Showing posts tagged gay rights

Stonewall Riots, June 28, 1969 (and following days)

(Source: livefasttryingnottodieyoung)



Remember a few months ago when Marine Captain Matthew Phelps proposed to his boyfriend, Ben Schock, inside the White House and he said yes?

Well, they tied the knot this past weekend!

gives me hope.

I dream of a world that lets gay white cis-male military officers enter into heteronormative bourgeois institutions just like straight white cis-male military officers. I dream big. Love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

The civil rights issue of our time

Just so we’re clear about what the big to-do going on at the Supreme Court earlier today was about:

Thea died Feb. 5, 2009, at the age of 77. After losing her wife, Edie suffered a heart attack. As she recovered, she learned that federal estate taxes on the value of what Thea left her would cost her $363,000, an amount that would be zero if the government recognized their marriage as legal. Edie, who has been a lesbian-rights activist for decades, decided to fight back. She sued the U.S. government.

I hope they win. But $363,000 tax bills aren’t a real problem for the vast majority of queer people out there. Somewhere along the way, the struggle for gay liberation became one of so many things we’ve decided needed to be led by benevolent rich people. This isn’t a strategy to bring about fundamental change in the system. I think there’s a lot of powerful people that prefer it that way.


The ‘gay agenda’ has been about passing our apartments to each other when we die, not about increasing affordable housing or opposing illegal eviction. It has been about getting our partnerships recognized so our partners can share our private health benefits not about defending Medicaid rights or demanding universal health care. It has been about getting our young sons into Boy Scouts, not about advocating for the countless/uncounted queer and trans youth struggling against a growing industry of youth incarceration. It has been about working to put more punishment power in the hands of an overtly racist criminal system with passage of hate crimes laws, not about opposing the mass incarceration of a generation of men of color or fighting the abuse of queer and trans people in the adult and juvenile justice settings
Dean Spade from “Compliance is Gendered: Struggling for Gender Self-Determination in a Hostile Economy” (via sage-power)

Nostalgically looking through posts from the beginning of this blog. Maybe this will get some attention now that I’ve got a few followers. I typed in the whole transcript from the article myself. Somebody appreciate my effort. Also, let’s move the description up to the beginning.


(In case you can’t make it out, the photo is captioned: A policeman in tight pants disguise waits on a Hollywood street to be solicited by homosexuals cruising by in cars)

From Life magazine, June 26, 1964, a transcript of a police sting:

Officer: What’s on your mind after we get home, that’s what I want to know.

Jerry: Well, what’s on your mind?

Officer: Well… I don’t know.

Jerry: You don’t?

Officer: Well, that is to say (laughs)… there isn’t anything to drink at my place, you know.

Jerry: Well I can always drink coffee. I don’t drink anything stronger.

Officer: Uh huh… well, anything else?

Jerry: Anything else?

Officer: I said is there anything else?

Jerry: To drink?

Officer: No.

Jerry: No?

Officer: I was just wondering… maybe… what else you had in mind, if anything.

Jerry: (sighs deeply) At this point I don’t care.

Officer: Well, I don’t exactly know how to take that.

Jerry: Well… how do you want it to go?

Officer: Like I said, it’s up to you Jerry.

Jerry: Well, you call it and… we’ll go from there. I’m your guest… self invited.

Officer: Well… I know, but… I wouldn’t want to be a presumptive host, you might say. In other words, a good host looks out for the welfare of his guests. You understand? So… I’ll leave it up to you.

Jerry: Well… we can just let the chips fall where they may or forget it.

Officer: I always say, if you know what you want and aren’t man enough to ask for it, why to heck with it. You know? (laughs)

Jerry: Yeah, I know.

Officer: Well, there’s no use wasting any more of your time… or mine, I guess, Jerry?

Jerry: Well, I don’t know, it’s up to you.

Officer: You don’t know? What’s the matter, are you afraid?

Jerry: Isn’t everybody?

Officer: I’m not afraid of you.

Jerry: I don’t know you and you don’t know me.

Officer: Well, that’s true, but… still and all, like I say, I’m not… although maybe I should be, I don’t know. You’re not a policeman, are you?

Jerry: No.

Officer: Well, you could be.

Jerry: So could you.

Officer: Well that’s true. I understand they got a whole lot of plainclothesmen they use, so I don’t know what to think sometimes. But that’s why you got to be kind of careful.

Jerry: Uh huh… it pays.

Officer: You understand of course.

Jerry: So maybe we just better drop it at that.

Officer: Oh? Well…

Jerry: I mean (laughs) we’re both getting a little on the leery side.

Officer: Yeah… Well so long Jerry. I won’t take any more of your time.

