Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
While we’ve had a great year as a community, yes, we still have miles to go before we’re all equal, especially when faced with bigotry, intolerance, homophobia, and just plain hatred.
But, over the last year many people have stepped up for the LGBT community and, courtesy of the Huffington Post, I’m here to say ‘Thanks’:
#1 Zea, The Ohio Girl Who Stood Up To A Homophobic Preacher
Following the Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, supporters gathered in celebration all over the country — but, of course, so did some haters. Seven-year-old in Zea, however, stood firm in the face of hate by waving her rainbow flag at a homophobic street preacher ranting at her through a microphone.
Three cheers for Zea for never backing down.
#2 The Equality House
2015 proved to be another remarkable year for The Equality House — the rainbow structure that sits right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound.
Throughout the past year, The Equality House held a virtual pizza fundraiser for homeless youth in response to an anti-gay pizza shop, staged a gay "Wizard Wedding" between Gandalf and Dumbledore and erected a billboard calling out the ignorance of Kim Davis in her own hometown — just to name a few.
#3 Omar Currie
Currie, a third grade teacher made a bold move last spring after he heard a number of his students calling another classmate "gay." He sat his kids down and read a book called King & King, a children's book that features a same-sex romance.
"One student said that it made them uncomfortable, saying, ‘Well, I’ve never seen two men marry each other.’ I said, 'Well, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you feel something new, but what is the moral? The moral is to treat people well, no matter who they are.'"
#4 Kelly Lauren
A transgender woman in Chicago made a bold and powerful statement in November in response to Houston, Texas, voters striking down HERO, that proposed legislation to extend nondiscrimination protections to the LGBT community, including enabling trans people to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Kelly Lauren, a transgender woman and drag entertainer, posted the photo to her Facebook account as a tongue-in-cheek response asking:
"Houston, do you REALLY want me in the same restroom as your husband or boyfriend?"
#5 Paul Henson & Ashley Ramage
The parents of a three-year-old boy in Virginia gained viral fame this year when they posted a photo of their son, Caiden, wearing a princess Halloween costume from the popular movie "Frozen." The pair told Caiden that he could be whatever he wanted for Halloween—it didn't matter if the outfit was marketed for a boy or girl.
"As children get older, they distance themselves from their parents. Why start that split sooner than they need to? It's important for children to know that their parents will stand by them no matter what. Ashley and I will do whatever it takes to keep our son happy and not take his innocence and imagination from him." — Paul Henson
#6 Digital Activist Mike Melgaard
One of the breakout heroes of 2015 proved to be Mike Melgaard — an activist who brilliantly trolled anti-LGBT bigots on various businesses’ Facebook pages throughout the year.
Melgaard created fake support accounts for different businesses after they made pro-queer moves and experienced anti-LGBT backlash from the public.
#7 Carla Lewis
Carla Lewis, a transgender veteran, made waves across the Internet this year when she posted a photo of herself wearing a polarizing t-shirt:
"Transgender Veteran: I fought for your right to hate me."The shirt commented on an often-overlooked reality: a number of the men and women who have or are currently serving in the United States military identify as transgender.
#8 Russell Hughes
A hair salon owner made a public declaration against discrimination in June after a customer refused to let an employee cut his son's hair because he perceived the man to be gay.
#9 The Red Raven Espresso Parlor
The Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo, North Dakota, took a stand against legislators in April who struck down a bill that would have provided discrimination protections for the queer community.
The owners posted a sign in the window banning the legislators who struck down the bill from the establishment, and claimed they could only enter the shop if accompanied by a member of the LGBT community. The owner later clarified in a Facebook post that the ban was meant to "satirize the environment that the legislators created for the LGBTQ+ community by voting against" the bill.
#10 'Willy Wonka' Subway Rider
An unidentified subway rider in New York City shut down a homophobic preacher in January by drowning out his hate with a beautiful rendition of "I've Got A Golden Ticket" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
The subway hero's actions were applauded by his fellow mass transit passengers.
#11 Jesse Mount
In June, Australian Nick Jensen wrote an op-ed for the Canberra City News in which he claimed that he and his wife Sarah would “as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognize the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnization of same-sex couples" — effectively saying they would divorce if Australia legalized same-sex marriage.
In response, Jesse Mount organized a Facebook group for people who agreed they would celebrate the couple's divorce if and when same-sex marriage came Down Under. The massive Facebook group became a place where same-sex couples shared photos and stories about their own lives and relationships in an effort to show the faces of healthy queer love.
So, we have our heroes and our allies, and they’re little girls, and stylists and veterans and baristas and Moms and Dads. With their help, the march goes on ….
