Posts Tagged ‘GLBT’
NEW YORK (AP) – A new report says a rash of attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the country suggests the number of reported assaults in 2008 has likely increased.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, says the number of reported attacks against LGBT people increased 24% in 2007 over 2006.
Stapel attributes the increase in part to more people reporting incidents, but she believes there actually could have been more assaults because 2008 was an election year.
The baseball bat beating of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York on Sunday was the latest in a number of reported assaults. The attack left the 31-year-old man brain dead.
Petitions target rescinding new ordinance banning discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals
KALAMAZOO — Petitions aimed at rescinding a new city ordinance banning discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals in housing, public accommodations and employment began circulating in Kalamazoo churches last weekend.
Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said Thursday that his organization is supporting the efforts of unnamed local activists toward a 2009 ballot measure to rescind the ordinance.
City officials say circulators now have until Dec. 31 to collect at least 1,300 valid signatures from registered voters living in Kalamazoo. If successful, it would require the Kalamazoo City Commission to place the referendum on a ballot, letting city voters decide if the ordinance will stand. In addition, the city charter requires that provisions of the new ordinance be suspended until electors decide.
At issue is a revised and expanded city anti-discrimination ordinance that makes it a civil infraction to discriminate in Kalamazoo against gays, lesbians and transgender citizens in housing, public accommodations and employment. For example, a landlord could not refuse to rent an apartment to a gay or lesbian couple based solely on their sexual orientation.
In addition, contractors seeking to do business with the city must show proof they have a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The measure, initiated by the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, was adopted 7-0 by the City Commission on Dec. 1 and faced no expressed public opposition.
Ordinance provisions became effective today and violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500, plus costs.
Glenn confirmed that AFAM has a supporting role in the local petition drive. But he declined to name local organizers, saying “determining who their spokesman is is up to them.”
“There is a petition being circulated to allow the citizens of Kalamazoo to make the decision on this ordinance, not the politicians,” Glenn said.
“Experience proves that in other jurisdictions, ordinances like this have been used to discriminate against and penalize people who believe homosexual behavior is wrong.”
Terry Kuseske, a spokesman for KAFE, said his organization “was hoping we would be able to avoid some kind of ballot.”
“We’ve built a lot of relationships with organizations already to support this ordinance,” Kuseske said. “We tried to craft something that was more Kalamazoo.”
According to City Attorney Clyde Robinson, the city charter gives citizens 20 days from the effective date of a new ordinance to file petitions challenging it. Those petitions must contain signatures equal to 15 percent of the valid ballots cast in the last commission election.
Glenn said organizers’ goal is to collect 2,500 to 3,000 signatures.
If petitioners are successful, Robinson said the charter requires the City Commission to either rescind its ordinance adoption or put the measure on the ballot for voters to decide. A regular election date could come as early as May.
According to Glenn, outcomes have been mixed in other Michigan cities that have had referendum elections on similar gay-rights measures.
Most recently, he said Hamtramck voters defeated an ordinance there by a 55- to 45-percent margin Nov. 6. Glenn said a combination of Catholic and Muslim churches rallied major opposition to Hamtramck’s gay-rights ordinance.
Glenn declined to identify where petitions are available for persons wishing to sign or churches that are participating in circulating them.
Kalamazoo voters have supported two previous gay-rights election issues. In 2001, city voters rejected a proposal which would have blocked the passage of municipal laws to protect gay rights and ban the city’s offer of same-sex benefits to employees.
And in 2004, while voters statewide passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Michigan, the majority of Kalamazoo voters opposed it.
Contact Kathy Jessup at email@example.com or 388-8590.
A new survey commissioned by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) suggests that majorities of Americans favor a broad range of policies and legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
The Pulse of Equality survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, shows that majorities of Americans favor legal relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples, gay- and transgender-inclusive hate-crimes laws and non-discrimination laws, and allowing gay service members to serve openly in the armed forces, while the majority oppose laws that would ban adoption by qualified gay and lesbian couples.
•Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition. (Gay and lesbian couples are able to marry in two states, and comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws exist in only five others and the District of Columbia.)
•U.S. adults are now about evenly divided on whether they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry (47% favor to 49% oppose).
•Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. (The current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law bans military service by openly gay personnel.)
•About six in 10 (63%) U.S. adults favor expanding hate crime laws to cover gay and transgender people. (Hate crimes laws cover gay and transgender people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional – 20 states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
•A slight majority of U.S. adults (51%) favor protecting gay and transgender people under existing laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. (Existing non-discrimination laws cover gay and transgender people in only 12 states and the District of Columbia, and eight other states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
•Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. adults (69%) oppose laws that would ban qualified gay and lesbian couples from adopting children. (In several states, gay and lesbian couples are banned from adopting.)