And thus, smart Jerry safely made it to cruise another day.

The latest perpetrator of this dishonest argument is a brand new study by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas. The study is important because it’s the first of its kind to use a large representative random population sample, thanks largely to generous funding from the socially conservative Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation (prominent same-sex marriage opponent and author of the Manhattan Declaration Robert George is a board member of each). Of course, the study doesn’t compare children raised by same-sex couples to children raised by opposite-sex couples. For one thing, adult children of same-sex couples are a tiny minority of the population. And for another, they probably don’t have much faith that that would give them the results they want.

What the study does is divide its respondents (the R in each description) into eight categories:

1. IBF: Lived in intact biological family (with mother and father) from 0 to 18, and parents are still married at present (N = 919).

2. LM: R reported R’s mother had a same-sex romantic (lesbian) relationship with a woman, regardless of any other household transitions (N = 163).

3. GF: R reported R’s father had a same-sex romantic (gay) relationship with a man, regardless of any other household transitions (N = 73).

4. Adopted: R was adopted by one or two strangers at birth or before age 2 (N = 101).

5. Divorced later or had joint custody: R reported living with biological mother and father from birth to age 18, but parents are not married at present (N = 116).

6. Stepfamily: Biological parents were either never married or else divorced, and R’s primary custodial parent was married to someone else before R turned 18 (N = 394).

7. Single parent: Biological parents were either never married or else divorced, and R’s primary custodial parent did not marry (or remarry) before R turned 18 (N = 816).

8. All others: Includes all other family structure/event combinations, such as respondents with a deceased parent (N = 406).

This seems like it’s tossing a whole lot of kids raised in a family where the opposite-sex parents split up into the categories of “gay father” and “lesbian mother” (those with both are in the “gay father” category because it was the smallest). Which is basically a surefire way to increase any disparities between an intact biological family and either of the two gay groups. and to make those groups even less representative of same-sex couples. But you just know that that’s what people are going to claim that this research proves.

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin has a much more in depth version of this analysis here.

Now by taking into account all these aspects of the transition period, Soviet legislation bases itself on the following principle:
It declares the absolute noninterference of the state and society into sexual matters, so long as nobody is injured, and no one’s interests are encroached upon.
Concerning homosexuality, sodomy, and various other forms of sexual gratification, which are set down in European legislation as offenses against public morality–Soviet legislation treats these exactly the same as so-called “natural” intercourse. All forms of sexual intercourse are private matters. Only when there’s the use of force or duress, as in general when there’s an injury or encroachment upon the rights of another person, is there a question of criminal prosecution.

Dr. Grigorii Batkis, The Sexual Revolution in Russia (1923) (quoted in Sherry Wolf, Sexuality and Socialism)

Naturally, Stalin brought back the anti-sodomy legislation in 1934, just because Stalin had to go and fuck everything up.



Vote against.

(Not me voting; it’s a friend of mine)

This is what your ballot should look like, folks. Come on NC, let’s do this!

I haven’t really been thinking about this one, and I can’t remember when the vote is. But this question will be on the ballot during the North Carolina primary very shortly. So, anyone in NC who wasn’t really planning on showing up for a meaningless primary vote, please go for this. Even if all it does is keep same-sex marriage just as illegal as it is now, rather than extra-special illegal. I just hate the homophobes winning anything.



Previously Confidential Documents Shed Light on NOM Strategy

Today HRC got a hold of internal NOM documents that shed light on the anti-LGBT movement’s overall strategy. These documents were just unsealed in Maine mid-afternoon.  The docs are part of the ongoing investigation by the State of Maine into the campaign finance activities of NOM in that state.

On PDF page 12, it talks about “sideswiping Obama,” painting him as a “social radical” and talking about “side issues” like pornography.

You can read the docs at the Human Rights Campaign site.

According to the conservatively leaning Pew Research Institute, as of March 2012, 52% of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry and 44% disapprove. In October of 2011, 46% were in favor of gay marriage and 44% disapproved. Focus on the Family president Jim Daly conceded:

We’re winning the younger generation on abortion, at least in theory. What about same-sex marriage? We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that. I don’t want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture.

Gay marriage is inevitable. The bigots lost that one. This is a pathetic move.

I’ll just add NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond’s remarks: “NOM’s underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination. Pitting bigotry’s victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together.” As well as: “It confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”

"A Letter from Huey Newton to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters about the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements"


During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say “whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action. If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the most appropriate manner.


Andrew Sullivan Says That “Capitalism Enables Equality.” I Disagree.

