The Measure of an Activist

The internet has been abuzz as of late about Indiana’s RFRA, specifically, about a little pizzeria called Memories Pizza. (By the way, the business didn’t bother to purchase their domain name.)

They closed shortly after coming out on the news talking about their opposition to serving the LGBT community, specifically stating they wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding. The owners claimed they received death threats and because of this, felt they needed to close their business for their safety.

Yet none of these alleged threats have been discovered. None of the articles posted go into any sort of detail regarding the threats. To me, a threat of death is far more serious than a threat to boycott a restaurant.

This post, however, isn’t about the validity of the threats, or why RFRA is wrong, or how obvious it’s been that Memories Pizza was chosen to be a martyr for the “Gays are Evil” movement. This post is about activism and advocacy, and how important these things are.

I comment on a post about exactly that, how these people are martyrs for the cause. Someone responded with a comment that didn’t set well with me. They said that yes, the LGBT community and their allies had shut the business down, but that we didn’t change the minds of the business owners, so essentially, nothing had changed.

I beg to differ. Shutting down a business because they have bigoted, discriminatory views does change things. Recently Mira received the honor of being a member of the Trans100 2015. One of the keynote speakers, Tiq Milan, talked about his mother teaching him about taking up space, and how he has a right to take up space, and a responsibility to take up space.

By shutting this business down, the LGBT community has shown them that we deserve to be here, and we will take up our rightful space, whether others feel we deserve that space or not. And it’s our responsibility to continue to take up our rightful space, no matter what the opposition says or does.

How do we gauge the success of our efforts? If it’s solely by the number of minds changed, then are any other efforts moot? The Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro most likely didn’t change the minds of the shop owner or many of the other white people sitting in the diner. Because they didn’t change the minds of those people, does that discount the fact those four students sparked an interest that ultimately resulted in 1000 people protesting the segregation? Certainly not.

Those four students had enough. They took up their rightful space at that counter. And the LGBT community needs to do the same. We need to continue to take up space and show our opposers that we are not backing down. Of course I’d love to change minds in the process, but that obviously isn’t always going to happen.

To poo-poo the efforts of the LGBT community and their allies to get businesses to close their doors because of discrimination is hurtful and extremely dangerous. If enough people felt the way this commenter did, the likelihood of any kind of movement for social change wouldn’t occur, because ‘we couldn’t change their minds’.

Change doesn’t occur overnight, either. Stonewall was the catalyst for the LGBT movement. But their efforts didn’t change the hearts and minds of all people. Clearly that fight still continues. The results of their actions, however, gave others the inspiration to no longer sit back and be trampled on.

Yes. We came out in force against this business. Yes, we may have helped in shutting the business down. And yes, we didn’t change the way they feel about the LGBT community. But things have changed. And they continue to change.

We may not change everyone’s minds. But it is our job to continue to fight, to take each step forward as a victory, as fuel to continue down the path to equality. As Tiq Milan said, success is measured in the space we occupy. It’s measured in the quantity of people out fighting for a cause. It’s measured by the quality of life those fighting for rights have. Each victory, no matter how small, counts.

This is a victory. It shows other businesses that we will not back down. It shows others within the LGBT community that we do matter, and that we can make a difference.

SIDENOTE: I understand that the owners of the pizzeria became puppets of the religious right. I also understand that they were most likely approached and told if they closed their doors, they would be repaid for it. I understand they became martyrs and targeted to be martyrs. This however, to me, is still a victory. Our voices were heard.

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I’ll take a little discrimination with a side of hypocrisy to go. Thanks!

Hi there, it’s Repowoman. I was gonna take a stab at the whole video post thing, but an audio failure prevented me from doing so. Oh well.

Anyway…

I wanna start out by giving a shout-out to my home state: download (11)

Hiya Michigan! What the fuck??! With Virginia’s constitutional amendment being declared unconstitutional (on Valentine’s Day, no less) , we are now the ONLY state that has an amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and all other contracts.

Fucking awesome! The mitten state, America’s high five to the world, is sufficiently giving its citizens a giant middle finger.

Progress? No! That’s talk of the devil!

Okay, well, to be fair, we are awaiting a ruling from a US Federal judge regarding a lawsuit filed by a couple in Detroit. LGBT-Adoption-Rights-by-State-InfographicThey have adopted children, separately, and want to adopt each other’s children, so that if anything should happen, the children would stay with the remaining parent and not go back into the foster care system.

But, Michigan won’t allow that. Michigan does not allow same-sex partner adoption. Because, you know, it’s so much better to rip that child from a loving family and put them back in the system. So they went to the judge and said, ‘how fair is this shit?’

And the judge says “I’m inclined to believe it’s not fair at all, but if you challenge Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, I bet you’ll get even further!”

So they did. And the judge told them he was going to wait to see how the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA. When the Supreme Court said DOMA sucked and was unconstitutional, the Federal judge here said, “Cool. Well, I wanna hear from some experts.”

And now, on February 25th, 2014, the Federal judge will listen to experts testify.

Because it’s not enough to listen to the parents of these kids.

I should be happy, though, because he is at least hearing the case. But how long will we have to wait before this is a marriage-scales-of-justicenon-issue in this state? In 2004, when Prop 2 was passed, it was passed with a 58% majority. Now, a poll done in May of 2013, shows a 56% support for same-sex marriage. Gay rights activists are looking to petition to have the ban overturned, with a ballot drive in 2016.

Why? Why do we have to wait 12 years for someone to say “Hey, this isn’t right, let’s fix this”? Why do we have to wait 12 years for a fucked up constitutional amendment that was painfully redundant to be overturned?

But, it doesn’t end here. With each step forward, there is someone trying to push us back.

download (12)Kansas has decided that so-called ‘religious freedom’ trumps the basic human right of equality. They’re looking to pass legislation that will allow for absolute discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of ‘religious freedom’.

Yup, the ‘Because God said I could’ movement of discrimination is picking up steam. They’re using the argument that the First Amendment gives them the right to refuse service to anyone they feel ‘violates their beliefs’.

Okay you fucking Bible-thumpers. Here’s the deal. The First Amendment is not a tool for you to use to discriminate against anyone. Freedom of religion, as per the Constitution, means the government can’t force you to practice a particular religion. If you want to be Jewish, be Jewish, if you’re a Catholic, that’s great! If you’re an atheist – more power to ya! But that still does NOT give you the right to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation.

Let’s reverse the roles. Say you walk into a business. You wanna buy some flowers for your dead grandmother. The

'These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!'
‘These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!’

business owner of the floral shop is an atheist, and refuses to sell to you because he thinks you’re an idiot for putting flowers on a grave of a bunch of bones.

What are you gonna do? Stand outside and pray for his fucking salvation? No. You’re gonna go find a lawyer, and sue his non-believing ass, right? You’re gonna picket outside of his business and tell people that it’s blasphemy to step foot beyond that threshold.

So what gives you the right to do it to someone else? Where in your Bible does it say to turn away from people who need your services? Where does Jesus say “Go ahead and tell the gays you don’t want them around”?

I don’t think he does. In fact, from everything I’ve ever read, Jesus was a pretty cool guy who accepted everyone for who they were. No exceptions.

So this bullshit about freedom of religion? You’re wrong. You do have freedom of religion. And until someone violates your ability to practice your religion or tells you that you can’t practice your religion, you still have freedom of religion. And no, my ‘gay agenda’ is not infringing upon your religious rights. Mostly, because we don’t have an agenda. Unless you consider equality an agenda. Oh, we’re such sneaky homos…

Newsflash, Kansas…This law isn’t going to stand in front of the Supreme Court. There’s this lovely amendment that trumps your ideas of what the First Amendment says. The Fourteenth Amendment – the one that guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Yeah, that’s sorta like your worst nightmare, isn’t it? Your ‘religious freedoms’ are trampling all over my ability to live and to have liberty, and certainly, your bigotry and discrimination is a massive roadblock in my pursuit of happiness.

Enforcing-the-ten-commandmentsYour brand of pseudo-Christianity is severely lacking in substance and realism. I’m sure that nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it say “Thou shall practice hypocrisy and hatred.”

If your religion says that it’s perfectly okay to turn away another human being in need…I don’t want to prescribe to your religion…

And you wonder why I’m agnostic.

The Farce of Black History Month

So there’s a good chance that this post might upset some people. I kinda hope it does, to be honest…

Black History Month is a farce. Just like June being Pride Month for the LGBTQ community. Now before you get your panties (or boxers, if you’re a butch) in a bunch, hear me out. After all, I’ve got Morgan Freeman on my side…

That’s right…A photo and video of an interview conducted with Morgan Freeman is circulating Facebook. It is February, so it’s not surprising this is surfacing again. The interview was from 2005, when Mike Wallace was interviewing Freeman on 60 Minutes. Here’s the video:

I agree. Black History Month is ridiculous. So is Pride Month. Why should our history be broken down into one month, when we exist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year?

“Here, we’ll give you one month to talk about yourselves and where you came from, despite the fact that your history dates back to the beginning of the world.”

Gee, thanks.

I understand the historical significance of the idea of a special month for a group of people. But I find it insulting. Because everything of historical significance that has happened to (and within) the LGBTQ community did not just occur in the month of June. Yes, Stonewall did. And Stonewall is definitely something to remember. But look at the leaps and bounds our community has seen in the years since. The same can be said for Black History Month. February is Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass’s birthdays. But, there are other dates in history that are just as important, if not more so, for Black Americans.

The 13th Amendment was adopted in December. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is in January. These seem to be pretty important events to me, so why localize their importance to one month? Harriet Tubman didn’t limit the rescuing of slaves through the Underground Railroad only during the month of February.

To pick just one month, be it arbitrary or specific, to celebrate one’s history, including their struggles and triumphs, is insulting. Why can’t we have Pride festivals year round? Why can’t we have celebrations on anniversaries of triumphs, instead of one giant gathering that really is nothing more than a parade and an opportunity to get shit-faced drunk with a group of like-minded people? Hell, I can do that whenever I want. How can Pride be so special if we only get one month to celebrate it? What do you do when you go to a Pride festival? How much do you pay attention at booths like those of the HRC or GLAAD? Do you know if your college or your children’s schools have a GSA? How involved are you truly in the fight for equality? Reposting news articles on Facebook isn’t enough anymore.

Another aspect of the farce is something Freeman says in the interview. When Mike Wallace asks “How are we going to get rid of racism?” Freeman replies, “Stop talking about it.”

I’ve seen comments on Facebook ranting about how stupid that statement is. That ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Well, to you I say – you’re idiots. Freeman isn’t saying to ignore the issue. But when we turn to racism and discrimination to explain why we can’t get ahead in the world, we’re making ourselves victims. We’re victimizing ourselves.

Yes, it’s important, desperately important, to remember the pain we’ve all gone through, to remember the past. Because after all, without the past we wouldn’t be where we are today. But a continual focus on the struggle, on the negative, does nothing to clear our path to further our cause for equality. Yes, it’s important to recognize the negative, to remember the past, but it’s even more important to recognize the future, and to remember where we’re headed.

When we look at people and say “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian, that one over there is gay, etc.” we’re putting them in boxes. We’re categorizing them. We categorize ourselves. But that one box we’re stuck in…that doesn’t define us. Yes I’m a lesbian, but that’s only a part of who I am. I’m a writer, an animal lover. I’m agnostic, I’m Dutch, German, French, Polish, and Native American. I’m a Michigander. I’m a dreamer, a hopeless romantic. All of these things make up who I am. Don’t nail me down to any one category.

When we say “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian” we’re judging each other. We’re creating standards by which we can later use against that person to hurt, to exclude, to belittle. Instead of saying “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian” we should be looking at one another and simply saying “He’s human. She’s human.”

You should most definitely be proud of who you are and where you come from. But limiting that to one month out of a year is ludicrous. Celebrate who you are year round. Remember your history year round.

Who I am is far more important than 1/12th of a year.

News At A Glance

So, while just a few weeks ago we were lauding Utah’s progressive move forward in striking down the ban on same-sex marriage, we may have to take some of that celebration back.

Here, Gov. Herbert is explaining exactly how he intends to fuck with equality
Here, Gov. Herbert is explaining exactly how he intends to fuck with equality

Utah’s Governor, Republican Gary Herbert, has declared that all same-sex marriages performed between the time the federal judge struck down the ban, and the US Supreme Court’s stay on the decision will not be recognized. That means that about 1,300 couples status is currently up in the air. In an email to cabinet members, Herbert outlines instructions showing just how much these couples are in limbo.

Basically, any poor soul who has some kind of government connected change in the works (like last name change, driver license, etc.) will be put on hold until the ‘situation’ has been evened out. What gets me is the last few sentences: ‘We also recognize that these changes affect real people’s lives. Let us carefully and considerately ensure that we, and our employees throughout the state, continue to treat all people with respect and understanding as we assist them.’

Really? Respect and understanding, huh? How so – “Sorry we don’t see you as equal citizens, but you can still register to vote!”

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Following up with that same sense of ‘fuck you’ is Representative Eric Turner (R-Ind.) who wants to ban any form of

The incredibly attractive Eric Turner. Now I know why he hates everyone...
The incredibly attractive Eric Turner. Now I know why he hates everyone…

union outside of a marriage between one woman and one man. It hearkens back to Michigan’s Prop. 2 of 2004, defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The bill, titled HJR-3 wants to alter Indiana’s state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

I did a quick run through of the constitution, and I don’t see any amendment currently defining marriage, unlike Michigan’s constitution. However, also like Michigan’s constitution, Section 23 of their Bill of Rights states: ‘The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.’ Which this would be a direct violation of. (By the way, readers, I’ll be running a post of the recent history of same-sex marriage, and breaking things down quite extensively. I know I’ve done this before, but because of the changes from the initial post, it bears updating)

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Football already has enough innuendos. I'm good...
Football already has enough innuendos. I’m good…

A lot of athletes, particularly football and basketball players, have been coming out of the locker room lately. However, perhaps the craziest story falls to that of Chris Kluwe, former punter for the Minnesota Vikings. He was fired, he claims, after he had been publicly supporting same-sex marriage. Kluwe had previously stated that the Special Teams coach, Mike Priefer, had made some incredibly inflammatory statements, saying that gays should be rounded up, placed on an island, and that island should be nuked until it glows. Kluwe further stated that he would do his best to see that Priefer never coaches again. However, Kluwe is now stepping back a bit, stating that with some proper counseling and classes, Priefer might get better. Either way, the fact that Kluwe, who is not gay, was fired for supporting gays, says enough to me about the ‘fixability’ of Priefer’s bigotry. Only, of course, if all of this is true.

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And finally, our friends in France are at it again. 25 year old Julien Rochedy, a rising star of the National Front Party, is not only defending Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, but is demanding it be brought into law in France as well.

Methinks thou doth protest too much (he's awfully manscaped...isn't he???)
Methinks thou doth protest too much (he’s awfully manscaped…isn’t he???)

When asked about the reports of violence and arrests against homosexuals and supporters in Russia, Rochedy said he didn’t believe them. When asked about the Holocausts, Rochedy said he didn’t believe in Jews. The National Front is basically France’s equivalent to the Tea Party.

