Right now, Trump has unspecified plans to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Why stop there?
What prevents Trump from stopping at-risk LGBT asylum seekers from finding refuge in America? United States immigration law has been welcoming persecuted homosexuals since 1994. But this law, and others favouring homosexual rights, can be overturned by Trump's anti-LGBT only Supreme Court candidates. If this happens, then America would be no different from other countries that persecute homosexuality.
Harmful precedents on LGBT rights would be established for decades -not just four years- if a conservative majority is built inside the Supreme Court. Trump has “strongly considered” exploiting
his power to overturn equal marriage. Would this come to pass? Perhaps not. Trump himself is ambivalent on transsexual issues. He initially supported the North Carolina's Bathroom law, which would allow people to use the bathroom that is consistent with their gender identity, but rejected it later.
However, Mike Pence, the vice president, has been adamantly against LGBT issues since 2000, when he advocated to use HIV/AIDS money to fund conversion therapy. He affirmed that he will “guard religious freedom at the expense of LGBT rights.”
Movements in one country could influence other countries in the same vein. Women in Iceland protested their country's 14% gap in equal pay by leaving work early on October, 24 2016 at 2:38 pm, the time when their unions determined that they effectively work for free. This inspired women in France to also protest their 15% gap in pay, in a similar manner. This applies to negative practices as well. If anti-LGBT legislation is allowed to pass, then America would be telling the world that these discriminatory acts are okay.
“This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement,” says Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign. “The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on.”
The Human Rights Campaign has blasted President-elect Donald Trumps potential appointees in several key areas.
Trump is reportedly considering for his transition team candidates with histories of anti-LGBTQ_animus, including Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group.
“Ken Blackwell is a man who has spent his entire career going after LGBTQ. Americans,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Blackwells leadership role in President-Elect Trumps transition team should be a major wake up call for anybody who ever had any doubt that LGBTQ_people are at risk.
“Ed Meese and Kay Cole James, who are also reported to have key roles, have been vocal opponents of equality and other issues we care deeply about. The people President-Elect Trump picks to serve in his administration will have a huge impact on the policies he pursues. We should all be alarmed at who he’s appointing to key posts on his transition team.”
Blackwell is a Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council, which was named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also serves on the board of directors of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. In addition to support¬ing measures to ban marriage equality, he believes being LGBTQ is a choice. He has said publicly: “The reality is, again... that I think we make choices all the time. And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one’s genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think that they can be changed? Yes.”
Former Attorney General Eld Meese is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, an organization that asserts that laws protecting LGBTQ_people are not “necessary” and “weaken the marriage culture and the freedom of citizens and their associations to affirm their religious or moral convictions...”
According to NBC, the conservative Heritage Foundation is helping vet candidates for Trumps Cabinet. Meese supported Indiana’s disastrous religious refusal law passed under Vice President- Elect Mike Pence, saying it “has nothing to do with refusing to serve gay people.” Meese has also said that marriage equality “shows how the culture has deteriorated over two centuries.”
Kay Cole James, president and founder of the Gloucester Institute, is a former senior vice president of the Family Research Council and a former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. She worked in the administrations of both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
In her book Transforming America from the Inside Out, James compared LGBTQ_ people to drug addicts, alcoholics, adulterers, or “anything else sinful.”
One day after Donald Trump surprised the world by winning the presidency, America’s largest anti-gay organization fired its first salvo — aimed directly at the president-elect.
National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, whose organization lost multiple federal court battles over same-gender marriage in recent years, vowed to renew the fight to repeal landmark Windsor and Obergefell Supreme Court decisions.
Brown’s NOM promised to push Trump on one of his campaign promises — appoint federal judges and seek SCOTUS nominees who oppose gay marriage.
NOM’s statement follows:
“Donald Trump has won a historic election, an unprecedented victory that has turned the establishment upside down. We heartily congratulate him and his team on their incredible win.
“President-elect Trump will now turn his attention to governing, and NOM is committed to working with him. We are confident that our voice and our views will be important in a Trump administration.
“Here is our plan: We will work with President Trump to nominate conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, individuals who will adhere to the words and meaning of the constitution. Such justices will inevitably reverse the anti- constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court imposing same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell decision, because that decision lacked any basis in the constitution.
“We will work with President Trump to rescind the illegal, over-reaching executive orders and directives issued by President Obama, including his dangerous ‘gender identity’ directives, attempting to redefine gender just as he sought to redefine marriage.
“We will work with President Trump to reverse policies of the Obama ad-ministration that seek to coerce other countries into accepting same-sex ‘marriage’ as a condition of receiving U.S. assistance and aid. It is fundamentally wrong for a president to become a lobbyist for the LGBT agenda, and we are confident that will end in the Trump administration.
