Friday Philosophy: the Politics of Disappointment

Last week, you all recall there was a “moneybomb” for Jack Conway.  Hey, I get calls for money from democrats three or four times a day.  I usually write them back asking some questions.  They are generally not answered.

I asked, in the moneybomb diary, why there was nothing at the Conway website describing the candidate’s stance on GLBT issues.  I was told by someone who was apparently a supporter…and someone who thought he was much smarter than I…that it was Kentucky, as if that meant those issues didn’t matter there.

Excuse me?  I thought Kentucky was one of the United States of America…and that as Americans, and especially as Democrats, we were generally opposed to second-class…even third- or fourth-class citizenship.

Then again, when I transitioned in Arkansas, I was told the same thing.  “This is Arkansas” was used to excuse all the ill-treatment you can imagine…and some you probably never could.  When is the last time anyone filled your mailbox with dog shit?  How many churches have called for you to be fired from your job and/or run out of town?

Whatever.  It pains me…causes me great disappointment…that people who, being Democrats we are told are on our side, can’t even bring themselves to mentioned us among the issues of the day.  It’s as if people think we don’t exist in Kentucky…and quite a few other states.  I’m here to tell you you that gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transfolk exist in all of our states, perhaps even in all of the counties in this great land of ours.

Somehow it has been politic to make us vanish when election time comes.  We are not even allowed, in most cases, to know where a candidate stands on the issue of our equality.  And no, I don’t necessarily mean marriage equality, though that might be a good place to eventually get to.  I’m talking about non-discrimination in employment

A study in the San Francisco Bay Area conducted in 2006 of 194 transgender individuals found a 35% unemployment rate, with 59% earning less than $15,300 annually.

Nationwide, the rates of employment discrimination against transgender people are consistently high. A Williams Institute review of six studies conducted in cities and regions on both coasts and the Midwest, showed the following ranges for experiences of discrimination based on gender identity:

13%-56% of transgender people had been fired

13%-47% had been denied employment

22%-31% had been harassed, either verbally or physically, in the workplace

and housing

A large number, possibly a majority, of transwomen are likely to have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.

and public accommodations (safe usage of a public restroom is the lunch counter issue for transpeople).

because of bias against their gender identity or expression:

40.7% of students felt unsafe in their own school

45.5% had been verbally harassed

26.1% had been physically harassed

11.8% had been assaulted

The statistics are courtesy of Richard M. Juang.

April 2:  In the five months since the Salt Lake City Council approved the protections (for GLBT people in housing and employment), similar ordinances have popped up on agendas in Park City, Taylorsville, Holladay, West Valley City, Salt Lake County and Summit County.

May 19:  In one motion, the Logan City Council on Tuesday night mandated that employers and landlords cannot discriminate against gays, lesbians or transgendered people in the city limits.

My name is John Wells Bennett, and I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. My grandfather Wallace F. Bennett and my uncle Robert F. Bennett are both U.S. senators from Utah, past and present. My great-grandfather was Mormon Church President Heber J. Grant, and my great-great-grandfathers Jedediah Morgan Grant and Daniel H. Wells were the first and third mayors of Salt Lake City, respectively.

The purpose of divulging this family pedigree is to underscore that it doesn’t matter what your family name is or whom you’re related to, you can still be fired from your job simply for being gay, as I was in 1986 while working for the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development.

The LDS Church has taken a courageous stand in support of an employment ordinance in Salt Lake City that closely mirrors the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act or “ENDA,” which has been introduced in Congress. The church should consider making a similar endorsement of ENDA in light of the controversy surrounding the movie “8, The Mormon Proposition.”

–John Wells Bennett

If the Mormons can get on board the ENDA train, how come your candidate can’t?

Why not call him or her today?

Time is running out to pass ENDA before the midterm elections. Please contact your representative and senators today. And if you can, please make a contribution to the Task Force to help fuel our fight today, tomorrow, and every day, until we achieve full equality for the LGBT community.

And please don’t give me that tired old sentiment that the time is not right for equality.  There is never a good time for non-equality.

We’re people, too.  Here, have a look, courtesy of NGLTF and Sage (Senior Action in a Gay Environment).

More Sage here.

September, 1995:  The Task Force coordinated a meeting at the Department of Justice (DOJ) between LGBT rights organizations and then-Attorney General Janet Reno. The discussion focused on hate crimes, anti-equality ballot measures and legislative attacks on the community. The Task Force requested DOJ seek ways to use the department and the Office of Attorney General to advance fair and equal treatment of all people.

That was 1995.  Where are we now?

