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Reposted from TransAction by rserven

 photo Smith-College-1304BDE8_zpsbuerja9a.jpgThe Smith College board of trustees has voted to accept that transgender women are women.

The shift to a self-identification admissions policy at the women’s college in Northampton goes into effect for students submitting applications this fall. The decision was revealed Saturday afternoon in a message to students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae.

Under the new admissions policy, applicants who were born male but identify as women are eligible for admission. Applicants must select “female” on the Common Application to be considered.

From the civil rights perspective, we’re saying trans women are women.  What we’re doing here is really affirming that we’re a women’s college and we have an unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college.

--Smith College President Kathleen McCartney

The move follows the leads of Mills College in California, and Wellesley, Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges in Massachusetts and Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania.
Our clarified admission policy reflects a women's college that is steadfast in its founding mission yet evolving to reflect a changing world.

--Smith announcement

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Reposted from Kossacks for Marriage Equality by librarisingnsf
Last Sunday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was on Face The Nation to discuss marriage equality. Prior to beginning the discussion/interview, Bob Scheiffer mentioned that CBS had gotten flooded with letters from viewers complaining about the network having Tony Perkins on because he is a member of a SPLC designated hate group. It seems that religious right leaders and Todd Starnes of FOX News are quite upset about CBS calling out the FRC in that way.

From JMG:

Teabagistan has been in an uproar all week after CBS' Face The Nation host Bob Shieffer correctly called the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group in the opening to his interview with Tony Perkins last Sunday. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted the below rant, bringing in foaming hater Brent Bozell to denounce CBS. Bozell, you may recall, is most known here for calling President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead."

If you missed that interview, here it is.

The following video is called "the march of marriage equality." I'm posting it just because it's really cool.


Fri May 01, 2015 at 04:07 PM PDT

Hallmark jerks tears for Mother's Day

by rserven

Reposted from Robyn's Perch by rserven

 photo Alex_zpssd4tc1kx.jpgHallmark has a new campaign for Mother's Day, #PutYourHeartToPaper

Alex, a transgender man, begins with this:

My mom is the most light, bright, positive person I have ever met in my life, and that's just how she's always been.

When she hugs me, she really hugs me. And when you get a good hug, that is something that makes you feel safe and loved and she's the only one that has that effect on me.

I've never felt [at] home in my body, and even though I was born a girl, I always felt like I was a boy.  And I was afraid to tell her because I thought love would have conditions.

And the unconditional love that she's shown has made me a better person in all of my relationships.

The video is on the other side.
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Reposted from librarisingnsf by librarisingnsf
Maggie Gallagher has penned a letter to Justice Kennedy and it is published in the National Review. In it she states four reasons she believes that Justice Kennedy should affirm the Sixth Circuit's ruling that the states' marriage bans are constitutional. She says that the gay community is no longer powerless and does not need his help, but that those who are in favor of traditional marriage do. The tone of self-victimization in this letter is palpable. And, she says that the government cannot bestow dignity on a relationship. Reason number four states:
4. Finally, dear Justice Kennedy: Government cannot confer dignity on our relationships. My best friends, my adult children, my godchildren, my brothers and sisters, every single intimate relationship that I have and that gives meaning to my life, government has no role there. To imagine that a government stamp of approval is what creates value in human relationships, or gives dignity to our sexual lives, is to accord to government a power it does not have: a power to impose an idea of equality that is not true, and to remove from the American people the hard work — of negotiating, compromise, and dealing with one another — that belongs to the democratic process, not the Constitution.

Justice Kennedy, you’ve surprised us before. Do it one more time. If originalism doesn’t move you, perhaps an honest plea for pluralism from the newly stigmatized might?

via JMG

I don't believe a word of that. And, I don't think Maggie does either. If she didn't think that marriage bestowed a certain dignity upon a couple, why has she been working overtime the last decade or so to keep us out of the institution of marriage.

