Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gay pastor from Nigeria visits Foundry Methodist in Washington


Michael Lavers reports on the visit of a gay Nigerian minister to Foundry United Methodist Church near Dupont Circle in Washington DC in the Blade, story here. 

The pastor is Rev. Jide Macaulay, who has also led a “straight” married life and produced a son.
    
He had also two men from South Africa in his home in London, when he was introduced to MCC London (which I attended once, in 1982).

He described the deteriorating climate in many sub-Saharan African countries since the middle 2000’s when Nigeria passed its vitriolic anti-gay law, prohibiting gays from meeting, disguised as an anti-gay marriage law. He described a world of violence and kidnappings. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

DC Center Global publishes new call for housing assistance


DC Center Global has posted, effective early July 13, another request for hosting housing assistance in the Washington DC area. The details are in this post on the Facebook page here.  Similar stories had appeared in the Washington Blade and were reported here in August and October 2016.

I have considered the possibility of hosting, but at the present time I am considering the possibility of selling the inherited trust house that I am in.  This could mean relocation out of the DC area this fall. 

 I will need to examine this opportunity thoroughly before I could look at hosting activities again.  It is discussed on my main blog (“BillBoushka” on the Blogger profile) on July 5, 2017.  I can’t really say anything further right now about this, but I will inform everyone of my plans as various issues are resolved in the next two months or so.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fairfax County Public Schools Pride holds picnic; many local political candidates ask for support


Fairfax County Public Schools Pride held a picnic I Vienna Virginia today in Nottoway Park in Vienna VA south of Tysons.


There were many speakers discussing local elections including school board.  There was frank discussion of the need for partisanship and conventional activism, including door-to-door.  There is a transgender candidate for the House of Delegates.

There are more video clips on Wordpress here.

Friday, July 14, 2017

"Do No Harm Act" would pretty much nullify RFRA


Lambda Legal describes a “Do No Harm” Act proposed by Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), which would mediate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by not allowing denial of goods and services in public accommodations or imposition of religious beliefs by businesses open to the public.

It would narrow the circumstances where the RFRA could be used.

And the Washington Blade reports that Jeff Sessions will walk a tightrope on issuing DOJ policy on how religious freedom may be claimed by businesses.



In the meantime, the Trump administration has had almost nothing to say about LGBT issues, although it maintains that they do not need specialized focus from the White House.

On the other hand, Lambda Legal also noted a few potential Trump appointees with past statements wanting the ability to roll back gay marriage and even sodomy law repeal at the constitutional level.
 
Private organizations and generally mainstream faith groups (doing missions, summer camps, etc)  have gradually adjusted to the idea of gay equality among emerging adults, although trans is more difficult.  Mainstream churches are more likely to look at the behavior of international charities.  One church dissociated itself from World Vision and picked a different charity for its 30 hour famine events.  And, for example, I know of gay teens in Eagle Scouts without any difficulties.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

MO Hartzler introduces bill to ban transition care for transgender troops; House narrowly votes it down


Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), following her rant about LGBT people in the military (not just trans) has introduced a bill or amendment denying transition care to transgender troops. The text for the amendment is here.

The Blade has a story by Chris Johnson. 
  
HRC’s story and petition by AaronRodriquez is here.



The Washington Post weighed in on Mattis’s delay on implementing accession to transgender recruits Wednesday here. Mattis understandably needs a laser focus on North Korea right now. 

Update:

Lambda Legal reports that the measure is coming up for a vote.

Update: July 14

The House narrowly rejected Hartzler's amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, Blade story

Friday, July 07, 2017

Could Union Market be a good stable location for a replacement for Town DC in 2018?


A walk through Union Market in Washington DC, NE, near the NOMA Metro stop and near the Amtrak train lines, showed me a lot of possible space for a new club after Town closes on July 1. 2018.

There are lots of industrial buildings.  It looks like there is open-air parking.

So maybe this is a logical place for Town to look. You'd have to add security and make sure parking was sufficient and open all night.

The area is remarkable for being low-rise and industrial in a city of high density and high rentals.  It has the look of similar industrial areas in Queens of NYC (as around Jamaica or Long Island City).

Gallaudet University is nearby.

I was there today at the Angelika Pop-Up, which I think is supposed to expand.

