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The Tragedy of Dr. V

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
As a transgender person, my relationship with mass media hasn’t always been the best of relationships. Every single day, when I watch television, or a film, or read news articles, or books, or even twitter, I feel like I’m walking through a minefield. Inevitably, I will step on one and be onslaught with some horribly insensitive comment or dehumanizing portrayal of a trans person. The systemic view of trans individuals as non-people is too ubiquitous, and the lack of understanding of our struggles coming to terms with our identities has created a mythologization of our lives with little concern for our perspective... [ Read more → ]

A gay dad sounds off on the Utah fasting guy’s latest childish rant

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Trestin Meacham is not a special individual. For the people who share his mindset, he is actually quite typical. He finds a singular way of expressing himself, and for that, he gets notoriety. Because he typifies some of those holding key points of anti-gay frustration, he remains a point of interest for me and others. He is not alone. With an Oklahoma lawmaker calling gay people “human wrongs” and the government of Nigeria terrorizing its LGBT citizens, and dozens of idiotic ramblings from various lawmakers and clergy, Mr. Meacham’s point of view is more common than many of us are comfortable... [ Read more → ]
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)

The ‘outing’ of Aaron Schock: It actually matters how he plays in Peoria

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
YES – it is the media’s responsibility to accurately report on hypocrisy. For reporters to specifically exclude facts about gay hypocrites is itself, a hostile act proclaiming homosexuality is so shameful that it is exempted from the normal rules of good journalism. Unfortunately, journalist Itay Hod jumped the gun and spoke out before he presented any indisputable evidence. As far as I’m concerned, Congressman Aaron Schock is still a gay bashing heterosexual Republican who simply has a bit of fashion sense… [ Read more → ]

A gay dad’s open letter to the man who refused to eat while gay couples married

Monday, January 6, 2014
These past few years may end up being known as the years of “Conservatives Behaving Badly.” At the end of last year, the Republicans in Congress conducted a massive foot stomping, pout-out and shut down the government because they did not get their way on the previous healthcare bill. In the state of Utah, conservatives were shocked when the justice system intervened on the subject of marriage equality. Now, we have a couple of adult size tantrums playing out publicly... [ Read more → ]

Time for HRC to put economic justice on the gay agenda

Sunday, January 5, 2014
There’s been plenty of sucking up to the business community at the Human Rights Campaign, but little focus on money matters affecting low- and moderate-income LGBT people.Why can't the HRC, the gay division of the Democratic Party, address such concerns? Is it's because of the robust six-figure salaries of the top HRC executives? Do such compensation amounts cut off their awareness of gays who don't make that kind of money? Or is it because the minimum wage increase doesn't attract the attention of celebrities who appear at HRC dinners? [ Read more → ]

The ugly collusion between ‘religious faith’ and bigotry

Monday, December 30, 2013
There is an ugly collusion between religious belief and bigotry which we don’t talk about, and it didn’t begin with the LGBT community. It wasn’t that long ago when religious belief and faith was used to justify slavery, segregation, and anti-Semitism. Sadly, the LGBT community seems to be the last bastion where it is okay to justify demonizing people under the guise of “adhering to one’s faith.” ... Folks who do these things always seem to think that they own the word "Christianity" and everyone else is beholden to their interpretation. [ Read more → ]

A Christmas for Carol

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
She was so awake. ‘Twas the day before Christmas and she had a thousand things to do. Why had she left everything to the last minute? Every Christmas it was the same. Carol Cage worked long hours, right up to Christmas Eve and then finally had to rush around to get everything done. She got out of bed and went to her en suite bathroom. She changed her mind and went to her bedroom door and opened it. She had made a habit of closing it to avoid overhearing her son and his friend in bed again. She had heard them that first night some three months ago, when they came home late from the movies. Her son, her illegitimate son, was in a relationship with another boy... [ Read more → ]

A gay dad’s open letter to his kids: The truth about Santa

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The miracle of Christmas is not in what we get, and it is not in what we see. It is in what we feel, what we imagine and what we give to create love and happiness. I want you two to never let anyone take that away from you. Your feelings of Christmas, your inspiration on what to do to make others happy and the love we have for each other… those are all invisible, but they are the most real things in the world. I believe in them with all my heart, and I hope you do too. There is only one thing I believe in more, and that is you... [ Read more → ]
Phil Robertson

Let me explain ‘Freedom of Speech’ to all the Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty supporters

