Tag Archives: Autism

Bigot of the Week Award, January 24: Sarah Palin

24 Jan

sarah-palin-finger-485x322Wow! I’m not quite sure where to even start here but I over heard a member of the KKK saying to one of his fellow Klan members: “Palin is really racist.” On MLK Day, a day one hopes people are doing some reflection about equality, equity, and new ways to eradicate racism and hate, Sarah Palin decided to exert her white power and privilege, showing just how racist she really is.

Palin addressed President Obama on her Facebook page with:

Happy MLK, Jr. Day!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.

Not only does Palin manage to desecrate Dr. King’s sentiments, but she tells President Obama and all black people in the United States that racism must be over, so “quit saying you have experienced racism.” I can’t even imagine a more encompassing way to dishonor people’s history and narratives — to be completely ignorant of both history and current events. If possible, Palin has sunk further into the mire of the rancid tea leaves.  Her obliviousness speaks to overwhelming power and privilege.  Even just writing about her, I feel as though I will need a Silkwood Shower afterward. I will recommend that Palin do some reading about racism in the United States.

I need to thank my dear friend, Jennifer Carey for this week’s Dishonorable Mention.  Republican congressional candidate Susanne Atanus continues to prove how very charm free she really is. Atanus, who is running for Representative in Illinois’ 9th congressional district covering Chicago’s Far North Side and the North Shore suburbs, is working hard to corner the market on hate and fear mongering. Atanus feels quite comfortable speaking for God, as she wants everyone to know God controls the weather, and that autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions. Well that seems completely logical to me.

Atanus stated:

God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she added, blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases including autism and dementia on recent advances in the LGBT movement. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.

I left rather speechless here. All I can say is that it might be a good idea for Atanus and Palin to get married, for they make quite the couple.

Black History Month 2013: Martha Wash

13 Feb

MWashToday we honor and celebrate an amazing singer whose perseverance has made the music industry a more just place while entertaining millions and advocating for social justice. Martha Wash was born in 1953 in San Francisco. By her early 20s she was already known as a powerhouse vocalist. She teamed with Izora Rhodes Armstead as regular vocalists with gay disco icon Sylvester. Celebrating their big voices and ample frames, the duo billed themselves as Two Tons O’ Fun.

Two Tons pursued their own career starting in 1980, recording two albums that were very successful on the dance charts. Their first brush with pop stardom came when songwriters Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer offered them a song that had been rejected by Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, and many others. They renamed themselves the Weather Girls and had a huge international smash with It’s Raining Men. The track also solidified Wash’s credentials as a diva of the gay scene, an honor she has embraced throughout her career. Izora moved to Europe in the late 90s and Wash began planning a solo career.

In the meantime, Wash did session work with a number of producers. In 1989 and 1990, her voice was everywhere as she sang on hits credited to Seduction and Black Box. She had been led to believe that she was creating guide vocals or demos, but the producers were so impressed with her voice that she ended up on the final products. Sadly, she was not given vocal credit, however, and Black Box used French model Katrin Quinol as the face of the songs. Infuriated with the lack of credit, low scale compensation, and clear discrimination against her size in the video realm, Wash sued Sony music. She received an undisclosed settlement that included credit and royalties. Occurring in the wake of the Milli Vanilli scandal, her actions also changed music industry law, requiring proper credit and royalties for anyone used as a lead vocalist.

Besides her amazing talent and business determination, Martha Wash has used her fame and fortune for social justice. She is active in charitable work for autism and is the official spokesperson for Quality Services for the Autism Community. She is also a staunch supporter of gay rights and an outspoken advocate for marriage equality.

Look, from my perspective, there have been more gay couples who’ve stayed together longer than straight couples. My feeling is, if you are a citizen of the United States, you should have all rights and liberties of everybody else. If you’re paying taxes like everybody else, why can’t you have the full commitment from the United States government, from marriage on down?

