Tag Archives: North Carolina

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!

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Carolina In My Mind…

8 Apr
NC Minds

…or out of theirs?

First, I need to thank my friend Hal for inspiring me to write this story.  When I think of North Carolina, I usually think of James Taylor singing: “In my mind I’m goin to Carolina, Can’t you see the sunshine, Can’t you just feel the moonshine ,  Ain’t it just like a friend of mine,”  how sad that is about the only way I can visit North Carolina right now is in my mind.  I fear the Teahaddists have taken over, and the tea they have brewed looks like the Kool Aid the KKK have been drinking all these years.

It would appear that the North Carolina GOP either cannot read, or has never bothered to read the actual Constitution of the United States.  Just last week, 14 House Republicans in North Carolina “signed onto a resolution that calls for creating an official state religion, declares that people in North Carolina are not subject to decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and proclaims that the state can decide on its own  what is constitutional and what is not.”  Oh my!  We need to get some Haldol for these fellows, because they got some serious crazy going on right now. But wait, the crazy does not stop here.  During the last session, Rep. Glen Bradley introduced a bill that would have established a separate currency for the state of North Carolina.

This story would have no traction, save that these are not lone voices.  House Majority Leader, Edgar Starnes, is wielding his power here with fellow Republicans to establish a state religion.  Wait! It gets worse:

Lawmakers approved Governor Pat McCrory’s appointment of a man to the State Board of Education who not only favors voucher schemes but doesn’t seem to think that gay and lesbian students deserve protection from bullying.

McCrory himself held a press conference to announce he was turning over the state Medicaid program that takes care of the most vulnerable people in the state to the profiteers on Wall Street.

Yes, sadly North Carolina is waving its big bigoted banner of hate, sending us all the message that this is not a state safe for LGBT folk, African Americans, the poor, women, or anyone who is not a wealthy white heterosexual man.  My husband and I may have to start an underground railroad to rescue our friends that live there.  Let us hope that soon, people will fight back and stop this type of institutional discrimination/racism/homophobia. Send these GOP Bigots packing.

Bigot of the Week Award: May 25, Pastor Charles Worley and his Congregation

25 May

Bigot of the Week

Thank you to my friend Brad Fairchild for inspiring me to write this article.

This week’s bigot is a fine, upstanding example of what christian charity does NOT look like. Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC, went on a rant in his sermon on May 13. Blasting President Obama for his support of marriage equality (I wonder how he voted on Amendment One…), Worley went one toxic step further.

I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there… Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out… And you know what, in a few years, they’ll die.

Setting aside both compassion and logic, Worley ignores the scientific fact that people are born gay and the practical fact that HETEROSEXUALS keep on popping them out. Not satisfied with calling for a death camp, Worley went on to call the President a “baby killer” and “homosexual lover.” He wrapped up his sermon (which you can see here if you can stomach it) with

God have mercy. It makes me pukin’ sick to think about — I don’t even know whether or not to say this in the pulpit — can you imagine kissing some man?

REALLY? How loving and KKKristian of you. Just how often DO you imagine kissing some man, Pastor? It turns out that Worley has been preaching this way for decades, including a recently surfaced sermon from 1978 in which he advocates lynching for gays and lesbians. Sadly, his congregation peppered his hate speech with “amens.” When interviewed by a local news station, many of them supported his words as “God’s Love.”  While I’m always hesitant to compare folk to Nazis, Pastor Worley is clearly a Nazi with his proposal to set up a death camp for the LGBT community.  I feel very sorry for Worley and his followers–that is some serious bad karma! Is anyone else singing this tune?

What Hath North Carolina Wrought?

9 May

New state motto: Get lost, homos.

The forces of bigotry have claimed another state. Yesterday voters in North Carolina approved Amendment One, using their constitution to remove rights rather than enshrine them. Even though state law already established a crude one-man-one-woman limit on marriage, that wasn’t enough for the forces of darkness. They wanted this much more stringent law worked into the fundamental document of the state. The people agreed by an embarrassing 61 – 39 margin.

