Today's Mighty Oak


The current administration has (somewhat quietly, especially when you consider everything else that is going on) put together what they are calling a “Natural Law” Commission.

They are unhappy with how the government in the past has protected human rights, and have instead installed a committee that is completely against a woman’s right to choose her medical care or any type of equality for the queer community.

The committee is the brainchild of the founder of NOM (the defunct National Organization for Marriage that fought for California’s Prop 8) and the author of the hate-filled Manhattan Declaration. GLAAD has a report about all the members, and it doesn’t look good.

Add this to the ever-growing stack of steps backwards we’re taking. This is a way at an end run around the marriage equality ruling from SCOTUS as well as Roe.

All my best,

Mike



Alright, let’s see what we have today, first up, amazing wood-carved nintendo cartridges!  That you can really play!

Two Political Junkies fixed a recent Post-Gazette headline.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, there is going to be a Mr. Rogers biopic!  I am so, so excited about this!

My favorite Super Bowl ads were from Tide:

Philadelphia Eagles flocked to a bar called ‘The Eagle’ due to its name.  Here’s a hint, if there’s a bar named ‘The Eagle,’ chances are it’s a gay leather bar.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, Deadpool live tweeted it.

And speaking of Ryan Reynolds, as much as I’m against the remake, he will be staring in the new Clue, which I think he’ll do well in.

An amazingly cute and heartwarming story of a woman who called a gay bar after her son came out to her.

The new Harry Potter movies are hiding the fact that Dumbledore is supposed to be gay, and it’s bullshit.

There is going to be a Harry Potter cruise however.

The Olympics may be over, but this video will be with us forever:

I’m calling bullshit on the ‘gay Porgs’ in Star Wars.  The fact that this is a multibillion dollar franchise so embedded into our culture and we get gay background animals if we squint and know some obscure fact, instead of actual representation is humiliating.  LucasFilm and Disney can do better.

Bermuda has rescinded their marriage equality, much like California did with Prop 8.

Trulia now shows you the rights you’ll have as a queer person when looking at homes on the market.  Our rights are a patchwork and it can be really confusing remembering what rights I have where, so this is a really nice feature, but so sad that it’s needed.

A California court has sided with an anti-gay baker.  I will remind you that this is not really about cake.  It’s about basic human dignity.  And the fact that I have to worry about what hospital and doctors I see, because they can turn me away.  It’s about the fact that funeral homes can turn loved ones away all by citing religious freedom.  It’s about bigotry.

And research has showed that acceptance of the queer community has actually dropped.  Less than half of the adults surveyed are comfortable with my existence.  Neat.

Alright, that’s it for now, go back and watch those Olympians strip down!



Alright, let’s see what’s been going on.  First up, did you know that Harry Potter makes you more understanding of others?  It’s true!

Joseph Gorden Levitt writes about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers,obviously).

Like me, do you need a chart to see who owns the rights to which superhero?  Well this chart is handy (but won’t be accurate for long, I’m sure).

Super Mario Bros. in ragtime:

These are really bad times for queer people.  Just recently, the federal government has taken steps to allow doctors to deny services to anyone because they’re part of the LGBT community.

A new study has shown that 40% of LGBT high school students have considered suicide due to bullying because they’re queer.

The majority of people still think it’s okay for businesses to discriminate against queer people.  And the Supreme Court denied an appeal and Mississippi’s law allowing businesses to discriminate is able to stand.

Waste of oxygen and poor excuse for a human being, Mike Pence, will officially lead the US Olympic delegation and openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon is having none of it.

And in other slightly better news, Senator Doug Jones’ son, who is gay, stared down Mike Pence at his father’s swearing in and it made my day.

Here’s the Star Wars Cantina Theme played with pencil and paper, writing out a math equation:

In better news, a new ruling from the International Court of the Americas (didn’t know that was a thing) is bringing marriage equality to a lot of different countries (potentially)

And new year’s resolutions for gay men (and everyone, in some cases).  And speaking of resolutions, Surviving the World has a great coming about them.

Watch a Katana disappear.  Makes me think of the novel, “The 50 Year Sword”

Quite possibly the best thing ever, a T-Rex conducts the Jurassic Park theme music.

Pittsburgh non-profits come out hard against the PG and it’s owner’s racist editorial, published on MLK Day.

And finally, a great little comic about our place in the universe.



It’s bad.  Really bad.

After the election, I knew four couples who quickly got married, afraid that we would lose the right.  And that’s a fear that straight people don’t understand.  The few civil rights we have are new, and are still fragile.  And as it turns out, they might have been right to be so worried:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.

This is certainly just the beginning, and Sue over at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents sums it up:

Limiting same-sex marriage is the objective here – benefits, adoption, tax deductions, legal rights, etc. Restricting LGBTQ people across the board is the goal.

That decision was followed up with the arguments in Masterpiece Cake Shop which looks to use the bullshit idea of ‘religious freedom’ to hide bigotry and legal discrimination.  There are a lot of lines being drawn between this case and the racial discrimination case Piggie Park Barbecue from the sixties.

If a business is open to the public, what they sell should be available to all of the public.  The baker would be just as wrong if he declined to make a wedding cake for a black couple, citing his religious beliefs.  If you sell a product (in this case, wedding cakes), you should not be able to put restrictions as to who you will sell it to, that would take us back to the times of delis with signs saying they would not serve Irish and lunch counter sit-ins.

Although, to no one’s surprise, the white house would be all for bakeries (and other businesses) hanging up “no gays” signs.

Slate has a great article going through the myriad of reasons why this is insanity, give it a read.  It rips apart most of the arguments I’ve heard, including this quote:

Telling minorities who have suffered a history of discrimination that it’s unneighborly, unseemly, or discourteous to fight for rights that they’re being denied but you’re enjoying is shameless—ultimately just another mechanism for denying those rights in the first place. Do you actually think the minority members love always having to be the loudmouths reminding the world that they deserve the same rights as you already have? And to the extent that some activists become almost permanently wedded to the “angry activist” position, can you really blame them?

Sadly though, legal scholars (and myself, not a legal scholar) are not optimistic about the outcome, which will open a floodgate of further discrimination where literally any business could turn me away at a moment’s notice.  Not exactly a world I want to have to navigate.

We’ll find out over the summer when the ruling comes down, until then, I’ll be a ball of nerves over this hugely important case.

All my best,

Mike



For about two weeks, I had what felt like the black death.  It ran rampant through my workplace and I was unlucky enough to get hit with it hard.  So bad in fact, my boss sent me home early one day, where I promptly crawled under the covers and fell asleep.

I woke up a few hours later, still in somewhat of a fever-haze and saw the news that a judge struck-down the ban on marriage equality in Utah.  I chalked it up to my bacteria-riddled brain and shuffled down the hall to make some tea.

After some of the warm liquid began to clear my head a little bit, more synapses were sparking and I realized my RSS reader had been showing the news coming out of Utah from multiple sources.  Suddenly, Utah had marriage equality 1.

In the ruling, Judge Shelby dismantles every argument against marriage equality 2: that gay couples can’t procreate without outside assistance, that marriage equality is creating a “new right,” that history and tradition say marriage should remain exclusively between heterosexual couples, that marriage equality bans are not passed because of animus, that the state should be promoting procreation, that heterosexual parents are the best kinds of parents, that marriage equality is somehow new and unchartered territory and that the citizens of Utah should be allowed to vote on one group’s rights.  Each point Judge Shelby smacked down with legal authority, even using Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s own dissent 3 from the Windsor case as a way to show the urgent need for marriage equality.

Throughout the next few days and weeks, two stays were denied 4 5and marriages continued.  The governor of Utah has done everything he could to roll back marriage equality, calling it chaos 6, including eventually spending two million dollars 7 to appeal to the US Supreme Court 8

The Governor even went so far to announce that the state would not recognize 9 the legally valid marriages performed before the stay that was eventually put in place by the US Supreme Court as appeals were filed 10

The US Government 11, as well as many other states 12 have stepped forward and said they will recognize the marriages performed, even while Utah, the very state where those marriages took place, will not.

When this decision came down, after a few hiccups (including one county that closed its office to everyone rather than grant same-sex marriage licenses 13 and four counties that blatently broke the law and were in contempt of court for only offering licenses to heterosexual couples 14), a record number of couples flooded county offices, filling them for hours on end.