And both Republicans (only 21% mentioned a GLBT issue at their websites) and Democrats (7% mentioned some GLBT issue) avoided the issue of gay rights, where public opinion is shifting [and the courts are ruling in our favor – ed]. Even if gay marriage were too controversial to be a part of the Democratic agenda in most swing districts, the Democrats might theoretically gain ground by highlighting their support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, where large majorities of the public back their position. But perhaps hamstrung by Mr. Obama, who has taken a series of half-steps on the issue, few of these Democrats have chosen to do so.

Nate Silver

If people in their states don’t bother to ask where they stand, I’m not surprised candidates avoid the issues.  So why should should GLBT people vote for these candidates?

ENDA, UAFA, DOMA, adoption by GLBT people, DADT, and yes, also marriage equality are vital issues in our community.  If candidates can’t even pick a side in public, they have no business asking for our money, our time, our effort or even our votes.

Meanwhile, in the Castro, we had this, from getEqual:

Hey Pelosi, can’t you see, we want ENDA with a ‘T’



Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on September 11, 2010 at 00:04

    …maybe the following letter has something to do with it:

    From: [email protected]


    Behalf Of Charlie Meadows

    Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 10:06


    To: Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

    Subject: OCPAC e-mail

    Members and friends of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action

    Committee (OCPAC)


    A week ago Saturday, State Representative Sally Kern’s opponent Brittany Novotny attended a fundraiser on her behalf in the home of Hollywood actor and voice over artist Ben Patrick Johnson. In a group picture I saw, presumably at Johnson’s home in West Hollywood, Brittany was actually smiling right in the middle of what I guess was about 50 likeminded people.

    Brittany used to be a “he”, had a sex change operation to make him into a “her” but turned out to become a confused “it.” Some have suggested that having a sex change operation is a person’s greatest act of rebellion and hatred toward God for His making them what they were.

    It is truly sad to see people reject God’s love for them by being willing to mutilate themselves. If they would submit their life to God, they could find the true the joy in life that will forever elude them while on their path of rebellion. The hatred and rage toward Sally continues unabated in the homosexual community because Sally dared to declare their political agenda for what it truly is, more dangerous to the future of America than the threat of terrorism.

    Brittany has suggested Sally doesn’t represent the values of her constituents. Sally, on the other hand, from the time she first ran for office, told her constituents that she was a Christian and would stand for traditional morality and family values. Aside from the moral issues, Sally is one of the most conservative and well informed lawmakers in the state on a broad range of issues. In November, we will see which set of values the voters in HD 84 care most about. Remember, all elections are first about the quality and character of the voters.

    I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.

    –Charlie Meadows


    Hey, Charlie.  I am neither an “it” nor confused.  Neither is Brittany Novotny.  We know who we are.  It is people like you, who think that we are forever to be what we were labeled when we were born, who are confused.

    • Edger on September 11, 2010 at 00:29

    It is very, seriously, confused. Fucked up, even. All of it’s output is garbage. It’s operating system needs defragging and it’s registry needs to be cleaned of invalid configuration entries, missing file references and broken links.  In fact, a complete OS reinstall might be what it needs. Or maybe just remove it’s power supply?

  1. or no duty express or implied to vote for that person, and, moreover, no bones attack on that position by that person or even party.

    They can’t bring themselves to support us even a little bit except a tiny amount on some issues partly because the LGBT community has let them get away with incrementalism and evaluating Democrats as one would sample a wine, for hints and aromas and flavors of positivism.

    Enough of this!  A philosophy of incrementalism for its own sake leads to lies.  So, my question is, why must we have these lies, that are then turned into apologies for failure?

    Enough of the lies.  If the people in office can’t do something for its own sake, it’s time to remove the couch of lies in which that unwillingness is embedded.

    These questions, we need to ask our friends, the media, and ourselves to ask the people in power:

    Why do you not support full human rights for all Americans including LGBT Americans?

    Do you believe in your duty to uphold the Constitution?

    Why do you believe it is necessary to balance the views of people who want to destroy the constitution and create a Christian government with the clearly mandated civil liberties of LGBT Americans?

    No, Ms. Office Holder, picking and choosing which rights you will support is the same as not supporting full human and legal civil rights for LGBT Americans.  Why do you not?  Do you believe in Constitutional liberties and freedoms?  Why for some, and not for others?

    • Robyn on September 11, 2010 at 01:05

    …available in Orange.

