Rights Watch 2009

2009 has only just begun, and look at the high volume of crappy goings-on for LGBT folk already. I hope that we're getting all of this out of the way so the rest of the year can be superawesome for our community.

Here are a few of the shittiest things just in the last three days:
  • Yesterday, nine Senegalese men were jailed for--can you guess?--being gay. Jailed. In Senegal, being gay constitutes "indecent conduct and unnatural acts," and "indecent conduct and unnatural acts" in Senegal are punishable by five years of jail time. So why is each of these men serving eight years of jail time? That would be because the judge added three years on each sentence for involvement in a "criminal group." What did this "criminal group" do? Answer: fight HIV and AIDS.
  • Hackers took down the host (SoapBlox) of several major LGBT blogs (including award-winning Pam's House Blend), and SoapBlox admitted defeat. Paul Preston of SoapBlox is quoted as saying: "It was a good ride, but it's over. All these hackers messing with our stuff, and we here at SoapBlox have no clue what to do. We don't have enough knowledge, time, money, or care to fix it...Consider this the 'We're Out of Business' post." (As of this article at least Pam's House Blend is back online.)
  • Stephen Andrew Moller, who in 2007 was convicted of killing gay 20-year-old Sean Kennedy by leaving him for dead on the sidewalk after hitting him in the face so hard that his brain separated from its stem, could be out on the streets again in February as he is up for parole. You're probably thinking, What??????, but remember--this is South Carolina we're talking about here. Oh. He received a 5-year sentence but was given credit for the time he served before sentencing. Oh yeah, sorry Mr. Future Convicted Killer for holding you against your will before you were declared guilty; what a pity we might have inconvenienced you after you severed a gay man's brain from its stem and left him for dead on the sidewalk. (Thanks to Queers United for the tip. Please follow that link to get information on writing to the parole board in South Carolina.)
  • A court in Minnesota has decided that a lesbian couple--a lesbian couple that has been together seven years, is raising a daughter together, co-owns a business, shares joint finances, had a commitment ceremony in 2002, owns drafted estate plans for themselves and their daughter, and where everyone in the unit has the same last name--does not count as a family. Why was this case before a judge? Was the couple trying to file taxes together? Were they attempting to legally adopt the child? Were they trying to get benefits extended? Was it something superduper important that for very serious legal reasons there was no way the couple could get a break?? No. This couple was trying to apply for a family membership to their gym. So think about this: you're a membership rep at a gym in Minnesota. A lesbian couple comes to you asking for a family membership. You refuse them. The same couple threatens to sue you over it, and you hire a lawyer to defend you in court just so you don't have to give the lesbians a discounted gym membership--effectively losing more money than the discounted membership would have cost you--just to prove your point that gays don't get to have families. Fuuuuuuuuck. Seriously? Their defense was that unmarried heterosexual couples can't get one, so neither can gays; well, since getting married if you're gay is illegal in Minnesota, don't you think the lesbians would have tried if they had had a choice???
  • The New York Times mobile service is convinced that "gay" is a bad word; the word "gay" gets replaced by the word "beep" anywhere it appears. Swell. That'll teach those nasty queer kids to hate themselves like they're supposed to!
  • Eleven gay bars in the Seattle area received anonymous threats stating the pursuer would poison patrons with ricin, a toxin lethal if inhaled or ingested. An alternative weekly newspaper in the area also received an intimidation and ominous note suggesting it prepare itself to report the deaths of 55 gay bar patrons. Local reports indicate that patrons are turning out all the same, which makes me proud; I believe that if you live letting threats intimidate you, then you might as well already be dead. I am also happy to report that people in the area have acknowledged that law enforcement is taking this seriously. There has been speculation that the individual responsible is a self-hating gay--but of course, I accuse all homophobic people of being self-hating gays on the inside. Really, how sad is that statement that the world we live in inspires shit like this?
  • Three men have been arraigned in the vicious December 13 gangrape of a California lesbian, who almost certainly was targeted based on her sexual orientation; only one of the men allegedly responsible has been charged with a hate crime. For many years I have felt wishy-washy about the whole "hate crime" issue; I have wondered if the intent propelling some crimes really is driven by the victim's identity, and if so, how can you prove it? Well, in this case, allegedly the victim was targeted after the defendants spotted a rainbow sticker on her car; seems pretty clear to me. Fuck the people responsible for this and send them back to the "factory" (if you catch my meaning), whether it is these guys or some other guys. The defendants allegedly stole a car, kidnapped the victim, and took her to a remote location to gangrape her. One 21-year-old defendant (*not* the hate-crimes one, incidentally) is reportedly accused of "various sexual crimes against the woman." If gangrape already makes you violently mad, I hope the thought of various sexual crimes--and not just gangrape--makes you nuclear-level ballistic. Please: send a letter of support to the victim (whose name has not been released):

    Richmond Police Department
    Attn: Sgt. Brian Dickerson
    1701 Regatta Blvd.
    Richmond, CA 94804

    or send monetary contributions to help with her medical bills here:

    Community Violence Solutions
    2101 Van Ness Ave.,
    San Pablo, CA 94806
    Attn: Mrs. Joanne Douglas

    In the memo section of the check please write: Richmond Jane Doe. (Again, thanks to Queers United for the addresses.)
So, um . . . Happy New Year?? We sure don't have a dearth of things to fight; guess we're gonna be busy again this year. Fuck.


liz said...

There's also the story of the gay activist in Belarus who's being drafted into the very homophobic military.

Queers United said...

I have hope though, new administration and a few marriage supreme court cases await us in 2009.

Becky C. said...

On a similar topic--don't forget this is the DOMA Day of Protest and there is still time to put in your two licks:)

Repeal of DOMA is the single most important thing needed at the Federal Level--need to push Obama and the Congress to keep their campaign promises--remember it was put in my overwhelming support of Democrats and signed into law by Bill Clinton--so just sitting back and thinking it will happen is pretty foolhardy.


Sasha said...

Good Lord, that was depressing reading all of that. I'm constantly reminding myself that I live in a little bubble of liberal minded people here in the Los Angeles area. But if I step foot outside of Long Beach or WeHo and dare to hold hands with my girlfriend in public, we get stares from almost every one that walks by. I keep joking that we must be the ONLY "out" lesbian couple in Carson CA. hUH .... Oh well ... well somebody always has to be the first .... lol ... thank God, we haven't really seen any REAL hate excpet on a road trip to Oregon.

Anonymous said...

You've actually got the vain nerve, Sasha, to "thank" God?

What you are doing is a stone cold insult to God !

It is more, thank God that there are still people with the heart, soul, conviction, morality and integrity to stand against, and prosecute, the arrogant, indulgetn sin that "lesbianism" or "homosexuality" is !


Ma'amselle Lezident said...

Excellent point, Becky; I didn't have the chance to attend any protests today, but I wish I had. Did you go to any?

And Sasha: no kidding on Carson! Thanks for doing your part to be out in your community; every bit helps us!

Anonymous said...

Sorry everyone !

I don't mena to insult lesbians. It's just that my wife in Christ left me for a "lesbian" with a huge strap-on and I've been bitter ever since .

When they left me off my medication I have outbursts sometimes !


Anonymous said...

That last garbage was, obviously, not written by me.

I do not, and would not, apologise for telling the truth.

I could not 'insult' "lesbians", because, in spite of the conceited rhetoric, there is NOT some elite lifeform known as "lesbians".

The vain choice of "lesbianism", and all that entails, IS the insult.

And there is NOTHING that I could say to 'insult' anyone getting into "lesbianism".

I have never been married, however, if, God willing, I do one day get married, we will be each others wife and husband in God, not in Christ(pbuh).

No artificial "strap on" could ever take the place of a natural, warm, virile, creative organ, which is actually created !

You are "strapping on" a terribe lot that is phoney, artifical, barren, and ultimately, lifeless.

And seeing as how all we ever hear is about how some women 'became' "lesbians", or were lured into 'turning' "lesbian" by others...then you are also admitting that you could, all, come back from that dead end one day!

(the real) SKOT

Anonymous said...

No rest for the weary. Ugh.