5 Reasons the LGBT Community Should Not Sit Out This Election | Jeza Belle

This election in the U.S. is very important for our communities future and drag queen, comedian and writer Jeza Belle tells us why in her post in Huffington Post Gay Voices

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Asanka Brendon Ratnayake via Getty Images

With only a week and a half to go, the word among political pundits is that most progressive voters will stay home on November 4th. While midterm elections are not as sexy as the ones in which we get to pick a president, here are five reasons why the LGBT community should not sit out this year:

Marriage Equality
At present over 30 states have some level of marriage equality in place, but over a dozen still do not. Further, even with court after court striking down gay marriage bans, some in the deepest of red states, many conservatives are vowing to fight this issue to the bitter end. Several states that were affected by federal appeal rulings are doing everything in their power to still thwart equality. We must be just as passionate in battling their bigotry, but at the ballot box. A vote for gay-friendly candidates helps ensure we continue to have elected officials in place to appoint progressive-minded judges and to vote against bills that target gays, lesbians, and transgender people.

Transgender Rights
There’s a pervasive feeling that since gays and lesbians have achieved marriage equality we have now completely won the fight against the discrimination that has long been waged against our community. However, gay marriage is only one of our battles. We cannot forget our transgender siblings who have also made gains, but are still not afforded an appropriate level of respect and dignity in this country. Transgender people are frequent victims of hate crime, with society doling out few repercussions to the perpetrators. A quick read of the news reveals a number of recent attacks, often fatal, on transgender individuals across our country, including a recent beating that made headlines in Brooklyn, New York this past week. On top of the crimes we hear about, statistics show that many transgender people who experience brutal treatment do not report attacks as many law enforcement agencies do not adequately respond to these crimes. In addition, transgender men and women endure acts of bias that go beyond the obvious and include the subtleties of employment discrimination and denial of basic services. As a community we must continue to put our powerful money, voices, and votes behind candidates that will advocate for equality on every level and do not leave any of our brethren out in the cold.

Employment Non-Discrimination
Since 1974 some form of employment anti-discrimination bill has been brought to the floor of the United States Congress with little success. Most recently a number of gay-rights groups pulled their support for the latest Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) fearing the bill would have allowed religious groups to cite objections and thus legally discriminate against LGBT employees. The more senators and congressmen we help to elect, the better chance our community has of Congress passing a fully inclusive ENDA to protect workers from dismissal simply for being homosexual or transgender.

Reward Obama
Maybe President Obama disappointed the anti-war and anti-Wall Street movements, but let’s not forget so easily that Obama has stood up for our community almost more than any other group of people in the country. The White House itself is quick to remind us on its website that O’s list of accomplishments include repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, ending the legal defense of DOMA, signing hate crimes legislation and so much more. Plus, we cannot minimize the fact that this president is the first one to state that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marriage. No politician is perfect, but Obama stood by us and we should show some gratitude at the polls to help to elect individuals that are more inclined to work with the president on other progressive issues, like immigration reform.

Duty
Finally, with people all over the world marching year after year, even dying for the basic right to cast a vote in an election, we have that privilege at our fingertips. According to statistics, only 37 percent of voters even went to the polls in the 2010 mid-term election. To people around the globe that live under oppressive regimes where citizens have no voice at all, we must look like a self-absorbed, lazy, and entitled nation of people. Whether we agree or disagree with the people that are vying for office, we need to get our butts off the couch and away from the computer long enough to exercise our right and let our voices be heard. Even if we despise the individuals that are running, we can always write in the name of a candidate that we don’t see on the ballot. The groups of people that seek to deny the LGBT community equality and dignity have no problem mobilizing on Election Day to make their point. As a gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, and queer-affirming group of people, we must show the same diligence and advocate for our own rights at the ballot box.

Read more here at Huffington Post Gay Voices

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A Survival Guide for Christians Who Have Been Fighting Against Marriage Equality

jerbearinsantafe:

For those of you who are Christian…

Originally posted on evoL =:

survival guide evol

Many of us have been in the Marriage Equality war for a long, long time.

I remember a drag queen host taking the microphone at San Jose Pride about a dozen years ago. She saw a group with “Freedom to Marry” t-shirts, and with a twinge of sadness remarked, “Oh honeys, they are NEVER going to let us get married, ever. You may as well give that one up right now.” She was wrong.

As in all wars, there is a foe. In the United States the foes tend to call themselves “Christians” and root their obsessive opposition in their particular interpretation of the Bible.

While these folks have had a series of wake up calls from the landmark 2012 elections where marriage equality won on the ballots in four states, to the earth shattering Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, the big anvil dropped in many…

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Amnesty Hand Delivers Human Rights Report To Ugandan PM

jerbearinsantafe:

Amnesty International reports on Uganda’s human rights…

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

See Video with examples of Police and Public Violence because of Repressive Laws

By Melanie Nathan, October 24, 2014.

