John Pavlovitz: I'm Really Tired of Hatred
The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy
Rush Limbaugh: Speaking Ill of the Dead

Advocate: Ice Age for Bigots

Jonathan Capehart's Commentary: Media's Post Trump Future

The Love: Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, Joe Biden

Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump

CNN: Why Evangelicals Should Care About Trump's Lies (And Other Sins)

In Gay We Trust: What Do I Do With This Hate?

All LGBTQ People Should Stand in Solidarity with Black Athletes

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year



50 Years a Scapegoat: LGBTQ Community Once Again in GOP Crosshairs

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

Tyler Oakley: How to Make 2020 Gayer

For a More Perfect Union: We Need Education and Understanding

Larry Kramer's Loud and Proud Activism Remains Necessary

John Corvino: What is Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?

Gay, Straight, Black, White: Love is Love, Right is Right

Happy New Year: Anxiety and Hope for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020s

Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020: Protection for LGBTQ Americans

Billy Porter: LGBTQ State of the Union

Pride 2019: Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

Anderson Cooper: Being Gay is One of the Greatest Blessings of My Life

How to Be More Out and Proud in Your Everyday Life


After Pride Month, Let's Make Resolutions to Support Our Community

By Richie Jackson | Advocate Magazine | July 2021


Resolutions will extend our pride past June and make us see how our queerness enhances our lives daily.

Pride Month is over. The rainbows in store windows and on garish socks have been cleared. This year, like the others before it, there was a robust debate about the commercialization of Pride (whether it’s a parade or march or both) in fact, each year these tensions are the perfect kickoff to Pride. But I am interested in the time after Pride; what happens when our designated month is over. I am calling for the institution of Pride resolutions. Each year at the end of June, we should all make a pledge to our queerness, a pact with our community, and over the next 12 months in good faith intend to fulfill it. It may be challenging like all those things we promise ourselves on New Year’s — How many new gym memberships go unused by March? How many cigarettes still lit? — but one way to reclaim Pride from the commercialization and frivolity is to turn it toward good for our community and for ourselves.


By making a Pride resolution, we will be expanding and expending our pride beyond just the confines of June, and we will see and feel how much our queerness enhances our lives daily.  Since it is the inauguration of Pride resolutions, here are some examples to choose from or to help spark your own.

I resolve to help fight every heinous anti-LGBTQ bill everywhere (this year over 250 have been introduced in state legislatures).
I resolve to take the first step toward a 12-step program.
I resolve to read LGBTQ journalists so I get news about us from us.
I resolve to shop at LGBTQ-owned and -operated businesses.
I resolve to socialize in LGBTQ spaces.
I resolve to turn from LGBTQ ally to LGBTQ advocate.
I resolve to make one friend outside my own identity.
I resolve to help start a GSA at my school.
I resolve to take care of myself and my partners.
I resolve to bring my queerness to bear on everything I do.
I resolve to start therapy and set aside the shame others have placed upon me.
I resolve to be kind on hookup apps and not treat everyone like they are expendable.
I resolve to not treat myself as expendable.
I resolve to learn LGBTQ history, not as homework, but to understand the long line of extraordinary individuals that I am among.
I resolve to read queer books, watch queer movies, and expose myself to queer artists so I can see myself in the entertainment I consume.


I resolve to ask for help.
I resolve to come out to at least one person if I’m ready.
I resolve to join one LGBTQ service organization.
I resolve to work to get my local schools to teach LGBTQ history.
I resolve to work to get my local schools to teach inclusive sex ed.
I resolve to ask people their pronouns.
I resolve to help more people to learn about PrEP.
I resolve to not let the government or drug companies off the hook on finding a vaccine for HIV.
I resolve to listen to and amplify the voices of our most vulnerable.
I resolve to care for and about our long-term survivors.
I resolve not to minimize or diminish my queerness in order to go along to get along.
I resolve to make LGBTQ issues central to how I choose a candidate.
I resolve to run for office.
I resolve to stop my company’s pinkwashing.
I resolve to raise my LGBTQ child to understand that their queerness is their superpower.
I resolve to understand I am a stakeholder to everything that happens to all LGBTQ people everywhere.
I resolve not to measure myself against images I see online.
I resolve to treat myself kindly.
I resolve to treat others kindly.
I resolve to enjoy sex.
I resolve to try to be intimate.
I resolve to risk my heart and love.
I resolve to allow myself to be loved.


50 Years a Scapegoat: LGBTQ Community Once Again in GOP Crosshairs

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

Tyler Oakley: How to Make 2020 Gayer

For a More Perfect Union: We Need Education and Understanding

Larry Kramer's Loud and Proud Activism Remains Necessary

John Corvino: What is Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?

Gay, Straight, Black, White: Love is Love, Right is Right

Happy New Year: Anxiety and Hope for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020s

Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020: Protection for LGBTQ Americans

Billy Porter: LGBTQ State of the Union

Pride 2019: Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

Anderson Cooper: Being Gay is One of the Greatest Blessings of My Life

How to Be More Out and Proud in Your Everyday Life


Why I Don't Celebrate Coming Out Stories


By Kiwi Lanier | Honey Voices | June 2021


For most people, coming out is nothing like it appears in the movies. In the movies, the queer person prepares a monologue for their parents. Sometimes they get up and make an unprompted announcement at a family dinner. Other times they come out by bringing home a date for prom that’s a different gender than the parents expected. Then, once the ritual is over, the character smiles happily and the credits roll. You’re free to imagine a happy life in which they get to live as their true selves. But is this narrative accurate? (No.) And who is this coming out ritual for?

On one hand, it can be extremely liberating to declare yourself in such a direct way to others. But I know a lot of people who are only “out” to some of the people in their life or, despite being out, still must hide aspects of their life from certain family members so as not to disturb the fragile peace.


I am queer and non-binary. So I have to “come out” almost every day. Every time I meet a new person at work or have a conversation with anyone in which pronouns come up, or any time I’m with friends and they introduce me to a new friend. Coming out is not a “one-and-done” deal. (Though, it would be much easier if it were.)

Part of the thing that bothers me about “coming out” stories is that it centers the queer experience on cisgender and/or heterosexual’s people’s permission for us to exist. Using this logic, we are only queer once we have announced to the straight people that we are not straight. It implies that nothing we did or thought or said before coming out was queer because we had not declared ourselves to the majority.

This discourse can lead to a terrifying rabbit hole, especially for trans people. It puts an unnecessary burden on queer and gender non-conforming people to be “overly truthful” or perhaps share more than they might want to with folks in the majority because there is an underlying assumption that queer people have been dishonest about themselves up until the point they came out. And to some extent yes, queer people must emphasize different parts of the truth and sometimes flat-out lie just to exist in peace.

But heterosexual and cisgender people create and reinforce the system that makes any dishonesty necessary, through implicit bias, laws, corporate policies, and religious rules. And frankly, a lot of the queer experience is inherently traumatic. I think queer folks have all realized at one point or another that someone we once trusted was actually homophobic, or that someone we once called a friend would never use our pronouns, or that someone we had previously not thought capable of violence absolutely was. The precariousness of queer life adds to that trauma, and trauma impacts memory and the self. It causes you to compartmentalize yourself to avoid further pain.


I grew up an only child of Southern Baptist conservative parents. Now I’m a queer non-binary atheist that leans left. I knew that I was queer from a young age without really having the words for it. As I got older, I had to repress that part of myself to survive growing up with Christian helicopter parents.

When I was 13, my mom locked me in the car and asked me if I was – from her tone it was clear that I had better not say yes. So, I said no.

When I was 19, I came out to her as bisexual. She cried and said I was a failure and to never tell anyone else because nobody would love me if I did. We didn’t talk about it again.

When I was 27, my parents left the church they helped found over 20 years earlier (that they had been attending my entire life) because the church decided to openly welcome LGBTQ people. The church was later kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention. (You may have seen this in the news.)

I came out on social media the next day. I was done.

During all of this I didn’t have any heartfelt conversations with anyone else in my family. I don’t really have a good relationship with them anyway, so I just didn’t see the point. They had never really tried to get to know me before, so I didn’t believe they would start now. (They’re also more conservative than my parents).

I now view my identity as something I share with the people that I feel will treat me with respect and would approach the conversation in good faith because they want to learn more about the human experience. Not because I feel this conversation is going to prove to them that queer people exist, that I am one of them, and that I have as much a right to be here as anyone else does. But this also means it hurts more when people who I have told use the wrong pronouns for me and don’t notice.