The Blade has an op-ed about Town's future and gentrification, here.  See the comments. 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

South Africa has a decent LGBT asylum program; Congress condemns purges in Chechnya


DC Center Global posted a story about South Afirca’s assistance for LGBT asylum seekers and refugees.  Some asylum seekers would have entered the country from the more troubled countries to the north. The article did not specifically discuss hosting.  The services are extended by Gateway Health.

South Africa, however, has more problems with violence and “self-defense” than the U.S. does.

But this is a far cry from the ABC Nightline shows in the 1980s about South Africa under apartheid.
 
Here’s a new report on anti-gay attitudes in Africa, which are more nuanced that other sources (like Pew) say.

The US Congress has passed a resolution to condemn anti-gay purges in Chechnya.

Also, today, Log Cabin Republicans put out a Nations Birthday card on Twitter.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Pentagon wants to delay allowing transgender people to enlist; MO GOP congresswoman wants DADT for transgender


The US military service chiefs are asking for more time to provide the capability to allow transgender soldiers to enlist.  But the final decision will rest with Mattis.

However those in the service may serve openly.

CNN has a news story here but the Washington Post featured it as breaking news Friday afternoon.

The service chiefs seem more comfortable now with cis-gender gay soldiers than they had been two decades ago.

Aaron Belkin at the Palm Center at UCSB (Santa Barbara) called it "don't ask don't tell for transgender troops" in own op-ed.



Kristin Beck had been a Navy seal before becoming a woman.  There are times that transgender or fluid people are particularly valuable in intelligence operations.

The Washington Blade has a more detailed story by Chris Johnson, including a proposal by Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO) to resume a ban on openly transgender in the military, in DADT fashion, possibly as part of the defense authorization bill (is what happened in 1993 with the original DADT policy).

Friday, June 30, 2017

Texas Supreme Court flouts federal gay marriage law with a unanimous decision


In a shocking decision, the Texas State Supreme Court has ruled, 9-0, that the Obergefell decision does not guarantee same-sex spouses state benefits.  The Dallas News has a detailed story here.

The case arose from a lawsuit against Houston for extending the benefits.

It’s pretty hard to see any rational basis for this decision, other than some kind of states’ rights theory.

But it could run into the Full Faith and Credit clause.

Lambda Legal also reported this case today, with a warning about Gorsuch’s behavior on the Supreme Court so far.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Town DC will close on July 1, 2018


Town Danceboutique will close on Sunday, July 1, 2018, after more more year of operation.  The disco has operated since 2007.  The property was sold in the Spring of 2016 for an apartment complex.  The best link right now is here on Twitter/

Even so, the club recently put in a patio (as I recall, in 2015).

This is plenty of notice, more than the Hippo had in Baltimore.

There are two or three new but smaller clubs (like the Uproar) nearby which may take up some of the clientele. I’ve seen the Eagle dance floor once (on the Memorial Day “Bryce Harper Gate”) but I don’t know how well it is doing.

But the Town essentially replaced the Velvet Nation, which closed in mid 2006 while Nationals Park was being built.   And Velvet Nation had replaced Tracks, nearby, one of the best bars ever (remember the Volleyball Court) in the 1990s.  One wonders if there would be space for nightlife along the Anacostia after the soccer stadium, next to Nats Park, is built, or if RFK is renovated.

  Another possibility could be the new Ballston Quarter in Arlington; the local population would probably support a bar.

The problems with the Metro and the midnight closings since mid 2016 don’t seem to have been a factor.  But parking in the area has become difficult, with space running out on the lot.

Dance clubs often operate on leased space and wind up eventually getting evicted by developers.  It's not terribly efficient for a property to remain unused most weeks except Friday and Saturday nights.  It may be more efficient to rent hotel or even casino ballroom space for dance events in many cases.

Update:

Town's website has the story.  It's worthy of note that the text of the story says "the spring of 2018".  July 1, 2018 is in the summer, but would follow Pride in 2018 and allow one last big bash.

Washington Blade has the story;  comments explain the behind-the-scenes sales of the property.  Often, bar venues are leased in industrial properties and lose leases when the properties are sold to be raised and redeveloped.  Bizjournal gives the details here.

