LGBT Site of the Week – PFLAG

pflag

PFLAG was founded in 1973 after a group of gay and lesbian people asked Jeanne Manford to speak to their parents about support and acceptance. She had marched with her son Morty, in the Christopher Street Liberation Day March (today’s Pride marches are the children of the Liberation Day marches) in 1972, and drawn attention to herself for her unabashed support of her son. When she realized there was a genuine cause, she began a support group.

 

The first formal meeting took place in March, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church. Word spread about the support group and similar groups began to appear throughout the country. They offered support and ‘safe havens’ for parents with gay and lesbian children.

 

Chapters exist all over the country, and the group also lobbies for anti-discrimination legislature, provide education, and are advocates for numerous issues, including safe schools and workplace fairness.

 

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays now boasts over 200,000 members and supporters nationwide, and provides an incredible resource for the LGBT community and their families.

 

Visit their site today and find a local chapter near you!

http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=194

 

Michigan’s New Same-Sex Marriage Legislation -or- The light at the end of the tunnel

My home state recently had four pieces of legislation introduced by Michigan Senators Warren, Johnson, Whitmer and Smith to advance recognition of same-sex marriage in the state. Three bills address same-gender relationship recognition in Michigan, and the fourth bill calls a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The bills were introduced at the end of May, and little was said about it until now. And some of the articles are rather disheartening. The Detroit Free Press says the bill probably won’t pass because of the Republican-controlled Legislature.

In 2004, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, the infamous redundant proposal that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The Proposal passed by a 59 – 41 % margin. A recent poll shows a 55 – 57% support for same-sex marriage now.

I can already hear the naysayers.

“What’s the point of voting if the law is going to be overturned anyway?”

“The people have already spoken. Our government is failing us if they don’t listen to the people.”

These are valid statements when taken on their own, however to say that legislature should not ever change because the people voted on it is an asinine assumption.  If that were the case, we’d still have Prohibition, women couldn’t vote, and blacks would still be considered property.

I’ve asked before for someone to give me an absolute reason why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal, and I’ve never ever had any takers. Why? Because there is absolutely no good reason why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal in all 50 states. It’s really just that simple.

I’ve written about this so many times even I’m getting sick of reading it. Michigan State Sen. Rebekah Warren was quoted in the Detroit Free Press, saying, “Ideology should no longer dictate a matter that will strengthen our families, our communities and our economy.”

What a beautiful statement. She clearly understands that yes, marriage may be a sacred union between two people, but that in the eyes of the government, it is a legal contract, and should be nothing more than that.

A wedding is a special ceremony that may or may not be religious based, and if it is, can be based within a variety of religious practices. To say that marriage is a solely Christian practice or Jewish practice is incorrect. If we’re going to pick and choose who gets married, then why not even go a step further and say that if a couple wants to get married, then they have to say certain vows, read from a certain book, with a limited number of people in the bridal party, and the bride must wear white, and the groom must be in a black and white tux. If you’re going to control one aspect of marriage, why not control the whole thing?

Why shouldn’t Proposal 2 be repealed? Why shouldn’t same-sex marriage be allowed? Please, someone tell me why? I’ll be happy to discuss the issue with anyone who can provide an educated answer as to the detriment that same-sex marriage would bring upon society.

Review the bills for yourself:

Senate Bill 405: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2013-SB-0405

Senate Bill 406: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2013-SB-0406

Joint Resolution W: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2013-SJR-W

Resolution 64: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2013-SR-0064

 

Tell me if you find any horrors of the devil within these evil, evil bills and resolutions.

 

LGBT Pride Flags and Symbols

LGBT Symbols

There are several different flags representing different groups within the LGBT community. Since it’s Pride Month, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the flags, the meaning behind their colors, and their origins.

There are also several symbols associated with the LGBT community. Those will be featured as well.

 

Gay Pride Flag

The original Gay Pride Flag was designed by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Celebration. It originally had eight stripes, and each color represented a different aspect of humanity and equality:

Pride Flags

The flag was changed to seven colors, and the pink strip was removed because the fabric color was not available in large enough quantities. In 1979, the flag was changed to 6 colors, and the blue was changed to a royal blue. This is the flag we see today:

prideflag

Bisexual Pride Flag – 

The Bisexual Pride Flag was unveiled in 1998 on December 5th. The flag was designed by Michael Page. The flag consists of three stripes. A large magenta stripe at the top of the flag, representing same-gender attraction, a large blue stripe at the bottom of the flag representing opposite-gender attraction, and a thinner lavender stripe in the middle of the flag, a combination of the two colors, representing attraction to both genders.

Biflag

The Genderqueer and Transgender Flags – 

Designed by transgender woman Monica Helms, the flag was unveiled at a Pride parade in Phoenix, AZ in 2000:

Transflag

The light blue stripes are associated with the traditional color for baby boys, and the light pink stripes are traditional for baby girls. The white stripe represents those who are transitioning, are unisex, or are gender neutral or have no gender. The flag is designed so that it can be hung in any fashion and still represent the transition of those who are finding their identity.