“We will work with President Trump and Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which Mr. Trump supports. FADA is critical legislation to protect people who believe in marriage from being targeted by the government for persecution.
“This is a bright and exciting time for NOM, and we are committed to taking full advantage of the opportunity we have. Our voice and our views matter to the incoming administration, and that means your voice and views matter. To make sure that we can influence the policy debates that are coming, we need to step-up our communications. The first step is to grow our presence on social media. We’re excited about the future, and we are looking forward to work with the Trump administration to restore marriage, uphold gender, protect religious liberty and promote families.”
This past Tuesday, I dug a long- forgotten pantsuit out of my closet to wear to what I thought - what millions of us thought - would be a momentous celebration. We all thought we would be celebrating the election of the first woman president of the United States.
My pantsuit, and those of millions of other women in this country, represented so much to us. It represented the power of women. It represented the cracking of that glass ceiling. It represented the knocking down of so much misogyny and discrimination.
I can’t say what went wrong. I am not a pollster nor a data statistician. I do know that I spent as many hours as I could - without ruining my marriage - at the Hillary campaign office, making phone calls and typing data. Again, millions of others just like me also volunteered hours of their lives to ensure that Hillary would enter the White House.
I can’t say that we were too sure of ourselves. We worked until the last minute. We urged people to get out and vote. We were hopeful, but that’s not a bad thing.
When I finally got back home on Tuesday night, I was sick to my stomach.
I was dizzy and nauseous. I was shaking. But at some point during the middle of the night, I woke up and told myself that I could not go on like this. Yes, I was terribly disappointed. But I would not allow “that man” to dictate how I would live my life. I would not allow him to push me down to the depths of despair.
I personally don’t have patience for doomsayers. At this point, none of us
really knows what will happen. I do know that we will have work to do and I am ready for the challenges. For now, I’ve decided to take some time to spend with my husband and to regroup. I think we all need to take a short break. We need time to mourn and address the major loss we have just suffered. We will know soon enough what we will have to deal with. For the future, I believe that the best way to move forward is to work on a local and state-wide basis.
I am 66 years old. I’ve lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, the Kent State murders, Watergate, and George W. Bush. I’m not naive enough to think that Trump will be a walk in the park. I do think we have to be realistic and be ready for what lies ahead. I believe that the best way to move forward is to work on a local and state¬wide basis. I’ve been suggesting to people who ask that they should get involved with their local Democratic Parties, and to join organizations such as NOW and the Federation of Democratic Women.
In 1972, I went on a job interview at one of the tire factories in Akron, Ohio. I was 21 years old. During my interview, the woman in Human Resources asked me how bad my cramps were each month. I needed a job very badly, but I walked out of her office. I have heard stories just like this and worse from other women.
It is so heartbreaking that we haven’t finally broken that glass ceiling. Yes, Hillary was judged differently because she was a woman. I do believe, however, that this campaign has been a wake-up call for women. So many women - especially young women and girls - got involved in Hillary’s campaign. These women and girls are not going away. We need to mobilize and organize.
I plan on going to Washington, D.C. for the “Million Women March on D.C.” on January 21st. I hope you will join me.
For those who are oppossed to the election of Donald Trump, there will be a second protest in Fresno on Saturday, November 19th at the intersection of Blackstone and Nees from 12 noon to 3pm. More details can be found on facebook.
Photos from the last protest:
TONIGHT - November 18th at 7pm: Trans-E-Motion Fresno will be holding a rally, vigil, and sidewalk march for transgender rights and awareness in the Tower District, starting at the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 1067 N Fulton Fresno, CA 93728. Now is the time to advocate for the transgender community. With high rates of suicide in youth and adults, community support must be visible.
Saturday, November 12th, 12pm - 3pm: Meet up at 21 E Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93710 starting at 12pm. This is a peaceful protest. Please do not bring any violence. We are not perpetuating HATE.
Join us as we come together to denounce the impending Trump presidency and its implications. We stand against white supremacy, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny and all forms of hate.
Election 2016 produced stunning surprises, and if you are still looking for explanations, try this one used on an eight-year-old when he asked his grandfather, “I thought you said Trump was a bully?”
The answer went something like this: “Sometimes, the bully wins.” And some-times, the bully changes his/her ways.
It’s our best hope.
Now for the math:
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. For that accomplishment, she can assume her place on history’s mantle alongside Al Gore. And not much more. When a candidate’s negative ratings are consistently above 60 percent, and when you’re the first female candidate for president, it takes a very artful campaign to win.
