Showing posts with label gay rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay rights. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Need A Hero!

By Mona Lott

I’ve been under attack since I was a kid. The Gallegos family three houses down would throw snowballs at me, but they wrapped them in rocks first. Russell Harmon pushed me off my bike on my way home from first grade so he could beat me up. Mike Donovan tormented me every day in 7th grade gym class until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and I threw a full can of Arid Extra Dry spray deodorant at him narrowly missing his head and screamed, “LEAVE ME THE F**K ALONE!!” That temper and my sense of humor combined created a force shield so powerful that in high school they didn’t even bully me in person anymore, they wrote nasty shit on anonymous notes and had them passed to me so I didn't know who they came from. By the way Simon Suarez, I knew.

Now I’m approaching the ripe old age of fifty and even though those childhood wounds have healed leaving faint scars, I’m still being wounded every day. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom law and makes intolerance and discrimination against the GLBT community legal. POW!

Then Ted Cruz, in one of many anti-gay statements, declared, “We look at the jihad that is being waged right now, in Indiana, and in Arkansas, going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Sucker punch. "Hey, look over there!" BAM!!

In April, 700 Club leader Pat Robertson warned that if the Supreme Court strikes down bans on same-sex marriage, Christians in America will soon be “the victims of vicious, vicious attacks,” just like the angels who visited Sodom and were nearly raped by “virulent homosexuals.” WHAP!!

GOP Presidential hopeful, Ben Carson, makes the statement, "How I feel and what I think isn’t just my opinion. God in his Word says very clearly that he considers homosexual acts to be an ‘abomination.’" ZING!!

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method ...” was in a ballot initiative submitted in March by California lawyer Matt McLaughlin. POW!! BANG!! ZONK!!

Earlier this week, US Cardinal Raymond Burke stated, ‘If homosexual relationships are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are … then what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person? "If it were another kind of relationship – something that was profoundly disordered and harmful – we wouldn’t expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it.’ And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.’ KAPOW!! BIFF!! ZAP!!

And yesterday Bobby Jindal signed a newly refined law in Louisiana protecting businesses that refuse to serve same sex marriages. ZING!!

I need a hero!! No, strike that. I need a gay super villain who can live up to all the evil vile deeds that these so called God-fearing morons are accusing the GLBT community of. We are attacking Christians, even though many gays and lesbians also identify as Christian. We’ve been accused of making children gay, just by being in their presence, even though I don’t ever remember being around anyone gay until years after I had decided I was. Gays and Lesbians have been accused of causing floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. We’ve had the proverbial finger pointed at us as the catalyst for World Trade Center bombings, the Boston Marathon bombing and now, even a tragic Amtrak train crash.

Isis and her pretty headband
So it's become obvious to me that we are very powerful!! We have superhuman abilities that allow us to make foreign extremists carry out horrendous acts of terror. We have fairy tale magic that turns straight children gay; though I can’t fathom why we don’t use this magic in Hollywood on, say, Joe Manganiello or Ryan Gosling instead.

Like Isis, no, not that one, the pretty one with the headband from Saturday morning cartoons back when we had Saturday morning cartoons, we hold power over Mother Nature and the winds and the sea! The religious right is afraid of us; they are worried that we will make them all disappear long before the rapture has the opportunity.

So I propose that we all become Gay Super Villains!! I want to be called Rapture. Yes, like the Christian end of times, but even more like an overly floral scented perfume by some aging movie star or like the feeling I get just before a guy engulfs the whole of my being with in mouth. Pick your own Gay Super Villain name but I call dibs on Rapture.

Then create a costume built for the Gods, one that RuPaul would gag on and would make Bob Mackie drop to his knees in defeat. Grab your glitterbombs and put them in that utility belt and don’t forget a dildo of death, cock ring of torture and a cat o' nine tails for those moments when you’re alone with your Gay Super Villain sidekick.

Now head on down to the steps of your Capital Building or to that soapbox in the city park or to the gilded doors of the local Catholic Church and wreak havoc! Proclaim your evil desires while stroking the bald pussy in your lap and poking your pinky finger into the corner of your mouth. Lesbians, don't get mixed up; this isn't that kind of a protest! 

Call out Carson and Huckabee and Bobby Jindal as your arch nemesis and warn them of the coming doom you are planning. Dare them to try and stop you. Have your henchmen spring on the crowd and spray them with glitter and announce that you have now turned them gay. Call down the powers of the wind and threaten to destroy the whole town with a tornado powerful enough to turn Miss Gulch into an evil witch. Laugh maniacally and run around with your cape billowing behind you! Yes, own it! Be the Gay Super Villain they already see us as and if that doesn't finally stop the attacks, then get me several cans of Arid Extra Dry!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Video Wins Gold Medal in LGBT Rights Awareness

Released two days before The Sochi Winter Olympics, the above video has become a viral sensation, receiving nearly a million views with coverage in The Huffington Post, Upworthy, RT, and The Advocate. The video was produced by Berserk, and released in partnership with The Russia Freedom Fund, Athlete Alley, and CoPilot to bring attention to the fact that there are 76 nations - including Russia - where being gay remains a crime punishable by prison sentences and even execution.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marriage vs. full LGBT equality at media summit

by Mark Segal

Each year for the last three years, The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund of San Francisco has held an LGBT blogger and newspaper summit to increase awareness on issues that need focus. The first year, held at the Desmond Tutu Conference Center in New York City, dealt with immigration; the second, in San Francisco, discussed LGBT youth issues such as bullying and homelessness. This year, the subject was the 2012 election. Haas does an outstanding job selecting speakers and presenters for the panel workshops, which are all held in one day. It’s sort of like a speed dating of subjects for journalists. With Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project and Matt Forman, former head of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at the helm this conference has become a way for those in LGBT media to not only meet the newsmakers and explore complex issues, it’s also a space to share our commonality of experiences and wonder, are we the LGBT elite media?

This year we met in Houston, Texas. The night before the conference, Haas hosted a dinner with openly lesbian Houston Mayor Anisse Parker. She was not only candid, but you could tell she was delighted to have LGBT media meeting in her city. One of the first questions she was asked was, “Do you intend to marry your partner?” followed by, “Will Texas ever pass marriage equality”? At one point she joked that she’d rather talk about the city’s new sewage system. This became a recurring theme at this year’s gathering: No matter what the subject of the panel was, the questions always turned to marriage equality. It was the issue du jour.

Like the recent successful battle to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it is almost impossible to get some journalists to notice that there are other issues as important — if not more important — for the LGBT community. As one trans activist posed: “Has marriage equality kidnapped the movement?” Are important funds which could be used for LGBT homelessness, health and nondiscrimination going to a cause that, while important, is not as crucial as an 18-year-old living on the streets, a teacher being fired, a couple being tossed out of their rental apartment, a battered child, a clinic that won’t understand that lesbians have a higher rate of breast cancer or the abuse of our elders in senior housing?

While it is easy to say that hundreds of thousands of people would benefit from marriage equality, it is also true that many of those people already live in places where most of the heavy lifting has been done and they have secured nondiscrimination laws, have working LGBT health clinics, a community center and a safe place for LGBT youth? But what about the vast majority of LGBT people in this nation who don’t have any protections from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations? Don’t we owe it to them to fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?

Personally, I don’t care about the evolution that President Obama is undergoing on marriage equality: He’ll get there and, being politically pragmatic, I hope it’s after the November election. (Think swing states Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.) As to the Democratic Party having a marriage-equality plank — how many people read a party’s platform? Better yet, how many elected officials actually govern from their party’s platform? It’s a great step forward and something that the party should do. It will advance the issue in places that are already predisposed to do so, and may alienate those areas that are not yet educated on the issue. Our main focus now should be to get the tools needed to re-elect Obama. The question for us is, can we trust his evolution on the subject so that after election he becomes the advocate we need? His record already gives us that answer. In each state where there are ballot initiatives regarding the subject, he’s stated very soundly that he does not believe you take away rights or put them on the ballot. And this is not a recent evolution. In 2008, in the Pennsylvania Primary, legislation was pending in the state Senate to change the constitution to declare that marriage is between a man and a woman. At the time, he urged Pennsylvania lawmakers not to pass that legislation. And recently he did the same with similar legislation in North Carolina. Case closed. Let’s move on.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at

Monday, January 2, 2012

Married gay, lesbian couples pay thousands more in taxes

Same-sex spouses sometimes pay thousands more in federal income taxes than their straight counterparts because the Defense of Marriage Act bars the IRS from recognizing their marriages. 

An analysis conducted for CNNMoney explains the many federal tax advantages not available to gay and lesbian married couples.

Monday, December 12, 2011

U.S. takes leadership role on global LGBT rights


Whoo-hoo! Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a landmark speech to diplomats assembled in Geneva last week calling on world leaders to reject anti-LGBT policies, and positioning the U.S. as a global leader on LGBT equality. 

Clinton said the idea that LGBT rights are a Western phenomenon ill-suited to other cultures was wrong: "[I]n reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world."

