It’s been a long time since I’ve written here at ZFb, because I find my role as LGBT Editor at ThinkProgress provides me the venue to say most of what I feel needs to be said. Today is an exception, as I feel the need to write a personal response to an attack I received […]
After Zack stops yakking about his momentous musical weekend, Peterson welcomes his husband, wanna-be swing voter Glen Retief, and nephew, “G,” to the Queer and Queerer intergenerational white-man presidential election roundtable. The group digs into some foreign policy issues, religion, and the many Mitt Romneys.
It seems these days that everyone is talking about vaginas, except of course for those folks who are offended by people talking about vaginas. Zack and Peterson talk vaginas and the Michigan state representative battle over women’s bodies and rights to their bodies that is also happening all over the United States right now. Depending […]
After a special monologue by Peterson, we discuss BODIES. How do we talk about bodies? What’s that intersexuality thing? What challenges do trans people still face? We lay it all out on the table and just talk about all our hesitations and yet curiosities with bodies, mixed with some recent news. Take a listen, and […]
The Friday Fundamentalist Farce File is a week’s worth of “news” clippings from conservative hubs like WorldNetDaily and the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow. Millions of Americans absorb these messages as gospel truth—literally—on a daily basis.
BOO! What’s funny is before recording, Peterson was going to use a funny Halloweeny voice and Zack wasn’t, but the opposite ended up happening! We sacrifice watching an episode of Glee to bring you this spooky episode, featuring the terrors of Judge Judy, Hare Krishnas, and peanut butter! Most of the episode is dedicated to […]
In my district, a woman aged 51 or younger has never had the opportunity in a Democratic primary to vote for a pro-choice candidate. Harvey Milk believed that getting openly gay people into leadership positions was key to obtaining true LGBT liberation. Currently, there are three openly gay representatives in Congress: Barney Frank, Jared Polis, […]
Hey all! I’m going to be a little behind on my coverage this afternoon, so I thought I’d share a few worthwhile reads with you as the morning’s proceedings are just getting started. » The New Yorker: Is Sexuality Immutable? Margaret Talbot has a great recap of some of last week’s testimony and analysis of […]
It seems these days that everyone is talking about vaginas, except of course for those folks who are offended by people talking about vaginas. Zack and Peterson talk vaginas and the Michigan state representative battle over women’s bodies and rights to their bodies that is also happening all over the United States right now. Depending on where you get your news, of course, you will hear completely different stories about these issues and more. What is news? What is ideological propaganda and how on earth do Zack and Peterson end up talking about butt sex by the end of the program??? This and more on this episode of Queer and Queerer.
We are interested in where you get your news. Please let us know in either the comments here or on Facebook what you find to be a reliable news source. Also, let us know how you feel about pride and we might incorporate your thoughts into our next episode!
After a special monologue by Peterson, we discuss BODIES. How do we talk about bodies? What’s that intersexuality thing? What challenges do trans people still face? We lay it all out on the table and just talk about all our hesitations and yet curiosities with bodies, mixed with some recent news. Take a listen, and then tell us your hangups and joys when it comes to bodies!
[The Friday Fundamentalist Farce File is a week’s worth of “news” clippings from conservative hubs like WorldNetDaily and the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow. Millions of Americans absorb these messages as gospel truth—literally—on a daily basis.]
Race and abortion are not issues I write about as fluently, but I was so riled by some things I’ve read that I couldn’t not write something.
Nothing seems to irk white conservatives quite like the way members of the black community tend to support Democrats, and in particular, President Obama. Clearly, there was a meeting held and/or a memo sent out, and it was decided that a wedge had to be introduced. With support for gay rights higher than ever as evidenced by the support of DADT repeal, the Prop 8 plan would not be effective. How, then, to turn African-American voters against a beloved biracial President?
The answer seems to be abortion.
Religious right discussion of abortion seems to be (re)accelerating, and the latest anti-choice pitch looks like this:
We white conservatives care so much about the black community that we don’t want any more black babies to be killed. You don’t want your race to die out, do you? Of course not. We’re your real allies.
