Bill Maher’s guide on how to be a human trashfire

Image of one Bill Maher, douchebag extraordinaire, suffering from a self-inflicted case of White Male Entitlement Mentality.

Once upon a time, Bill Maher was cool in my book. I vaguely remember watching  a couple of episodes of his old show Politically Incorrect and while my memories are fuzzy,  I remember being quite entertained. Once he made the move to cable television, I started watching him more often. Hell, I used to dvr his show and watched it near religiously.   I used to appreciate the frankness with which he’d talk about religion, his support for legal marijuana, and his vocal opposition to all things conservative and Republican.  At that time, I knew of no one who was an unabashed critic of religion, so listening to Maher mock and criticize religious beliefs was refreshing, as was his no-holds-barred criticisms of Republicans.

But there was a side–several of them in fact–that I didn’t know about and/or weren’t woke enough to recognize. In 2017, however, I can see them plain as day. In fact, they’re so apparent that I’m not sure why he hasn’t written a ‘How to be a Human Trashfire’ guide. Such a guide would include examples from Maher’s various displays of bigotry over the years and include advice like:

  1. Learn to be a Pro. An ableism pro. One of the beginner steps to mastering ableism is to treat disabled kids with contempt like the time Maher equated developmentally disabled kids with dogs.  More advanced human trashfires know how to engage in multiple forms of bigotry simultaneously, as Maher did last year when he blew up at BLM activist Ashley Williams for crashing a HIllary Clinton fundraiser. And don’t forget–no self-respecting ableist bigot can claim that title if they don’t point to cognitive ability and say “POTUS45 is an asshole bc there is something wrong with his brain”.
  2. With boundless pride, you’ve got to share your sexism and misogyny with the world. Fly your “I hold women in contempt and think anything feminine is inferior to me” flag high. This can be done through an ancient male ritual called “I’m not sexist, but…”  or through the not-so-subtle derision of femininity,  or the use of gendered slurs (for someone who isn’t sexist, Maher has a long history of the word b*tch falling–I guess uncontrollably, since he says he’s not sexist–from his mouth when talking about women) or by “joking” about killing women for it doesn’t matter what the reason is   or if you combine your misogyny with ableism or…(yeah, the list goes on)
  3. Another trait often found in the modern Trashfire Bigot is transphobia. An excellent way to show the transgender community that you are the opposite of an ally–an enemy, for those uncertain–is to grant a platform to a White Supremacist Piece of Shit and not only let him speak his mind unchallenged, but indulge in a bit of transantagonism yourself (yes, I’m talking about that time Bill and Milo the douchebag bonded over their disgust of trans people).
  4. Of all the forms of bigotry he has displayed, one of Bill Maher’s favorites, one he can’t seem to go for too long without gushing over (as if his newborn child) is his anti-Muslim bigotry. From his completely unproven claim that millions of Muslims supported the attacks against Charlie Hebdo  to his smells-like-he-pulled-this-from-his-ass commentary about Muslim men, Maher loves him some Islamophobia. Of course, he doesn’t call it that, bc to him, he’s merely criticizing the religion when he condemns millions of Muslims for the actions of a relative few extremists**.

As with so many other bigots with racist beliefs, Bill Maher’s racism is not focused solely on Muslims. He also has room in his evaporated husk of a heart for some anti-black racism. Unlike his anti-Muslim bigotry, however, Maher’s anti-black racism has traditionally been more restrained. For example, on the face of it, his 2012 comment to Wayne Brady about the latter being a “non-threatening black man”, doesn’t appear racist. It is though, bc it  betrayed a view of black men as violent and dangerous. Such a view, which is ridiculously absurd*, is commonly held today and is one of the main biases at play when police officers shoot and injure/kill black people.  His supportive comments to Bill O’Reilly after the latter engaged in some casual racism regarding Representative Maxine Waters’ hair went a step further.  There’s also his comments about wanting President Obama to act like a “real Black man” by pulling up his shirt to reveal a gun tucked in his pants (the image of a black man with a gun hidden under his shirt and tucked into his pants is shorthand for criminal or thug). It’s one thing to have subconscious racial biases and prejudices. We all do (especially white people). It’s quite another to defend the racism of a virulently racist dirtbag like O’Reilly.And it’s something else to playfully allude to black people as criminals  Now, as if he were tired of hiding, Bill Maher has fully embraced his anti-black racism by doing the thing virtually every white person in this country knows is racist:

Continue reading “Bill Maher’s guide on how to be a human trashfire”

Bill Maher’s guide on how to be a human trashfire

The compromise that wasn’t

Remember that disgusting hate-filled piece of legislation out of North Carolina last year? The one crafted by Republicans at the last hour and rushed into law? The vile, discriminatory bill written in response to a Charlotte, NC Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) which sought to protect the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual folks, and transgender people?

That repugnant bill, commonly referred to at HB2 (here’s a breakdown of the bill),  was signed into law by then Governor  (R) Pat McCrory. Opponents of the law touted it as one of the most extreme anti-queer pieces of legislation they’d seen. Supporters of the bill simultaneously frothed at the mouth or tried to find some place to privately masturbate bc they were excited at the thought of sticking it to us. The bill eliminated anti-discrimination protections in place for queers (and we know how much it turns on Republicans to deny queers the right to make use of public businesses without discrimination). It also mandated that in government buildings workers were required to use the restrooms that corresponded to their birth sex.

The resultant backlash was immediate, fierce, and long lasting:

  • PayPal decided to not move ahead with a location in  NC
  • Global German banking institution Deutsche Bank decided not to expand into NC
  • the American Institute of Architects moved their conference out of NC
  • the Kellogg Foundation cancelled plans to host a conference in NC
  •  the 2017 NBA All moved their game out of NC
  • the NCAA stripped NC of its hosting rights
  • Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and many more artists cancelled concert appearances in the state
  • Cirque du Soleil cancelled performances
  • producer of Wicked will not allow the play to show in NC
  • and much more (which can be read here)

As months passed and the 2016 gubernatorial race hurled toward its conclusion, it became apparent to  both the knuckle-dragging conservative status quo supporters who supported the bill and the opponents of the bill that the election outcome would determine the future of HB2.  After all, despite the tremendous economic fallout HB2 had brought to North Carolina, GOP leadership (including Gov. McCrory),  in the state remained firm in their support for bigotry. Meanwhile, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who hoped to unseat McCrory, ran a campaign that opposed HB2. Ultimately, Cooper received on the necessary votes to win the governor’s office.  In the end, the economic fallout of HB2, as well  as the ridicule and derision the state received for its passage were instrumental in McCrory’s defeat (a defeat he would not accept for weeks bc he was a sole loser). With a Democrat in place as Governor one would think North Carolina’s year of hell might be drawing to a close. To social justice organizations and queer rights groups, it looked as if a reversal of HB2 was imminent.

