Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Many moons ago, I was a svelte-ish radio show co-host and Gay guy who mixed Plaids & Florals and dared anyone to question it.
Many. Moons. Ago.
Then one day as if he had the most innocuous statement to make, Christopher Allen Miller (he HATES that. Tee. Hee.) says to me, he says, "we should do an interview with this Lesbian from Fresno who is really pissed off and having a rally."
Lesbian. Pissed off. FRESNO. Rally.
Needless to say, all I could imagine was short weeble like angry women who insist on use using gender neutral pronouns whilst telling me how the first Lillith Fair was the best.
I took a look at my fave blog, Towleroad, and saw instead a cute Blonde chick with a sexy, husky voice. She gave a speech about how she was thrown off her kids PTA because she was openly Gay.
"I wanna tell ya all a story 'bout a Harper Valley Widowed Wife..."
Sorry. I'm so Gay.
We interview her and before I know it, Chris and I are sucked up into helping plan the National Equality March and I'm fighting with Cleve Jones over diversity and inclusion.
Never meet other people's hero's.
I end up involved in Stonewall and I drag everyone I know into it with me.
Along the way I introduced Senator Harry Reid to Dan Choi and he told us that he and the President were going to end DADT.
Ooops. Little detail.
Harry goes up against the nutjob of all nutjobs. We work our asses off to get him elected and he keeps his promise and my bestest buddy at the White House (I never know if I can say his name) invites me to the DADT signing ceremony which NEVADA played a huge part in making happen.
I know. I know.
HOW DID ROBIN MCGEHEE MAKE ME FAT?
When you complain to Robin about something, she say, "fix it."
For two years I have been sitting at a computer eating bacon wrapped bon bons, going to every political event to get Harry Reid elected, drank more cocktails than a Singapore Hooker (oops, "SEX WORKER") and eaten enough pizza to have once actually pinched out a large pepperoni and cheese!
Thanks a lot Robin McGeHee!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Dear Friends and Allies of Swish,
Here we go! Senator Reid filed for cloture on the DADT stand-alone bill last night (and just to be clear - this is the passed House bill, not S.4023), and the first vote is scheduled for early
Saturday, after the vote on DREAM.
Just to be clear on how the process worked - Reid called up the bill, and did not need to file cloture to proceed with it because this is "privileged" legislation. The cloture petition was filed to enable the Senate to get OFF the bill - to vote on final passage. That petition needs to sit for 30 hours before a vote, so Saturday is our day. So, on Saturday afternoon, we'll have a cloture vote to enable us to get to a final vote (60 votes needed), and then the final vote could come as early as Saturday, or Sunday (simple majority needed).
So ... action alert time!! This is it - the last chance for all of us to weigh in with our senators before they take this vote.
The ask: Call both your senators and tell them to vote for the House bill to repeal DADT. Click to call the Senate or dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators.
The updated targets list:
--John Ensign (R-NV);
--George LeMieux (R-FL);
--Richard Lugar (R-IN);
--Judd Gregg (R-NH);
--George Voinovich (R-OH);
--Kit Bond (R-MO);
--Mark Kirk (R-IL);
--Kent Conrad (D-ND);
--Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Those key senators particularly need calls, but of course calls are needed to all 100 senators at this point.
Also, SLDN is arranging for servicemembers to sit in the Senate gallery in shifts until the bill is passed - if some of Swish members are interested in participating, please let us know ASAP!
Here's hoping our next communication will be full of joy and bliss!
With Love and Pride,
The Swish Gang:
Sue (NY), Jamie (NY), Jason (NY), HL (NY), Adrienne (Northern CA), Josh (DC)
And our partners at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN, Follow us on Twitter)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Jewish and Queer Community Leaders Join to Demand End to Anti-LGBT Rhetoric in Jewish Community
Activist Group Queer Rising Gathers Community for March and Rally “In God’s Name”
NEW YORK: Tomorrow night, on the eve of the 10th of Tevet—a day of remembrance on the Jewish calendar for those who have died in violence—a broad coalition including leaders from the Jewish and queer communities will gather to mourn those whose lives have been destroyed due to senseless hatred, and to demand an end to anti-LGBT rhetoric that is spoken “In God’s Name.”
The event, organized by grassroots activist group Queer Rising, will start with a rally at 7:30pm at the Parade Grounds of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The group will then begin a march through the heart of the Jewish neighborhood in Flatbush, the site of recent homophobic activity. The event will culminate with a communal recitation of the Jewish Mourner’s Kaddish Prayer.