This math is teed-up thusly for many reasons. First, Trump tapped into a growing dissatisfaction with status-quo Washington. Hillary Clinton was the poster lady for establishment DC. Secondly, the Democratic/Republican alignment has largely become an urban/rural patchwork
quilt. Underneath that sad fact: Rural America votes at about a 70 percent clip; urban America, about ten points less, give or take.
So, do we tell our young LGBT citizens, “Move to a city”? Maybe. But here’s what we tell them, and everyone, for starters:
It’s never OK to begin or end a cam-paign with threats: Threats to Hispanic Americans. Threats to our LGBT community via the judicial-appointment route. Threats to women who exercise their legal right to choose their own path to reproductive health. Threats to an entire religion, on the off-chance a few of their flock might be terrorists. Threats to our right to privacy.
Blustery stump speeches — that’s the stock-in-trade for our new president. We don’t really have a clue how he’ll lead the ship of state. We can judge his executive leadership skills from afar, because The Trump Organization is a Byzantine private intertwined enterprise. But we can judge this: his character.
His character is visible on the stump and in debates. He shoots first, asks questions later. He mocks disabled folks, and any opponent automatically gets a disparaging nickname. He is heard disparaging women in awful terms, which caught many of us off-guard.
Don’t give up hope. And don’t ever forget: When we aren’t fully on-guard, the bully sometimes wins.
But never forever.
America chooses a president, U.S. Senators, and everyone takes a break from nasty TV ads Nov. 8.
The LGBTQ community has a lot at stake in next week’s election.
The platforms of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are slugging it out for 270 Electoral College votes. Their platforms on our community’s top issues reveal much:
From the Democratic Party platform, which Clinton enthusiastically endorses:
“Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people. We will also fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, to guarantee equal rights in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, and federal funding. We will oppose all state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals, including legislation that restricts the right to access public spaces. We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”
From the Republican Party platform, which Trump has pledged to carry out if elected: “We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch”— full of “silly extravagances”— that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. “
The Republican nominee has further promised to support a Constitutional Amendment which would reverse the Windsor and Obergefell decisions, as well as the appointment of Supreme Court justices who would reverse the landmark rulings.
Also on the ballot, although far behind in every reliable poll, is Libertarian Gary Johnson. From the Libertarian platform:
“Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.” And regard¬ing full LGBTQ_civil rights, if obliquely:
“Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.”
As a sidelight, voters can learn much from a presidential candidate’s choice for vice president.
Trump chose Indiana’s governor — known best for his defiant refusal to back away from a controversial “religious freedom” law in 2015, which was showcased worldwide.
Clinton chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a moderate harmonica-playing former governor. Vanilla, said some. But non-controversial, low-keyed, a former mayor and a “doer” in Washington.
Johnson chose former Massachuetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, whose policy brilliance was sorely needed on the campaign trail.
Nov. 1,2016: Today I sit, wondering, what the hell am I doing?
I am feeling a bit deflated and discouraged, and yet I still have some hope that I may yet pull this project together. We have all heard that old saying that it is darkest before the dawn, but there is an-other version that I have also heard and that is that it is darkest before it becomes pitch black.
In what seems like a mere blink of an eye, 13 months have passed since I first announced the PrideFlight2018 project. In all honesty, when I first came up with the idea of flying a restored DC3 around the world, I really thought the LGBTQ world would rally behind me and support this ambitious and exciting project.
I thought once I put it out there, people and groups would be knocking down my door to be a part of the mission. Why wouldn’t they, right? Boy was I wrong.
What I learned is that pulling your own teeth out with rusted pliers is easier than getting people to buy into some-thing as out there and big as PrideFlight2018.
That doesn’t mean I am giving up on my community or the project, it just means that I have to somehow find a different way to get people excited about the mission. Let’s face it, flying around the world is not on everyone’s bucket list, let alone piloting a WWII-era DC3 and it is hard for people to get their arms around something like this -1 get it now.
So I have to take a step back and re-develop a better plan to get the word out there about why this flight should matter to people.
Like every big dream, there will always be those who think reaching for something beyond yourself is stupid or impossible and therefore should not be attempted for fear of failure.
But, I think fear is a useful partner sometimes. It motivates you, challenges you and most of all it reminds us of what we can do if we overcome it. So yeah,
I’ve hit a few bumps this past year and things have not gone as planned, but I am not deterred. I will regroup and tune out those who think this project is folly and figure out how to get that plane here and how to get people excited about the flight.
PrideFlight is worth fighting for, and I have reminded myself as I have reminded others that anything worth doing is worth fighting for and I will continue to fight to make this project take off and become a reality. I don’t know in the end if I will be successful - rarely do any of us have that foresight when we begin a journey - but what I do know is that I will do my very best.