On October 16, we reported that Amnesty International concluded a report on repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda that has led to increasing state repression, violence, homophobic and gender-based discrimination. The following day Amnesty International hand delivered the report to the new Ugandan Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.

Prime Minister Rugunda assured Amnesty International, a global human rights watchdog group, that the government will review issues that the organization raised in this report.

Sarah jackson, Amnesty InternationalIssues will be looked into, the government will examine the Report,” Dr Rugunda told Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, Sarah Jackson. The meeting was at his office on Friday, during which she gave him copies of the latest Report.

The report was launched at Serena Hotel in Kampala on…

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Two gay teens attacked with stones outside school in Spain | Gay Star News

Sad news on the bullying front from Spain. Here’s the story from JOE MORGAN writing for Gay Star News

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Photo from Gay Star News


A teenage girl was hospitalized after getting attacked with stones by her classmates this week – just because she’s  gay.

She was with a gay male friend as they were walking from home from school in Spain’s Murcia region on Monday (19 October).

The teens were attacked by three schoolmates who followed them out of school grounds in the town of Caravaca de la Cruz.

They shouted ‘poofter’, ‘dyke’ and ‘perverts’ at the teens, as the two queer kids attempted to ignore it.

Eventually, the young boy turned to the aggressors and told them to leave him and his friend ‘in peace’.

It was then they started to attack the pair with stones, The Local reported.

‘One of the stones hit the girl in the head. She lost consciousness and fell to the floor. They had to rush her to hospital,’ Rubén López, a spokesperson with Spain’s FELGTB gay rights group said in a statement.

The attack only stopped when passers-by intervened.

The FELGTB spokesperson said the girl suffered serious bruising while the boy is ‘afraid, intimidated, humiliated and overwhelmed’.

Read more here at Gay Star News

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West Virginia AFA Affiliate: Marriage Equality Will Force Schools To ‘Provide New Gay Recruits’ | Right Wing Watch

More desperate, hysterical, homophobic, foaming at the mouth from religious extremists – this time in West Virginia. This guy, Ray Lambert, gives the impression of a sort of homophobic Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling. The sheer number of these hysterical responses in the face of the inevitability of marriage equality is astounding. Their ravings will prove unfounded but will continue to fuel homophobes with the hatred thatx in turn, leads to bullying and harassment of LGBTIQ communities. Here’s the report from Miranda Blue writing for Right Wing Watch

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Earlier this month, West Virginia started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the state’s Republican attorney general conceded that an appeals court ruling striking down the state’s marriage ban was “final and binding.”

This did not sit well with the West Virginia Family Foundation — a state affiliate of the American Family Association — which sent out an email to supporters today with the headline, “November Election & Gay Agenda Is Upon Us!”

The group’s chairman, Ray Lambert, writes in the breathless email that the state’s refusal to keep fighting marriage equality in court means that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin “cast his lot with Sodom and Obama” and that his “legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior.”

“Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia?” Lambert asks. “The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous.” Not only that, he warns, but schools will be forced to “provide new gay recruits.”

Lambert refers readers to Brian Camenker’s anti-gay group MassResistance for confirmation of his claims and to learn more about “the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.”

On the issue of Gay Marriage, West Virginians have been betrayed by our Governor, liberal federal judges and our own liberal West Virginia (WV) legislators!

I’m especially alarmed at how fast Governor Tomblin “threw in the towel on our state’s DOMA law which opened up our state to gay marriages. His announcement was fast and very unexpected. I think our Governor wrongly believes that homosexuality is worthy of special considerations. Governor Tomblin’s legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior. He could have been known as the Governor who strengthened our state’s marriage law but, sadly, he has cast his lot with Sodom and Obama. I believe it was done for political favor from his party.

Senate Speaker Jeffrey Kessler, from Wayne county, is eager to pass pro-homosexual laws. His pet law requires Christian and conservative business owners, and landlords, to employ or rent to men and women who practice sodomy. He overlooks existing civil rights law that guarantee us all freedom of religion. His view is that “gay rights” trumps Christians’ rights.

Called the Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA), his legislation grants civil rights status to those who commit sodomy. This has far reaching ramifications, especially for Christians, whose Bible identifies sodomy sin. Abusing one’s self through sodomy is a behavior, just like someone abusing tobacco, drugs, alcohol or even body piercings. Human behaviors can change and many step out of the gay lifestyle altogether. And because their “behavior” is mutable, unlike race, origin, age, etc. which is immutable. Society reserves civil rights protections for what we are, not the ever changing what we do.

Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia? The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous. Our schools will provide new gay recruits, just as it’s being done today in Massachusetts’ LGBT Conferences. More proof can be seen at the first annual Appalachian Queer Film Festival in Lewisburg. This four day event, going on now, brings Anne Sprinkle in to headline the event. Anne is characterized as the most vile and depraved lesbian in America by Peter LeBarbara, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. Will Lewisburg become the Key West or San Francisco of Appalachia. Isn’t it strange that our WV newspapers aren’t covering this “queer event”? Could it have something to do with the nearing election? I think so; just more media manipulation of the masses.