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Unless I’ve missed something, Mr. Robertson faces no legal ramifications for what he said. That’s what freedom of speech means. Freedom of speech does not mean we can say anything we want without ramifications for what we say from our peers or employers. We’re free to be racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic — pretty much anything we want. We can be these things, no matter how ignorant, because that’s what the Constitution gives us the right to be... [ Read more → ]

In bill to prohibit workplace bias, broad exemption holds danger

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Unless the language of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act's religious exemption strikes a better balance to reflect the true meaning of religious liberty, core American principles and millions of American working men and women have a great deal at risk. It will take grassroots pressure and pushing by equality-minded advocates and policy-makers to make that balance happen. Who's pushing the other way? Some religious potentates who oppose women's right to control their fertility and their pregnancies also oppose anti-bias laws. They claim religious principle allows them to discriminate freely. But no federal law, least of all one intended to stop bias on the job, should allow them to have it both ways... [ Read more → ]

This holiday season, share your gay gifts with the world

Sunday, December 15, 2013
Like many other LGBT people, I grew up thinking that I was all alone in the world. I knew of no other gay folks, either out or closeted, and the absence of role models likely contributed to my sense of solitude. It didn’t help that within my own dysfunctional family I had my own secrets to keep about who I was, creating a wall between me and them. In those pre-internet days, I would scour every book and newspaper in hopes of finding the slightest reference that someone else might be gay like me... [ Read more → ]
Altaf Qadri, APA gay rights activist holds up a placard during a protest against the Supreme Court’s ruling in New Delhi.

India’s court ruling a dreadful new judicial low for international LGBT human rights

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday’s Indian Supreme Court decision reversing a lower court and re-criminalizing same-sex sexual intimacy marks a dreadful new judicial low for international LGBT human rights. Even as we in the U.S. enjoy ever increasing visibility and protections for our community, life for many of our brothers and sisters in other countries is going from bad to intolerable. It is repellent that extremist religious opposition worldwide is such a corrosive impediment to basic human rights... [ Read more → ]
Christopher Edwards

Why I joined LGBT activists in solidarity to fast for immigration reform

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Last week, I joined thousands of fasters around the country during the “National Days to Act, Fast and Pray” on December 1-3. For 24 hours, I abstained from food in an act of solidarity with a group of immigration reform activists who had gone 22 days ingesting nothing but water. I joined the fast because my mother was forced to leave her country due to the discrimination and violence she faced there. In my work on LGBT immigration policy, I know I encounter only a fraction of our nation’s 267,000 undocumented LGBT adults. Yet I constantly hear stories like my family’s -- stories of people who have fled to the United States in search of a better life. [ Read more → ]

Gay-Straight Alliances: Empowering youth, saving lives

Sunday, December 1, 2013
I have a vague memory of hearing announcements and seeing posters for it on the walls. I remember wanting to go. I hadn’t yet come out at this point but I had the sense that I would find support and understanding in this club, and I wanted to be a part of it so badly. But there was a barrier in my mind that prevented me from being able to attend the club. I graduated without going to even one meeting... [ Read more → ]
Courtesy photo (AP)Rev. Frank Schaefer (right) and his son Tim.

To the Bishop judging the minister who officiated his gay son’s wedding…

Sunday, December 1, 2013
In 1990, I fell in love. I met a beautiful man named Paul who shared my values, my heart and my soul. We quickly knew that we intended to spend the rest of our lives together. We were not looking for legal protection or rights, and the public conversation about same sex marriage and marriage equality really had not even begun. We just sought to solemnize our relationship into s spiritual marriage. My parents had been on their own journey accepting my sexual orientation, and they had evolved to the point that they felt comfortable approaching the minister of their church that they had supported significantly for years... [ Read more → ]

In such a diverse nation, there is no such thing as a ‘traditional’ family

Friday, November 29, 2013
It’s the holidays again — a time to come together and express gratitude and love for the positive things in our lives and the people in them. But as much as the holidays may symbolize a great American tradition, this country is home to a diverse set of traditions and increasingly diverse families. In such a diverse nation, there is no such thing as a “traditional” family. What connects all American families together is not having the same family traditions or the same types of families, but a shared belief in the American tradition of freedom... [ Read more → ]
Associated PressSan Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk (left) and Mayor George Moscone, during the signing of the city’s gay rights bill in April 1977. The two men were assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978.

