Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is lgbt anger at President Obama community-wide?

Not counting today, I've got one more day of freedom before the madness of South Carolina Black Pride commences.

Come Thursday, I will be ripping all over the fair city of Columbia going to several events. I've already bought the epsom salt to soak my feet after it's all over.

It's going to be wild around here until Sunday but I will continue to adhere (or try to adhere) to my schedule of three posts a day generated to educate, edify and make you laugh.

Pray for me.

Speaking of which (prayer that is), I am almost reluctant to breach the following subject but feel that it is necessary.

There is a lot of appropriate anger at the Obama Administration in the lgbt community over his slowness in fulfilling campaign promises as well as the appalling defense of DOMA.

I've said it's a powder keg waiting to happen and it continues to grow. Various high profile lgbts are pulling out of a fundraiser next week. The Washington Blade plans to take pictures and videotape folks who will be attending.

I hope that the Blade reporters will also ask critical questions.

The fundraiser has been called a watershed moment. And I have a feeling that it will be. We could be on the verge of a huge lgbt leadership restructuring.

That is in some places. Down here in South Carolina, something happened that is indicative of my conflicted feelings over it all.

I was in the library today posting and I caught two young gay black men also on one of the computers.

I could hear them talking about the situation with President Obama. I don't know all of what they said but I do remember hearing the phrase "that's some white mess."

It occurred to me that these young men weren't exactly in the corner of the lgbt community.

And I don't know how to feel about that.

On one hand, I am a bit livid that these young folks have taken this point of view about the Obama Administration. President Obama does owe the lgbt community answers and actions.

But on the other hand, I can partially understand their point of view. And I can honestly tell you that they are not the only lgbts of color who feel that way, particularly in South Carolina.

I like to think that I've given a bit of hell to the black community on how it treats lgbts of color. But in all honesty, the lgbt community at large shares some of the blame for the isolation of lgbts of color.

On more than one occasion, it has been implied to us by the general lgbt community that our voices don't count.

If you disagree, then would you answer these questions?

How many lgbts of color have you seen on the cover of the Advocate magazine? What is the ethnic orientation for the people always cited or quoted as a credible source for the lgbt community?

How many prominent lgbts of color (activists, lawyers, doctors, etc.) can you name? And I'm not talking about just celebrities. By the way, there are many who are open and out.

Can anyone tell me how lgbts of color feel about marriage equality? Have their opinion as a group been solicited?

The lgbt community at large deserves as much blame as the black community for the inaccuracy that lgbt equality is a "white issue."

There has been so much said (and not listened to) about this situation, but still allow me to break it down to a quick point: lgbts of color have this unfair choice of being a part of a community that promises them partial visiblity and a degree of solidarity based on a common ethnic identity (the black community) or being a part of a community that seems to give them very little visibility but makes assumptions and demands on how they should feel and act(the lgbt community).

Guess what they will pick every time. Subsequently, when an issue (be it the anger with President Obama or marriage equality, etc) rolls around, the mindset of many lgbts of color is:

"These white gays only come to us when they want something. They never seem to care about what's going on with us at any other time. When they get what they want, watch how quick they leave. They don't give a damn about us."

So while I watch this situation regarding lgbt community anger at President Obama, I do so with a heavy heart.

And the belief that not all of the lgbt community is down with the anger.

Is it right or wrong to feel this way? I don't know. It's just one of those things that bugs me.

And it's definitely something to think about.

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Tuesday midday news briefs

WSJ covers DOMA hate-brief controversy, DOJ says it will file more briefs defending law Obama onced called "abhorrent" - President Obama really needs to say something and NOW! He is sitting on a powder keg here.

Gay figures pull out of Biden fundraiser - Powder keg, meet match.

EXCLUSIVE: California lesbian couple allege discrimination at Fresno hospital - And the not good news keeps coming.

Court throws out ban on exposing children to gays - But there is some good news on the horizon.

DC board rejects gay marriage referendum effort - A little bit more of good news never hurt anyone.

Confession: Alleged homosexual deed led to killing - What the hell?

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The war against Kevin Jennings - now it's getting pathetic

With everything going on with President Obama, the Democratic party and lgbts, I am almost hesitant to talk about the attacks on Kevin Jennings and GLSEN but I simply have to.

Today on his webpage, Peter LaBarbera continues to wage the war against Jennings. He has put up an affidavit by one Scott Whiteman, the man who taped the supposed "fistgate" incident.

To recap: GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) founder Kevin Jennings was recently appointed to be Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, religious right groups have been trying to find a way to have him dismissed.

So they have been going through past files in pursuit of something especially damning that would cause the Obama Administration to fire Jennings.

One of the things they supposedly found was what they like to call "Fistgate." This was a situation that took place during a conference in 2000 at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

The state conference, "Teach-Out," was sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and the GLSEN.

Included among the conference-goers were preadolescents who were (like the rest of Teach-Out's attendees) allowed to ask questions about sex in a safe environment. One student asked what fisting was, and was answered with an explanation.

This led the incident to the supposed "Fistgate" incident.

Whiteman taped some of the students without their knowledge.

As a result of the outcry that was generated when parents heard tapes of the event, Margot Abels, a state employee who participated in the discussion, and two other state employees were fired.

Abels later sued the Massachusetts Department of Education and Whiteman for "violating her civil rights and the state's antiwiretapping law."

In 2001, she was not only reinstated but was also given back pay via arbitration. The arbitrator, Marc Greenbaum ruled that:

Abels was not acting on behalf of the Department of Education, but said the department had knowledge of and "supported" her participation in the presentation.

He also said:

that her participation was "authorized by her superiors, and her conduct, while controversial, did not violate then-established department guidelines."

The arbitrator also said that the tape was "misleading" because portions of it, which contained "important messages about AIDS prevention, abstinence, postponement, alternative forms of sexual intimacy and the need for students to enforce their own boundaries of personal security," were missing.

That's the story. But LaBarbera and company continue to inaccurately imply that GLSEN was solely responsible for the conference and, by way of connection, was responsible for the unfortunate incident:

“What’s Fisting?”: That’s the question that a teenager asked an adult at a Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN)-sponsored conference at Tufts University in Boston in 2000. (GLSEN was founded by Kevin Jennings, President Obama’s pick to head up the “Safe Schools” wing at the Department of Education.) What followed from this perverse question was a detailed explanation of this disgusting perversion, including “how-to” advise on how to “fist” (hand/arm-anal and -vaginal penetration) “correctly.” At left is the logo of the Chicago group MAFIA, Mid-America Fists in Action, Inc., a homosexual club that holds “fisting parties” for men into this vile and dangerous perversion. (MAFIA holds “fisting” parties every year at Chicago’s International Mr. Leather.)

I'm not even going to ask how LaBarbera has information regarding fisting parties. And the affadavit he reprinted is nothing new. It continues to inaccurately blame Jennings and GLSEN for the incident.

These continued attempt by the religious right to attack Jennings is starting to become a parody. Their hopes seem to be if they continue to make noise, sooner or later folks will start to take notice.

This is true to a degree. If one continues to make noise, you do get noticed. However sometimes its because people are starting to laugh or pity you.

I'm personally laughing myself. I generally do that when people continue to be a dead horse.

More on the religious right's war against Kevin Jennings:

Attacks on Kevin Jennings sleazy, un-Christian

More right wing lunacy on Kevin Jennings courtesy of Kevin McCullough

More attacks on GLSEN'S Kevin Jennings - Now the Family Research Council gets in the act

'Fistgate' and President Obama - religious right pushes a pitiful attempt of guilt by association

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