Pam_Spaulding: @peterlabarbera It’s been quite clear the Right isn’t interested in minority babies once they are out of the womb and growing up in poverty.
The conservative syllogism is this: Racists want less black people. Abortion results in less black people being born. Thus, opposing abortion means opposing racism.
Nothing should inspire suspicion of racism quite like white people trying to preemptively prove to an audience of color that they’re not racist, particularly when they’re trying to convince that same audience that someone else is. Margaret Sanger, the original founder of Planned Parenthood, is a favorite target, but even Barack Obama himself is not off limits.
(Lest you, my reader, should try at this point to point an ironic finger of blame, please allow me to set myself apart by acknowledging that I’ve got a ton of white privilege to work through and I’m not nearly as good an ally as I surely could be. I welcome all critiques of this and any other post that might help me be a better ally.)
To suggest that an organization is anti-black merely because they accept money intended to help provide the very service that they offer seems a pretty far cry. In fact, it could be argued the opposite. If a black woman is less likely to be able to afford an abortion due to her socioeconomic status, that essentially means she does not have equal opportunity—she doesn’t have the same right to choice. Therefore, having money set aside specifically for people of color to access is an effort against racism and white privilege, and it isn’t so different from scholarships that have the same intention.
So should Planned Parenthood be accepting huge donations from the KKK without flinching? Of course not. When Hell freezes over and I start believing in God, let me know, because that’s the day such an offer would ever be made. If PP is committed to social justice as they claim, they should perhaps better coach their personnel for identifying and responding to overt racists like in these baiting calls, but the uncomfortable reactions of a few ambushed administrative assistants do not come anywhere close to representing the principles or intentions of the organization as a whole. According to a New York Times article on this matter last year:
Planned Parenthood has apologized for the employees’ statements and says they do not reflect the organization’s values or policies.
As for Sanger, her support of eugenics is obviously deserving of scrutiny, but her rhetoric does not in any way live up to the blatant racism she is accused of. Regardless of any of her questionable principles, Sanger insisted that it is solely up to the mother to make the decision of whether a child should be brought into the world. It’s surprising that Alveda King is so eager to denounce Sanger and Planned Parenthood, given that her uncle, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., proudly accepted the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award in 1966. In his acceptance speech, he pointed out a “striking kinship” between the civil rights movement and Sanger’s early efforts, adding, “the years have justified her actions.”
While the Live Action recordings are not new, Peter Heck’s twisting of Obama’s support of the right to choose is beyond the pale. In his column (re)published yesterday on the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Heck actually tried to paint President Obama as a proponent of slavery. Obama is “disgracing his racial ancestors” by embodying the “very dark spirit of oppression” that Frederick Douglass opposed. (Heck is on the same page as Douglass, obviously, in case you didn’t understand what he was trying to imply here). Anyone who supports abortion supports slavery by treating fetuses (“tiny humans”) as legal property. It’s a “slavish mindset” to have, and Barack Obama honors the legacy of “the plantation owners’ ideology.”
He continues to compare the “heinous butchery of abortion” to southern progenitors’ “abusive bull whips,” and Obama (“our first black president”) “has chosen to take up the whip against his fellow man,” warring “against the life work of Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Abraham Lincoln.”
Only a man terrifyingly unmoved by the injustices perpetrated against his own ancestors could, just a century and a half later, facilitate even worse atrocities without a hint of remorse.
Even though Heck is trying to suggest Lincoln was a better black president than a black (biracial) president, I suppose we should at least give him credit for acknowledging that Obama’s ancestors are American. But the Lincoln juxtaposition isn’t the worst of it.
Heck is unabashedly trying to make the case that Obama’s support of the right to choose is so harmful to “black America” (Heck’s quotes, not mine) that it undermines anything else he’s done to support that community. This is a euphemism for: Hey black people, Even though Obama looks like you, you shouldn’t trust him. He’s actually working against you. He’s a racist.
…it can rightly be concluded that Barack Obama disgraces his office, his ancestors, and his place in the eternal struggle for the rights of man.
That’s quite a claim. I wonder how successful it is with black readers.
