Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:43 PM
Ryan O’Connell warns viewers that “Unless you’re made of stone or a homophobe, this video will make you weep openly.” That’s quite a dare, so I took it. And within a minute, I was weeping. Openly. And I think you will too.
The video is Second Class Citizens by Ryan James Yezak, a short but powerful tribute to how dramatically the gay rights movement has evolved over the past decades. “Sometimes it feels like we’re crawling very slowly with gay rights,” says O’Connell in Thought Catalog (Jan. 17, 2012), especially as we watch the current Republican presidential candidates battle it out over who hates gays the most and is willing to strip away rights the fastest. “After viewing this video, however, one gets a healthy dose of perspective and realizes that, in fact, we have come a long way.”
Ryan O’Connell has a great little piece about being a blogger in The World’s First Perfect Zine (Oct. 2011).
Source: Thought Catalog
Image courtesy of www.brokebackmountainmovie.com.
Thursday, July 21, 2011 10:49 AM
Would you like to take a ride on the euthanasia coaster?
Slavoj Žižek, “philosophy’s answer to Bob Dylan,” chats with the Guardian about WikiLeaks, Lady Gaga, and a new communist society.
Obvious news, finally quantified: Two sociologists have analyzed 42 years of Rolling Stone covers and determined that women are increasingly presented as sex objects.
In the modern homestead, the woman’s role is a lot like her role in yesteryear’s homestead.
Would a medium-sized bargain be better politically for Obama than the grand bargain he was hoping for?
Even if you think your child has the next Great American Novel in them, they may need a few pointers to actually become a writer.
Gay rights improved by French fries. RIP, Wallace McCain (d. May 13, 2011).
Fun mashup: Sesame Street rock the Sure Shot.
At Denmark’s Roskilde festival, design firm UiWE tested a chic, communal urinal for women.
Star anise, sun-dried tomatoes, and cake sprinkles. Check out these amazing hyper-close-ups of common foods.
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial said that WikiLeaks and News Of The World hacking are “largely the same story.” You can’t make it up.
Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. are getting lambasted for the phone-hacking scandal. Call it eye-for-an-eye, but the hacker collective called LulzSec now has The Sun and News of the World in their crosshairs. As LulzSec’s twitter account says, “expect the lulz to flow in coming days.”
And the most misleading headline of the week award goes to…“Michele Bachmann’s Migraines: Joan Didion Weighs In”.
Paul Ford, writing for New York, mourns the end of endings brought about by social media.
A sad tale about the state of things at Ireland’s National Library.
Christopher Walken reads
The Three Little Pigs. (Just for fun.)
Have changed attitudes toward getting hammered left us with a bland literary landscape?
Renegade artists take over bus shelter ads in Madrid. Long live civil disobedience!
Downsized drama is over. The Germ Project brings back big, complex, messy theater.
This college lecture has been brought to you by the Koch brothers.
If you missed the recent episode of Frontline about the Kill/Capture campaign in Afghanistan, watch it now.
In defense of treating books badly.
Image by iluvcocacola, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, June 26, 2009 11:50 AM
As the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots approaches, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide honors those momentous six days of rebellion.
The violent response to the police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village was an iconic turning point for the modern gay rights movement, and marches around the world are commemorating the riots, even in countries where homosexuality is condemned. David Carter, who is the author of Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, writes about the significance of these marches:
Marchers are sometimes attacked by skinheads and the like, often with the complicity of the government, and forced to fight back. Thus the militancy and sometimes even the violence of Stonewall continue to be recapitulated in such places, where rights are far from won—which is to say that Stonewall continues to serve as a symbol of gay rebellion and liberation.
Another piece lists the Top 10 Historic Gay Places in the U.S. In addition to the Stonewall Inn, the site of the famed Walt Whitman’s tomb is included, along with Castro Street, San Francisco, Laramie, Wyoming, and Hart, Michigan, home to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, founded in 1976. And of course there is Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts, the site of the first same-sex marriages in the history of the U.S.
Source: The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide (article not yet available online)
Image by MShade, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, January 29, 2009 10:02 AM
For a state that prides itself on being a beacon of progress in American politics, California seems intent on proving it can be just as backwards as everyone else, at least when it comes to gay rights. A California appeals court ruled this week that California Lutheran High School didn’t violate the law when it expelled two students it suspected of being lesbians, determining that the state’s civil rights laws don’t apply to private religious schools. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The ruling is the first to consider a religious school’s status under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination by businesses and was amended in 2005 to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. State education law also forbids anti-gay bias, but that law applies only to public schools.