Couples did not know how long they would have, and the urgency was palpable.  Like a scavenger hunt, suddenly these couples had stumbled upon some basic civil rights, but they didn’t know how long they would last.  Many left work, grabbed their partners and rushed to the nearest court, resulting in lines filled with citizens in hoodies and jeans, and couples getting married without their families, in a rush to obtain the basic protections they had been denied for so long 15 1617.

“Gay couples are second class citizens in their own country.  We don’t have the luxury of planning out our marriage 18.”

Throughout the day, records were shattered 19 for the sheer number of marriage licenses being produced, and amid the chaos, a heartwarming story emerged of a local Boy Scout and his dad who showed up to pass out pizza to the couples in line and the clerks who were working through their lunches to process as many licenses as they could 20.

Utah has since allowed the couples who got married to file their taxes jointly 21, even while refusing to somehow recognize them.  That doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what’s going on, the very chaos the governor was afraid was running rampant.  In the meantime, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit to force the state to recongize the marriages22.

The state asked for ten extra days 23 to submit their briefs 24, and the plantiffs submited a brief opposing that delay 25, a delay which was ultimatley granted 26.

So now that the dust has finally settled in the legal ping-pong battle between civil rights and those opposed, we wait for the courts to rule once more.  Utah proved to the country the necessity and urgency of marriage equality.

The pictures of lines winding through buildings, while triumphant and exciting, I can’t help but view with a twinge of sadness.   These are loving couples who were forced to wait for so long for basic civil rights, and what should have been a fully joyous occasion, became a battle of logistics to secure what rights they could, even if their friends and family couldn’t be there to witness their vows.

Conservatives in Utah, you may remember, were the major donors to California’s Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality in the state for a time, so, now it is with great pleasure that the Golden State can send this postcard:

It’s hard to fully explain what it’s like to have to claw and scratch you way to full civil equality.  Nor would I ever want anyone else to have to go through the uncertainty and isolation that comes with that fight.

And even though this series of events happened half a country away, my heart raced with those couples.  My heart beat with those couples, finally able to get a glimmer of the recognition they so desperately deserve.

It can be exhilarating and infuriating, and even downright scary to watch the process, but we can cheer from afar, both as members of the community, or as allies standing shoulder to shoulder.

Marriage equality may be in stasis at the moment, but we can already see the cracks and know that the tide of history is pushing against that wall.  It’s a messy business, trying to deny a group their civil rights, as witnessed by the chaos stemming from the governor’s mansion in Utah.  But marriage equality will be the law in the Beehive State, it’s only a matter of time at this point.


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Notes:

  1. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/12/utahs-first-gay-marriage-has-happened.html 
  2. http://goodmenproject.com/gender-sexuality/how-a-federal-judge-in-utah-adeptly-dismantled-all-of-the-arguments-against-marriage-equality-jvinc/ 
  3. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/12/23/the-utah-gay-marriage-decision-used-justice-scalias-own-language-against-him
  4. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/12/23/judge-denies-request-to-stay-utahs-gay-marriage-ruling 
  5. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/12/24/yet-again-the-court-denies-a-request-to-halt-gay-marriages-in-utah 
  6. http://www.towleroad.com/2013/12/utah-governor-and-ag-desperate-to-bring-order-in-utah-halt-gay-marriage-chaos-1.html 
  7. http://equalityontrial.com/2013/12/30/utah-seeks-outside-counsel-defend-sex-marriage-ban-defense-may-cost-2-million/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=utah-seeks-outside-counsel-defend-sex-marriage-ban-defense-may-cost-2-million&utm_reader=feedly 
  8. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/12/26/when-will-utah-ask-the-supreme-court-to-halt-gay-marriages-maybe-in-a-few-days 
  9. http://www.towleroad.com/2014/01/utahgh.html 
  10. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/01/rachel-maddow-on-utahs-marriage-battle.html 
  11. http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/01/10/breaking-obama-admin-to-recognize-utah-same-sex-marriages/ 
  12. http://www.towleroad.com/2014/01/maryland-will-recognize-same-sex-marriages-performed-in-utah.html 
  13. http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/utah-county-adopts-jim-crow-tactic-preventing-same-sex-couples-from-marrying/ 
  14. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/12/24/utah-counties-continuing-their-christmastime-war-against-marriage 
  15. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/12/utah-gay-couples-rush-county-clerk.html 
  16. http://www.towleroad.com/2013/12/75-couples-still-in-line-to-get-a-marriage-license-in-salt-lake-city-.html 
  17. http://www.towleroad.com/2013/12/gay-couples-rush-for-marriage-licenses-in-utah-ahead-of-stay-request-hearing-photo.html
  18. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/12/video-utahs-first-married-gay-couple.html 
  19. http://www.towleroad.com/2013/12/utah-gay-couples-shattering-states-marriage-records.html 
  20. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/12/utah-boy-scouts-brought-pizza-to.html 
  21. http://www.towleroad.com/2014/01/utah-to-allow-joint-tax-filing-for-married-gay-couples.html 
  22. http://www.towleroad.com/2014/01/aclu-sues-utah-over-governors-refusal-to-recognize-same-sex-marriages.html 
  23. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/01/utah-needs-ten-extra-days-to-figure-out.html 
  24. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/01/utah-needs-ten-extra-days-to-figure-out.html 
  25. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/01/utah-plaintiffs-file-opposition-to.html 
  26. http://equalityontrial.com/2014/01/21/tenth-circuit-grants-time-extension-as-aclu-files-lawsuit-challenging-utahs-non-recognition-of-marriages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tenth-circuit-grants-time-extension-as-aclu-files-lawsuit-challenging-utahs-non-recognition-of-marriages&utm_reader=feedly 


Alright, big update today, let’s see what we have.

So in outrageously offending news, the defense in the PA marriage equality trial are seeking the complete sexual history of those challenging the ban.  So no matter how bad your day has been, at least the state isn’t asking for all the details of your sex life to continue denying you your rights.  Sigh.

Awesome photo of a polar bear and a full moon.

A radio host, who is very popular in GOP circles, thinks that only property owners should be able to vote.  He stopped himself from adding ‘white male’ is my guess.

Want to see what it’s like to go ski jumping?  Of course you do:

The divorce rate of evangelicals is higher than the general population.  But even if you’re not and evangelical, if you live in a heavily-populated area, you have a bigger risk of getting divorced.

The rumor was that AHS was going to be subtitled “Circus” next season, but maybe not?

Remember the 14th Amendment?  The one that says we all should have equal rights?  Well, the OK attorney general says that it doesn’t apply to gay people.

If you haven’t seen the new Duracell commercial, you should:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2HD57z4F8E

As a reminder, when you operate a business, you can’t discriminate against a population.  If you set out a sign saying you would not serve African Americans, it’s the same as saying you won’t serve gays.  Not a hard concept (except when legal loopholes get involved). Or you can Arizona which is trying to make it legal to discriminate against the LGBT community because of religion.

I love the Muppets, even if they did get snubbed at the Golden Globes:

A great clip from Louisiana where a trans woman dared a bigoted city council member to put his money where his mouth was and stone her to death.  He recalled his bill moments later.

The Great Agency Adventure follows a copywriter working at 14 agencies in 14 months.  Sounds fun!

That’s it for now, have a great one everybody!



Alright, let’s see what’s going on today.

First up, posted by Clintus, and I love it:

Sometimes, people don’t realize what’s it like having a state religion.  England, of course, has one, and they have “surrendered” on marriage equality.

Meet Scooter the llama.  Who was tased by police after she spit in their face.

And finally, the new trailer for The Hobbit part 2:

There’s all kinds of info coming out of E3, but I’ll have to sort through it all, but suffice to say the new Smash Bros. is going to finally include Mega Man!

That’s it for now, have a great one!



Alright, let’s see what we have today.

I really, really, really hope they don’t get sued, but a children’s hospital has rebranded chemo treatments as superhero formula.

So under oath, a gun executive called proposed gun control legislation “common sense.

Surviving the World celebrates victories of marriage equality:

Sometimes, I hate the world.  White supremacist are all up in arms because…well does it really even matter.  The point is Cheerios.