A presidential memorandum issued by the White House while Clinton spoke directed federal agencies involved in work abroad to "ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

U.S Dept of State releases stament about violent gay rights march in Russia

The U.S. Department of State released the following statement by Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, on Sunday, May 29 about Saturday's violent GLBT rights march in Russia that resulted in American gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, and nearly 20 others, being beaten and arrested:

"We note with concern that in Moscow on Saturday, May 28, a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counter-protesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups, including American citizens. Some protestors were seriously injured according to media reports.

Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right all members of the OSCE committed to, including in the Moscow declaration and as recently as the Astana summit. As nationwide legislative elections approach, constraints on the ability of Russian citizens peacefully to gather and express their views will be closely watched in evaluating the integrity of the electoral process.  We call on Russian authorities to work with municipal officials to find better ways to safeguard these fundamental freedoms."

Choi was in Denver last month to speak at a Queer Symposium at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

House passes defense bill with anti-gay language

A defense budget bill containing anti-gay amendments, including one that could complicate the implementation of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House last week. Another provision would prohibit military facilities from hosting marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Conservative and religious activists say they'll sue unless the Senate version also includes a ban on Defense Department personnel participating in such ceremonies.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cyndi Lauper Applauds Introduction of Legislation by Senator Kerry to Help Homeless LGBT Youth

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) last week introduced The Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act, a bill that aims to reduce youth homeless. The legislation includes an important provision that provides support for programs that improve family relationships and reduce homelessness among youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. 
“I applaud Senator Kerry for introducing such a crucial piece of legislation and for ensuring that the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth are included in the bill,” said Cyndi Lauper, True Colors Fund co-founder. “As a mother, I am deeply saddened and angered by the epidemic of young people who are being thrown out of there homes by their parents or runaway out of fear and despair simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. As parents we need to be there for our children when they are struggling to come to terms with who they are, if passed this bill will provide much needed support for families to do just that.”
It is currently estimated that 20% to 40% of all homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, yet make up 3% to 5% of the general youth population. Helping to foster accepting environments at home is a vital piece of the puzzle in helping to bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness.
The True Colors Fund was co-founded by Cyndi Lauper to inspire and engage everyone, especially straight people, to become active participants in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality and to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Legislation Introduced in Senate and House to Extend Equal COBRA Benefits to LGBT Families

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, on Friday praised Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) for introducing the Equal Access to COBRA Act of 2011, which would equalize the benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), guaranteeing continuation health coverage to any qualified beneficiary under an employer’s health insurance plan, including domestic partners and the children of domestic partners when employers choose to cover them.  Currently, COBRA mandates only that employees, their spouses and dependent children can continue their health coverage, usually at their own expense, after certain qualifying events, most commonly when the employee leaves or loses his or her job.  This bill would ensure that other beneficiaries would have the equal ability to obtain continuation coverage, as well as the subsidies Congress has recently enacted to assist families with the cost of utilizing COBRA benefits.      

“In these troubled economic times, social safety-net benefits like COBRA continuation coverage are even more important to American families,” said Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese.  “Hundreds of employers, including more than half of the Fortune 500, already extend health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees as a matter of fairness as well as good business practice.  LGBT people should have the equal ability to maintain those critical benefits for their families during difficult times.  We applaud Senator Boxer and Representative Weiner for their leadership in seeking these important protections for our community.”

The Equal Access to COBRA Act was first introduced in the Senate during the 111th Congress by Sen. Boxer.  This is the first time the legislation has been introduced in the House. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homo for the Holidays: Sign the Gay Rights Petitions

The holidays are fast approaching and what better gift could you give to yourself and rest of the GLBT community than to sign one - or all - of the Gay Rights Petitions over at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Russian LGBT activist is released

Nikolai Alexeyev, a prominent LGBT rights activist in Russia, said he believes the men who seized him in a Moscow airport last week were state security agents.

Alexeyev said the agents confiscated his phone and pressured him to rescind his complaints in the European Court of Human Rights against Russian officials who have blocked permission for an LGBT Pride event in Moscow.

International pressure may have led to his captors releasing him in a town some 120 miles south of Moscow

Friday, August 20, 2010

Researchers see global shift in gay rights acceptance

New laws legalizing same-sex unions in Argentina, Portugal and Mexico City are among the signs that cultural and religious barriers to LGBT equality are falling rapidly around the world, according to researchers.

"Public attitudes don't change really quickly, but this is one that's changing really, really quickly," said Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clinton: Gay rights are human rights

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the State Department Tuesday in which she declared that "human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights."

