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ICYMI: Big news! YouTube user OneUpdateataTime has captured a straight pride parade on tape! “It’s called every damn street corner. Every day. Everywhere.”

Get it? Here’s a blurb from his description of the video:

I feel there’s a common criticism of any form of pride events or nationals days or any attempt to bring minorities into the light or be represented and that criticism is from a member of an oppressive majority that selfishly goes “but what about US? Where’s OUR day/parade? That’s not equality! I call reverse-ism/phobia!” thus completely missing the point. Pride parades and other events are to break into the hegemony of a single group being the default, to bring the minority into any tiny space they can try and grab in society to allow discussions and exposure that will benefit them by decreasing stigmas and stereotypes surrounding that minority…It doesn’t take away from the space in society that that majority has, it just creates a new one for the minority so they can try and belong too and create a more harmonious society.

What a majestic sight. (h/t the Huffington Post Gay Voices)

Why HRC Supports A Comprehensive LGBT Civil Rights Bill: An Explanation From HRC's President, Chad Griffin


Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

NOTE: The following is a message from HRC’s President Chad Griffin, writing for Buzzfeed, explaining why the HRC continues to support ENDA, even with the religious exemption included in the present bill, while other LGBT organizations withdrew their support. I am simply posting this as an explainer from the organization’s president, and I am neither supporting or dissenting from his statement, I am merely posting it neutrally.

The Human Rights Campaign supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a very simple reason. It will guarantee millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all 50 states explicit, reliable protections from discrimination in the workplace. We call on our allies in Congress to improve this bill’s overly broad religious exemption. A strong ENDA is worth fighting for because we cannot ignore the urgent need of countless LGBT people who do not have the luxury of waiting for these protections.

All of us in the LGBT movement knew that passing ENDA wasn’t going to be easy in the 113th Congress. In fact, we knew it would require the biggest legislative campaign in the history of this movement. We all knew the bill wouldn’t be perfect, because legislating always involves compromises. But we also knew that there were two red lines we would not cross. The bill had to be inclusive of the entire LGBT community, and it had to ensure that private employers could never cite a religious reason to fire or refuse to hire an employee.

But regardless of whether or not ENDA passes in this session of Congress, it is time for the LGBT movement to throw its weight behind a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill. A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment. This is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come.

In the year and a half since the current version of ENDA was introduced, we have significantly moved the needle on Congressional support for LGBT equality. Thanks to a massive coordinated campaign, Americans for Workplace Opportunity, the LGBT movement has brought together dozens of allied organizations, hundreds of leading American corporations, and the support of millions of LGBT Americans and our allies to fight for essential workplace protections. Together, we have also secured a record number of bipartisan cosponsors for a fully inclusive ENDA. That progress will be carried forward.

ENDA gives hope to LGBT people from Alabama to Montana, Americans who face discrimination on the job each and every day, that a more hopeful future is possible. Those of us in states with strong non-discrimination laws can never forget or disregard the urgent need of our LGBT brothers and sisters in states without them.

But we also can’t ignore that somewhere in between the introduction of this version of ENDA and today, a revolution has happened in the fight for LGBT equality. We’re at one of those moments you read about in the history books, and it turns up everywhere you look. From the tireless advocate-President who sits at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office every day, to the transgender teenager in the heart of Mississippi who, today, can look with hope to Laverne Cox on TV. Public opinion is rocketing forward toward support for equality. A new pro-equality court ruling is issued almost every day. Straight Americans in the heartland today weep supportive tears at the weddings of their gay and lesbian neighbors. Together we have all worked to shift the ground beneath our feet, and an overwhelming national sense has emerged that the tide of history is turning toward full equality for all.

We cannot and will not ignore the imperative of this moment. As long as this Congress is in session, we will fight for ENDA — with a narrowed religious exemption — because these workplace protections will change millions of lives for the better. But this movement has a responsibility to also chart a course for the future. The gay man in Alabama who gets kicked out of his apartment because his partner moves in — or the transgender teenager in Arkansas who gets shamed for using the right restroom — is just as deserving of legal equality as the lesbian in Montana who gets fired because of who she is.

In other words, it’s time for full LGBT civil rights to come out of the closet. We all agree that, at the end of the day, full federal equality is the only acceptable option, nothing more, nothing less. The campaign for a strong ENDA continues with more urgency than ever before, but we’ve got to dig in for the fight of our lives.

Chad Griffin is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

Source: Chad Griffin for Buzzfeed

BREAKING: United Nations Recognizes Staffers' Same Sex Marriages


Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday that the United Nation’s would recognize same sex marriage for its roughly 43,000 staff members worldwide.

"Human rights are at the core of the mission of the United Nations," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, according to the Huffington Post. “I am proud to stand for greater equality for all staff, and I call on all members of our UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia as discrimination that can never be tolerated at our workplace.” The organization had previously restricted recognition of same-sex marriage to employees from the 17 countries where gay marriage is currently legal. 

The move by the United Nations comes amid criticism from LGBT rights groups after Sam Kutesa, a staunch ally of Uganda’s President Uweri Museveni, was appointed President of the U.N. General Assembly. Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have decried Mr. Museveni’s brutal crackdown on homosexuality in Uganda, including a recent law imposing lifetime sentences for those convicted of being in same-sex relationships. 

While the announcement covers U.N. staff, employees of some 50 affiliated agencies such as UNICEF and UNESCO will be unchanged. UN-GLOBE, the association that represents the U.N.’s LGBT members was cautiously optimistic.

“Let me reiterate UN-GLOBE’s belief that the fairest policy would have been an affidavit policy, as it would have covered general service, national and even some international staff who, under the newly adopted policy, may not be able to secure visas, nor have the resources, to travel to a country where legal unions are performed,” UN-GLOBE President Hyung Hak “Alfonso” Nam told the Huffington Post. “But for now, I would say this: at long last. Let us just enjoy this moment, this huge victory.”

Source: David Ludwig for The Wire

Today’s ruling is about the ACA and reproductive health and rights, but some may mistake this narrow ruling as a wide open door for religious liberty exemptions from other statutes that protect employees and the public. Today’s opinion says doing so would be incorrect. However, recent mistreatment of LGBT people in employment and other commercial settings still makes this extremely troubling. A business owner’s religious objection to a worker’s same-sex spouse or a customer’s LGBT identity is not acceptable grounds for discrimination. It is more important than ever that states and Congress enact strong, clear nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.
From Lambda Legal’s statement about the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. Joe. My. God. has a solid roundup of LGBT organizations’ statements here. (via gaywrites)

Why I Outed Gay Republicans: A Blogger Talks About His 10-Year-Old Initiative To Out Anti-Gay Republicans Who Are Gay, And Why He's Not Apologizing For It


DISCLAIMER: Normally, I have a huge problem with outing someone, or anyone, as a matter of fact. Just wanted to post this disclaimer before sharing the post below. 

In July of 2004, as 11 anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns competed for conservative attention at the polls, I started BlogActive, a site dedicated to exposing anti-gay politicians who were themselves having secret sexual encounters with other men.

For years, I had known of prominent gay politicians who were in the closet but worked for homophobic causes in the interest, it seemed to me, of their political careers. And so, drawing on sources within and outside Washington, I began using my blog to expose these congressmen and their high-profile staffers. A media frenzy ensued. Within two days of the site’s launch, the Washington Post published one articleanother followed just six days later. Local and national television outlets called, challenging me to defend and explain my actions. In one early interview, Bill O’Reilly said to me, “People’s sex life should have nothing to do with any kind of a policy.”

I agreed, I said. This wasn’t about private sex lives—it was about hypocrisy. As I saw it, all I was doing was reporting the truth. And 10 years later, after my reports on dozens of politicians and staffers, I believe we’re better off for it, with a more open discussion of anti-gay politicians who lead double lives.

Think back to 2004. It was the year after Massachusetts had become the first state to legalize gay marriage, activists were celebrating in the streets and community leaders were taking well-deserved victory laps. I was among them; I had worked at Harvey Milk High School in New York, where I learned about abused LGBT youth, and at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C., where I saw the fruits of activism first-hand. (At Greenpeace, working for other progressive causes, I had learned another important lesson—how powerful the media spotlight can be.) For LGBT supporters like me, it finally felt like a corner had been turned.

Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political adviser, might have been celebrating too—but for entirely different reasons. What same-sex couples and their supporters saw as the slow progress of history, Bush’s political mastermind used as a weapon in the 2004 campaign. Rove wanted conservatives, especially conservative Christians, to turn out to vote for the incumbent president, and so encouraged Bush to endorse an amendment banning same-sex marriage, which he did early that year. It was a brilliant strategy: Rove needed a bogeyman to get people out to the polls, and marriage equality was it.

