Friday, April 20, 2018

California conversion therapy ban, AB2943, allegedly could ban certain books, like in a Ray Bradbury novel

There is quite a stir in California about a bill AB 2943 intended, at first glance, to outlaw reparative therapy as a medical practice and also intended to outlaw therapy intended to reverse gender dysphoria (fluidity or transgenderism). 
A problem is that some conservative writers, such as David French in National Review, have pointed out that the bill appears to ban thesale of “books” that would promote conversion or reparative therapy or conversion, since “books” are normally included as “goods” in common legal language.  That is, books on conversion (or promoting conversion) would be banned, Fahrenheit-451 style. I would presume it could affect web content and run into Section 230 questions.  
The NR review goes on to talk about Christian identity in comparative terms to gender identity, although the article (to the writer’s credit) admits that the views of the old fashioned “moral majority” of the 80s are increasingly unpopular and questionable scientifically. To ban selling these views?  The NR makes this sounds like Germany’s banning selling Nazi materials.  (I would also question how he defines Christian identity, across so many sub-denominations, but that is another discussion.) 
Still, it’s rather frightening to me how in these times, something that maybe four years ago would have sounded like an objective discussion of “personal responsibility” for those who are otherwise somehow disadvantaged now might be construed “hate speech”, at least by those most hardlined on the Left or in collective values.  By own DADTIII book (Feb. 2014) might fall into that view now (the book pays little heed to minorities or groups as such and the talk of population demographics and filial responsibility probably sounds like an idea of the alt-right now, even though it didn’t five years ago). 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Williams Institute on global LGBT acceptance by country; April 19 is Give Out Day

The Williams Institute at UCLA has published a report on global LGBT acceptance in 141 countries, link with interactive here on a PDF  The US is marked blue gray, not quite as favorable as Canada, Australia or most of western Europe (dark blue), although Finland is slightly less favorable.

Here is the link for National Give Out Day, April 19.  Personally, I do my giving in a structured manner, automated through a bank, (with a trust), monthly, and usually don’t respond to special appeals unless I have some more direct connection with the group or person already.  As I have explained elsewhere, a few groups are “beneficiaries” of a trust and get a regular benefit. There’s a problem in that this may miss matching grants.  I don’t normally run fund raisers for groups under my own name on my own sites or social media pages. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Major hate crime reported near weekend Cherry celebration in Washington DC clubs

WJLA in Washington DC reports on a severe beating of two gay men at 10th St and U St NW, on the north side of U St, around 12:30 AM Sunday morning April 15, 2018.  Steven Tschida reports.
The WJLA link is here.

WJLA reports that the attack occurred close to U Street, not on a back alley, and there would have been plenty of witnesses.  The Metro station is across U-Street.  That makes this attack particularly shocking.

This weekend, there were multiple gay parties for “Cherry”, including a huge event at Town DC, which I attended.

I left in a taxi about 1:20 AM on 8th St and did not notice anything unusual.

Back in September 2004 I witnesses a street robbery with weapons in progress about three blocks from the Velvet Nation (which Town replaced) on the way to that club location, and had management call police as soon as I arrived at that club. 
In March 2013 I was robbed by a pickpocket on the way down an escalator on the Mt. Vernon Ave side of the U St Green Line station on the way home, when subways were open later than now.

Update: April 20, 2018

NBCWashington has a story and video on a vigil at Dupont Circle in the evening of April 19 here. WJLA has carried the story of the gathering but did not put it yet on its website.  No suspects have been apprehended yet (as of noon Friday). DC police say that hate crimes in the city have increased since the end of 2015, apparently as the political climate became more divisive with Trump's candidacy and social media bots.  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Does gay marriage legalization (in 2015) reduce the solidarity in the gay community on LGBTQ-specific issues?

Samantha Allen asks in Daily Beast if the achievement of gay marriage legalization in 2015 means the end of the “gay community” as we know it .
Activism has tended to focus on very narrow problems (religious freedom bills and trans bathroom bills and sometimes legal right to self-declare) although the trans partial military ban has more potential significance than we generally realize.
And many gay people, especially more the cis population, has focused activism in more mainstream problems, like First and Second amendment issues (either side), cybersecurity or even broader national security (North Korea, Syria, Iran, the assimilation of religious minorities).    

