Trump Happened

So, Trump happened. I kept hoping I’d wake up from this nightmare, or some superhero would swoop in and save us, but no, this is the reality. Donald Trump is sitting in the Oval Office at the White House.

Now what?

I’m gay, but I’m also white and male and I earn a comfortable living (aside: I’m willing to bet most in the “Gays for Trump” camp fit that description as well), so I enjoy a certain amount of privilege. If I were to put my head down, stay quiet and not cause any trouble for the next few years, I’d probably be–relatively speaking–OK.

Fuck that.

It’s not good enough. It should never be good enough, not for me, not for you, not for anyone. I plan to use whatever privilege I have to support and protect those who need it. And when I run out of privilege, I’ll keep going. This time is going to be a true test of our character. I don’t know what the fighting is going to entail, but I suspect there will be a lot it. We can’t allow our country to get less equal, less safe or less free. America has always been a work in progress. Even 18 months ago, when the idea of President Trump was a joke to almost everyone (even Donald himself), no one thought this country was perfect. But we had just witnessed an era of progress, despite unprecedented obstructionism from our historically useless Congress, dominated by a radicalized Republican party. I was excited to keep that progress going!

But that progress is going to have to wait; that radicalized party is in control, and led by a monster. For now we’ll be fighting tooth and nail just to keep what we have, to not take too many steps back.

So the first thing I’m going to do–the first of many, but we have to start somewhere–is to attend the Chicago version of the Women’s March tomorrow (or today, it’s almost midnight as I type this). Of his many bad qualities, Donald’s attitude–and resulting behavior–toward women is probably the most appalling. He views women as objects, either to be obtained like trophies or as a means to an end. They’re certainly not equals. Even without him, the Republican party had been chipping away at women’s health for years and more recently began ramping up that assault, attempting to obliterate Planned Parenthood.

It’s a small thing, but tomorrow (today) I’ll stand with my sisters and send a message.

If you come for them, you come for me, too.

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Hate in the States

msprotest
Protest in Mississippi

As I type this, hundreds are gathered in Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi, protesting the state’s HB 1523, the preposterously-named “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” and urging the governor to veto it. The fallout from North Carolina’s HB 2 (pdf) is still coming down. What the heck is going on?

While the recent successes for LGBT rights in the U.S.–particularly the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling–have caused many to let their guards down and celebrate victory, others have been urging us to stay vigilant. In his book “It’s Not Over“, author, activist  and radio host Michelangelo Signorile predicted a backlash, and warned us against “victory blindness”. It turns out, he was right.

We have seen a rash of anti-LGBT laws sweep the country, mostly at the state level and often under the guise of “religious freedom”. Let’s take a look at a few of the worst of them. Continue reading

And Now We Have Arkansas (What the Fuck?)

Following the footsteps of Kansas, Arizona and Mississippi, the state of Arkansas is trying to use legislation to keep anti-LGBT discrimination alive and well. But this approach is a bit different. Rather than using “religious freedom”, which has proven controversial–and gotten legislation dropped in Kansas and vetoed in Arizona–they are going for the innocuous sounding “standardizing” non-discrimination ordinances across the state.

According the AR branch of the ACLU, “SB 202 prohibits cities, counties, and towns from passing laws that create any “protected class” or “prohibit discrimination” that go beyond state law.”

This means cities can’t restrict discrimination any further than the state does. And guess what? The state doesn’t protect against anti-LGBT discrimination! The ACLU claims it’s “a direct fear response to Fayetteville’s passage of an ordinance protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A different technique for the same old shit! They aren’t even being subtle about it.

State Senator Bart Hester has introduced an emergency bill, SB 202, which would strike down all nondiscrimination ordinances in the state permanently.

Hester believes that to allow LGBT people to have protections in the workplace and to have legal recourse against cases of discrimination goes too far, granting “special rights” to people who aren’t like him.

The 37-year-old GOP official told BuzzFeed that sure, LGBT people get discriminated against sometimes, but these days, “we are all singled out for discrimination.”

