Thursday, March 23, 2017

Family Research Council exploits rape incident to smear transgender children

FRC's latest attack on transgender youth is especially vile.

Just when one thinks the anti-lgbt hate group Family Research Council reached the zenith of bad taste in its desire to attack the lgbt community, the organization reveals that it can go to another level:

Headlines about school bathrooms have become pretty commonplace over the last year, but there was nothing common about what happened in Rockville, Maryland. In a horrifying story that's rocking the nation, a young 14-year-old girl was walking down the hallway when two older students in her class allegedly grabbed her, dragged her into the boys' bathroom, and took turns raping her. Later, after the arrests, police explained that the young men, who were enrolled as ninth graders despite being 17- and 18-years old, never should have been in the country in the first place.  
 According to reports, both boys crossed the Mexican border illegally last year. And although they were taken into custody by border control, they were allowed to move to relatives' homes until their deportation hearings. Last night, at a packed PTA meeting, parents were furious that more hadn't been done to protect students. "There are a lot of people here that maybe don't belong here," one said. "They haven't been checked out and I really need to know that my kids are safe." Others complained that the school admitted the students in the first place. Administrators were in damage control mode, explaining that the Supreme Court forbid schools from denying education based on a person's immigration status. Still, one attorney said, "There were long speeches from the principal, from the superintendent, from others who were associated with them explaining why this could never have happened when it did. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound to cure it."  
 Outside, members of the community held signs that read, "Safety for students" -- a rallying cry that's been on parents' minds since President Obama made school bathrooms and locker rooms a sexual free-for-all last spring. Suddenly, areas that should be safe and private aren't. And while school officials promise that they're more vigilant in monitoring the school, transgender policies like these only make that job more difficult. Some liberals argue that letting boys into the girls' bathroom isn't a big deal. But who knows if, in Montgomery County Schools where Obama's policy is in effect, someone saw this girl go into the boys' bathroom and didn't say something because of it?  
Administrators told Rockville parents to remind their kids that if they "see something inappropriate, they should immediately tell a staff member." That becomes infinitely more difficult when what's inappropriate has already been normalized! In the county's own guidelines, students are told to "foster understanding" -- code for students to look the other way when something seems amiss. Maybe a bystander would have been told, as the Pennsylvania junior was when he saw a girl in the boys' locker room, to "tolerate" it.
 As I told members of the Texas Senate, who, like 12 other states, are doing everything they can to restore some semblance of safety to bathrooms, policies like Montgomery County's are dangerous. They ignore the deterrent value of the ordinary citizen empowered to sound the alarm when something appears out of place -- like a biological male in a girls' bathroom. Students may be less willing and less likely to "say something if they see something" out of fear they would be accused of "gender identity discrimination." Regardless of the circumstances, schools should be rushing to remove any obstacle that stands in the way of students and safety. It's what parents expect, and what children deserve.

At no point am I attempting to minimize the awful situation regarding that young girl, but it's incredibly tacky for FRC to exploit the incident. FRC is saying that jf transgender youth were allowed to use locker rooms and bathrooms which correspond to their desired gender identity, it would make other students so confused that they wouldn't be able to report seeing a young girl (let's repeat FRC's words describing the incident) grabbed and dragged into a bathroom. FRC is also saying that pro-transgender policies would make it difficult for school officials to keep students safe for this same reason.  This is a ludicrous argument. Its inanity is best emphasized by this line

But who knows if, in Montgomery County Schools where Obama's policy is in effect, someone saw this girl go into the boys' bathroom and didn't say something because of it?  
The child didn't go into the boys' bathroom. She was dragged in. It stands to reason that if anyone saw it, they would have reported it regardless of any policy.

FRC's spin is not only a vile attack on our transgender youth, but also one on common sense. Its not surprising, though. Appeals to fears don't require the usage of common sense.

Editor's note - Regarding the incident in Pennsylvania the Family Research Council alluded to, here is the actual situation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Religious right salivating over possible havoc SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch could cause lgbt community

According to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, religious right groups and figures are practically giddy over Trump's SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch. In fact, it's downright disgusting how they are already celebrating the possible negative effect he may have on lgbt equality:

Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins . . . the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who had been invited to Trump’s announcement of the Gorsuch nomination, noted (accurately) that “conservative groups like FRC are lining up behind Neil Gorsuch’s nomination” and wrote (inaccurately) that Democrats were “having trouble finding anything wrong with the Supreme Court nominee.” Perkins was among other Religious Right leaders putting stock in Gorsuch’s grounding in “natural law,” which they see providing a basis to reject reproductive choice and LGBTQ equality: 
"For so many Americans, who have watched as a handful of justices redefine thousands of years of tradition and natural law, listening to Gorsuch was like a breath of fresh air. Unlike so many judicial activists today, he understands his role. In a world where issues like same-sex marriage and abortion were suddenly discovered in the invisible ink of the Constitution, Gorsuch offered hope that he would not declare what he would “like the [law] to be” but “what it is.”

NOM -  . . .the National Organization for Marriage called Gorsuch “an intellectual giant and proven pro-family conservative who can help transform the Court” and who “has the potential of leading the Supreme Court in a conservative direction for a generation to come.” NOM specifically touted the potential for overturning the Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision: 
The clearest path to reversing that illegitimate decision is, thus, changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. The confirmation of Judge Gorsuch is the first step on that path. Then we need to make sure that the next vacancy on the Court is filled by an originalist judge in the mold of Justice Scalia, as Judge Gorsuch’s background and track record show him to be. 

 Gordon Klingenschmitt - . . .anti-gay activist and former Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt slammed LGBTQ groups for raising concerns about Gorsuch’s ruling in Hobby Lobby: “Clearly the homosexual leftists hate religious freedom as much as they hate Neil Gorsuch.” Klingenschmitt posted a picture of Gorsuch fishing with the late Antonin Scalia, adding that Gorsuch “may actually be more conservative than Scalia on issues like de-regulation.”

And all of this is happening in the backdrop of allegations that Trump's people coordinated with Russia to influence last year's presidential elections. How many folks want to bet that there are certain prayers by certain parties asking that Gorsuch be confirmed before the Russia investigation continues 

'Trump Administration turns its back on elderly lgbts' & other Wed. midday news briefs

The Trump Administration just eliminated the voices of elderly lgbts from national survey.

Trump Administration Removes LGBTQ Questions From Elderly Survey - It's official and we need to be PISSED about it for a multitude of reasons. 

Trump administration erases LGBT people from survey of older adults - More information on this issue and why it is significant in a terrible way.  Is it too paranoid for me to smell the religious right tentacles in this decision?

 Don’t Be Fooled: Neil Gorsuch Is Having It Both Ways On Gay Marriage - Most likely the newest SCOTUS justice. A product of obstruction and folks refusing to pay attention.  

NOM & Global Culture Warriors Launch Anti-Trans Bus Tour - Doesn't this make you feel nauseous?

 This Gorgeous Photo Series Crushes Stereotypes About Black Masculinity - Destroying stereotypes about black masculinity is something which interests me A LOT.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Anti-lgbt hate group playing defense for Trump's false wiretapping claim

By now, I don't think I have to rehash the situation involving Trump's false claim that Obama had him wiretapped last year. Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey became the latest government official to refute it.

However, don't tell that to the anti-lgbt hate group American Family Association or its fake news site, One News Now. You would ruin the organization's attempt to provide credibility to Trump's continuously refuted claim via an article on its site, A quest to stump Trump, not dig for truth

The article says that disputing Trump's claim is a part of a conspiracy to harm his presidency (as if he needs the help). The pièce de résistance of this hot mess is the One News Now poll below:

One would think that a group which prides itself on morality wouldn't be so quick to defend the lies of a man who doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word "honesty." Perhaps the American Family Association has decided that until Trump gives up that "religious liberty" executive order, the group will kiss his butt and then brag about how it tastes like what was served during The Last Supper.

'How Trump transformed the religious right into lapdogs of the alt-right' & other Tue. midday news briefs

The religious right have deserted the guy on the right for the guy on the right.

Amazing Disgrace: How did Donald Trump—a thrice-married, biblically illiterate sexual predator—hijack the religious right? - Probably the best article you will ever read which explains Trump's appeal to the religious right. However, there is one error as far as I'm concerned. Trump didn't hijack the religious right. The way this article breaks this down, it is very appropriate that someone like Trump would become a religious right leader.  Under their  facade of piety was always an appeal to basic prejudice.

Religious Right Rallies ‘Round Trump’s Anti-LGBTQ UN Delegation - Trump appealed to the religious right's need for power.

  The Dangers Facing Trans Women Of Color In 2017 - Siiiigh! 

 Why Neil Gorsuch’s Idea of ‘Religious Liberty’ Is A Direct Threat to LGBTQ Rights - Pay attention. Signorile breaks it down again. 

 Georgia governor slams ‘religious liberty’ change to adoption bill - Trying to slip some evil "religious liberty" junk in GA bill.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hate group: Pro-lgbtq ordinances means automatic anti-religious discrimination

It would seem that the anti-lgbt hate group Alliance Defending Freedom is taking the fight against pro- lgbt laws a step further. In the past, an incident would happen, such as the case of Melissa and Aaron Klein or Barronelle Stutzman, which would cause strife between pro-lgbt ordinances versus the so-called personally held beliefs of business owners to discriminate against lgbts. But now, ADF is trying to eliminate the "middle man," so to speak.

Via a case in Phoenix, the group is making the claim that pro-lgbt laws and ordinances automatically will lead to religious discrimination, therefore such laws and ordinances shouldn't exist in the first place.

According to the American Family Association's phony news site, One News Now:

Alliance Defending Freedom works to preserve and defend religious freedom, calling it "our most cherished birthright." Toward that end, ADF is representing Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix who specialize in hand-painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy for weddings and other events. ADF filed suit on the artists' behalf against a local ordinance that forces the business owners to use their artistic talents to promote same-gender "wedding" ceremonies. 
 The ordinance also forbids them – under threat of fines and jail time – from publicly stating religious beliefs that might "imply" anyone would be "unwelcome" in their business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow the lawsuit is designed to temporarily block enforcement until a full hearing can be held on the ordinance, which could force Duka and Koski to violate their faith.

Duka and Koski filed their case in May of last year with the help of the ADF as sort of a first salvo. According to ThinkProgress, it didn't go well for them:

With support from the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, co-owners of the Brush & Nib calligraphy studio, filed suit in May challenging Phoenix’s ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations. Though they have not yet been asked to provide invitations or other designs for a same-sex wedding, they want to overturn the law so that their eventual refusal to do so won’t be illegal. 
 . . .Judge Karen Mullins rejected the artists’ claim that being required to serve same-sex couples violated their freedoms of speech and religion. She denied them a preliminary injunction as the case proceeds, sending a not-so-subtle hint that their pro-discrimination claims aren’t going to get very far. ADF had argued that if Brush & Nib is forced to create products that are used in a same-sex wedding, it would constitute compelled speech. Mullins countered that “the only thing compelled by the ordinance is the sale of goods and services to persons regardless of their sexual orientation.” Duka and Koski are perfectly free to publicly state their religious views concerning same-sex marriage and same-sex sexual activity — so long as they don’t publicize an intention to discriminate in their business.

Since that time, religious and conservative publications have been pushing Duka and Koski as martyrs for their faith, making sure to emphasize the possibility that the two could go to jail, while pushing a false idea that the religious liberty argument is about "Christians" vs. lgbts.:

Christian Artists Threatened With Fines and Jail Time for Refusing to Make Gay Wedding Invitations

Christian Artists Could Be Fined, Jailed for Refusing to Make Same-Sex Wedding Invitations

The War On Wedding Vendors Is Ultimately A War On Free Thought

Christian Artists Face Prison for Refusing to Make Gay Wedding Invitations

 In reality, this "religious liberty" argument is about a group of people bogarting a religion and exploiting it to excuse their personal biases and false entitlements. Today's article in One News Now is simply more of that same bluster and balderdash. And bear in mind that neither woman is in any danger of going to jail. As far as it is known, to this day, no gay person has come to their business asking for wedding services.

Even so, the case is going in front of an Arizona appeals court, so we will be hearing about it again. It's cases like this which have religious right groups and personalities practically salivating when thinking of what type of judges Trump could appoint to the bench.

'Anti-transgender law being blamed for Duke's upset loss in NCAA tournament' & other Mon. midday news briefs

NC's anti-transgender law is being blame for Duke's NCCA upset loss.

Here’s Why Some Irate Duke Fans Blamed Team’s Upset Loss on North Carolina’s ‘Bathroom Law’ - Duke University was predicted to win the NCAA championship but got upset last night by the University of South Carolina. And some Duke fans are blaming NC's anti-transgender law, HB2. Well this is interesting. 

Duke Got Burned By North Carolina's HB2 Bathroom Law - Another article on the matter. This sounds like the making of an anti-HB2 argument. EXCELLENT!  

A roaring hit! Beauty And The Beast smashes U.S. weekend box office records with staggering $170m debut - So much for THAT religious right boycott.

 Trump Administration Proposes Eliminating LGBT Elders from Key Federal Survey - A press release on a vital danger to our lgbt elderly citizens. This cannot happen!  

North Texans Head To Austin To Rally For LGBTQ Rights - Wonderful, cause they are acting screwy in Texas. Big time.

  YouTube apologizes for hiding LGBTQ users’ videos in its Restricted Mode - Alright youtube, Don't be foolish.

This just in - 'transgender bathroom predators' is STILL a myth

The following graphic is courtesy of a Media Matters 2014 investigation. Though it is almost three years old, I'm secure in saying that it remains accurate. And a reminder about truth never hurts:

Friday, March 17, 2017

'Supreme Court Justice Alito whines that lgbts are treating conservative Christians like 'bigots'' & other Friday midday news briefs

By not calling attention to propaganda like this pushed by the religious right, lgbts have allowed ourselves to be portrayed as the villains in this supposed 'culture war.'

Supreme Court Justice Alito: Gays treat conservative Christians ‘as bigots’ - Don't get mad at Alito for pushing this idea. The way he has inaccurately phrased the fight over lgbt equality is our fault because we have allowed folks like him to push this idea that lgbts are "intolerant" to conservative Christians without a loud and vigorous challenge. We have allowed the religious right to omit the many lies they have told about our lives, our families, and our marriages. We have allowed them to omit their history of telling lies about lgbts supposedly recruiting children, about how we are supposedly persecuting Christians, or about how we supposedly live a "dangerous lifstyle." We don't call attention to their reliance on junk science or cherry-picking of legitimate science. We don't make an issue out of any of this stuff. By pretending we are above challenging this stuff and playing the mamby-pamby game of "winning hearts and minds" without focusing any attention or showing any righteous indignation about the lies told about us and basically avoiding the issue of anti-lgbt propaganda instead of confronting it head on, we have allowed people like Alito and organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association to control the argument. It's time we stop fighting on their terms. Of course I've said that for a number of years . . . 

Speaking of which:  

How They See Us: Unmasking The Religious Right War on Gay America - The above news brief introduces a perfect opportunity for me to showcase the free online booklet I published in 2013. I made mention of the many ways religious right groups and organizations use propaganda to degrade our community and to make us look like the bad guys. What I am talking about is all in this booklet. I'm going to keep on promoting it until folks get the message that we need to make noise about the lies used against us. 

 In other news:  

Alabama House passes anti-gay adoption bill despite protest by lesbian lawmaker - The Alabama House of Representatives passes a bill allowing faith-based organizations to have access to state grants and contracts even if they discriminate against gay parents. A proponent of this bill says he is trying to show respect to religious organizations. What about the respect which should be given to lgbt taxpayers. No organization who will discriminate against gay parents and lgbts in general have a right to lgbt tax dollars or anything paid for in part by lgbt tax dollars.
March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month - Get educated.

Trans Women Shouldn’t Have To Constantly Defend Their Own Womanhood - AMEN!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Family Research Council wants to turn churches into PACs under false guise of 'free speech'

FRC wants to use churches to gain political power/

From an email I received earlier today from the Family Research Council, it sounds as if the group wants to make churches into potential political action committees.

There is one problem, though:

Most non-profit organizations have a purpose. For example, one of FRC's purposes is to advance issues like religious freedom. It follows that as we communicate with people like you about the issues, we should also be able to speak about and endorse political candidates who share our values and purpose. This is the meaning of free speech. The same is true for other non-profits, including churches. 
Whether a person wants his church to endorse or oppose political candidates is a separate question, but it should not be a question about whether or not a church has the constitutional right to do so. That right has essential been taken away by the so-called Johnson Amendment of 1954. The Johnson Amendment says that tax-exempt organizations cannot participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. It was introduced by Lyndon Johnson in 1954 after a tough reelection to the Senate, where a tax-exempt organization worked to defeat him. 
The measure was passed by being hidden in a larger tax package. In fact, the Johnson Amendment was passed without any debate or hearings about its implications for churches, charities, and their leaders. Last month, FRC worked with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Representative Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced the Free Speech Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 781. S. 264), to roll back the Johnson Amendment. 
 A non-profit organization should not lose its tax-exempt status or be threatened with audits because it exercises its constitutional right to speak in favor of political candidates who share the organization's values and mission. Now that the Free Speech Fairness Act has been introduced, we need you to urge your Senators and Representative to co-sponsor the bill. Once the Free Speech Fairness Act is passed, pastors and organizational leaders' constitutional right to free speech will be restored. Urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor this important legislation.

