Thursday Link Roundup

Scientists have found Waterworld!

Psych!

Actually, scientists have detected water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet far outside of Earth’s solar system.

Observations of the Neptune-sized planet, which lies 120 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, revealed that its atmosphere was mostly hydrogen with around 25% made up from water vapour.

Until now, researchers have been frustrated in their efforts to study the atmospheres of planets much smaller than Jupiter because their skies were thick with clouds. The problem was so persistent that astronomers had begun to think that all warm, small planets formed with substantial cloud cover.

But writing in the journal Nature, scientists in the US describe how they found a Neptune-sized planet with cloud-free skies, enabling them to make detailed measurements of a small planet’s atmosphere for the first time.

The planet, named HAT-P-11b, is about four times the diameter of Earth. It orbits so close to its star that surface temperatures reach more than 600C and a year passes in five Earth days. Like our own Neptune, the planet lacks a rocky surface – it’s a ball of gas – and is thought to be lifeless.

Scientists from the University of Maryland used Hubble’s wide field camera to analyse light from HAT-P-11b’s host star through the planet’s atmosphere. They found that light with a wavelength of 1.4 micrometres was absorbed, matching the absorption spectrum of water molecules.

“Although this planet is not classically habitable, it reveals to us that when we find Earth 2.0, we will be able to use this technique, transmission spectroscopy, to understand its atmosphere and determine the quality of life available on its shores,” said Jonathan Fraine, a graduate student and first author on the study.

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Grrrr, FOX News goes full on victim blaming:

Earlier this week, Forbes severed its relationship with columnist Bill Frezza after backlash from a column titled “Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat To Fraternities.” The article, which was eventually taken down, included a photograph of a barely conscious woman lying on the floor drinking wine.

“[W]e have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through,” Frezza wrote. “Based on new standards being promulgated on campus, all consent is null and void the minute a woman becomes intoxicated — even if she is your fiancée.”

“In our age of sexual equality, why drunk female students are almost never characterized as irresponsible jerks is a question I leave to the feminists.”

On Thursday’s edition of Outnumbered, hosts Andrea Tantaros and Kirsten Powers agreed that women should take more responsibility for preventing themselves from being in situations where they could be sexually assaulted.

And just what situations are you referring to? All frat parties? Are you really going to tar every frat party, and thus every fratboy as potential rapists? Is your opinion of men that horrible?
Secondly, how do you account for the women that go to frat parties and aren’t raped?
Thirdly, are you saying if women don’t go to frat parties they won’t get raped? Really? Because last time I checked-women get raped at home, at school, at church, at the supermarket, on the street, at work, and pretty much any location you can think of. There is no “safe place” to avoid being raped.
Fourthly, rapists are responsible for raping. Stop putting the onus on women to magically stop a rapist from deciding to rape. Men can control their dicks and it’s ridiculous and victim blaming BS to claim otherwise. I may be gay, but I’ve been in plenty of situations where ::SURPRISE:: I didn’t flop out my penis and start raping. Why? Because I choose not to be a rapist. Other men are just as capable of making the same choices.

Tantaros argued that the columnist had expressed a “legitimate fear” that drunk women could destroy the fraternity system.

“I don’t know why this writer is taking so much heat because this is actually a problem that goes on,” she insisted. “These girls show up at these fraternity houses. The guys, what are they supposed to do? Lock them out? ‘Hey, how are you?’ They have a couple more beers, the girl passes out… so it is a legitimate fear.”

Co-host Kennedy Montgomery pointed out that not allowing drunk girls into the house was “exactly” what fraternities should do.

“They walk up to guys’ rooms, they get lost in the fraternity house,” Tantaros said. “Maybe they get drunk as the night goes on playing beer pong.”

Co-host Sandra Smith observed that it could be “the fault of the fraternities that have… no policies to handle this.”

“Don’t let them in the door in the first place,” she said. “Call somebody, get some help, don’t let them in the door.”

Tantaros agreed that there was an issue of “girls getting too drunk and men taking advantage of them. However, where’s the personal responsibility for both sides?”

“Really! If we say personal responsibility for women, the feminist go berserk,” she added. “They’re like, ‘No, we should be able to wear whatever we want, and drink as much as we want, and pass out in the streets.’”

“It makes the drunk girl completely clean no matter what happens — and again, we have to say it because some cuckoo person is going to start blogging how we are supporting women getting raped, which we do not support,” Powers remarked. “And she is not guilty or any of those things, but the point is that the drunk woman is — she’s just not held accountable for anything. The drunk guy, however, is supposed to make all these amazingly perfect decisions, and not make any mistakes.”

You can fuck the fuck off with that victim blaming bullshit.  Victims of rape are not responsible for their rape. Period. There’s nothing they can do to stop being raped because they aren’t the ones doing the rape.  Rapists rape. If rapists stop raping, rape won’t happen.  The drunk guy is expected to make one goddamn decision- TO NOT RAPE.  That’s not an “amazingly perfect decision”, it’s what any decent human being should do.  Grrrr…

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Go gay bashing and get less than 24 hours in jail!

They spent less than 24 hours in jail.

