Tag Archives: ACLU

How Dare You Kate Brown!

1 Oct

Watching the myriad Knute Buehler commercials on every network seems to address how truly systemic, institutional, and ubiquitous misogyny is, even here in “progressive” Oregon. How dare you, Kate Brown for being an effective, smart, and strong woman. Don’t you know that here in the United States we don’t want to see or hear smart and strong women? Watching the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearings 27 years ago to watching the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearings this week, it is painfully clear that we don’t want women’s voices in government. So who is going to save the country? Who will save Oregon? It looks to me like some angry women in elevators (true heroes, Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila) will save the country, and I think Kate Brown is the woman to lead Oregon and who will remove barriers for all who carry targeted identities.

It is particularly difficult to watch the almost comical lies Buehler is spreading about Governor Brown. His lies range from the outrageous to the insane. I’m waiting for Buehler to blame Brown for the Scotts Mills earthquake that hit Oregon in 1993, or that she orchestrated the tsunami that just hit Indonesia–my she is powerful. Let us unpack some of the lies, so that we can all be better informed–granted this is for people who are concerned with facts, since facts have now become passè with Buehler and the Republican party. Let’s address the big ole lie regarding his blaming Brown for Oregon ranking number 48 in public schools. The fact is that, sadly, we already held that ranking before Brown became governor. Moreover, I need to underscore that Herr Buehler voted against creating smaller class sizes and voted against increasing teacher wages; this behavior/voting record only contributes to weakening our public schools. Buehler also lays the problem of homelessness at the feet of Brown–wow! Really? This attack is so unseemly and categorically false, yet I fear people will believe him because he is using the GOP method of lying: “just keep repeating it and people will eventually think it is true.” What is also disturbing is that Buehler has no realistic plan to address the system of poverty and homelessness. Whereas Governor Brown has been working to address poverty and remove barriers from people experiencing homelessness. It is also nice to see that President Obama endorsed Governor Brown.

Rep. Buehler’s website contains many “issues” pages with one common theme: start with a rant against Gov. Brown with no facts or substance, then spout lofty, vague platitudes about “working together” and “solving problems”. How committed is he to addressing Oregon’s problems? According to his voting record, not very. Over the past five years, he has voted against all of the following: statewide access to healthcare, requiring coverage for abortions and contraception, extending gun purchase background checks, prohibiting immigration status requirements, protecting tenants from capricious evictions (thus increasing the population experiencing homelessness), increasing the minimum wage, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and establishing seamless voter registration (one of Gov. Brown’s signature accomplishments, by the way). He has a 0% rating from the SEIU and a 93% rating from the NRA. The ACLU gives him a 33% and the Oregon Education Association a dismal 31%. Business and corporate groups consistently rate him in the 90s while environmental groups all rate him 40% or lower.

Knute Buehler is really good at finding marginalized and targeted people who are legitimately frustrated and spinning their stories into his web of lies. What he isn’t good at is actually identifying solutions to Oregon’s problems. He attacks PERS because it’s convenient, ignoring the fact that PERS security and education funding would both be solved by fixing our state’s ridiculous tax laws.

Gov. Brown is a dedicated, creative, passionate public servant. She’s actually interested in putting in the work to solve Oregon’s problems. Rep. Buehler is a self-serving, self-identified “moderate” who cares more about being Governor than being honest. His legislative record shows a callow conservative who votes against women, immigrants, victims of violence, the poor, and the disenfranchised. For all his talk about “fixing education”, he votes against schools.

Don’t be fooled. Knute Buehler may not be a raving lunatic like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC, aka Gollum serving his dark lord 45), but his calm demeanor hides a corporate agenda that will do nothing to make Oregon better.

I also want to give a shout out to the brilliant Stacey Abrams, who is running for Governor of Georgia. Like Brown, she is enduring false attacks from the very racist, homophobic, misogynist, Brian Kemp. Again, we see a woman, and a woman of color who is being attacked for being smart, a woman, and being black–definitely a common theme in the United States.

Call to action: VOTE! Call your senators. Campaign for candidates that support all people, not just white, heterosexual, cis, able bodied men.

In an attempt to be fair to Knute Buehler, I tried repeatedly to call his office and his campaign staff, only to get a voice recording. I left messages, but Mr. Buehler, nor anyone from his campaign got back to me.

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National Coming Out Day 2016: Supporting Each Other

11 Oct

coming-outGrab your smelling salts, clutch your pearls: I have big news. I am gay, queer, a homosexual. Yes, it is true. October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Why do we need this day? Why do we need to celebrate this day?

I cannot underscore enough the importance of being out and visible.  The more visible we are as a community, the more difficult it is to target us and treat us as sub-human or second class citizens. And here is where the messiness lives.