Sadly, rather than a reversal of HB2, a compromise was reached.

“Compromise”.  That’s not quite the word HB2 opponents where hoping for. But it can’t be that bad, right? After all, we have a Democratic Governor in office now. One who opposes anti-queer discrimination. Yeeeeaaah. About that.

Continue reading “The compromise that wasn’t”

The compromise that wasn’t

I finally have a superpower!

When I was a child, I wanted to be Spider-Man so much. I would run around the house with my fingers in the same shape the wall-crawler formed his when he THWIP’d his webs. I would pretend to stick to walls and be super-strong too. One time, I even injured myself, bc I was pretending I was swinging on a web. I had taken a rope and flung it around one of the prongs on those old standing metallic coat racks and actually put my weight on it, and of course the thing fell and hit me. On the head. I would have been fine, with perhaps nothing more than a bruise, if I hadn’t been in the habit of removing the plastic caps that go over the metal hooks. As a result, the metal hook hit my forehead with enough force to make me bleed. I recall walking into the bathroom telling my mom that my head hurt. If I recall correctly, I was 5 or 6. So yeah, you can imagine what it’s like for a parent to see their child bleeding from a head wound (it wasn’t terribly bad, once all was said and done, but that instinct of “OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS BLEEDING” is pretty intense). Needless to say, after that, I stopped trying to swing from things, and i learned my lesson about taking the plastic caps off metallic rods.

As I got older, I stopped wanting to be like Spidey. Not bc he wasn’t cool anymore, but bc I began wanting to fly. And that’s a feeling that has remained with me since I was a teenager. While I don’t remember my dreams in any significant detail, I *do* recall many nights (one even relatively recently) of dreaming of flying. Though vague, the details I do recall that my dreams involved flying all around the world. About the only joy I got out of the 2013 movie, Man of Steel, was watching Superman fly around the world, bc it reminded me-viscerally-of my dreams. The vicarious thrill I got out of watching that scene was *almost* enough to make up for the dreariness of the rest of the movie.

Unfortunately, we humans aren’t gifted with superhuman (or supernatural, whatever the case may be) abilities. We can’t manipulate the weather. We aren’t masters of magnetism. We don’t transform into half-ton jolly green balls of unbridled rage. Yeah, we’re pretty much powerless.

Or so I thought until today.

Today is a landmark day in human history. It has been discovered that we humans do indeed have superpowers. But #NotAllHumans. Unfortunately the majority of our species will have to muddle through life without experiencing the fantastic power that some of us possess. Apparently I am one of the recipients of this power. So too are all my fellow Orbit bloggers and anyone else who fights for the cause of queer rights. What power do we have?

We have the power to kill God.

Continue reading “I finally have a superpower!”

I finally have a superpower!

Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia)

In response to the 2012 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi created the Black Lives Matter movement. Their goal was to address the multiple forms of systemic racism within the United States and to protest the injustices African-Americans continue to feel living within a racist system. They sought an inclusive movement-one that spoke to the needs of all black people:

Continue reading “Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia)”

Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia)

LGBT Link Round-Up 5.7.15

A round-up of stories and articles relevant to the LGBT community, this time with a bit more commentary than usual from yours truly:

For trans people seeking to escape the oppression and bigotry of their country of origin, the United States is often viewed as a sanctuary. Unfortunately, many of these asylum seekers have been treated brutally in immigration detention centers. Trans women are housed in facilities for men, denied proper medical care, subjected to sexual assault, and (bizarrely) placed in solitary confinement “for their own safety” (solitary confinement is a form of torture). In a move that I hope is not simply a lot of talk, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has made transgender immigrants a campaign issue:

At a campaign stop in Nevada this week, Hillary Clinton signaled she would review policies that allow transgender women to be locked up in men’s immigration detention centers, putting them at risk for assault.

“I think we have to do more to provide safe environments for vulnerable populations,” Clinton said in response to a question about transgender immigrants being detained in institutions that don’t correspond with their self-identified gender.

“I don’t think we should, you know, put children and vulnerable people into big detention facilities because I think they are at risk. I think their physical and mental health are at risk,” Clinton said in response to another question about trans asylum seekers. She also noted that she would be in favor of changing some detention processes.

A 2014 Fusion investigation found some 75 transgender prisoners are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) every night. The majority of them are trans women who are placed in men’s detention centers where the conditions are often humiliating, dangerous, and even deadly.

Even though transgender detainees only make a small portion of the close to 34,000 detainees held each night, trans victims made up one third of confirmed instances of sexual assault in immigration detention facilities, according to the Fusion investigation.

“This is an important issue in detention centers,” said Nicoll Hernández-Polanco, a Guatemalan woman who says she was repeatedly assaulted during her six months in a men’s detention center while she waited for a judge to make a decision on her asylum case.

* * * *

Despite a majority of the U.S. favoring marriage equality, a great many people continue to view lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as “lesser” or “inferior”. Such dehumanizing beliefs are on display in this story of a gay couple assaulted by two bigots at a barbecue restaurant in Chelsea:

The incident began at approximately 11 p.m. when the couple finished up their drinks at the restaurant at 261 Eighth Ave. where they had gone to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Snipes said. The couple had been at XES Lounge earlier that night, but moved to Dallas BBQ in search of their cheap margaritas, Snipes said.

At the restaurant, Snipes got a text about a death in his family and needed to leave the restaurant quickly, he said. As he headed out, he accidentally knocked over a drink, he said.

“A table near us audibly started making pretty gross comments about the two of us like, ‘White f—-ts, spilling drinks,'” Snipes said.

“I don’t let anyone talk to me like that. I went over there and asked, ‘What did you say about us?'” he added.

Snipes said he’s 140 pounds, never thrown a punch in his life and felt he;posed no physical threat to anyone at the table, especially the two large men there — one of whom stood about 6 feet 4 inches, according to police.