24-year-old Philip Williams, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan all made bail and were released at 3:30 AM this morning.

Williams and Harrigan had bail set at $75,000 each, and Knott at $50,000 each. No word on why the amounts were different. It could be the judge sees their roles differently or their risk of flight differently.

They are all charged with Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Reckless Endangerment and Criminal Conspiracy.

All three were part of a gang of friends who were out to dinner September 11. Most or all of the group are believed to be friends from a local Philadelphia Catholic high school.

I bet if they were Hispanic or Black, they’d be sitting in their cells a good long while.  Also, their bail probably would have been higher.

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The International Olympic Committee has adopted a Non-Discrimination Clause

They couldn’t have done this sooner? Like, before Sochi?

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Gay couple in Azerbaijan fear for lives after engagement photo is shared by media

The president of Nefas LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance fears for his life and that of his fiance, according to the group’s Facebook page.

A photo of their engagement posted on social media was then published by media outlets in the Caspian Sea country without their permission.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Azerbaijan but there is strong public disapproval of gay people who are seen as abnormal.

Javid (Atilla) Nabiyev has since received death threats on his Facebook profile and has deactivated it.

Thursday Link Roundup
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Philly hate crime update

There have been a few developments in the case of the group of bigots who savagely attacked two gay men who were going out for dinner.

Thanks to my friend barkeeperin, I’ve learned that one of the attackers is a woman by the name of Kathryn Knott.

In the not too distant past, she Tweeted the following:

https://twitter.com/kathryn_knott/status/181230916390240256

Some lovely ::spits:: homophobia there. You don’t see me saying “yuck” when a man and a woman kiss (nor when two women kiss). Oh, I know bigots like these see homosexuality as something different, but as I’ve mentioned once or twice, there is nothing immoral about being gay.  No one is asking Ms Knott to kiss a woman, so there is no need to shame two people who aren’t harming anyone else while expressing their affection for one another.  The hatred she shows is what is worthy of saying “yuck”.

https://twitter.com/kathryn_knott/status/279638683584454656

“Fairy boys”.  Uh huh.

Fairy is one of many different types of slang terms used to describe homosexuals.  When used by bigots, it is intended to be a demeaning slight to gay men (based on the idea that gay men aren’t “real” men). You can imagine my dislike for the term (hell, I don’t use it to describe myself or any other gay person).

Here is the Storify with more examples of Knott’s Tweeted thoughts.

Oh yes, I almost forgot:  Kathyrn Knott is the daughter of Chalfont Township Police Chief Karl Knott.  I’m sure there will be no preferential treatment given to her.

Ms. Knott has also been suspended from her job at Abington Health, a local area Philly hospital:

24-year old Kathryn Knott, who surrendered to Philadelphia Police this morning, has been suspended from her job at Abington Health, a local area hospital.

“Because of the nature of the charges against her, she has been suspended from her job as an Emergency Room tech,” reads a statement from the hospital reportedby WPVI-TV’s Kenneth Moton.

Additionally, Knott appears to have tweeted at least five x-rays, which might be in violation of patient confidentiality laws.

“We are investigating an additional issue that was brought to our attention related to this employee’s Twitter account for potential violations of patient privacy and our organization’s social media policy,” the hospital statement continues. “Abington Health takes patient privacy and confidentiality very seriously and is fully investigating this matter.”

Mugshots of three of the individuals charged in the hate crime that is not legally a hate crime have been released.

From left, they are: 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington; 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton; and 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster.

All three defendants are charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

All three suspects have turned themselves in.

According to CBS Philly, the three suspects facing charges in the gay-bashing in Center City on September 11th turned themselves into the police this morning. The suspects are 24-year-old Philip Williams, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, and 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, each charged with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person (REAP), and one count of criminal conspiracy.

According to CBS, “after surrendering, attorneys for Williams and Knott both proclaimed their client’s innocence. Williams’ attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. said the confrontation was a mutual fight and was not related to anyone’s sexual orientation.”

All this talk of “3” suspects.  What does this mean for the other 9 people in the group?  I don’t know if they participated, but even if they didn’t, did they just sit there and watch?   Neither scenario paints them in a good light.

Stories like this are the reason anti-LGBT bigotry still needs to be called out.  A string of marriage equality victories (and one loss, grumble mutter grumble) doesn’t not mean that lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people are treated any better in the United States.

Philly hate crime update

In a rage

When I reach a certain point of anger, I lose it. I don’t lash out. I don’t scream out in a rage.

I cry.

And I’m crying right now.

Earlier I wrote about the gang of 12 people who brutally beat a gay couple in Philadelphia, PA.  Now I’ve learned that the bigots are claiming self-defense.  Self-fucking-defense:

Sources tell Action News that the persons of interest are claiming an incident in Center City Philadelphia, characterized as a hate crime attack on a gay couple, was a mutual fight.

The two victims suffered serious facial injuries. They claim they were targeted for being homosexual and savagely beaten.

Sources say there was some kind of contact between a group of up to 12 people and the couple. The alleged assailants says someone in their group used a homophobic slur, sources tell us.

However, sources say, the alleged assailants said the remark led to a mutual fight – with one of the gay men as the initial aggressor.

Elsewhere, I said this:

It’s not enough that a gang of 12 post Catholic High School grads beat a gay couple who were out for pizza.
It’s not enough that one of the men was beaten so badly that he has his jaw wired shut and will have to drink from a straw for several months.
It’s not enough that one of the men saw his partner hit the ground-hard-and was fearful that he’d been killed.

No, now those fucking fuckers have the goddamned audacity to motherfucking claim they were acting in goddamn SELF DEFENSE??!

I’m fucking livid right now. I’m crying. This shit pushes every one of my buttons. Fucking bigotry. This is the kind of shit that religious beliefs help support.

Goddamit! Just out for pizza and their lives were changed.
Just out for pizza, enjoying each others’ company.
6 years together and they just wanted some dinner. Fucking scumbags changed the course of these men’s lives.

I can’t even…
Fuck. Sometimes I hate humanity.

In a rage

Gay couple goes for pizza, is brutally beaten

On September 11, 2014, a group of 20-something year olds brutally beat a gay couple in downtown Philadelphia, PA (PA’s laws don’t include sexual orientation in its hate crimes statutes, so even though the crime was hate based, it can’t be prosecuted as a hate crime).

The attack happened at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 11th near Rittenhouse Square.

Investigators say the victims, a 28-year-old man and a 27-year-old man, were in the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when police say they were approached by a group of ‘unknown males and females.’

The attack left both victims with multiple injuries.  One of the men has had his jaw wired shut and will have to drink through a straw for months.

Let that sink through your head:  a group of men and women brutally beat two human beings because they were gay.  They violated their human and civil rights.  They treated them as things.  Things to exert their power over.  They terrorized these two young men because they did not like their sexuality. This is 2014, and there are still plenty of people who view LGBT people as second class citizens and will freely terrorize them simply for expressing their sexuality or gender identity.  This both disgusts me and worries me.

On September 12, the Philly Police Department released this video of the attackers:

Central Detective Division is looking to identify and locate the suspects wanted for Hate Crime/Assault and Robbery in Rittenhouse.

On September 11, 2014, at 10:45 pm, the complainant, a 28 year-old male, along with a friend, a 27 year-old male, were on the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when they were approached by a group of unknown white males and females. As the group approached the complainants they made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. The group then attacked the complainants holding them while other members of the group punched them in the face, head and chest. During the assault one of the complainants dropped his bag containing his cell phone, wallet and credit cards. When police approached one of the suspects picked the bag up from the ground. The group then fled and were last seen north on 16th Street towards Walnut Street. Both complainants were transported to Hahnemann Hospital for multiple injuries. One complainant was treated for fractures and deep lacerations to his face requiring surgery and his jaw wired shut.

  • Suspect Description: A group of approximately 10-12 white male and females all in their early 20′s “clean cut” and well dressed. One suspect was described as having a husky build, brown hair, wearing a brown shirt and shorts.

[interlude:  for people who are heterosexual-this is an example of straight privilege.  You don’t have to worry about walking down the street with your partner and be worried about being attacked because of who you love.  You don’t have to worry about people hurling bigoted epithets that denigrate your sexuality.]

The couple was on their way out for pizza when a group of a dozen well-dressed men and women in their 20’s approached them about 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.

“Somebody says as we cross 16th. Is that your f-ing boyfriend? And I looked at him, and said that is my f-ing boyfriend. He goes you are a dirty (bleep). And I said yes I am a dirty (bleep) and he punched me int he face,” said the victim.

The victims say the group of attackers were yelling homophobic slurs during the beating. Then, they took off leaving one of the men in a pool of his own blood.

“When I saw 3 or 4 of these guys on me, I turned around and saw his head hit the ground like hard and didn’t come up and I was horrified. I thought he was dead,” said the victim.

In no time at all, concerned citizens took to social media to search online for the identities of the attackers.

Hours after authorities released surveillance video, Twitter users were credited by Philadelphia Police for searching online for the identities of people from a group seen in the video.

Twitter user fansince09 told Action News he was disgusted by the attack. Apparently many of his followers were, too, and they joined in the effort.

Fansince09 tweeted the video to his thousands of followers, and soon re-tweeted a picture apparently taken of this group at a nearby restaurant.

He looked on Facebook to see who had checked into that restaurant, and started clicking links, matching pictures to the video.

His effort resulted in a picture of a large party dining at a Center City restaurant. Police sources say that photograph is now part of the investigation.

Fansince09 got a shout-out on Twitter from police for his detective work.

Thanks to the efforts of citizens on social media, the gang of attackers were identified:

Philly.com is reporting that one of suspects identified through the video is Fran McGlinn, a former student and assistant basketball coach for Archbishop Wood Catholic High School. (Photo above) Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia confirmed earlier today that McGlinn has been fired for his role in the incident:

“He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any archdiocesan school,” Gavin said. “We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times.”

Like McGlinn, several of the young men who turned themselves are reported to be former students of Archbishop Wood Catholic High School.

Once again, the claim that religiosity leads to morality is shown as the lie it is.