“I am singled out as a politician. I am singled out because I am married to one woman,” Hester said. “I want everyone in the LGBT community to have the same rights I do. I do not want them to have special rights that I do not have.”

(source)

Oh, he’s “singled out” as a politician (maybe because politicians do shit like this?) and for being “married to one woman”? Really?

There is a site dedicated to encouraging the governor to veto it. Let’s hope he does.

Not sure this is a bad law? Hate group leader and general asshole Tony Perkins loves it. What more do you need?

Arizona SB 1062 dissected

Let’s take a closer look at the bill currently sitting on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, awaiting her signature. It is SB 1062 “AMENDING SECTIONS 41-1493 AND 41-1493.01, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES; RELATING TO THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION.” Full text available here (pdf) for now. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, take my analysis with a big grain of salt.)

First of all, this is amending an existing law, not creating a new one. Arizona already has a law to protect religious freedom. This amendment extends its reach to ridiculous and unenforceable proportions.

What are some of the key changes? (Additions to existing law in bold and caps).

In Section 1:

19 5. “Person” includes a religious assembly or institution ANY
20 INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY
21 OR INSTITUTION OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION
.

Cue Mitt Romney: “Corporations are people, my friend!” Apparently in Arizona, corporations may also have religious beliefs. This ought to be a warning sign that things are starting to go off the rails in Arizona when any business entity is given “person” status in relation to religious practices and beliefs.
Continue reading

Arizona, What the Fuck?

While my attention was elsewhere the Arizona legislature passed an anti-gay discrimination law similar to the nonsense that was considered in Kansas.

What the fuck?!

The Arizona legislature gave final approval to legislation that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays, drawing backlash from Democrats who called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.

The 33-27 vote by the House Thursday evening sends the legislation to Republican Governor Jan Brewer and puts Arizona back at the forefront of a polarizing piece of legislation four years after the state enacted an immigration crackdown that caused a national furor.

from the Guardian

Of course, the GOP supporters claim this is about preventing discrimination!

“This bill is not about allowing discrimination,” Yarbrough said. “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

So if someone’s “faith” tells them to kill infidels, we should probably protect that too, right? My faith tells me to punch those fucking jackasses in the nuts. I’m so over this bullshit.

If Jan Brewer signs this, she and all those who voted for it should be impeached for failing to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Kansas Update

It would appear some Kansas Republicans are not complete hypocritical assholes. An update to my previous post on the “Turn Away the Gay” law working its way through the KS legislature:

I am pleased to report that the Republican-led Kansas Senate decided this would not fly. Senate President Susan Wagle said on Thursday that a majority of the state senators in her party would not vote for the bill. They support “traditional marriage,” Wagle noted, “however, my members also don’t condone discrimination.” Thank you for that line in the sand. It should be obvious, but somehow that was lost on the Kansas House.

From Slate

Thanks to the GOP Senators, the bill is likely to just fade away, without hearings or a vote. Good riddance to horrible, atrocious rubbish!

Kansas, What the Fuck?

Work has been kicking my ass (and still is) so I don’t have time to get into this, but I wanted to get a WTF post out there, in case people aware of this bullshit.

The Kansas state legislature is on the verge of approving—and Kansas’s Republican governor has pledged to sign—a bill that legalizes discrimination against gay couples. Businesses, individuals, government employees—anyone will be able to discriminate against gay couples once the law is signed. Under the law firefighters could refuse to put out a fire if the house was owned by a gay couple.

What in all the fucks are they thinking?

The piece this quote is taken from is definitely worth a read, and a share.

I just… I can’t even right now.

Scum of the Earth

Tea Party Group Founder Calls For Class Action Suit Against Homosexuality

It is for people like this that the phrase “scum of the earth” was coined. You’d be hard pressed to find worse people who openly extol their wretchedness and who aren’t already behind bars or on a “Most Wanted” list.

“Peter,” Scarborough said, “the whole issue of a class action lawsuit, you and I have talked about this a little bit. I just wonder if you’ve explored that, talked to anyone about it. Obviously, statistically now even the Centers for Disease Control verifies that homosexuality much more likely leads to AIDS than smoking leads to cancer. And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that. Any thoughts on that kind of an approach?”

OK, I am legitimately curious as to who this lawsuit would be against? Of course, Peter [LaBarbera] likes the idea, responding “Yeah I think that’s great. I would love to see it.”

And then:

LaBarbera went on to say, “We always wanted to see one of the kids in high school who was counseled by the official school counselor to just be gay, then he comes down with HIV.”

Yeah, he said they “always wanted to see” a high school kid get HIV. I mean, really? These people profess to be Christian? Disgusting.

Their Honors

I want to take a break from ranting about politics, and post something a bit more cheerful. It’s a quick, true story.

Last night I went to a reception for alumni of the university where I went to undergrad. The event was in Manhattan, though the college is in Chicago.

At this event I met two older ladies (I’m guessing low 60s) and got to talking to them. This is their story. (Cue the Law & Order sound).

They were from New York City, and they were friends in high school. Based on their law school graduation date, they would have likely started college in the late 60s. They didn’t want to be secretaries. They told me they didn’t want to type things or get coffee for men. These smart, ambitious ladies wanted to be executives, they said. One of them wanted to go to law school. The other didn’t at first, but her friend convinced her. So they went off to Chicago together, to go to law school (the one affiliated with my university). They got their J.D. and returned to New York.

They worked for a number of years as public defenders. And now they are criminal court judges in Manhattan! (“Like on Law & Order!” I exclaimed.) In fact, they have their chambers right next to each other.

It was fun talking to them about what their jobs are like. One of them worked for mayors Koch and Dinkins and had some  funny stories about Mayor Koch. I learned that NYC criminal court is in session 7 days a week, and there really is night court. In fact, they told me how people used to make a date night out of it: go to dinner in Chinatown and then go watch night court! They said that was before most of the prostitution cases were moved to a different courthouse.

There are a couple things I like about their story. One, it’s a success story. They were ahead of their time and managed to break through the glass ceiling. Remember when they started college, things were like you see in “Mad Men” and sexism was rampant. And two, it’s a great story of friendship. These two have stuck together for more than 40 years, and that’s a pretty rare and amazing thing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story. I’m sure I’ll be back to complaining again soon. There’s always so much to complain about!

Thanks, Sweetheart

black and white image of female secretary with typewriterTwo posts in one day? Yes!

By now much hay has been made about Mitt Romney’s response about pay equity for women in this Tuesday’s debate. I’m going to make some more!

Throughout this discussion, I’ll be drawing directly from the official transcripts posted on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ website.

The question, posed first to Obama was “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” The President answered, and then Crowley followed up with: “Governor Romney, pay equity for women?”

What followed was nothing short of fascinating. It included lies, evasions, condescension and anachronisms. Let’s dig in.

Romney began his response with an anecdote having nothing to do with pay equity and which by most accounts was at best an exaggeration and at worst an outright lie.

An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”

And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.

Yes, this was the now infamous “binders full of women” line that exploded all over the Internet. But that isn’t the most important part. He wasn’t being honest! By his account, Romney was a hero, specifically seeking out qualified female candidates for his cabinet. The truth is, the process of placing females in his administration was begun even before the election, by a group known called Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP). MassGAP was formed to address the shortage of women in high-ranking government positions in the state, and they reached out to both candidates prior to the election. The binders full of women were real, though.

“There were actual binders involved,” Levin [chairperson of MassGAP at the time] said. “Big binders. They were big. It was before stuff was done, like it is now, electronically.”

Romney appointed his incoming (female) lieutenant governor Kerry Healey to work with the group, and he did make an effort to hire more women. In the beginning he increased the number of women in high-ranking positions. But by the end of his term, that number fell below what it was before he took office.

Continue reading