“I may be a mouthy broad, but I wasn’t going to take it to that level,” Snipes said.

One of the men stood up and escalated the verbal confrontation, Snipes said.

“He turned it into a physical altercation very quickly,” he added.

The man knocked Snipes to the ground and started kicking his face and spine, knocking loose one of his teeth, snapping the cartilage in his ear and bruising his head, he said.

He shouted, “Take that, f—-t,” according to Snipes.

Onlookers shouted “Stop! Stop! Stop!” according to a second video posted to YouTube by Isaam Sharef, who also took the Instagram video. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“At some point, the guy stops kicking me in the face. He’s won,” Snipes said.;

“[York-Adams] gets me up. But as he tried to get me away, that’s when the other dude hits him with the chair,” Snipes said.

York-Adams took the brunt of the hit and was knocked to the ground, but the chair also hit Snipes who then slumped into a nearby chair, visibly dazed.

An onlooker rushed up and took a cellphone photo of Snipes, video shows.

“They hit us hard and then they wouldn’t stop. I was hobbling away and they came and attacked us again,” Snipes added.

“We were just trying to get away from it,” he added.

The attackers fled the scene as the couple awaited police and medical crews, police said. The attackers had not been arrested as of Wednesday morning, police said.

Dallas BBQ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

* * * *

In slightly more optimistic news, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll reveals that 61% of survey respondents would be comfortable with or display enthusiasm towards a gay candidate rather than one who is an evangelical Christian. From The New Civil Rights Movement:

Asked how they would feel about presidential candidates with certain qualities or characteristics, far more Americans said they would “be enthusiastic” or “be comfortable with” a candidate who is gay than a candidate who is an evangelical Christian.

A very large majority, 61 percent, said they would be enthusiastic or comfortable with a gay candidate, while just 52 percent said the same of an evangelical Christian.

On the opposite side, just 37 percent said they would “have some reservations about” or “be very uncomfortable with” a gay candidate, while 44 percent said the same of an evangelical Christian.

The poll also found just 33 percent of Americans supportive of a Tea Party candidate, and just 30 percent supportive of a candidate with no political experience.

The poll was conducted with 1000 Americans at the end of April.

My thoughts-

  1. The population of the U.S. is more than 300 million, which means the poll shouldn’t be taken as representative of the views of a majority of U.S. citizens.
  2. The 37% of respondents with reservations about a gay candidate illustrates the fact that many people continue to hold homophobic beliefs. Whether an individual is running for mayor, governor, or president, their sexuality has fuck-all to do with their ability to govern, so it shouldn’t matter if a potential presidential candidate is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual.
  3. The 33% who would support a Tea Party candidate are fucking assholes who don’t appear to care that the Tea Party is made up of heartless fuckwits who care little for anyone who isn’t white, heterosexual, cisgender, or male.


p style=”text-align:center;”>* * * *

From the Advocate comes the absurd story of a Nebraska woman who wants to sue all gay people on behalf of god:

Technically, the handwritten,seven-page petition to the U.S. District Court in Omaha seeks a judgment against “Homosexuals, Their Given Name Homosexuals, Their, Alis Gay,” reports the Lincoln Journal Star. The suit contends that gay people have willfully broken “religious or moral law,” and asks the district court to rule “in the matter of homosexuality.”

“Is homosexuality a sin, or not a sin?” is the pivotal question asked in the case.

Apparently this bigot thinks the country is a theocracy where Christianity holds sway and everyone must follow the rules of that religion (which would be well-nigh impossible). Newsflash: the United States is governed by the Constitution, not Christian mythology.

The complainant, 66-year-old Sylvia Ann Driskell, represents herself in the court filing as an “ambassador” for plaintiffs “God and His Son, Jesus Christ.” As such, she “challenged the court not to call God a liar,” reports the Omaha World-Herald.

There is absolutely no evidence that her god (or any other deity) exists, so the court can call him/her/it a liar all they want. More to the point, as I said above, the U.S. is not governed by Christian myth.

Driskell’s filing does not cite any existing case law but does frequently reference the Bible, including verses from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Romans often used to condemn homosexuality.

Those verses prove that “homosexuality is a sin,” Driskell contends. Further, “they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality,” she writes. “Why else would they have been hiding in a closet.”

Firstly, the only thing those verses prove is the existence of anti-gay bigotry on the part of the human beings who wrote the bible.

Secondly, FEAR is one big reason many people hide in the closet. Fear of being ostracized by family and friends. Fear of being bullied, harassed, brutalized, and killed. Fear of becoming homeless. Fear of being unfairly treated by the USAmerican criminal justice system. Fear of losing their job. Fear of being prevented from obtaining a job. Fear of being discriminated in housing. The list goes on and fucking on. This woman most likely has internet access and could easily find the answer to that question if she gave a rat’s ass (she doesn’t, I know).

In her complaint, which was formally filed as Driskell v. Homosexuals, Driskell addresses claims about equal rights advanced by LGBT advocates. “The homosexual’s say that its not a sin to be a homosexual; In they have the right to marry; to be parents; and God doesn’t care that their homosexuals; because he loves them,” Driskell writes.

This is pure othering. She refers to gay people as “the homosexuals”. She doesn’t view us as human beings with a right to exist on our own terms so long as we don’t harm others. She doesn’t view us as human beings with legitimate concerns about the way we’re treated. To her, we’re something “other” than human. Such othering makes it easier to dehumanize us and deny us basic human rights. As I mentioned above, no court ruling can eliminate the anti-gay attitudes held by many citizens of this country (no more than the Civil Rights Act was able to eliminate the racist attitudes held by many USAmericans).

Here is a portion of her letter:

* * * *

Closing out this round-up of LGBT stories is a look at how homophobes overcame their anti-gay bigotry:

‘I was raised to see homosexuals as evil, sinful, deceitful people who molested children and had a secret agenda to infiltrate our homes and lives and degrade the quality of life itself and our nation’s belief in God. “Fucking fags” were terrible people, possessed with demons and waiting to pervert whoever would crack first,’ one said.

‘Then my parents got a divorce. A nasty one, where my father’s hypocrisy was made painfully apparent as he was sent to jail for downloading so much child porn at work he clogged the servers, and my mom was revealed to be a judgmental, paranoid psychopath who sought to degrade and demean everyone around her except her son. She kicked me out of the house when I was 18 for sleeping with my then-fiance.