Note that Bermuda has backslid on gay marriage, withdrawing it. (Remember, at one time you couldn't use credit cards in Bermuda.) 

I did attend the "Dine Out" night o April 12 for Food and Friends, at Freddie's Beach Bar in Arlington VA. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pompeo seems to waffle in personal attitude toward gay people; parents protest pro-gay sex-ed in rural states

Mike Pompeo appeared to waffle today in the Senate confirmation hearings for his appointment to Secretary of State when Cory Booker (D NJ) was asked if he (Pompeo) believes that gay sex is perversion.
Pompeo said that he does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and did not in the CIA, but withheld comment on her personal beliefs. LGBTQ Nation writes here
Bradford Richardson writes in the Washington Times about local parents’ protests in a variety of states, such as North Carolina, over mandatory sex-education in the schools, including gay issues.    The article has a chart showing sex-ed requirements aggregated by states. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Gay married couple in LA caught in DACA Catch 22

Catherine Rampell has a story on the Washington Post on p A21 today, April 10, 2018, “A ‘dreamer’ trapped from his husband and home.
The gay marriage aspect may not be that pertinent.  But in LA, a :dreamer” got DACA protection in 2013.  His legal resident husband tried to sponsor his green card, but that contained a Catch 22. He had to go back to Mexico but wasn’t allowed to return (from Juarez, across the border from El Paso)  for 10 years according to newer application of the law.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The Scorpio in Charlotte NC, its golden anniversary

The Scorpio in Charlotte NC (in a ravine off Freedom Drive, Route 27, just west of I-77, on the south side of the street, about 1 mile east of I-85) is now in its 50th year.  Just think, 1968 was the year I was drafted and underwent Basic Training, and a horrific year in some ways.
But 1969 would lead to Stonewall.
The Scorio offers a drag show with many speakers and singers on the dance floor at once, and a lot of audience participation, with decorations and lights.
On a Saturday night, at least in colder weather, a minority crowd seems to appear at first, and then the crowd becomes more “diverse” (including more of the familiar cis-male white men from the gay community of older times) as the evening progresses. 
When you enter, the club gives you a temporary membership card ($5) and reads your driver’s license with a scanner;  this seems to be a new security precaution that may become more common at clubs. 

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Slow progress on "gay rights" in Africa?

A couple of recent Wordpress articles continue to show how anti-gay much of the developing world, primarily because homosexuality seems to contradict tribalism and procreation.
One article refers to 400 million LGBT people in peril worldwide. 

Another gives a video that encourages Nigerian parents to embrace all their children, including those perceived as gay.   
And Kenya awaits a high court ruling on gay sexual relations, HuffPost story. 
A Guardian article by David Smith in 2014 explains that much of sub-Saharan Africa became anti-gay because of the influence of colonialism in the 19th Century.  Previously, same-sex relations had become common, even part of ritual, in some African societies, but missionaries regarded these as un-Biblical.  That continued with evangelism in recent decades, in combination with Muslim ideologies to the North. Now, many rural Africans have been convinced by propaganda that homosexuality is "anti-African."  

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Washington Blade runs hard-hitting story on FOSTA (the erosion of CDA230 over the Backpage sex-trafficking scandal)

The Washington Blade has authored a detailed story by Lou Chibbaro Jr., on FOSTA, noting in the headline Craigslist’s decision to drop all personal ads.  

Although the article emphasizes that the main concerns are with user-generated ads accepted on sites that specialize in ads, the article gives a detailed explanation of the downstream liability problem, along with narrative detail of the problems at Backpage that led to the law’s relatively quick and overwhelming passage.  The tone of the article is in places almost what you would see in a conservative publication.

On March 21, I had sent the Blade a Twitter message with a link to my March 5 Wordpress article on the passage of FOSTA in the House.  The bill passed the Senate that same day. 

The Guardian is reporting that “sexual freedom is at risk” from these bills – sacrificing from the many to protect the vulnerable from the sins of relatively few.  
Queerly questions whether dating apps will go next? 
And the subreddit “Gaybros” weighs in here

Friday, March 30, 2018

Widow of Pulse shooter acquitted as an accomplice

The widow of Omar Mateen, perp of the Pulse Nightclub attack in June 2016, has been acquitted of all counts of helping her former husband of planning the attack.  Here is the NBC News story

Other media had reported that Mateen had contemplated an attack on a Disney theme park first.

