News & Opinions
For some Americans “Freedom” means that Christians and “conservatives” should be allowed to discriminate everyone who isn’t straight like they used to and often enough still discriminate everyone who isn’t white. On the other hand they liken those who demand the freedom to love whoever they want to the Nazis. Literally. In their eyes not wanting to be treated as a second class citizen because of your sexual preference makes you just as bad as those guys who killed millions of Jews, gays, intellectuals and socialists in concentration camps in World War II. Literally.
This mind-set is once again expressed in a film US senator Rick Santorum is producing in the wake of a verdict from the US Supreme Court that ruled that companies are people and can have religious views and therefore are allowed to circumvent the law that would require them to cover women’s contraceptives in their health care plans (which, unlike Viagra that these companies don’t object to at all is something many women actually need) and also gives them the freedom to just ignore laws made for example to protect queer employees from discrimination.
Please read more about you being a Nazi on Bilerico and watch the trailer for the film below…
US Republicans on the far right sure do love their false equivalence, especially when it comes to “scientific experts.” No matter that every major medical association decries gay conversion therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful — just find one or two people to say otherwise and suddenly there’s “compelling testimony from both sides of the issue.”
False equivalence is the rhetoric quicksand of productive debate, and Anderson Cooper isn’t having it. During a recent interview with Texas Republican Rep. Bryan Hughes about the party having added support of conversion therapy to their official platform, Hughes played the “experts are divided” card. To which Anderson replied:
“It’s really just not accurate to say that doctors are evenly divided. I could give you a list: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselors’ Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers. They represent half a million mental health professionals, [and] they all say this is not a mental disorder. It’s not something that needs to be cured.”
The problem with speaking logic to someone who is knowingly full of shit is you can bet they aren’t going to budge. And Rep. Hughes played the part well, dodging substance and sticking to his canned bullet points. No matter that Anderson also shows a clip from his interview with former conversion guru Alan Chambers who has denounced the practice as traumatic and a waste of time.
“Does it concern you, again, that your party is now backing a form of therapy which basically every major medical organization says doesn’t work, can be harmful, and which many of the people who have been through it say it doesn’t work and is bad for kids?” Cooper asked.
It does not bother him, apparently, since all Hughes can reply with is repeating that he’s heard from “experts” and “read reports” that say otherwise. And thus the conversation goes full circle…
Mark Betterson, a student at a High School in Florida, was suspended for 10 days after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, a local news station reports:
“Mark Betterson says he realized he had to do something when he saw a fellow student throw milk in another’s face, use gay slurs, and then start to hit him. James Griffin, 18, is charged with battery. His alleged victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Colon, who is openly gay, walked away with bruises on his head. Many who saw the fight say it could have been worse if Betterson didn’t step in.”
Said Betterson: “Johnathan was just going to stand there and get beat up. And if I didn’t jump into it, it would have gotten serious. I was just trying to break up the whole thing because it’s just not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is." [via Towelroad]
NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam came out as gay in interviews on Sunday. Sam said he knew that if drafted, he would become the first openly gay player in the NFL, that he was prepared for the challenge, but that he wanted to be open and honest.
The Daily Show has already weighed in on the situation:
Last October, there was the heartwarming story of 2,000 Swedes who gathered in the Olympic Stadium of Stockholm to sing the Russian national anthem in a statement of solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. Called "Live and Let Love," the final video of the event is now here and just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
"For many Russians the song has been a symbol of oppression," organizers of the event said in a statement. "However, the lyrics of the song were changed in year 2000 and in 2009 a poll showed that 56 percent of respondents felt proud when hearing the anthem, and that 81 percent liked it. Still, there are many people in Russia who are not able to sing the song with pride, among them many millions of LGBT people. It is their anthem too, but the state is criminalizing their lives."
Over the weekend, Rory O’Neill, who is also known as Irish drag queen Panti Bliss, made an impassioned and heartfelt speech about the nature of homophobia following the conclusion of a play at the national theatre of Ireland, the Abbey.
According to Irish publication The Journal, the debate itself stemmed from a television network’s redaction of comments made by Panti Bliss on the air earlier in the week about what constitutes homophobia. In addition to rescinding the drag queen’s comments, the network also reportedly paid off a Catholic lobbying group who was called homophobic by Panti Bliss during his time on the network.
In this impassioned and incredible speech during the Feb. 1 debate, Panti Bliss defends his statements and beautifully articulates why he believes certain actions and intentions can be considered homophobic, and the real life ramifications of homophobia (including internalized homophobia) on queer people.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay "propaganda" in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders.
The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network.
We travel to Russia ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia. We take a ride in Moscow’s gay taxi service, hear about the rise of homophobic vigilante groups, and meet Yulia, who runs LGBT self-defense classes.