Tornadoes Ravage Six Southern States After Anti-Gay Actions Taken by Legislatures, Hate Groups, and Individuals from Those States

 All of this has happened in 2011:

    • Tennessee–State Senate panel advances law that would prohibit the discussion of homosexuality in schools.
    • Virginia–The State Attorney General says that state board does not have authority to allow gay adoptions.
    • Georgia–Atlanta Braves pitching coach is investigated for making anti-gay slurs and gestures.
    • Alabama–A lesbian was beaten and then arrested by a group outside a bar.
    • Kentucky–A member of the Masonic Lodge in Lexington was kicked out for being gay.
    • Mississippi–The designated hate group, American Family Association, started a boycott against Home Depot for making donation to a gay organization.

Then, over a 24-hour period on April 27 and 28, 2011, a devastating storm with major tornadoes wreaked its havoc on the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia.  Don’t see any cause-effect relationship here?  You mean you don’t think it was the wrath of God?  Nothing but a coincidence?

Then why does anyone give evangelists, such as Pat Robertson and John Hagee, any credence when they have blamed gay people for events such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti Earthquake?

Manhattan, Kansas: First City in State To Add Gender Identity to Anti-Discrimination Laws, Also Adds Sexual Orientation

Not in any of the national, well-read LGBT blogs and other sites have I seen this mentioned today, but I think it’s pretty amazing because it’s happening in my old home state, and in the very town where I spent a couple of college years and also came out.  This is Kansas, mind you, old, forever Republican Kansas, which now has Sam Brownback, once part of DC’s C Street gang, as its new governor; Kansas, home to notorious religious clan, whose name I won’t mention because I don’t want them trying to mess with my blog; Kansas, with its conservative State Board of Education, which tried to get “creative” with science . . . . .

But today from the Manhattan (KS) Mercury, we find this good news: 

After months of research, discussion and debate, city commissioners passed the second and final reading of a proposed amendment to the city’s discrimination ordinance at Tuesday’s legislative meeting. The change adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Tuesday’s vote makes Manhattan the first city in Kansas to recognize gender identity as a protected class. It also makes Manhattan the second city in the state, the other being Lawrence, to recognize sexual orientation as a protected class.

Even in a state as conservative as Kansas, changes are being made to prevent discrimination against LGBT people.

How Language Bullies, But When It Might Be OK To Say “That’s So Gay”

“Say Something” seems to be Australia’s equivalent of the “It Gets Better” Project, a youtube campaign that was started Dan Savage, a Seattle columnist, after the rash of gay teen suicides last year.  “Say Something” has been set up as part of the 2011 Sydney Mardi Gras, one of the largest gay events anywhere in the world.

Matthew Mitcham, an out, gold medal diving champion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has created his video, short though it is, for the Say Something project.  In it he advocates for eliminating the use of the phrase “It’s so gay” in a negative way.

Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this phrase used, except maybe on TV.  I’m not much around the age group, teens or younger, that probably uses this phrase.  However, I know I wouldn’t like it if I were a gay kid in middle or high school and had to hear it all the time.  Frankly, there are far worse words as derogatory syn0nyms for gay people, when they are trying to demean either gay people or even others that are not gay.

For the most part, kids use these stronger perjoratives because they got them from hearing adults say them.  When I was a kid, the “n”-word was the harshest, but  most often used, word that we called each other on the playground.  Strange though it sounds, we could use that word without admonishment, but knew better than to use “real” swear words, which today are commonplace in movies and the music on the radio.  There’s nothing surprising thses days about hearing them in so many rap and hip-hop songs, where they sort of get bleeped out.  But when I hear them come in songs like Enrique Iglesias’ latest hit, I get uncomfortable.

We used the “n”-word, not because we had ever met even one Black person, but because we heard the word at home.  “That’s so gay” seems to be somewhat like that.  The kids that use the phrase aren’t directly trying to be offensive to gay people because they are just saying something like “That’s so lame,” which was used not so long ago, and I expect, still is used by some kids.

And speaking of “lame”, what if the phrase being used were “That’s so disabled” or “That’s so physically challenged”?  Most people probably would find that more offensive than “That’s so gay.”  However, when”That’s retarded” was so popular, there weren’t too many negative ripples.

When it comes to being politically correct (though really I think it has more to do with civility than politics), it’s hard to keep up.  I seem to remember Lyndon Johnson using nigras (which doesn’t sound that different from the “n” word), and he was the President who signed the major civil rights laws in the mid-1960s.  Colored People was once OK; there’s still the NAACP.  Then there’s still the question of African-American (or Afro-American) or Black.