It looks like I missed Baltimore Pride June 17-18;  it had been in July the past two years.  I was at the AFI-Docs instead.  Baltimore could use a replacement for the Hippo, but that's very hard to do in this economy and regulatory environment.


Monday, June 26, 2017

SCOTUS rules for same-sex couple on birth certificate case from Arkansas; will hear "wedding cake" case next term; the libertarian side


The Supreme Court this morning reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court and ruled (6-3) that a state must list both parents of a same-sex marriage when one partner has a child or adopts one.  Presumably this could include surrogacy.   The case is Pavan v. Smith.  The SCOTUS opinion is here.

Judge Gorsuch dissented and seemed to believe that the entire panoply of marriage benefits is not completely settled law.

The Court agreed to hear a case from Colorado where a wedding cake seller refused to offer a cake to a same-sex married couple. The basic idea is that the business is a public accommodation and cannot discriminate on the basis of many other categories.  It probably could not use religious shield for an interracial marriage.

Here is the Washington Post story by Robert Barnes, link.

There is a possible twist in public accommodations law where I can see the “libertarian” argument. Suppose I am a small book self-publisher and the law requires me to make large print or braille or audio versions of my books to be able to sell them at all, to avoid indirect discrimination (against the visually disabled).  Maybe this would never happen with “smaller” businesses; but I do see the conservative side, but not from a religious perspective.

If appears that Justice Kennedy probably will not retire this summer (good news).

The Blue Moon bar in Reboboth Beach has a doll of Donald Trump in drag.

Update: June 30

Lambda Legal reports that Gorsuch dissented on the Arkansas, not good news. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

5th Circuit punts on Mississippi religious freedom law; Lavender scare apology law introduced


The Washington Blade has at least two important stories today.

The 5th Circuit in New Orleans let stand a Mississippi “religious freedom” law because the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue (Chris Johnson story).  The law would have allowed religious organizations and medical providers to deny services in certain circumstances based on religious beliefs.  State employees could defer themselves from issuing marriage licenses.  The court said it would consider a case where plaintiffs had suffered "stigmatic harm".
 
The case catches my attention because in 1985 the 5th Circuit overturned a favorable 1982 ruling by Judge Buchmeyer in the Baker v. Wade case on the old Texas 21.06 sodomy law.  The court had mentioned “moral values”.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced a “lavender scare bill” to provide apologies and expunge personnel records of those fired from the State Department in the 1950s during the Cold War.  The same attitude helped contribute to my own William and Mary expulsion in 1961.  Story by Michael Levers here.

Dean Rusk told Mike Wallace of CBS that the State Department "discharges" homosexuals as late as 1967 on  notorious CBS documentary "The Homosexuals".  I started working for the NBS (Commerce) in 1963 and there was certainly a pervasive anti-gay attitude ("removal" for "sexual perversion" was in Civil Service regulations).

The policy reminds one of the career of Frank Kameny, fired from a government Army map service in 1957.

It's interesting that the British government has apologized to the estate of Alan Turing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

GOP Florida governor backs down on LGTBQ protections after honoring Pulse victims


Equality Florida has noted that Florida governor Rick Scott ( R ) has refused to issue an executive order protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, despite other proclamations “Pulse Remembrance Day” on June 12, story.  This includes a refusal to protect state employees.

The announcement was sent out as a press release today.

It’s also important to remember that the Pulse attack occurred on a Latino event night.
 
In other news, a minority group in Washington has started a retail business called “Check It” in the Anacostia area of Washington DC.  The story appeared on WJLA this evening.  I’ll report after I can make a visit by Metro.
 
There was also a small demonstration for asylum seekers and refugees today in DC; more details to come.  The group wants the Trump administration to allow 75000 refugees to enter the country in 2017.  More details will follow later.

Friday, June 16, 2017

US Department of Commerce removes explicit LGBT protections from policy statement


The United States Department of Commerce has removed explicit LGBTQ protections from its policy statement.  The department says this will not change anything in practice.  But why was the wording retracted?  The Washington Post has a story (by Juliet Eilperintoday. Will other federal departments behave in a similar fashion?

My first job, starting in August 1963, was at the National Bureau of Standards on the old Federal City campus at Van Ness in Washington DC (now UDC), before it moved to Gaithersburg.  I stayed there about a year.  My most recent external job was with Census, 2010-2011.