To make matters totally not better at all, the Philadelphia Archbishop issued a statement condemning the attack, but offered no support for the couple:

“A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not. What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it. Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian. A recent beating incident in Center City allegedly involved, in some way, a part-time coach at Archbishop Wood High School. After inquiries by school leadership, the coach was contacted regarding the matter and he resigned. Archbishop Wood’s handling of the matter was appropriate, and I support their efforts to ensure that Catholic convictions guide the behavior of their whole school community, including their staff.”

I’m sure if the victims were a heterosexual couple the Archbishop (why the fuck does that get capitalized?  These guys worship and pray to an imaginary being. There is literally nothing special about them. If someone claimed to worship invisible pink unicorns, would you need to capitalize ‘ministers of invisible pink unicorns’?) would have issued a statement expressing his sympathies for them.  I’m not surprised though. The Catholic Church hardly treats LGBT people as if they’re human.  Yes, on paper, or in the mealy-mouthed words they utter, they say LGBT people are human, but through their actions, they demonstrate their disdain, contempt, disregard, and often utter hatred, of LGBT people.  Through their actions, they demonstrate that they don’t view us as human beings.  Fuck the goddamn Catholic Church.

Gay couple goes for pizza, is brutally beaten

Anti-gay bigot Linda Harvey wants to go clubbing

Linda Harvey of Mission America spoke to BarbWire columnist Gina Miller on her radio show this weekend, where the two reprised their attacks on LGBT rights as a demonic, destructive force.

Reflecting on a campaign to push for LGBT rights in Southern states, Harvey said anti-gay activists should have the same “kind of boldness” and go to pride parades and “places that are homosexual” like San Francisco, Provincetown and Key West.

Miller, however, cautioned that “a lot of the homosexual radicals are radical and they’re violent and vicious,” adding: “These people are vicious and we’re not. That’s the thing. We’re not vicious but we know the truth and the truth is on our side.”

I didn’t know that San Francisco was a “homosexual place”.  I mean, I knew that teh ebil gays like the city, but I didn’t realize that every person there was LGBT.  Same with Provincetown and Key West. You would think the LGBT community would have noticed this and said something years ago.

Or maybe she’s talking about going clubbing with us.  I’m not sure how this tactic is supposed to work, bc generally speaking when I go clubbing I’m looking to have fun, and with an attitude like hers, I don’t foresee much fun.  I think there might be some tension.

In the interview, Harvey also dismisses harassment faced by LGBT youth:

Harvey and Miller then dismissed a Human Rights Campaign survey on harassment of LGBT youth in states like Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, which they claimed — without any evidence to substantiate their claims — was a complete sham.

Miller said: “No I don’t believe it, while there may be some element of bullying — of course bullying happens all the time for various reasons in our schools, that’s the way kids are — but no, I don’t buy it and further they can easily make up these statistics…They’re using these kinds of statements whether they’re true or not to create a false image, a false impression that homosexuals are bullied and where is this rampant epidemic of homosexual kids?”

I guess in her world, all you have to do is believe really, really, really hard and reality bends to your wishes.  Oh, wait. I forgot she’s religious. She does think that’s how reality works.

Anti-gay bigot Linda Harvey wants to go clubbing

The right wing rage machine

In a recent back and forth at Pharyngula, I was told by a commenter that despite the fact that I’m a gay, atheist, black man, that I have no reason to be concerned about facing violence for being any one or all three of those.  This, despite the fact that the United States still has a problem with anti-LGBT violence and homicide:

The 2012 report documents 2,016 incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence in 2012 (a slight 4% decrease from 2011), and highlights a number of disturbing multi-year trends of severe anti-LGBTQ violence. LGBTQ people of color were 1.82 times as likely to experience physical violence compared to white LGBTQ people, and gay men were 1.56 times as likely to require medical attention compared to other survivors reporting. The report also found that transgender people were 1.67 times as likely to experience threats and intimidation compared to LGBTQ non-transgender survivors and victims. “Though the recent spate of hate violence incidents in New York City has captured the media’s attention, this report demonstrates that severe acts of violence against gay men, transgender people and LGBTQ people of color are, unfortunately, not unique to Manhattan nor to the past month, but rather part of a troubling trend in the United States,” said Chai Jindasurat, NCAVP Coordinator at the New York City Anti- Violence Project.

[…]

In 2012, NCAVP documented 25 anti-LGBTQ homicides in the United States. This continues a multi- year trend in high anti-LGBTQ homicide rates nationally (30 were reported in 2011, the highest ever) , and is the 4th highest yearly total ever recorded by NCAVP. Lisa Gilmore from Center on Halsted Anti- Violence Project in Chicago, Illinois cautions that the number of homicides may be even higher: “Over the last several years, not only have we seen consistently high rates of anti-LGBTQ homicides, but we also know there are many more homicides of LGBTQ people, especially transgender people and people of color, which go unreported. Twenty-five LGBTQ hate violence homicides is an alarming number – and we know it could just be the tip of the iceberg.”

The 2012 report found that 73.1% of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were people of color. Of the 25 known homicide victims in 2012 whose race/ethnicity was disclosed, 54% were Black/African American, 15% [email protected], 12% White and 4% Native American.

