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Ellen Speaks Out

With more composure than I could probably muster, Ellen reminds her viewers that something is terribly wrong. “It starts with jokes, becomes verbal abuse, becomes physical abuse and then Brandon kills his fellow eighth grade classmate just because Larry is gay.”

Thanks NG for the tip.

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Barack’s middle name

Every weekday morning my routine consists of making coffee, drinking coffee, checking email, of course getting dressed, and watching MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” with Joe Scarborough,Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski.

This morning, the crew was discussing last night’s Democratic debate. They reached into discussion on Bill Cunningham and his introduction of Sen. John McCain at a rally yesterday, where Cunningham repeatedly used Barack’s full name — middle name included — when addressing him (whereas, Cunningham simply used last or first names to address other candidates).

Anyway, I’m not really concerned about Cunningham, but what Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said really struck me. They said, paraphrased, that “no one cares what Barack’s middle name is,” and that people are “being turned off by those who continue to remind them what Barack’s middle name is.”

Boy, are they wrong… and out of touch. I have heard from so many people in North Carolina — people already registered as Democrats, as well as Republicans who have decided to vote for a Democrat. So many of them have thrown up Barack’s middle name. “His middle name is Hussein and he is a Muslim. I’m not voting for him!”

As stupid and as sad as it is, people really do care.

The chair of the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom chapter, the first student group nationwide to receive status as a hate group from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has new leadership this today.

Kyle Bristow, who has proven to be quite controversial in local and state politics there, has resigned as chair of the group after a year and a half at the helm, according to Todd Heywood at YAFWatch. Replacing Bristow will be Matt Ogonowski and Eric Thieleman.

Many InterstateQ.com readers may remember Bristow’s name from the 2007 dust up over Tyler Whitney, the young conservative (also involved in the college hate group) blasted after his coming out. In June 2007, I posted about Bristow and his comments on LGBT people.

More after the jump…

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Party activists favor Neal

An article from the The News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) says that progressive party activists in the N.C. Democratic Party are leaning toward openly gay Chapel Hill financial advisor Jim Neal in the primary race for U.S. Senate.

Jim Neal faces Greensboro state Sen. Kay Hagan and three lesser-known candidates in the May primary. The victor will face Sen. Elizabeth Dole in the general election in November.

The N&R article included interviews with numerous party activists, including James Protzman, who writes under the name of Anglico at BlueNC.com. In October, Protzman announced he was leaving the Democratic Party and registering as unaffiliated following the dust-up over perceived mistreatment of Neal by Hagan, leaders in the state party and the Democratic National Committee.

Continue reading this post…

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) profiled Greensboro, N.C.-based Replacements, Ltd. in an article Sunday.

Replacements, a glassware, china and dinnerware specialty company, is one of many businesses nationwide scoring a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. CEO Bob Page, his partner Senior Vice President of Product Services Dale Frederiksen and Vice President for Community Affairs Gary Palmer are all active in Greensboro civic and social arenas. In fact, Palmer and Page have been instrumental in shaping Greensboro into a city with full non-discrimination policy protections and domestic partner benefits.

Far beyond LGBT issues, however, Replacements is truly a progressive workplace. More after the jump.

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Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) issued the following statement regarding the memorials planned for openly gay, 15-year-old hate crime murder victim Lawrence King:

“I was deeply saddened by the recent death of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was killed at his school in Oxnard , CA . No one should face intimidation or violence, particularly at school, because of their sexual orientation or the way they express their gender identity.

“We must finally enact a federal hate crimes law to ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are protected against violent, bias-motivated crimes. We must send a unified message that hate-based crime will not be tolerated.”

I did a search to see if Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) had yet made any statement on the situation, but I couldn’t find anything. That, of course, isn’t to say that Obama hasn’t said anything — I just couldn’t find it.

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Re: This and that

In Matt’s recent “This and that” post, he touched upon new bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature which immediately reminded me of a post I recently read that The Republic of T. I would offer my own thoughts on the matter, but Terrance does it just fine without me cluttering up his words:

Children do think about these things, and work them out in their minds. A few years ago, one of Parker’s classmates was trying to wrap his mind around the reality that Parker had a Daddy and Papa at home instead of a Mommy and Daddy. Clearly, at first, he couldn’t imagine it any other way. At one point he said to Parker, “Parker, I have a mommy and a daddy.” And Parker answered back, confidently, “Well, I have a daddy and a papa!” That was pretty much the end of it. That child is one of Parker’s best friends, and was almost as excited about Parker getting a little brother as Parker himself was.

Continue reading this post…

What I am going to say may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. No, John McCain is not as good on many gay issues as the leading Democratic candidates, who at least pay lip service to gay issues like ENDA and relationship recognition, and who did show up to LOGO’s debate last year – but John McCain’s nomination as the GOP candidate for president is very good news for GLBT Americans, and his presidency would be even better.

Continue reading this post…

The following is a guest post from the Rev. Irene Monroe, published in response to Brian’s earlier posting, “Change I Can Believe In.” Her writing has been posted on Bilerico.com and is syndicated in papers and LGBT websites across the nation, including the Carolinas’ Q-Notes.

Obama is on the ‘down low’ with the LGBTQ community
by Rev. Irene Monroe
Special to InterstateQ.com

Obama has “barack’ed the vote” by getting disinterested and disenfranchised Americans involved in his campaign for the presidential bid.  His promise to cease partisan politics and the old beltway boys’ bickering has not only raised the hope of the American public, but also brought out untold numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans  to cast our vote for him.