And I also know that, while coming out did afford me some freedom personally and was important for me to do, it was not “the end” of the conversation. I was queer before I came out. My life as a queer person would have been just as valid whether or not I had ever come out.

Demi Lovato Comes Out as Non-Binary

New Survey: 25% of LGBTQ Youth Use Non-Binary Pronouns

One in Ten Teens Identify as Gender Diverse

Comic Eddie Izzard Now Uses She/Her Pronouns

Jesse James Keitel: Non-Binary Actor Makes TV History

Androgynous: Joan Jett, Miley Cyrus, Laura Jane Grace

Advocate: Half of Gen Z Believes Gender Binary is Outdated
Celebrities Who Identify as Gender Fluid

Advocate: Lessons for Parents for Gender Nonconforming Kids

Demi Lovato, Elliot Page, Sam Smith Identify as Non-Binary
It Feels Very Positive: Eddie Izzard Now Using She/Her Pronouns

TED Talk: Parenting a Gender Non-Conforming Child

Don't Give Up by Maggie Szabo


Danica Roem to LGBTQ Youth: You Have to Care About Politics


By Dana Bash and Abbie Sharpe | CNN | June 2021


It was a moment captured for the history books. Danica Roem, on her knees with her face in her hands, crying. It was 2017 and she had just become the first state lawmaker who identifies as transgender elected in Virginia. She will always be the first, but four years later, she is no longer the only person in the US who identifies as transgender to be elected and serve in a state legislative body. It's not a well populated trail, but one she is proud to have blazed.

"They were willing to look at me and they go, 'Yeah, we know she's trans and she'll do a great job,'" Roem said of her constituents in an interview with CNN earlier this month. "I never say 'trans but,' always 'trans and.' Because it's like, no, I don't hide who I am. People know exactly who I am here." And during this Pride Month, Roem has a message to the younger people in the LGBTQ community who say they don't like politics: "When you are an LGBTQ person, you have to care."


Roem represents Virginia's 13th District in the House of Delegates -- an area near the home of the first major battle of the Civil War. Roem jokes that there are still more things named after Confederate general Stonewall Jackson in her county than there are Starbucks locations. She says her success is built on deep knowledge of local issues since she grew up in the Manassas area she now represents. "When I was asked on election night, 'Hey, what does this mean?' It was just like, well, it means that a trans woman is going to finally work on fixing Route 28."

Though Roem is a state legislator, her history-making moment means her platform is national. She is well aware that her visibility and representation are changing the national conversation. "What we learned from the marriage equality fights," she explained, is that "if you know a gay person in your life and you see just that person, just being a person, that you (are) far less likely to want to restrict their civil rights." Given that 0.6% of Americans identify as transgender, according to a Gallup poll on LGBTQ identification published earlier this year, she recognizes that for some people, she may be the only trans person they know.
"If you know a trans person, you're much more likely to support our civil rights. But because there are fewer of us, it makes it a harder conversation."


Her path to politics

Before her run for office in 2017, Roem spent nine years as a journalist in her community, which she says was her chief qualification for elected office. "What person is going to be more qualified to represent their community than a lifelong resident of that community who spent their career actually covering the public policy issues of the community?'"
She first got invested in politics in 2003, when then-President George W. Bush wanted to limit marriage to heterosexuals. She couldn't ignore what was happening.

"I would read the newspaper, I would read USA Today, New York Times," she says. "I would read those every single day, and then I would go online and I would read about politics, two hours a day, seven days a week, every day for years." Though she hadn't yet come out, Roem said she sought to understand what legal mechanisms existed to protect people like her -- and more importantly -- how to fight for them.

Across the country today, many states permit a legal strategy known as the gay and trans "panic" defense, which can allow people who are charged with violent crimes against LGBTQ victims to argue that it was the victim's gender identity or sexual orientation that drove them to violence. Earlier this year, at the behest of a teenage constituent who told her it was scary growing up knowing that someone could get away with harming them, Roem introduced a bill to ban the gay and trans panic defense for murder or manslaughter in Virginia.

"I realized that that person was living with the same fear in 2020 that I had as a closeted high school freshman in 1998."
It passed the legislature in February, making Virginia the first state in the South and 12th in the country to ban it as a defense of murder or manslaughter. "We're simply saying that a person's mere presence and existence as an LGBTQ person does not constitute a heat of passion defense that negates malice in an attack. In layman's terms, you can't just assault and kill someone just because you feel like it," Roem said.


April Fools' Day

Roem was 14 years old when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in 1998 in Wyoming for being gay. "I knew damn well who I was at that point, and I was too scared to tell anyone. And then when you see a young gay man in Wyoming being pistol-whipped, bound to a fence post, and left to die in the freezing cold. ... When you see that play out, it's the late nineties and you're in the South and you go, what's happening in Wyoming is not far fetched from what could be happening in Virginia," Roem recalled.

Fearing for her own safety and the lack of legal protection, and worried about how her family and friends would react, she waited another 14 years before she decided to transition. "I was at a point at age 28 where I did not want to go into my thirties living a lie. I had pretended to be someone else my entire life by this point. I had known who I was since I was 10 years old."
She was afraid of disappointing people, especially her mom, she said, and struggled to decide how she wanted to tell people. She thought Facebook would be a good place to start, and eventually changed her gender and her name on the platform -- on April Fools' Day.

"I figured, okay, if it goes badly, 'April Fools!' If it goes well, I'll let it ride," she explained. "I thought it was the safest day of the year for me to do it because if I just did on like April 2, it would just be like, 'Um, I have questions. What are you trying to tell us?'"
Despite her concerns, she said she felt supported by friends who told her they loved her new look. "And so go figure, that was like the day of my adult life where I was being real. April Fools' Day was the day I was being like, nope. This is actually who I am. And I've let it roll ever since."

As a teenager, Roem said she didn't have LGBTQ role models of her own -- she didn't even know any. She saw trans people portrayed in the media, but only in a limited, disheartening, fashion. "Trans representation was whoever was being ridiculed on Jerry Springer," she remembered. "Or 'When we come back on Maury, we're going to have a shocking announcement about this person's really dating a man,' or, you know, like some stupid crap like that." She knows now that she wasn't alone. "Now I know at least five or six people who I went to school with who are out, including same-sex couples who are married now. And it's just the oddly comforting thing about that is like, 'Oh, it wasn't just me who was suffocating,'" Roem said.



Politics cares about you

This year has already become the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history, according to the Human Rights Campaign. As of May, more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills had been introduced at the state level, with 17 of them signed into law. "When you are an LGBTQ person in the United States, regardless of whether you care about politics, politics cares about you," Roem said.
Her plea is personal, and she hopes her activism will inspire the next generation into action as well. "If you're not involved, if you are not your best advocate, you're asking someone else to fill that void. Some of the people who will try to step up to fill that void are going to be political charlatans who have no interest in preserving your best interest," Roem said. "You can't count on other people to be your best advocate. You have to step up."


Danica Roem Message to LGBTQ Youth: You Have to Care About Politics
Danica Roem: First Trans Legislator Re-Elected

Wasington Post: First Trans Person Elected to Public Office in Virginia
LA Times: Danica Roem Defeats Chief Homophobe

NBC News: Trans Woman Elected to Virginia State Legislature

LGBTQ Nation: Virginia's New Transgender Legislator


No God-Given Right to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People


By Kimberly Atkins | Boston Globe | March 2021


Senate Republicans are standing in the way of Congress acting according to the will of the majority of Americans. Protecting people from discrimination should not be a partisan issue.

The good news is that, for the American public, it’s not. A recent PRRI poll found that 83 percent of Americans (which includes strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents) support nondiscrimination laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination. Still, there is an obstacle standing in the way of Congress acting according to the will of the majority of Americans and passing a federal law that does just that: the claim by some Republicans and religious groups that LGBTQ rights stand in conflict with religious rights.

US Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is among the Republicans voicing opposition to the House-passed Equality Act, which would extend the current federal law barring discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and other protected categories to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Romney cited the lack of “strong religious liberty protections” in the bill’s language as reason for his opposition.

Religious-based groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention raise more hyperbolic alarms, calling the legislation “the most significant threat to religious liberty ever considered in the United States Congress.”  The truth is that few rights in America have more robust protections under the Constitution, as well as federal, state, and local laws, than the right to believe, worship, and express religious views as one wishes. Protecting sincerely held religious beliefs is a pillar of American law, as it should be. Nothing about a law shielding people from bigoted policies and practices stands in the way of that.