The report also found that 53.8% of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were transgender women. This is a considerable increase from 2011 (40%) and continues a three-year trend toward disproportionate and severe violence experienced by transgender women.

“For a third year in a row, NCAVP’s findings reflect a disproportionate impact of severe and deadly violence on people of color,” said Maria Carolina Morales from Community United Against Violence in San Francisco, California. “This is also true for transgender women victims, all of whom were people of color, and continues a multi-year trend that transgender women of color are targeted for deadly violence.”

It’s clear that being LGBT still puts many Americans at risk for increased violence. Being a Person of Color increases those odds.  Last I checked, I was both of those.

Please don’t misunderstand me:  I’m not paralyzed with fear. I don’t and *won’t* own a gun (that would merely increase my chances of being shot and/or killed; if I want to decrease my chances of facing violence, owning a gun is not the way to go). I’m not going to constantly look over my shoulder and worry that everywhere I go I could be subjected to violence.  I am, however, aware of the increased risk I face, compared to other, more privileged individuals (like the person I spoke about above).  I also know that I live in the south:  an area of the United States that’s far from tolerant of People of Color, LGBT individuals, or atheists (who are distrusted as much as rapists, despite the fact that being an atheist causes no harm to others and has no moral component).

A huge contributing factor to the increased chance of violence faced by PoC, LGBT people, and atheists-perhaps an overwhelming one-is the right wing, white supremacist rage machine in the United States. The events in Ferguson, Missouri have shown that the drum beats of the right wing rage machine continue unabated.

How Will the Right-Wing Hate Media Distort the New Evidence in the Michael Brown Murder Case?

The defenders of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown at least 6 times in Ferguson, Missouri claim that “the facts” will clear their champion of any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately for Darren Wilson, the facts of what transpired on the day when he shot Michael Brown in the face and body with multiple bullets have not been kind to him.

Independent witnesses have told the press and federal investigators how Michael Brown was unarmed, had surrendered with his hands in the air, and was repeatedly shot by Darren Wilson. These witnesses are African-American.

For the white bigots who defend Darren Wilson, as well as the Right-wing hate media that stoke the flames of white racial resentment and white supremacy, black people’s truth claims about racism (regardless of the mountains of empirical evidence in support of their experiences) are de facto and a priori judged to be insufficient by the White Gaze.

This is part of a centuries-long tradition in America, where for most of the country’s existence, African-Americans were not allowed to testify in court or to have any type of legal standing.

In the post civil rights era–and especially since the election of Barack Obama–the Tea Party GOP and the White Right have demonstrated that they would like to return to an arrangement of civic and public affairs in which black people are silenced and muted. In all, the Tea Party GOP and its allies yearn for the civic erasure of black and brown people—it enrages the White Right that they cannot follow through on their wishful dreams of social and political death for black Americans.

The American Right-wing’s defense of the killer cop Darren Wilson is instinctive: it is an extension of a base hostility to the freedom, well-being, life, liberty, and happiness of black and brown Americans.

To point. The most morally rotted and ethically suspect supporters of Darren Wilson have collectively donated at least 500,000 dollars to protect him from the consequences of killing Michael Brown.

As I wrote here, donating money to Darren Wilson (and other white vigilantes and extra-judicial killers of black people such as George Zimmerman) is the new lynching photography of the 21st century. Instead of buying postcards of hung, tortured, and burned alive black bodies, those who donate to Darren Wilson enjoy the vicarious pleasures of killing a black person by proxy. Michael Brown, and by extension other black American men, are born with a bounty on their heads.

Darren Wilson is the white gunslinger who brought the black “thug” to “justice”. This is cathartic violence for the White Right and its Fox News driven propaganda machine.

My opponent at Pharyngula actually said he thinks he faces a greater chance of facing violence than I do.  This despite the fact that he’s almost certainly a cisgender, white, heterosexual man.  Yes, because cisgender, white, heterosexual men in the United States face sooooo much oppression, bigotry, and discrimination.

The right wing rage machine

Today in Anti-Lgbt news

Todd Starnes, a FOX News contributor graced the world with his views on same-sex marriage (I don’t recall asking him though).  From Right Wing Watch:

In an interview last month on the Daystar program “Joni,” Fox News commentator Todd Starnes agreed with the suggestion that marriage equality will legalize man-dog marriage.

Discussing the case of a Colorado bakery that denied service to a same-sex couple (and which ironically baked a cake for a “dog wedding”), Starnes agreed with cohost Rachel Lamb’s assertion that man-dog marriage is on its way, saying, “when you redefine marriage, that means anything goes.”

It’s that time again folks!  Let’s play clear up some misconceptions and harmful lies being spread by right wing conservatives (that’s a full time job on it’s own, which I’d be happy to do, if I was getting paid)

Point the First:  Marriage Equality is about opening up the institution of marriage to all consenting adults.  Please note those last two words-consenting and adults.  Not between adults and children-children cannot consent.  Not between adults and animals-no one is arguing to allow marriage between humans and animals, and even if they were, again, no consent.  Right wingers have a difficult time understanding consent.