News at a Glance

There’s been a lot of news about us gays as of late…

ILLUSTRATION: Gay MarriageCongratulations to New Mexico and Utah for becoming the 17th and 18th states to legalize same-sex marriage.

Yup, that’s right – it took 17 other states to legalize same-sex marriage before the state with the most practicing polygamists decided they’d jump on the bandwagon of deviancy and say okay to the gay. I wonder if this means if I move there I can get married to multiple women?

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem my home state will be legalizing it any time soon, what with their creation of ‘rape insurance’ and all. What? You didn’t hear?

Yes, Michigan has become the latest state to require women to purchase ‘abortion insurance’ as abortions will no ku-xlargelonger be covered under a standard policy. So either you purchase a ‘rape rider’ or plan ahead for the next time you’ll be sexually assaulted and buy some right before it happens. Although if you dress like you’re asking for it, the insurance company might decline coverage based on a pre-existing condition of ‘slut’.

Unfortunately, Michigan is not the first (nor probably is it the last) state to require women to purchase separate coverage. Eight other states offer no coverage for abortions in a general policy. Out of those eight states, just one, Utah (another surprise), offers an exception for victims of sexual assault.

So in other words, a lot of lawmakers feel that if you are sexually assaulted and end up pregnant because of it, you are not a victim, but a special woman who gets to carry a gift from God.

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Also in news, Phil Robertson, one of the bearded rednecks from ‘Duck Dynasty’ on A&E said some stupid shit about a-e_network_logohomosexuals and was yanked from the show. Now the rest of his bearded clan are threatening to leave.

I hope they do.

Good ole Phil was doing an interview for GQ when he commented (I’m paraphrasing) about homosexuality, saying one could ‘morph it out’ to bestiality and sleeping with multiple women. So in other words:

Homosexuality => Bestiality => Whores => Downfall of Mankind

Now, I understand that according to some, all sin is equal in the eyes of God. But how is honest, true love between two consenting adults a sin? Somehow I don’t think so…especially since sin affects others. My homosexuality affects no one. It doesn’t take away anyone else’s freedoms.

I’m really surprised by all the outrage at A&E’s move to suspend him…

You know, because celebrities shouldn’t ever be held responsible for their actions when they say  or do something stupid…

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Pussy_Riot_by_Igor_MukhinAnd Russia, in a show of…well, I don’t know what to call it…announced it will be releasing the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot and Greenpeace.

This is, of course, a move to clear out the prisons in time for the Sochi Olympics, when they will be refilling the prisons with homosexuals and their supporters.

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On a related note, Obama responded to Russia with a giant ‘Fuck You’ by choosing three openly gay athletes to Sochi 2014 protestrepresent the United States in the Winter Olympics, and has decided not to attend the Olympics, snubbing Putin’s invitation to come and sit next to him. I hope Putin’s nose doesn’t get too bent out of shape…

 

News At A Glance

So…Pat Robertson…you know, that old ‘Christian’ codger who is older than dirt and apparently just as intelligent? Yeah, he’s at it again.

Apparently he’s abandoned the claim that gays wear rings with little spikes in them to prick others and give them AIDS. No, I’m not kidding:

Somehow the man is still relevant. I don’t know how, but now he’s saying that bringing a lesbian into your home will make your kids gay.

I know, I know…I ask why are we giving the shriveled idiot face time, and then I go and post videos of him. It’s important to know what our enemies are up to, regardless of how dried out and irrelevant they are. Because there are still those who proclaim to be Christian and eagerly subscribe to his brand of ignorance.

So yeah, apparently being in close proximity to a lesbian means you could potentially catch the gay. I’m looking forward to the day he turns to the medical community to come up with a vaccination for homosexuality.

I wonder how long it will take for him to backpedal on this one, too? I’m half tempted to find the guy, shake his hand with a joy-buzzer, then rub up against him and point and laugh when he has a heart-attack.

In worldwide news, India banned gay sex.

