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.
Freshly back from Creating Change and AWP, Zack and Peterson are energized to be advocates and writers. This week’s episode focuses on a roundup of news related to the transgender community, including unfunny sketches on Craig Ferguson and SNL, hate crimes, and a big new study that reveals “Injustice at Every Turn” for the trans […]
Last night’s State of the Union was fine. It was certainly an interesting experiment to have the members of Congress intermingled and I doubt anyone was bothered the applause was greatly muted as a result.
For everything President Obama said that I liked, I felt there was something else he said or something he didn’t say that canceled it out. If his goal is to appear more centrist, then I suppose the speech was a success. His quip about not thinking about the next election—we just had one—was perhaps a bit too obvious.
I liked how he put pressure on parents and defended teachers. I didn’t like how he didn’t say anything about supporting education infrastructure so the teachers have something to work with nor how he didn’t say anything about making schools safe and conducive to learning. (It’s hard to win either the football game or the science fair if you experience every day feeling like your life has no value.)
I liked how he talked about bringing troops home, but I didn’t like how he talked (with almost a sense of pride) about the importance of continuing to fight. Similarly, I appreciated his call to reduce—nay, freeze—excessive spending, but don’t understand why it didn’t involve ending the two wars that destroyed the surplus Clinton left us 10 years ago. If the US is so grand and important, shouldn’t domestic spending take precedent over unnecessary combat?
I like how he emphasized renewable energy, but don’t understand why clean coal deserved mentioning. The State of the Union should be an important enough speech to not include oxymorons.
And while I appreciated his follow-through on certifying repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year (another year of discrimination isn’t hurting anyone), I was appalled by his rebuke of college campuses. Let recruiters on? I’m sorry, but while things might be clearing up for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the military, trans folks are still quite unwelcome. If a campus didn’t welcome recruiters because the military discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, why should a campus welcome recruiters if the military still discriminates on the basis of gender identity? It sounded pompous and desperate, and as someone working to be a better ally for the transgender community, I was really bothered by it.
Of course, there was nothing new for LGBT folks, just a rehash of last year’s talking point. I would have loved to hear the President say that gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity should no longer be valid criteria for employment decisions, but apparently we’re not there yet. A lot of people seemed to want a mention for marriage, but his opinion on that must still be “evolving.” Hopefully with all the pressure growing about his 1996 support for marriage equality, he’ll evolve a little quicker. Maybe it’s something we can hold out for in the 2012 State of the Union.
But it didn’t take long for Republicans and Tea Partiers to jump right back to blaming Obama for things that started happening in the economy before he even took office. It’s just another day in the United States of America. The state of our union is… meh, okay, I guess.
[Shannon Cuttle is an educator, school administrator, safe schools advocate and trainer, community organizer, and policy wonk.]
This year will go down in history as full equality became one step closer for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adult community members. From the historic Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which will eventually allow openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers to serve, to full marriage equality in Washington D.C., to victories such as hospital visitation mandates for LGBT families nationally.
One of the biggest under-reported stories of 2010 affects a population who mostly cannot yet legally vote nor make a donation to a campaign or an organization, and most of whom still depend on an adult to look out for their best interests and in some cases save their lives:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming youth and allies.
In 2010 we saw bullying and harassment in schools and communities in Washington, D.C, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, New York, Michigan, Utah, Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Louisiana, Idaho, Connecticut and California, and those were just the stories that we heard about.
In more than half of the United States of America in 2010, youth experienced bullying and harassment.
In 2010, we lost over 20 youth due to reported suicide from bullying and harassment. Keep in mind: those are only the reported cases. Across the nation, we were heartbroken and shocked to learn about many suicides due to bullying harassment, including Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi,Phoebe Prince, Chloe Lacey, and others. The youngest student that attempted to take hir life from severe bullying and harassment at school was just six years old. Not every story made the news.