There’s a similar problem with people and newspapers using the term homosexual.  In fact, it has a very specific, somewhat clinical or academic meaning, but most of the time when used outside of certain fields of study, homosexual come with a negative connotation for labeling people, in a way that “colored” was once used by whites, when they knew that there was a more appropriate word.

Just like many use homosexual as a way of emphasizing the “sexual” aspect, as if that the only quality that characterizes us, they also employ the word to hit other people’s buttons that its the “same” sex.  And, “you know, doing with the same sex, well, that’s something so bad, because, you know, the preacher said it in church, and it’s in the Bible, you know.”

So it’s not are far stretch to the same negativity inherent in “That’s so gay.”  The negative connotation from homosexual is carried over to the word “gay.”

It’s really not much different than expressions that have applied to other groups.  I grew up with people using the expression of “jewing someone down,” not having any idea that it came from the negative stereotype of Jewish people.  I’m sure there are kids out there who, when comparing the sizes of dips on their ice cream cones, are screaming, “I got gypped (or jipped),” having no idea that the word came from negative stereotype of gypsies cheating or robbing people.

There are two sides to these pejoratives.  On the one hand, they make the language colorful and precise.  With the internet and other forms of technology, the English language is already being “dummied down” with all its LOLs and other shortcuts.   (Oops, can I say “dummied down”?)  On the other hand, words can hurt, and we know it.  People, especially adults, who use these words to belittle others know what they are doing. 

Newspapers, politicians, and preachers who use the word homosexual know that gay people don’t like to be called that, but they do it anyway.  In reality, it’s just a subtle way to bully.  Isn’t there a verse in the Bible that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?  Doesn’t that mean civility and respect?

It all comes back to civility, doesn’t it?

If people want to use the line “That’s so gay,” they should really use it with the meaning “That’s so creative” because that’s a positive stereotype of gay people.  Think of all creativity put out by hair stylists (let’s go with those straight-thinking stereotypes), artists, playwrights, and composers.  Let’s don’t forget to mention Michalangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander the Great or some current creative gay people like Elton John, Ricky Martin, or Ellen Degeneres.

So maybe when (or if) you read something on here that makes you think a bit, you’ll say, “That’s so gay.”  But, hey, you gotta put the right tone in your voice or it won’t work.

U.S. Senate To Vote on DADT Repeal; Call Your Senators Today–Easy Access to their Phone Numbers Here

The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved legislation to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) in this Lame Duck session.  Senate Majority Leader Reid has called for the Senate to vote on the same legislation on Saturday, December 18th.

It’s time for you to do your part.  Call the senators from your state and tell them to vote for the repeal of DADT. 

Unlike some days, when I have had difficulty getting through to Senator Cornyn’s and Hutchison’s offices, this morning I was immediately able to speak to interns (I assume) who listened to my point of view and probably were tallying those for and against.  Maybe it’s easier to get through because it’s Friday or people are Christmas shopping.  Whatever it is, it seems like today is a good day to call and be heard.

Find the numbers for your senators here.  Just click open that cell phone and call.

Some Houstonians Gave More Than $25,000 To Support Anti-Gay Proposition 8

fighthate2Find the updates here.

Yahoo!!! And Connecticut Makes Three–Another U.S. State Legalizes Gay Marriage

From msnbc.com: Hartford, Connecticut–Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making that state the third behind Massachusetts and California . . . .

The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut’s civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

There will be those that cry out that this is the act of legislating judges, but those that do that have forgotten what they learned in civics and government classes: the constitution was not written to just favor the majority, but was also written to protect the rights of the minority. This has been the case in so many situations of civil rights discrimination. Where the minority has tried to vote in discrimination, courts have had to step in, in order to follow the constitution. This was what happened with “equal-but-separate” and the segregation of schools. Many of the civil rights laws of the 60s would never have been passed if judges first had not stepped in to follow the Constitution.

One thing that I still remember learning in Mr. McKain’s (different spelling and so cute back in those days) government class back at good ol’ DHS (Dorrance, Kansas–that was also when church people set about doing good in the community, rather than spewing out hatred) is that one person’s rights only go to the point where they do not step on another person’s rights. That means (for all of you who still need a lesson in American civics) that your religious rights only go up to the point where they meet a gay person’s right to get married or the right to serve in the military. In other words, you do not hold a trump card. You may think you do, “but it ain’t so.”

It won’t be long before more states follow Connecticut. “Times are a changin'” as they say. A lot of the old coots that hold on to this antiquated thinking are older than me and are going to be dying off in the not too distant future. There are people like Fred Phelps, who has brain-washed some of his children and grandchildren, but in tough times, these hate-mongers might find it more beneficial to use their funds to put food on the table than to travel long distances to spout out more of their vile.