Featured speakers include Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), New York City’s synagogue for LGBTQ Jews; Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee and President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union – the first openly gay union leader; Idit Klein, Executive Director of Keshet who sponsored the “Do Not Stand Idly By” pledge campaign; and Rabbi Maurice Appelbaum, Rabbi of Orthodox Congregation Ahavas Israel in Brooklyn. Jake Goodman, co-founder of Queer Rising, will be emcee’ing the event.
In early October 2010, at the height of the news coverage of the spate of suicides by queer youth, New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino gave a pointedly anti-LGBT speech at a synagogue in Brooklyn in which he stated, “I don’t want [children] brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an equal valid and successful option. It is not.” A video of the speech was aired repeatedly on major news networks, and included footage of Paladino’s Jewish audience applauding these comments in approval. Worse, the speech was actually written by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the infamously homophobic fringe rabbi of Flatbush, Brooklyn. For many Jews across the country, the sight of people of their faith agreeing to these homophobic sentiments was a source of shame
“Many of us are deeply concerned about the rising tide of violence against LGBTQ people, here in the United States and all over the world,” said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), New York City’s synagogue for LGBTQ Jews. “As Jews, we are horrified at the anti-gay bigotry coming in the name of Judaism at many of our youth, Jewish and non-Jewish.”
“It is sad to see Jewish leaders, rabbis who have amassed great knowledge of our holy Torah, ignore its holy words and teachings to preach hate against the gay community,” said Rabbi Maurice Appelbaum.
“When a rabbi says that gays are the cause of earthquakes, that gays desecrate the soil of Jerusalem, that gays are coming to pervert your children, I ask: what message does that send to a young, confused and isolated, gay, Jewish kid,” said Mordechai Levovitz, the co-Founder and co-Director of JQYouth, a social/support group for Orthodox queer youth. “It says, ‘We don’t want you.’ It says, ‘Leave the community.’”
Rafi Daugherty, a trans-identified Jew living in Israel, endured constant stigma and isolation when transitioning from female to male. “I have lost many religious friends. People have effectively and completely cut me out of their lives and the lives of their children.”
Speaking out against bullying and hate speech is a cause that crosses denominations of Judaism. The Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Renewal movements all have put out formal statements of tolerance and welcome to their LGBT members. In Orthodoxy, both the “Statement of Principles,” signed by almost 200 rabbis this past July, and a statement signed by the Orthodox Union unequivocally condemn harassment and hate speech against gay people.
Endorsing partners of “In God’s Name” include: Congregation Beith Simchat Torah – CBST, Keshet, Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of our Lives, Nehirim, Storahtelling, The Power Online, Project ACHIEVE and Columbia University Medical Center, Jewish Chicks Rock and OUTmedia.
For more information, interactive maps with detailed instructions and educational videos, visit Queer Rising’s website, www.QueerRising.org.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
THIS WEEK ON THE SAUSAGE FACTORY DEC 11 2010
10am-1pm (West Coast Time)
10:23 Ari Ezra Waldman our “Legal Eagle” is back to update us on all things legal from the this week.
10:43 Ariel is one of Las Vegas’s most popular performers and our guest for “Ask A Tranny”.
11:12 Susan Lopez of SWOP will be telling us what life is like for a Sex Worker in Las Vegas.
11:27 Mark & Dante Reed-Walkup on their sky high love and what happened when they came back to earth.
11:42 Rob Smith returns with his take on life in the LGBT world and beyond.
Noon Pam Spaulding heated up the blogosphere this week with her call for HRC’s Joe Solmonese to pack up his Zegna suits and resign as head of the nations largest LGBT right organization. We’ll talk with her about why she thinks now is the time for Joe to go.
12:21 Paco Alvarez has the latest on the culture explosion in Downtown Las Vegas.
12:36 Nathaniel Phillips is not just the Director of Youth Outreach for Stonewall of Southern Nevada, he’s also the Co-Chair of GLSEN in Nevada AND he’s a pretty good little singer and will be performing live in our studio!
The Sausage Factory is hosted by Chris Miller , Derek Washington & Laura Martin
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I have to be honest -- I just vomited a little in my mouth.
The Senate just voted on whether to bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) up for conversation. Not for passage -- just for conversation. It failed.
We all laid everything we could on the line for this bill -- a piece of legislation that would have repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We all know that gay and lesbian Americans are just as patriotic and capable as straight Americans -- but dysfunctional Senate processes, a homophobic Republican Party, and a spineless Democratic Party got in the way of equality once again.
Let us be clear -- this wasn't the bill we wanted. This compromised piece of legislation was far from the ideal -- it would have left our transgender sisters and brothers behind, it kicked actual repeal to some undefined date later down the road, and it said nothing about how to deal with lesbian or gay enlistees who have partners who must remain second-class citizens because their lives are still ruled by the Defense of Marriage Act.