This year we also saw student heroes like Will Phillips, Constance McMillen, Ceara Sturgis, Paige Rawl,Graeme Taylor, Derrick Martin stand up and fight back after serve bullying and harassment at school. There are countless other youth whose stories have yet to be told about their struggle, strength, courage, and pain facing bullying and harassment in schools, colleges, and universities. Over 150,000 students miss school each day due to bullying and harassment. And 9 out 10 LGBT youth experience bullying and harassment—especially given the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. According to GLSEN, 40% of all youth who have access to a computer have experienced cyber bullying.
Youth in 2010 have faced not just bullying and harassment, but homelessness as well. Up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT and are struggling for food and shelter across this nation. Most of these homeless youth were thrown out of their homes or disowned by their families, left on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
And even progressive advances such as the DADT Repeal Act of 2010 still do not address creating safe spaces for lesbian and gay youth in JROTC, young adults in ROTC, or cadets in our nation’s schools, colleges, and universities.
How are we truly providing high quality education if we are not providing inclusive safe schools?
In 2011 we must fight together to make safe schools a priority so that all youth—regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (actual or perceived), socioeconomic status, disability or impairment , religion, immigration status, race, national origin, HIV/AIDS status, or any other identity—are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
What can you do?
Join the movement for safe schools in your local communities and stand up to bullying and harassment when you hear it, see it and take action. Help create inclusive safe spaces and anti-bullying and harassment polices on a local, state-wide, and federal level such as the Student Non-Discrimination Act and Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Make 2011 the year we invest in youth and make sure no child is left behind by making inclusive safe schools a reality.
Get Involved today:Safe Schools Action Network, GLSEN, Make it Better Project, Project Life Vest, Operation Shine America, PFLAG, Trevor Project, It Gets Better Project, Ali Forney Center, GSA Network and your local PTA, LGBT community Center, classroom, school board or college campus.
If you need help please call The Trevor Help Line at: 1-800-U- TREVOR (800-488-7386)
Zack and Peterson gather by the fireside to follow up on DADT repeal, Barack Obama, and the United Nations, and lots of other interesting things happen too. Happy Holidays from the Queer and Queerer Podcast!
What has amazed me most about the celebration this week is the complete exoneration of President Obama.
I will admit this much: President Obama said he wanted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be repealed. But Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (“after, therefore because”) is one of the most classic logical fallacies (so much so Aaron Sorkin introduced it to The West Wing in episode 2), and it’s clearly what’s at play here.
The championing of our President as a gay rights hero still seems unearned and undeserved. When I look at how we got from the State of the Union to this week, there isn’t much I like. First, there was the big, expensive, redundant, time-wasting study of our troops’ prejudice to see if they could tolerate their homophobia being challenged. Then there was the President’s opposition to Congress taking any legislative approach to repeal (at least not before the study was done!). Then there was the awful compromise that we’re now realizing, the fact that repeal doesn’t mean repeal; it means months more of discharges.
Did President Obama have a big secret plan for advancing gay rights? Or did he have a big secret plan for maintaining the loyalty of the gay community while lots of other people got the work done?
I’m sorry, but I think the only reason this is Obama’s victory is because he called dibs.
The President continued the gay PR tour this week by giving an interview with Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate. He offered a lot of stark reminders of how far behind he is on being a fierce advocate. Read how smarmy he gets about his ambivalence on marriage equality, as if to channel Sarah Palin saying, “Stop asking me GOTCHA questions.” (Note: They weren’t.)
Well, no doubt I think a pivotal moment. And I know that so many people who voted for you, LGBT folks who voted for you, did so because they believe that you were a fierce supporter of equality. Given what you’ve just said, Mr. President, do you think it’s time that gays and lesbians should be entitled to full marriage rights?
Well, I spoke about this recently with some bloggers who were here…
Mr. Joe Sudbay.
Yes, and Joe asked me the same question. And since I’ve been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I’m not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am—which is, like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.