‘Just like any acceptance of any sub-culture, the rest was eventual. Slow, embarrassing, and awkward experiences as I gradually realized that these people didn’t want to molest little kids or turn me into “one of them,” they just wanted to be. Multiple encounters with multiple people helped me slowly branch the void. The half-drunk man crying to me on the plane about how he wished to God he wasn’t gay. The lesbian couple that took me to their family’s home for Christmas, since I’d be spending it alone. The “gay ninja” that slipped in under my radar and (drunkenly) taught me to dance, sighing each time at how hopelessly white I was.

‘They were people, just like me. These “possessed, compulsively-lying pedophiles” were really just people that liked to take it up the ass, or sometimes dress a little different, or adopt an abnormally large amount of cats. But hell, who doesn’t do those things?

‘I’m still pretty ashamed of how I was and how I thought in the past. I was so intentionally hurtful to so many people, and I didn’t need to be. Growing up in a repressive, conservative household will contribute to that, but really, so much of it was just my own small-mindedness and lack of exposure to reality. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it is something I’ve overcome and learned from, and it’s no hyperbole to say that it’s made me question the way I see things ever since.’

Once again we see that exposure to and interaction with lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can lead to a reduction in anti-gay beliefs. Viewing LGBT people as human beings is one way homophobia can be overcome. Here is another:

‘When I was a child, I used it as an insult,’ one said.

‘That changed in 5th grade, when I called my male babysitter “gay,” as an insult, in front of my mom. She stopped me, and asked “Do you know what that means?” I was throwing a temper tantrum, and wasn’t really aware of where she was going, so I just said, “Yes. It means he likes men. He’s a homo!” All stuff I had picked up in school, etc.

‘But she pushed me, and asked, “So, is there anything wrong with him liking men?”

‘I didn’t have a good answer for that, because I had never thought about it before. But she made me think about it right then. I haven’t used “gay” as an insult since then.’

When I was younger, I heard the word ‘gay‘ used as an insult on a fairly regular basis. While it still occurs from time to time, I don’t hear it as often as I used to (I’m aware this is an anecdote, rather than evidence), which is a good thing, I think. IMHO, it’s a sign that people are coming to the realization that there is nothing wrong with being gay and that word should not be used as an insult (now can we get people to stop using slurs based on race, actual or perceived gender, and gender identity?).

More stories of former homophobes overcoming their bigotry can be found here.

LGBT Link Round-Up 5.7.15

LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15

Michigan public school removes transgender equality post after complaints from parent, students find another way to show their solidarity with trans classmates

A school bulletin board highlighting transgender equality is sparking controversy in Marshall.

The Gay Straight Alliance recently decorated the school’s bulletin board to spread a message of acceptance for their transgender classmates.

When that was taken down, some students say their right to free speech was silenced, but the district says that’s not the case.

It was meant to promote inclusion and acceptance, but instead, the board is pinning [sic] some parents against students.

“This was surrounding a Facebook incident surrounding a mother that was very upset,” said Kate Samra, the President of the Gay Straight Alliance. “She thought it was inappropriate for the school setting and that it didn’t exhibit Christian values.”

Let her be upset. It is not the job of the public school system in the United States to “exhibit Christian values”, whatever the heck that means. Come to think of it, I guess “Christian values” don’t include tolerance, an appreciation for diversity, and inclusivity. Thankfully students were able to show their solidarity in another way:

* * * *

Ooooh, this is going to cause the right-wing blogosphere to light up with irrational anger and faux outrage. The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts hired the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout as a summer camp leader:

The Boy Scouts’ Greater New York Councils said they hired Pascal Tessier, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout who has been a vocal advocate of opening the 105-year-old organization to gay scouts and leaders.

Board member Richard G. Mason said the councils see Tessier as “an exemplary candidate for employment as a camp leader.”

“We welcome him,” Mason said in a statement.

The Boy Scouts of America didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about the hire. The national organization changed its policy in 2013 to allow openly gay kids as scouts, but not adults as leaders, after a bitter debate over its membership policy. The change took effect in January 2014.

Advocates for letting gays participate in scouting hailed Tessier’s hire.

“This is a watershed moment,” Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement. “We are proud to see such an important Boy Scout council standing up for the full inclusion of gay members.”

When the national Boy Scouts began allowing gay boys as scouts, liberal Scout leaders and gay rights groups celebrated the shift but called for allowing gay adults to participate, too. Conservatives involved with the Scouts, including some churches that sponsor troops, decried letting any gays — including kids — participate, and some threatened to defect if the ban were lifted.

* * * *

I bet among the members of the Florida House Judiciary Committee are people frustrated over the incremental advances in LGBT rights in USAmerica. Such frustration may have played a role in the decision to pass a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. I guess they are determined to ensure that gays in Florida remain second class citizens.  And of course, they don’t give a shit about the welfare of the children.

Thursday morning the Republican-majority Florida House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would expressly allow open anti-gay discrimination on religious grounds by adoption agencies that are funded with taxpayer dollars.

The bill, HB 7111, applies to private child-placing agencies, stating they are “not required to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”


It adds, “The state or a local government or community-based care lead agency may not withhold a grant, contract, or participation in a government program from a private child-placing agency because of the agency’s refusal to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child which violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

* * * *

Malta now has one of the best trans and intersex laws in the world

Malta is now leading with one of the most comprehensive laws protecting trans and intersex people in the world.

They will no longer need to have surgery, sterilization and a diagnosis of mental illness to legally change gender under a law passed yesterday (1 April).

It will also ban medically unnecessary surgery on the genitals of intersex infants.

‘To say that this Act is a groundbreaking human rights milestone is almost an understatement.’ Paulo Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board,said.

‘It provides an inspirational benchmark for other European countries that need to improve their own LGBTI equality standards. The Act is a beacon of hope – and bears testament to the political leadership and hard work of the LGBTI movement in Malta.’

The passage of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC) followed an apology from the governent to a trans woman Joanne Cassar who was successful in her fight to marry her husband.

* * * *

Michael Sam may be joining a Canadian football team

Jim Popp, the general manager of the Montreal Alouettes, believes he has a 50/50 shot of signing the player before training starts at the end of May.

The athlete, currently appearing on Dancing With The Stars, has said he is determined to return to the game by any means necessary.

Sam made history last year when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. He was later cut by the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.