Point the second:  If you run a public business in the United States, you cannot discriminate against your customers.  That means that a cake baker that runs a public business cannot discriminate against a lesbian couple.  That would violate the anti-discrimination laws.  I know many fundamentalist religious nitwits think that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” are a get out of jail free card to discriminate against LGBT people, but really, it isn’t.  If you run a private business and you want to be a bigoted, discriminatory asswipe, fineby me it’s lawful, even if I think it is immoral and unethical.  If you’re a public business, no way, no how.

 

 


 

Gambia passes bill imposing life sentences on gays

An extreme anti-gay bill was recently passed in Gambia:

Gambia has passed a bill that imposes life sentences for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ in what is already one of the most homophobic countries in Africa.

Officials told AP on Monday that the bill was passed last month and gives life sentences to ‘serial offenders,’ people with HIV and those suspected of having sex with someone who is under 18, disabled or drugged.

Suspects who are parents or guardians of the other person or ‘in authority over’ him or her are also targeted by the bill.

Gambia already punishes gay sex by up to 14 years in jail under a law that was extended to women in 2005.

Remind me again, this is the 21st century, no?  This is yet another example of a country pushing its archaic, regressive, anti-equality views on its entire population, with no regard to the human rights of its citizens.

 


 

 

Gay US college student gets note on first week of semester: ‘Faggots don’t belong here’

A gay student at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California, US returned to his room in the first week of semester to find a note pinned to his door.

However, this was not a welcome note, in fact quite the opposite. Scrawled in green pen were the words: ‘Faggots don’t belong at APU. GET OUT.’

The individual who received the note has not been revealed, but the image of the note which was pinned to his door has gone viral on Twitter.

This ought to be counted as terrorism. Whoever wrote that note clearly wanted to scare the student away, and I can easily understand how fearful that might make him (or other LGBT students for that matter).

 

Today in Anti-Lgbt news

Some politicians really ought to talk less

Brace yourselves.

You may need to sit down before reading this.

Ready?

A politician in the US said something stupid and bigoted.

After assuring ThinkProgress that he “respects everyone” and “loves people,” Pittenger said he believes companies should have the right to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business,” he said. “It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”

 

Wait.

Hold on.

STOP.

HALT I say!

(source)

There’s just a few problems with this Congresscritters’ comments.

  1. This is how he “respects everyone”?  By claiming that some people don’t have the right to be protected from being fired for their sexuality or gender identity?  Last I checked, neither of those characteristics tend to affect the ability of an individual to do their job (just like ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, age, or race).  Respect: I don’t think you quite understand what this word means.
  2. Pittenger says he “loves people”.  Let me guess, LGBT individuals don’t qualify as people to him.  If they did, maybe he’d realize how discriminated and oppressed we’ve been in society and we need to be treated as a protected class so that we aren’t unfairly fired, or turned down for jobs.  Hmmm, maybe this is an example of that Christian “love” I’ve heard so much about.
  3. The imposition of smoking bans is not the same thing as the imposition of non-discrimination practices.  You’re seriously arguing that the government shouldn’t be able to tell you who you can or can’t hire and fire.  So I guess you want to repeal all advances in civil rights.  You want to businesses to be able to hire or fire someone based on their gender, race, age, disability, ethnicity, RELIGION, and more? Oh, wait.  You were just talking sexuality and gender identity.  Silly me.  Didn’t realize you were doing some of that special pleading I’ve heard of.

I was recently informed that there are some people who take umbrage to being called douchebags.  I must fess up. I have called people douchebags.  I only use the term for those who deserve it.  But in deference to the individual that has stated they don’t like the word, I shall not use it to describe Pittenger. Nay, he shall not be called a douchebag.

He’s more of a doucheCANNON.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some politicians really ought to talk less

It gets better…right?

The fight for equality for LGBT individuals has seen tremendous strides within the last decade, specifically in the area of marriage equality.  As of this writing, 19 states have expanded marriage equality to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals:  CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, and WA – plus Washington, D.C. Fourteen additional states have seen federal judges overturn bans on same-sex marriage, though with a stay on their ruling:  AR, CO, FL, ID, IN, KY, MI, OK, TX, UT, VA and WI.  A record number of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans live in states where they can marry the person they love.  44% of Americans live in  a state that has extended marriage rights to LGB individuals.  The fight continues though, as Hawaii, Idaho, and Nevada are set to have their bans on same-sex marriage ruled on by the 9th Circuit Court.  The tide does appear to be in favor of equality (even with US District Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling that upheld the ban on same-sex marriage in Louisiana), although nothing is certain.  Given the makeup of the Supreme Court of the United States (largely Catholic, and look how they screwed over women in their Hobby Lobby ruling), and the inevitability of them ruling-at some point-on same sex marriage across the country, the issue of marriage equality is hardly settled.  That said, progress has been made.

Unfortunately, while marriage equality has made great advances, the situation for LGBT youth is, in many cases, still dire: LGBT youth are roughly 5% of the overall youth population, but make up 40% of the homeless youth population.  In many cases, children are kicked out of their homes, and cut off from all financial and emotional support by deeply religious families.  That was the case with Jackie:

When Jackie got to college, the “typical gay sorority encounters” she found herself having didn’t seem to qualify as anything more than youthful exploration; she thought all girls drunkenly made out with their best friends. By her sophomore year, she was dating a fraternity brother but was also increasingly turned on by a friend she worked with at the campus women’s center. “I was just playing it off as ‘So maybe I’m just gay for you – I mean, I don’t have to tell my boyfriend’ kind of thing,” she says. “I knew what I wanted, but it was never something I ever envisioned that I could have on a public level.” And yet, as her friendship with this woman turned physical and their relationship grew more serious, Jackie saw her future shrinking before her: a heterosexual marriage, children, church and the knowledge that all of it was based on a lie. “I honestly thought my whole life I was just going to be an undercover gay,” she says, shaking her head in disbelief.

For better or worse, that plan was never to be. Toward the end of her sophomore year, Jackie got a text message from one of her sorority sisters who said she’d been seen kissing another girl, after which certain sisters started making it clear that they were not comfortable around Jackie. (“You’re living in the same house together,” she says, “and, of course, to close-minded people, if somebody’s gay, that means you’re automatically interested in all 80 of them.”) Eventually, she went before her chapter’s executive board and became the first sorority girl at her college to ever come out, at which point she realized that if she didn’t tell her parents, someone else would. “I was convinced somebody was going to blast it on Facebook.”

So while Jackie hoped for the best, she knew the call she was making had the potential to not end well. “You can’t hate me after I say this,” she pleaded when, alarmed to be receiving a call in the middle of the night, her mom picked up the phone.

“Oh, my God, you’re pregnant” was her mom’s first response, before running through a litany of parental fears. “Are you in jail? Did you get expelled? Are you in trouble? What happened? What did you do?” Suddenly her mom’s silence matched Jackie’s own. “Oh, my God,” she murmured in disbelief. “Are you gay?”

“Yeah,” Jackie forced herself to say.

After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. “I don’t know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,” she said before hanging up.

Reading this fills me with tears of rage. Aside from the fact that belief in a deity is utter B.S., this family rejected their child. They cast her out and shut her out of their lives, and she didn’t do a damn thing wrong. She didn’t kill anyone. She didn’t rape anyone. She didn’t commit arson. She didn’t rob a bank.  She came out of the closet, and for that, her family rejected her.  It’s like a light switch turned off in their heads.

This is what life is like for countless numbers of LGBT youth.  They’re cast out and become homeless.  Unloved and unwanted by their families.

Research done by San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project, which studies and works to prevent health and mental­health risks facing LGBT youth, empirically confirms what common sense would imply to be true: Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay – a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population. The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States. Meanwhile, as societal advancements have made being gay less stigmatized and gay people more visible – and as the Internet now allows kids to reach beyond their circumscribed social groups for acceptance and support – the average coming-out age has dropped from post-college age in the 1990s to around 16 today, which means that more and more kids are coming out while they’re still economically reliant on their families. The resulting flood of kids who end up on the street, kicked out by parents whose religious beliefs often make them feel compelled to cast out their own offspring (one study estimates that up to 40 percent of LGBT homeless youth leave home due to family rejection), has been called a “hidden epidemic.” Tragically, every step forward for the gay-rights movement creates a false hope of acceptance for certain youth, and therefore a swelling of the homeless-youth population.

Reading this fills me with despair.  Yes, I’m incredibly thankful that my family didn’t disown me, and continued to love and support me, but it doesn’t change the fact that my heart goes out to all those who’s families reacted so inhumanly.  I know the feeling of dread roiling in the pit of your stomach as you try to find the words to say “I’m gay”.  I know the possibilities that run through your mind before you speak those words to your family. I know the feeling of hope that exists deep down; hope that your family will find some way to keep loving you. I wish no one ever had to experience that feeling. Moreover, I wish that no one had to experience the rejection of their families. It’s heartbreaking and is indeed a hidden crisis.

While same-sex marriage has become more and more accepted in the United States, we can’t become complacent and think that all is good. We can’t ignore the fact that marriage equality is not the only fight for equality faced by LGBT individuals.  There are other struggles.  Ending the epidemic of homeless LGBT youth continues to be a struggle.  I hope to see a significant reduction in the incidence of LGBT homelessness at some point in my life, but stories like Jackie’s fill me with despair and dwindling hope.

 

It gets better…right?

This is Rape Culture

CeeLo Green Tweets That It’s Only Rape If The Person Is Conscious, Then Deletes His Twitter Account

Let me get this out of the way first.

no.

No.

NO.

NO!

Rape is non-consensual sex.  If someone doesn’t consent to a sexual encounter of any kind (not just PIV sex, but oral sex, anal sex, fondling or more) and you continue trying to have sex with them

THAT IS RAPE!

Only YES means YES.  If you think the actions of your partner or partners are ambiguous with regard to consent, make sure you get a clear signal before you proceed.  If alcohol or drugs are involved, and you don’t know for sure if the person’s judgment is impaired- DO NOT CONTINUE.   Don’t be that person-usually a guy-messing around in that grey area.  If it’s a grey area, just back off.  Wait until a time when your partner or partners is of sound mind and body and can make a properly informed decision.  Sexy funtimes should be something all people involved consent to, so that they can *all* enjoy.

