Tag Archives: California

Hero of the Week Award, September 27: Cassidy Lynn Campbell

27 Sep
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Thank you to my dear friend and LGBT ally Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this article. Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a 16-year-old student at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, CA, was named homecoming queen last Friday. The remarkable thing about this everyday occurrence is that Campbell is transgender. She is the first known transgender homecoming queen at a U.S. high school.  Brava, Cassidy!

Campbell began taking hormone blockers and estrogen injections in high school to transition and has documented her journey in videos on her YouTube channel, LanceMize. As she started this school year, she decided to stand up for the transgender community and run for queen.

If I win it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender I always felt I was. But with all the attention, I realized it’s bigger than me. I’m doing this for the kids who can’t be themselves… it wasn’t for me anymore and I was doing this for so many people all around the county and the state and possibly the world and I am so proud to win this not just for me, but everyone out there.

What amazing courage and dedication! Few people of any age would have the strength of character to make such a bold, public stand. Fortunately, the students at her school proved supportive. On September 20, blue and gold balloon at the school revealed her win. “I instantly just dropped to the ground and started crying,” Campbell said. Campbell’s mother is very supportive, calling her “wonderful” and saying “I never would have thought in my lifetime that I would see this.”

Sadly, not everyone has been so supportive. After the election was announced, she was subjected to bullying comments and feedback that she described as “ignorant.”

After 16 years of struggling, I finally do it and I finally am myself — thinking I’ll be so happy. It’s just sad that everyone has to be so judgmental about it, and so hateful, and so mean and so negative. I’ve never done anything to any of these people. And I don’t know why they have to be this way, when I’ve done nothing to them. It just hurts so bad because I feel just as much of a girl as all of them do.

Let us all send Cassidy Lynn Campbell our support and help her celebrate both her accomplishment and her wonderful spirit. She deserves happiness and success.  Let us also hope that Cassidy’s narrative is heard and we all stand in solidarity with her to help fight transphobia.

The State of PropH8 Shows Some Love

16 Jul

Howard Zinn Approach to History

Yes, California, the state where Prop 8 passed, thanks to lots of hate money from the Catholics and the Mormons, will be the first state to to require that public school textbooks include the accomplishments of gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans.  While I’m sure there will be homophobic bigots who will say this is just part of the “Gay Agenda,” I am elated to know that California will soon be presenting a far more accurate picture of American history. The late Howard Zinn, a strong LGBT ally, would be quite happy.

Speaking of LGBT allies, can I say how happy I was to see that TSM regular, and fierce LGBT ally, Jen Lockett posted this on her blog. When we finally do have full equality, it will be in part due to the courageous support of our heterosexual allies like Jennifer.  Her blog is mostly an academic/historical blog, and I am grateful that she gave this story due coverage.  I think you will enjoy her blog if you have not already checked it out.

More on courageous LGBT allies: Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the mandate into law, said:

History should be honest…This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books. It represents an important step forward for our state.

I would argue that it does more than just make a move forward for civil rights in the state of California, it sets a precedent for teaching accurate history, regardless of how one feels about the topic. Click here to see the full article and video.

Separate But Equal Is Neither: A Taxing Story

9 Feb

Regular readers of this blog know how adamantly we demand full marriage equality. Committed same-sex couples deserve the same privileges and opportunities as Britney Spears and Newt Gingrich. At the end of the day, it is a simple matter of human rights; as a citizen of this country, no-one should be able to tell me what basic rights I am entitled to enjoy.

Today there were some heartening numbers released demonstrating national support for equality; sadly, over half of these supporters are willing to stop short of full equality and ask LGBT families to settle for civil unions or domestic partnerships. This is not enough.

As wonderful as it is to have the state of Oregon recognize our relationship legally, a domestic partnership is not a marriage. It’s a one-state-only stopgap that provides a solid legal footing on many issues, but still creates a confusing quagmire whenever Oregon laws intersect with federal laws or the laws of other states. Those intersections are myriad.

I had a practical lesson in the inequities of the not-so-separate yesterday as I was working on our household income taxes.

As a married-in-all-but-name couple in Oregon, we have to file as married, either jointly or separately. So far, so good. Unfortunately, shared tax status is one of the 1100 or so benefits and responsibilities that the federal government confers to married couples that are denied to same-sex couples. For our federal taxes, then, we must file as single. That makes our federal return invalid when filed (as required) with our state taxes. So we have to fill out what Oregon calls an “as-if” federal form that matches the filing-jointly or filing-separately form we file with the state. >whew<

You can imagine my joy at creating a whole second set of federal forms. The phrase “as-if” is just salt in the wound.

As an added wrinkle, one of us had income from another state last year. Fortunately, it was California, which also has domestic partnerships, so they have tax laws to deal with this situation too. Unfortunately, California’s laws are different than Oregon’s. We may very well have to create three sets of federal forms. Why? Because the federal government doesn’t recognize our marriage.

This is just one example of the complications caused by well-intentioned half-measures. I can only imagine what people dealing with health care or inheritance issues might face.

Marriage matters. The word matters. The benefits matter. The equality matters.

Opponents and squeamish supporters of same-sex couples offer up alternatives to marriage as though we should be grateful just to be considered. I am not grateful. I am relieved to be protected, insofar as we are. I am, however, insulted to be treated as something other and I am injured by the extraordinary efforts required of me for no reason beyond someone else’s prejudice.

We are a couple. We are committed to one another in word, deed, passion, and support. Together we participate in our city, county, state, and nation. Together we contribute to our society and our community.

But still, for now, we are seen as separate. That can never be equal.

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