The defense presented her as an abused spouse and (in the NBC story) of low IQ.

Monday, March 26, 2018

New gay streaming service announced in a partnership with an indie distributor

Breaking Glass Pictures and a streaming company named Qreel have partnered to offer monthly streaming service, as explained here.  Many of the films may be produced by NakedSword Film Works.  Some of Naked Sword’s offerings do appear to be patently adult. Some may also be on Pornhub.   I haven't seen the film in the trailer here, but I can imagine what might happen in a frat initiation. 

I could not confirm where Queerly on YouTube and Facebook are the same company.
I’ll note that there are a lot of “soft core” or intimate gay male videos on YouTube from a few companies.  The videos that have music often are mixes that chop from scene to scene and have no continuity; the videos without music generally have a more coherent story and some kind of character confrontation before intimacy starts; these are much better.  It is possible to make an explicit art film with a real plot that is suspenseful, but that means some restraint and a slower pace in the intimate scenes.  “Bugcrush” (2006) is one of my own favorites.  As the late Roger Ebert pointed out, there is nothing wrong with an NC-17 rating for a film that needs to be explicit to really say something original. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Trump re-asserts partial ban on transgender in the military, especially for soldiers who have started surgery

Trump issued another order late Friday, allowing the Pentagon to require transgender troops to serve only according to gender of birth.  Trump stated that transgender persons who have undergone transition surgery are normally unfit. 

But the Pentagon can make medical exceptions as it sees fit  Here is the New York Times story
Here is HRC’s statement of “flaming condemnation” (to use a term coined by “dooce”) of the policy. 

Lambda Legal's page on Karnoski v. Trump is here

Update: April 1 

The Washington Blade reports that Mattis has did not fully brief the JCS when Trump's partial transgender ban went into effect.

Update:  April 4

The AMA sent a letter to Mattis, as reported by the Palm Center. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

John Bolton has supported gay marriage, but his position on North Korea could lead to quick war

Trump’s next appointment for National Security Advisor will apparently by John Bolton, to take office April 9.
Bolton is known for previous hawkish  and confrontational positions on Iran and North Korea 
But the Daily Beast reports that Bolton supports gay marriage.  And some Log Cabin groups on Twitter have sometimes supported a hard line on North Korea, even military action, possibly out of offense to the murder of Otto Warmbier.

However Outright International issued a press release considering Bolton a dangerous choice.

Picture is from gun control demonstrations at Capitol March 14.  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Facebook doesn't allow targeting of ads by sexual orientation; hate group plans to sue California over anti-conversion-therapy law

Facebook, much besieged recently by a data misappropriation scandal in London, has removed the capability to target ads to others by stated sexual orientation, according to this Blade story, by Mariah Cooper. 
I have never targeted any Facebook ads or promotions to specific groups or excluded any persons. 
But Facebook seems to want to make sexual orientation or gender expression a “neutral” issue.
Alex Bollinger of LGBTQ Nation reports that a "Christian legal hate group" plans to sue California on the grounds that state laws banning conversion therapy or their ads are unconstitutional.    This litigation strangely reminds me of the recent law passed in Congress regarding sex trafficking on the Internet. 
By the way, that new federal law (FOSTA-SESTA) could have a major impact on dating sites. I''ve covered it extensively on Wordrpess and on the "BillBoushka" blog.  Trump signed it this morning. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cambridge would spread gay rumors to take down vulnerable political candidates (in certain markets)

LGBTQ Nation reports that the Cambridge Analytica files have evidence of plots to take down political candidates with gay rumors.  This sounds as flippant as my 2005 screenplay "The Sub".  The centerpiece is "gay vegan" who made Steve Bannon's "tool".  Will Milo Yiannopoulos interview him on the Milo Show? 

