter is unknown. The Supreme Court could be afraid of mirroring decisions like Dred Scott, or Roe v. Wade. But the Supreme Court could nonetheless do something completely unprecedented in American history.
Either way, the United States will soon see a chain of events that will change the very fabric of the gay rights movement.
The Respect for Marriage Act, a long overdue bill that promises to overturn the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), has reached the House of Representatives. However, once a bill reaches the House, it doesn’t mean that the bill will pass. The United States Government was designed to move extremely slowly, so slowly that Health Care Reform, first introduced by Kennedy so many years ago, is finally being substantially considered. This is the first time that a bill like RMA has even been heard of, much less introduced to the House.
Keep in mind, however, that RMA does have a good amount of support.
First and foremost, the bill has the undivided support of the President. Mr. Obama, although he does not believe in gay marriage (instead, he supports national civil unions), supports RMA, and believes DOMA to be completely and utterly discriminatory. So, if the the House were to ever pass RMA, the President is sure to stamp his approval.
Further support for RMA stems from its very birth: RMA has a total of 90 initial co-sponsors, an incredible number.
However, opposition to RMA doesn’t only come from the masses of anti-gay individuals. In fact, members of the LGBT community oppose RMA. Openly gay congressman Barney Frank (of Massachusetts) is opposed to RMA. He believes that introducing a bill like RMA would get in the way of other important LGBT issues (ENDA, DADT, so on). Furthermore, Frank believes that the bill has little to zero chance of being passed anytime soon (an unfortunately accurate prediction), and that the current debate surrounding RMA focuses on whether or not a state should recognize a marriage, despite its respective sexuality. The debate should concentrate on, Frank says, on whether or not the federal government should treat people fairly period.
RMA is a long awaited bill that will fully overturn DOMA. We don’t know if it will pass soon or multiple years down the line. If RMA is passed, great positive strides will have been taken concerning treatment of the LGBT community. However, I do have to agree with Congressman Frank. RMA is important, but not as important as bills like ENDA.
We must not lose focus.
Two days ago, history reached Congress.
I honestly thought that this day would never come. In fact, I am still in shock. I am speechless.
Two days ago, the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) reached Congress. During President Clinton’s term, the Defense of Marriage Act was written and was reluctantly signed by the then democratic administration. DOMA would infringe upon all LGBTQ rights everywhere… No married gay couple would receive the rights that they deserve. But now, RMA was written, and DOMA might finally actually be repealed.
I am still in shock.
If RMA is passed and DOMA repealed, I swear I will take to the streets. We all should.
There is strong support for RMA, and celebration is due.
Maybe. Just maybe.
We all know how to have safe straight sex. And I’m sure we all know how to have safe gay sex.
But what about safe dyke sex?
Fortunately, none of us have to really worry about getting knocked up… Unless women somehow gain the ability to spit out sperm. The biggest concern is STDs. HIV. That kind of thing. There’s two sides of the argument when it comes to dyke sex: one, safe sex – dyke or not – is the way to go. The second opinion is that there’s no real major concern with unprotected dyke sex. Or, just don’t overdo it.
Now, considering the type of Google results that come up when you type in “safe lesbian sex” or any of its other variants, I’ve decided to help out. Now you don’t have to look at porn! (Don’t worry; I won’t trick you).
http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/sex/a/safersex.htm — Just a quick and basic overview for safe lesbian and bisexual sex.
http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/sex/ht/Glove.htm — How to make a barrier out of a glove. Interesting, no?
http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbiansex/a/LubeforLesbians.htm — Lube for dykes! A very comprehensive list.
http://aids.about.com/od/tipsforsafersex/qt/safeoral.htm — Safe oral sex. For women and for men.
That’s all I have for now, but if and when I find more, I’ll be sure to throw it out there.
The Harvey Milk School seems like something out of a fairy tale… A gay fairy tale of course. Just listen to the students of the school. Watch their eyes and faces as they describe this environment. This community.
You walk in and you’re bombarded with rainbow. Hell, it’s probably the most colorful public school in all of the United States. Down the hall you’ll see two girls holding hands, or two guys holding hands. Beside you there might be a man… who’s really a woman. And maybe there’s a woman… who’s really a man. It seems too good to be true, but this is the Harvey Milk School, and it’s as real as hell. All of this just described… Well it’s normal. This is just another day in the the life of a Harvey Milk student.
The Harvey Milk School is a public school in NYC, created and designed to provide a gay friendly environment for at-risk students. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not exclusively for the LGBTQ community. Though they are the minority, there are actually straight students. A few of them, actually. Because of the openness in sexuality, barriers seem to have fallen (from what I’ve heard).
This summer, six of us took the train to the Village, and went to an independent bookstore where the reading of “I Know I’m Not Me” was going to take place. We sat down in the folding chairs and listened as people went up to the microphone and read sections of the book. The book is an anthology written by the Harvey Milk students, about their experiences being gay at their first schools, and then coming into Harvey Milk.
Here’s an excerpt:
“I move away and look around to see all of these smiling kids talking and throwing kisses at each other — guys giving other guys a kiss on the cheek! Girls are with girls. Some I will find out later are straight, too. Some I can’t tell if they are guys or girls. None of it matters – everyone is different with their own identities and nationalities, religions, sexualities.” – Daniel Marrero.
The book is definitely worth checking out.
And, if you live near the NYC area (and I believe even in areas close enough to be commutable to NYC), check out the Harvey Milk School. Besides the fact of its LGBTQ presence, it is actually a good school, with a high college acceptance.
Note: The Henrich Martin Institute (home of the Harvey Milk School) hosts after school programs for LGBTQ youth.