The other flag represents those who are genderqueer, Two Spirited, gender fluid, or androgynous. The flag was designed by Marilyn Roxie and consists of a lavender stripe, a white stripe, and a green stripe:

genderqueer

The lavender stripe is the mix of pink and blue, the mix of genders, representing androgyny. The white stripe represents gender neutrality, and the green stripe represents those who don’t identify within the traditional gender spectrum.

Leather Pride Flag – 

The Leather Pride Flag was designed in 1989 by Tony DeBlase, and presented at International Mr. Leather in Chicago. The flag is comprised of alternating black and blue stripes, with a white stripe in the middle, and a heart in the upper left hand corner of the flag. Tony DeBlase left the colors of the flag up to personal interpretation.

leatherpride

Bear Pride Flag – 

Created in 1995 by Craig Byrnes, the International Bear Brotherhood Flag was created representing the Bear culture within the gay community. The color scheme for the flag is not specific, but appears to represent diversity in color. If anyone knows the specific symbolism behind the colors, please feel free to contact me.

bearflag

Other Symbols

100px-Labrys-symbol.svgThe Labrys is the double-sided battle ax, the weapon of choice of the Minoans, an ancient civilization bound5who had one of the first and only all-powerful female deities. The Snake Goddess was a symbol of fertility, and the labrys has been carried as a symbol of lesbianism, popularized by Gina Gershon’s character, Corky, in the movie Bound.

 

 

 

The lambda is a Greek letter symbolizing unity under oppression. It was adopted by the Gay Activist Alliance in New York in 1970, and was later adopted as an international symbol for the fight for equality. Lambda-letter-lowercase-symbol.svg

 

 

 

 

And of course, everyone recognized the iconic symbol of the Human Rights Campaign. The equal sign in yellow set over a blue field.Hrc_logo.svg

 

 

The symbols representing the various subcultures withing the LGBT community are numerous, each with their own colors and meanings, but all of the symbols echo a call for equality. Remember this as you celebrate Pride this month, and remember the struggle that our predecessors went through to give us the successes we’ve seen today.

 

June is Pride Month – What are you proud of?

Pride (noun) The quality or state of being proudimages (11)

June is considered ‘Pride’ for the LGBT community, in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Originally, it started out as ‘Gay Pride Day’, celebrated on the last Sunday in June, but quickly expanded to a weeklong celebration, at the suggestion of Brenda Howard, a bisexual rights activist, and her LGBT activist friends, L. Craig Shoonmaker and Robert A. Martin. This trio also popularized the term ‘Pride’ to describe these events.

Both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have issued proclamations recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

But have we lost sight of what Pride truly is? What does Pride mean to you? And what have you done to help further LGBT rights?

stonewall2The Stonewall Riots were a turning point, a time when those who were deemed ‘different’ and ‘deviants’ decided enough was enough. They took pride in who they were and fought back. They risked themselves because they knew they deserved to be treated with respect and dignity. And because of them, others stepped forward. Supporters who had previously remained quiet. Friends and family came forward, demanding that homosexuals and bisexuals and transgenders be treated with equality.

The people of Stonewall became icons, and the event itself became the fuel that the fight for equality needed. And now it’s up to us to continue that fight, not just for same-sex marriage, but for equality across the board.

Pride now has turned into a cross between a giant singles bar and a flamboyant display of Pride Flags. Sure, we walk around to the booths, but how many of us go to those booths for a free sticker or pin? Do you really take a moment to look at the information they’re providing? How many know what the colors on the Pride Flag represent? Or the other flags and symbols of the LGBT community? These things are important, but most important, what does Pride represent for you?

We can talk about the history of Pride Month, which is important to know, but it’s also important to know where Pride is headed from here. What is your Pride? What are you fighting for?

Mine? It’s the security of knowing I can be myself, always, and be safe. That I can hold a job and not worry about being fired because someone makes an assumption about what goes on in my bed. It’s the desire to not have to worry about being accosted when using the women’s restroom in a public place. It’s the want to be treated as a human being. Because in the end, that’s what I am. Human. I’m not some pedophilic monster or some ‘rainbow recruiter’. I’m me. I’m Teri, and I’m a lesbian. But I’m also a writer, a geek, a cancer survivor, and much more. You see, my sexuality is only part of who I am, and while my lesbianism is prominent in my life (I’m butch, and I dress accordingly), it’s not the only part of me.

When you call me a dyke, or tell me I’m going to Hell because I’m attracted to women, you’re only seeing one side of me. Take your blinders off. I have faults, yes. But being a lesbian is not one of them.

This June, what are you proud of?

I am proud of who I am. I am proud of my sexuality, my strength, and where I’ve come from. And I am fighting for equality.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana