Turkey’s Violent Homophobia

This is so awful. 😦 I will never understand why people have to resort to violence when they disagree with someone over ANYTHING. A lot of the time I fear that’s what will end up happening here more and more. I don’t believe for an instant that this country is more civilised than all other countries in the world.

For a brief moment, Istanbul’s Taksim Square was transformed yesterday. The riot police, clouds of tear gas, and barricade-building protesters that characterized the past month’s unprecedented unrest were gone. Instead, a mass of rainbow flags, garish makeup, and neon clothing and face paint gleamed in the afternoon sunshine ahead of the city’s 10th LGBT pride march.

The atmosphere was festive. Despite that the demonstration was not legally sanctioned and there were frequent anti-government chants, uniformed police were almost nonexistent. Public reaction seemed to be almost overwhelmingly positive, and bystanders applauded the procession as it passed down İstiklâl Avenue. Attendance, estimated at least 20,000, was among the largest in the march’s history and included three M.P.s from the Republican People’s Party, an opposition group.

It was an undeniable success, and organizers were justifiably delighted. But under any other circumstances, things might have been very different. Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is legal in Turkey, but far from accepted. Prejudice is widespread: 84 percent of Turkish people said gays or lesbians were among the groups they would least like living in their area, according to 2011 research conducted as part of the World Values Survey.

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Russia’s Bad Weekend for Gay Rights

Please take a moment to be thankful that no matter how difficult the struggle feels for those of us in the US, we don’t live in Russia. I hope somehow things change for them. 😦

As the U.S. celebrated the intersection of Pride parades and two landmark Supreme Court decisions, Russia spent the weekend moving even closer to the Worst Timeline for gay rights there. On Saturday, police arrested dozens of protesters after anti-gay rights activists attacked about 100 pro-gay rights demonstrators. And today, President Putin signed a new law that criminalizes homosexual “propaganda” aimed at minors.

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The Day After DOMA

So it’s now the day after the Supreme Court overruled DOMA. It’s still all over the news. People are still celebrating. Though it is a major milestone for someone like me, I find I’m celebrating a little less today. Cheering a little softer. Why? Because their ruling doesn’t apply to me. There are still only 13 states where same-sex marriage is legal. Neither my state nor the one I wish to live in with my Beloved recognise same-sex marriages. So as far as I am concerned and my future marital state, yesterday’s ruling doesn’t matter.

Best of luck to those of you fortunate enough to live in states where you are allowed all rights and privileges.



Victory is OURS!

We have won the battle, my friends, but believe me when I tell you we have not won the war.

But let us savour the victory given to us by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a 5 to 4 decision. I have been dreading this ruling, feeling that the delay meant bad news.

Even though she will never read these words, I wish to give heartfelt thanks to Edie Windsor, the woman who made this possible when she requested a refund of state taxes paid when her wife died in 2009. Edie, and by default her beloved Thea, is a true pioneer for the LGBT community.

Keep up the fight, my sisters and brothers, and most importantly, never lose sight of hope!!!

Edit: I misspoke earlier regarding Ms Windsor and also left out a bit of information. Ms Windsor was suing the IRS for a refund of federal estate taxes that she’d paid upon the death of her spouse, Thea, not state taxes. Also, I neglected to point out that not only was DOMA struck down today, but California’s Proposition 8.


Gay marriage would lead to polygamy

Well, I have to admit, this is a new (and creative) argument against gay marriage: that if you move beyond the bounds of the traditional man/woman relationship within a marriage then it will lead to polygamists demanding that polygamy be decriminalised. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter to me how many you want to marry. If everyone is happy and no one feels neglected, knock yourselves out. As it stands, those who live in a polygamist relationship can rely on the government for assistance. I mean think about it. One man and one woman can legally marry, yet other women (and presumably their children) live with them in a “marriage” that’s not considered legal. Any and all women who are not legally married to that one man are technically single mothers and can seek government assistance as such. I say let them all marry and get off government assistance!!

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s opposition to gay marriage is well established.

But as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue decisions on two major gay marriage cases this week, less well-known is his co-authorship, in January 2013, of a court brief that laid out an argument against the constitutionality of allowing same-sex couples to marry.