That’s what CeeLo doesn’t understand.  He doesn’t understand what rape is and why it is so horrible. It’s a massively intrusive violation of the bodily autonomy of another human being.  It’s an imposition of power from one individual to another.  It’s one person (or more) dominating another, saying “I will do what I want to you and your feelings on the matter are inconsequential”.  That’s not sex.  That’s rape.  

GET CONSENT!

If that means you have to literally ask your partner(s) “Would you like to have sex with me?”, then do that!  Get a clear answer.  No answer? No sex.  

I’m not going to copy/paste any of the bullshit CeeLo said in his Tweets. They’re available at the above link.  Needless to say a Trigger Warning applies.

 


 

 

Perhaps you’re uncertain what the phrase ‘Rape Culture’ means.  If you’re one of those people, this is for you:

In reading through feminist forums and articles online, particularly in articles about rape or sexual assault, I notice that sometimes in the comments section, people make statements about how rape culture is just a phrase that’s made up to make men look bad or to make it seem like rape is something that happens far more often than it actually does.

And, given, after reading these comments, I could have easily dismissed them as just simply fodder written by online trolls and gone on with my day.

But it really got me thinking.

Perhaps some people truly don’t understand what rape culture is.

After all, if you’re hearing the phrase for the first time, it can be really confusing.

We understand the word “culture,” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint, to be things that people commonly engage in together as a society (ranging from the arts to education to table manners), and we find it difficult to link the word “rape” in with that concept.

We know that at its core, our society is not something that outwardly promotes rape, as the phrase could imply. That is, we don’t, after all, “commonly engage” in sexual violence “together as a society.”

To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).

When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.

We’re talking about the way that we collectively think about rape.

More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.

And this happens a lot.

All the time.

Every day.

And it’s dangerous in that it is counterproductive to eliminating sexual violence from society.

So what, exactly, does rape culture look like? How does it present itself?

Well, to see what I’m referring to, take a look at the examples below.

Because if we don’t understand the meaning behind the concept of rape culture, or if we have a skewed interpretation of the meaning in our minds, we may find it easy to deny its existence.

And you may think that some of these examples are isolated, one-off situations. But in reality, they’re part of a larger societal trend.

That is rape culture

Please go read the 25 examples listed.  It’s not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it should give a good idea of what is meant by the phrase ‘Rape Culture’.

 


 

 

Mississippi gay man says Baptist teacher raped him for three years so he’d hate men

Trigger Warning: Homophobia, Religious Bigotry

 

A Gulfport, Mississippi man says that he was repeatedly molested by a teacher at the conservative Christian school he attended in the 1990s, beginning when he was 14 years old and ending when he was 17.

The Washington Blade reported that Jeff White said his teacher at Bethel Baptist School in Wills, Mississippi justified the abuse by calling it “ex-gay therapy,” designed to make White “hate men.”

White told the Blade that he was enrolled at Bethel from 1996 to 1999 and that his appointments with the accused teacher took place every Wednesday.

“He would rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change,” White said in a July interview.

White’s parents sent him to the school when he came out to them at the age of 14. The teacher is now an associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, which operates the Christian school. The church is known for its hardline approach to Christian doctrine.

“[Bethel’s pastors] looked at Southern Baptists like they were liberal faggots, like they would say from the pulpit,” White told the Blade.

 

SIGH.

What did I just say above?

Rape is non consensual sex.

Rape is about power. It is not about sex.  It is a violation of the right to bodily autonomy and integrity that all human beings have.  To violate that autonomy by having non-consensual sex is to treat someone else as if they are less than human.  You are robbing another individual of one of their fundamental human rights:  the right to decide what happens to and with their bodies.   If you do that, you are a rapist, and you are treating another human being as subhuman.  As a thing.  As someone beneath you. I can’t express the depth of my disgust with peopl
e who do not recognize the humanity of others.  Yes, that means I’m disgusted by rapists.

That disgust is amplified in this situation because we have a teacher, a person in a position of power and authority misusing their power and authority over a child in multiple acts of rape.  Then to add to that, the teacher raped this teenager as some form of fucked up conversion therapy.  “Hey I’m going to violate your human rights and treat you as a thing, but it’s for your own good.  You won’t be gay any longer.”  In addition to the lack of respect for the rights of another and the abuse of  power, this teacher is also a homophobic bigot who thinks sexuality can be changed (and by rape of all things).  All major psychological and psychiatric organizations in the United States condemn the use of so-called “conversion therapies”.  Homosexuality, contrary to the “teachings” in religious texts, is a natural expression of human sexuality (animal sexuality as well).  As I’ve said repeatedly, there is no moral component to homosexuality (claims to the contrary rest on divine commands…suffice it to say, morality does not consist of being told to do something by an invisible, inaudible, undetectable entity, being, or energy; morality concerns the interactions between human beings and determining what actions are right or wrong, good or bad based on the desired outcome).   The actions of this Baptist teacher are deplorable and I hope he goes to jail for a long, long time (this is example #98490 in ‘religion poisons everything’).

This is Rape Culture