In fact, the Equality Act would leave in place an exemption for religious entities that would allow them to, for example, give preference to people of their faith in employment and housing decisions. But it won’t allow religion to be used as a sword to infringe on the protected rights of others — especially when such claims, like the false assertion that the Bible’s story of the curse of Ham justified slavery and racial bigotry, are unfounded.

And that is why the Equality Act’s provision barring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from being used as a defense for discriminatory conduct (the very provision drawing the ire of Republicans) is so crucial. That statute, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, was meant to protect religious liberties (particularly the rights of religious minorities) and enjoyed broad support at the time of its passage.

But in the nearly two decades since, the law has been stretched far beyond its intended purpose, serving as a basis for actions such as private companies denying spousal benefits to same-sex couples or adoption agencies refusing to consider gay or transgender people as potential parents. With the Equality Act, Congress can make clear it never intended to allow organizations or individuals to claim a God-given right to discriminate. “The government has a compelling interest in enforcing nondiscrimination law, and it’s not over-broad to say you can’t discriminate if discrimination is the problem the law is addressing,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy at the nonprofit advocacy organization Lambda Legal.


Even Justice Neil Gorsuch (one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative jurists) noted that there is ample room for LGBTQ protections and religious rights to coexist, in a 6-3 decision last year extending federal employment discrimination protections to including sexual orientation and gender identity. “We are also deeply concerned with preserving the promise of the free exercise of religion enshrined in our Constitution; that guarantee lies at the heart of our pluralistic society,” Gorsuch wrote for the majority. “But worries about how Title VII may intersect with religious liberties are nothing new.” Gorsuch underscored that the existing federal law religious rights exclusion and the First Amendment already provide religious protections.

Laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination are already in place in 23 states and the District of Columbia. But that still leaves an estimated nearly 4 million people in America legally unprotected from biased treatment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Pizer said a Lambda Legal report released this week detailing more than 4,000 claims of discriminatory conduct based on sexual orientation or gender identity received last year by the organization’s help line makes clear that the need for protections is real. “It reflects the real problems people are having,” Pizer said, from discrimination in the workplace and difficulty obtaining identification documents to being targets of harassment and violence.

But Americans are already on board with granting them protections that they need. As a person of faith, I can only pray that members of the Senate vote to do right by them.


Boston Globe: No God-Given Right to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

ACLU: End the Use of Religion to Discriminate

Lambda Legal: The Notion of Religious Exemption

HRW: Religious Exemption and Discrimination Against LGBTQ People

Natl LGBTQ Task Force: LGBTQ Discrimination Masquerading as Religious Freedom

Transphobic Tirade Against the Equality Act Masquerading as Feminism


By Jonathan Capehart | Washington Post | February 2021


They say ignorance is bliss. But when it comes to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), ignorance is hateful and dangerous. The latest example came on Feb. 24 when she took to the House floor to decry the Equality Act.

Through a star-spangled mask, the QAnon congresswoman urged her colleagues to vote against the legislation that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It was a five-minute transphobic tirade masquerading as feminism.


“I rise today in defense of women, girls and children,” Greene began. After declaring that there shouldn’t be discrimination in our nation and extolling the rights achieved by women in various aspects of American life, Greene got to her bigoted point.

“The Equality Act will change all of that, because it will put trans rights above women’s rights, above the rights of our daughters, our sisters, our friends, our grandmothers, our aunts. It’s too much,” groused Greene. “You see, as a woman, I have competed in sports and I’m so thrilled I was able to do that, but I competed against biological women.” It went downhill from there, with a lot of folderol about how “biological women cannot compete against biological men” and how “biological little girls cannot compete against biological little boys and they shouldn’t have to.”

The offensiveness of this is off the charts. Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Period. But we’re talking about Greene, who has shown herself to be a bottomless pit of ugliness. But I digress.


Later that day, after Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) displayed a transgender pride flag outside her office in support of her transgender daughter. Greene, whose office is directly across the hall, responded by putting up a sign with a transphobic message. The next day, the Georgia congresswoman with nothing else to do because she was kicked off her committees dubbed the Equality Act “a completely evil, disgusting, immoral bill.” Talk about projection.

The Equality Act was made to protect me and other LGBTQ Americans from people like Greene, people who are always trying to reduce our lives to bedrooms, bathrooms or locker rooms rather than deal with the complex lives of real people who must endure their hatred.

A lot of people thought the fight for LGBTQ equality was over when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. But it wasn’t. And still isn’t. Marriage is legal for same-sex couples in all 50 states. But that couple could lose their respective jobs in 21 states, be denied housing in 27 states, be denied public accommodations in 25 states, and if they or their children are in school or college, their sexual orientation or gender identity could open them to discrimination in their educational pursuits in 31 states.


The Equality Act passed the House on Thursday. With Democrats in control in the Senate, its chances of surviving a filibuster are a tiny bit better. President Biden has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

LGBTQ Americans deserve equal protection under all the federal laws that secure the safety and dignity of ourselves and our families. Besides, we pay taxes and are part of the sturdy fabric of this nation, from your essential workers to your secretary of transportation.

“There should not be discrimination of anyone in the United States of America, and I fully believe that,” Greene declared in her anti-Equality Act speech. If she really did believe that, she would stop blocking legislation that would give her hollow words the ring of truth.


NBC News: Marjorie Taylor Greene Mocks Transgender People

Advocate: Marjorie Taylor Greene Displays Anti-Trans Poster

BBC: Marjorie Taylor Greene Punished for Incendiary Remarks

Newsweek: Marjorie Taylor Greene's Anti-Trans Poster

USA Today: Marjorie Taylor Greene Faces Backlash After Transphobic Attack

Rush Limbaugh: Speaking Ill of the Dead


By John Casey | Advocate Magazine | February 2021


Why Should I Say Anything Nice About Dead Rush Limbaugh?  We don't recall Limbaugh speaking too kindly of those who died of AIDS complications. So let us return the favor.  You’re supposed to speak kindly about the dead? That’s what my grandmother told me. But she hated Rush Limbaugh as much as I did. So I’m guessing that the rule doesn’t apply now. How can you speak kindly about the dead when the deceased didn’t speak kindly about you?

Rush Limbaugh died, and it’s so easy to pile on. There is probably not one single person, over the course of my life, who I detested more. He never knew me. But I sure as hell knew him. Anyone with a shred of decency reviled the man. I’m not the most decent person in the world. I can admit to that. However, I knew in my heart I was gay, and Limbaugh came about during a time when there was enough humiliation about my sexuality and myself, and all Limbaugh did was pile on during that confusing time, and made me wonder, Why does he hate me so much?


Limbaugh was the biggest and worst windbag of his generation, which is to say that of this generation, Limbaugh was starting to take a backseat to the plethora of hatemongers who raced in behind him, all attempting to be the next Limbaugh. Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, the list goes on and on, all striving to vomit out as much hate as Limbaugh did. Limbaugh got sick. With lung cancer. It should have been brain cancer, since his mind was a sieve of slime. And his mind thought I was out of my mind because I was gay. All along, he was the one who was sick. It was never me.

Limbaugh hated me. There’s no question about that, and he’s hated me since he first opened his big mouth to vomit vile venom about “gays,” “homosexuals,” and every conceivable and unacceptable descriptor that was me. He used every word in the vocabulary in his attempt to diminish me. He was verbose and gross and he used his disgusting-ness to hammer away at me, and those like me, as well as women, people of color, even a pre-teen Chelsea Clinton.

Limbaugh loathed me more than I loathed myself, and he loathed anyone like me, and he loathed people like me during the AIDS crisis, when his sickening, repugnant voice screeched abhorrence to anyone sick with the disease.


He did not speak kindly of the dead during that era. I imagine he never had a grandmother or anyone with an ounce of decorum who told him not to speak ill about the deceased. He was the antithesis of truth and honor. The anti-Larry Kramer. Limbaugh lied about the disease, about the supposed decadence, and about the deceased. Souls and lives didn’t matter to Limbaugh, only perpetuating falsehoods to score ratings points. And give him more money to spend on his filthy habits. And he loved to rile up the emerging Christian right, gaining fans during the worst days of the AIDS crisis, like the equally horrific Sen. Jesse Helms and Congressman William Dannemeyer.

Today, Helms and Dannemeyer’s narrow-mindedness and evilness would fit in nicely with the current slate of Senate and House Republicans. That’s why Limbaugh felt so at home during the Trump administration and with the new crop of haters in Congress. Limbaugh was free to push his prejudice, his privilege, and his so-called manhood.