From Jeremy Hooper at Good As You:

It is the sort of thinking that could only come from a movement as entitled as the one that fights us. More and more over the decade that I've done this kind of work, I've come to realize that the opposition movement, in general, truly does believe that they always get to have the upper hand over us. They truly believe that there is some sort of secret script that mandates their dominance in this world that we all share. Their driving narrative is one that leaves no possibility for their own wrongness or our own peace of mind. It's always about them and what our lives and loves and families and rights supposedly mean for them.

No, "livelihoods are not under attack" because of same-sex marriage. It only feels that way to the opposition movement because they keep lying to people and telling them they have right to ignore nondiscrimination laws that they do not favor, legal marriages that they do not wish to honor, and certain duties of their jobs (e.g. issuing marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples) that they feel they shouldn't have to perform. The anti-LGBT movement is pushing a huge lie that has turned fair compliance into some sort of undue burden. The only "attack" is coming from them, against reality.


Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 04:18 PM PDT

Data diving at Pew

by rserven

Reposted from TransAction by rserven

Apparently Pew Research Center didn't want to be left behind in the transgender race, so Sara Kehaulani Goo dug up a survey from 2013 and spelunked in the data contained therein.

The online survey interviewed 1197 self-identified LGBT adults, of which 43 identified as transgender (3.6%).  Forty percent of respondents identified as bisexual, 33.2% identified as gay men, and 23.1% were lesbians.

As often happens, all transgender respondents were apparently excluding from the other groups, under the apparent assumption that transgender people do not have sexual orientations (actually, a footnote acknowledges that transgender people might also be gay or lesbian).

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Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 04:57 PM PDT

GENDA rises again in New York

by rserven

Reposted from TransAction by bythesea

New York is one of only three states which protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity.  The other two are Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

Partially that is because too many people believe that the protections afforded to LGB people automagically extend to transgender people.  But the law knows what we have have been enunciating for years:  sexual orientation and gender are not the same.

Sexual orientation is about who you desire to go to bed with.  Gender identity is about who we go to bed as.  In other words, sex is between our legs.  Gender is between our ears.

Well, once again the state of New York has a chance to remedy their deficiency.  The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is once again being brought forward.  GENDA has passed the State Assembly seven times over the past decade, but has never passed in the Senate.

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Reposted from librarisingnsf by librarisingnsf
Some folks within the LGBT community clearly still harbor quite a bit self-hatred. Take for instance this North Dakota lawmaker who has been caught sending nude photos of himself to another man on Grindr. At the same time, his voting record would indicate that he is quite anti-gay.

From Towleroad:

State Rep. Randy Boehning, a North Dakota lawmaker who voted against bills protecting gay people from discrimination, was caught exchanging photos of his junk to another man on Grindr, the Grand Forks Herald reports:

The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.

"How can you discriminate against the person you're trying to pick up?" Smith said in a recent interview.

Boehning has confirmed he is "Top Man!" and that he is bisexual.

He also said that his family members and friends had not previously known that information but he is relieved that "the 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted."

Rep. Randy Boehning, a 52-year-old Republican legislator from Fargo, says a Capitol employee told him a fellow lawmaker vowed to out him as gay if he continued to vote against bills granting gays legal protections against discrimination.

Boehning refused to identify at this point who he believes is behind the purported political payback for his vote against Senate Bill 2279, the third such bill defeated in the past six years by North Dakota legislators.

Boehning said before he voted against the anti-discrimination bill on April 2 a Capitol employee told him a fellow House lawmaker who supported the bill said Boehning would be targeted for retaliation if he didn't vote for it. The 12-year veteran of the House still voted against 2279. He also voted against a similar bill in 2009 and would have in 2013, had the proposal not died in the Senate before a House vote.


Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 05:47 PM PDT

Riots: From Stonewall to Baltimore

by FogCityJohn

Reposted from Positively Charged Opinion by FogCityJohn

The unrest in Baltimore, brought on by the death of Freddie Gray, has been the source of a lot of commentary in the world of social media. My Facebook feed is full of people offering their opinions about what many call the "rioting" or "violence" in Charm City.  Mind you, most of those commenting use those words only to refer to destruction of property and throwing of rocks. Strangely, they're not talking about the actions of the police, this despite the violence that characterizes so much of the police's treatment of poor black communities.