With Rove, conservative Christian activist Ralph Reed and Bush re-election chief Ken Mehlman running campaigns based on fear, I decided I’d had enough. I knew these three men had a bevy of gay men working with them, despite their position on same-sex marriage. Mehlman himself was gay—the man atop the entire 2004 GOP operation that was pushing for those anti-gay marriage ballot measures, and who would become chairman of the Republican National Committee the next year. (I reported on Mehlman in October 2006, and he came out himself in 2010.) I felt I had to correct the record.

At the time, I had been using the web for smaller citizen engagement projects, and I knew I could influence corporations and attract media attention from places like the Washington PostNational Post and New York Times. Take those skills and throw in a little creative marketing, and BlogActive was born.

One of the first reports I did once the site launched was about a senior staffer to Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who had one of the most homophobic records in the Senate. (Two years later, Inhofe would declare on the Senate floor that he was “really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”) Before I published the story, the staffer, whom I had talked to three days earlier, called and urged me not to run it. “I have a right to privacy,” he told me. “It’s no one’s business that I am gay.” I found it hard to take the man’s protestations seriously when he had appeared as a cover model for a gay Washington, D.C., magazine.

The reaction to these early posts was mixed, with some people backing me and others yammering that I was invading politicians’ right to privacy. To the latter group, I pointed out that these very politicians were making my private life—and the lives of millions of other LGBT Americans—a very public political issue.

I also noted an important distinction between outing and reporting. Outing is the indiscriminate disclosure of someone’s sexual orientation without his or her consent. Reporting is not at all indiscriminate—and it has a higher purpose. What my blog did was reveal the hypocrisy of politicians, to show that people who control the nation’s political and legal systems often have different standards for themselves. “People have the right to privacy,” Barney Frank, the retired gay congressman from Massachusetts said in Outrage, the 2009 documentary that was inspired by my work. “But they don’t have the right to hypocrisy.”

Part of the problem at the time was the media, which was culpable of a kind of journalistic homophobia that I wanted to correct. If journalists really wanted to treat gay and straight subjects equally, I reasoned, they should report on them with equal scrutiny too. The media have always written stories about straight politicians who take hypocritical positions on different issues—a secure-our-borders conservative who employs undocumented immigrants or a politician who argues against a woman’s right to choose while secretly arranging for an abortion for his mistress. So why not do the same for gay politicians?

I am often asked, “Does reporting on these closeted homophobes really accomplish anything?” Of course it does. Like every movement, no one action or reaction seals the deal. Pressure must come from all sides: legal, political, activist and media. In creating BlogActive, I decided to combine two of them and engage in activist journalism, a form of reporting that depends on transparency and has an unabashed political goal. And the results were real.

Take the case of Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia, who argued that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was too lenient and also happened to be president of Virginia Beach’s Atlantic Shores Baptist Church. Late in the summer of 2004, during the GOP convention, I released recordings (from an anonymous tipster) of Schrock seeking sex with a man from a hook-up phone service. Schrock did not claim responsibility for the tapes, but multiple sources insisted on their authenticity to me. And the congressman promptly pulled out of his reelection campaign, citing allegations that “called into question” his ability to serve. He was replaced in the years to come by a series of House members who were, relative to Schrock, quiet on DADT, which Congress has of course since repealed. Had his story gone unreported, Schrock would most likely still occupy this solidly Republican seat.

The case I consider my most successful, though, is that of Paul Koering, a former state senator from Minnesota. I first called Koering in 2005, after I had learned that he was gay, and we chatted for about two hours. I told him about my work, and he told me about his upbringing in a religious Catholic family and how it shaped his conservative views, including on gay marriage, which he officially opposed at the time. I had several more conversations with him after that, and each time he shared more about his experiences as a closeted gay politician. I could sense the pain in his voice.

“Senator,” I said in our fifth or sixth conversation. “No matter how you vote on the upcoming marriage amendment in the Minnesota senate, I will not report on your being in the closet. You are a man on a journey that I know will end with success.” Citing my work, Koering shortly thereafter voted against his entire caucus in the state senate (including Michele Bachmann) on the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, before walking out of the chamber into the Minneapolis capitol rotunda and coming out as gay to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Following his disclosure, Koering was reelected the next year to the state senate and later to his county Board of Supervisors.