‘The [Canadian Football League] is cut out perfectly for his style,’ Popp said. ‘It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best.’

* * * *

Angie’s List: Indiana’s RFRA fix ‘is insufficient’

Indiana lawmakers have drafted an update to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that seeks to explain that the law cannot be used in a discriminatory fashion, but critics of the law say the “fix” doesn’t go far enough to protect LGBT Hoosiers.

The first major company to dismiss the changes was Angie’s List, the Indiana-based business-review website that has been one of the most vocal critics of the law, reports the The Indianapolis Star

“Our position is that this ‘fix’ is insufficient,” Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement Thursday morning, reported by the Star. “There was no repeal of RFRA and no end to discrimination of homosexuals in Indiana.”

The proposed amendment to the existing legislation, announced by state lawmakers Thursday, would explicitly prohibit “service providers from using the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations,” reports the Associated Press. “It also bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.”

But the prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination applies only to entities affected by the so-called religious freedom bill, also known as Senate Bill 101. It does not change existing Indiana nondiscrimination law, which does not include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, education, public accommodations, or housing.

“Employers in most of the state of Indiana can fire a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning,” said Oesterle. “That’s just not right and that’s the real issue here. Our employees deserve to live, work and travel with open accommodations in any part of the state.”

As a result of the “insufficient” changes, Angie’s List is standing by its decision to cancel a planned expansion of its headquarters in Indianapolis, according to the Star.

This is a good thing by Angie’s List.

LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

In Israel, a likely parliamentary candidate proclaimed he was a “proud homophobe“.

In Ireland, The Alliance for the Defense of Family and Marriage released a hate-filled, fear-mongering, homophobic pamphlet filled with lies, half-truths, and misinformation in the hopes of convincing people not to support same-sex marriage (you can read the pamphlet in full here. Note the absence of any citations for their claims.)

In the United States, Iowa Republicans are working to ban same-sex marriage.

During a trip to the Phillipines, Pope Francis expressed his deeply held (but not evidence-based) belief that same-sex marriage threatens the family.

Around the world, trans women and men face high levels of transphobia and are subjected to acts of violence that often result in their death (here is a list of 700 documented examples since 1970, with the bulk of the murders occurring between 2000 and 2012).

So much time, energy, labor, and money is being spent-across the globe-to fight FOR bigotry and discrimination. Whether its politicians working to deny us our rights, bigoted transphobic assholes killing someone for being transgender, or religious leaders openly expressing their homophobia, one thing is clear: LGBT people the world over are routinely dehumanized. This dehumanization has a negative, and often deadly impact on the lives of LGBT people. Denying our humanity makes it easier for bigots to justify their actions. I hate to break this to you, bigots of the world:

We are just as human as everyone else on the planet.

We eat, sleep, breathe, shit, pee, and think. Because we are just like you.

We experience love, sadness, joy, hostility, sorrow, frustration, glee, and every other emotion. Because we are just like you.

We work, shop, drink, and fuck. Because we are just like you.

When you cut us, we bleed. When you cut off our oxygen, we suffocate. When you wound us sufficiently, we die. Because we are just like you.

Like other human beings:

We are celebrities.

Ellen DeGeneres is a lesbian woman with a successful talk show.

We are athletes.

Michael Sam is a gay man who still wants to play in the NFL.

We are novelists.

Sapphire is a lesbian author whose novel, Push, was adapted into the critically acclaimed film, Precious.

We are poets.

Miles Walser is a trans man who performs slam poetry.

We are comic book creators.

Artist/writer Phil Jimenez is a gay man who has worked for both Marvel and DC comics on multiple high-profile assignments.

We are public officials.

Madhu Kinnar is India’s first transgender mayor.

We are actors.

Openly gay actor John Barrowman has appeared on Dr. Who and Torchwood.

We are world leaders.

Elio Di Rupo, former Prime Minister of Belgium, was the world’s first openly gay head of state.

We are television presenters.

Openly gay tv presenter Jesús Vázquez  was also the first spaniard to be selected as the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency.

We are chefs.

Anne Burrell, a lesbian woman, is a popular USAmerican chef who has appeared on multiple Food Network shows.

We are activists.

The late Bayard Rustin, a gay man, was an important figure in the USAmerican Civil Rights Movement.

We are musicians.

Laura Jane Grace, a trans woman, is the lead singer of punk rock group Against Me!

Our needs.

Our words.

Our actions.

Our desires.

Our thoughts.

Our aspirations.

They are no different from those of other human beings. The similarities we share with the rest of humanity far outstrip the extremely minor differences. So please stop treating us as the ‘other’. Stop treating us as some subhuman species unrelated to humanity and undeserving of dignity. We deserve and demand the same rights as everyone else. We deserve and demand the freedom to live our lives free of oppression, discrimination, and violence. We deserve and demand to be treated as full human beings.

Not goddamn dog food.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

LGBT Link Round Up 1.10.15

Defying death threats and police detention, activists in Uganda publish LGBT magazine

In an effort to convey the realities of life for LGBT people, an activist group in Uganda have published a magazine that offers health advice, personal stories, and articles on the clergy. Activist Jacqueline Kasha says the magazine was created with the goal of addressing  “the falsehoods spread by the Ugandan media, which regularly publicly humiliates and degrades homosexuals.”

“Instead, we are sharing our stories in the hope that we can change social attitudes. The people we are trying to reach out to are the people who are threatening to burn our houses and beat us.

“We are not journalists and I don’t respect the media here in Uganda. The media is furious with us because we are reclaiming our stories. We expect them to retaliate. We are always frightened, but nobody else is going to stand up for us; our community needs a face.”

I applaud their courage, and hope that they remain safe, bc unfortunately, bigots are going to retaliate against them.

In a statement, the activists involved said:

“This magazine will also shade a light to readers on the extent of the marginalization and discrimination the LGBTI community in Uganda continues to face on a daily basis.

We have been forced to live undignified lives; the authors of the stories are Ugandans who, through their voices, should be heard by policy makers and the general public, and hopefully, help to create a path for attitude change in a community that is continuously growing in homophobia and violence against this harmless group of Ugandan citizens.”

They have also called on the government to “promote humanity, peace, unity and liberation as they report on LGBTI issues” and to suspend all moves to introduce further anti-gay legislation; for the public to establish a dialogue with the LGBTI community; and for religious leaders “to refrain from preaching and instigating hate within their congregations.”