Limbaugh was married four times, so he was of course the arbiter about matrimony. He railed against same-sex marriage. He compared us to pedophiles. Limbaugh said that the movement for marriage equality was akin to a movement to normalize pedophilia. How could any of those four women look at themselves in the mirror every day while they were married to him when he talked the way he did? How could they kiss a mouth so full of shit?



His outer ugliness was only outmatched by his inward deplorableness and bloated bigotry. Limbaugh was furious when the Supreme Court affirmed that LGBTQ people were entitled to protection from employment discrimination. He who could not be fired, despite all of the viciousness that emanated from his mouth, despite all the boycotts of advertisers, despite his utter, open revulsion for someone like me. Yet he thinks it’s fine that I can be fired just because of who I love – that’s a word Limbaugh could never speak He only loved money, fame, and himself, just like the evil dictator wannabe he groomed, who now sits in exile in his tacky Florida mansion.

Sorry, Grandma, I can’t speak kindly about someone who detested me so much. I can’t say anything nice about someone whose heart was filled with hate. I can’t think anything but ugly thoughts for someone who thought I was disgusting. I can’t recall anything pleasant about someone who recoiled from decency. I can’t wish the best for his soul when it was filled with nothing but evil. Rush Limbaugh, may he not rest in peace.


Advocate: Why Should I say Anything Nice About Rush Limbaugh?

HuffPost: Rush Limbaugh, Bigoted King of Talk Radio, Dies at 70

Queerty: Homophobic Hypocritical Radio Host, Rush Limbaugh, Dies

ABC News: Controversial Talk Show Host, Rush Limbaugh Dies

Advocate: Hateful Homophobe Rush Limbaugh Dead at 70

Rolling Stone: Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America

Queerty: Rush Limbaugh's AIDS Updates

The Inauguration We Can't Enjoy


By John Pavlovitz | January 2021


This week we’re inaugurating a president who has received a historic number of votes, winning by a staggering seven million. We’re inaugurating a brilliant woman of color as his Vice President. Together, they have assembled the most diverse Administration this nation has ever seen, one that for the first time is beginning to accurately reflect the nation it will serve and represent.


81 million Americans should be able to rejoice in these days, but we cannot. This should be a moment of collective jubilation, but it isn’t. We should all be exhaling now but we aren’t able to. We should be celebrating.  But we can’t do that.

We can’t, because the violence generated by an outgoing president and his complicit party, (who have for the first time in our history refused a peaceful transition of power) is so pervasive and threatening, that our nation’s Capitol is a literal war zone, that state capitols around the nation are boarded up and closing down, that there is razor wire around surrounding the Inauguration, that members of our government are wearing bullet-proof vests.

We can’t revel in the results of a free and fair election, in the Democratic process working, in our shared efforts in this sacred American experiment—because we’re too busy attending to the PTSD of watching a less-than-two-week-old mass assassination attempt by a political party and wondering what horror is coming next. We’ve endured pre-emptive election sabotage and post-election recounts and lawsuits and a failed bloody coup. And still, we aren’t allowed to rest in those many victories.


We can’t enjoy these moments with our friends and our families and our children, because we’re still trying to process a group of politicians helping their rabid base plan and execute a murderous terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol in an effort to kidnap and kill members of Congress. All because they’re unhappy that their gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright corruption didn’t overcome the votes of the people.

Our arriving joy is tempered by seeing a party still inexplicably doubling down in the wake of unfathomable violence, by perpetuating their defeated president’s big lie; knowing it will surely incite more brutality; that it is directly placing public servants, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens in harm’s way.


We will not get to have the cathartic, public, unfettered happiness that his supporters had after the 2016 election and on the day of the 2017 Inauguration, because they are not able to consent to that; because they are a people so collectively afflicted with enmity that they cannot allow it. Denying other people’s joy and causing them pain is all they understand and all their president has nurtured in them, and the sole cause they are truly devoted to.

So, this week we will scrape the BidenHarris2020 stickers off our cars to reduce the chance we will be assaulted by a stranger, we will hold our collective breath until the very millisecond the oaths of office are complete, and we will pray that the violence the outgoing president and his sycophantic supporters have trafficked in to this point will not scar this moment further.


Yes, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in and they will take office and begin to course-correct this nation. And yes, in the coming days we will find ourselves slowly breathing again and gradually welcoming normalcy and eventually being surprised by the corporate peace that will come from having human adult leaders with working empathy again. But we will all have been robbed of this singular glorious moment to simply feel lightness again, because the darkness refuses to let us.

This will be a celebration delayed and diluted, and we will have it. We will see the America that can be rising up from the America that is. But the fact that more than 81 million of us have to be terrified of our neighbors right now when we should be simply joyful, is a sad indictment of the people who voted for this defeated fraud and of the nation we have become under him.


The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy
Jonathan Capehart's Commentary: Media's Post Trump Future

The Love: Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, Joe Biden

Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump

CNN: Why Evangelicals Should Care About Trump's Lies (And Other Sins)

In Gay We Trust: What Do I Do With This Hate?

All LGBTQ People Should Stand in Solidarity with Black Athletes

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year


Good Riddance Donald Trump


By M Lebeau | LGBTQ Activist | November 2020


"I feel like my jaw unclenched after 4 years," somebody posted on social media.  That's how I feel too.  I imagine a collective sigh of relief from decent people all across the country who are seeing the end of a nightmare and the dawn of a new day.


While I was standing in line, a week earlier, at my polling place, a car drove up. The driver yelled out the window, "How long have you been waiting?"  Someone in line responded, "Four long years!" 



Yes, it has been four long, miserable, stressful, unbelievable years!  For four years, law-abiding American citizens were subjected to a daily barrage of lies, falsehoods, and misinformation.  We played host to the rantings of a mean-spirited, immoral, lawless, depraved sociopath.  We witnessed the shocking behavior of a narcissistic, self-serving, despotic madman. He was corrupt and incompetent and totally lacking in any integrity whatsoever.


For four years, people have been living on the edge, under the rule of a president who seemed to know nothing about governance or leadership, whose poisonous rhetoric sowed discord and division.  His words endorsed hatred and bigotry and gave comfort to white supremacists and a range of hate groups. Under the bully-in-chief, bullies everywhere were empowered to go out and "beat up some fags." Immigrants, Muslims, Asians, Hispanics, Queers, and Trans people were routinely harassed.  African-Americans were once again hearing the n-word tossed about with impunity. The disenfranchised and marginalized folks in this country have never felt more fearful, more insecure, more oppressed.  Just when they thought they'd made some progress, and that America was becoming more accepting and inclusive, suddenly their rights were being threatened. Again.


And now he's leaving.  Good riddance!  He has been fired.  He is a loser!  One meme that made its rounds on-line was the phrase, "Live your life in such a way that the entire planet doesn't dance in the street when you lose your job."  And, yes, people everywhere are in fact rejoicing!  There is a celebratory feeling in the air!  Ding dong, the witch is dead!  Oh happy day!  Joe Biden said, "What we are seeing all over the nation, and in deed across the world, is an outpouring of joy, of hope, and renewed faith in tomorrow, to bring a better day."


As one protest sign exclaimed, "Make America Kind Again!"  After four years, people were getting tired of the constant incivility, the endless hate speech, the incessant bullying. Where was the empathy, the compassion, the kindness?  All we were seeing was a soulless, empty, sad, pathetic, paranoid, petulant man who did nothing but stir up hate.



The election of Joe Biden, almost as much as the departure of Donald Trump, signals a restoration of the confidence we have in the integrity of our leaders. It gives us hope that decency and honesty will return, that our credibility in the world will return, that the soul of America will be healed.  And perhaps we will feel safe again. 


Joe Biden Wins Presidency: LGBTQ Folks Can See the Sun Again

LGBTQ Leaders: Biden's Victory and Trump's Defeat

Joe Biden: First President Entering the White House Supporting Marriage Equality

What Vice President Kamala Harris Means to Marginalized People

Van Jones on CNN: Character Matters

Election 2020: Reasons to be Optimistic


Biden and Harris: A Vote for Hope and Honor


By Kate Kendall | Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center | November 2020


When we won the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 2015, we as legal advocates knew that the fight for true liberation, equality, and justice was far from over for the LGBTQ community, especially for our Black, Brown, and trans brothers and sisters. What we did not imagine was that five short years later we would see Justices on the Supreme Court, where we won in Obergefell v. Hodges, denounce the ruling and openly scheme about how to limit and undermine this landmark ruling. It is a well-held principle that once a majority of Justices rule, even if you were a dissenting judge, you accord that ruling respect and honor it as settled law.