A bunch of really awesome people debate how Superman shaves.

Following up “Ship My Pants”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1yir-p68xM

I was all excited about the great outreach the Pope was doing, and then the Vatican reminded us all that Atheists are going to hell.

An idiot Idaho sheriff is dropping his BSA charter because “sodomy is against the law.”  While it is true that law is still on the books in Idaho, that law has been rendered void by the Supreme Court.

The best wedding photo ever.  Seriously.

More about the Oregon bakery who won’t bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.  Their version of City Paper called and was able to order cakes for Pagan ceremonies, divorce parties and even stem cell/cloning celebrations.  The bakery claims it didn’t act with an anti-gay animus, just faith principles, but I’m not seeing it.

I spent Friday night watching the house floor of the Illinois legislature.  Their marriage equality bill failed, and this was the tearful ending of the night.  The bill however, in a surprise move, has been extended until August 31 by the Speaker, giving it a new chance.:

The Lutherans join the Episcopalians with their first openly LGBT bishop.

That’s it for today, have a great one!



Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, for those enjoying the fourth season of Arrested Development, or in case you want to get caught up, there are two great summaries of the ongoing jokes here and here, and a good article at Nerve about what you learn about love from AD.

This is very scary, ice tsunami:

Wil Wheaton explains why it’s awesome to be a nerd.  Check it out here.

Jason Collins has revealed that he choose the jersey number 98 as a tribute to Matthew Shepherd.

I will never ride this (also because it’s in Texas):

I’m not a huge fan of the Pope, or the Catholic Church, but this new pope has made some good in-grounds.  Including his comments here.  Fun fact though: a crazy bigoted former coworker who is on his way to seminary, is freaking out because in his own mind, you can only go to heaven via the Catholic Church.  You know, ignore the pope, his boss, because he doesn’t hate the same people he does.  Sigh. 

In case you’ve forgotten that public transportation is important, to everyone on the round, check this out.

Google Glass from the perspective of a two year old:

A bridge (I believe the one that collapsed a few years back) in St. Paul lit up to celebrate marriage equality in Minnesota.

And in sad equality news, a baker has denied a cake to a lesbian couple for their wedding.  For those curious, just substitute, say, “African American” before couple and see if it’s still bigoted, and illegal.  Hint: it is.

This has been floating around, and it’s awesome.  Sad that it needs to be posted, but awesome:

It’s always fun to see hockey graphic departments show their nerd sides.

I’ve been working my way through Crash Course: Chemistry, and this is a great companion piece (that is not from Crash Course):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUDDiWtFtEM

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back with more soon.  Have a great one!



Updated: Check out the very bottom of this post for an update log.

I think that sometimes I take for granted that everyone else isn’t inside my head.  Believe me, that’s a good thing (for all of us), but just in terms of some knowledge, I want to make sure we all understand what I’m talking about.

Chances are you’ll recognize or know some of what I’m talking about below, maybe even all of it, but I hope you learn something.  I’ve tried to organize it in sections, hopefully it makes sense.  I also tried to keep it brief, there are of course many more details and many more subjects I did not get to, and I’m focused on Pennsylvania, since I’m here.  Your mileage may vary.

There’s a lot we should be proud of (ignoring the fact that we had to fight for what few rights we have), and a lot to continue to work for.  There are many people we owe quite a bit to, and all those we continue to fight for.  Let’s get started.

Hank Green (SciShow, Crash Course, Vlog Brothers), sums up the biological side of things pretty succinctly and is a good place to start:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXAoG8vAyzI

Alphabet Soup
LGBTQ….There’s a lot more letters that come come after, many of which I don’t know.  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans(gendered and sexual), Queer, Questioning, Ally….and the list goes on and on.  Hence the name, “alphabet soup.”  In our desire to be inclusive, we have a huge tent.  I’ve noted it elsewhere, but I, when I remember, like to use the order GBLT, because who doesn’t love a good BLT sandwich?