FRC wants churches to be able to endorse or speak against candidates, while keeping their tax-exempt statuses. The effect of this could potentially revamp the political landscape. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

 According to Tom Gjelten, a correspondent with National Public Radio, pastors can already preach about social issues and political issues. Also, churches can have nonpartisan activities and voter drives. He also said the desire to overturn The Johnson Amendment is about money and power:

Conservative groups that favor a greater role for religion in the public space, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, have long sought to repeal the amendment, arguing that it restricts free speech by censoring the content of a pastor's sermon. Overturning the law, however, would also have major implications for campaign finance. If churches or clergy are allowed to participate in political campaigns, tax-free donations to the churches could go to support a political candidate. Religious organizations could become bigger money players in politics.

A more pertinent way to describe the effects of overturning The Johnson Amendment comes from Sofia Tesfaye of Salon:

Allowing churches to express political opinions isn’t the main concern of critics of Trump’s proposal to do away with the longstanding law, however. At issue is whether a tax-exempt institution can engage in electioneering and retain its tax-exempt status, according to Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. “Church members could give tax-deductible donations to a church, which would then be used by the church to campaign for a specific candidate,” Jones told Salon. “It could effectively turn churches into campaign offices and pastors into party operatives.” A religious group could begin to release campaign ads, and church members could contribute to political candidates and write it off on their taxes, for example.

“It’s important to note that the Johnson Amendment applies not only to churches but to all 501(c)3 charitable organizations,” Jones added, extending the potential ramifications of Trump’s push beyond the pulpit to campaign financing writ large. Allowing deductions would mean that the government would be subsidizing — through the tax code — the political activities and speech of churches and other tax-exempt organizations. As with most other deductions in our tax code, wealthier taxpayers in higher brackets would likely receive the biggest subsidies. “Because churches have fewer reporting requirements than PACs, it would mean even less transparency in campaign financing,” Jones argued.   
While traditional political organizations must disclose their donors, 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations — who are forbidden from spending more than half of their budgets on politics — do not. Allowing charities and churches to engage in politics would almost certainly lead to a rush of dark money campaign spending by groups that don’t disclose their donors.

More dark money. More corruption. More chances for organizations like the Family Research Council to exploit churches for more political power to shape this country into the image they think it should have, as well as further erasing the line of separation between church and state.

And definitely more hell for the lgbtq community.

''Conservative' small cities standing up for lgbtq rights' & other Thur midday news briefs

In Conservative America, Small Cities Stand Up for LGBTQ Rights - The fight for lgbtq equality is happening everywhere, not just the big "progressive" cities.  

Bathroom bill advancing in Texas terrifies this transgender 7 year old - Just a mess. The folks claiming to protect children are actually harming children.  

US Sends Group Rejecting Rights to UN Women’s Commission - C-FAM is one of the nauseating groups gaining new status thanks to Trump's election. 

 LGBT Groups Say Trump’s Pick For The Supreme Court "Poses A Significant Threat" - Pay attention. The Family Research Council is practically "drooling" for this guy to get on the Supreme Court.  

GOP health plan’s ‘devastating’ impact on those with HIV - YEP!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

WOW! That's a lot of homophobic insanity in less than two minutes

From Right-Wing Watch, who else but our old friend, 'Porno' Pete LaBarbera:

Anti-LGBTQ activist Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality joined Dave Daubenmire and other speakers at last weekend’s Wisconsin Christian News Ministry Expo and Conference, where he warned that the push for “equality” is satanic.

Remember that behind almost every highly deceptive, intricately-thought-out, well-paid-for talking point of anti-lgbt dogma is the mindset which spewed this bizarre word salad of homophobia. I'm surprised he left out the '"recruiting of children"