This bedrock norm in a democratic society has been trashed and abandoned, as have so many of the critical rules of fair play and free elections in our far too fragile democracy. The rights we've fought so hard to win are imperiled and democracy itself is on life support. The carnage caused and celebrated by the GOP Senate and the Republican party is disgraceful and we have a Presidential Administration that despises the very idea of "Equal Justice Under the Law."

But maybe, just maybe, our long national nightmare is about to be over. As Americans head to the polls today, we have a chance to save our democracy and those fundamental values rights we hold dear by electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Just writing that sentence gives me hope and the ability to imagine a policy agenda marked by humanity, a love for justice, and a belief in the right of every individual to live with full dignity: free from harm, cruelty, and suffering.

Can you imagine? In the years and months since the inauguration of Donald Trump, we have watched with growing horror and shame as he has embodied the very worst of the human character. I will not relay the litany of those characteristics here, there is no need. We have seen them all every day and the harm done to our national reputation and psyche is incalculable.


But it doesn't have to be this way. Today, we can chart a new future and begin the hard work of repairing and rebuilding. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the best of us. They are honorable, kind, curious, humble, dedicated, and wicked smart. Together, they embody the qualities we most want to see in ourselves and love in others. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have clear and doable policy positions on the most urgent needs our nation and our neighbors face. But to just have kindness and decency once again emanating from the White House and to know that we matter to our leaders.

So today, vote. Vote to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris our next President and Vice President of the United States. Vote like our lives depend on it — because they do.

Joe Biden: First President Entering the White House Supporting Marriage Equality

What Vice President Kamala Harris Means to Marginalized People

Election 2020: Reasons to be Optimistic

Kamala Harris: Why LGBTQ People Should Vote for Biden

Joe Biden's Platform for LGBTQ Voters


Amy Coney Barrett Has an Anti-LGBTQ Preference


By John Casey, Editor | Advocate Magazine | October 2020


So Judge Amy thinks that I have a preference for men. Does that mean she has a preference for men too? Or is she hiding something? Maybe she prefers women? But that wouldn’t that be against her religion? So she chooses (because it’s a choice) to like men and marry a man?  Do we have something in common? Are we both boy crazy because we prefer boys? And because I prefer men, does that mean that I prefer to marry them, say, over a woman? Did she prefer to marry her husband over her husband’s best friend? The Catholic Church doesn’t prefer — it prohibits — same-sex marriage, so does she feel the same way? She must. Is sexuality a choice and who you marry against the morals of God?


We didn’t have a choice of whether we could marry our same-sex spouses. Not until 2013 and 2015, did the Supreme Court begin to tear down the barriers and legalize same-sex marriage. Judge Amy never had to worry about whether or not she could get married. Or make a choice to be married. We, for so, so, so long, didn’t have the luxury of that choice. We had to be stuck with terms like roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner — but we could never say wife or husband until now. And now, for how much longer?

She also allegedly has a preference to be subservient to her husband. She had a choice to be a “handmaid” for the People of Praise, a small religious community that obviously opposes abortion, and feels women should be obedient to men. As queers, we have a choice about whether we want to be a top or a bottom or versatile — and none of those positions automatically makes us submissive to our partner.

But we didn’t always have that choice, because gay sex was for a long, long time illegal, and the horrific choice we had was whether to risk breaking the law for those we loved or wanted to sleep with. Up until 2003, when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, gay sex could still be illegal. But are we heading down the path to reverse the decision? Because our preference is not something that God approves in the eyes of Judge Amy? Will she take away our choice about who we can have sex with? Are we going back to the days when we were humiliatingly forced to sneak around public restrooms or go to underground bars? Are the only people who share a bed in Judge Amy’s world a husband and a wife?


Her preference is to share a bed with her husband. But do they share a bed? Or do they sleep in separate beds like Lucy and Ricky? Or Rob and Laura? Are we to be forced back into the closet, where black-and-white TVs sit ignored, collecting dust? Where we have to hide our preference, because that’s what you did when Ozzie and Harriet lived in your neighborhood? You had to hide, as your sexuality collected dust. When choice (a preference) was assumed to be a fact and made you less of a person because of who you chose or had a preference to love? Before orientation was scientifically proven? Will we start to be referred to as “the homosexuals who prefer the company of men?” Will we be wrongly demonized as sodomizers, deviants, and child molesters?

Judge Amy also had the choice to adopt children all her life. And she did, adopting two, with most likely no deterrents to her choice. We did not have that choice until recently. Two 21st-century rulings by the Supreme Court ordered all states to treat same-sex couples equally to opposite-sex couples in the issuance of birth certificates. These court rulings have made adoption by same-sex couples legal in all 50 states. But will our choice to adopt be taken away, just like our choice for who we love and who we sleep with? Because this choice is not ours to make? Because the preference of Judge Amy is that only straight people can adopt? Because children need a mommy and a daddy? That two mommies and two daddies will make the child homosexual? Or is it that having gay parents makes the child more likely to have a preference for a same-sex relationship?

Judge Amy had the choice of whether to join the military and serve her country. Her preference was not to do that and to follow the law, get married to a man, and procreate children in God’s holy name. We did not have the choice of whether or not we could enter the military, because we were prohibited from signing up or brutally kicked out if our preference was found out. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the previous outright ban made us hide our orientation. Not until that ridiculous edict was wiped away could we choose to enter the military and fight and pour our blood for our country. The United States, home of the free, that had for so long preferred that we stay out of foxholes and barracks.



Judge Amy has the choice of whether she can donate blood. For gay and bi men, we still really don’t have the choice of whether or not we can give blood. The Food and Drug Administration announced a relaxing of its restrictions on men who have sex with men being allowed to donate blood, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of one year, if a male has had sex with another male, he need only abstain three months to donate blood. Only three months? They’d prefer we remain celibate. Do they prefer that we go to the back of the line if there’s a blood shortage? That our blood will only be taken if all the straight people who have sex five times a week go first? They still prefer that we not give blood; otherwise, we wouldn’t have to wait. Judge Amy can walk right in.

Judge Amy. That makes her sound so innocent. How about Judge Barrett? Or wait, maybe she has a preference for Judge Coney Barrett? How about Judge Preference? Her dancing around precedent and smirking “sexual preference” on during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was at once astonishing and disgusting. She is out to stop the LGBTQ community and reverse all of our hard-earned choices, and take us back to when our orientation was looked at by her and her ilk (and most everyone else) as an embarrassing and sinful preference. Her choice is to stop us. Her preference is that we just disappear or go hide somewhere and not be counted.



While all this was going on, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to stop the 2020 US Census. The census is important for our community. We all need to be counted and included and recognized. What a harbinger that decision is, because that won’t be the first stop at stopping for the US Supreme Court. The justices have a lot of choices ahead about stopping our freedoms, and we should be scared shitless when Judge Preference joins the sinister Supreme.

Did she think that she could sneak her antigay dog whistle of “sexual preference” through her testimony? That somebody who rightly knows it’s an orientation wouldn’t catch it? When she uttered that phrase, “sexual preference,” she might as well have winked into the camera and said, “There you go, Family Research Council. That one was for you American Legislative Exchange Council. Did you hear that, Franklin Graham? Thinking of you, Anita Bryant. Samuel and Clarence, are you proud of me for what I just said? Be patient, my fellow homophobes, I’ll be coming to join you soon.”  I wonder if Justice Preference, along with Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito, and Thomas, will have a preference of whether the LGBTQ community should be sent to conversion camps or simply allowed to burn in hell in the afterlife?


LGBTQ Nation: Amy Coney Barrett Uses Offensive Outdated Term

Amy Coney Barrett Has an Anti-LGBTQ Preference

Matthew Shepard's Parents: Harsh Words for Judge Amy

HuffPost: Supreme Court Nominee Uses the Term "Sexual Preference"

Amy Coney Barrett Uses Offensive Outdated Term

Jim Ogerbefell: Warning for Judge Amy

LGBTQ Nation: Just Two Words That Revealed the Nominee's Bias

Amy Coney Barrett: Trump's Pick for Supreme Court

Adovcate Magazine: Amy Coney Barrett Blasted for Using Anti-LGBTQ Term

Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump


Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump


By Peter Wehner | The Atlantic Magazine | October 2020


In public, Donald Trump has spoken in glowing terms about his evangelical supporters, calling them “warriors on the frontiers defending American freedom,” people who are “incredible” and “faithful,” a bulwark against assorted moral evils. But behind the scenes, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.