In the end, that is all any of us can ever do. To contribute and for more information, please visit: PrideFlight2018.com
Since the middle of July, my home-away-from-home has been the Hillary Campaign Office. I have been spend¬ing as many of my waking hours there as possible.
There are so many reasons why I am volunteering for Hillary. I believe in what she believes in - taking care of our children and families; paid sick-leave for working parents; affordable healthcare; debt-free college; a strong and secure nation.
I am a life-long Democrat who has always voted but never got involved. My husband was a career military officer, and we moved every three to four years. I could not vote in local elections, so I only voted in presidential elections and could not tell you who my city-councilors were, or my state legislators.
Because of my involvement in the LGBT community, I have gotten to know local and state legislators.
I have organized rallies and testified at statewide referendums. I feel that I have a stake in local and state elections, as well as what goes on at the national level.
Additionally, much of what has driven me during this campaign comes from the people I am working with at the Hillary campaign office. Many of us began working together during the Primary, and we came back together for the Main Show! We spend every day making phone calls and interacting with people who come in who want to work for Hillary.
I would say that our office is a microcosm of what Hillary’s campaign is about - diversity. I remember one Sunday afternoon of phone banking with African- Americans, women, Latinos, someone from India, a Muslim woman in a headscarf, gays, Jews - it reminded me of being at the DNC, only on a smaller scale!
So many different people are coming out for Hillary because they know that she cares about them!
As a woman, I take this election very personally. Hillary is three years older than me, and of my generation. We both grew up at a time when women were not encouraged to succeed; when I took off my engagement ring when I went on a job interview; when I was asked at one interview how bad my cramps were every month.
Even though Hillary has come such a long way, she is still being treated as a second-class citizen by too many people. She is still being judged by her gender, despite the fact that she has far exceeded what so many men have done!
I myself never went to college or worked in a professional capacity, so I look to Hillary as the embodiment of what a smart, talented, and powerful woman is capable of. She is the woman of my generation who has totally broken the glass ceiling!
Yesterday I had the privilege to hear Sen. Cory Booker speak. One of the last things he said in his speech was that it is a ridiculous privilege to think it doesn’t matter if you vote or not. YOU may not care, but your vote does matter - it matters to a mother whose child needs healthcare. It matters to someone who might face deportation. It matters to a young person who wants to go to college. So if you feel that by not voting you’re making a statement about the state of the electoral system - or you don’t think your vote matters - think again!
Even if you don’t care what your vote can do for you, it can do a lot for people whose lives depend on that vote!
This election season has been by turns wonderful, depressing, scary, elating, and unpredictable. I am so happy I gave myself the gift of being a Hillary volunteer. I feel privileged to join all of the other dedicated volunteers to get not only Hillary elected, but all of our Democratic candidates in Indiana.
And I can’t wait to celebrate with my “family” on Nov. 8 when Hillary finally breaks the last pane in the glass ceiling!
October 11th was National Coming Out Day, and it is also around this time of year, eight years past, that I first began to be honest with friends and family about my identity.
I came out when I was fourteen. I lived in Mooresville, Indiana, and the number of other people I knew to be queer at the time couldn’t fill the fingers on one hand. I remember the first time I let the words fall out of my mouth. How exhilarated I was to have said them, and how absolutely ter¬rified that I couldn’t ever take them back.
I am gay. I always have been gay. I remember being a young child, so young that my memories of the time are more impressions and flashes than a record of events, and knowing in my heart that there was something fundamentally differ¬ent about me that set me apart from other boys. I couldn’t name it, I had no words to describe it, but I knew it was there, and I knew it was true.
As I got older I realized that this difference was at once such a big part of me that I couldn’t hide it if I tried and so incredibly shameful that I could never, ever talk about it. People like me were fodder for off-color jokes and the subjects of pity, they could be clowns or they could be criminals, but they could never, ever be respectable community members. I did everything I could to conceal who I was, even from myself, because every spoken and unspoken message I received, every minute of every day, told me that being queer was wrong.
Coming out is more than saying the words out loud. First you had to come out to yourself, and accept that despite all you know about the rest of the world, this is who you are, and it’s never going to change. It means standing in your truth even when friends and family are not shy about doubting you, questioning you, insisting that they know you better than you know yourself even years down the line from the first time you crack the closet door. Coming out can mean losing people, but it also means gaining yourself.
For all the pain and rejection and con-fusion and misunderstanding that came after, I have never once regretted coming out, and I would never take it back. I love my life. The acceptance and affirmation I have found in my community and the purpose I have found inside me has more than made everything else worth it.
I am gay, I always have been gay, and I am proud.
The Queen has spoken.