These tactics are deplorable. It’s a farce to think that conservatives actually have the black community’s interests in mind, and it’s downright offensive that these people are trying to paint themselves as allies. Their motives are malicious, attempting to win votes through fear-mongering and hoping that the voters they sway just ignore the rest of their platform.
If the lack of racial diversity in Tea Party is indication, the tactics aren’t working. Let’s keep it that way.
Well, now that Halloween is upon us, it’s time for that post.
In the background right now, I’m listening to a free CD I got from the Mary Foundation called The Mass Explained. I’m almost 20 minutes into it… it’s basically an extended rant about how the bread and wine REALLY IS the body and blood of God. It’s baloney. I don’t know if I can listen much longer. It’s really just baloney… reminds me of that Frank Zappa quote about the difference between cults and religions: size. Ugh, yeah, no more.
There were a LOT of materials being distributed at the Catholic tables, and I took but a few, but which will give plenty to discuss here. The first was the aforementioned CD, of which nothing more will be said. Then, I picked up two booklets by Jason Evert (chastity.com) which I’ll pull quotes from below, and lastly, a fetus model. The distribution of these materials was at a public street fair and clearly targeted at young adults.
Let’s look at the fetus first.
Gus, The Little Jelly Fetus
This little guy (its sex organs may have appeared, but not on the model, so it could be a gal, or intersex; I named mine Gus) is 10-12 weeks old. Known as “precious one” (“Some people think that my life began at birth; but my life’s journey began long before I was born…”), it comes with a little card that tells you some things about how developed it is, things clearly designed to humanize the little jelly lump. Example:
Week 1: Conception; the baby is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the instructions are present for all that this person will become.
A zygote is not a baby and definitely not a person, but of course, the distributor of these cute little suckers, Heritage House 76, wants you to think otherwise.
Week 5: Tiny arms and legs appear, as well as the baby’s face. The baby’s blood is now separate from the mother’s.
Whoops! Sorry, an embryo is still not a baby. And I actually don’t think that’s quite accurate about the blood.
Week 11: The baby “practices breathing and facial expressions, even smiling. The baby can also urinate and stomach muscles can contract.
That one is good both for scaring girls out of getting pregnant AND guilting them out of getting an abortion. I don’t want no baby peeing in me!
Ugh. I don’t know if there’s much else need be said about the fetus. If you’re curious about getting some, they come in both Caucasian and Ethnic flavors (because all non-white fetuses look the same—you knew that right?). They’re $24.99 for a pack of 50; perfect for your Halloween party. Who doesn’t love the ol’ bowl-of-fetuses gag.
Providing misleading ideas about pregnancy are cruel, as is guilting young girls out of making certain decisions about their body. This blog is, and forever shall be, vehemently pro-choice, and disapproves of any and all pro-life propaganda.
Funny part is, there weren’t even religious messages that came with the fetus, but it sure came from the Catholic table, I can assure you of that.
Gender Policing and Sex “Education” Chastity Policing
So I picked up two booklets by Jason Evert, “Pure Love,” and “Pure Manhood,” published by Catholic Answers. Let’s be clear straight out the gate that a couple of degrees in theology do not a psychologist make. But what does a teenager know who wants to explore their sexuality? These books are loathsome.
Here are a few talking points from “Pure Love.”
p. 2: Chastity is a virtue (like courage or honesty) that applies to a person’s sexuality.
p. 4: If you’re sexually active and trying to figure out if it’s love, apply the love test. Take the sexual part out of the relationship and live the virtue of chastity. When you remove the lust, you can see if there was ever any love to begin with. Don’t be afraid to do this, because only when love is put to the test can its real value be seen.
p. 5: Your body is a gift, and during the sexual act, the couple give themselves to each other. But to reduce this gift to a loan gives you less respect than you deserve.
p. 6: Although it may be hard to see now, sex outside of marriage hurts both people. Besides the obvious risks of disease and unwanted pregnancy, it scars them emotionally.
p. 10: If you follow others into premarital sex, you may follow them into divorce court as well. In fact, if a guy gets married as a virgin, his divorce rate is sixty-three percent lower than a non-virgin. For girls, it’s seventy-sex percent lower.