Trump “mocks evangelicals behind closed doors,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse recently told his constituents. “Can you believe people believe that bullshit?” Donald Trump said after a 2012 meeting with pastors who laid hands on him, according to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and confidant. “Those fucking evangelicals,” the president, smiling and shaking his head, told GOP lawmakers, according to Tim Alberta’s book, American Carnage. Trump believed, Alberta writes, that if he gave them “the policies and the access to authority that they longed for,” then “in return they would stand behind him unwaveringly.”  And so they have.



In judging how each side sees the relationship, let’s start with the president. A man whose lifestyle is more closely aligned with hedonism than with Christianity, Trump clearly sees white evangelicals as a means to an end, people to be used, suckers to be played. He had absolutely no interest in evangelicals before his entry into politics and he will have absolutely no interest in them after his exit. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a person who has less affinity for authentic Christianity (for the teachings of Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount to the parable of the Good Samaritan) than Donald Trump.

But what about evangelicals? How do they view him? Some have undoubtedly convinced themselves that they have a faith connection with the president, declaring that Trump is everything from a “baby Christian” to a “born-again Christian.” In 2016, James Dobson, a significant figure in the evangelical political world for decades, said, “Trump appears to be tender to things of the Holy Spirit.” Let’s just say Trump has a rather peculiar way of showing such tenderness.

The less gullible or more cynical evangelicals view Trump transactionally. Trump may be using evangelicals to advance his aims, but they are also using Trump to advance their aims. (Many evangelicals have grown enamored with Trump’s relentless attacks and aggression, believing that he is inflicting wounds on those who deserve to be wounded.) The president might not be a model Christian in his personal life, they admit, but he delivers what they want, which is power and influence.


The transaction, from their perspective, is better than they could have hoped for. Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary, particularly compared with what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been president, and nothing else Trump has done (no moral line he has crossed, no offense he has committed) can take away from his achievements in this area.

But if politically conservative evangelicals have things they can rightly claim to have won, what has been lost? For starters, by overlooking and excusing the president’s staggering array of personal and public corruptions, Trump’s evangelical supporters have forfeited the right to ever again argue that character counts in America’s political leaders. They might try, but if they do, they will be met with belly laughs. It’s not that their argument is invalidated; it is that because of their glaring hypocrisy, they have sabotaged their credibility in making the argument.

In 1998, during the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a “Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials,” declaring that it was wrong to “excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails,” because “tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.” It further affirmed that “moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, when choosing public leaders,” and “implore[d] our government leaders to live by the highest standards of morality both in their private actions and in their public duties, and thereby serve as models of moral excellence and character.”  Be it resolved, the document continued, “that we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.”


It turns out that this resolution, along with the bible verses that accompanied it, cannot have been based on deep scriptural convictions, as it was sold to the world. It has to have been motivated, at least in large part, by partisanship. It’s quite possible, of course, that many of its supporters were blind to just how large a role partisanship and motivated reasoning played in the position they took. But there is simply no other way to explain the massive double standard.

The carefully choreographed dance goes like this: Moral character in public officials matters quite a lot when the public officials who morally fail are Democrats; it matters hardly at all when they are Republicans. If it’s a liberal who has crossed ethical lines, emphasize righteous conduct; if it’s a conservative, emphasize forgiveness and verses like “Judge not lest you be judged.” If it’s Bill Clinton in the dock, savage him; if it’s Donald Trump, savage his critics.

But the problem goes far beyond an inconsistent application of a biblical ethic. What the Trump years have exposed is something more fundamental, which is that many evangelical Christians have not brought anything distinctively Christian to politics.


One would hope that people of faith would act differently from members of political interest groups; that followers of Jesus would passionately defend human dignity, champion justice, and create the conditions for human flourishing, without being co-opted by any political party or power structure. One might expect that they would care for the weak and the vulnerable, including the unborn and those living in the shadows of society; promote ordered liberty, empathy, and compassion, especially toward those viewed as social outcasts and aliens (one of the most striking features of the ministry of Jesus); and speak out, time and time and time again, if necessary, against political leaders and presidents, including those who advance a political agenda they believe in, if those leaders are cruel, pathologically dishonest, and lawless, and if they dehumanize their enemies. To reduce this to a single sentence: People of faith should embody moral and intellectual integrity.

I’ve argued that the Trump-evangelical alliance has inflicted enormous damage on the Christian witness in America, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z. Unfortunately, the stories keep pouring in. I was recently told by a friend that in 2018 he met with a group of students from a leading evangelical college. He reported that all of them had turned against the term evangelical because of the way evangelicals were engaging in culture and politics during the Trump era. This account reflects what James Astill, a reporter with The Economist, told me three years ago. Astill met with students on the campus of the same school. “Most of them said they were less willing to be identified, by the world at large, as evangelicals,” he told me, “because they were so sickened by the identification of evangelicals with Trump.”


A few weeks ago, a person in Christian ministry told me in pained and poignant terms that he’s been counseling scores of younger evangelicals who are on the edge of leaving their faith and scores more who actually have lost their faith because they have been so unsettled by what they have witnessed during the Trump years.

It’s fine to say to young people that they shouldn’t judge Christianity based on the actions of flawed Christians or the reckless statements and misconduct by those who are in positions of leadership, because the acid test of Christian faith is who Jesus was. But that argument, while valid, goes only so far. Because the truth is that people, certainly outside the faith but also within it, do judge the merits of Christianity on the conduct of Christians and Christian leaders. We are social beings at our core; we find fulfillment and meaning in associating with others. So it’s a real problem if people see a narrative unfold—even if it’s an incomplete narrative, even if it’s one that doesn't fully represent the diverse and nuanced views of tens of millions of evangelicals in America—and their reaction is: Look, I don’t want to be a part of that group. It’s self-righteous, it’s judgmental and ungracious, it’s angry and arrogant, and it’s just not something I want to be a part of.

This doesn’t mean Christians who vote for Donald Trump are committing a mortal or venial sin. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a case that deserves to be heard. It doesn’t mean they don’t have legitimate concerns or that they haven’t been on the receiving end of condescending attacks. And it certainly doesn’t mean Trump supporters can’t be fine people doing wonderful things in different areas of their lives.

But if evangelical supporters of Trump are honest, they should admit (at least to themselves, if not to the rest of the world) that something has gone terribly amiss and that the power they have achieved is coming at the expense of the faith they proclaim. Jerushah Duford, the granddaughter of Billy Graham, said that Trump’s "attempt to hijack our faith for votes, and the evangelical leaders’ silence on his actions and behavior, has presented a picture of what our faith looks like that’s so erroneous, it’s done significant damage to the way people view Jesus.”

Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump

False Idol: Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump

Why Evangelicals Should Care About Trump's Lies

Pete Buttigieg Slams Hypocrisy of Evangelicals Who Support of Trump

In Gay We Trust: What Do I Do With This Hate?

All LGBTQ People Should Stand in Solidarity with Black Athletes

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year


In Gay We Trust: What Do I Do With This Hate?


By Richie Jackson | Advocate Magazine | September 2020


The list of things I am furious about is long: over 200,000 Americans dead from COVID-19, the total disruption of our lives, the ruin of businesses, the cataclysmic unemployment rate, families separated at the border, the all-out war on the LGBTQ community, withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, giving voice and power to white supremacy, erasing the separation of church and state, the lying, undermining science, the consistent reinforcement of the police state, the demise of our democracy, voter suppression, destabilizing our institutions and the vilification of the press. But what I am most furious about is how much hate I find I am capable of. How much hate has grown inside me since 2016 where it never existed before. The haters were them, not me, not us.


I hate Donald Trump.

When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to even say the word hate. If I told my mother I hated a classmate or teacher, she’d always say, “Hate is a strong word, you don’t hate anyone.” And I really didn’t. Now she hates too, and I hate that.

I hate Mitch McConnell. I hate Kellyanne Conway. I hate William Barr.

What do I do with all this hate I feel? Up until now I have always put my anger into action. I have taken to the streets, marched on Washington, called my representatives, organized. And I will continue to. But who do I give all this hate back to? I don’t want it. It doesn’t serve me. My hate is taking up too much of my time and energy.