Also was plenty of use of spies and honeypots. 
It’s curious: it didn’t matter if something was true, only if it was believed, or specifically if a certain voter base believed it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Westboro Baptist Church protests an outed gay football player at a St. Louis area prep school, and students counter-protest

Students at a prep school in Ladue, MO counterprotested the Westboro Baptist Church which demonstrated the school’s acceptance of a gay football player.
I was not aware that the remnant of Westboro still demonstrates, and targeting a specific teen at a school seems pretty low.
John Riley reports for Metro Weekly.

If a hate group claims "God hates America", it can't be for Trump. 
Ladue is an inner suburb of St. Louis.  One thinks of the Ferguson protests. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pompeo's appointment to State Department seems worse than Tillerson from LGBT perpsective

LGBT groups are fuming at Trump’s appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State after he fired Rex Tillerson on Twitter last Tuesday, as Samantha Allen reported in the Daily Beast.

GLAAD has a long offense list .
Pompeo was sharply critical of the Supreme Court’s decisions on same sex marriage in 2015.
Activists rightly fear that Pompeo will, at least, overlook gross abuses of LGBT people overseas, which seem to have accelerated the most in sunSaharan Africa, under the influence of American “evangelicals”, as DC Center Global explained Saturday on a public forum for helping asylum seekers. The forum also discussed the worsening of conditins in Russia, which has slowed now but was rock bottom around 2015-2016 after Russia intervened in Ukraine and even Syria.  Chechnya, where the Boston Marathon bombers had come from, is also very significant.
There is a possibility that American public resentment over the Russian 2013 anti-gay propaganda law could even worsen tensions between the US and Russia, given the coverage not only in the gay press but in social media and blogs.  I would wonder what would happen were I to try to visit Russia now. 
Michael Lavers story in the Washington Blade March 16 front page was not yet online. 
Gina Haspel’s appointment to the CIA is also controversial, over the torture issue (Post story )   Haspel also ran a black site (Buzzfeed story) . The media has not said anything about Haspel and LGBT employees, but the CIA started accepting openly gay employees in 1996.  But in one situation, a trans sailor who was discharged was allowed to keep the same job as a civilian in Naval Intelligence back n 1993, just as Clinton’s plan to lift the military (not trans) ban was getting debated.
No one expects a mood like it was in the State Department in the pre-Stonewall days as in the 1967 Mile Wallace episode on CBS, "The Homosexuals" where Melvin Laird boasted about discharging homosexuals when he found them. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gay parents start expecting equality in the workplace, as to paid family leave; the Mombian blog

Erin Uritus, of “Out and Equal” has worked on equal workplace conditions for LGBT parents, as with issues like paid family leave, where adoption is likely to need the same recognition as biological maternity. The group’s site is here
She also runs a site for lesbian mothers, Mombian. 

The Washington Blade has an article by Dana Rudolph on p. 24 of the March 16, 2018 issue, but curiously it is not online yet.

 Trump has supported paid maternity leave, but I'm not sure about broader family leave. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Russia has the ability to suppress international media in presenting gay people -- supposedly to protect its own birth rate

Russia is acting like it wants the power to control what big media companies can disseminate internationally, as it threatens to block Ireland’s Eurovision entry if it shows same-sex dancing, Pink News story.
It’s apparent that in some parts of the world, governments promote the idea that gay values are counter to their own national ethnic identity, probably because gay values are seen as discouraging having more children.
A New Yorker article by David Remnick from December 2013 seems relevant.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Activists report that HIV is increasingly a black disease

I got an email from Don Kilhefner advising me of a HuffPost article, “AIDS in America is a Black Disease”, link
I’m not too sympathetic with promoting intersectionality, but it has been true since the 1990s at least that HIV infection is spreading proportionally more rapidly among African Americans and more by iv drug use than it was in the 1980s.
What’s unclear is how safe the familiar cis male gay community in big city discos, largely white, is doing as to HIV infection.  Many people behave more cautiously than they did in the early 1980s.  It isn’t something you hear about a lot.  And it’s unclear how PrEP would get paid for in any “GOP” Obamacare reform. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Bizarre anti-gay marriage law proposed in S.C.