It's worth a visit to Federal Globe's website.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Transgender woman becomes first candidate to win a primary, at least in Virginia


In Virginia, a trans woman Danica Roem has won a Democratic primary to face “transphobic” Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, story here.

Much of her district encompasses Prince William County, from Manassas to Woodridge.
 
It is certainly becoming more likely that transgender persons would be regarded as fit for office, like “Lady Valor” Kristen Beck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Memorial candlelight service for Pulse Orlando held in Washington DC, Dupont Circle


Monday evening I attended, at Dupont Circle in Washington DC, the Candlelight Service for Victims of the Pulse Orlando terror attack on 2016/07/12, one year to the date of the attack, which had started at 2.02 AM EDT.

The event was in part sponsored by the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, whose link is here.

A male speaker for the fund said he had served in the Army in Iraq and made the argument that military weapons have no place in civilian hands.    The speaker also noted that the event at Pulse that night had been intended as a Latino party.



Later Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke.

A family member of one of the victims spoke, and she rebutted the argument that had patrons of the bar been armed, they could have defended themselves.  Of course, this might not work against military weapons and no business owner (of a bar or movie theater) wants to allow weapons on the premises. But she said that the idea that you think you need to carry a weapon is an admission of fear, an existential statement that you are on your own, and that you live in a precarious, unstable society based on the use of force. That idea can be a predecessor of fascism.

The Washington DC Gay Men’s Chorus sung twice.

There was a reading of the victims’ names, 49 deaths, with a bell ring for each one.  I do not normally name victims in my own blog postings or videos unless I have a separate personal connection to the person.  This has to do with my own personal values;  I don’t want to “sell” victimization.
 ‘
There was also mention of the medical expenses of some of the injured.  Florida does have a crime victims’ compensation fund which as covered a lot of this.  I had said before that civilians injured by military weapons should have access to US military surgeons and rehab if medically necessary.  Does that let the rest of us off the hook?
 
Speakers did try to encourage people to join the Pride Fund.  There was also mention of some specific partisan political races and their behavior with regard to the NRA.  While I am happy to link to organizations online, I generally don't film or report or urge detailed fundraising myself, especially for partisan political purposes, in my own reporting.
 
There is more video that I took at this Wordpress location.

The Pulse property will become a museum and memorial, here.  It is not clear if the club will reopen at a different location as a disco.

I had visited the club on July 12, 2015, eleven months before, leaving around 2 AM, so this could have happened to me (I was on a visit to Orlando to visit Disney and Universal).  A good friend had been there just two weeks before the attack.  It can happen to anyone.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Equality March goes smoothly from my viewpoint; a hot, humid, and very crowded Pride Festival


I did “join in” the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington DC Sunday morning, as it turned the corner around the Treasury Building and headed town 15th St toward Constitution Avenue.



The march seemed somewhat uneventful.  But there were some curious signs, such as one about “intersectional resistance and collective liberation”.  For the Left, everything seems to be about the group and the people, not the individual.

There were the expected signs demanding impeachment of Trump, and also about being ignored (but that’s what belonging to a group can mean).

The march went East on Constitution Ave (the Memorial Day parade goes east to west).

The Pride Festival was packed all day.  I was there two different periods.  The heat and crowd made it difficult to find some booths, and the Guide did not give precise locations.

The main alcohol section as up front near the stage, and still with long line at 6:30, a half hour before closing.

Despite “No Justice No Pride”, plenty of corporations were present, as were the FBI and CIA, seeming to seek gay and trans employees (for the CIA, trans or fluid could be an asset).

On a side street, around 6th NW near the Newseum, there was another bar area with a disco dance floor.  The Baltimore block party often had a similar concept.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Capital Pride rerouted by "No Justice No Pride" protest; Trump to speak with Pence at anti-gay group to honor Pride month


I just got back from Capital Pride Saturday.  My cell phone ran down because there were so many people it kept hanging trying to visit anything.

NBC Washington reports that a group called “No Justice No Pride” stalled the march, refusing to move, and forcing rerouting one block south to Scott Circle.
 
The parade went past First Baptist Church of Washington DC, where a wedding was delayed because the bride and groom could not get to the church through suddenly closed streets.  I attend that church.

