Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

Zimbabwe Pres: “Gays Are Lower Than Pigs”

Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe is heading up a massive project to re-write the country’s constitution and says, “Absolutely

Zimbabwe President Mugabe says "Gays are lower than pigs"

 Not!” to calls for LGBT protections.

The new constitution is part of a power-share deal the country has made, and western human-rights advocates are strongly making their feelings known in the African Country. But President Mugabe isn’t bending, “Gays are lower than pigs” and says all calls for lgbt rights are “insanity.”

Interesting how most of Africa is strongly anti-LGBT rights, with the exception of South Africa, which was once known as one of the strongest prejudicial and bigoted countries in the world. Currently however, South Africa is the only country in Africa which has adopted full same-sex rights and marriage.

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The Day Of Gay Superheroes

Yesterday, March 18th 2010 will be remembered as one of the great days of civil disobedience and LGBT Superheroes!

Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo handcuff themselves to the White House Fence

It started yesterday afternoon in DC where a rally on DADT was being thrown by the HRC and entertainer Kathy Griffen. Although the rally was well attended (thanks to our celebrity fag-hag 😉 ) it was mostly just a publicity stunt for Ms. Griffen’s show “D-List.” That’s when Get Equal Co-Director Robin McGehee and Liutenant Dan Choi showed up. Despite being told by HRC director Joe Solomnese that this was “Kathy’s show,” Lt. Choi took the stage and made it clear that DADT was “no laughing matter” but a serious threat that needed to be brought down immediately and he called on ralliers to march on the White House.

The rally at the gates of the White House was going strong (even though Joe Solomnese and Kathy Griffen didn’t attend despite promises to the contrary) and Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the fence in support of the thousands of LGBT service people who are being forced to lie about themselves every day. Then Robin McGehee was arrested by the secret service and the capitol police for helping the Liutenent and the Captain put on the handcuffs. The crowd cheered her and booed the police as she shouted “Get Equal!” and “Fight For Your Rights!” as she was pushed into a patrol car. 30 minutes later Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo were also removed from the fence and arrested.

But the fun didn’t stop there! Get Equal activists also stormed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and performed a Sit-In in her

The 5 activists who attended the "sit-in" over ENDA in Pelosi's office are arrested.

 office, demanding a vote on ENDA by the end of this month. After 4 hours, the 5 activists were also arrested.

Both Robin and the 5 activists were released without bail late last night, but Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo are both still in Jail. Not much information is known yet, but they have NOT been given their phone calls yet.

I view all 8 of these people as absolute HEROES. These are people willing to risk it all in belief that all people in this country should be equal, and the US Constitution does not only apply to some.

UPDATE! Lt. Choi and Capt. Pietrangelo will be arraigned today at 1pmEST at the DC Superior Courthouse.

UPDATE! Lt. Choi and Capt. Pietrangelo plead NOT GUILTY and demand a jury trial rather than pay a $100 fine. “We do not plead guilty for equality.” “Not Guilty, Not ashamed, Not done yet.” Trial set for April 26th!

Get Equal Co-Director Arrested At White House

D.C. – Lt. Dan Choi has chained himself to the fence outside the White House during a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest. This is happening NOW. Co-Director of Get Equal Robin McGehee has already been arrested, but security is apparently at a stand-off with the Lieutenant.

DADT is responsible for thousands of service members who are trying to protect their country being kicked out of the armed forces because of nothing other than who they are inside.

UPDATE: Lt. Dan Choi has been removed from the fence and placed in a police van! -2:15 EST

Robin McGehee shouts "Get Equal!" and "Fight For Your Rights!" as she's arrested.

Pictures courtesy of Pams.House.Blend

 
 

Lt. Dan Choi chains himself to the White House Fence

UPDATE! From the Advocate:

Choi was speaking at the HRC rally at Freedom Plaza when he asked the group’s executive director, Joe Solmonese, if he would march to the White House. Both Choi and Pietrangelo were discharged from the military under DADT. Choi is the founder of Knights Out, a West Point alumni organization supporting LGBT soldiers.

You’ve been told that the White House has a plan,” Choi told rally protesters. “But we learned this week that the president is still not fully committed. … Following this rally, I will be leading [the protest] to the White House to say ‘enough talk.’ … I am still standing, I am still fighting, I am still speaking out, and I am still gay.”

Kathy Griffin, who was in Washington at the behest of HRC to meet with members of Congress about DADT repeal, was also at the rally. When asked by Choi if she would march with him to the White House, Griffin responded, “Of course!”

Utahns Studying Local Discrimination Against LGBTs

When the “compromise” first started rolling out, Utahns were told that a year-long study would be included to show legislators just what type of discrimination was happening in the reddest-of-red states. But Senate President Waddoups and Senator Neiderhauser decided it wasn’t a good idea. Taking the initiative, Equality Utah has announced that they will be launching a study of their own in an attempt to show our legislators what is happening to their constituents! I applaud this effort and encourage anyone inside of Utah to take the quick survey!

Click here to take the Anti-Discrimination Survey

Waddoups: To Censor Or Not To Censor..

SLC – Senate President Michael Waddoups has come under heavy fire over the last week since he released a statement with a thinly-veiled threat telling the LGBT

UT Senate President Michael Waddoups

community to be quiet. Now he’s released a new statement trying to backpedal, while issuing the threat all over again!

Last night on the Senate’s blog, Waddoups claimed that “Reports of my willingness to censor people have been greatly exaggerated,” and that he encourages dialogue between the LGBT community and the rest of Utah. But in the same post, he also says he wants “activists in this cultural divide to avoid behavior that would polarize.” Ok, so let’s see.. between last week and last night the LGBT community and gay rights activists have been told to avoid “offensive behavior that would push the legislature to take action against the LGBT community” and to avoid “behavior that would polarize.” Sounds like he just wants everyone to play nice right? Wrong.