Everyone listens because, well, how can they not? Her bearing, her stature, her very demeanor demand attention from all her subjects and in the new book, “The Essential RuPaul” by John Davis, illustrations by Libby Vanderploeg, these queens have a lot to say.
When RuPaul Andre Charles was a little boy, his mother told him that he would be a star someday, and she’d given him an unusual name, just so he’d stand out. That’s what he did, starting in his teens when he dropped out of the North Atlanta School of Performing Arts and began to “find his calling.”
On his way, he was a member of a punk rock band, he performed as a go-go dancer, hosted a talk-show, and “hosted numerous local events” in Atlanta. Later, he moved to New York and acted in films. By 1989, after a few pauses in his fabulosity, he became “Ru¬Paul the glamazon” and went on to even bigger fame in fashion, modeling, music, TV and cosmetics.
Following the 9/11 attacks, RuPaul briefly and “quietly” stepped back from show biz to “take a break,” but he couldn’t stay away long: In 2009, he launched RuPaul’s Drag Race, a television show that featured snarky judges and competitors in performance, sewing, comedy, and (of course) drag.
In this book, we meet some of them.
There’s Santino Rice, a Drag Race judge whose comments cut like a razor blade. Adore Delano, whose last-minute debut came on YouTube after her creator, Danny Noriega, appeared on American Idol. Alaska, a “Tacky Blonde Bombshell” who hailed from the state she was named after. There’s Cameroon native BeBe Zahara Benet, who arrived following a modeling gig from “an unexpected no-show of a female model.” Drag housewife BedDeLaCreme has created her own cosmetics line, featuring cruelty-free products. Following her taping of Drag Race in 2010, Carmen Carrera is now a trans TV star. Cher impersonator Chad Michaels has been fortunate to perform with Cher herself. Manila Luzon’s first appearance was as Cruella de Vil, and performer Nina Flowers enjoys her own “day” in the Denver LGBT community. “The Essential RuPaul” is one really quirky book.
Despite that its subtitle promises “Herstory” and more, there’s really very little here about RuPaul; four pages, to be exact, and one of those is almost totally just an illustration by artist Libby Vanderploeg. The rest of this book, alas, only has tentative relevance to RuPaul, through the drag queens that appeared on her show.
And that’s fine - if that narrow subject is what you want. Author John Da-vis does a good job in bringing together a bedazzle of performers in this book, but the list is frustrating in its incompleteness and the mini-chapters with mini-biographies are woefully short and quite repetitious. That, plus the misleading title may frustrate some readers but yet, fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race prob¬ably won’t care.
They’ll enjoy this book no matter what.
If that’s you, then you’ll be happy when you find “The Essential RuPaul.”
And long live the queens.
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It will surprise none of you to learn that I’ve been engaged in LGBTQ+ activism since I was a teenager. At 15, I joined a group of students in forming a Gay-Straight Alliance. I held leadership roles in that organization until I graduated, working in turns with and against my school’s administration and the wider community to provide a vital service to our queer youth - a safe space in which to be.
It felt earth-shakingly important at the time, and my grades suffered due to my single-minded dedication to the cause.
I have a bitter memory of a beloved but ultimately unkind teacher meeting with me about my faltering performance. She concluded an hour of discussion with a statement I’ll never forget: “Kyle, it’s not your job to be gay.”
Four years later, it seems - in the most significant ways - it now is my job to be gay. I take this job very seriously.
On Aug. 30, our lawmakers convened a meeting of the Summer Study Commit¬tee on LGBT Issues. I arrived early with my Freedom Indiana compatriots and the community members we prepared to testify. It felt refreshing to be back at the Statehouse, and I was optimistic that we would leave with an idea of how to move our issue forward.
The committee was generally receptive to our message, and seemed to shrug off the worst caricatures our opposition drew of us. However, what really concerned me was that many of those present, lawmakers and citizens alike, didn’t seem to under-stand any better than my teacher why our side is fighting so hard.
This was apparent to me in the testimony of one woman who insisted that civil rights protections should be withheld from gay and transgender Hoosiers. She said that she was tired of kowtowing to a minority of the population, and opined that our community is insatiable - that once our lawmakers gave us one thing, we would come back and beg for more.
I don’t think we are asking the rest of the world to kowtow to us when we demand the freedom to work and live where everyone else already can. That doesn’t sound like special treatment to me, it sounds like the common sense Hoosiers are supposedly famous for.
Pursuing equal rights is not a game to our community. It’s not something we can compromise on.
We fight very hard, sometimes at great expense, because it’s our job to ensure the next generation of queer folks will not have to. I think that’s worth a few poor grades and early mornings at the State- house. I hope that, someday, people like my old teacher and that oh-so-concerned citizen might agree.
The debate on bathrooms continues in Indiana.
Senate Bill 35 was introduced in 2015 and stated that one could only use the bathroom that matched your birth sex. It was defeated before it came up for a vote, but it’s anticipated that more “bathroom bills” are on their way for 2016.
The ideology of the “bathroom wars” centers on fears that are completely untrue. Here are the top five myths, debunked:
1. I will be raped in the bathroom.
Statistics show that, when transgender individuals use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, there is no increased sexual violence in the loo. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Seventy percent of trans people report
being denied access, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted in public restrooms. Forcing them to use the restroom listed on their original birth certificate puts transgender people in more danger than cis people.
2. My child will be endangered while using the restroom.
Transgender individuals are no more prone to pedophilia than others. There’s no increased risk of this. Also, crimes that occur in the bathroom are still crimes, they are just not statistically
committed by transpeople.
3. We should just have gender neutral bathrooms for transgender people.
Great idea - let’s segregate them completely. Like we used to do with “White Only” water faucets.
4. Transgender people using my bathroom is something new.
I’d be willing to bet that trans people have been washing their hands next to you in restrooms for years, and you haven’t even known it. They didn’t just recently start using the facilities.
5. A transgender person in my restroom is the scariest thing about bathrooms.
Really? Annually, 40,000 people re¬port injuries caused by toilets, and 1,300 people are bitten on the hind quarters by black widow spiders crawling out of the commode. Plus, Elvis died on the toilet.
We don’t worry about any of these terrible happenings when using the restroom. But we worry about a trans person? A transgender person who is statistically more likely to be harmed in a public bathroom than anyone else? The entire debate is illogical.
The bottom line is this: Transgender people are just that - people. People who have to pee. And they deserve to do so in a safe, judgement-free environment.
We’ve spent most of our lives not even thinking about who’s in our rest¬rooms. And suddenly, it’s on our minds, and there’s fear - the same fear trans individuals have had for years. We’re all more alike than we think.
This is a FREE to attend, family friendly, FUN filled event. There are over 35 local community service agencies and other booths that will be present giving anyone attending information on services and programs being offered to help families * Freebies * Mascots/Characters for children * Fire Truck * Pictures in Police Car * Entertainment * and more. We are partnered with Gay Fresno, My LGBT Plus, PFLAG Fresno, and Fresno City College's LGBTQ Spectrum Club and Sponsored by The Holistic Cultural Education and Wellness Center.
Beautiful. What does that word make you think of? Or, more to the point, what kind of person do you think of?
It seems that the world belongs to the beautiful ones who merely have to smile while the common folk bow at their feet. But just how powerful is beauty? In our culture, beauty is revered above all else, but the science of what attracts us is still mysterious.
The definition of what each of us perceives as beautiful is as varied as the faces that scatter across the globe. Beauty is merely a combination of qualities such as shape, color or form that are pleasing to our eye. If that’s the case, then something should only need the dimension and tone to be beautiful - like a statue or a life-sized doll. But there is no life or personality beneath the eyes of a statue.
Therefore, it takes much more than a sculpted face and form to have true beauty. So why do we focus so much on the external?
From “Cinderella” to “Grease,” we are all familiar with the stories of people who changed their appearance and were suddenly accepted as one of the crowd. Because why would anyone bother to get to know the person inside if there is no initial attraction to the outside?
People seem to believe that if someone is beautiful, they must be boring or stupid, and by default, if someone is less attractive they must be interesting or smart. Because it wouldn’t be fair if someone had it all, right?
What I mean by this is, people who are beautiful are already worshiped and desired. If you look like you just stepped out of a CrossFit box, why even try to be smart or funny - right?
Truth be told, maybe these mortal deities were unattractive earlier in life, so they developed their brains and their sense of humor in order to stand out among the beautiful automatons around them. Then, when their looks caught up with their personality: voila! An immaculate blend of all things that make someone truly beautiful combined with a matching exterior.
We spend our lives changing the outside, but inside, you are still that same kid that loved climbing trees and suffered or ruled in the halls of high school. All people want is a new confidence that translates into sexual attraction; gorgeous wrapping paper to enhance the real gift which is inside.
It’s amazing what a muscular frame and perfect teeth can add to a person’s desirability. But why? It’s the gift people keep, right? The beauty we wear on the outside is die armor that we use to protect and hide the real beauty that dwells within. It’s not your looks, but what you do with your experience that makes you shine.
So where is the line between what others see when they look at us, and how we see ourselves?