Obama’s South Carolina primary victory last month and his inspiring speech “Yes, we can change” proved that not only can he reach across this nation’s dividing lines, but we as Americans can too.

“This election is about the past vs. the future. It’s about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity….

“Don’t tell me we can’t change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future.”

But as Obama helps the nation to seize a better future, “the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today” concerning  LGBT Americans’ civil rights seem to either haunt him or come out of his campaign closet.

According to some news outlets, Obama asked to not have his picture taken with San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004, citing the Newsom’s support of same sex marriage. As Obama challenged us in his speech, we must now ask, “Can he change?”

“I gave a fund-raiser, at [Obama’s] request at the Waterfront restaurant. And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn’t get his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin” former Mayor Willie Brown told The San Francisco Chronicle.

Four years later, with a denial from the Obama campaign, Newsom told Reuters, “One of the three Democrats you mentioned as presidential candidates, as God is my witness, will not be photographed with me, will not be in the same room with me, even though I’ve done fund-raisers for that particular person — not once, but twice — because of this issue.”

Newsom’s a staunch ally to our community. He has neither publicly veered away from photo-ops with us nor from our allies promoting marriage equality.

Many LGBT supporters of Obama, however, will argue that in order to win Obama must tactically do what he has to do to shave off the vitriol of religious conservatives.

Okay!

But how is he then the candidate of change? And how does Obama’s political strategy reconcile with the words he spoke in South Carolina?

“We’re up against the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election. But we know that this is exactly what’s wrong with our politics. This is why people don’t believe what their leaders say anymore. This is why they tune out. And this election is our chance to give the American people a reason to believe again.”

Hmm?!

While it is true, in Obama’s case, that a picture with us would perhaps now say more than his eloquent equivocating words on behalf of us, Obama  can’t risk the political fallout.

Matt Comer, owner and editor of InterstateQ.com, stated in his blog article “‘President Obama’ — Why Gays need to worry” that “If Obama wins the presidency the LGBT community is in for four (and possibly eight) years of being subjected to a dangerously employed ‘big tent’ strategy that places an oppressed group of citizens at the same table as their oppressors. Obama’s presidency would see James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Donnie McClurkin and other anti-gay leaders sitting down with LGBT community leaders telling them how much they are evil and going to hell while Obama sits back and says, ‘We should work together and hope for change.’”

And while many of us will rationalize and embrace Obama’s  “big tent” strategy, in truth, Obama is on the “down low” with the LGBT community.  He has repackaged a softer and more gentler anti-gay platform than the Republicans, which is perhaps why so many of us uncritically and defensively come to Obama’s defensive.

An avid critic of mine wrote and said, “You and the white gay establishment are holding Obama to a double standard that is ridiculous and disingenuous. What about Hillary Clinton? If you’re going to judge people by the company they keep, it should be across the the board and not selective condemnation.”

The argument that Hilary isn’t and Bill wasn’t any better on LGBTQ issues is true. However, that’s not the issue here.

Why?

Because Obama is the new guy on the block challenging the old establishment. He’s allegedly espousing a different political platform, one where he says if ”we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words — yes, we can.”

But Obama’s “big tent strategy” to ascend to the White House and his elusive and “down low” promises to the LGBT community play us like pawns on a chess board. And, consequently, if we neither hold him to his promises nor have him expound on them,  then we will have participated in the closeting of ourselves — the disenfranchisement of our full and equal rights when he’s elected.

So, the real question on the table is can we get Obama to change. I am going to throw caution to the wind and say, “Yes, Obama can!”

Check out Irene Monroe’s writings regularly in Q-Notes, the premier source of LGBT news in North and South Carolina: www.Q-Notes.com

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Change I Can Believe In

You know that I support Ron Paul. His vision of a small federal government, of a return to Constitutional principles, and of the inherent worth and dignity of all individuals is something that resonates with me. I believe he would run the country in a way that creates space for Americans to step up to the promise and calling of this country. He’s also not going to win the Republican nomination.

When I look at Barack Obama, I see many of the same ideals that Ron Paul holds: a belief in this country, a belief in We The People and the unshaking conviction that our political system is not as it should be.

The words of my friend Evan Shulman resonate with me:

Does “Yes, We Can” extend beyond today? Can We beyond November? Can We beyond 2013?

Are you truly committed to and awakened by the change Obama speaks of? Are you ready to finish waking up, take action, and truly sustain your desires?

If not, then all you are left with are his policies. No mass “movement”, no real change.

If you really, truly are, however (and I hope that you are), then come Tuesday night, I will willingly join you.

So if you truly are fired up, if you truly are ready to go, no matter who wins the nomination, then I will stand with you. I will plan with you. I will speak out with you. I will organize with you. I will rally with you. I will build with you the future that we all know we want, and we all know we can have.

True inspiration carries you on through any obstacles. That’s what Dennis [Kucinich] taught me and he’s getting my Primary vote. If that’s what Obama has taught you, then he should get yours.

See you on the other side. Be the Change I can believe in.

Senator Obama clearly and consistently calls us to be our best selves. That is a change I can believe in and that is why I support Senator Barack Obama in his bid to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.