SCORE! Powell on DADT: Review it now

Colin Powell on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on CNN:

That second guy: “This has been vetted… it works.” What sh*t has he been smoking? Either that, or he’s been hiding in that undisclosed bunker with no TV, radio and internet for the past five years.


Call me crazy, but I’m American first

All of this talk of Obama’s hesitancy on a DADT repeal is making me nauseous.

Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff says:

There is no rational justification for prolonging the repeal effort any longer. No more waiting, no more excuses and no more cover for duplicitous, squeamish politicians from our timid activist groups.

Flaming Politics’ Brock Savage says:

I went into this, as much as I could, with my eyes open, aware that the new President was not nearly as liberal as I would like, and far from on-point on many of the most important issues facing the LGBT community. There are still many battles to be fought, and the LGBT community can’t sulk because he isn’t the man he never claimed to be but we hoped he was.

Obama spent countless hours talking about how he’d reach out to everyone on the DADT issue. If my memory serves me right, I believe Obama even told us before he was elected that he’d work to build consensus on the issue before pushing for a repeal.

The 2010 timeline for repealing DADT doesn’t offend me. Naff’s insistence that there’s “no rational justification for prolonging the repeal” conveniently (and, perhaps, blindly) ignores the dire economic situation in which our entire nation (and world) now finds itself.

Obama’s tactics on the issue of DADT repeal aren’t the issue; it’ll get done one way or another — seventy percent of the American public won’t be able to be ignored for long.

But, right now, 100 percent of the American public is begging our government to fix this financial mess. Gays need to cool it and give Obama a chance. It’s not like his entry into the White House is going to be a nice walk in the park on a sunny, warm day. He’ll have to save the entire nation before he can start saving the minorities within it. What good are civil rights if there’s nation where they can be exercised?

Of course, the impassioned activist inside me is screaming, “Equality Now!” The more politically-adept, enlightened side of me says, “Yeah… we’re all so great at pissing of the religious right and independent voters; go ahead and push DADT ahead of the line and in front of the economy. That’ll be just fine.

I understand Naff’s view from an activist standpoint. Strategically, pushing a DADT repeal through before dealing with the economy would be a complete disaster. Talk about turning folks against us.

There will be time to hold Obama accountable. When the time is right — when the nation isn’t on the verge of collapse — then we can shout and scream into the windows of the White House. Let’s be American first. Let Obama and the new administration figure out the national and worldwide economic problem, then we can worry about DADT.

Our LGBT organizations and leaders need to keep pushing on our issues, including DADT, ENDA, hate crimes and marriage equality. Keep these issues on the agenda for national discussion. Just realize that more important matters — problems with international implications — are being dealt with first and foremost. Painting Obama as a back-peddling politician isn’t going to help our cause

UPDATE: The Washington Blade has more. Oh, and another on why we have to get the economy fixed.


Minimalist Kirchick

Gay writer James Kirchick, the assistant editor of The New Republic, eloquently outlined the many ways in which the GOP might be pulling back from its open and unregretable gay bashing. In his latest piece for The Wall Street Journal, Kirchick compared this year’s Republican National Convention to past events and speeches and statements regarding gays at each of them.

Continue reading this post…


DADT flashback: Greensboro 2006

Today Congress will hold the first hearing on the anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy since its passage in 1993.

The hearing is at 2 p.m. and can be watched live via the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network website.

Until then, let’s take a trip down memory lane, to Sept. 21, 2006, Greensboro, N.C. (Click pic for PDF)

Click here for other media coverage

In a campaign modeled after the 2006 Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign (I was the Greensboro City Organizer for the Soulforce action), students from Harvard University have set out upon their journey toward creating discussion and bringing attention to the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gay ban of the U.S. Military.

They’ve already hit their first of four stops. On May 24, one youth attempted to enlist in the Army as an openly gay American. When he was turned away, others in the group sat in until police arrived.

Video below:

The group’s next stops will be in Portland, Maine; New York City; and Washington, D.C.

Learn More:
Harvard Right to Serve
“Touring To Protest ‘”Don’t Ask'” Harvard Crimson May 22, 2008
InterstateQ’s Soulforce page


Get the tissues…

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…

Catch the article on Obama’s post-forum teleconference here.

I’ll be watching the HRC Presidential Debate tonight via visiblevote08.logoonline.com (we don’t get LOGO here in North Carolina).

I’ll definitely be writing up my responses.

I think it will be interesting to see how all the candidates respond to the various issues. This is the first time in history that the LGBT community has been able to have a debate specifically and totally centered on our issues – the issues that we have to live with day in and day out. It will be one of the first times in history that candidates will have to face an audience primarily made up by those people who are consistently and intentionally placed within a rank of second class citizenship and who deal with all the legal, systematic discrimination and denial that goes hand-in-hand with their membership in such a group.

I have a bet that Edwards will continue to do his “non-answer” answers, even though I can appreciate and respect the journey he says he’s been on. I have a feeling that Clinton will, once again (as always), use her usual, coined and pre-written statements on how she is against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. As for Obama… let’s just hope his performance on the marriage question isn’t as bad as it was during the CNN/YouTube debate.

And that, my friends, is the crux – the very catalyst – for why this HRC/LOGO debate even exists: As a friend of mine said in an email to me earlier, this debate would not even be a possibility if not for the one LGBT issue on the minds of so many people during this current election season.

What issue, you ask?


If not for this issue – an issue so firmly recognizable to so many Americans – we would not have this debate.