Take a moment and look into a mirror. What do you see? Is it beauty? Every single one of us, no matter what we think of who we are or how we look or who we pretend to be, is filled with beauty. It’s the magic of what makes us individuals. The things we feel we need to hide are the secret to unleashing the prize beneath the polished veneer that we uphold in the light of day.
The old saying tells us that true beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take a look at your reflection.
Behold, you are beautiful.
JERRY LEE WARD. Friend. Ally. Founding Parent of Fresno PFLAG in 1990. Grand Marshal, Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival in 2006.
Memorial/Celebration: Sat. Sept. 3, 2016 at 11:00am. United Methodist Church, 1343 E Barstow Ave; Fresno, Calif. 93710.
Jerry Ward was born on April 20, 1935, on the family farm in Cleveland County, OK, to Eugene V Ward and Dorothy Lee Collier Ward. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, with his family at his side. Jerry's family left Oklahoma when he was in the seventh grade settling in Porterville, CA. After attending Porterville Junior College, Jerry joined theUnited States Navy for four years. Before enjoying a long career as a self-employed CPA, he worked for Pacific Finance in California & Arizona, and as a State Farm agent in Exeter, CA. He and his family moved to Fresno, CA, in 1974, so he could attend California State University, Fresno. After graduating, he worked for Roberson, Martin, Rowell & Linger and then began his own practice in 1978. In 1983, he and Jim Jorgenson formed Jorgenson & Ward Accountancy Corp. until 1990, when he went back to being a sole proprietor sharing offices with Mary Ann Stites who eventually purchased his practice when he retired. During his working career, his wife Kathy worked by his side for 28 years. He would often joke he was the boss at work and she was the boss at home. Jerry was an active member at Wesley United Methodist Church where he chaired the Finance Committee, was Treasurer of the Wesley Foundation, and after retirement helped out in the church office. He was a founding parent of the local chapter of PFLAG, Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays. Jerry and Kathy loved traveling the United States and Europe whether by car or cruise ship, but his most loved pastime was his family and grandchildren. He is survived by Kathy, his loving wife of 40 years; his daughter, Nina Sensenbaugh and her partner, Jessie Hudgins; son, Darin Sturgill; and daughter, Amy Born and her husband Tom. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Jessica Dunn and her husband Pat, Marissa Sensenbaugh, Riley Born and Cameron Born. He will also be missed by his West Highland White Terrier, Maggie or "Maggot" as he affectionately called her. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Jerry's Life will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1343 E. Barstow, Fresno, CA on Saturday, September 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. Remembrances may be made to the Wesley Foundation or American Cancer Society.
A change in culture and support from national leaders has pushed the issue of transgender equality to the front pages, but states are struggling with how to approach the issue.
For example, in some states, transgender persons are not permitted to change their gender marker on their birth certificate, even though they can change their driver’s license and United States passport. Other states, like North Carolina, have taken specific steps to exclude transgender people from anti-discrimination protections.
Gender identity is complex and often misunderstood. By definition, gender identity is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female or a blend of both – which can be the same or different from the sex assigned at birth. Every person has a gender to which they identify. Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses people whose gender identity does not match what society believes is appropriate based upon the sex designated on their birth certificates.
One’s gender identity also does not imply any specific sexual orientation, so transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. Gender dysphoria, which is not diagnosed in every transgender individual, is clinically significant distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify.
Bathroom rights of transgender people have dominated news headlines recently. In April 2016, the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a transgender female-to-male high school student named Gavin after he sued his Virginia school board over a policy that forced transgender students to use separate, gender-neutral restrooms.
Recently, in the wake of the massacre in Orlando, news feeds, blogs, you tube videos and tweets have focused on the 49 young people who were senselessly murdered and the whys and wherefores of how such a thing can happen in this day and age.
Although we are inundated with news about shootings daily, when something of this magnitude takes place, it makes us stop, pause and reflect. Whether the timing of the massacre was serendipitous or not, it did take place during our high holy holiday – Gay Pride – and to add insult to injury, it took place in what some have described as our “safe” space, a gay bar.
Indignation was rampant. After all, we as a community have made great strides with the elimination of DOMA, the extension of spousal benefits to LGBTQI employees of the federal government and the legalization of same-sex marriage. It is a rude awakening to realize even with the symbolic trappings of social progress and assimilation, there are people out there who do not like us and will go to great lengths to attempt to either slow or stop our progress.
While many of us were questioning how we, as an inclusive, diverse force of nature could be targets of such narrow-minded, outdated beliefs and behaviors, some of us were questioning, myself included, when did gay bars become “safe” spaces? An even bigger question for some of us: When did we become inclusive and diverse?
I think I missed that particular accomplishment.