Lawrence v Texas
This 2003 supreme court case struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country, although many still remain on the books.  Anti-sodomy laws were used primarily against the LGBT community to literally invade their bedrooms and arrest them, while heterosexuals engaged in any sodomy behavior (any sex not for procreation) were not prosecuted.  This was actually the second time these laws were brought before the supreme court, the first being 1986’s Bowers v Hardwick.  Basically, before these laws, it was illegal to be LGBT in states with these laws.

Hate Crimes
Federal hate crime legislation protects citizens against hate crimes based on a variety of classes, and in 2009, sexual orientation and gender expression were finally added (as well as other expansions of the law).  Hate crime protection gives police forces additional funds to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, as well as bringing stronger sentences for those convicted.  Fun fact, heterosexuals are now finally protected from hate crimes by homosexuals as well.

Hospital Visitation
It was not until 2011, after a series of high-profile incidents, that hospital visitation rights were extended to the LGBT community (in hospitals receiving federal aid).  Imagine not being allowed to be next to the person you love as they lie dying in a hospital.  Powers of attorney, patient wishes and even civil unions had been ignored, leading to the necessity of an executive order.

DADT
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was the policy, fully repealed in 2011, that made LGB members of the armed forces hide who they were or face a dishonorable discharge.  Members of the military can still be dismissed for being transgendered.

DOMA
Defense of Marriage Act is what currently defines federal marriage law and the reciprocity between states’ marriage laws.  The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, so couples in states with marriage equality are barred from over 1,100 rights and must file separate tax returns.  Lambda Legal brought the case Windsor v United States to the supreme court to overturn parts of DOMA, especially those dealing with federal recognition and taxation.  Edith Windsor is a widow, but was forced to pay over $300,000 in estate taxes when her wife died, since in the eyes of the federal government they were strangers.

While all 50 states have reciprocity of heterosexual marriage (i.e., when you get married in one state, you’re recognized as such in all 50), each state may individually decide whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships for other states, leading to a patchwork of legality for same-sex couples as they travel across the country.

This video, shows why fighting DOMA is so crucially important:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2CdX_y9L9w

Prop 8
Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that removed the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry in California, creating three classes of people in the state: heterosexuals, homosexuals who were not married, and homosexuals who were married, but would never be able to marry again (in case of the death of a spouse or divorce).  AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, brought the case Perry v Schwarzenegger, and it was argued before the supreme court after a string of victories for equality.  Side note: Schwarzenegger and the government of California declined to defend Prop 8 in court, and as the basis of standing was examined, the case evolved and is now finally known as Hollingsworth v Perry.

Marriage Equality
One scenario, even if parts of DOMA is repealed, is the continuation of a country with a mishmash of marriage laws.  Fighting for full, federal marriage equality is necessary, not just for a marriage certificate, because that is not what defines a relationship, but for the social recognition, the stability of a family and the comfort that we’re all equal in the eyes of the law.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0TvjmFpU8w

ENDA
Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has so far, been a pipe dream.  This law would make it illegal to fire (or not hire) someone based on their sexual orientation.  Versions that also include gender expression have also been proposed, but to the same effect.  Currently, it is completely legal to fire someone for their real or perceived sexual orientation.

SNDA
Student Non-Discrimination Act, the same as ENDA, but protecting students from institutionalized discrimination.

Housing Inequality
Just like employment, housing and housing loans can also be denied based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lavender Scare
Just like the “Red Scare” of communism, this was a systematic purge of LGBT workers in the federal government.

Blood Ban
Any man who has sex with a man (and that’s the language used), regardless of sexual orientation, since 1977 is barred from giving blood for life, according to current regulations.  All blood is already screened for a multitude of diseases, but the implication here is that all gay men have HIV, or at least, we all contracted it simultaneously in 1977 and that heterosexuals have no diseases that couldn’t be detected.

Immigration Reform
Until 1991, members of the LGBT community could not legally immigrate into the United States.  Immigration reform is also of special concern to the LGBT community because, when coupled with DOMA, we face extra barriers to overcome to be with the person we love, if they happen to be a citizen of another country.  Bi-national same-sex couples are routinely separated, having no protection under the law, tearing apart families.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QepXs7Ut7rk

Local non-discrimination
This of course, varies by area.  Allegheny County, for instance, has their own version of ENDA (which does not apply to 501(c)3 charities).  If I were to work less than a mile to the east, I would have absolutely no protection against employment discrimination.  Philadelphia recently passed the most comprehensive protection package in the country, and Pennsylvania is once again attempting to enact statewide protections.