In the amicus brief, Cuccinelli, the attorney general of Virginia, and Greg Zoeller, the attorney general or Indiana, used a novel justification to make their point in one section of the 55-page brief — namely that gay marriage could lead to polygamy.

“Responsible parenting is not a justification for same-sex-couple marriage, as distinguished from recognition of any other human relationships. It is instead a rationale for eliminating marriage as government recognition of a limited set of relationships. Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, the conclusion that follows is that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage. See, e.g. , Jonathan Turley, One Big, Happy Polygamous Family , NY Times, July 21, 2011, at A27 (“[Polygamists] want to be allowed to create a loving family according to the values of their faith.”).”

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Transgender Girl Wins Right to Use Bathroom at Public School

I admit that anything to do with transgender individuals is beyond my comprehension. If a transgendered person – be it child, teen or adult – looks like the gender with which they identify, I don’t understand what any harassment is based upon. Take this child for instance. Looking at the photos of her, I would not assume that she was born with a penis and would therefore take her into the ladies’ room while out shopping. The only way I can imagine that she would be discovered by strangers is if she walked into a toilet stall and stood to pee into the toilet rather than sitting like a little girl. Otherwise, I don’t know how anyone would know. I imagine, though, that it’s more difficult if you’re born with a vagina yet identify as a male. Typically, men’s toilets have 2 stalls at the most for men to use and I imagine a man going into a stall to pee would definitely be noticed.

If I’m being overly ignorant about this, please enlighten me.

In a decision being hailed as monumental in the struggle for transgender rights, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled Monday that a 6-year-old transgender girl, Coy Mathis, must be permitted to use the girls’ bathroom in her school.

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A Reporter’s Weekend with WBC

This man was either very brave or very stupid. I cannot decide which. I’ll leave that judgement to you.

My weekend with the Westboro Baptist Church will never leave me. And I wish it would.

I can’t stop thinking about them. I’m still trying to understand why they behave the way they do, and I’m still thinking up counter arguments that I wish I had had at my fingertips during my many “discussions” with Steve Drain, who was our host for the weekend. Steve, and the church, believe the increasing acceptance of gay marriage is a harbinger of the End Times. I do not.

The decision to spend a weekend with Westboro was a difficult one. My ABC News bosses and I had cooked up an idea that I should spend weekends with slivers of American society that, as a recent immigrant, I found puzzling and perhaps even bizarre. Westboro was my first choice.

Full story with video

Murkowski Backs Gay Marriage

I’m not sure I agree that ‘evolving view’ is overused, but perhaps I am wrong.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed support for gay marriage Wednesday, becoming the third sitting Republican senator to do so.

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay rights group, announced the Alaska senator had backed marriage equality in a statement.

“This is a hard issue. It is hard because marriage is such a deeply personal issue,” Murkowski told Anchorage television station KTUU. “There may be some that when they hear the position that I hold that are deeply disappointed. There may be some that embrace the decision that I have made.”

“I recognize that it is an area that as a Republican I will be criticized for,” she added.

Murkowski had said in March that her views were shifting on the issue. “The term ‘evolving view’ has been perhaps overused, but I think it is an appropriate term for me to use,” she said.

Same-Sex Couples Face Significant Housing Discrimination

Well that’s no surprise, really. I can only hope that when the time comes for my girlfriend and I to get an apartment or whatever we decide on, that we don’t face problems like this.

WASHINGTON — Same-sex couples face significant levels of discrimination in the rental housing market, according to a landmark government study released on Tuesday.

The new survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the first-ever study examining housing discrimination against same-sex couples at the national level.

HUD found that same-sex couples were “significantly less likely than heterosexual couples to get favorable responses to e-mail inquiries about electronically advertised rental housing.” In fact, heterosexual couples were favored over gay male couples in 15.9 percent of the tests, and over lesbian couples in 15.6 percent.

The survey is based on 6,833 email correspondences in 50 metropolitan markets from June to October 2011. Testers would send two emails to the landlord, each asking about the availability of a rental unit advertised online. The only difference between the two was in the sexual orientation of the interested couple.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the findings on Friday during an event at the agency for HUD GLOBE, the association for federal LGBT employees. In his remarks, he told a story illustrating the different treatment that heterosexual and same-sex couples were given by some rental agents.

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