I hate the 63 million people who voted for Donald Trump. I hate James Comey. I hate undecided voters.

I have been separated from my elderly parents for going on seven months. I haven’t seen my siblings for that long as well. My older son’s college classes are remote, our 4-year-old wears a mask at school all day and gets his temperature taken before walking into class.



I hate Betsy DeVos. I hate Susan Collins.

Hate causes us to be unable to sleep, nor plan for the future. It curtails curiosity. It spoils our fantasies, replacing imagined exultation with more sinister desires. Hate is insidious. It’s a disease that takes over entirely. It changes how we see, instilling in us a willful blindness. It’s bitter, it blocks joy, clouds judgment, and is painful. It literally hurts my body to hate this much.

I hate cis straight white Southern Republican men.

I can feel hate’s opportunistic infections growing in me as well – suspicion and mistrust. Now we start with hate and have to be convinced not to. Even with those with whom we agree, we mistrust them if they don’t agree as fervently or ascribe to the same solutions. Hate makes us constantly loaded for bear.

I hate Susan Sarandon. I hate Maureen Dowd.

Our side uses weapons of hate too. We have our own vigilante justice creepily called canceled. Mistakes are no longer recoverable. Now they are the trigger to a public execution. Our hate causes us to be unforgiving. We’ve become bandits. Robbing people of the chance at redemption and robbing ourselves of the epic experience of forgiveness. I don’t want to live in a world devoid of forgiveness and redemption.



I hate our country.

If hope is the antidote to despair, what is the antidote to hate? Don’t kid yourself, it isn’t winning an election. Even if hate gets us back into power, we must not, like them, use it as our governing ethos. We see the havoc that wreaked.

Hate’s remedy is faith. I see that my own faith has diminished exponentially to the rise of hate in my heart. I don’t mean religious faith, which too often is perverted to justify animus, but the faith that being good is our purpose in and of itself. I need to restore my faith that there is right from wrong. That truth and facts matter. Faith that our collective good is how we enrich ourselves. Faith that ideas, like currency, are meant to be exchanged. Faith in each other. Faith in common purpose.

We have a lot of work to do to right what is wrong, to fix what’s been broken by a group of people who hate like it’s a cherished fetish. But after four years of this, after 2020 when everything seems to have been ruined, I won’t let them ruin me too. I won’t be left when this is all over with this much hate in my heart.

Hopefully, by using my time and energy to renew my faith I will return to believing as Anne Frank remarkably did, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

In Gay We Trust: What Do I Do With This Hate?

One Man's Story: Coming Out to Barbara Bush

Bathroom Bully: Punish, Suspend, Expel Trump

Ginsburg and Lewis: Channel Your Devastation Into Motivation

2020 Election: It's About Survival


50th Anniversary: Open Letter to Young LGBTQ People


By Rea Carey and Jesse Milan Jr | Plus Magazine | June 2020


Dear LGBTQ young people! Welcome to Pride as it began this time 50 years ago — a protest driven by our community speaking out against the impacts of oppression, inequality, and violence. As LGBTQ and HIV advocates, it is our responsibility to link arms with those in Minneapolis and across the country who are speaking out against structural racism and white supremacy. The fights in our streets today are the very spirit and essence of how Pride began.

On June 28, 1970, thousands of LGBTQ people took to the street to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. That first Pride parade was born from protest and anger, a response to violence that disproportionately targeted Black, Brown, and transgender lives.

And throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LGBTQ people rose out of grief and despair and demanded what was needed to save our lives. The strides we have made in fighting the HIV epidemic would not be possible without HIV advocates taking to the streets and screaming their truth to those in power.

Fifty years after the first Christopher Street parade, the Supreme Court this very month finally recognized that our people deserve protection from discrimination at work. We celebrate that ruling.


Yet, we have more fighting still to do to assure our right to survive. Our progress as LGBTQ people and people living with HIV has always depended upon our willingness to put our bodies and livelihoods on the line to stand up to the unjust and discriminatory systems that neglect us. Like the recent monumental Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ workers from discrimination, we know that change only comes through struggle.

The structural inequalities and racist systems that led to George Floyd’s death by law enforcement are the same ones that are responsible for the obscenely high death rates from COVID-19 in Black and Brown communities in this country. They are the same systems that have created a disproportionately Black and Brown HIV epidemic in America.

Pride has always been about speaking out for our right to live and to thrive. We see Pride in the thousands of LGBTQ people that have taken to the streets to declare that Black lives matter. We see Pride in creative and virtual ways LGBTQ people are making to stay connected and support each other. We see Pride in every HIV test and prescription for PrEP that will help stop a new case of HIV.


Our community’s Pride and your legacy are not just one of survival but of strength. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign rightly focuses on how our connectedness builds the strength we need to survive and thrive. And when one of us is not surviving or thriving our Pride is not complete.

Pride not only celebrates who we are, it lifts up all within our community who are at-risk and that others shun and ignore. Pride is for LGBTQ people who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color; those of us who are neurodivergent, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired or living with a physical disability; HIV-positive and HIV-negative, those of us who aromantic and asexual, people of faith, youth and elders ⁠— and so many more of us who live at the intersection of multiple identities — and who want so much to live with Pride. Pride is a celebration of everything that makes us different but also everything that makes us stronger.


We take Pride in how we’ve survived, and we take Pride in how we continue to show up and speak out when one of us is under attack. We take Pride in believing we will get through this pandemic together too. We hope you find opportunities to learn from elders and long-term HIV survivors about how we have fought, but also that you teach us about your stories and where you see our future.

Our history is being made by you every day. We see you leading us with our passion and conviction for a world that we couldn’t even imagine when we were your age. And while we set a foundation, you are building a vision of queer liberation that is truly scraping the skies. Some of you have only just graduated high school and are blazing a trail we are humbled and honored to walk with you.

Together we can lean on the strength of our past and on the resilience you bring as we continue fighting against racism, stigma, discrimination, inequality and HIV in these times of COVID-19. Together we will achieve queer liberation for all, to be able to live lives that we deserve, to be our authentic selves with our families of choice. Because this Pride was the first page of the next chapter in our story.


[Source: Jesse Milan Jr, JD President & CEO, AIDS United | Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force]


Open Letter to Young LGBTQ People on This Historic Occasion

LGBTQ People Have Been Marching Every June for 50 Years

In Gay We Trust: How to Have Pride in a Pandemic

50th Anniversary: The Revolution May Have Finally Arrived

Happy Pride: What Do We Have to Be Proud Of?

Evolution of the Gay Pride Parade

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

Celebrate Pride With LGBTQ Celebrities

Fifty Year History of LGBTQ Pride

Armed With Pride: LGBTQ People March into Battle

Pride March Images: 1969-Present

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

For a More Perfect Union: We Need Education and Understanding

John Corvino: What is Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?

Happy New Year: Anxiety and Hope for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020s

Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020: Protection for LGBTQ Americans

Billy Porter: LGBTQ State of the Union

How to Be More Out and Proud in Your Everyday


The New Queer Conscience


By Adam Eli | Book Excerpt, Advocate Magazine | June 2020


Society’s rules are no secret and they have been ingrained in us since birth. These rules were not written by queer people and they were not written to help queer people. We already have our own history, culture, accomplishments, and peoplehood. So why are we still abiding by someone else’s rules?

Our generation of queers finds themselves in a unique historical position. We have more societal acceptance and legal protections than ever before. We have the ability to communicate with one another in ways that we never have, making us truly a global entity. Yet it is still illegal to be gay in more than seventy countries. Seventy-five countries have laws prohibiting the right to change your gender identity. And amid this progress, queer hate crimes are on the rise in America and all over the world.


It is my dream that the queer community adopts a new set of rules. A set of rules that centers what queer people have in common with one another. A set of rules that positions queer people as players on the same team. A set of rules that uses our hard-won progress as a road map to a brighter, more welcoming world. A world where coming out is less painful and where fewer of us cry in the bathroom alone. A world where governments are met with a colossal and unified global resistance when they try to murder their queer citizens.

I believe that the queer community can foster an environment where it is seen as cool, socially desirable, and even expected that we look out for one another. This new culture of united action would be a safety net in times of crisis. And in times of peace, it would ensure our community is a place of welcome, warmth, and joy. It will also ensure that we become and remain a safe haven for queer youth and newly out folks.