That last one’s according to a 1994 study. This kind of crap pisses me off. It’s all about guilt. It’s all about some higher calling for what you are and are not supposed to do with your body. It’s incredibly stifling and, in my opinion, harmful.
What about masturbation, Christine O’Donnell asks?
p. 26: God created sex for two purposes: bonding and babies. Masturbation achieves neither, and instead of communicating life and love, the purpose of sex becomes the satisfaction of lust.
Yes, this 2007 mini-publication includes that lovely old nonsense condemning masturbation. After all, “nothing bad happens to a man’s body if he isn’t sexually active.” Just change the sheets more regularly…
Is homosexuality a sin?
p. 27: The causes of homosexuality have not been fully explained, and many who experience these temptations do not choose or want them!
Hey! That’s true! Alright! Oh wait…
p. 27, cont.: People with same-sex attractions are called to a life of chastity along with the rest of the members of the Church who battle with their own temptations.
So, being gay isn’t a choice, but your only choice is to never have sex. Ever. If you were ever confused about how Church teachings promote bullying, check out this condemning passage:
p. 28: When we understand sex for what it is—a reflection of God’s life-giving love—it becomes clear that same-sex unions cannot reflect this. Members of the same sex can reflect his love by doing what is best for each other, but the sexual act must always be ordered toward giving life.
I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Let’s look at some of the gender policing in “Pure Manhood.”
p. 4: When the time comes to ask a young woman out, take the initiative. … This honors the girl, because it takes the burden of rejection off of her and places it on you. … If she’s not worth the pain of rejection, then you don’t desire her enough.
Get that? Girls are weak and soft, so you have to be the strong man and take initiative. Here comes more chivalry sexism!
p. 5: If you go to a restaurant, open the door for her. When you sit down, pull her chair out for her. Deliberately give her the seat that faces the center of the restaurant, or whichever one has the better view. You should take the seat that faces the wall. This is a sign that you won’t be looking over her shoulder at the hostess or the TV during dinner. Your eyes are on her, and she knows it. If an attractive woman walks by, you should keep your attention on your date, so that she is secure in your love.
Right, because women are insecure!
She should also order first, and you should pay.
p. 7: If you’re getting the feeling that you’re becoming a servant, you’re getting the right idea. If you hope to be a father one day (as a dad or a priest), then get used to it. The man is the spiritual head of the family.
That’s Catholicism in a nutshell for you. It’s all about men, which makes its values as archaic as its delusions.
This booklet also includes info about masturbation and homosexual attractions. Check out these factoids:
p. 30: The world tells people who have same-sex attraction that they have two options: either hide in the closet in fear or come out, embrace your identity, and sleep with whoever you want. …
A guy who has these attractions may not want them, or even know where they’re coming from. Perhaps they stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse.
Wrong, wrong wrong. Such horrible lies.
p. 30-31: The homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex—babies and bonding.
I don’t know why he bothers mentioning bonding. Clearly, he doesn’t give a shit about bonding. And guess what, he’s not done!!!
p. 31: Even if a person does not believe in God, he cannot argue with nature. For example, the life expectancy of homosexual men is half that of heterosexual men. [Paul Cameron 1996 citation.] Furthermore, imagine what would happen if all people with same-sex attractions were place in their own country. It would be empty in a century, because bodies of the same gender are not made to receive each other. Even if a man has same-sex attractions, his body is heterosexual. He was designed to give life.
Excuse my language, but fuck. that. shit. That is the most bogus distortion of homosexuality I think I’ve ever heard (and the patronizing reference to atheists was icing on the cake). And it was right there at the Catholics’ table, freely shoved into the hands of every teenage boy who walked by.
Let me end this post with Jason’s 10-step guide to staying pure. I’m sure all of these steps will really help me deal with the fact that I have sex with whoever I want.