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gay-sex-banned-in-india-after-religious-groups-win-supreme-court-case/news/2013/12/11/80037#.Uqp9FdKIAk0

I’m curious as to how they are going to enforce such a law. Unless homosexuals in India are fornicating in the streets, and if that’s the case, I might have to plan a vacation. Regardless, India just took a 153 year leap backwards by re-instating the law. The UN sides with the LGBT community there, stating that the law violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects the right to privacy and non-discrimination. By being a member of the United Nations, India automatically subscribes to those policies as well.

The law banning gay sex was initially established as a colonial era law, when the British still ruled over India. I just hope that with this reversion into history, they don’t bring back those silly powdered wigs.

And finally, right here in my home state, in my home town, a Republican National Committeeman, Dave Agema, has said that the only reason homosexuals want same-sex legalized is because we’re dying. 

http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/12/michigan_gop_committeeman_dave.html

Yup, Mr. Agema thinks that we aren’t really looking for equality, and that all we want is free medical treatment for our partners, and we’ll even make claims that our partners have AIDS in order to get free coverage. This genius was selected by his fellow party members to represent Michigan in the Republican National Committee. Hopefully this means we’ll be a blue state when the next major elections roll through.

I hope something changes soon, because Michigan is quickly becoming the political laughingstock of the nation.

“I am not pro-gay marriage”

So a lot has happened this past week.

rbginsburgFirst let me applaud Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg for becoming the first Supreme Court Justice to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. She was obviously among the majority of Justices who ruled earlier this year that homosexual couples are entitled to the same rights in marriage as heterosexual couples.

She turned 80 this year, thus proving true acceptance has no limit on age.

In other news, Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney’s non-gay daughter and Wyoming Republican State Senate candidate, has gone on record stating “I am not pro-gay marriage.” I’d applaud her too, but my liz-cheneyhands are too busy holding my head while I shake it. Oh Liz, you do realize your sister is a lesbian, right? In fact, she got married last year, if I’m not mistaken. Have you disowned her? Are you not recognizing her wife? Thanksgiving dinner is gonna be awkward this year…

Liz: “Hey you, will you pass the potatoes?”

Mary: “Liz, that’s Heather, my wife.”

Liz: “Sure. Whatevs. Just hand me the potatoes. And don’t be so gay about it.”

Mary: “Really?”

Liz: “What? You’ve read the news. I am not pro-gay marriage.”

And what does that even mean? ‘Pro-gay marriage’? So does that mean if you’re ‘anti-gay marriage’ you want everyone who’s married to be miserable? It’s always fun to see homophobic straight people try to talk about LGBT issues. They think everyone who is homosexual is ‘gay’, and that all ‘gay women’ have to be heavy-set and barrel chested, wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots, t-shirts with the sleeves rolled up and a pack of smokes stuck in one, and a slicked back pompadour. And if they aren’t, they’re just confused or going through a phase.

It’s same-sex marriage. Or just marriage equality. Why must everything have a label? I know, I know. People can’t handle things unless they can compartmentalize them. Well, if you’re one of those people, you need to read my post about discrimination within the LGBT community.

Liz Cheney’s full quote was “I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage.” So she’s for everyone having babies, except if they’re gay. Hmm. That brings up some conflicting ideas. What if a gay has a baby? Is that okay? What if a baby grows up to be gay? And then what if that gay baby wants to get married? And what if that gay baby goes into politics, and pushes for pro-gay marriage equality? And what if they win? Ooooh…what then, Liz?

Sometimes I wonder about natural selection…It’s like it’s hit or miss at times.

Darren ManzellaAnd wrapping up, please take a moment to remember Darren Manzella, who was killed in a car accident Thursday, August 29th. He was the combat medic who was discharged from the military under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Manzella then became a strong advocate for the repeal of the policy, which President Obama did repeal in 2011. Manzella was 36, and had just married his partner in July.