Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Via JMG: CHINA: Survey Shows Huge Majority Of Young People Are Not Homophobic

The official news agency of the Chinese government reports that over 80% of young Chinese say they have no problem with gay people. Via Xinhau:
More than 80 percent of Chinese people born after the 1980s hold no discriminatory beliefs regarding homosexuality, according to a survey on marriage perspectives conducted by, a major Chinese dating website. The survey results, which were published in the Monday edition of the Beijing News, indicate that 83 percent of respondents born between 1980 and 1989, as well as 82 percent of those born after 1990, do not disapprove of homosexuality. The online survey of 85,439 people, most of whom were between the ages of 20 and 50, also revealed that about 15 percent of female respondents would not marry a man who does not own an apartment and a car.
As we well know from our own freeping expeditions, online survey can often mean bupkis. What's most interesting here, I think, is the fact that the news was reported on by the Chinese government itself.

Reposted from Joe

The Wedding Dance Film

Via JMG: WASHINGTON: Activists Launch "Decline To Sign Referendum 74" Campaign

Within minutes of Gov. Gregoire's signing of Washington's marriage equality bill, hate groups filed the paperwork to begin collecting petitions to repeal the law. They haven't yet cleared the procedural hurdles to start accepting signatures, but gay activists have already launched their own decline to sign campaign.

IMPORTANT: Should our enemies gather enough signatures by the cutoff date of June 6th, the next step will be to educate the public that they should vote YES on Referendum 74, which asks if marriage equality should be KEPT. And NOT whether it should be repealed. This sort of counter-intuitive wording often appears on ballot measures, dammit.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Gay Death Penalty For Liberia?

Warren Throckmorton reports that a death penalty for homosexuality has been proposed in the Liberian legislature.
Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a bill making homosexuality liable to a death sentence, amid a raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said Wednesday. The bill submitted by former president Charles Taylor’s ex-wife, now a senator, also seeks to amend laws to prohibit gay marriage. “No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony,” reads the proposed amendment to marriage laws. First degree punishment can range from 10 years to life imprisonment to the death sentence, on the discretion of the judge. Voluntary sodomy is already a criminal offence in the west African country and can result in up to three years imprisonment.
Jewel Howard Taylor's ex-husband, the former president of Liberia, is presently incarcerated in The Hague, where he awaits trial for crimes against humanity. Among the charges is an accusation that Taylor forced his soldiers to cannibalize his enemies. The United Nations has ordered Jewel Howard Taylor banned from traveling outside of Liberia.

Reposted from Joe

Via Kweerspirit: A Progressive Voice

I Am A Values Voter

I am a US citizen.
I am a faithful voter.
And, as it turns out, I have values.
I value equality.
I value civility.
I value religious pluralism.
I value "liberty and justice for ALL."
I value mutual affection (regardless of the genders expressing that affection).
I value civil liberties.
I value peace.
I value opportunity for all people.
I value diversity.
I value health, and I believe all people should have full access to health care.

Those who beat the drums of war, and those who confuse homophobia for family values, and those who point fingers and shout insults and make threats rather than engaging in respectful dialogue, and those who equate capitalism with democracy, and those who are willing to sacrifice civil liberties for a false sense of security clearly have values, and they are demonstrating what they value. But let's not be fooled into believing that those are the ONLY values to be had.

Liberal values are values none the less.
I, an unapologetic liberal, have values.
And I am a values voter.

Not everyone will share my values. But not everyone who uses the rhetoric of values speaks for all values, and certainly not for mine.

found at:

Via JMG: Pelosi Endorses Dem Marriage Plank

Big news from Freedom To Marry:
"Freedom to Marry is proud to have Leader Pelosi joining our call to put the Democratic Party squarely on record in support of the freedom to marry as part of the national platform. A strong majority of Democrats and Independents support the freedom to marry, and standing up for all families is not just the right thing to do morally, it's also right to do politically. I hope more people will quickly join Leader Pelosi by signing Freedom to Marry's Democrats: Say I Do petition so together we can get the party, and the country, where the majority of Americans already are."
Chris Geidner got the scoop at Metro Weekly. He notes:
The former House speaker's support for the move comes in response to Freedom to Marry's announcement on Feb. 13 that it was launching a campaign to ask the Democrats, as the group put it, to "Say I Do" to including such a marriage equality plank in the party's platform. The platform, a detailed statement of the party's positions that will be finalized at the Democratic National Convention this September, has never included language in support of the right of same-sex couples to marry. And the leader of the party, President Obama, opposed marriage equality in the 2008 campaign. He said in December 2010 that his position on marriage equality was "evolving" but that he still "struggle[s]" with it. His press secretary, Jay Carney, said this past week of Obama's position, "You know his position, where it stands now, on the issue of same-sex marriage, so I really don't have much to add on that."

Reposted from Joe

JMG HomoQuotable - Armistead Maupin

"I’m outraged that there are currently major candidates for President of the United States who are using homophobia to rally their base. I’m pissed off at my Republican family back in North Carolina, several of whom came to my wedding, but who went right back and are voting for homophobes and acting like it doesn’t matter. It does matter and it’s time for the queers in this country to start saying so to their families. I think we’ve all cut them too much slack for far too long." - Armistead Maupin, speaking to Britain's Pink News.

Via JMG: The Anti-Gay Not-Scouts

Brownie Shirts?