I cannot underscore enough how being able to be “out” is a privilege I have. I am painfully aware that many people in the United States are not able to “come out,” as the level of risk is too great.  Sadly, we know there are many in the LGBTQ community that the physical and emotional toll would be too great in coming out. Let us stand in solidarity and work to change the entire system that shames and denigrates the queer community. Right now that means to do whatever we can to defeat the horrifically homophobic and misogynistic deplorable duo that is Trump and Pence.

Currently there are 29 states — over half of the US — where it is still legal to actively discriminate against LGBT folk.  Look at this map provided by the ACLU to see where your state stands on protecting rights of LGBTQ people. Yes, in 29 states one can be fired for being gay. Not a big surprise that no state in the South has the slightest protection for the LGBT community. (There do exist individual cities that provide limited protection, but of course look what happened when Charlotte, NC tried to create a safe city — Republican legislators slammed the whole state with the loathsome HB2.)  I guess that wacky Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision from 2003 meant nothing.

Sadly, in this election year, we have only seen venom coming from each GOP candidate regarding LGBTQ rights. Not only are Pence and Trump working to hurt our community, but the reinforcements from the GOP platform are nothing less than embarrassing.  Speaking of embarrassing, the exceedingly ignorant Gary Johnson is not an ally to our community, although a white heterosexual man tried to convince me he is. When you are pro-states rights around LGBTQ issues, you are NOT an ally.

It is imperative that people see this as political! Sadly, we continue to see the numbers rise in homicides and attacks on LGBTQ community; and we know these numbers are not accurate because people are too fearful to identify, or authorities misidentify people.  We need to vote for people who will support LGBTQ rights.

And I  hold out great hope for the future. I also want to thank all of the LGBTQ allies, for there are a great many of you. Let us support one another and stand in solidarity. Come out, come out, where ever you are!

National Coming Out Day 2015: The Power of Visibility

11 Oct

Coming OutGrab your smelling salts, clutch your pearls: I have big news. I am gay, queer, a homosexual. Yes, it is true. October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Why do we need this day? Why do we need to celebrate this day?

I cannot underscore enough the importance of being out and visible.  The more visible we are as a community, the more difficult it is to target us and treat us as sub-human or second class citizens.

Currently there are 29 states — over half of the US — where it is still legal to actively discriminate against LGBT folk.  Look at this map provided by the ACLU to see where your state stands on protecting rights of LGBTQ people. Yes, in 29 states one can be fired for being gay. Not a big surprise that no state in the South has the slightest protection for the LGBT community. (There do exist individual cities that provide limited protection.)  I guess that wacky Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision from 2003 meant nothing.

Sadly, in this election year, we have only seen venom coming from each GOP candidate regarding LGBTQ rights. Such asinine statements such as, “we will put them in camps,” coming from Mike Huckabee. My, I am having a deja vu moment here–almost as though Huckabee has no recollection of history. We have  Ted Cruz who rushed to the side of the bigot Kim Davis to canonize her. And of course, Rick (The P is Silent) Santorum, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal have all signed the antiquated and now obsolete the NOM Marriage Pledge of Hate. And Carly (I hate women and gays) Fiorina opposes ENDA promoting discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Marco Rubio also opposes ENDA and has gone so far as to say he will deny any rights for LGBTQ immigrants — my this group is charm free!

It is imperative that people see this as political! In 2014 we saw at least 16 LGBTQ people murdered because of their identities, and 11 of those 16 were people who are trans identified and of those 11, 10 were transwomen of color. Sadly, the numbers have only increased in 2015, and we know these numbers are not accurate because people are too fearful to identify, or authorities misidentify people.  We need to vote for people who will support LGBTQ rights.

And I  hold out great hope for the future. I have trans identified students in all of my classes who are embraced and cherished. I had the honor of meeting a transgender man who just turned 18. All I could think about what what strength and courage. Now, I ask everyone to think about how important it is for all of us to be visible and to support one another.

Hero of the Week: May 17, Pablo Pantoja

17 May
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

The Republican National Committee was very happy to have Pablo Pantoja on its payroll. Energetic, savvy, a decorated National Guardsman — what could be better? As a Latino in Florida, a state the GOP needs to win or steal to have a shot at the White House, he was well positioned to represent the hypothetical rebranding the party rolled out earlier this year. As the RNC Hispanic Outreach Director, his role was very important.

Sadly for the GOP, Pantoja also possesses a heart and a mind. Reflecting on the corrosive failure of the GOP’s fake embrace of minorities after their loss in November, he decided he’d had enough. In a powerful statement, he left his position and switched parties, becoming a vocal Democrat.

Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party. It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further […]

The complete disregard of those who are in disadvantage is also palpable. We are not looking at an isolated incident of rhetoric or research. … I think you get the idea. When the political discourse resorts to intolerance and hate, we all lose in what makes America great and the progress made in society.

It’s a scathing indictment of the othering done by the GOP as it attacks immigrants and minorities at every turn while callously courting their votes. Coming from an informed insider, it is particularly damning. As a nice parting shot, Pantoja also made a contribution to the ACLU for efforts to protect immigrant rights. Well done, sir, and welcome.