The court determined that California Lutheran didn’t qualify as a business and therefore wasn’t bound by the act. The school’s lawyer applauded the ruling, telling the Chronicle that the court rightly recognized their right to exercise freedom of religion. But Kirk Hanson, an attorney for the expelled girls, told the L.A. Times that the “very troubling” decision essentially gave private schools carte blanche to discriminate against students for any reason, as long as they could defend their actions on religious grounds. The Times reports that the girls plan to take their case to the California Supreme Court.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 12:55 PM
The ACLU has gone to court to challenge Act 1, an Arkansas law approved by ballot initiative last November that bars unmarried couples from becoming adoptive or foster parents, the Advocate reports. The law is aimed particularly at gay couples, and the ACLU argues that the act’s language was confusing to voters. More broadly, Marie-Bernarde Miller, an attorney on the case, says that it “violates the state’s legal duty to place the best interest of children above all else.”
The suit was filed on behalf of more than a dozen families and will be presided over by Judge Timothy Fox, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He may be sympathetic to the plaintiffs: In 2004, he overturned a state ban on gay foster parents.
Image by Matt McGee, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:32 PM
Forget the culture war, Ann Friedman argues in the latest issue of the American Prospect. Gay rights are a civil-rights issue. And that means the fight can’t wait around for culture to catch up.
The proof came on November 4th. Amidst hosannas from progressives celebrating Barack Obama’s victory, four state ballot initiatives successfully blasted gay rights in California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas.
In the wake of those votes, Friedman launches an eloquent call to action:
Culture changes slowly. This is something I've heard a lot in the wake of the passage of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. "History is on our side! Don't worry, the demographic trends are with us!"
I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough. These are the kind of conciliatory comments that go part and parcel with the culture-war frame. Civil-rights era activists knew history was on their side. But their goal was not to make every white American comfortable with the idea of sharing public spaces and power with people of color. It was to guarantee people of color those rights, regardless of where the culture stood. That's the thing about rights. You have to claim them.
We won't win victories on LGBT rights as long as we see the issue as part of a liberal--versus-conservative war. If we're at war, it's not with conservatives. Our enemy is not James Dobson or Sarah Palin. It is the sadly accepted notion that anti-gay measures are shoo-ins on the ballot, and that same-sex couples just have to sit tight for a decade or two and wait for public opinion to catch up.
A civil-rights frame is not only more proactive -- because it doesn't allow progressives to swaddle themselves in comforting demographic trends -- it is more persuasive. It is also less divisive. The very act of invoking the term "culture war" signals that we think something is controversial, when in fact, equal rights should be the furthest thing from it.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:13 AM
Not wanting to miss out on the nationwide marriage shouting match, the Georgia Supreme Court’s Commission on Children, Marriage, and Family Law (pdf) has recently sponsored a series of billboards with the message “Get Married, Stay Married.”
The sentiment might seem outdated, but the commission argues that science is on its side, pointing to research showing that children who grow up in two-parent households do better in school and are less likely to commit crimes later in life.
However, the good intentions behind these efforts are muddled by a potential conflict of interest. According to the Fulton County Daily Report, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears has spearheaded the campaign and last week helped cosponsor a pro-marriage symposium that gathered participants from the fields of psychology, law, and religion. The other sponsor of the event was the Institute for American Values (IAV), a “private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that contributes intellectually to strengthening families and civil society in the U.S. and the world.” (Sears told the Fulton County Daily Report that "very little state money" was used for the event, with private foundations picking up the tab and the IAV covering speakers' honoraria and transportation costs.)
But just like the benign-sounding “family values” behind the right's social agenda, the “American Values” touted by the IAV don’t include equal rights for the GLBT community. During a conference debate with the Brookings Institution's Jonathan Rauch, author of Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, IAV president David Blankenhorn argued vehemently against gay marriage, claiming it would weaken the general institution of marriage.
Sears, who was targeted as a gay-marriage proponent in her 1998 and 2004 re-election bids, took pains to give both men equal time, but wouldn't take a stance on the issue, citing her position on the Supreme Court. The same care to maintain neutrality should have prevented the commission from teaming up with an organization that is so vocally against gay rights in the first place.
Image courtesy of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 6:13 PM
Could there be a silver lining to Michael Mukasey’s ascension to the helm of the Justice Department?
From Legal Times, via Law.com:
One group eager to work with Mukasey on some internal changes is DOJ Pride, the organization representing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees. Under Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, the group was barred from using the department's Great Hall for annual ceremonies. The group wrote to Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., about DOJ's refusal to post the group's fliers on bulletin boards or allow internal e-mail messages announcing their events. Under questioning by Feingold, Mukasey said he didn't understand the reasons for such treatment and pledged to end it once in office.
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