 * * * *

For the first time Tiffany & Co. feature a same-sex couple in an engagement campaign

The unnamed pair are a real-life couple living in New York City.

“Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear, and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms,” said Linda Buckley, Tiffany & Co. VP of North American PR, in a statement to “The Tiffany engagement ring is the first sentence of the story that a couple will write together as they create a life that is deeply intimate and exceptional, which is the message we hope to convey through this campaign.”

Thank you Tiffany & Co. for treating gay people AS people and recognizing that our love is every bit as real and deserving of recognition as heterosexual couples.

* * * *

“I wish I’d never written the story” says author of ‘Brokeback Mountain’

I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out. Before the film it was all right… In Wyoming they won’t read it. A large section of the population is still outraged. But that’s not where the problem was. I’m used to that response from people here, who generally do not like the way I write. But the problem has come since the film. So many people have completely misunderstood the story. I think it’s important to leave spaces in a story for readers to fill in from their own experience, but unfortunately the audience that Brokeback reached most strongly have powerful fantasy lives. And one of the reasons we keep the gates locked here is that a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending. They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild. They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it. I can’t tell you how many of these things have been sent to me as though they’re expecting me to say, ‘Oh great, if only I’d had the sense to write it that way.’ And they all begin the same way — I’m not gay, but?.?.?.?The implication is that because they’re men they understand much better than I how these people would have behaved. And maybe they do. But that’s not the story I wrote. Those are not their characters. The characters belong to me by law.”

* * * *

Margaret Thatcher considered banning sex toys in the U.K.

The revelation comes following the annual release of documents from the UK’s National Archive. They say that the change was considered after moral crusaders lobbied the Prime Minister, including Mary Whitehouse, whom Thatcher met on two occasions.

In September 1986, the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, wrote to Prime Minister Thatcher saying that there was a ‘strong case’ for banning sex toys under obscenity laws.

‘Some of the items in circulation are most objectionable, including some which can cause physical injury.’

Brittan thought that sex toys, under the terms of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, could be viewed as items likely to ‘deprave and corrupt’.

However, following her meetings with Whitehouse – a prominent anti-obscenity campaigner – Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister between 1979-1990, instructed Brittan to look at a new way in which they could be barred, more specifically in relation to how they could be considered to offend good taste or public decency.

Brittan felt that asking court’s to make rulings in regard to ‘good taste’ could be fraught with ambiguity. The plans were subsequently abandoned.

Heeey, I know what’s a great idea!
A government banning items that are used by consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom!
Glad this didn’t happen as it’s none of the government’s business what consenting adults do in their bedrooms.

* * * *

Today in “Transphobic assholes who refuse to accept that trans women are women”:

Trans woman turned away from Western Wall in Jerusalem

Stylist Kay Long from Tel Aviv visited Jerusalem with a friend from Madrid, but was refused entry to the female section of the wall by a ‘modesty volunteer’ who said she was not a woman. She was then yelled away from the men’s area.

The Western Wall, or Kotel, is the only remaining part of the Temple Mount and is the holiest site in Judaism.

Long visited the wall in a black dress and is two meters (6’7”) tall ‘without heels.’

‘From an early age we are taught that if we place a note at the Kotel our prayers might be answered,’ she wrote on Facebook.

‘All that’s left now is to take a picture and say a prayer from afar with the hope that it will be answered. Because God is everywhere and loves us all.’

Elinor Sidi, director LGBTI community center Open House, said Long’s experience was not unique.

I hope that one day such transphobic bigotry is so rare that it is nearly unique.

LGBT Link Round Up 1.10.15

LGBT Link Round Up 1.6.15

A Trans 101 lesson from a mainstream US periodical 

Reporting for TIME on transgender issues (particularly for what became the cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point”), there was one maxim that pretty much every person I interviewed seemed to agree on: there is no single story about being transgender that sums it all up, much like there’s no one story about being Hispanic or blonde or short or straight that sums that experience up. But I also came to learn that there are some good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to language.

For instance, if you meet a trans person—someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth—it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is. If you meet a trans person, you should not ask about the particulars of their body, much as you would likely prefer strangers not to inquire about yours. And if you meet a transgender person, you should not refer to them as “a transgender” or “transgendered.”

Referring to someone as “a transgender” can sound about as odd as saying, “Look, a gay!” It turns a descriptive adjective into a defining noun and can make the subject sound distant and foreign, like they’re something else first and a person second. This guidance is part of GLAAD’s media reference guide, under the heading “Terms to Avoid”: “Do not say, ‘Tony is a transgender,’ or ‘The parade included many transgenders.’ Instead say, ‘Tony is a transgender man,’ or ‘The parade included many transgender people.’” These key language nuances haven’t been consistently adopted by the media.

This is an example of putting people first, before their descriptors, and is important in talking about people as people.

* * * *

2014 saw transphobic crimes soar in the UK, but real number of attacks likely higher

Some of the UK’s biggest police forces have seen transphobic hate crimes soar this year – with the true number of attacks likely to be much higher.

Police data reveals victims have been subjected to assaults, verbal abuse and harassment on the street.

The Metropolitan Police saw offences against transgender people soar by 44 per cent in 2014 with 95 crimes recorded, up from 66 last year and 59 in 2012.

They included 53 harassment offences this year, 17 common assaults, seven grievous bodily harm (GBH) offences and seven assaults with injury, as well as rape, robbery, criminal damage and burglary.

Eleven forces revealed they recorded more transphobic hate crimes between January and November than the whole of 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, a leading charity warned crimes against transgender people were “massively under-reported”, meaning the actual number may be much higher.

Serge Nicholson, from the charity Galop, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, said a third of trans people in the UK received transphobic abuse every year – thr second highest of any EU country.

“As much as 80 per cent of transphobia is not reported. So the rise in transphobic police recording can be viewed as encouraging, though it leaves us with mixed feelings. One transphobic hate crime is one too many.

(bolding mine)

That last bit there?  Bolded for truth.