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
It’s no exaggeration to say that 2015 was a great year for the LGBT community, just like it’s no exaggeration to say that the march still goes on and we still have a lot of work to do.
But … let’s take a moment as the year winds down to look at a list of Fifteen Of The Dumbest Things Said About The LGBT Community In 2015 … courtesy of the Huffington Post:
Because of gay marriage, people will soon want to marry their lawnmowers
Yup, that’s what Iowa Republican Congressman and Asshat, Steve King said, citing an unnamed Christian lawyer who reportedly told him that only "one human" is needed for a marriage now.
I haven’t seen one marriage between a man and his tractor yet, though.
Same-sex marriage will lead to "love affairs between men and animals."
Pat Robertson, a certifiable loon and homophobe, argued that the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling used "faulty sociological grounds" and warned that:
"Watch what happens, love affairs between men and animals are going to be absolutely permitted. Polygamy, without question, is going to be permitted, and it will be called a right."
I still love Tuxedo, but, yeah, just as a friend, not a feline husband.
Same-sex attraction is like eating doughnuts
TLC aired a controversial special, "My Husband's Not Gay," and profiled Jeff, a Mormon man who said he'd chosen to marry a woman, Tanya, despite being attracted to other men. Jeff defended his decision to marry a woman using this analogy:
"I love doughnuts. So you could say I am oriented toward doughnuts, and if I was being true to myself, I would eat donuts a lot more than I eat doughnuts ... [but] am I denying myself because I don't eat doughnuts as much as I might like to eat doughnuts? I'm not."
Crazy, too, isn’t he?
Pastor warns of a "sodomite demon," contracted through kissing, sex
In July, James David Manning of ATLAH World Missionary Church warned heterosexual women about a "sodomite demon," which can be contracted through sexual intercourse with men who have had sex with other men.
"If a man injects himself in another man and injects his semen into him, and he's crazy, then that's gonna get in his blood as well. If demons are in him... you're gonna get penetrated by demons."
Demon semen. Who knew?
California's drought is the result of marriage equality, LGBT rights
In May, Bill Koenig of World Watch Daily, a "biblically relevant" news site that focuses on Israel, the Middle East and the White House, suggested that California’s four-year drought was caused by same-sex marriage:
"We've got a state that, over and over again, will go against the word of God, that will continually take positions on marriage and abortion and on a lot of things that are just completely opposed to the Scriptures. So there very likely could be a drought component to this judgment."
Again, I wonder, if The Gays are so All Powerful, why did we wait for the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage? Why not just send locusts and drought everywhere until we got our way?
Gay "X-Men" character will "indoctrinate" youth
Evangelist Franklin Graham blasted Marvel Comics after iconic "X-Men" character Iceman was revealed to be gay, arguing that it was "another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle."
"God’s Word says homosexuality is a sin, and we are to be on guard against all sin," he wrote. "God calls us to repent, turn from our sins, and put our trust in His Son Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the penalty for sin."
If all it took to make people gay was seeing a gay character on TV or in movies, would everyone be gay? And wouldn’t that be great?
Baltimore protests are the result of same-sex marriage
In April, Texas Representative Bill Flores made a bizarre link between same-sex marriage rights and the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray:
"Look at what is going on in Baltimore today. You see the issues that are raised there. Healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in a way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective."
So, a man in police custody died because marriage equality? That’s an idiotic stretch even for a Texas politician.
Parents should drown themselves instead of letting kids read "Harry Potter"
In November, Pastor Kevin Swanson blasted Harry Potter, and his opposition to J.K Rowling's iconic series stemmed from the author's revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore the wizard as a gay man.
"America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time."
Fictional gay people are scary, I guess?
Anti-gay bigotry should be blamed on Muslims
In May, Rush Limbaugh had some eyebrow-raising advice for businesses who want to deny services to same-sex couples: blame Muslims:
"I pointed out the other day, well, then should we maybe stop flouting and flaunting gay marriage, because gay marriage is really disapproved in Islam. Gay marriage, homosexual behavior is not tolerated, it is not permitted and it is punished severely when it is caught, when it's spied. And yet in American media all over the place we are celebrating gay marriage, we are flaunting gay marriage, and I ask, does this not also offend Muslims?"
So in one fell swoop he blames The Gays and The Muslims for all our ills.
Gay people should be put on an island to see if they die out
Texas Loon, and Congressman, Louie Gohmert, took his opposition to same-sex marriage to an entirely new level during a speech at Virginia's Liberty University in November.
"How about if we take four heterosexual couples, and put them on an island where they have everything they need to live and exist, and we take four couples of just men and put them on an island where they have all they need to survive. And then let's take four couples of just women and put them on an island, and then let's come back in 100 years and see which one nature favors."