Outgrown your rental? Tired of those dated appliances? And lets not even start on those neighbors partying upstairs at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.
You’re tired of renting and ready to buy your first home. Its scary and exciting. But where do you start?
A home purchase is your biggest investment of your life. Lets talk about where you should start, and steps to do to help take the stress out of home buying and make it one of your greatest experiences.
We know what we want, but can we afford it? This is the first question that needs answered.
First step is to contact a mortgage lender. Whether you know a lender or need a contact for one, you can always contact me for a great trustworthy lender.
After choosing a lender, you will meet with them and go over your credit, salary, etc. (the lender will let you know everything you need to bring for a preapproval) which will help determine how much you can afford.
Just remember, because you can afford it on paper, doesn’t mean you have to spend that much on a house. Please take into consideration your lifestyle, hobbies and what you like to do with your free time. You don’t want to be house poor.
Your lender will give you a pre-approval letter, which states you are pre-approved for a certain amount to spend on a home.
Some other things to consider are down payment and your spending. When you are in the market to purchase a home, think of it as a time to be frugal with your purchases - that new iPhone that just came out may cost you your pre-approval. Be careful on your spending. Charge card purchases or financing “something you need for the new home” can really impact your credit.
You have your pre-approval in hand, and a realtor (hopefully me) to show you some homes. When shopping for a home, the chances of getting everything on your list just might not happen, but remember the core items you need in a home. If you want a four-bedroom home, don’t setde for a two-bedroom because you love the kitchen!
My advice to you is to shop around, look at all the homes on your list, and remember to exercise patience - the house you want and need may not happen on your first trip out to look at homes. Take your time to find the perfect house, it will happen!
Also something to consider, if there are a few homes that interest you: Take some
time in the evening, or leave a little early for work, drive by and get the feel of the areas you are looking in. Also, remember your work commute, this will be something you do every day.
You’ve found your dream home - offer accepted! I know that you are on cloud nine, it is all you can talk about, and your friends and family are happy for you (but at the same time, tired of hearing about it).
Don’t forget to have an inspection done. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things in the homebuying process. Let your realtor suggest a top-notch inspector for you. I know cousin Bob is an inspector, but Aunt Mary has already told him how much you have to have this house. Sometimes having a biased opinion could save you thousands.
After you get the inspection report back, sit down and chat with your realtor and go over the report together. In most cases, a seller will not repair everything that needs repaired on an inspection report. A good realtor has been through this multiple times, and can help answer questions you may have, as well as the “needs” of repairs that you should have done to have your home as close to move-in ready as possible.
Now is the time to turn that preapproval letter into a mortgage. Finalizing this step is key, and there are more to-do’s now. Your lender will be able to go over everything you need to close on
your new home.
You will have to pay PMI - Private Mortgage Insurance - monthly with your mortgage if you do not have 20 percent down payment. Also, you will have closing costs, which are fees the lender charges to close your loan. In addition to these fees, most lenders require a full year’s home insurance policy to be purchased up front. So remember to include all these fees in addition to your down payment.
Time to call the movers. It is almost the moving date, but first you have a lot of paperwork to sign.
Your tide company, which will be handled by your realtor, will be holding the closing. The closing is where you “sign your life away,” so to speak, but this is the process of signing the mortgage papers, tide, and - most important - getting the keys to your new home !
You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing, and gone to closing. The home is yours.
Is there any more to the home-buying process?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps. The best start is to contact a realtor. We can go over these steps more thoroughly and make sure that your home purchase goes as smoothly and painless as possible.
As a professional queer activist its part of my job to educate myself and others on difficult social issues. I want to use this months column to tackle one that is near to my heart and has been weighing on my mind heavily lately - the issue of rape culture.
Rape culture is the tendency of our society to tell people not to be sexually assaulted, instead of not to sexually assault.
This concept entered the national discourse recently during many high-profile sexual-assault cases. Of particular note was the Stanford rape case, where the victims’ letter to her attacker made headlines and inspired others to share their own stories. The bravery of these survivors cannot be overstated; they choose to open up about the trauma they were subjected to when assaulted, only to be re-traumatized by the justice system, the media, and our culture itself.
A cultural myth surrounds sexual assault. The word “rape" likely conjures an image of a vulnerable young woman, alone at night. Our mental victim is preyed upon by an attacker who lunges from the shadows. Or, you may think of the same young woman, alone at a party. She drinks too much and wears too little. When she accuses a star athlete or beloved community member of violating her, you know it can’t be true.
Statistically, these scenarios are not characteristic of most assaults. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 6 in 10 sexual assault victims said that they were assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance. Further, the small minority of false rape reports should not lead rational people to immediately discredit any accusation.