Recognizing her debt to her early gay fans, she is flattered by the many drag performers that cover her songs. She also enjoys telling stories of the many people who have told her they came out while one of her songs was playing.Wash was part of the opening ceremonies at the first OutGames in 2006 and performs many benefits.

Having come to fame during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, she is also a strong advocate for the HIV+ community. She has no patience for those who stigmatize the LGBT community for the disease or for those who marginalize those impacted by HIV. On World AIDS Day in 2012 she was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the AIDS Emergency Fund for her ceaseless advocacy and fundraising.

Martha Wash isn’t resting on her laurels, however. She started her own label, Purple Rose, and released her first full album in 20 years on January 10, 2013. Something Good proves she’s lost none of her vocal fire and is aptly named for her presence in the world.

One of the Voices of Social Justice: Eva Hoffman

26 Jul

Eva and her wife Dana

Those of you who have been reading TSM for at least a year now are clearly aware that this blog is dedicated to issues of social justice and civil rights; since you are reading this, I presume you share similar passions.  Today I was able to visit with my friend Eva; she is a fierce advocate for social justice and civil rights.

Eva is 55 and grew up in Los Angeles until she was 12, when she moved to a small city in Washington State.  She moved to Portland in 1995 to go to school and she has lived here ever since, “I went to college for computer sciences.”

On coming out:

I left my husband in 1991 and I have three wonderful children.  I came out when I was 40, because it was about time.   I had gone to this hardware store to apply for a job because my former manager encouraged me to apply there.  I walked up to customer service and saw this big black beautiful woman with a great smile and I said to myself, I want her—love at first sight.  We have been together for 13 years August 1. I refer to her as my wife.  I don’t need a piece of paper to prove that, but it sure would be nice.

On kids:

It was okay. My son Matthew knew before I told him and he walked up to Dana [my wife] and said “Don’t hurt her.”  He and Dana are very close—they are buddies.  Dana is also very close to my eldest, Jennifer—they call her Mama D.  Jeff is my middle child and he and his girlfriend love us both and they are very accepting.  However, I lost a lot of friends after coming out, but oh well.  I’m not able to return to the small town in Washington.

When I told my best friend that I was gay, she said I was going to burn in hell.  Fortunately,  I have made so many new friends since coming out and feel very much accepted—I’m very open and I don’t hide who I am.

Do you consider you and your wife political?

Yes.  Very much so.  We follow politics and read a lot and we love Bill Maher.  We are not Democrat or Republican-I just vote for the person who deserves it.  Right now, President Obama is the only choice!

What would you give as a task to the LGBTQ community?

I want equal rights for everyone—I believe every Veteran should have a place to live—they should have a job.  I believe everyone should have insurance.  I am also an outspoken advocate for Autism.  My grandson is autistic and he is 6 years old.  I want to know why there is such limited funding for research on Autism.  People need to know that some immunizations contain mercury and lead, the biggest one is the swine flu shot which contains mercury.  When my grandson was three, we took him to a naturopath and he had mercury in his system and the protective coating they use for flame retardency on pajamas; he had a significant dose of that in his system.  He had to be detoxed with vitamins at only three years old.  (Eva grows tearful when talking about her grandchild.)

What task would you give the LGBTQ community?

Not be divided. Why don’t we fight as one? We are one community—if we stood as one and fought those that oppress us, Chick-Fil-A, Mitt Romney, anything that hurts us.  Stand up for who you are and what you are and don’t let people hurt you.

What would you say to closeted people that are middle aged and fearful?

Life is too short—Do IT.  I know it is not easy, there are so many factors.  If your church does not support you find another church.  It is an amazing feeling of freedom and self-worth and you will never be happier than after you come out and live your life honestly.  Hiding is a lie and you are lying to yourself, your friends and your community.

Thank you, Eva.  Thank you for your courage and thank you for your authenticity and your advocacy for civil rights for all.

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