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports on a bizarre bill in South Carolina called a “parody marriage” bill which claims that same-sex marriages are non-secular.  The filer apparently claims he will marry his computer (or maybe marry an A.I. robot from the movies).
The Charleston City Paper has a story
The logic of the bill is so convoluted it is impossible to restate.  Read it at your own risk.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Movie studios threaten Georgia over "religious freedom" bill regarding gay parents

Hollywood is hitting back at Georgia for a “religious freedom” bill that would allow adoption agencies to turn away gay adoptive parents (and couples) and prospective foster parents, if based on religious grounds, without losing state money.

The Variety story is here.
Georgia has been a popular location for indoor shooting of many films, especially for Lionsgate. Also some of “Black Panther” was filmed there.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Second circuit reverses Trump on rolling back civil rights protection to gender only

The Second Circuit has ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does include sexual orientation implicitly as part of sex in employment cases, as in the Buzz Feed LGBT story today.

The case is Zarda v. Altitude Express.

It is not yet clear that this includes gender identity.

But it would appear to obviate the need for ENDA.
The Trump administration had tried to scale back administrative protections to gender only.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Trump could make things right on transgender troops?

Thank you, New York Times, for a nice editorial , “Trump’s chance to do right by transgender troops”   It’s refreshing to see some Republican politicians who fought the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2011.
Yet the Washington Times (conservative paper) in a piece by Bradford Richardson, writes, “Growing body of movement rejects transgender movement”.  The article, however, ignores that some people really are born intersexed. 
The AMA is going to disagree with the social conservatives on this. 
The first transgender enlistee in 2018 is apparently Nicholas Talbot (Examiner story). 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Current fiasco about indictment of Russians for election meddling: the 2013 anti-gay law was an early warning shot

The recent attention to the Russian attacks on our democracy and on our style of ungated “public speech” by individuals (so criticized recently by George Soros) should remind us of the early warning that came form the 2013 anti-gay propaganda law which has even led to a few asylum cases in the U.S.

Remember, that law punished speech and public demonstrations about homosexuality, on the “fear” that such speech would further suppress the Russian birth rate.  That was a warning that Russia believes that individual public speech undermines social stability and group solidarity – a pattern we also see in China and in more successful countries like Singapore.

Of course, Russia was also playing on the pseudo-pedo issue.  At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Putin even said “Please leave the kids alone.”  So that they’ve give him more ethnic Russian offspring when they grow up.
Picture: Georgie’s in Asbury Park, NJ, yesterday’s day trip and meeting.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump administration rolls back special protections for transgender students in public schools

Under the Trump administration, the Education department no longer reviews transgender student bathroom complaints in public schools, according to a Washington Post story here
The Trump administration roles back an Obama interpretation, and says that Civil Rights law applies only to biological sex when it comes to public facilities. However it encourages states and school systems to fine tune their own policies and to provide reasonable and orderly processes, under supervision, for transgender students to announce genuine gender status change.  Some states may not be willing to do this, but the federal government, unlike other civil rights issues, will not make them now.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Gay seniors often treated badly by nursing home or assisted living staff in less urban areas

Today, at an Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance Brunch at Freddie’s Beach Bar, the topic of LGBT seniors in nursing homes and assisted living came up. 
There is real concern that in northern VA, outside Arlington itself, LGBT seniors in assisted living get poor treatment by staff, often from overseas from hostile cultures.
Here’s a piece on the Elder Advocate. Note the "Teacup" at Freddie's. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Who was the most "Dangerous" gay man in America? Not Milo

Here’s a booklet-length article in Newsweek, by Eric Markowitz, “The Most Dangeours Gay Man in America”, link.

No, he’s not Milo Yiannopoulos. Quite the contrary, he was the late left-wing activist Rev. Raymond Broshears (born Earl Raymond Allen), 1935-1982, founder of the “Lavender Panthers” which defended the Tenderloin district of Sam Francisco during the days I made my first trips there after coming out a second time (like in 1975).

Wikipedia attribtution, San Francisco picture by Agunther, CCSA 3.0 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Andrew Sullivan first trashes Trump, and then destroys "intersectionality" in a spoof of the end of the cis gay male world (New York Magazine)

In a column in New York Magazine called “The Daily Intelligencer” quasi-conservative gay writer Andrew Sullivan provides us with “America Is Trapped in Trump’s Delusional World”. 