  2. some of the larger Hall of Shame donations to Sally Kern:

    alas I don’t seem to be able to permanently bookmark individual pages, but I brought up the listings for her campaign reports fr the OK state website

    J. Tatum, Sulfer OK  physician $5000

    (This may be a misspelling as there is a Dr John Tatom in Sulphur, OK who also gives money to the RNC)

    S. Arntzen Ok City, OK  Salesman, Vernon Company, Newton Iowa  $500

    Vernon “Get your brand on” sells promotional items like personalized caps, tee shirts, ribbon magnetic stickers for causes you stick on cars….  hmmm

    “Vernon’s primary mission is to help other people grow and prosper”  – oh, really ?

    D. Fisher Yukon OK Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church $250…  “we exist for the people who are not yet here”  maybe they could work on that “building bridges” concept a bit more since all it talks about is $ debt for their building

    G. Davis,  Yukon OK ,  SAP Consultant  $250

    J Harrel Mustang OK   Analyst, Crossroads, $250

    F Howard, retired,  Ok City, OK retired $700

    J Gibbs, Ardmore, OK  President, Tri Power Resources $1000

    TriPower Resources, LLC is a privately held independent energy company engaged in the exploration, exploitation, development and acquisition of oil and natural gas resources in the United States.


    donations to Sally Kern of OK from Jan 2010  

    AGC OK PAC $100  Assoc of General Contrators of America

    Industry relationships include Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of Transportation, Federal Highway Admin

    OKCRNA PAC  $250

    OK CRNA  PAC  “CRNA regularly ranks among the top 10 healthcare related PACS nationally”  Oklahoma Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Oklahoma

    vigorous advocates for patient safety in the clinical setting


    and of course, the

    Oklahoma Conservative PAC  blog website.

    from latest blog post of OK Conservative pac site, Fri Sept 10, 2010:

    Dr. Harding, an ordained Baptist evangelist, formerly served as the

    Deputy Commander for the Diplomatic Security Service at the State

    Department in Washington, D.C.. Now he travels the country teaching

    about the Biblical influence on our Constitution and the great Faith

    of our Founders which gave us a system of Civil Liberty and Religious

    Liberty that ensures our freedom to propagate the Gospel. I have

    previously heard Dr. Harding speak and he is truly dynamic. Everyone

    is welcome, there is no charge to attend.


    Now for the question: I live on a small farm which continually

    requires the pruning and burning of brush. Should I use the pages of a

    Koran I own to start my brush fire this Saturday, which by the way is

    the 9th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attack by radical Muslims

    upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
    What to do, what to do,

    I want to hear from you, hear from you? I will give an answer in next

    week’s e-mail.

    Keep it Classy, Sally Kern’s Supporters and the Oklahoma Conservative PAC !

  3. …. and he could be categorized as a status quo Democrat.

    •First issue.  cutting the deficit

    You have got to be freaking kidding me  FAIL  more Cat food commission crap.

    Jack forgot about the Defense budget and foreign policy.

    •2nd issue  Small businesses

    Create a small business loan fund.

    •3rd Protecting Social Security

    Jack will oppose any effort to privatize Soc Sec.

    That’s not good enough.  Jack needs to make it clear it will not happen, period.

    Jack supports the new health care law.  So what ?  Jack is then opposed to the Public Option, Medicare buy in, or single payer? Does not say.  Jack, you suck up to seniors nicely, but you ignore your younger voters.

    •4th Wall Street Reform

    Too late dude, the senate messed that up already

    •5th Hometown tax credit

    give tax credit to employers who expand their payroll and hire more workers

    latest news Conway talks drug enforcement with local officials

    Jack, let us know when y’all figure out that rural poor people deal drugs because it is a combination of crappy education and no ***damn working class jobs or legitimate employment.

    Kentucky is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the approach to Appalachia.  You want more federal funds-  how do you feel about the way the Feds only give away money if it’s to “fight drugs” while we’re protecting the opium poppy trade ?!  What about making felons out of pot users ?

  4. with extremely rare exception (such as an extremely blue district), anyone running a campaign on the issues we’d like to see them support wouldn’t stand a chance of being elected.  

    And who is there who can stage a successful campaign without corporate funding?  This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.  Unfortunately, limiting candidates to public funding only would raise a huge hue and cry about restricting First Amendment Rights (since corporations have been equated to, and now elevated above people in terms of being granted rights and privileges).  

    George W. Bush ran his campaign in 2000 by moving toward the center, then making a hard right turn upon entering office.  Our best hope might be a candidate who runs toward the center during their campaign (in order to capture the votes of the low information voters in the center, those who oftentimes determine the outcome of elections), then make a hard turn to the left.  Such a candidate would have to enter office with the idea of serving for one term only.  

Comments have been disabled.