Clinton also outlined steps the U.S. is taking abroad to protect LGBT people. She urged openly LGBT professionals to remember that even though they have found success, the fight for equality is not over for many others.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HRC Calls on Nation’s Hospitals to Implement LGBT Non-Discrimination Policies Now

The Human Rights Campaign today called on healthcare facilities across the United States to adopt fully-inclusive non-discrimination policies now to protect the rights of LGBT patients. The appeal comes on the heels of a letter from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to the nation’s hospital associations, urging them to implement fully-inclusive patient visitation policies before the formal rulemaking process is complete later this year. This landmark policy change follows a recent announcement from the Joint Commission – the largest hospital accrediting body in the nation – that it will soon require hospitals to adopt non-discrimination policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HRC provides healthcare facilities with resources such as model language and information on best practices to assist them in updating their policies.

“For far too long, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families have faced discrimination in hospitals, and this unequal treatment has caused real harm. These announcements from the Joint Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services signal that the time has come for hospitals across America to open the door to full healthcare equality,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We strongly support Secretary Sebelius in her conviction that there is no reason to wait for formal regulations to be drafted in order to adopt these policies. HRC is committed to assisting our nation’s healthcare facilities in implementing fully-inclusive non-discrimination policies now.”

“I would appreciate your voluntary support for the intent of the Presidential memorandum by encouraging your members to review policies they may currently have in place and adopt and enforce patient-centered visitation policies, as contemplated by the President, to the extent that they have not done so already,” said Secretary Sebelius in her letter. “Your actions could spare many patients the pain of being separated from a loved one during an admission to a hospital – often one of the most anxious times in their lives.”

The Human Rights Campaign has worked with healthcare facilities to evaluate and update policies for LGBT patients and their families through the HRC Foundation’s annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI rates hospitals on the basis of four main policy areas: patient non-discrimination policies, visitation rights, cultural competency training, and employment non-discrimination. Among the findings in the HEI 2010, released on June 7, was that 93 percent of 200 of the nation’s largest healthcare facilities do not have fully inclusive non-discrimination policies for LGBT patients. For more information, go to

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Landmark IRS ruling recognizes same-sex couples

A ruling by the Internal Revenue Service has recognized the legal partnerships of same-sex couples for the first time ever. Gay couples in registered domestic partnerships in California must each report half of their combined incomes on individual tax returns, the IRS said. The ruling may mean significant tax advantages for affected couples, and it may also apply to other states with domestic-partner registration, such as Washington and Nevada.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Statements on the pardoning of gay Malawi couple

Good news this weekend as the gay Malawi couple who had been sentenced to 14 years of hard labor were pardoned.

Following are statements by the White House and HRC's Joe Solmonese:

The White House is pleased to learn of President Bingu wa Mutharika's pardon of
Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. These individuals were not criminals and
their struggle is not unique. We must all recommit ourselves to ending the
persecution and criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity. We
hope that President Mutharika's pardon marks the beginning of a new dialogue
which reflects the country's history of tolerance and a new day for lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in Malawi and around the globe.

"It is reprehensible to imprison anyone for who they are or who they love. We salute the leaders who have spoken up for Steven and Tiwonge, particularly members of Congress and State Department officials. This is welcomed news that we hope will reverberate around the world in places -- including our own country -- where LGBT people are targeted for harassment and discrimination."

HRC Religion & Faith Program Director Harry Knox said: "We are grateful for the voices of faith leaders from diverse traditions around the globe who spoke out for compassion and fairness for Tiwonge and Steven. HRC's Religion and Faith Program salutes the coalition of religious and secular organizations in the US that called for the couple's release, and also honors the courage of African faith leaders who have called for true justice in Malawi."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Should Christian groups be able to exclude gays?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case involving a Christian group that sued a public law school in California because the school did not recognize and subsidize it, citing the group's policy to deny membership to gays.

The court's questioning of attorneys on both sides suggest that it is sharply divided over the case, which could clarify whether religion-based groups seeking public funding are able to discriminate against those who do not share their beliefs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama orders rule on hospital-visitation rights

The White House on Thursday issued a presidential memorandum ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to draw up rules to allow patients to decide who can visit them in the hospital. President Barack Obama was aiming at situations that make it difficult, if not impossible, for same-sex partners of patients to be at their bedsides over the objection of family members. The rules would affect any hospital receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding, which includes the vast majority of hospitals in the U.S.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gay political party is recognized in Philippines

Ang Ladlad, a gay-oriented political party, will be allowed to participate in national elections in the Philippines. In a unanimous ruling, the country's Supreme Court overturned an Elections Commission ruling that had blocked the party, claiming it could offend religious groups. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cyndi Lauper Gives a Damn about gay rights

The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

But, it’s especially for all the straight people out there! Whether you’re already an active supporter, want to show your support for the first time, or hadn’t given equality a lot of thought before and now want to learn more, the Give a Damn Campaign here to help you get informed about the issues and get involved, at a pace that works for you.