Much like the amendment in Georgia (which drove my husband and me out of the South), this goes beyond the simple discrimination of blocking marriage equality. It states

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

This clearly blocks civil unions or domestic partnerships. While the law does provide a loophole for “contracts with another party” it is very unclear how these two components will balance. Legal experts are fairly certain that it will remove domestic violence and hospital visitation rights from LGBT couples at the very least. Where does a “legal union” end and a contract begin? Certainly not on taxation, so what will this mean for wills and other vital agreements?

Polling showed that when likely voters understood how nasty the law actually was, they became 20% less likely to support it. The right-wing disinformation campaign was powerful enough to muddy that message. Even though the NC NAACP, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Gov. Bev Perdue, and many others campaigned hard to raise awareness, they were drowned out by things like Billy Graham’s full-page hate-speech ad in 14 newspapers statewide.

Way to go, North Carolina. Is it fun beating up a disadvantaged population? Too many gay couples already face not just societal discrimination but divisive forces within their own families. Without equality under the law, stressful situations like hospitalization, job loss, and death suddenly become battlegrounds of bigotry as well. This magnificent video makes that perfectly clear.

This is why civil rights should NEVER be subject to a popular vote. Such a vote simply allows a majority to re-express their clear opinion about a population against whom they already discriminate. How does that make sense? We need more leadership to reverse this trend, with brave voices like the Iowa justices who risked (and lost) their jobs to embrace equality. We need strong Federal laws, like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to emphasize the equality of LGBT Americans under the law. We need the vile, hypocritically named Defense of Marriage Act to be overturned so that states cannot hide behind its filthy veil. We need the government of the people to stand up for ALL the people. Clearly, in North Carolina, most of the people are happy to turn their backs on their gay neighbors and walk away.  North Carolina, another state NOT SAFE for the LGBT community!

Hero of the Week: May 4, Dr. William Barber II

4 May

Hero of the Week

In a world where oppressed populations are often pitted against one another — and too often allow self-interest to permit such actions — it is wonderful to see someone stand up and loudly say, “Enough!” This week’s HWA goes to Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP. Responding to the cynical and loathsome tactics of NOM and its allies to split the African-American and LGBTQ communities, he has issued a strong statement.

Barber is responding to Amendment One, a proposed amendment to the NC constitution that would create a one-man-one-woman definition of marriage. Like a number of other, similar amendments in other states — all of which have passed — it also broadly prohibits anything that remotely resembles marriage equality. This would block civil unions and domestic partnerships and wreak havoc with LGBT couples’ wills and other legal arrangements.

In a strongly-worded Open Letter to All North Carolinians, he makes his case clearly and eloquently.

The NAACP has always opposed any custom, tradition, practice, law or constitutional amendment that denies any right to any person [and] has a long history of opposing any proposal that would alter the federal or state constitutions for the purpose of excluding any group or individuals from guarantees of equal protection under the law. Our opposition is based on our mission statement which calls for the “equality of rights of all persons.” … The North Carolina legislature is not the modern day Council of Nicaea — and we should not want it to be. How should the government address the public policy challenges of abject poverty, unemployment, poor education, economic justice, caring for those without health care, and equal protection under law? These are the questions that the legislature should be addressing. We should not allow my tax dollars, and my beloved state of North Carolina, to put their beliefs into our state’s most important document, to dictate to the consciences of other people here.

Well said, Rev. Barber! The vote on Amendment One is next Tuesday and the polling is very tight. Let us hope that the work of the NC NAACP and other equality-minded groups makes it clear what this amendment does and pushes North Carolina to be the first state to vote down such a bigoted amendment.