The debate over marriage equality is one that brings up a lot of emotions and sometimes raises some tempers, but it is this issue that has become so large that it has enabled our community to come to the forefront.

And even after all this, all the major candidates remain on the side of those who push a “Separate, But Equal” philosophy. If the situation in New Jersey isn’t enough to show us that “civil unions” do not work, then I guess we are all lost. Except us gays, of course. We know what works and what won’t work. But we are the minority.

Expect much more commentary later tonight and into tomorrow.

And for what might really be the reason why you chose to read this particular post: A conversation with Barack Obama. I’ll be listening in on a conference call with Obama and others following the debate. I’ll write down what I hear, what I liked, what I didn’t like and what maybe rubbed me the wrong way. More for later… for sure.

Catch the article on Obama’s post-forum teleconference here.

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Seth Crawford, a junior at Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, NC, wrote a great student journalism article and profile on me and my activism as a part of a multicultural journalism workshop with the Greensboro News & Record.

His article appears in today’s paper:

UNCG student fights for gay rights
June 26, 2007
Seth Crawford, Northwest Guilford

This article was written as part of a Multicultural Journalism Workshop at the News & Record.

The numbing cold handcuffs constrict his wrists.

A firm hand tightly grasps his arm.

An attentive man guides him to the sporadic blinking lights of a police car.

As he is placed in the back seat, confidence builds up inside him.

Unlike most college students, 21-year-old Matt Hill Comer has been battling adversity his entire life.

Comer, a UNCG junior, realized he was gay when he was 12. But he grew up in a strictly conservative Baptist home, where he struggled with a decision to make his sexual orientation known. He would sit in church on Sundays, listening to his pastor — who seemed to point him out — condemning gays as despicable, vile creatures that would inevitably burn in hell.

Comer struggled with his sexual orientation. Maybe he didn’t feel the way he thought he did, or maybe it would pass. After two years of wrestling with himself, he finally came out to his parents at 14.

“My dad just sat on the couch. He didn’t really say anything,” Comer said. “My mom gave me the typical conservative Christian reaction saying, ‘You’re going to hell.’

“I cried myself to sleep.”

After he told his parents, he built up enough courage to confide to a friend in his Boy Scout troop and another friend from school, who told everyone else. It wasn’t the way he had planned. But there wasn’t much he could do about it, except grit his teeth and take the verbal abuse that followed.

Comer remembers being teased by the kids in his Boy Scout troop. That eventually turned to violence.

“They tied me to a tree and threw rocks and sticks at me and hit me with wet towels,” he said.

His father confronted the Scout master, who simply replied: “Boys will be boys.”

Read the full article by Seth

I emailed Seth this morning, told him he did a great job and gave him just one correction in his article. Besides that… I think his little bio at the bottom of the article – “Seth, a junior, wants to write for Sports Illustrated.” – might be right on cue with his talent for writing.

A new report from Media Matters is proclaiming “Conservative America is a Myth.”

According to Media Matters, their report (PDF) based on over 20 years of opinion and public polling data shows that America is no where near conservative and progressive on almost all issues.

Although other issues are certainly important, I’ll stick to the report’s section on LGBT issues, which they unfortunately label “Homosexuality” as if it were some medical text-book.

The first part of the section reads:

On matters of sexual orientation, conservatives are often thought to be closer to the American majority. But this is only because the nature of the questions being debated has changed so dramatically. Just a few years ago, almost no one imagined that Americans would be arguing same-sex marriage; instead, we were debating whether discrimination in housing and employment was acceptable. On those questions, a consensus has emerged in favor of equality.

Okay. I’ll give them that. The movement for marriage equality has almost completely taken over the modern LGBT movement for equality, so much so that when I start talking about general “gay rights” to people who oppose it, the first issue they jump to and associate with “gay rights” is marriage equality. Honestly, I think this phenomena has hurt us in the past few years. Maybe it won’t hurt as much in coming years but the huge wave of approved state Constitutional amendments banning marriage among same-sex couples is evidence enough that a backlash has occurred.

The report continues:

More recently, the question has shifted to specific rights—marriage, military service, adopting children. It’s fair to say that homosexuality is not fully accepted in every regard. But the trend is unmistakably in a progressive direction. When Howard Dean began his presidential campaign in 2004, his support of civil unions for gays as governor of Vermont was seen as alien to American values. Today support for civil unions is the median position of the American voter, and even R epublican presidential candidates claim to have no objection to a state passing a civil union law if its voters want one. Similarly, a majority of Americans (not to mention some prominent generals) now favors gays serving in the military.

Other issues show the same pattern. In 1987, 51 percent of Americans told Pew that “[s]chool boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals.” Two decades later, the number had fallen to 28 percent. And there is little doubt about which direction public opinion will move in the future. Starting with the pre-boomer generation born before World War II, each successive generation is more progressive on the issue of gay rights than was the generation before it.

The evidence is clear. Although why on God’s green earth we don’t see it reflected in the polls beats me. Perhaps it is because the folks who are in favor of all this gay equality just do not vote. That may very well be true. Seeing as though the majority of those who support LGBT equality are younger (don’t vote) or folks in high-level, always busy careers (don’t vote) or folks who just like to complain but never do anything to change the world (don’t vote), all this doesn’t surprise me.

Nice report, I haven’t read all of it and I’ve only seen the basic run-down and summary of the findings. Specifically on the LGBT issues section, the report isn’t telling me anything that I don’t know or that other activists don’t already know.

And, as for the whole report, I can’t comment totally, but I can say that it is just more proof that the majority of Republicans are just Democrats who don’t know any better.

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