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The night before the National Equality March on Washington last Sunday, President Obama gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner. This was a last minute decision, obviously prompted by the impending march.

Here President Obama talks about the beginnings of PFLAG:

The President is a very eloquent speaker, we know, but the enthusiasm of the audience in attendance was not met by others outside the HRC dinner. There were editorials criticizing Obama’s lack of action on lgbt issues all over the place, including the New York Times – not exactly a leftist publication.

HRC’s president, Joe Solmonese, defended the speech, saying change takes time. I understand that. But nothing can be changed that isn’t begun, and therein lies the problem. HRC seems increasingly insignificant and out of touch with the grass roots of this movement. The only thing Solmonese has done in the last year that has impressed me was his letter to the President after the brief defending DOMA came out.

One thing of note about this speech: President Obama is one of the few who can connect the dots that compare the discrimination that lgbt people face today with the discrimination that African Americans faced forty years ago - without being criticized for it.

Regarding the march, openly gay congressman Barney Frank said marching on Washington is a waste of time.

"I literally don't understand how this will do anything," he said. "People are kidding themselves. I don't want people patting themselves on the back for doing something that is useless." Besides, he says, "Barack Obama does not need pressure."

Funny that Obama himself contradicted this, saying to keep the pressure on.

It seems to me that we have enough people on the opposing side trying to bring us down; we don’t really need naysayers on ours.

Barney Frank, do us all a favor: lead, follow, or shut up and get the hell out of the way.

The Good

Michael Joseph Gross interviewed straight guys in the military to see how they felt about serving alongside gays. The method was completely unscientific: he randomly approached straight, young men who were alone (he felt their answers would be more honest) and did not tell them he was with “The Advocate.” The interviews were done anonymously. Their answers were more supportive then he expected.

“We have paratroopers going down in Baghdad who do not have Arabic translators to back them up because Congress 16 years ago didn’t have the guts to do what’s right.”- Patrick Murphy, US Congress and sponsor of legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The Bad

The witch hunt of Kevin Jennings, nominee for safe schools czar, continues. He made a misstep early in his teaching career when a young, gay man told him that he had gone home with an older gay man, implying that he had sex with him, and Jennings, who was closeted himself at the time, only said that he hoped he’d used a condom. The boy was of legal consent age in his state, but Jennings still admits he should have done more. The former student has said he did not actually have sex.

Kevin Jennings later founded GLSEN (gay, lesbian, straight education network), an organization dedicated to the safety of students in schools.

The right wing will look for anything to prevent an openly gay person from having a position in government.


The Ugly


You know, the “he came onto me/groped me” justification for brutalizing another human being is getting real old. They use it because the victim is injured so badly (or killed) that they may not remember how it started. And because other homophobes would believe it. Now seriously, assuming these two criminals looked like their friend in the photo, do you really think the victim would have blown them a kiss?

Oh, and BTW, it also says in Leviticus that you shouldn’t put markings on your body. Talk about cherry-picking. Of course, if this dude walked into a fundamentalist church all tattooed up, I don’t know if he’d be welcomed. But hey, maybe I’m wrong.

Here is a roundup of the news in sound bites on Michelangelo Signorile’s clips of the week. There are voices from the rally on the Capitol, including Lady Gaga, Cleve Jones, Lt. Dan Choy, Nancy Griffith, and Judy Shepard. Also heard are President Obama, Joe Solmonese, tattoo dude, Barney Frank, Andrew Sullivan, Michelangelo Signorile, and Hillary Rosen. After a pause, it ends with a Catholic grandmother (a real person, not an actress, NOM!) in a “No on 1” ad for Maine’s marriage equality fight.

Those of you who have Sirius or XM, tomorrow there’s an hour-long program of highlights from the speeches last Sunday starting at 1pm eastern on OutQ Sirius 109 XM 98.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
I don't like when people say "X effort is a waste of time." Ten to one those people are doing #$%$ all to advance the cause, it's just easier to criticize than to do.

Hope you are well!
Oct. 18th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
I think at this point, Barney Frank and Joe Solmonese both are out of touch with ordinary people, and are most interested in holding on to their political careers.
Oct. 18th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
Barney Frank, do us all a favor: lead, follow, or shut up and get the hell out of the way.

Due respect, but Barney Frank has done more for LGBT rights than any other political figure in this country's history. He has been leading us for more than twenty years. Just because he disagrees with you about the best tactic with which to move forward doesn't mean he deserves to be told to "shut up and get the hell out of the way."

People have been telling him to shut up for decades. I'm sure glad he hasn't listened.
Oct. 18th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
I agree he has done a lot, including recently, though he could do more. But we didn't deserve to be told that marching was "doing something useless" from a prominent leader on lgbt rights. I took my cue from Mr. Frank himself in my bluntness.
Oct. 18th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)

Thanks for sharing. Personally, I have been feeling a growing sense of impatience. For example, President Obama could easily do away with the military’s policy of don’t ask, don’t tell. It would not require congressional approval. Some of my friends have suggested that he has placed everything else on the back burner until after he gets a much needed public option added to the health care bill. I don’t know.

Regards and Best Wishes,

Donald Eric Kesler
Oct. 18th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
The growing sense of impatience is a common sentiment. And yes, Obama could issue an executive order suspending DADT because of the 2 wars. It is not a permanent solution, but it would be a great start. If he had done this at the start of his presidency, I would not have the doubts I feel now.

I have heard the same sentiment regarding the health care bill. I think it's a cop-out. We'll see...
Oct. 19th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
The Smear Campaign Against Jennings
The attacks against Jennings are absolutely reprehensible. No moral, honest human being would engage in the lies being told about Jennings.
Oct. 19th, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
Re: The Smear Campaign Against Jennings
They latched onto this one thing and have inflated it to overshadow all the great work he's done.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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