Lots of those appearing in my news feed are gay white men like me. Some of them have been very critical of the protestors in Baltimore, and they've decried the resort to "violence" and condemned the people for rioting. I'm not a violent guy, and I don't support the indiscriminate destruction of property, but as a gay man, I find it a bit hypocritical when white members of my community wag their fingers at the so-called rioters.  

I'll explain below the nuage de kos.

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Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 05:15 PM PDT


by rserven

Reposted from TransAction by rserven

One thing the Bruce Jenner interview accomplished for the transgender community that we can point to as perhaps most important was bringing our plight to the forefront of local awareness.

Across the nation local news media determined that they needed to suplement the interview with local interest.

And I can't speak for anyone else, but I've had about a dozen people from past communities in which I have lived ask to friend me on Facebook...mostly people I've either forgotten or never knew in the first place.

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A Kentucky state circuit judge has ruled that a t-shirt company has the right to discriminate against a gay organization because of sincerely held religious beliefs.

From Think Progress:

The case in question dates back to 2012, when Hands On Originals and its owner, Blaine Adamson, refused to produce T-shirts for the the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), which coordinates the Lexington Pride Festival. GLSO filed a complaint, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission ruled that Hands On Originals (HOO) violated the city’s nondiscrimination order, which protects sexual orientation.

But Kentucky Circuit Court Judge James Ishmael overturned the Commission’s ruling, arguing that it impeded HOO’s freedoms of speech and religion. In terms of speech, Ishmael reasoned that the decision not to print was not because of the sexual orientation of GLSO or its members, but because the Pride Festival advocates “sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman.” In other words, that message, though inherent to the identity of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, overrides the right of those people to be protected from discrimination.

Moreover, Ishmael ruled that the Commission’s ruling violates HOO’s protections under Kentucky’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), passed in 2013. The law, a simpler version of the more controversial bills introduced recently in Indiana, Arkansas, and other states, states that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of religion” except under limited circumstances. As Ishmael noted, Kentucky’s definition of “person” includes corporate bodies and other companies, so HOO was entitled to assert a claim under RFRA. “The Commission’s Order substantially burdens HOO’s and its owners’ free exercise of religion,” he wrote, “wherein the government (Commission) punished HOO and its owners by its order for exercising their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Because the shop would have been forced to “print shirts that convey messages contrary to their faith,” the Order “inflicts a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion.”

This ruling is the first clear example of a RFRA law being used to justify discriminating against LGBT folks. And, Kentucky's RFRA is not as expansive as either the proposed Indiana or Arkansas RFRAs. You can read the ruling here.

Update 1:


GLSO President Christopher Bauer said that he was disappointed in the ruling.

“We feel that this is just a reminder that there are still many out there who feel that their citizenship is worth more than that of members of the (gay, lesbian and transgender) community,” Bauer said in a statement.

Both the group and the Human Rights Commission said they are considering an appeal of the ruling.

Ishmael said the business never inquired about the sexual orientation of the representatives from the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. The owners of Hands On Originals have “treated homosexual and heterosexual groups the same,” Ishmael wrote, noting that the business has in the past turned down orders for shirts promoting strip clubs and containing violent messages.

Wow! I sure like the way they are comparing a respectable gay organization to strip clubs and people wanting them to produce t-shirts with violent messages on them.
Reposted from Kossacks for Marriage Equality by librarisingnsf
NOM held its latest "March4Marriage" in Washington on Saturday. And, it was quite the show of religious right characters. They wanted to give the SCOTUS justices the message that they best NOT rule in favor of marriage equality. As a matter of fact, Scott Lively showed up at the SCOTUS this morning with a bunch of boxes full of something ... presumably restraining orders.
From JMG:
On the scene are Scott Lively, Janet Porter, "ex-gay" activist Greg Quinlan, and a flotilla of crackpots from Texas Values. Whatever is in those boxes will doubtlessly soon end up in a federal shredder.
From Right Wing Watch:
In a press conference today in front of the Supreme Court, Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter gathered a who’s who of radical anti-gay activists and “ex-gays” to deliver “restraining orders” to the Supreme Court demanding that the justices not hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