1. Admit the problem and set the goal. [Wait, what problem?]
2. Remove the temptation. [I can go to that country with all the gays, right?]
3. Go to confession. [Can I just blog about it?]
4. Receive the Eucharist. [I listened to that explanation of Mass and I’m really not into cannibalism.]
5. Use personal prayer. [Talking to myself isn’t very productive; I already know what I’m going to say.]
6. Ask the saints for help. [They’re dead, aren’t they?]
7. Fast. [But… I’m hungry!]
8. Do something. [Like have more sex with men?]
9. Control your eyes and words. [Well, yes, that is how I read, write, and talk.]
10. Exercise patient perseverance. [I’m bored.]
Catholics want you to live life according to their archaic and psychologically damaging ideas.
BOO! What’s funny is before recording, Peterson was going to use a funny Halloweeny voice and Zack wasn’t, but the opposite ended up happening! We sacrifice watching an episode of Glee to bring you this spooky episode, featuring the terrors of Judge Judy, Hare Krishnas, and peanut butter! Most of the episode is dedicated to discussing the true terror that is the Christian “Hell House.” Take a listen as Zack goes straight and Peterson goes all Stockholm syndrome in our special Halloween/Day of the Dead episode! Have a safe and happy holiday everyone, and don’t forget to find Zack at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear this weekend in DC!
In my district, a woman aged 51 or younger has never had the opportunity in a Democratic primary to vote for a pro-choice candidate.
Harvey Milk believed that getting openly gay people into leadership positions was key to obtaining true LGBT liberation. Currently, there are three openly gay representatives in Congress: Barney Frank, Jared Polis, and Tammy Baldwin. This year, Michigan’s 5th district has the opportunity to add a fourth, and I want to encourage my readers to support him.
Scott Withers is challenging Dale Kildee in the August primary for the Democratic candidacy. Kildee has served as a representative for several decades, but his pro-life stance has gone unchallenged since his first election. Indeed, he was originally one of Stupak’s “dirty dozen” that tried to hold up health care reform.
I had the chance to chat with Withers on Friday afternoon (3/19). I have included audio from the interview as well as details about Withers platform. I encourage you to listen to the clips (click on the teal text to hear excerpts); think about how it sounds to hear a candidate so staunchly supporting LGBT issues. While Withers is committed to many important issues for his district, his candidacy also presents an opportunity to bring a new energy to the many LGBT issues that continue to be waylayed by our national lawmakers. If you like what you hear, consider supporting his campaign against a well-established incumbent. (Campaign contribution information is at the bottom.)
An Inclusive ENDA and Repeal of DADT
Because Withers hasn’t campaigned much on LGBT issues, I started the interview by asking him about some of the issues that are important to our community. He didn’t hold back on ENDA:
…When it comes down to it, if you are a good person doing good work, I would hold out to make sure that it includes everyone in the LGBTQ community.
I then asked him about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and his passion for these issues was ever-present. He explained:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should have gone away years and years ago. It’s one of the biggest blunders that President Clinton ever made. It was inappropriate then and it’s inappropriate now.
He went on to call it “disgraceful” and said it should have been gone “a long time ago.” He also acknowledged the recent actions of Dan Choi/GetEQUAL and called out Obama for not following through on his promise to repeal. Take a listen:
It looks like we’re going to have to wait at least another year for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to come up. It’s wrong.
Healthcare, HIV, and Sex Education
I asked Withers what he thought about how many of the LGBT-specific protections had been stripped from the healthcare reform bill. He didn’t hesitate to say that “to mine out LGBT issues from the healthcare bill… is just discrimination.”
He went on to point out that HIV+ individuals suffer from this discrimination whether they are LGBT or not. Withers has serious concerns about the way that HIV no longer receives media attention and thus seems of less concern. Many elected representatives, he points out, go after the 30-second sound bite but don’t necessarily stand up for the important issues. The media, in turn, only focuses on the “hot, juicy” topics of the day. But Withers supports expanding HIV education and outreach, expanding funding for early treatment, and expanding funding for the Ryan White Care Act.
I asked then where he stands on sex education, and I want to include his entire answer here, because he is quite specific about his stance on this issue. He also shares some interesting anecdotes about his own experiences and also the effects of the media:
I wholeheartedly support aged-appropriate sexual education in our public schools across the board. … We have to have a thorough, all-encompassing sexual education program across this country. … I will say that abstinence-only education is the wrong thing to do.