And even this compromised piece of legislation didn't pass.
If we're ever going to fight back against these kinds of compromises, we've got to build a ground game that disallows anything less than full equality.
We're working on developing that ground game, and we'll have more to say about it in coming weeks.
For now, we mourn for the LGBT service members serving each day in silence -- some of whom will lose their lives without ever tasting equality. We mourn for the lack of courage shown by our elected leaders to put an end to needless discrimination.
But we should remain inspired by the fight left in us. Go on Facebook. Go on Twitter. Get out into the streets. Call up your friends. Get angry, and then get organized.
We'll help -- and we promise that we're going to continue building a movement from the ground up that no longer settles for this kind of political homophobia and transphobia.
Managing Director, GetEQUAL
Monday, December 6, 2010
STONEWALL DEMOCRATS OF SOUTHERN NEVADA & THE CSN CAPITOL CLUB JOINT MEETING
Monday 06 December
6-830pm The Arts Factory #215 upstairs 107 E Charleston 89104 at Casino Center
Derek Washington 702-576-4978
Justin McAffee 702-374-6009
Stonewall will be having its monthly meeting as a joint event with the CSN Capital Club. We are going to be discussing various issues including the first day of the Prop 8 appeal trial in California after watching some of the day’s highlights. We are honored to have legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman via Skype for a Q&A session as well as UNLV Constitutional Law expert Thomas B. McAffee to discuss our various topics throughout the evening.
This meeting (with help from Progress Now Nevada’s Brian Fadie) will be an experiment in taking Stonewall to an entirely new level by using technology to expand our range and influence. There is a whole new world of opportunities for Stonewall to explore in both political and community activism, and with online technology we can exploit these opportunities in a way never before done in Nevada by any Democratic political club or caucus. We’re proud to be joined in this first endeavor by CSN’s Capitol Club.
Nelson Araujo from Senator Reid’s office will join us for updates on Senator Reid’s efforts to pass The DREAM ACT.
Sue Fulton of Knights Out (an LGBT organization of “Out” former Armed Service members) will join us via Skype to talk about the latest DADT news.
Linsey Peckonis and Jerame Davis of National Stonewall will join us via Skype to tell us about what Stonewall chapters around the country are doing.
Shannon Cuttle will speak about the need for all inclusive SAFE SCHOOLS.
Stonewall’s Director of Hispanic Outreach Leo Murrieta will fill us in on his exciting new project, The Nevada Youth Coalition. The Nevada Youth Coalition (NYC) is an organization whose primary goal is to get and keep young people engaged in civics and community service projects. The NYC and its members have actively participated in community events and phone banks in support of the DREAM ACT, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and will be engaging Nevada's legislature on behalf of our state's education system in next year's legislative session.
Karen Grayson is our Director of Transgender Outreach and she’ll be asking us to brainstorm with her about better outreach through technology to America’s Transgender community. Her “One Step Closer” project will aim to reach out to those people who are not comfortable with a public display of being Transgender and really just need someone to talk to about being Transgender.
Our Vice-Chair Sandy Eddy will give us a report on the very successful Stonewall led Team BATTLE BORN at the Rock & Roll Marathon and tell you how you can support Stonewall when you shop online.
Chris Miller will explain his vision for the Stonewall State Caucus. This vision includes The Stonewall State Caucus taking an active role in the State of Nevada’s political future while making sure that the issues of LGBT Democrats and progressives are on the agenda of our elected representatives.
The club will hear about a proposed partnership with Michael Flores of Progress Now Nevada and Aid For AIDS Nevada on community gardens and other possible projects. These projects will not only help the LGBT community through providing healthy and fresh vegetables for those with HIV, but also help inner city dwellers take charge of their sexual health through innovative HIV awareness projects partnering with the African American and Latino Communities.
Michael will be telling us about a very successful project that he has initiated in on of the impoverished inner city housing projects that was recently featured in a profile in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Our elected and newly elected Democrats are STRONGLY urged to attend this meeting as well as anyone who has never been to a Stonewall meeting.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
MILITARY UNIVERSITY FACULTY RESPOND TO DADT SENATE HEARING
Courtesy of Renna Communications
SANTA BARBARA, CA – December 2, 2010 – The Palm Center released a statement by 12 current and former faculty members at Service Academies and Military Universities, responding with factual evidence to claims made at today’s Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
STATEMENT BY CURRENT AND FORMER MILITARY PROFESSORS
(1) Concerns that repeal would undermine combat effectiveness are inconsistent with available evidence. While it is true that many combat troops say that they think repeal would undermine combat effectiveness, a smaller percentage say that if they were going into a combat situation, fighting alongside gay troops would be a factor. Many troops in foreign militaries said, prior to repeal, that gays would undermine combat effectiveness. Subsequent to repeal, however, foreign militaries reported no decline in combat effectiveness. Statistical analysis by Dr. Laura Miller of the RAND Corporation and a colleague found that even though many troops think that repeal would undermine effectiveness, there is no statistical relationship between whether someone knows a gay peer and the reported cohesion or effectiveness of the unit. If gays actually undermined combat effectiveness, it would be hard to understand why gay discharges always decline during wartime.