The first part is OK, but half way through Sullivan asks, Is the gay rights movement effectively over?
Also following Paul Rosenfels ‘s 1970s theory of functional decomposition by polarity, Sullivan codes DNA helices of all possible identity combinations, as if to mock identarianism and intersectionality.  Suddenly, the says that the radical Left sees love as a bourgeois concept and admits that the radical Left would drive out the white cis gay may population, which he says is the majority of the gay community.  Look at the dance floors again.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lesbian teacher fired from Catholic school in FL after gay marriage ceremony; other teachers who attended reprimanded by school

A lesbian teacher Jocely Morffi was fired from a Miami Catholic school where she had taught first grade after getting married to a woman in a legal ceremony. USNews has a typical story. 

Several other teachers were reprimanded for attending the wedding.

The school insists that its teachers represent the teachings of the Church at all times, but even Pope Francis is said to have disagreed with the firings.
Is this what proponents of “religious freedom laws” want?

I've visited a Catholic school in northern Virginia for chess tournaments and never encountered controversy. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Washington Blade reports on Puerto Rico after Maria, including story on quick re-opening of a club

Washington Blade reporter Michael Lavers has a “short film” (4 minutes) “Driving Through Caguas” from San Juan to Ponce on Feb. 2.
Lavers spent some time in Puerto Rico right after the “Creating Change” conference in Washington, and writes in the Blade on the quick (8 days) reopening of Bear Tavern in the Ocean Park area of San Juan.
Picture: By NOAA -, Public Domain, Link

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Gay olympic skater creates stir by refusing to talk to Pence over conversion therapy issue

Gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon turned down a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence in Pyeongchang, and Pence even tried to have the meeting anyway, but is not commenting now.
MSN has one of the media stories with USA Today Sports, here
Rippon apparently mentioned Pence’s past support of conversion therapy.

The exchange is particularly embarrassing because Pence was also trying to deal with the loss of college student Otto Warmbier, which had occurred before the escalatingPe series of missile tests in 2017.  The incident is embarrassing as the U.S. faces existential threats of eventual nuclear war with North Korea.

Gus Kenworthy is also skating. Kenworthy attracted attention in the 2014 Sochi Olympics when he adopted an abandoned mother dog and four puppies.

Pence has made strong statements warning North Korea, which plans a military “parade” tomorrow, many items of which may be fake.
On the video, I could do without Kenworthy’s tattoos.

Wikipedia attribution link   Korean Culture ministry, under CCSA 2.0.

Update:  Feb. 8

Rippon's mother appeared on CNN this morning with Chris Cuomo and indicated that Adam didn't want to be distracted during performance.  There are reports that he will be willing to meet with Pence when the Olympics are over, which has some geopolitical significance. 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Important legal blog; notes from others on Creating Change Conference

Kenneth Jost, author of the Supreme Court Yearbook, offers a perspective “On LGBT Rights, Trump’s America Not Do Great” on his “Jost on Justice” blog .

 That’s in contrast to Trump’s toting out gay tech executive Peter Thiel at the convention, and his claim that foreign terrorists are the greatest threat to LGBTQ (he choked on the Q) people. I’d throw in North Korea. I could not imagine bringing children into the world if I lived there.

He offers some speculation on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, noting that centrist Kennedy is quite sympathetic to First Amendment arguments (on the part of the shop owner).

He talks about Judge Gorsuch, not so much from the point of any direct hostility but simply literalism. Gorsuch is likely to rule that protection of gay rights is the job for legislatures, not the courts – which throws things back into the “tyranny of the majority” idea of decades past – except that today, the general public is a lot more sympathetic to equal rights for gay individuals – just not for recognition of gay minority status.

The Metro Weekly has 30 interviews of people who attended the LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference in Washington DC, here

While many of the people interviewed talked in terms of groups (people of color), by no means everyone did, and there was at least one young white cis gay male Log Cabin Republican. Like me, he seemed more concerned about international issues and whether Trump’s behavior could endanger national security as well as compound problems down the road (climate change, lack of belief in truth). There were some straight people interviewed.  There was a comment that this year the conference did not have a forum on the problems of Palestinians in the conflict with Israel (ironic given Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem).