The poll surveyed 2,008 U.S. adults ages 18 and older by telephone and was conducted from Nov. 13-17, 2008.
“In the Pulse of Equality survey, we observed a positive relationship between knowing a gay or transgender person and one’s attitudes toward them and the policy issues that affect their lives,” said Laura Light, Vice President of Public Relations Research for Harris Interactive. “Based on other surveys we have conducted on attitudes toward LGBT people and issues, the results of this survey suggest that public sentiment in the U.S. is trending toward greater acceptance of gay- and transgender-related policy issues.”
Across the LGBT-related policy proposals, there were statistically significant differences in support with respect to age, gender, race/ethnicity and religion. People under 65, and especially those 18-34, were more supportive than people over 65. Women were generally more supportive than men, with women age 18-34 often being more supportive than other segments. Hispanics were more supportive than Whites and African-Americans in showing strong support for allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. African Americans were more strongly supportive than Whites and Hispanics of expanding existing hate crimes laws to cover gay and transgender people. Mainline Christians (a category that includes, among other denominations, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians) and Catholics were more supportive than Evangelical Christians, and Mainline Christians were often among the more supportive segments on a variety of issues.
The survey also revealed that there has been greater acceptance of gay and lesbian Americans over the last five years. Approximately two in 10 Americans (19%) reported that their feelings toward gay and lesbian people have become more favorable over the past five years, with contributing factors including: knowing someone who is gay or lesbian (79%), the fact that laws have been passed that protect gay and lesbian people (50%), opinions of family or friends (45%) and religious leaders (21%), news coverage of gay and lesbian issues (41%), and seeing gay or lesbian characters on television (34%) and in movies (29%). Nearly three out of four Americans (73%) personally know or work with a gay or transgender person, and half of those who know or work with someone who is gay or transgender know five or more gay or transgender people. (Advocate.com)
An GLBT person was murdered at the rate of 1 every 8 days in the beginning of 2008. And, these are the crimes that we know about. 70% of Hate Crimes are never reported. Some of the victims have been as young as 15 (Lawrence King), and the murders span from coast to coast.
Enough is enough.
THIS MUST END NOW.
Support the Hate Crimes Bill: www.hatecrimesbill.org.
Courtesy of YouTube:
Wanda Sykes on Gay Marriage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4oGKm8Upp8
Chris Rock on Gay Marriage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sKWo3Q-UZ8&NR=1
10 Reasons Gay Marriage Should Be Illegal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QIEzx8aHuY&feature=related
Margaret Cho: Christian Groups Have Lost Their Minds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4nt4U7YGaI&feature=related
Christians, Why Do You Ban Everything? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdSDQrLMtxk&feature=related
The Cost of Same Sex Marriage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuJP0b2Ecdg&feature=related
Curing Homosexuality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg29V_HSqNE&feature=related
And here is the alternative:
What is his point? That literacy is important? That straights can’t string together a sentence? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm9mq3ORpX4&feature=related
Two weeks ago, 2,000 protesters marched on the Los Angeles headquarters of CNN, shutting down the street. They banged on the windows (til one of them ordered them not to), they sat in the street, they were determined to make their collective voice heard. Frustrated, an L.A.P.D. officer asked by megaphone, “Who’s in charge here?” and someone shouted, “We all are!”
Nobody can look back at the last two weeks and say that something hasn’t fundamentally changed within the gay community. The scope, speed and ferocity of the protests that followed in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 are unprecedented.
The question on everybody’s mind is “What now?”
The far right and religious conservatives look at the crowds marching in the streets and call it “terrorism”, “fascism” and “anarchy”; mostly disingenuously, but not always so. They tell those who will listen to them that marriage equality is the first step to knocking down the churches and that it will force children to discuss sexuality at even the earliest ages. The words “witch hunt” and “blacklist” are being thrown about with casual ease.
Their argument is that people should be free to believe in and support a political cause without consequence, willfully ignorant of the fact that they’ve been denying that same luxury to equal rights advocated for years. They don’t like that the tables have been turned. They point out isolated incidents of limited violence made against Yes on 8 supporters, while ignoring that No on 8 supporters have been attacked as well.
Within the gay community, there are real fissures: Some new, some old ones brought back to life. Lori Jean of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center shouts that the only group to blame for the passage of Prop 8 is the Mormon Church. This is as simplistic as George Bush’s characterization of the war on terrorism being a conflict against “evil-doers”. Others lay the blame at the feet of the No on 8 campaign, which myopically put all of its eggs into television advertising and phone banking while actively scoffing at the idea that face time with voters would make a difference.