(2) Concerns that the Working Group did not ask the troops whether they support repeal are disingenuous. The troops vocally expressed opinions about whether DADT should be repealed in an on-line inbox that received 72,384 comments, in 95 face-to-face forums at 51 bases that included more than 24,000 troops, and in 140 smaller focus groups. These data were not solicited in a scientifically valid way, but the Working Group certainly took them into account and even acknowledged that a majority of comments opposed repeal.
(3) Concerns that we do not know what the troops would say if asked whether they support repeal are not based on evidence. Three different polls, by Annenberg, Zogby, and Military Times, found roughly the same result: approximately 40% of the troops oppose repeal, 30% favor repeal, and 30% don’t know or don’t care. Surveys included combat troops. The Zogby respondent pool, for example, consisted of 545 combat and combat support troops who were serving or who had served recently in the Middle East.
(4) Concerns about the Survey’s response rate, or that survey results are not reflective of the views of the overall force, are not correct: The 28% response rate is about average both for web-based surveys in general, and for military surveys in particular. The response rate to the military’s 2006 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey was 30% for Active Duty Members. Furthermore, response rates have nothing to do with the validity of a survey’s results, as long as the sample size is large enough and sampling is done properly. In this case, the Working Group survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1%, much better than most surveys.
(5) Concerns that repeal is being rushed are not based on the historical track-record. The authors of “don’t ask, don’t tell” referred to it as a temporary compromise when the policy was enacted 17 years ago. Generals Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili have changed their views over this time, and military and public opinion shifted dramatically as well. The roughly year-long Pentagon review process has been one of the most comprehensive reviews ever undertaken on any military personnel policy in the history of the U.S. armed forces. More than 20 studies have been conducted on whether gays harm the military.
Recruitment and Retention
(6) Concerns that recruitment will suffer are not based on evidence. In the British and Canadian militaries, approximately 2/3 of male troops said that they would not work with gays if bans were lifted. After the lifting of bans in those countries, there were only a handful of resignations, and no reported problems with recruitment or retention. The percent of troops in the U.S. military who say that they will not work with gays and lesbians is much lower.
Effectiveness of DADT
(7) The claim that DADT has been effective is inconsistent with the evidence. A U.S. District Court found that, according to all available research, DADT has harmed the military in several ways including wasting valuable talent and undermining cohesion and morale. A GAO report found that the policy has led to the discharge of a significant number of mission-critical specialists. No evidence has ever been provided to show that DADT promotes cohesion or is working in any way.
(8) The claim that DADT does not involve situations in which people are hounded day in and day out is inconsistent with available evidence. While it is true that the military has suspended witch hunts and that most DADT discharges follow statements by service members, the District Court found that gay and lesbian troops do have a constant sword hanging over their heads which undermines their ability to focus on their jobs.
(9) The claim that only Congress can provide President Obama with the latitude to sign an executive order is incorrect. Congress already has provided such latitude in the “stop-loss” statute, which allows the President to suspend any law related to military separations during national security emergencies.
Professor John T. Ackerman, Air Command and Staff College*
Lt. Col. Allen Bishop, USA (ret.), former professor, U.S. Military Academy at West Point*
Dr. Kathleen M. Campbell, U.S. Military Academy at West Point*
Lt. Col. Edith A. Disler, USAF (ret.), former professor, U.S. Air Force Academy*
Professor Mark Eitelberg, Naval Postgraduate School*
Professor Barry Fagin, U.S. Air Force Academy*
Professor Craig A. Foster, United States Air Force Academy*
Professor Gregory D. Foster, National Defense University*
Professor Elizabeth L. Hillman University of California Hastings College of the Law, former instructor, United States Air Force Academy*
Professor Janice H. Laurence, Temple University, and former professor, Industrial College of the Armed Forces*
Professor George R. Mastroianni, United States Air Force Academy*
Professor Steven M. Samuels, United States Air Force Academy*
*The views expressed by faculty at US Government Agencies are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of their Service, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. Non-military institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only, and do not convey the institutions’ positions.
The Palm Center is a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1998, the Center has been a leader in commissioning and disseminating research in the areas of gender, sexuality, and the military. For more information, visit www.palmcenter.org.