Zeke Stokes has an article “The Vanishing: Thanks to Trump’stabloid antics, the LGBTQ community gas been pushed to the back burner in mostmainstream media”.  The problem is you could say that about my own blogs.  I tend not to be interested in claims made at a “group” level as opposed to the actual individuals  in the group and how mainstream issues can affect “all of us” personally. 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Rules for asylum seeker interviews change suddenly

Very recently USCIS has changed the rules as to how it will schedule asylum seekers for interviews, to more or less a LIFO process.  Usually the most recent asylum applications are heard first, now.
That could matter for LGBT asylum seekers with longstanding applications.

DC Center Global has a long piece on the issue.  There article would not expand properly in Facebook, but when I reposted it to my timeline, it did, so here is the link. 
 Please bear in mind that as I add more entries to the timeline, the CG piece will be pushed farther down. As soon as I have a more stable URL I’ll update this post and put it here.

See also my International Issues blog today for more links of a general nature. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"The Miseducation of Cameron Post" at Sundance; Is the U.S. backsliding on LGBT acceptance now?

The New York Times has a major opinion piece reporting that America is slowly becoming less tolerant of LGBTQ rights as the political climate becomes more polarized. The piece is by Jennifer Finney Boylan, here

The attitude seems to be somewhat a backlash against identity politics and intersectionality, and more directed at people expecting to be viewed as a group than as individuals. 

Yet the article talks about a lesbian debutante party.  I never expected that kind of public accolade but I am a product of an earlier generation.

The Blade also mentions the upcoming film “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (Desiree  Akhavan), about a lesbian forced into conversion therapy in 1993 after an encounter with a prom queen.   It is currently at Sundance. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network holds a reception; more litigation on Trump's transgender military ban

Lambda Legal has filed a suit asking a federal court in Washington State , Karmoski v Trump, asking that the courts enjoin Trump’s attempted transgender ban in the military permanently, here.

As part of the Creating Change symposium sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation sponsored a reception for asylum seekers, volunteers and interested parties tonight in Washington DC.


The working group is called LGBT-FAN, or LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network, and it offers a Best Practice Guide on its site. 

Update: Jan. 30

Michael Lavers reports from the event in the Washington Blade:  One speaker noted that efforts for LGBT people in Puerto Rico were being overlooked after Hurricane Maria (I now recall that). I see from his Twitter feed that he has traveled to San Juan to report from there this week. 

Lavers also reports that at least 2 LGBT people from Cuba have applied for asylum in the Netherlands. Although Castro was bad for gay people for most of his time, recently Cuba had gotten better and even allow sexual reassignment surgery paid for by health care;  the weakening of Communism and influence of the right now seems to make things worse, which is strange. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Conversion therapy is still around; 4 LGBT bills in Virginia; Army same-sex wedding

A lot of stuff, suddenly.
HRC has a post pointing to a New York Times article by Sam Brinton, “I was tortured in gay conversion therapy, and it’s still legal in 41 states”, This time the state was Florida.  It sounds like parents determined to have as many grandchildren as possible.  Don’t forget Mike Pence’s history.

But Virginia has introduced bills to ban conversion therapy for minors (Blade story by Michael Lavers.)    HRC advises on Virginia Semate bills SB 202 to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public employment (many counties like Arlington have the ordinances) and SB 423 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s housing laws. (HRC Text alert – curiously I couldn’t find an article on HRC’s site on it).

Lavers also reports VA House bill 1466 which would ban gender identity discrimination in health insurance. 
The Army Times and AP report that a same-sex couple has married at West Point, link.  This may be the first gay marriage of a same-sex couple with both on active duty.  We’ve come a long way from the days of SLDN dinners.  But a Mike Pence could set us back (as Trump has tried with the trans issue).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Surrogacy raises litigation regarding US citizenship

Here are two brothers, born with surrogacy but only one is a citizen, because only one was conceived with sperm from an American father (the other was Israeli).

The complicated case involving same-sex couples as parents and surrogacy was filed against the State Department, and is explained by ABC News here
The State Department says that the child must have a biological connection to an American citizen as a parent in order to become a citizen at birth. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

HHS "conscience office" said to be a cover for discrimination

Gay activists in Washington are condemning the creation of a “religious conscience” division within HHS,, headed by Roger Severino, as a proxy for countenancing religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ by public employees, Washington Blade story by Chris Johnson.