To see where WV is headed, visit Mass Resistance’s web site. It’s a conservative Massachusetts organization that’s been fighting against sexual perversion for ten years since Governor Romney brought gay marriage to their state. You’ll see WV’s future if we don’t stand firm against the gay agenda in our state. Educate yourself with these web sites plus one more, Family Research Institute. This organization brings scientific facts on homosexuality that counters the liberal media’s sanitizing of homosexuality. You’ll be amazed at the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.

Read more here at Right Wing Watch

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This Powerful Cartoon About the Ottawa Shooting Is Bringing Canada to Tears

jerbearinsantafe:

As someone who’s proud of his Canadian heritage, I’d be remiss if I didn’t extend my condolences to Canadians. The cartoon in this blog post beautifully sums up the deep emotions Canadians feel over this week’s tragedy.

Originally posted on TIME:

An editorial cartoon has touched Canadians who were affected by the shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa yesterday.

Chronicle Herald‘s cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon drew one of the memorial’s bronze World War I soldiers offering a hand to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the 24-year-old reservist who was killed, as a soldier kneels by his side:

“That’s the part that touched me – the feet,” Ian Thompson, associate publisher of the Chronicle Herald, said in a statement.

The illustration prompted an emotional outpouring on Twitter:

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Liberia’s Gay Community Under Attack Over Ebola Outbreak

This is a story scarier than Ebola because it’s part of the a long pattern of our community getting blamed for disasters, diseases and the breakdown of the “moral fiber.” It’s also scary because it affects real people like Leroy Ponpon. Why this continues is as old as history from the witch trials in Salem to the ovens at Auschwitz – hate, suspicion and fear, a most lethal combination. Here’s the story from Misha Hussain and Maria Caspani writing for Huffington Post Gay Voices…

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Health workers carry the body of a man suspected to have died of Ebola virus in Paynesville Community situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to "a standstill," noting that Liberia and two other badly hit countries were already weakened by years of war. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

DAKAR/NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Leroy Ponpon doesn’t know whether to lock himself in his flat in Monrovia because of the deadly Ebola virus, or because he is gay. Christian churches’ recent linking of the two have made life hell for him and hundreds of other gays.

Ponpon, an LGBT campaigner in the Liberian capital, says gays have been harassed, physically attacked and a few have had their cars smashed by people blaming them for the haemorrhagic fever, after religious leaders in Liberia said Ebola was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

“Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence towards gays has escalated. They’re even asking for the death penalty. We’re living in fear,” Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia.

Ebola has infected almost 10,000 people in West Africa since March, killing around half its victims. Liberia is the worst hit country where poverty, corruption and civil war have left a weak health system unable to cope with the exponential spread of the disease.

Some religious leaders have their own interpretation of the causes of Ebola.

Earlier this year, the Liberian Council of Churches said in a statement that God was angry with Liberians “over corruption and immoral acts” such as homosexuality, and that Ebola was a punishment.

In May, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Church of Liberia said that “one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality,” local media reported.

Francois Patuel, Amnesty International’s representative in West Africa, said there had been reports of threats and violence against the LGBTI community in Monrovia since the incendiary remarks made by the local Christian leaders.

“Amnesty has received pictures of cars that reportedly belong to gays with their windows smashed as well as reports that gays have been forced from their homes and had to go into hiding,” Patuel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Neither the Catholic Church nor the Liberian Council of Churches could be reached in Monrovia. Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Episcopal Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

COVER OF DARKNESS

Ponpon prefers to move at night. He is scared to be identified in daylight after the local press splashed his picture and phone number across the front pages. But the Ebola curfew, running from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., has complicated things.

“In the day, we move around wearing sunglasses and disguises. The problem with moving at night is that it is not safe in Monrovia in the dark, and also, if you violate the Ebola curfew, it is punishable by imprisonment,” he said.

The curfew has affected the LGBT community in another way. When activists contact the police for protection, they reply that because of the Ebola emergency and the curfew put in place to combat the disease, they cannot help, Ponpon said.

Violence against the LGBT community was already common in West Africa before the Ebola outbreak, and same-sex relationships are still largely taboo in many African countries. A recent Gallup poll showed Africa as the worst continent for gay people.

National laws in West Africa are in line with public sentiment. In Liberia, ‘voluntary sodomy’ is a first-degree misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail, according to the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Patuel said Amnesty had received no reports of similar incidents in other Ebola-stricken countries in the region, and urged African states to stand up for minorities.

“In August this year the African Union passed a resolution for the protection of LGBTi rights. The authorities must adopt this into their national law and take action against homophobic statements to protect its citizens,” Patuel said.

In Liberia, Ponpon’s demands are simple: “Right now, all we want is protection. We want the government to come forward and say that this is a minority group and they deserve the same rights as anyone else and then people will stop attacking us.” (Reporting By Misha Hussain in Dakar and Maria Caspani in New York, editing by Tim Pearce)

Read more here at Huffington Post Gay Voices

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