* * * *

Atlanta Fire Chief fired for writing anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Semitic book

For several months in 2009, Kelvin Cochran was FEMA’s Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. But Cochran returned quickly to Atlanta, and became the city’s new Fire Chief. Today, he’s not serving the people of Atlanta, he’s out of a job, fired after a one-month suspension, by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Last year, Cochran wrote and self-published an ugly book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, that uses religion to support his anti-gay beliefs. Calling them “unclean,” the book compares gay people to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals. The book also has anti-Semitic and anti-women passages. Not only did he publish the book, he handed it out at the firehouse, and reportedly discussed its contents with his employees – something many might feel makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

“Might”? Chances are Cochran had worked with gay people, women, and Jews, so yeah, I think it would make for an uncomfortable (even hostile) work environment.

In the book, Cochran writes that his “job description as a fire chief of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department” is to “cultivate its culture for the glory of God.”

Somehow I don’t think that’s in his job description. In fact, proselytizing is probably not in the job description of anyone who works for the government. But for some theists, that pesky separation of church and state (as well as anti-discrimination policies in the U.S.) doesn’t apply to them (at least in their bigoted noggins).

Cochran also identified himself in the book as Atlanta’s Fire Chief, without clearing the book with the City. Mayor Reed reportedly was concerned some might think the City of Atlanta endorsed the book or its contents, which it does not.

During his suspension, Cochran reportedly made clear he would continue to make anti-gay statements upon his return.

“When you have more than 1,000 people working under your command, you can’t go around publicly suggesting that some of them are perverts on a par with those who indulge in bestiality or child sexual abuse, as Cochran did in a self-published book,” Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes today. “When you serve as a top manager in a government that has pledged not to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, you can’t suggest to workers that such discrimination might be justified, as Cochran did by distributing copies of that book to his subordinates. (Apparently, Cochran had been advised by the city ethics office against publishing the book, but chose to do so anyway.)”

Mayor Reed held a press conference explaining his decision, and issued a statement saying that Cochran’s “actions and decision-making undermine his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce.”

“Every single employee under the Fire Chief’s command deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide employment decisions. His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension have eroded my confidence in his ability to convey that message.

“Chief Cochran also failed to notify me, as Mayor and Chief Executive of the City of Atlanta and his employer, of his plans to publish the book and its inflammatory content. This demonstrates an irreconcilable lapse in judgment.”

* * * *

Jeb Bush thinks respect should be shown to people on both sides of the marriage equality debate

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush just wants everyone to respect each other’s views on issues like marriage equality.

After facing criticism for his tepid statement Sunday that marriage equality should be decided on a state-by-state basis, the possible GOP presidential nominee attempted to clarify his stance in a statement to The New York Times Monday.

“We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” Bush, 61, told the Times via a spokesman Monday. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

In a word: NO. I do not respect people who would deny my rights as a human being and a citizen of the United States.

For TLGB people, this is a matter of basic human rights. We’ve been denied many, many rights that are accorded other citizens of the United States (and in many cases, TLGB people have been deprived of their lives) and that is flat-out wrong. We are not second-class citizens. We deserve the same rights as everyone else, and I don’t give a rat’s ass if opposition to marriage equality (or any other fight for rights) stems from religious reasons. You can have your religious beliefs, but when it comes to the laws of the land, your belief in one particular mythology should not have any influence over those laws (note the word SHOULD). Nor should anyone be able to impose their religious beliefs and practices upon others. Don’t like marriage equality? Fine. Don’t marry someone of the same sex.

* * * *

Marriage Equality has come to the state of Florida

It’s official:  marriage equality has come to the state of Florida and hundreds of gay couples across the state lined up to get married. Even though I’m single (and have been for 12 years with no sign of an end in sight), this is still a big deal to me bc marriage equality isn’t about me. It isn’t about any one person. It’s about treating gay people as human beings with the same rights as everyone else. It’s also a diminishing of religious privilege in the U.S. (which is one reason the Right Wing is so angry).

By day’s end, just over 100 licenses had been issued in Miami-Dade County which began performing ceremonies on Monday (5 January) – a day earlier than any other county.

In Broward County, 120 couples were married throughout the day and issued an additional 63 licenses while 20 licenses were issued in Monroe County, according to figures compiled by the Miami Herald.

Photos of many of the couples began popping up on social media throughout the day including that of Broward County Sheriff’s Detective David Currie and Aeron Woodard (pictured above).

Same-sex couples can now get married in 36 states in the US plus the District of Columbia.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was ‘pleased to see that Florida is taking a step in the direction of freedom and liberty.’

Yes, this is a step in that direction. Another step, one that is just as important, would be the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, bc Florida is one of the 29 states in the U.S. where TBGL people do not have workplace protection.

LGBT Link Round Up 1.6.15

LGBT Link Round Up 12.15.14

Michelle Duggar got her way

Fayetteville residents voted in a 52 to 48 percent split to overturn Ordinance 119, a nondiscrimination law that “prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, real estate transactions, city services, business transactions and public accommodations based on ‘race, ethnicity, national origin, age (if 18 years of age or older), gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status.”

Duggar joined the effort to overturn the law in late summer, recording robocalls that went out to every phone in Fayetteville in which she described LGBT people as a threat to the community.

Ordinance 119 allowed trans men and women to use the public facilities of their adopted gender, a state of affairs that Duggar described in a call as “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”

That’s blatant transphobic fear mongering on the part of Michelle Duggar.  Trans men and women seek to use the facilities that correspond to their gender (e.g. a trans woman using the women’s restroom bc she’s a woman). Trans women aren’t men (just as trans men are not women). That’s a false narrative that Duggar is pushing.  And another thing?  Duggar knows nothing, but nothing…about what she’s talking about. She thinks trans women are just men who dress up as women so they can go into women’s restrooms to sexually assault women and girls.

She. Is. Wrong.

And here is an article at Equality Matters with multiple links to experts who debunk the bathroom myth.

Of course this myth won’t die in Right Wing or fundie circles.  But it needs to be countered every time it rears its head.  And more cisgender people need to speak up and push back against the bathroom myth.  We are the ones with the privilege. We are the ones in the position to help tear down the system that oppresses and discriminates against transgender women and men.

* * * *

 Lifetime ban on gay men giving blood endorsed by FDA

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration’s Blood Products Advisory Panel met to discuss lifting the government’s 31-year-old ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. Currently, any man who has had sexual contact with another man since 1977—even once, even using condoms—is barred for life from donating blood. The ban was instituted in 1983 in the early days of the AIDS crisis, when HIV testing was still rudimentary. It hasn’t been altered since.