The biggest issues could be with transgender surgery, or with HIV prophylaxis.
Here is CNN’s story, noting coincidence with the March for Life today. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blaze Bernstein's murder apparently a result of an unwanted flirt on a "redneck" straight man

I generally don’t discuss pending criminal cases here until there is a conviction, but this one seems so clear cut it needs to be reported here.

This refers to the murder of Blaze Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania student.

But Sam Woodward has been held without bail after the apparent slaying in Borrego Park in Orange County, CA.  Blaze was reported to be gay, and news outlets report that Woodward said Blaze kissed him (earlier the language had been “hit on him”) and that the attention as unwanted.

Under current charges, Woodward could face 26 years to life.  Special circumstances could include use of a knife and later hate crime charges.  A death sentence would be very unlikely, but life without parole sounds possible.
The ABC News story is here.
The “OC” Register story is here

Bernstein was said to be smart, verbal and charismatic as a teen, and (like Jack Andraka at Stanford) was pre-med.  This may seem like Matthew Shepard's murder in Wyoming in 1998, subject of several plays and films and candlelight vigils over the years.  

Picture: By GB11111 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link  I was in the area in 2002, 2012, and especially 1979.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A once-a-week HIV pill may work, both for prevention and control of early infection

Medical laboratory researchers at MIT and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have developed a pill that would allow HIV prophylaxis to be releases slowly for a whole week.

The MIT story is here;  the LGBTQ Nation story is here.   It appears that the technique is useful for both prevention and control of infection. The pill components can attach to the wall of the stomach in an unusual way.

There will be the issue of cost and whether insurance would cover it after Obamacare repeal/replacement.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Baltimore has a shelter for asylum seekers; same-sex marriage may matter in Mexican asylum case

DC Center Global advises that there is now a small shelter for asylum seekers near Baltimore, in Pikesville, as reported by the Baltimore Sun, here. The story reports on volunteer efforts MLK day.

The shelter does not necessarily emphasize LGBT seekers. 
It’s not clear yet how it is seeking funding or whether it will work with groups in DC.  But this is progress.

Picture is from Sandtown, April 2015.


The Washington Blade and Chris Johnson report Ninth Circuit intervention to stop a deportation of a gay asylum seeker to Mexico who allegedly missed a court date.  The fact pattern is very complicated and is given in the story. The narrative, which is quite lengthy as to the time spanned, invokes the issue that a marital partner can try to get a green card for a spouse (doesn't always work).  But it could also lead to situations where marriages happen just for that motive.  There seems to be another case int he 4th Circuit (no details available).

Asylum Seeker Assistance Project DC website is active and now has an email list, basic link.  Expect more news to follow. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

HRC and the MLK National Day of Service

Today, I did my quasi-mandatory “National Day of Service” for HRC at the Wanda Alston Foundation in Washington DC.

It was short, some deep cleaning.  I did some cupboards and the gas stove.  This was like KP in the Army. 
There were a lot of people there, maybe more bodies than needed.

But a residential house housing homeless teens/young adults does need to be kept immaculate, to hotel standards.
Then I went to a Congressman’s town hall in Alexandria, and linked gay rights to national security (from the attempted transgender ban to North Korea).

Trump did no community service MLK Day.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chelsea Manning apparently will run for Maryland Senate

Chelsea Manning has filed to run for the US Senate from Maryland, as in the CNN story.  Manning had obtained a pardon from Obama before he left office after seven years of confinement. 

I had considered running for the Libertarian Party for a Minnesota Senate seat in 2000. 

I celebrated my own New Year’s last night at Town DC, on an unseasonably warm evening where “everybody showed up”.  

In another matter, "Rightwing watch" has an article claiming religious right activist Max Staver has claimed that gays shouldn't serve as judges because Christians wouldn't get a fair shake in court, story. In 2013, Tracy Thorne (a former Navy pilot known from the debate over gays in the military  in the 1990s) was sworn in as Virginia's first openly gay judge (story).

Staver has also commented on a case in Oregon that somewhat parallels Masterpiece Cakeshop, VCY article