Like most things in life, there’s plenty of blame to spread around for the defeat in California. It’s true that the Mormon Church mounted an impressive fundraising campaign, but only the naïve would think that there wouldn’t be a ferocious battle for same-sex marriage in one of the most influential and largest states in the nation.
Maybe we needed this to happen. For Californians to have been granted the right to marry and then have it snatched away again less than six months later made a subtle discrimination blatant, not just in one state, but across the country. Similar measures in Florida, Arizona and Arkansas that passed on Election Day have made this a national movement and while Prop. 8 remains the focus, most everyone sees this as a battle to eliminate gender and sexuality discrimination from American civic life once and for all.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the legality of Proposition 8, but even if the judges rule in our favor, it will be on a process-based technicality and anti-same-sex marriage activists will try again. We must face the fact that if we are to win, we can’t rely on court battle after court battle. We must be willing to change the minds of at least some of the people who now oppose us. The difference between challenging someone’s beliefs and disparaging them is that only one gives you a shot at changing someone’s mind.
There’s also the other 33 states that outlaw gay marriage. If California were to win back its rights and leave the other states to fend on their own, they would be the worst sort of family.
This is a big and daunting fight, but it is the civil rights battle of our time. There are other important issues that the gay community needs to address: poverty, its own institutionalized racism and misogyny, drug abuse and HIV-related issues, but marriage equality isn’t just a totem. By demanding that LGBT people be treated equal citizens, it will be easier for more people to live their life without fear. This will make it easier to reach out to minority communities and the poor. It will widen our community, introducing more diversity of opinion and it will raise allow gays and lesbians to hold their head up high.
There are three questions that must to drive this revolution. By discovering the answers, we will be able to chart a course ahead.
The first is, “Who are we?”
On the surface, this question is obvious, but its simplicity is deceiving. Who makes up the gay community? Saying that it’s just the people who have same-sex attraction is inaccurate—we should not count the Larry Craig’s and Ted Haggard’s of the world among us. The gay community ghettoized itself in cities as a way to protect itself from those who hate us. We’ve outgrown the usefulness of the ghetto. It’s the final closet the gay community must escape from.
Many gays and lesbians already have and live far away from the bars and clubs of Chelsea, SoBe and WeHo, but they often feel that they have little relation to urban gays, who can be intolerant of anyone, even other gay people, if they don’t subscribe to the same political and social orthodoxy as they do. The gay community needs to become a more egalitarian place, not for any intrinsic good, but because we don’t have the luxury of being choosy about our allies.
We must decide that the only requirement to get your gay card is a commitment to ensuring equal rights for LGBT people. This means the composition of the gay/queer community will change and that the traditional gay community will have to accept people who will not always agree with them, but this should not be a impediment to a community that prides itself on diversity.
The second question we must ask ourselves is “What do we want?”
The gay community ought to write a Declaration of Equality and it ought to do it openly and transparently. We must decide what “equality” means to us. Is it civil unions or marriage? Should we include removing Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and employment non-discrimination? What in essence, are we demanding? We must make clear that our interests are in civil rights and that we have no designs on redefining religious institutions. We must make clear what actions we will take against those who oppose us, whether it be through speech or through dollars. If we are to boycott, we must boycott equitably. Does a grocery store clerk who donates to a measure that denies us equality warrant a boycott of the entire chain? What if it’s the CEO?
By crystallizing our goals we will make a stronger case. Legislators, business people and mothers and fathers will know exactly what it is the gay community seeks and what the consequences will be for those who seek to defeat us. We will be defining ourselves instead of letting others define us by unifying our community around a common set of principles.
The final question we must ask is, “How do we get there?”
If we’ve succeeded in answering the first two questions, we’ll have gone a long way to answering the third. We need to actively seek out and enlist people to join our cause, not just in the places we know, but also in places that we’ve written off. The Internet holds great promise for helping that along. These questions cannot be answered by a select few, however. This needs to be a movement of Gay, Straight, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Republican, Democrat and independent. It must be a movement that gives a voice to anyone willing to speak up and demand equal rights for all Americans. This can’t be a movement ruled by vanity or ego, but by good ideas and a commitment to justice.
There’s a sense of inevitability about the gay community achieving equality. We know we’re on the right side of history, but being morally right is not enough. Waiting for public sentiment and understanding to change on its own is not enough. We must hasten the inevitable—and we must do it the right way, with persistence, love for our fellow neighbor and with open arms to new allies and to new ideas.
“Who’s in charge?”
We all are.
Courtesy of Queerty.com
Due to the overwhelming interest
we are able to announce the creation of The PATH Project
now presented at thepathproject.wordpress.com.
The project to create a traveling memorial dedicated to those GLBT persons who lost their lives because they were living.
Adopt a Hero Today!