Obviously, the best idea would be to put Gohmert on an island and never go back.
The word "garriage" should be used for "gay marriage"
Pat Fagan, who is the director of the Family Research Council's Marriage and Religion Research Institute, would like marriages between two men referred to as "garriage," and those between two women "larriage."
This from a man whose last name is Fagan? Seriously?
There aren't enough places for anti-gay people to shop anymore
Mission: America's Linda Harvey, whose opposition to the LGBT community is well-established, argued that the number of "family-friendly, Christian-affirming" shops and restaurants she'll allow herself to frequent during the holiday shopping season is "growing shorter all the time."
“Think about the grave harm homosexuality is doing to American culture, to our schools, to our freedoms, to our churches. Let’s do what we can to honor the standards of Christ during the celebration of His birthday."
Let’s honor Christ by showing our hatred. How, um, Christ-like?
Pat Robertson blames the gays for the U.S. stock market plunge
In September, Certifiable Loon™ Pat Robertson suggested that recent turmoil in the stock market was somehow tied to same-sex marriage:
"Our finances right now are hanging by a thread. The rupture of the entire financial framework of our world is so tenuous right now. If there was ever a time that we need the grace of God, it is now, and unless something is done to change the courts and to change the way this country is going, it is just a question of time before the fabric ruptures and we’ll all suffer because of it."
Again, if The Gays can shut down the stock market to get our way, why didn’t we do it sooner?
People are "born" homophobic
Bryan Fischer twisted Gaga’s pro-equality mantra for his own hate message:
"Who would choose, at this time in our nation's history, to be a Christian? You're ridiculed. You're mocked. You're made fun of. So our defense is, hey, I was born that way."
Nope, you were indoctrinated by your parents or your own mind, and as for the hate, look at a child and learn that hate is taught … by folks like Bryan Fischer.
Woman sues all gay people on God's behalf
Identifying herself as an ambassador for God and Jesus Christ, Sylvia Ann Driskell, a Nebraska woman filed a federal lawsuit against all homosexual people on the planet for breaking “religious and moral laws” in May.
Driskell argued that “homosexuality is a sin and that the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in the closet(?)”
Um, to spare ourselves from people like you, Sylvia.
Dumb is funny, right, but it’s also scary what some folks believe and say aloud. Let’s hope the ignorance starts slipping away in 2016.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Mona Haydar is Donald [t]Rump’s worst nightmare … a woman and a Muslim.
And with all this anti-Muslim rhetoric being spewed by the right, Mona wanted to do something about it; she wanted to talk about it.
And one night, while having dinner with her husband, Sebastian, he suggested she do something kind of crazy. Sebastian had seen a segment on This American Life where an Iraqi man had stood on the street with a sign that read, 'Ask an Iraqi.'
Mona liked that idea, so she set up a stand outside a library in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with sign that read, "Ask a Muslim," and, along with a free cup of coffee and a doughnut, she offered to talk to strangers. At the end of the day, Mona posted her story to Facebook [HERE] and the post went viral, garnering over 11,000 ‘Likes’ and attention from all sorts of media outlets.
"We weren't out there that long today but the take away was clear: Keep your heads held high, dear Muslim family, there is an overwhelming amount of love and so remember this post when you are faced with bigotry and hatred towards you or your faith. Remember that you have supporters too." — Mona Haydar, on Facebook
Mona says most of the people who stopped to talk just wanted to connect and say, "Hey, I really love what you're doing" and "Thank you for doing this." And others stopped to apologize for what some are saying about the Muslim faith, the Muslim community.
“Initially, I thought I was going to get a lot of negativity, we were going to face a lot of Islamophobia. And I was going into it with that mindset. … People expect me to be some kind of boogeyman — so, I was like, I can't go into it with that kind of mindset. So I didn't prepare, I didn't have expectations of what people would bring. Honestly, I was really happily surprised with what happened. Because I went in with a super open heart, with a super open mind, and just let happen what was going to happen.”
And she met all sorts of people and shared all sorts of experiences that even she wasn’t prepared for; like the gay couple who stopped to chat, and ended up talking with Mona and Sebastian about what all couples talk about: their lives, their marriages. Mona even got advice from this gay couple — who’d been together for over twenty years — about her own four year marriage to Sebastian.
And, be ready, because Mona will be going back out there, with doughnuts and coffee, just to talk … about whatever you want to talk about. And maybe she’ll change some minds about what people think about Muslims, or perhaps she’ll realize that those narrow minds are few and far between, and mostly on the campaign trail.