in Other news…

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but it seemed like a good time to let people know what’s going on in the world of queer politics and activism.  I’ll try to post these more regularly again, but my schedule’s still a little sporadic to fix a concrete posting time.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy, and if you have other news blurbs that I’ve missed, please feel free to add them below.

  • Of course the big news lately is the flood of marriages in California (to which my own will soon be added), which has not caused the Biblical flood predicted by our right-wing religious compatriots.  In LA county alone, the first day of legal marriages prompted some three times the usual marriage traffic (pdf!).  If you need a real boost today, check out the Bilerico Project’s photo page, and bask in the joy of thousands of happy families.  

    The liberal media is stoking the flames, with noted leftist rag The Wall Street Journal posting an unequivocally positive editorial, “Gay Marriage is Good for America”:  

    In 2008, denying gay Americans the opportunity to marry is not only inhumane, it is unsustainable. History has turned a corner: Gay couples – including gay parents – live openly and for the most part comfortably in mainstream life. This will not change, ever.

  • From heaven to hell in one quick leap:

    Violence against the transgender community rarely makes the evening news, but the case of Duanna Johnson is so extreme that people are starting to pay attention.  While being booked for alleged prostitution in Memphis, a police officer called over to her:

    Actually he was trying to get me to come over to where he was, and I responded by telling him that wasn’t my name – that my mother didn’t name me a ‘faggot’ or a ‘he-she,’ so he got upset and approached me. And that’s when it started,” Johnson said.

    I can’t do justice to what happens next: you need to see the video for yourself.  WMCtv provides the full security clip, so you can see that it’s not being taken out of context (the incident in question starts around the 1:30 mark.)

    One police officer let go, another put into an office job, and a pending investigation with support from the FBI.  But the Memphis police is being flooded with complaints that this was not an isolated incident.  Do we laugh or cry at something like this?

    “It made me sick,” [Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin] said Thursday. “I was infuriated. I notified the FBI because they needed to investigate to see if this person’s civil rights were violated.”

    If this person’s civil rights were violated???

  • 20 years ago this week saw the passing of Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, USAF, one of the first U.S. servicemembers to come out unapologetically as a gay member of the armed services.  Recipient of both a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, he lived a life both inspirational and, as you can expect, tragic.  Matlovich was given the front cover of Time magazine in 1975 (with the words “I Am a Homosexual” in bold print) and featured in a long article on the still-new civil rights movement.  Matlovich’s tombstone reads




    Check out the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for more information about the fight for free and open military service.

  • In a related story, a study by the SLDN has found that women are disproportionately affected by the military’s implementation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The New York Times has picked up the story, noting that nearly half of DADT discharges are women, despite the barely 15% of women in the armed forces overall.  From the article: “Pentagon officials could not explain why the numbers for women spiked last year.”  Yeah, I bet they couldn’t.
  • The American Medical Association has come out swinging for members of the transgender community.  According to a recent press release (pdf!) by GLAD, the AMA has passed a resolution entitled “Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients” whose purpose is to “support public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder as recommended by the patient’s physician.”  Good on you, AMA!
  • The hilariously-named American Family Association has a new enemy in the culture war: Heinz mayonnaise.  The condiment company ran this advertisement in England, leading to protests that led to the ad’s being pulled.  Even Bill O’Reilly got into the act, saying “I just want mayonnaise. I don’t want guys kissing.”  Just wait till O’Reilly sees what we have planned for ketchup!  (h/t MsLibrarian)
  • That’s all for now.  Feel free to add your other stories that I may have missed, and heck, use this thing as an open thread.  Cheers!


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      • pico on June 25, 2008 at 20:43

      but I’m in and out of town for the next few weeks.  Fortunately I think things will stabilize a bit by late August.  Then I’ll try to get more Literature essays out, too.

      • Robyn on June 25, 2008 at 20:58

      …we have people decry this sort of issue activism and education as “identity politics,” as a means of deminishing it’s importance.  If we can’t work together here, what chance is there in the outside world?

      Do we laugh or cry at something like this?

      • Robyn on June 25, 2008 at 21:37

      …a good measure of the reason I have been upset in the past week ago has to do with Ms. Johnson being beat up because her name is neither “Faggot” nor “He-she.”

      One of the first trips I made out of state after I transitioned was to New Orleans, where I spent some time hanging with tranny prostitutes.  There but for the grace of…

      They couldn’t believe I was a college professor, that I had kept my job up to that point.  Most of the women I talked with had no other way to raise the money for an operation but exotic dancing, prostitution and/or the porn media.  I’s not like we have an ENDA.

      But even if someone chooses freely to be a prostitute, that’s no reason to be treated like Duanna was.

      • Alma on June 25, 2008 at 21:56

      blew me away pico.  I was blubbering like a baby for the happy couples.  I usually don’t believe in penning protesters in, but I have to admit there was a feeling of satisfaction seeing the anti-love crowd in the little pen.  My Grand guinea pigs have larger cages.  

      And congrats on your upcoming nuptuals.  I’m so happy for you.  🙂

    1. i have not figured out how to rec diary. is reccing your “tip jar” the same thing as reccing diary?

      • Robyn on June 25, 2008 at 22:17

      …Debbie and I having been contemplating another trip to SoCal later this summer.  When I mentioned it to my colleague on while we were working on creating a placement test on Monday, she, a straight-laced Chinese woman, asked if we were going to get married while we were there.  I told her we hadn’t really thought about it.

      I mean, how many states will we have to get married in?

      Maybe we will.  We’ll see.

      • RiaD on June 25, 2008 at 23:55

      thank you!

    2. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage. Its wonderful imagining you joining all those happy families!!!

    3. I was intrigued to see the responses in the Memphis Commercial Appeal since I live in the area.

      I was pretty pleasantly surprised at the level of support expressed in reader comments. This is not a town friendly to the transgendered community and there is some toleration of the gay community mixed in with irrational hatred and fear.

      Glad to see you posting again pico, I look forward to this and the lit series.

    4. and congrats on the marriage! Are you coming to SF Pride this weekend?

      The theme of this year’s celebration is “United by Pride, Bound for Equality.” Pride is San Francisco’s largest public event and one of the largest such events in the world.  SF Gate

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