Same-Sex Marriage, Voting on Civil Rights, and the Supreme Court
As someone who has been partnered for ten years, Scott Withers has some passionate views on same-sex marriage. He has serious concerns not only about the issue, but about the precedent of letting people vote on civil rights. In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court said that marriage is a basic civil right of all people, and it can’t be construed as just a religious issue. Listen to the full clip:
Withers wants to make it clear that he is not just going to be a gay congressman. Still, he doesn’t hesitate to call out a “certain national organization” that is running away from him and is afraid to support him. I was personally delighted to hear him offer an honest perspective on LGBT organizations whose work does not appropriately reflect their stated goals.
…”We’ve got someone over here that’s okay—he gets a passing grade or a semi-passing grade—and that’s good enough for us,” and that ticks me off. You’re either dedicated to the community or you’re not.
One of the important points of Withers platform that deserves highlighting is his interest in House term limits. He disagrees with the notion that the House of Representatives should be a place for career politicians. Given his background in business, he thinks it’s more important to hold people accountable. He has self-imposed term limits and one of his top priorities will be instituting a cap on Congressional terms once he is elected. This, he thinks, will help encourage representatives to be more productive. Take a listen:
If it’s good enough for the President to only serve eight years, it’s good enough for a member of the US House, because if you can’t do something in eight years, you need to move on anyways. I’m a business person, and if I can’t get something done in eight years, I don’t need to be in business.
Security and Safety
Withers has already made statements that he supports the use of full-body scanners in airports. Knowing that some of these scanners pose privacy concerns for transgender individuals (PDF), I wanted to challenge him on this issue and give him a chance to defend his position. Here’s the clip:
I don’t want anybody to think that I support taking away people’s personal rights for national security, but as Americans, we have to individually say, “You know what, sometimes I have to give a little bit for what’s best for the country,” and that’s one of the sacrifices that we have to make. So I would suggest and encourage our transgender community to request specific patdowns… by a specific sex if that’s what they’d like when they get to that screener.
Withers also identifies as an Amendment II Democrat, which means he strongly supports the right to bear arms. He does oppose Americans having any access to automatic firearms, but he supports most other gun ownership rights, pointing out that hunting is prominent in Michigan. Given that Flint, MI—one of the five most violent cities in the country—is in his district, I challenged him on how he’d make the streets safer. He explained that it’s important to better fund police departments so they can appropriately protect the city:
I do not believe that federal dollars should be going to faith-based initiatives. … I don’t agree that we should be giving federal tax-dollars that then turns around and minimalizes or discriminates against any group. That should not be happening.
I struggle to agree with Scott’s suggestion that religious organizations who don’t discriminate should be eligible because I don’t think there should be any precedent for funding religious organizations, but I otherwise applaud him for his strong stance on the issue.
From Entertainment to Politics
Some readers may remember Scott Withers from his work on the Q Television Network (which ceased operations in 2006). I’ve included a clip of some fun highlights of his on-screen work, though he also has experience as a journalist, producer, and executive. I asked Scott to discuss how his work in the entertainment industry has prepared him for political work.
Not only does he see entertainment as an effective way to improve the economy of a region, but he also explained that working in that industry helped thicken his skin for political work.
365gay.com’s Jennifer Vanasco points out that when people change their minds on same-sex marriage, they only do it one way, while abortion is an issue people go back and forth on. It’s an interesting read!
As proceedings wrap up this week, the Courage Campaign is looking for your feedback for how to continue the conversation. Check out the post to see what other people are saying and leave your own comments!
If you didn’t see it already, check out my post from this morning responding to the latest spin from Protect Marriage’s Andy Pugno. There’s some interesting stuff in there.
I think it’s time we bring back an old favorite clip to make folks smile. That’s right, it’s here: Prop 8, The Musical! (By the way, the sheet music is now available!) Enjoy, and have a great Tuesday! I’ll be back later with more coverage!