A member of the Texas Rangers baseball team appeared near the church in uniform, about an hour after the Rangers had won a come-from-behind game against the Nationals 6-3, where the Nats blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth.  The game had started at noon to accommodate Pride. (The Orioles lost horribly to he Yankees in NY, 16-3).


I did manage to get a picture on Facebook off about England’s parade exhibit, which I eventually marched with.  The picture was liked, and then I heard rumors today of May being forced out of office in Britain.

There were signs “Make America Gay Again”.

Late there was the usual block party at JR’s and the dance at Cobalt started at 9 PM.



I think I spotted members of the Congressional Chorus in the crowds.



Trump is speaking at an anti-LGBT group, the Faith and Freedom Foundation, Monday, link.  Pence will be at his side.  Maybe Trump doesn't listen to Jared Kushner.



Friday, June 09, 2017

Hardhitting article from Los Angeles slams white gay men even for not wanting to date outside of their race (or at least saying so)


Is it racism to claim you will not date or fall in love with someone of a different race?  Pater Laarman makes that shocking assertion in an article in LA Progressive, “When a Pride March Means Owning the Shame of Racial and Economic Justice”, link here.    This gets very personal, about what turns you on.  There is a Daily Beast piece about race and dating apps here.

He also talks about the damage of gentrification of poor neighborhoods, speaks out against the cis male attitude, and targets successful gay men like Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan. He may not be aware that Anderson’s own genealogy turned up a slave in his background: he turned up 1/16 black, I think.  Obama is ½ white.

It’s pretty easy to imagine that either Anderson Cooper or Tim Cook would be quite fit to become president of the United States, but so would Kristin Beck (the “Lady Valor” transgender former Navy Seal).



I’m reminded of the “no fats, no fems” of personal ads of the past. Or of Milo Yiannopoulos and his fat shaming.

I got this piece in an email from Don Kilhefner, “gay tribal elder”. Sorry, call yourself tribal plays into Donald Trump’s hands.

I’m also reminded of black gay CNN anchor Don Lemon, who authored his “pull up your pants” lecture to young black men in inner cities.

See related story May 28.



Update: June 23

Huffington Post has a "reverse body fascism" attack by Donovan Trott, "An open letter to gay white men: No, you;re not allowed to have a racial preference", link.   Milo Yiannopoulos weighs in here.  I'll take this up on Wordpress soon (it's in Chapter 2 of my DADT III book in 2014), with more moral vanity.  It's a lot to take in right now. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Trump administration wants to reinstitute ban on transgender people in uniform


The Trump administration is apparently stalling or wants to stop initiatives to accommodate transgender troops in the military, according to the Military Times. The demographic is seen as much smaller than the gay cis-male and lesbian population, and is viewed as harder to integrate given the current state of social progress.
 
The Palm Center at USCB has issued a statement, where retired generals urge General Mattis not to reinstate DADT for transgender troops.

The Hill has a story by Rebecca Kheel, here.

The Pentagon does seem to be aware of the accomplishments of Kristin Beck. Now 50, who came out as male-female transgender after finishing service as a Navy Seal.  It’s pretty obvious from her background that Kristin is qualitied to serve as POTUS; she was the subject of the CNN biography “Lady Valor”.
 
In early 1994, male-female sailor was discharged from the Navy but allowed to fill the same position as a civilian in Naval Intelligence. She also became lesbian by the change (she had been heterosexually married as a man).

The DADT Repeal of 2011 did not include transgender.  

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

New York Times Magazine focuses on HIV resurgence among black gay men in US; drastic Trump budget cuts on HIV work


The New York Times Magazine has a booklet-length insert “America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic”, by Linda Villarosa, link.

She asks why to America’s black gay men have the highest rate of H.I.V. infection in the world?
 
She gives a recapitulation of AIDS history from the 1980s, which I have covered many times before.

Chris Johnson has an analysis in the Washington Blade on cuts in HIV programs in Trump’s budget, as “shocking and cruel”.  Ironically, it’s the economically better-off gay men who will realize the seriousness of funding for PrEP and protease inhibitors.

Monday, June 05, 2017

DC eases law on surrogate parenting


Michael Alison Chandler has an important story in the Metro section of the Washington Post about Washington DC’s recent repeal of a law banning surrogacy contracts, story here.   This makes it easier for same-sex couples, and infertile couples (possibly including elderly) to start families.

