Thursday, December 18, 2008

HRC Leter to Obama

Dear President-elect Obama -

Let me get right to the point. Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans. Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years. And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.

Rick Warren has not sat on the sidelines in the fight for basic equality and fairness. In fact, Rev. Warren spoke out vocally in support of Prop 8 in California saying, “there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." Furthermore, he continues to misrepresent marriage equality as silencing his religious views. This was a lie during the battle over Proposition 8, and it's a lie today.

Rev. Warren cannot name a single theological issue that he and vehemently, anti-gay theologian James Dobson disagree on. Rev. Warren is not a moderate pastor who is trying to bring all sides together. Instead, Rev. Warren has often played the role of general in the cultural war waged against LGBT Americans, many of whom also share a strong tradition of religion and faith.

We have been moved by your calls to religious leaders to own up to the homophobia and racism that has stood in the way of combating HIV and AIDS in this country. And that you have publicly called on religious leaders to open their hearts to their LGBT family members, neighbors and friends.

But in this case, we feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination. Only when Rev. Warren and others support basic legislative protections for LGBT Americans can we believe their claim that they are not four-square against our rights and dignity. In that light, we urge you to reconsider this announcement.


Joe Solmonese
Human Rights Campaign

Straight Man Dies in Gay Hate Crime

from The Progressive Puppy

Members of the LGBT community have long known that merely "acting gay" is enough to get a person killed. Sadly, it's a lesson being learned by straight men and women whose behavior occasionally deviates from the norm. A heterosexual New Yorker has just died from head injuries inflicted on him by three attackers who believed that he and his brother were gay. The two siblings from Ecuador had attended a church party in Long Island, and on their way home they stopped at a bar. When they left the bar, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay were noticed by some men in a red sport utility vehicle. The brothers "may have been a bit tipsy as they walked home in the dead of night, arm-in-arm, leaning close to each other, a common tableau of men in Latino cultures, but one easily misinterpreted by the biased mind... Witnesses, the police said, heard some of what happened next. Three men came out of the car shouting at the brothers... Vulgarisms against Hispanics and gay men were heard by witnesses. One man approached Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, the owner of a real estate agency who has been in New York a decade, and broke a beer bottle over the back of his head. He went down hard." Police say that the driver of the vehicle swung an aluminum baseball bat at his head "as the three attackers continued kicking and punching him." The other brother, Romel Sucuzhanay, escaped with minor injuries and has been cooperating with detectives investigating the case.

From CNN: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she was "horrified to learn that anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) and anti-Latino slurs were used by one or more of the assailants, raising this event to the level of a hate crime." Quinn said she was in touch with the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force. According to police, however, the attack has not been categorized as a hate crime. "This is a wake-up call and shows how far we still must come to address the devastating problem of hate crimes in our communities," said Diego Sucuzhanay, Jose's brother, in a written statement. "Only by exposing these crimes and working together will we be able to make a difference." Police are offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the attack.

Although hate crimes against Latinos are not uncommon, it's likely that Jose Sucuzhanay would still be alive if he hadn't affectionately linked arms with his brother. That simple warm gesture was enough to make three anti-gay bigots want to kill him.

Here's the New York Times article

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Global Decriminalization of Homosexuality

A declaration calling for the global decriminalization of homosexuality will be put before the United Nations General Assembly this Wednesday, which is Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has considered the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Article on Florida Adoption Ban

Florida judge: Adoption ban has 'no rational basis'

by AP News

Miami judge rules against Florida's ban on adoptions by gay people, finds 'no rational basis'

AP News
Nov 25, 2008 10:38 EST

A Miami judge has struck a blow against a Florida law banning adoptions of children by gay people.

Miami Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled Tuesday there was "no rational basis" for prohibiting gays from adopting children.

The ruling will allow 47-year-old Martin Gill to adopt two young brothers he has cared for as foster children since 2004.

Florida has one of the strictest bans on gay adoptions in the country. A judge in Key West ruled in September that the ban was unconstitutional, but that ruling has had limited legal impact.

Attorneys for the state said they would appeal Lederman's ruling. The appeal will ultimately decide what happens to the state ban in place since 1977.

Source: AP News

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Queer Art

Mary Coble
Untitled 3 (from Note to Self)
(P.S. she's teaching Basic Photo at MICA in the Spring!)

Tobaron Waxman
Identity art about being trans and a Jew

S.D. Holman
Stealing Masculinity
Look at the whole series, I didn't want to include it all but it's really interesting

Molly Landreth
Embodiment: A Portrait of Queeer Life in America
There are some beautiful portraits, take a look

Clarissa Sligh
from the book Wrongly Bodied Two
"Wrongly Bodied Two (2004) weaves together the stories of two people. One chronicles Jake’s modern day evolution from female to male. His experience is juxtaposed with that of Ellen Craft, a 19th century black woman who escapes slavery by passing as a white man."