Louisiana, Where Women are Chattel: The Scarlet P

7 Aug

Unfortunately, Louisiana is yet again the subject of how backwards can a society go.  They misogyny in this particular story is sickening. Thank you to Never Contrary for inspiring me to write about these events.  Louisiana is proving to be a state not safe for women or the LGBTQ community.

Astonishingly enough. young women attending a public school in Louisiana are being policed and profiled.  Female students just suspected of possibly being pregnant must submit to a pregnancy test. Here is the real illegal kicker: if the female students refuse the pregnancy test or prove to be pregnant they are kicked out of school.  Yes, you just read that correctly. Refusing to submit to the pregnancy test or being pregnant automatically gets one kicked out of school.  What are the consequences for the young men that got them pregnant? Oh, of course, NONE.

The Delhi Charter School, in Delhi, Louisiana, is a school that does not believe its female students have a right to education free from discrimination and is in direct violation of Title IX.  I guess the United States Constitution is only valid if you are a heterosexual male in the state of Louisiana.  Title IX makes it perfectly clear (for those who can read)  that schools cannot exclude any student from an education program or activity, “including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.”  Seems pretty clear to me, but then I don’t have tea bags in my ears or eyes.

One of the many things that I find profoundly dangerous is the message being sent to these young women: you are just an object with no voice, sex is only for men, you must submit to anything men tell you to do or be punished.  Thank you Louisiana for bringing us back to the 17th Century.  What might be next on your agenda?  You certainly have proven this state will support Mitt (I am in control of all vaginas) Romney.

Hero of the Week Award: November 18, Zachary Huston

18 Nov

Hero of the Week

This week TSM celebrates another brave youth who is standing up to adversity. Last month, Zachary Huston was beaten by bullies at school, the culmination of a long series of bullying events he has suffered because he is gay. The beating was recorded by another student who posted it to Facebook. All this occurred despite the school district’s clear anti-bullying policy, a policy which sadly does not explicitly cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

This week, Zachary and his mother, Rebecca Collins, together with the ACLU of Ohio, have told Ohio’s Union-Scioto Local Schools that they will file charges against the district unless school officials convene a meeting. Zachary wants the policy updated and a discussion of how anti-bullying work will be carried out in practice, not just on paper.

Bravo, Zachary! Even now it is difficult enough to be honest about one’s sexual orientation in high school He deserves recognition for that fact alone. The HWA comes from his willingness to speak out to the authorities and demand change. This is the kind of courage and leadership we need in the next generation of LGBT leaders. Kudos to his mother as well for standing by her son and demanding that the school district be held accountable for his safety.

Honorable mention goes to Dionne Malinowski and her friend Kirk, two transgender students who are speaking out against the unfair practices of this week’s Bigot, Colorado’s Poudre School District.

Vermont’s The Wildflower Inn Poisoned by Homophobia

20 Jul

Everyone but LGBT Folk

Thank you to my dear friend Allison Cleveland for inspiring me to craft this post. Vermont is one of the six states, plus D.C., where marriage equality is the law.  Sexual orientation is also a protected class in the state of Vermont, as it is here in Oregon. Yesterday it was reported that The Wildflower Inn refused to host a lesbian wedding because of the owner’s personal beliefs regarding homosexuality.

While I’m not thrilled about people who are bigots, I can’t deny them their beliefs.  As Voltaire said: ” I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  When I first read this article, I was somewhat conflicted about my feelings regarding the bigoted owner of the Wildflower Inn.  In fact, my husband and I (I have to mention my husband here because it is part of the Gay Agenda–we get a toaster oven if a hetero marriage falls by the wayside) had to tease out whether or not the ACLU should in fact get involved.

Here was the tipping point for me.  It is the law!  Sexual orientation is a protected class, thus The Wildflower Inn broke the law.  Another thing that helped was that I had to ask myself how would I feel if the Inn refused to host a black couple’s wedding–that is the exact same thing–it is breaking the law.

Reading the mother’s response was also quite compelling to file a lawsuit:

Imagine my shock when I called the Wildflower Inn and they told me that they have a policy of not hosting “gay receptions.” How could this be? I was incredulous, then disappointed and hurt. Someone who didn’t even know us was telling me that my lovely daughter wasn’t good enough to have her reception at their facility while everyone else who sees the resort’s website is welcome…When I realized that Vermont is one of 21 states that includes sexual orientation as a protected class in its anti-discrimination laws, I felt — and feel — strongly that this case is not about my daughter’s wedding. This is about a public place breaking the law.

Yes, I  do believe that humans can hold to their own bigoted belief system regardless!  However, their personal belief systems CANNOT prevent honoring other people’s civil rights.  As they are allowed to cling to their beliefs, I am allowed to propose a boycott of the Wildflower Inn in Vermont!  Click here to see the full article.

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