Let’s not kid ourselves, virtually every advancement in the gay / lesbian / bi / transgender movement has stemmed from radical action focused on bringing attention and pressure on government leaders. Nothing can ever be accomplished in a civil rights movement without drastic, poignant outcries from a community which no one would ever hear about otherwise. This is the time to step up and show Waddoups, Neiderhauser and Buttars and all others trying to steal our rights that we are here and will never be silenced. If nothing else, never let it be said that the Queers are not proud of who we are and will always fight for what is rightfully ours!

If you’re in Utah, attend the LGBT Community Forum tonight at 7pm at the UofU! You will have a chance to let your voice be heard and learn about upcoming events and suggest actions of your own! More info on that here.

UT Senate Pres Threatens LGBT Community

UT Senate President Michael Waddoups

SLC – With the controversial “compromise” between the pro-human rights legislators and the extremist right-wing hanging in the balance, a closed-door meeting between leading Republican Senators ended with a slap in the face to Utah’s LGBT community.

Last week, Representative Christine Johnson and Senator Stephenson announced a joint bill saying that no pro or anti gay legislation would be run this year by either side, and a committee would be assigned to study the necessity of anti-discrimination laws over the coming year. Call it an olive branch to Utah’s ultra-conservative lawmakers, a way for them to finally recognize the suffering of their constituents while still saving face by claiming that they were unaware of the problems in Utah before the committee delivered their report.

But now, Republicans have denied even that. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Senate President Michael Waddoups announced that they would hold up their end of no anti gay legislation this session, but that he saw no need for a committee to look into anything this upcoming year. On top of that, he threatened the gay community against speaking up, saying any “offensive activities” would push the Republicans into drafting legislation against the LGBT community.

Um… excuse me?? The queer community in Utah is one of the most oppressed in the country, being one of the few states that does not even afford housing or workplace protections to its’ citizens. There’s barely a handful of supportive legislators on Capital Hill supporting their basic rights and he wants the gay community to shut up and fall in line? Their strategy is clear, Republicans are in essence buying themselves a free-pass for the year from the constant barrage of negative press for their dark-age views, while giving nothing in return.

Now, the LGBT community of Utah is rising and coming together again. Enough. We have had it with our state constantly spitting on us, of teaching our children that they have no human worth just because they’re born differently. We are thrown from our parents’ homes, shunned from our churches and communities, fired from our jobs, evicted from our homes, denied every possible right to our partners and now are told our suffering isn’t even worth taking a deeper look at.

Enough. We’re sick of being the whipping-boy for those law makers who care nothing that thousands of their constituents are being persecuted. Sit Down, Shut Up and Fall In Line? Never.

Pro or Con? No Gay Rights Bills In Utah This Year

UT – Speculation is flying fast and thick in Utah’s LGBT community right now. Is the agreement by our Legislators to not run any gay-rights bills this year in return for no anti-gay bills and an independent commission a good thing? Or are they just backing down from the fight?

State Representative Christine Johnson

Last week, State Representative Christine Johnson and Senator Ben McAdams announced that they had reached a compromise with the conservatives on the hill like Senator Howard Stephenson. In return for our community not running any gay-rights bills this year, the anti-human right’ers would not run any of their proposed 5 bills which would make it illegal for cities or municipalities in Utah to provide any of their own protections – forcing everything to go through Capital Hill. According to Equality Utah, the 5 bills from the conservative side would have (among other things) stripped away any chance of housing and workplace protections state-wide, including a reversal of Salt Lake City and County’s newly granted protections. Also included in the compromise is the use of an interim committee over the next year, which has been charged with evaluating the need for such protections in the state. Next year, during the 2011 legislative session, the committee will make a recommendation to the lawmakers on whether or not these protections are needed, based off of their findings.

But now some in the local LGBT community are speaking out against the compromise, saying that pro-LGBT lawmakers are failing in their duties to fight for their constituents rights. Local resident and gay-rights supporter Jodene Rudolf is not in favor of the compromise, saying “I cannot help but think of it as a slap in the face of what is right and just. The good fight should continue and we should just fight harder..Yes, it is tiring to face defeat time after time. But if we retreat from the battlefield won’t the other side advance its objective again and again anyway?”

But Equality Utah and Rep Johnson say this compromise provides an enormous open-door for the queer community. “This [compromise] gives us a big opportunity this year” says Brandie Balken, Executive Director of Equality Utah. “We have a whole year to do outreach and help educate both our lawmakers as well as our fellow citizens.”

But what about those of us in the community who are not part of an official advocacy group like Equality Utah? Where does this leave us? Well according to Rep

Equality Utah Exec. Director Brandie Balken

Johnson, our efforts are key to the success of this deal. “We need our community to step up to the plate this year,” she says, and it’s true. The community is needed to speak up at public hearings, committee meetings and most importantly to their straight neighbors and co-workers. This compromise has the possibility of being the greatest thing to ever happen to the queer community in Utah. We have one whole pressure-free year to tell our stories, to help our neighbors and elected officials understand what we go through on a daily basis. We can talk politics or religion all day long, but the most important and effective thing we could ever do is put a face to who we are. The LGBT community suffers horrors that very few other communities have ever even imagined, and if history has taught us anything it’s that once people see us and understand what we go through, that’s when we gain our greatest allies and the writing on the wall starts to get a little revision.

As Reed Cowan will tell you, “Every life has a story, every story has a lesson and every lesson has the power to change the world.” I pledge to do all I can this next year, I hope you join me.

UPDATE:
A word from State Representative Christine Johnson: