We Have A Dream Too, The Final Frontier of the Civil Rights Movement

Jody May-Chang©
November 11, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

There is little doubt that even President-elect Obama’s opponents understand the significance and importance of electing the first African-American to the Presidency of the United States.

To witness a beautiful black family make it to the White House is moving beyond words and brought almost everyone I know to tears. Although it is naive to assume that Obama’s election is a panacea for curing all inequality, it is a monumental step forward. This election has elevated us all and serves as a powerful example to the world that character really does matter more than color.

While the country and the world watched and celebrated this historic victory, LGBT citizens took another devastating blow with the passage of California’s Proposition 8. While the country was lifted up with Obama’s message, “Yes we can!” LGBT citizens were smacked down with “No you can’t!”

This is a referendum on our humanity that has swept the country’s LGBT population with betrayal and yet another assault on our rights as American citizens and as human beings.

Last July, gay couples in California began to marry after the State Supreme Court ruled that the States ban was unconstitutional. Now only four months later, and with 18,000 marriages hanging in the balance, the passage of Proposition 8 overruled the court.

Although it is unclear what will happen with the 18,000 marriages, we do know that previously granted civil rights have been rescinded and discriminatory language will be added to the California State Constitution, disallowing equal protection to only LGBT citizens.

While the Obama presidency is being characterized as “a new progressive era,” LGBT citizens are still forced to defend our very personhood and fight for our right to exist equally under the law, and live as families. This is as repugnant to us as it has been for African-Americans, Native-Americans, Latinos and women who have all faced similar battles.

There is an anti-gay industry in America that consists of a large coordinated coalition of far right evangelical religious leaders, advocacy groups and right-wing politicians. Their major focus is to promote anti-gay legislation that restricts rights of LGBT American citizens. The anti-gay agenda is executed by people such as, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, The Catholic League, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, The LDS Church, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, George W. Bush, Gen. Peter Pace and so many more.

This anti-gay industry works hard to degrade and dehumanize us by perpetuating stereotypes, misinformation and lies about us for political and financial gain, all the while stirring up bigotry and hatred. One of their propaganda messages is that homosexuals are hijacking the civil rights movement.

Such propaganda is designed for no other reason than to divide other minorities that have suffered similar injustices from identifying with the current struggles of LGBT people. This is the Rovian paradigm of divide and conquer in which the means justifies the end and where lies become truth no matter who gets hurt.

It is undeniable that there are striking similarities in our fight for civil rights equality with our African American brethren, most notably the issue of interracial marriage. Interracial marriage was still illegal in some states until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia case that banning interracial marriage was a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

In the Loving case, Richard Loving, a white man and Mildred Jeter, a part African American and Native American woman were legally married in Washington DC in 1958. Upon their return to their home state of Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal, they were met in the privacy of their own bedroom one night by three police officers shining flashlights in their faces. Police demanded to know why Mr. Loving was in bed with “this lady.”? When a valid marriage license was presented, police told Mr. Loving “That’s no good here.”? The couple was arrested and convicted of a white person marrying a colored person but also for evading the state’s prohibition of the law on interracial marriage.

LGBT relationships endured the same threat of police intrusion into our private bedrooms, just as the Lovings experienced, as late as 2003 for violating state sodomy laws. It was illegal for two consenting adults of the same sex to have private sexual relations in their own homes. Those who were caught were charged and often jailed for “deviant sexual behavior”? and forced to endure many indignities such as having to register as sex offenders.

The anti-gay industry has re-packaged many of the long abandoned and rejected arguments of the 1950’s and 60’s that were used to oppose interracial marriage and applied them to same-sex marriage, and homosexuality in general. They contend that homosexuality is not natural, it will harm children, that the Bible says it is an abomination against God and same-sex marriage will destroy “traditional”? marriage.

This brand of hatred and cruelty is based on nothing but fear, ignorance and the desire for power and control over others who they do not want, or care, to understand. To allow marriage, or other civil rights, would be to admit we are human beings just like everyone else. Our very equality threatens their power structure and revenue stream.

The judge that convicted the Lovings in 1958 said, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows he did not intend for the races to mix.”?

During that time others had said that it violated natural law and would lead to unhealthy children perhaps making them retarded or would create a mongrel breed.

These outdated opinions, based on prejudicial religious beliefs, have been long discounted and rejected when it comes to race yet they are still allowed to be injected into law to discriminate against LGBT American citizens.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says, “First Amendment protects religious freedom and the right of religious groups not to marry same-sex couples. State constitutional and US Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage reflects a fundamental disregard for individual civil rights of one class of people and ignores the first amendment rights of religious tradition or freedom from religious beliefs of a particularly theology whether that be a belief system of the majority or not. It is therefore government’s responsibility to dedicate itself to protecting the rights of all citizens, which includes gay and lesbian people.”?

In 1967 the United Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution which reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In his deciding opinion Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren said, “While the state court is no doubt correct in asserting that marriage is a social relation subject to the State’s police power, the State does not contend in its argument before this Court that its powers to regulate marriage are unlimited notwithstanding the commands of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Warren went on to say that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal right essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Forty years later, Warren’s statements were echoed in the California Supreme Court decision just last May, where it was ruled that, “people have a fundamental ‘right to marry’ the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.”?

After the Loving v. Virginia was decided, the couple was interviewed by Ebony magazine where Richard Loving said, “For the first time, I could put my arm around her publically and call her my wife.” Mildred said, “I feel free now.”

Tell me how this is not the same struggle

Today it is unthinkable to keep two people from marrying one another because they are of a different ethnicity. What if some religious group tried to get an anti-interracial marriage measure on the ballot in just one state? It would never be allowed to happen. Yet, it just happened to us!


Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: CA Prop. 8 & same-sex marriage

Idaho Hallmark shop owner will special order same-sex cards

H. Lukas Green & Jody May-Chang©
August 26, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

Jordan's HallmarkAn Idaho anti-gay propagandist is crowing success on his non-profit political website about how his intervention with a local Hallmark card shop owner lead to a decision not to sell same-sex greeting cards.

The head of the so-called Idaho Values Alliance was apparently set to call for a boycott of the seven Jordan Hallmark stores owned by Philip R. Johnson, until the man disclosed that he had no intention of selling the cards. However, he said he would special order them upon request.

Johnson said his business decision was based on controversial news coverage and the cartoon-like drawing showing two tuxedos side-by-side that appear to be joined at the wrist. He said would not have stocked the cards simply based on the cartoon image and the related news coverage, regardless of being contacted by Bryan Fischer, IVA executive director.

Hallmark Same-Sex Wedding Cards
Hallmark’s new sedate non-issue same-sex partner greeting cards.

Continue reading

In Their Own Words: Pride is a State of Being

Members of Boise’s GLBTQ community talk about what pride means to them.

by Rachael Daigle.
June 11, 2008 Boise Weekly

This piece was published in the Boise Weekly along with three other LGBT community leader contributions as part of the Weekly’s 2008 LGBT Pride Issue.

Pride is a State of Being

Jody May-Chang
The national theme for Pride this year is “Live, Love and Be.” As poetic as that theme sounds, Pride is more than a slogan, it’s a way of life. It means taking ownership of your life and standing up against individuals and institutions who deny us our basic liberties.

Jody May-Chang, Boise WeeklyWhen I attend annual Pride events, I’m touched by the sense of community and hope that follows the speeches and events, but I sometimes think it amounts to a brief vacation from the harsh reality surrounding of our daily lives.

Once the rainbow flags are put away and the chanting has subsided, we still face a world in which we are marginalized, stereotyped and vilified by those who would prefer that we did not exist.

Although we have a proud history that includes many people who have fought those who beat and jailed us, we still have a long uphill fight to secure employment protection, hate-crime laws and marriage equality. While we celebrate the festivities of Pride events, we still face the reality of being second-class citizens in our own country.

Continue reading

Faith-Based Hate Speech Pollutes Idaho

Jody May-Chang©
May 18, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

One of the biggest recruiters of hate spoke at the so-called “Shake the Nation” conference here is Boise this weekend was Scott Lively, author of “The Pink Swastika,” an evil tool that blames homosexuals for the Holocaust.

Lively is a fraud who masks his hate speech as a spiritual message. His brand of faith-based bigotry is specifically crafted to generate fear about gay people, the kind of fear that escalates into violence.

Bryan Fischer is the local mouth piece for the right-wing agenda, which seems increasingly obsessed with homosexuals. While in his role as executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, Fischer uses the non-profit IVA website to promote Lively’s twisted political propaganda.

“The Pink Swastika” has little to do with religion and promoting Christian values, but everything to do with hiding behind non-profit status while promoting political propaganda.

Lively sows the seeds of hatred masked as God’s message by lying about LGBT people.

Anti-Gay Author of The Pink Swastika Scott LivelyLast summer, in a speech Lively (left) gave in Novosibirsk, Russia, he spews his religious extremist garbage saying, “I have been working with the Russian community in Sacramento; I want to tell you that this is an example that will show you how bad things are in the United States. Because we have come to a place in the United Sates where the homosexuals have achieved very high power and that they have begun to punish, they have begun to cause the political powers to punish anyone who says that homosexuality is wrong,” says Lively.

Continue reading

Boise Non-Profit Spews Anti-Gay Hate Propaganda

Jody May-Chang©
May 17, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

Idaho Values Alliance Executive Director Bryan FisherBryan Fischer (left), Executive Director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt organization, is widely known as the self anointed moral police for family values in Idaho. Fischer recently posted a rabidly homophobic article on his website. This brand of fiction, also reproduced on Alan Keys website Renew America, does nothing but perpetuate fear, loathing and hatred of LGBT people.