Honorable mention this week goes to the eleven state Democratic Party chairs who have joined the chorus pushing the DNC to include full marriage equality in the party platform this fall. Calling for the inclusion are John Burton of California, Joan Wagnon of Kansas, John Walsh of Massachusetts, Ken Martin of Minnesota, Jon Wisniewski of New Jersey, Jay Jacobs of New York, Meredith Wood Smith of Oregon, Boyd Richie of Texas, Jake Perkinson of Vermont, Dwight Pelz of Washington,  and Mike Tate of Wisconsin. Nice to see our home state of Oregon on this list.

Happy Birthday, Carl Kasell!

2 Apr

Happy Birthday, Carl!

Today we are pleased to celebrate the 78th birthday of a broadcasting legend, the wonderful Carl Kasell. Born in North Carolina in 1934, Carl knew from an early age that he was destined for radio.

Before I even started to school, I sometimes would hide behind the radio, which would be sitting on a table, and pretend that I was on the air, and try to fool people who came by to listen.

His father would take him to the local station where he was mesmerized by the latest news spilling out of the teletype. In high school, his drama coach was Andy Griffith, who encouraged him to pursue the theatre. Kasell was drawn to the radio, though, and while getting his degree from UNC Chapel Hill he co-founded the campus radio station with fellow student Charles Kuralt.

His career advanced from announcer at his hometown radios station to news director at Arlington, VA station WAVA (where he hired Katie Couric as an intern). He moved to NPR in 1975; he was one of the founding voices of Morning Edition, staying with the program from 1979 to 2009.

A clear, recognizable voice with an understanding of the world’s events, Kasell has always been a beacon of journalistic integrity. His dedication to ensuring that his listeners understand the issues at hand rather than just receiving the sensational highlights should serve as a lesson to the 21st Century pseudo-news scaremongers.

Carl Kasell also has a great sense of humor and refuses to take himself to seriously. He’s the long-time scorekeeper for the news comedy program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, a terrific outlet for his wit and charm. A highlight of TSM’s 2011 was the chance to see a live taping of the show last October and to meet Carl in person. It also showed the dedication of the program to social justice, teaching through humor.

Carl “retired” at the end of 2009, giving this lovely interview about his career. He’s still going strong, though, sharing his great talents with millions of lucky listeners every week. Happy Birthday, Carl!

Bigot of the Week Award: January 27, Pastor Patrick Wooden

27 Jan

Bigot of the Week

Thank you to my friend Ken for nominating Wooden for this week’s BWA.  How sad to see yet another religious leader spewing such venom and hate in the guise of Christianity, or what I like to call the new KKKristianity. Pastor Wooden, like many homophobes, is obsessed with men having sex with men.  He appeared with Peter LaBarbera (huge closet queen) to deliver his words of HATE.  Wooden said:

The God of the Bible made the human sperm, the God of the Bible designed it and it was not designed to be emptied into an area that is filled with feces, there is nothing for it to germinate with, it will most certainly mean the extinction of the human race. My belief is that if the medical community would just step forward and just would share with the American people what happens to the male anus, the problems that homosexuals have with their rectums, the damage that is done, the operations that are needed to sew up their bodies if you will, and how many of the men don’t even give these stitches time to heal before they are back out there practicing that wicked behavior. Some are bleeders, men who are not turned off by ingesting the feces of other men.

If the truth was told, people would literally gag and no one would want to be in a lifestyle like that. Who wants to practice anything that is going to ultimately lead a grown man to about the time he’s in his 40s or 50s, or what not, having to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels?

Wow!  Wooden sure does think about anal sex an awful lot.  I suspect he probably owns a butt plug of his own.  Forgive me for injecting actual truth here, but heterosexuals engage in anal sex as well!  I did not realize that people’s sex lives was any of Wooden’s business. I suppose he isn’t interested in being troubled by any medical facts while he spews out his lies and exaggerations; those pesky facts are so troublesome when you have hate to spread.

What worries me more is that Wooden is African-American and the message he is sending out to young people of color is dangerous!  We need to support and raise up our LGBT Black brothers and sisters!  Shame on you, Pastor Wooden.  How long before your boy toy jumps out of the closet?

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