In two similar posts about gay rights today, Andrew Sullivan tries to explain how great the free market is at encouraging equality. The first, about the news that all 100 companies on Forbes’ list of Top 100 Companies to Work For now include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies explains that this “is because they are serving their shareholders by employing the absolutely best people for the jobs they have and do not want to miss someone’s talents because of something irrelevant like sexual orientation. Hence capitalism enables equality. And the last entity to get with the program is the government.”

The second, about Nike and Microsoft rallying behind Washington State’s push for marriage equality claims that “capitalism is a forceful engine behind inclusive social change”

I think these claims are, frankly, bullshit, for several reasons. For one thing, various state governments got with the program far earlier than the private sector. Here in Massachusetts, we’ve had same-sex marriage for eight years or so. And it was a lawsuit by GLAD, an LGBT rights organization, decided by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts that got it. And a whole bunch of lobbying and protesting and political maneuvering to get the legislature to keep it from even getting to a ballot question. And sexual orientation has been added to several (if still too few) states non-discrimination laws over the years. So 100 big companies that pride themselves on being worker-friendly have policies which are legally mandated in over 20 states. Don’t twist your arm patting yourselves on the back, glibertarians.

As one of my favorite leftist bloggers out there, Corey Robin, likes to point out, “the levers of political power that ordinary citizens can use here are so diffuse.” Like all struggles for equality, the fight for LGBT marriage rights and non-discrimination laws is difficult due to the design of our political system. There are all sorts of ways to preserve the status quo at the federal, state, and local levels, all sorts of ways for a concerted minority to sway the indifferent to keep things the same, or even to further entrench current laws. If we win in the courts, they scream about about separation of powers. If we win in the legislature, they demand a ballot petition. They scream about the will of the people being trampled, while using the filibuster to prevent majority rule. They write laws into the state constitutions to make today’s prejudices tomorrow’s laws.

But really, what most annoys me about this position of Andrew’s is that he’s completely blind to the white male privilege that this conception of things requires. When he says that “capitalism is a forceful engine behind inclusive social change” he doesn’t realize that to the extent that that’s true, it’s not true for everyone. Gay white males with money who want to get married aren’t exactly a threat to the social order. Not to minimize their (our) struggle, but it’s the sort of struggle most amenable to capitalist pressure. What’s capitalism going to do to eliminate schoolyard bullying? What’s it going to do for gay youth getting kicked out of the home when their parents find out they’re gay? How’s it going to address transwomen who get forced to bunk with the men in homeless shelters? Capitalism can push for the bourgeoisie to share more fully in bourgeois values, but beyond that I’m pretty fucking skeptical.

I remember back when same-sex marriage first started to be a real issue. I’m a bit young to have followed the arguments between the “gay left” and people like Andrew Sullivan over whether gay people should even want to get married. But it hadn’t been too far in the past, and there was still some fading disagreement over the issue. I’m still not about to oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry, but I’m definitely seeing what they were worried about. I’ve usually rolled my eyes when Andrew’s written about how same-sex marriage is truly a conservative ideal, but maybe he’s got a point after. Problem is, conservative ideals tend to suck.


“For the first time ever, all 100 firms on Fortune’s Best Companies To Work For list this year have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.”

This is not because they are somehow being noble. It is because they are serving their shareholders by employing the absolutely best people for the jobs they have and do not want to miss someone’s talents because of something irrelevant like sexual orientation.

Hence capitalism enables equality. And the last entity to get with the program is the government.

Andrew Sullivan, letting people in on the inconvenient fact that markets and the demand for talent *can* indeed solve issues of inequality. Sometimes, it helps to let society change government, rather than vice versa. (via huskerred)

This is wonderful news but two things,

  1. What’s wrong with doing something for the sake of being noble?
  2. This.

If you must know one thing about Sullivan’s relationship with the LGBTQ community, it’s simply that it’s a troubled relationship. Perhaps this is why Andrew can make sweeping statements about the conquest of inequality by the “free market” without even realizing that certain groups may never become or feel equal in our society or in his “free market” vision of the future. With that said, it’s true that capitalism can enable equality, in so far as it continues to respond to criticism, but it’s also true that it can do the exact opposite at the behest of capitalist markets.

(via thenoobyorker)

I’ve been meaning to write something about this quote and another one Andrew Sullivan wrote today that both really annoyed me. I’ll point out that had the “gay left” that Andrew rails about actually managed to get ENDA passed back in the 80s or the 90s or the 00s, we’d be ahead of where we are now. And that most people don’t work for the 100 Best Companies to Work For. And that capitalism does nothing for people employed by small business owners who might just care more about their own prejudices than “employing the absolutely best people.” And that the major hang-up with ENDA now is trans* equality, which the free market isn’t solving either. I’ll have a bit more to say later, hopefully.