In the May 15th “story”, “The truth about homosexuality and the Nazi Party,” Fischer defends Scott Lively, author of ‘The Pink Swastika.’ Published in the mid-nineties, the book has been extensively debunked as anti-gay propaganda.

Why now, well Lively will be speaking at a Christian conservative religious conference here in Boise this weekend called “Shake the Nation.”

In an apparent response to comments made about Lively and his book by The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, Fischer claims the “far-left” group accused Lively of “bearing false witness” and of being “mean-spirited and hurtful.”

Fischer’s discourse goes on to parrot Lively’s obsession with homosexuals and Nazi’s to Idaho conservatives.

“Lively’s crime? says Fischer, “In his book, ‘The Pink Swastika,’ Lively exposes a secret homosexual activists don’t want you to know about Nazi Germany: that although the Nazis did persecute homosexuals, the homosexuals the Nazis persecuted were almost exclusively the effeminate members of the gay community in Germany, and that much of the mistreatment was administered by masculine homosexuals who despised effeminacy in all its forms.”

Continue reading

Southern Discomfort: Not so fast – “Queers Not Welcome”

H. Lukas Green and Jody May-Chang©
May 3, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

As determined as the women were to move forward with their plans to have a concert, some locals were just as determined to put a stop to the very idea that gay people and their supporters would be able to gather for a day of music and fun.

Realizing that holding a concert in Casar was impossible because of the shrill voices of contempt and hypocrisy, Leedy and Beasley secured a venue in nearby Lincoln County. When they announced the news of the new location on their website blog that a contract was about to be signed, the local media had a field day.

The Lincoln Times-News publishes a story on April 4, 2008, quoting a local Baptist Minister’s disapproval of the so-called “lifestyle” that would be coming to his area. Others would soon follow in the media with anti-gay rants.

Elected County Official Fans The Flames of Bigotry

Lincoln County Commissioner, Alex E. Patton, made it very clear that he would do everything possible to prevent the concert organized by Leedy and Beasley.

“I will do everything within my power as a county commissioner to keep this event from taking place,” Patton was quoted as saying in the Lincoln Times-News on April 4, 2008. As if standing on a stack of Bibles, he pontificates that he will make certain that every pastor in Lincoln County will hear about this if that’s what it takes to stop this gay-friendly concert from taking place.

In no time the self-righteous bigots who ignore Jesus’ teachings about “love thy neighbor” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” started their agenda of hate with vile signs and a billboard.

A billboard that appeared seemed to parrot The Star’s doomsday headline (“Camp What?”), only with various Bible passages inserted as if to justify their hatred.

Lincoln County Norht Carolina Anti-Gay Hate Billboard

The billboards hellfire and damnation scripture references that read: “CAMP WHAT? IN LINCOLN COUNTY? IF (Abomination) Leviticus 18:22 AND (Defilement) 1 Timothy 1:10 THEN (Death) Romans 1:32 HOWEVER, IF (Repentance) Ezekiel 14:60 THEN (Eternal Life) John 3:36”

Continue reading

Southern Discomfort: Bushstock or Bust!

Jody May-Chang©
May 3, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

Joan Beasley and Nancy Leedy are finally settled in a home and reunited as a family and they are rebuilding their lives. After all the hard work, disappointment, and betrayal behind them, these women are focusing their attention on healing from the trauma of Shelby, Casar and Lincoln County and working to make Bushstock ’08 a reality.

They had to move south to seek freedom. They left the controversy and bigotry of west North Carolina behind them and were welcomed in Georgia where they signed contract for an area to hold their concert.

The show will go on at the Etowah River Campground in Dahlonega, Georgia.

Continue reading

Southern Discomfort: The Drama Known as “Camp Lickalotta”

Southern Discomfort

H. Lukas Green and Jody May-Chang©
May 3, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

Camp Lickalotta Entrance SignSeveral weeks ago, PrideDEPOT.com ran a story about a lesbian couple in North Carolina who wanted to build a recreation area called “Camp Lickalotta.” We were ready to leave it at just a crazy idea about a camp with a dubious sounding name someplace in the rural South.

We never anticipated the reaction the story would generate nor the debate that followed on our website. The many comments from locals in Shelby, NC, were emotional and they described how the local media seemed to join forces with and powerful political conservatives to fight against them. It soon appeared to us that there was much more to this story than just a campground with a dubious sounding name.

Behind the name “Camp Lickalotta” are real people who were dealing with real issues seldom seen in large cities where LGBT people are openly accepted. This is about gays and lesbians in rural America where coming out means facing powerful people who demonize you using the politics of religion.

We wanted to know what was behind the hysteria to squash the idea of an LGBT-friendly camp with an outrageous sounding name.

PrideDEPOT.com called many of the principal players in the “Camp Lickalotta” drama and found out how forcefully the fear card is played against those who just do not fit the safe and accepted heterosexual image.

In this part of western North Carolina, the story is about survival and right to live free of harassment, intimidation or the threat of physical violence. This is “Southern Discomfort.”