The Legacy of ‘Seeing’ Harvey Milk

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Thirty-five years ago today, our country lost a man who symbolized the breakdown of barriers for LGBT elected officials everywhere. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to major public office in California, had held his office for less than a year before he was assassinated. But even in that short time, Milk helped erase some of the invisible boundaries defining who in our country can be elected officials. Following Marian Wright Edelman’s famous words that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” Harvey Milk gave generations to come a successful LGBT elected official to “see.” [ Read more → ]

Gay cadet group leader responds to Air Force academy controversy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Most of the “reporting” on the recent “scandal” at the Air Force Academy, regarding the employment of Dr. Mike Rosebush, refuses to quote the cadets that spoke openly in a conference call last week, but continues to quote their cadet sources. I find the absolute disregard for a discussion with all the voices represented increasingly interesting. Why are these other cadet sources to be considered real and truthful but the cadets on the call thought of as liars? And truly, if one thinks cadets are afraid of speaking frankly in the face of rank, one must not know very many cadets... [ Read more → ]

Senate passage of ENDA an important step toward dignity, fairness

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Despite the scare stories from those opposed to workplace fairness, ENDA does not create any special rights for anyone. It simply prohibits employers from using a worker’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation. It means that LGBT people will be afforded the same workplace protections already in place regarding race, religion, gender, national origin and disability. The fact is, most of America’s largest corporations have already recognized the value of treating LGBT people fairly and have enacted policies similar to ENDA. But employers in 29 states can still lawfully discriminate because of sexual orientation, and in 33 states they can discriminate because of gender identity... [ Read more → ]

Domestic abuse affects the LGBT community, too

Sunday, October 27, 2013
What issue will affect gay and bisexual men at a rate of two in five and affect approximately 50 percent of the lesbian population in America? If you didn’t know the answer, you are not alone. The answer is domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but most of us don’t think about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community when we think of domestic violence victims. Experts believe that domestic violence occurs in the LGBT community with the same frequency and severity as in the heterosexual community... [ Read more → ]

HRC needs to engage more with the LGBT community rather than policymakers

Friday, October 25, 2013
This past summer, I was a Family Project intern of the Human Rights Campaign. Depending on who I’m talking to at Yale, that sentence can serve as a coming-out statement on various levels. Aside from my friends who are conservative in their attitudes on same-sex marriage, I have progressive friends who are angry with HRC. I’ve been carrying an umbrella and mug displaying HRC’s logo — the equal sign that took Facebook by storm last March — only after giving it much thought. I’m wary of entering a heated debate at any moment, with friends on my right or my left. At some points I have felt frustrated with the organization too... [ Read more → ]

Help pressure the feds to protect your family from meningitis

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Earlier this year, outbreaks of bacterial meningitis cropped up among gay and bisexual men in New York and Los Angeles. Fear gripped gay communities in cities across the country as many men wondered, according to the New York Times, “whether this is AIDS, circa 1981, all over again.” There was ample reason to worry: bacterial meningitis – the swelling of the lining around the brain and the spinal cord – is a lethal disease. The symptoms come on fast but appear very ordinary; in fact, they so closely resemble the flu that many victims don’t bother to see a doctor. This can have deadly consequences... [ Read more → ]
Dan and Mike's wedding.

Finally, the day for those who have been married in their hearts a very long time

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Weddings come in a lot of flavors. Many are planned, sometimes long before a potential mate is even in the picture. Some come about at the last minute. Some of the opposite sex variety come about because improper birth control was used and the couple “has to.” Then there are some special ones that occur when marriage equality is finally attained: the weddings of people who have been married in their hearts for a very long time, but only now can be legally and socially recognized. These kind of weddings will take place in New Jersey this week. Long term couples becoming legally, publicly married and acknowledged. It is about time. [ Read more → ]

The Color Purple

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Nearly everyday I walk from my office in downtown Washington to the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station where I catch a train home. And without fail, nearly everyday I encounter the same group of black trans kids of both genders whom I have gotten to know rather well. I stop and listen to them tell me their stories and they have told me that I’m the only “fat old white dude” who has every really cared enough to stop and not only spend time with them, but more importantly- listen. They are a minority within a minority and their stories of adversity in their lives could fill chapters in a sad novel. For them, today I am wearing purple... [ Read more → ]
Scott Jones

What the attack on Scott Jones tells us about fear and courage

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
This violent attack didn’t happen in a notoriously anti-gay country such as Russia, Jamaica or Uganda. This happened in Canada, one of the gay-friendliest countries in the world where anti-discrimination laws have been in effect since 1998. And the province of Nova Scotia is no exception to its country’s rules. So what does this attack tell us? It tells us what the other senseless hate crimes have told us this year: that we are not yet in a position to let down our guard even on the streets we call home. And that is tragic... [ Read more → ]
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