And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I’m continually asking myself this question and I do think that—I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don’t understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.
And so this is an issue that I’m still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.
Can you imagine a time when you would get there? I mean, you say “evolving,” and that sort of assumes that you get somewhere. Can you imagine a time of getting there?
I’m going to stick with my answer. [Laughter.]
OK. So, looking forward, I know that there are—many of your LGBT supporters would have wished for more in the first two years. And it’s never enough, of course…
I’ve found that. [Laughter.]
And especially like passing employment nondiscrimination…
And, in fairness, by the way, that is true of every single group of supporters that I have. I mean, there’s not a single constituency that doesn’t think we could be doing more.
And true of every civil rights movement.
If anything, President Obama’s lack of fortitude patience regarding LGBT issues continues to enable our detractors to feel content not fully supporting us. If the President is unsure about marriage equality, then it’s okay if I am too. I am bothered even more by the sense that a steadied approach is a good one for equality. It’s good spin for denying delaying equality, but it’s not good for the people who are still unequal. It’s certainly not good for the troops who have to continue lying or even avoiding contact with their loved ones while away at war.
And as Shannon Cuttle pointed out yesterday, there are still a lot of issues to be addressed just with DADT. The policy change does nothing for transgender or gender-nonconforming servicemembers, nor does it do anything to make military academies more welcoming places.
So, what’s the deal folks? Why does our fierce advocate deserve all the credit this week? Was he really such a mover and shaker in this effort?
Or does this speak to the continued desperation of our movement? We got a victory, so we have to be so gracious to anyone and everyone who played a part, even if they weren’t the most helpful, even if they held us back, and even if they continue to make harmful mistakes. It doesn’t matter that we’ve got years and years to go in which we will continue to experience government-sanctioned discrimination; this week, none of our allies can do wrong.
[Shannon Cuttle is an educator, school administrator, safe schools advocate and trainer, community organizer, and policy wonk. She attended today’s signing and took the pictures featured in this post. The President’s full remarks are below.]
Today the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 took another step forward when President Obama signed the legislation into law in front of an emotional crowd of about 500 at the Interior Department.
The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy still has a way to go, needing the approval of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff, followed by a 60-day waiting period. Aside from assuring it will be “months, not years, the White House has not given a time table as to how long the process will take or when exactly the policy will finally end. Until that time, organizations such as Servicemembers United have cautioned lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers about coming out until the the law is finally repealed.
Some of those who attended today’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal signing included: Senator Al Franken, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Mark Udal, Congressman Jared Pollis, and Congressman Barney Frank, as well as advocates such as former Lt. Dan Choi,First Class Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen (Ret), former Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, former Sgt. Justin Elize and Former West Point Cadet Katie Miller. After promising to hold accountable President Obama until he repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Robin McGehee from GetEQUAL was in attendance along with Heather Cronk and Paul Yandura. Longtime activists David Mixner and Frank Karmeny were also in attendance and said they were overjoyed.
The occasion was especially emotional for former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first Marine seriously injured in Iraq, who stood on stage with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid during the ceremony. In his remarks, President Obama said, “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love.”
The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell struggle is far from over as families of LGBT service members still do not have acknowledgment or protections. Transgender and gender-nonconforming service members are not included under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and continue to have no protections. The bill also does not regulate policy or address concerns regarding military academies providing welcoming safe spaces or allowances for lesbian, gay, or bisexual cadets and students.
Former West Point Cadet Katie Miller said today that “although Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is making history today, I do not think students or cadets will be willing to come out in that setting. Much more work needs to be done to have safe schools.”
As President Obama finished signing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tel Repeal Act of 2010 into law, he stood up very proudly and said, ” that is done”.
One part is done, Mr. President, but until the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal policy is certified and put in place, transgender and gender non-conforming servicemembers are protected, and all military cadets and students feel safe on campus, we still have work to do.