Some states have laws allowing the natural mother a certain period of time in which she does not have to give up the baby.



This is not something I would do personally.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Two NOVA events Friday; Richmond-based gay publication helps get Gavin Grimm recognized by Time Magazine


I went to two social gatherings late Friday, something I don’t do very often in one day anymore,

First, in the late afternoon I paid a visit to Lake Anne Brew House on the village commons around the lake in Reston, VA, sponsored by NOVA Pride.  It was small, informal;  drinks and snacks, no food.  There were outdoor restaurants around, all crowded.  There was a cat hospital in the archway entering the area.

Then I did go to AGLA-s first Friday social at Penzimmi’s in the Weston Hotel in Ballston, and was privileged to meet Justin Ayars, JD, now the Publisher and Editor in Chief of “UniteVAMag” (“United Virginia Magazine”), based in Richmond, with the tag wordmark, “Equality Through Storytelling” (sounds like a good potential trademark to me).

Justin has his own blog entry, “Virginia’s Exclusive Interview with Gavin Grimm”.  This interview helped motivate Time Magazine to name  Gavin as one the world’s most 100 influential people in 2016. Gavin’s Time Magazine article is here.

Justin told me his undergraduate degree is from William and Mary, where my own long narrative stared as I was expelled by the Dean of Men on Nov. 28, 1961, after he had called me in the day after Thanksgiving and gotten me to admit to "latent homosexuality" based on other rumors in the dorm. Another writer, Tom Baker, would have a major incident in the fall of 1963.
My own last visit to an Equality Virginia dinner was in April 2005.  That's another story. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Group will reach out to LGBT youth in the Southern Baptist Convention


I did get a press release from “Faith in America” today, so I thought I would pass along the URL.  The group announced a plan for bringing a message of protecting LGBT youth to the Southern Baptist Convention.

I certainly got my fill of the SBC when I lived in Dallas from 1979-1988 and hear some of Wallace Criswell’s sermons.  I grew up in the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, which is affiliated with both conventions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My own first time at the DC Eagle when all floors were open (Memorial Day party)


I did visit the DC Eagle for its Memorial Day party, starting at 4 PM.  I got there a little after 6.
 
Metro was running bus only on the orange line to the closest Metro station on Minnesota Ave about 1500 feet away, so I went to the Benning Road station on the Largo (normally Silver or Blue) line, about 4000 feet away.  The neighborhood is improving, with new apartment construction, with the site actually advertising for jobs.


Most of the people were on the deck outside the dance floor.  This was the first time I’ve been there when the large dance floor was open, as I have not been there late at night.  A female member of the MPD GLBT liason was there.  While we were there news of Bryce Harper’s brawl at the Nats game in San Francisco started getting around on people’s phones, but the baseball game didn’t happen to be on downstairs (as it often would be).


Monday, May 29, 2017

What would a president Pence be like now?


Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade has a piece looking at the prospect of a “successful” Trump impeachment or Trump resignation, and then having Mike Pence as president by accident.

Has Pence moderated his views since 2000 when he suggested conversion therapy as a strategy for HIV?  The essay seems to hint at a lot of softening of his views, out of necessity.

Trump generally has not been hostile to LGBT people (although he didn't support gay marriage until it became "the law of the land"), partly because he had a few LGB candidates on the Apprentice, and knows full well that a gay man or woman could definitely win the gauntlet.

Pence does seem to be the expert on North Korea, which along with some of the middle East has to be among the world’s worst for LGBT people.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Racism in the LGBTQ community: the boundary between organizational and personal is vague


Leadership of Capital Pride has been addressing the concerns of minority groups, especially “No Justice No Pride” (May 8), and Lou Chibarro, Jr. has a detailed and balanced article on their concerns in the Washington Blade for Memorial Day weekend, “Confronting racism in the LGBT community”, here.

The most remarkable sentence includes the language “…unless you are intentional in addressing the people of color and other minority groups, you are likely catering to the same white, cisgender, middle and upper class gay men…”   I encountered this sentiment when I moved into New York City in 1974, at the GAA Firehouse on Wooster Street in those days, and later at the Ninth Street Center, a little less so at Identity House.  This idea can operate at both levels, the organizational, and (as I recall from a broader youth sermon at an Arlington church from someone very cis) the “very personal”.