There was some hope that the panel might support a policy recently endorsed by a nearly unanimous Department of Health and Human Services panel, which would allow gay men to donate blood if they’d been celibate for one year. But even that half-measure appeared to be too much for the panel, which closed its discussion without taking a formal vote. (The panel itself can’t make rules, but the FDA takes its suggestions very seriously when issuing guidelines.)

The panel’s refusal to advise replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral—twinned with its craven refusal to go on the record as opposing it—is deeply irritating. Even more galling is its reasoning, or lack thereof: It’s clear that the advisers on the panel saw the campaign to lift the blood ban as more a political crusade than a scientific appeal. (Apparently, they haven’t checked in with American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, the American Association of Blood Banks, and the American Medical Association, all of which oppose the ban.) “It sounds to me like we’re talking about policy and civil rights” rather than safety and science, one adviser scoffed. Another anxiously described lowering the ban as “a leap of faith.”

This language is quite curious. The advisers were not considering abolishing the gay blood ban altogether; they were simply considering replacing it with a new ban that forces gay men to be celibate for a year before donating. Their stated opposition to gay blood donation is a fear that HIV-positive men will donate. But every blood donation is tested for HIV, and the virus can now be detected within weeks of infection. If gay men were celibate for a year before their donation, how could they possibly carry an increased risk for HIV? If they were already HIV-negative prior to a year of celibacy, how could they even have HIV at all?

Parse this chain of reasoning, and the Blood Products Advisory Panel’s true fear is obvious: It is afraid gay men will lie. The advisers won’t support a one-year deferral because they believe gay men will lie about how long they’ve been celibate in order to donate blood. There’s just no other way to justify opposition to a one-year deferral.

The panel’s skepticism might make sense if the FDA took a generally wary approach toward blood donation. But it doesn’t, to an almost comical degree. Under the current policies, a straight person who had sex with a prostitute of the opposite sex can give blood one year later. So can a straight person who had sex with an HIV-positive opposite-sex partner. Straight people who frequently have unprotected sex with multiple anonymous opposite-sex partners face no deferral at all. The FDA doesn’t seem concerned that any of these people will lie about their sexual behaviors.

This serves as a reminder that LGBT rights don’t start and end with the pursuit of marriage equality.

* * * *

Top Air Force official speaks out in favor of transgender personnel in the military

The Hill reported Wednesday that Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that the military is preparing to reassess its policies against including trans staff and soldiers in the nation’s war machine.

James said in an interview with USA Today, “Times change.”

The ban on trans troops, she said, “is likely to come under review in the next year or so, so I think we should stand by.”

“From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve,” James concluded.

* * * *

 TX pastor calls for the death of us “dirty faggots”.  

Not for doing anything mind you.  Just for existing.  This is homophobia at its worst. This is one human being advocating for the denial of the right to life for millions of people across the planet. He has so effectively dehumanized us that he can talk at length about killing gay people and not be bothered by it. That is so fucking hard for me to fathom. I would never treat another human being as if they were people devoid of rights, no matter how much I hated them.

Pastor Donnie Romero, founder of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, carried on the violent message of his mentor, Pastor Steven L. Anderson – who recently called for gays to be executed to promote an “AIDS-free Christmas.”

In a sermon on Sunday, reported Right Wing Watch, Romero read from portions of Leviticus, which prescribes capital punishment for a variety of sins – including homosexuality.

“I love that part of the Bible, and I’m going to preach that part of the Bible until the day I die, and if I ever stop preaching that part of the Bible, I hope my kids tell me, ‘Dad, you’re going soft on sin. You need to get up there and rip on these queers because it’s only getting worse and worse,’” Romero said as congregants muttered “amen.” “I’m not going to stop doing it. I’m going to preach it all the time because, again, amen to what Pastor Anderson said.”

“I’m not going to let any of these dirty f*ggots inside my church,” Romero continued. “They are all pedophiles. Look in the Bible. Every time it shows the sodomites, in Genesis 19 and Judges 19, they’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat.”

Romero draws laughs from his congregation as he recalls several times he harassed strangers he perceived as homosexual — including a transgender woman in line behind him at Walmart, a “bull dyke” with a “Bart Simpson haircut,” and two teenage boys at an amusement park.

“These queers are right in front of us, and they were holding hands, and I said, ‘No, I am not going to be right next to these guys,’” Romero said. “Who knows what they’re going to do on this Ferris wheel?”

Romero said gays should be marked for death, unlike other sinners, because he said God views them as an abomination.

“It’s saying that sodomites are full of all unrighteousness,” Romero said. “That means that there is not a sin that they’re not capable of doing. You think about all these weird sins that it talks about in the Book of Leviticus – animals, child sacrifice. It’s within their reasoning to do all of them.”

I’m curious how much of the Bible this guy hasn’t read.  Does he seriously not know that these “weird sins” he speaks of were also done by heterosexuals?  Hell, his god endorses and commits genocide.

* * * *

Google+ now let’s you define your gender

Among a cascade of updates rolled out on Tuesday, the tech giant announced it will let users list their gender as more than just “Male” or “Female. In fact, according to Google software engineer Rachael Bennett’s post, Google+ users will now have access to an “infinite number of ways to express your gender identity.”

Prior to Tuesday’s update — which began its rollout on December 9 and should now be available to all users — Google allowed users to list their gender as “Male,” “Female,” or “Other” to account for those whose identities didn’t fit within a rigid gender binary.

“Now, the gender field on your profile will contain four entries, ‘Male,’ ‘Female,’ ‘Decline to state,’ and ‘Custom,’” explains Bennett. “When ‘Custom’ is selected, a freeform text field and a pronoun field will appear. You can still limit who can see your gender, just like you can now.”

These latest updates reflect similar changes recently embraced at Facebook — which in February expanded its available list of gender identities available for users to select to more than 70 different options, depending on where users live — and online dating site OKCupid, which in November announced it would allow users to choose from a wide range of gender identities and sexual orientations.

The updates to Google+, however, seem to be the most user-driven implementation of the trend to expand gender and sexuality listings on social networking sites. By allowing users to write their own identities under the “Custom” gender listing, Google has given users total freedom to self-identify however feels accurate to them. Users can also decide what pronouns they’d like the service to refer to them using, selecting male (he/him/his), female (she/her/hers), or other, using the gender-neutral singular they/their/theirs.

Good move Google.

LGBT Link Round Up 12.15.14