Boy Scouts of America
I’m not going to go into it here as it is constantly evolving and I’ve written about it…at length (and yes that was in the voice of Prof. Snape).  If you’re interested, just read the rest of the blog.

Freedom of Association/Postal Service
Before 1957 it was illegal for LGBT citizens to use the postal service to promote their rights, and prior to Stonewall (and far after), LGBT groups were routinely harassed by police.

Stonewall
While not the first time members of the LGBT community stood up for themselves, it is what kicked off the modern gay-rights movement in 1969.  After being raided, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, in New York City, stood up for themselves, were joined by fellow citizens of Greenwich Village, fought back, and the ensuing riots was the catalyst for our demand for equality.

Harvey Milk
The first out elected official in the country.  Elected to the board of supervisors of San Francisco, famous for his work for equality, not only for the LGBT community, but the elderly and children as well.  His famous quote, in reference to coming out and working to make the world better for those coming after him, “You gotta’ give them hope.”  Was assassinated, along with the mayor of San Francisco.

James Dale
Brought the supreme court case Boy Scouts of America v Dale in 2000, led to the BSA upholding their ban on LGBT scouts and leaders.

Matthew Shepherd
Brutally murdered in Wyoming.  His mother created the Matthew Shepherd foundation and extension of hate crimes to cover sexual orientation and gender expression was the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Act.

Alan Turing
British scientist responsible for the modern computer age and cracked the Nazi enigma codes during WWII.  Was convicted of being homosexual by the British government and sentenced to chemical castration.  Committed suicide before the sentence could be carried out.  He has yet to be pardoned by the British government.

Jason Collins
First male athlete in the big four (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) to come out while still playing.  Although has not been re-signed (free agent) for the 2013-2014 season.

Brian Simms
First out state official in Pennsylvania, elected in 2012.  Currently represents downtown Philadelphia.

I’m from Driftwood
Video series dedicated to the many unique stories of the LGBT community and our allies. (http://www.imfromdriftwood.com/)

It Gets Better Project
Founded by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller to combat LGBT suicide.  The idea is that because of the Internet (and YouTube specifically), we don’t need permission to talk with the kids that need our support the most.  We can tell them that life does get better, and it’s worth sticking around for. (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/)

You Can Play
Founded in memory of Brendan Burke, out, gay player and manager for Miami of Ohio by his father (Maple Leafs former GM, Brian Burke) and brother (Flyers Scout, Patrick Burke), You Can Play has officially partnered with the NHL to tackle homophobia on the ice, in the locker room and in the stands. (http://youcanplayproject.org/)

Trevor Project
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for the LGBT community.  (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)

Human Rights Campaign
The main lobbying group of the LGBT community, working with local organizations and lobbying in Washington, D.C. for equal rights.  Their symbol is the yellow equals sign on a blue field.  Fun fact, you can be a card-carrying gay (or ally), by joining the HRC (they have fairly useless donor/membership cards), but it’s a nice gesture.

SLDF/Out Serve
Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund and Out Serve merged after the repeal of DADT, they work to support LGBT members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

Equality Pennsylvania
The state-level organization working for equality in Pennsylvania.  Reintroduced the state-level ENDA in 2013 with record support, over 100 co-sponsors in the house and senate.

Lambda Foundation/Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh
The Lambda Foundation is the local LGBT organization, the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is a spin-off organization that puts together Pittsburgh Pride.

Lamba Legal
National legal organization focusing on LGBT issues and fighting for those with HIV/AIDS

PFLAG
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, national organization of allies.

GLAAD
Previously the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, now just goes by GLAAD and also focuses on trans and bi issues as well, media watchdog for the LGBT community.

Pride
Pride is usually celebrated in June to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, although some locations move it around due to weather concerns.  An open celebration (seriously, everyone is invited, including allies) of how far we’ve come, the fact that we’ve survived and enjoying the community that we’ve created for ourselves.

 

Update Log

May 27 – Added alphabet soup, a few other details.

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