Because of the recent furor over the Girl Scouts' inclusive membership policy, an anti-gay alternative called the American Heritage Girls is seeing an explosion in membership.
The group started with 100 girls in Ohio, and in recent weeks has surpassed 18,000 members in 45 states and six countries. Nine groups with a total of 357 girls meet in the St. Louis area; there were five local groups at this time last year. They are based at private schools and churches in Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties. Founder Patti Garibay, who had been a longtime Girl Scout leader for her daughters, wanted a choice. "We are faith-based, and they are secular, and that's a change," she said. "We're not for everybody, but we're obviously for a lot of people." Garibay estimates that 90 percent of Heritage members have left the Girl Scouts. Shanna Stewart, who home-schools her two daughters in Wentzville, found American Heritage Girls after becoming concerned when she learned the Girl Scouts had invited a lesbian to speak at the national level. "They were encouraging girls to embrace whoever they were; it didn't matter what choices they made, as long as they were true to themselves. That was a concern."
Like the Boy Scouts, the American Heritage Girls ban atheists and gays from becoming members or leaders.

Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma February 15, 2012

Opportunity for Play

The key to maintaining your inspiration in the day-to-day work of meditation practice is to approach it as play—a happy opportunity to master practical skills, to raise questions, experiment, and explore.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "The Joy of Effort"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection

Via AmericaBlogGay: Elizabeth Birch guest post: "I am going to work as hard as I can to reelect this President"

I remember how excited people were about Elizabeth Birch being hired to run the Human Rights Campaign back in 1995 - the worldwide director of litigation for Apple computers coming to run America's largest gay rights group, wow. I met Elizabeth for the first time right after she took the HRC job. She held a meet-and-greet on the House side of the Hill, and like many of us who have a legal education, myself included, you wouldn't be surprised on meeting Elizabeth to discover that she's a lawyer. ;-) She's quite smart, has a quick mind, and a no-bs attitude towards things. At the time, she brought a new level of expertise to the gay rights movement that I don't recall seeing before.
I asked Elizabeth if she'd be interested in penning a guest post for AMERICAblog Gay since she was mentioned a few days ago in another post on this blog written by Heather Cronk of GetEQUAL, discussing the recent $1.4m Obama re-election fundraiser she attended at the home of a lesbian couple in Washington, DC. Elizabeth graciously accepted.

Elizabeth Birch is General Partner of True Blue Inclusion.


A Dinner

by Elizabeth Birch

I have known I was gay since I was a little kid. I am a US-born, and Canadian bred, lesbian. I have been out since 1975. I have been out in every setting since I left home in my mid-teens.

I ran off with my first young girlfriend to Hawaii, supported myself, put myself through undergraduate and law schools, and I have done everything in my power over the course of my life to translate my experience as a gay person in whatever setting I have found myself in -- whether that was working in the carnival, food joints and other survival jobs, eventually a law firm, a high tech firm (Apple) or on Capital Hill. It has been true for every place I have lived in or visited both here and around the globe. I came from a modest beginning and ventured out into the world with very little. But I was always intimately aware that I was gay -- and that was a source of strength and distinction.

So what is the greatest and worst thing about our community these days? First, the greatest is that we are alive at this time of history. We are alive at a great awakening where in some parts of the globe, there is a growing understanding that LGBT people exist, are part of every community and should be accepted. At times it begins in the culture and at times it begins with policy and law -- it's slow and hard, but mostly humanity seems to plod forward.

What is the worst part? It is the shooting gallery that sometimes marks our discourse. I attended a dinner, as the guest of Andy Tobias, with President Obama last week. I had many dealings with both the Clinton and Bush Administrations over the years. The overwhelming point I made when I came away from that meal was the same point I have been making for a couple of years: that is, President Obama has done the nearly impossible. He actually broke through the long, hard, toxic wall commonly known as the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Congress is designed to stop things from happening. Then add "LGBT" to anything, and multiply that difficulty by ten. There are a myriad of ways to bottle, burn, strip out and generally mutilate any idea, initiative, or dream. Congress is the dream killer. I once told Senator Kennedy that I thought of Congress as watching people play chess under water in a toxic swamp. It is remarkable that anything ever becomes law.

When I moved to Washington to head up HRC, I arrogantly thought I could bring fresh energy and Silicon Valley smarts, and we would bust through Congress in no time. That was 1995. ENDA is still a bill floating around Congress. But this young President has delivered something essential and remarkable. He has actually broken through -- first with a small hole (the Hate Crime bill) and then with a cannonball (DADT). He does not do it with fanfare or demand approval or take victory laps. He just does it. You cannot speed him up or slow him down. He works through each issue, expends the political capital necessary, twists the arms that need twisting, he leads -- and he gets it done. I know because I witnessed it from Pentagon where I worked quietly with clients on DADT for a couple of years leading up to certification.

So, it is remarkable that we get to be the beneficiaries of these vitally important new holes that have opened in a very old wall. And, if one can break through the industrial military complex, as our President has done, so much more seems inevitable.

What is the worst part of our time? It is not the debating or the pushing or the demanding of higher standards and principles. That is the job of our community and it is all good and important. No, the worst part is that we think it is okay to engage in incomplete discourse. I went to dinner. That's all. No one called to have a solid conversation about my thoughts -- a real discussion about anything.

I went because I deeply respect this President. Maybe it's the kid that ran off to Hawaii to survive. Or maybe it is the kid that came from Hawaii to be President. I don't know what anyone else owes President Obama. But I owe him my gratitude for actually leading a nation that finally includes LGBT people in its federal law. He is a leader. I think we need to nurture leadership and, as gay people, we should recognize that the greatest attribute is not necessarily "tough skin." We should work harder to not thicken it in one another.

I am going to work as hard as I can to reelect this President. I will leave the shooting galleries to others.