Far from a far-right pipe dream, Porter’s bill to block federal courts from ruling on marriage was introduced last week by Rep. Steve King in the House and Sen. Ted Cruz in the Senate. “We have appealed to Congress to restrain the judges, and the good news is Congress has heard our cry,” Porter said.

The activists, including Scott Lively, Peter LaBarbera and Bill Owens, also announced that they were filing a motion asking Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the case because they, in Lively’s words, “deliberately officiated at so-called homosexual wedding ceremonies.”

Ginsburg and Kagan, Lively charged, “have committed an unparalleled breach of judicial ethics by elevating the importance of their own favorite political cause of gay rights above the integrity of the court and of our nation.”

But, let's get back to the march on Saturday. Here is a short video summarizing the events.

Don't those justices know what "gawd's word" says about marriage?!

Another speaker at the march was Pastor Jim Garlow. I become quite amused at how ridiculous Christian fundies sound when they pretend to know ancient Hebrew. Take for instance Pastor Jim Garlow's little word game with the Hebrew words/letters in the creation story. Let's see ... we can rearrange these (English representations of) Hebrew letters so that they spell "fire." That means you heathens trying to redefine marriage will BURN! And, besides that, the SCOTUS will be a laughing stock if they rule in favor of marriage equality.

From Right Wing Watch:

At today’s March for Marriage, Pastor Jim Garlow offered a lengthy explanation for why he believes marriage equality is wrong, asking the audience to repeat several Hebrew words found in Genesis before rearranging the letters to make the word “fire,” which of course proves that if you allow marriage equality you are going to Hell.

“You mess with the definition of marriage, and you burn, you’re toast, you can’t win that one,” he said.

This explanation is so obvious, he said, that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality this year, it will soon become a “laughingstock” for having promoted the “ridiculous” idea of legal marriage for gay and lesbian people.

Reposted from Readers and Book Lovers by Chrislove
LGBT Literature is a Readers and Book Lovers series dedicated to discussing books that have made an impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. From fiction to contemporary nonfiction to history and everything in between, any book that touches on LGBT themes is welcome in this series. LGBT Literature posts on the last Sunday of every month at 7:30 PM EST. If you are interested in writing for the series, please send a Kosmail to Chrislove.
Unfortunately, I must begin this diary with an apology. You see, I had grand plans for a diary on a book that I love very much. But due to technological issues beyond my control, my plans went out the window, leaving very little time to write another diary. And this, kids, is why you don't wait until the last minute--although with dissertation writing this month, I had little other choice.

Which brings me to my diarist beg: I am deep in the throes of writing my dissertation, and I have less time than ever. Technological issues aside, I can write LGBT Literature diaries, but the end of the month is a crunch as I finish up chapter drafts, so of course I always appreciate the help. Over the course of this series, we have had an incredibly diverse array of writers cover a variety of different pieces of LGBT literature. I'd love for your voice to be heard here, as well. You don't have to be an academic, a writer, a prolific reader, or even LGBT. You just have to be a person with an interest in a piece of literature covering LGBT themes. As I said when I took over this series, we have a broad conception of LGBT literature here. If you have something in mind, please get in touch with me, even if you're a lurker who has never written a diary. I am more than happy to put you on the schedule and, if necessary, guide you through the steps of writing a diary. We look forward to hearing your voice here at LGBT Literature!

When I rebooted this series, I did promise a substantive diary every month, and an at least somewhat substantive diary you shall get. After I had my diary disaster, I looked around frantically for something I could cover fairly quickly--in other words, not a complex book that was going to take a while to unpack. As is often the case, the answer was literally under my nose and was actually sitting on my coffee table.

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