Thursday, January 10, 2013
|Daily Buddhist Wisdom|
Fighting Back in Brazil
BY Neal Broverman
January 10 2013 4:00 AM ET
Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project in November revealed that among the 265 murders of trans people reported globally in the preceding 12 months, 126 of them were in Brazil, the largest number of any country. It was the only country with triple digits (notoriously biased Pakistan had five reported killings, for example), and according to the monitoring project, it’s only getting worse. In 2008, 57 trans killings were reported in Brazil.
A well-publicized 2011 report from the gay rights organization Grupo Gay da Bahía found attacks and murders on the rise; LGBT people were being bashed once every 36 hours. And last fall at least 15 gay activists in Curitiba, a prominent southern city, received death threats.
“You are going to die, you, your husband, and your son. Your mother is a dyke,” was the phone message left for Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transvestite, and Transsexual Association.
But unlike those in Jamaica, Russia, or Uganda, officials in Brazil are working to curb homophobic violence. After Reis and the other activists reported the disturbing phone calls and emails, the Human Rights Secretariat of Brazil sent several of its people to Curitiba to interview those threatened. The national officials met with local law enforcement, which set up a special committee to investigate the threats (no one’s been arrested yet). Meanwhile, the federal government operates a 24-hour national telephone service for LGBT people to report violence and discrimination, and the federal government is forming “pacts” with the 27 state governments to stem homophobia, which Reis says derives from Christian sources.
“Religious intolerance among some evangelical groups against LGBT people is increasing,” he says, adding that many church leaders actively lobby politicians against gay rights.
Evangelical Protestants, especially, have pushed back against efforts by the Brazilian government to protect the nation’s LGBT people. Last year, even before the Grupo Gay da Bahía report made international headlines, liberal legislators introduced a bill to outlaw anti-LGBT bias, providing jail time for those discriminating or inciting violence against LGBT people. Conservative Christians said the legislation would make it impossible for them to preach against homosexuality, and the bill was watered down as a result of their efforts.
Even with many gay-supportive government leaders, Reis admits, “Progress is slow and impunity continues to reign.”
Make the jump here to read the full article
Minister With Antigay History Chosen for Inauguration Ceremony
BY Trudy Ring
January 09 2013 5:50 PM ET
Pastor Louie Giglio of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, chosen to give the benediction, or closing prayer, January 21 at President Obama’s second inauguration, gave a sermon in the mid 1990s in which he said being gay is a choice and a sin that merits eternal damnation and that Christianity can help gays can become straight, ThinkProgress reports.
In the sermon, available on a Christian website, Giglio says the Bible clearly teaches that “homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin,” and it is among the factors that “prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God.” He also says, “The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus.”
When the item was posted, Giglio had yet to respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about whether the sermon represents his current thinking. The Advocate has also asked the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which plans the ceremony, for comment on the choice of Giglio, but there has been no response so far. A “Beliefs” section on Passion City Church’s website describes the church as “conservative and evangelical,” apparently with a literal view of the Bible, as it says, “We believe in the accuracy, truth, authority and power of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God.”
Four years ago, at Obama’s first inauguration, antigay minister Rick Warren, pastor of a California megachurch, delivered the invocation, or opening prayer. The choice of Warren was much criticized, although his prayer received some praise as a “message of unity.”
Some other news about the second inauguration was more welcome to LGBT audiences: Gay poet Richard Blanco will read one of his works there. He is the youngest inaugural poet, the first gay one, and the first Latino.
Make the jump here to read the full article
Marine Corps Orders On-Base Social Clubs To Accept Gay Spouses
Responding to an ongoing controversy at Fort Bragg, the Marine Corps today issued a directive that on-base "spouses clubs" must admit the husbands and wives of gay service members.
It's a step that the other service branches have not yet announced as they grapple with how to accommodate same-sex couples following repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly. Underscoring the challenges, the Marines' legal advisory — obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press — refers to an ongoing controversy at the Army's Fort Bragg in North Carolina where the officers' spouses club has denied admission to a same-sex spouse.OutServe-SLDN praised the move via press release:
The Marine Corps commandant's Staff Judge Advocate, in an e-mail to legal offices throughout the corps, said the Fort Bragg events had "caused quite a stir" and cautioned, "We do not want a story like this developing in our backyard." The memo noted that spouses clubs and various other private institutions are allowed to operate on bases only if they adhere to a non-discrimination policy encompassing race, religion, gender, age, disability and national origin. "We would interpret a spouses club's decision to exclude a same-sex spouse as sexual discrimination because the exclusion was based upon the spouse's sex," the memo said.
The Marine Corps guidance issued today is a breakthrough and a clear indication that General Amos meant what he said when he promised Marines would lead the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Secretary Panetta should use his authority immediately to bring consistency across the services with regard to this issue and in doing so, a greater measure of equity to gay and lesbian service members and their families.
The Thought Remedy
Generosity trusts the emptiness that runs through things, even ungenerous or ungainly things—it links to the clarity that underlies all our madness. Whenever my thoughts turn toward greed, acquisitiveness, or stinginess, my shoulders tense up, and it feels as if I’m holding my breath. To find a remedy, I don’t have to improve my thoughts, though—just be generous with them. Then freedom seems to appear automatically.
- John Tarrant, "The Erotic Life of Emptiness"