I could go on. There was also Dan Gurley, a highly placed GOP staffer. After I wrote about him, he left the Republican National Committee and went on to become a leader in the fight for equality in North Carolina. Mehlman, for his part, later became an advocate for marriage equality, including publicly supporting the group behind one of last year’s gay rights cases in the Supreme Court.

Next week will mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of BlogActive. Despite the encouragement I’ve gotten from many to keep it alive, it has been dormant for the past three years. I have left it up as an archive of my work—and a reminder of another era in our nation’s history. Thankfully, there is much less need for the blog today. No longer is my community under constant threat of having discrimination against us written into the constitution. Closeted anti-gay politicians are able to inflict less damage, and we have a national media much more open to reporting on these stories. I have no regrets at all about the work I did.

My friend Elizabeth Birch, the former head of the Human Rights Campaign, says that when it comes to the fight for marriage equality, “Nothing happens in a vacuum. This struggle will be won one kitchen table at a time.”

At too many tables, our enemies are also one of us. We should not—and cannot—let that go unchallenged.

Michael Rogers is director of Netroots Connect, a non-profit supporting online journalism and activism, and a partner and managing director of Raw Story Media, which owns the online news publication the Raw Story.

Source: Michael Rogers for Politico

HORRIBLE: Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash [TW: Transphobia, Transmisogyny, Anti-LGBT Bigotry & Violence]


Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

In horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can’t right now, I just can’t even.

According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez, which was the woman’s preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.

I’m sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they’re transgender isn’t a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn’t count because it’s not on your official “hate crime” cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like “every other homicide?”

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite hisdaughter’sidentity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. NobodyThere will never be another T, you couldn’t clone her, couldn’t mold her.

Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don’t know of any person who would do something like that to T. It’s mind-boggling. You’d never think that would happen to your family.

Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I’d love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it’s not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that’s at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez’s 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

I hate everything right now.

Image via NBC-2 Broadcast.

Source: Kat Callahan for ROYGBIV


Remembering Brenda: An Ode to the ‘Mother of Pride’

Did you know? The first pride was organized by a bisexual woman.

The year was 1969. It was illegal for LGBT people to get together and have a drink or dance with same-sex partners. Most bars wouldn’t allow queers into their establishment … But there was one place where everyone could gather — The Stonewall Inn …The police knew that gays went to Stonewall. They would raid the bar … Many times, the raiding officers got rough, making police brutality a common occurrence … Until June 28, 1969, when those fairies, drag queens, queers, trans people, and gender-nonconforming folks said “Enough is enough.” The three-day standoff that ensued, infamously known as the Stonewall Riots, launched the modern-day LGBT rights movement…

A month after the riots ended, New York City saw one of the country’s first public marches where LGBT people proudly, publicly claimed their identities: The Christopher Street Liberation Day March. The parade influenced other cities around the world, laying the ground work for Pride parades internationally.

And while Stonewall has become an iconic moment in our collective LGBT history, many are unaware that the first Pride parade, the Liberation Day March, was organized by a bisexual woman. A year later, the same woman coordinated the one-year anniversary of the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, sparking what would become a lifelong passion for the late Brenda Howard

Born in the Bronx, Howard had a heart for activism, and was involved with antiwar and feminist movements in earlier years … She was friends with many of the individuals who were inside the bar that night the Stonewall Riots began. Her advocacy for the community started then, but it continued for more than three decades. Her lifelong advocacy ended when she died in 2005 — during New York City’s Pride Week…

Howard was arrested in Chicago in 1988, while demonstrating for national health care and the fair treatment of women, people of color, and those living with HIV and AIDS. She was arrested in Georgia in 1991 for protesting the firing of a lesbian from the state attorney general’s office due to Georgia’s anti-sodomy law. She was arrested multiple times for social justice causes, but she always kept fighting…

Some of the work closest to her heart was in the bisexual community. Howard cofounded the New York Area Bisexual Network in 1988, an organization that, to this day, serves as a central communication hub for bisexual and bi-friendly groups in New York City and the tri-state area.

She successfully lobbied for the inclusion of bisexuality in the 1993 March on Washington, at a time when the movement was focused primarily on gay men and lesbians.

Howard was a hands-on, grassroots activist who fought for the rights of the minorities … every year around the world, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals march proudly, celebrating their individuality, their families, and their freedom. We march today because a bisexual woman marched then.

Click HERE to read the full article

Eliel Cruz Bisexual Christian. Freelance Writer at huffington post, policymic, the advocate magazine, believe out loud on religion, sexuality, media, and culture.

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