I think that organizations as a whole are quite responsive to various groups in the community.  This goes for HRC, but especially the DC Center, which has many specific social outreach programs (for example, to trans and the elderly).  But, as Nancy Pelosi once said, “Democrats are capitalists”.  Democratic capitalism has been our best system, but for some people, it comes out as elitist. We need corporations (even Trump’s own if he wants to come) in Pride.

It is certainly true, though, that as Washington DC (now the troubled NE part especially, as the area around the Eagle) gets gentrified, the poor people get driven out.

It's at a personal level that it gets challenging. As a gay male, my own tastes as to what is “interesting” are very narrow, and based on notions inherited from a segregated past.  Does this matter in the bigger stage?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Covert hate groups of lawyers infiltrate Trump administration and some state, watch group claims


Who has heard of this group, Alliance Defending Freedom, as described in “Media Matters”?
 
There are subsidiary groups of Allied Attorneys and the Blackstone Fellowships that support “Christian” lawyers, so to speak.

There is a community website with no public content which would seem a little suspicious.

Media Matters claims that some are serving in the Trump administration and various states.  But does their activity go beyond the fringe groups and the “Hobby Lobby” crowd?   Let the market dictate how credible they are?

One Facebook friend notes that the “bathroom bills” came about as a fantasy on the Right, that really could pay attention to more real terror and security threats.  Remember in 2004 when Santorum wanted to pass an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment and Feinstein criticized him for ignoring the anti-terrorism bill.

Picture: Pride sign in Frederick, MD (left side of photo)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

At Notre Dame, graduating students walk out on Mike Pence


At a conservative Catholic university in Indiana, many students at graduation walked out when Vice President Mike Pence spoke today, as in this NPR story and video.

The school is Notre Dame.  Canadian actor Richard Harmon (“Judas Kiss”) is known to follow the Fighting Irish football team .

Pence is notorious for having proposed conversion therapy as a way to meet AIDS back in 2000.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Some transgender people can sue under ADA, judge rules; "It gets better" comes under fire


Although this is not a judicial result that one wants to use to encourage overuse or “pimping” of disability in court, a federal court in Philadelphia, with judge Joseph Gleeson, has ruled that a transgender individual may file complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act in some circumstances.  The plaintiff was Kate Lynn Blatt, and the Washington Blade story today is by Chris Johnson, link.

 The ruling considers some forms of dysphoria as legitimate disabilities.  This might include body dysmorphia, for example.

The Blade provided the PDF of the opinion.

The Blade also reports that the idea of “It Gets Better”, which even Ellen deGeneres has promoted, has come under criticism as appropriate as an answer for all LGBTQ bullying

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

LDS church pulls older teens out of Boy Scouts, half-heartedly denies it is about gay issues


The Mormon church (LDS) seems to be backsliding on the whole LGBTQ question, even if the church denies it.  It is separating older teens from the Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts and forming its own separate scouting group.

On Hubpages. Ralph Schwartz gives a detailed history here.

The BSA gradually reversed its policies (first for members and then leaders) after winning its legal case in the Supreme Court in 2000 on libertarian grounds – because of corporate and community pressures.   A lot of people in the Cato crowd liked it turning out this way.  I know of at least one gay teen in Virginia who became prominent in scouting.

The LDS used to be one of the prime supporters of BSA.



The BSA also recently accepted transgendered people recently.

This is quite a change from the 1980s when the BSA, located in Irving TX along Highway 183 as I remember, actually showed up at IT job fairs with jobs for programmers, and living there at the time, I felt wary.

LDS theology goes beyond the familiar evangelical interest in the “natural family” to speak of eternal marriage in the hereafter.  So the LDS church sees openness and dedication to procreation as a moral imperative, connected to eligibility for its version of heaven.  From the viewpoint of more recent writings in quantum physics and cosmology, there seems to be something to the idea that “distributed consciousness” does exist in nature with other animals (like social insects) and is connected to familial relationships.  It’s hard to grasp this in relation to the “I-ness” of individual life on Earth.

Picture: Salt Lake Temple taken by my father in the late 1920s.