It is my dream that this attitude becomes a cornerstone of queer life, identity, and culture. Let us be the standard of generosity and loyalty by which all other people aspire to meet. Let us be a nation that shines like the brightest star in a constellation, spreading light to all those around it.

It is my personal belief that this will be possible if we come to this simple understanding: queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere.

Advocate Mag: Time for Queer People to Live by a New Set of Rules

Penguin Random House: The New Queer Conscience (Pocket Change Collection)

Adam Eli Video: LGBTQ State of the Union

Conversation with Gay Jewish Activist Adam Eli

Huff Post: Queer Activists Putting Their Life on the Line


Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates


By Richie Jackson | Theatre, Television and Film Producer | May 2020


Congratulations queer college graduates of 2020 on this very important and hard-won milestone. Since you are not able to partake in the usual pomp and circumstance, I wanted to share with you my commencement address.

For some of you these years at college were your extraordinary time of coming out, declaring yourself, standing and saying, “This is me,” against all odds. Some of you came to college already out, ready to spread your wings even farther. For those of you not yet out, who studied and toiled all these years from the closet, you too have achieved a herculean task.


As you enter adulthood, joining our vast, colorful, extraordinary, mischievous community, keep in mind we have no litmus test for entry. You can be out, you can be closeted, you can be prideful or self-loathing, you can declare your gender identity at 11 years old or stay in the closet till you’re middle-aged, all are welcome.

As you stand on the precipice of this next chapter of your lives, I understand how grim and hopeless it must feel. We are in unchartered times and we don’t know what comes next and if what we all thought was normal, will ever be the same. I am not an economist or futurist, so I don’t have any qualifications to speak on what may be in store for you. But I do have experience graduating college during a dark time for our community; during another plague.

I graduated NYU in 1987 at which time there were 50,378 cases of AIDS in the US and 40,849 deaths. That was the year the US government barred HIV-infected travelers from entering the country. While there are so many differences between AIDS and COVID-19, fear and despair are familiar to me.


So what does the future hold for you? None of us know. But that’s where your opportunity is. All our lives, queer people have had to create ourselves, create our lives, create our families, our communities, our own safe spaces. This period, where the world can be rebuilt anew, created again, was made for us queers. This is what we do. We aren’t wedded to what was, because what was had never been intended for us. Now, you get to make a more just, more equitable world. You get to widen the margins so as to erase them. Creativity is the lifeblood of our lives and you can bring it to bear on the systemic problems that have been laid bare by this virus and deploy our greatest asset, empathy. Our world needs to heal and who better to lead that healing than us?

We queer people live and see things not as they are but as we make them. The gift of our queerness is that your otherness helps you to see things differently. You can redefine what it means to be essential in America. But first you must make your queerness essential to your lives. Do not diminish yourselves. Do not diminish your queerness. The way to deal with your otherness is not to soften the edges, not to find the ways to fit in or to pass. It is to double down, to exploit and to expose all those parts of you that are other. Those elements of your otherness are your deep well of creativity and divinity. Your answers reside in your singularity and difference. By amplifying your otherness, you unlock your promise and potential.


Your otherness breeds empathy, emboldens ideas, and expands boundaries. Build up your resolve to expose your specialness. The way to stoke it is to revel not only in your own otherness, but in the big, wide, diverse community of otherness of which you are now a part. I would ask you to look at your work lives and see where you can be of service — public service, medicine, science. And especially the arts. Artists, writers, poets will explain all this to us. And who among you will be the activists, the agitators? We need you now.

Part of your responsibility is to work to improve the lives of everyone in our community. Our initialism, LGBTQ, is not just stripes on our flag so everyone feels represented. It is our bond. We rise and fall, survive and thrive together. Oppression cannot be a gateway to victimhood, and mere tolerance is not adequate. Do not diminish who you are to find some acceptability. Do not connect your self-esteem with acceptance. You cannot make your queer life small so as not to cause a wave. Do not let hate seep into your profile; do not bow out or retreat because the obstacles seem so great.

As you set out to not just rebuild but rejuvenate and improve our world, be sure to build your own personal foundation as well. Be ambitious in your personal life. Prioritize your heart, especially now, during this pandemic and its uncertain aftermath. Loving someone and being loved are life-saving. So go forth class of 2020 and trust in your queerness. It will provide.

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

Happy New Year: Anxiety and Hope for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020s

Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020: Protection for LGBTQ Americans

Billy Porter: LGBTQ State of the Union

Pride 2019: Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

LGBTQ Elders Share Their Thoughts About Today's Queer Youth


Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020


By Rev Carolyn J. Mobley Bowie | Metropolitan Community Church | Jan 2020


My hope, wish and prayer for 2020 is protections for all LGBTQ Americans. Amid all the darkness, our community could get some very good, and necessary, news.

As a previously long-closeted lesbian who has found so much joy in living openly later in life, I know what it feels like to live in fear of harassment and discrimination. As a spiritual person, I’m praying the Supreme Court does the right thing and affirms that all LGBTQ people should be able to work hard and support themselves and their loved ones without fear of harassment or discrimination at work. If the Supreme Court issues a positive ruling for the plaintiffs of the three LGBTQ workplace discrimination cases it heard recently and is currently deliberating, it will be a huge relief for people like me.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, my family was not accepting of LGBTQ people. When I heard about gay people, it was in the context of a mean-spirited joke. In high school, I began to realize I liked girls in high school, but I didn’t date at all through college. After college, I came out to my mother as a lesbian. She paid for me to see a counselor who attempted to “fix” me. After two sessions, I refused to keep going to those meetings. I continued to be engaged with a Baptist church into the 1980s, though I still wasn’t out as a lesbian there. Regardless, someone at church identified me as “possibly gay” and I was asked to leave the church.


In 1995, I was ordained while serving at an open and affirming parish in Houston, where I was on staff for 15 years. Finally, this was a spiritual home where I could flourish enough to come out to my extended family and marry the love of my life in the church. I was elated to make our marriage legal in the eyes of the state shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was legal in 2015.

But having the right to marry doesn’t alleviate the overarching injustice that remains. In 30 states across the nation, an LGBTQ person may marry on Sunday, with the blessing of the Church and State, and still be fired on Monday, lose their housing, or be refused services at public places like a hotel or coffee shop, simply because of their sexual orientation and who they love. This more than pains me.

Throughout my life it has been my faith that’s directed self-acceptance. It’s heartbreaking that many churches throughout history have used the Bible and the church as an institution to exclude people of color like me, women in general, and LGBTQ people, from leadership and full acceptance. My understanding is that God’s love and the Golden Rule teach us that we are all equal, and that God expects us to treat each other with mutual love and respect.


To me, nondiscrimination is a simple matter of fairness and equal protection under the law. If I’m paying my taxes, serving my community, and not breaking laws, the law should protect me. Unfortunately, not only is there no federal law that provides explicit nondiscrimination protections, my home state of Michigan like many others also has no express statewide protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people either.

If the states cannot do right by LGBTQ people by passing statewide protections, it becomes paramount that the federal government step in and ensure that all are protected in the workplace, in housing, and in other public places. I fear that if the Supreme Court doesn’t do the right thing, their ruling will be taken by many as a license to increase discrimination against LGBTQ people. We must do all we can to prevent institutional inequality and secure comprehensive protections as quickly as possible. Lets commit to the Golden rule in 2020 and support full protections to all, including LGBTQ people.


Happy New Year: Anxiety and Hope for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020s

Hope, Wish and Prayer for 2020: Protection for LGBTQ Americans

Pride 2019: Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

How to Be More Out and Proud in Your Everyday Life

The World's Happiest Countries Protect Their LGBTQ Citizens

Church Offers Free Mom Hugs at Pride Parade

Why Opinion Changed so Quickly on Gay Marriage

New Kind of Prom Date

Back in the Closet: Hiding My Sexuality After Coming Out

Should US Become a Christian Theocracy?

What I learned When I Came Out as Queer After a Hetero Breakup


I Loudly Endorse the Equality Act


By Breea Clark | Mayor of Norman, Oklahoma | Jan 2020


The conversation about LGBTQ equality is one of the most important conversations in our country today. Thirty states still lack explicit, comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination. And federal protections are at risk of being stripped by the US Supreme Court. No one should have to live in fear of discrimination or humiliation simply because of who they are, and that includes our LGBTQ neighbors.

That’s why I’m proud to join the national Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination coalition alongside more than 350 other mayors from all 50 states who share the same values as me, reflecting the nearly 69 percent of Americans from all walks of life who favor LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.

As mayors, we’re obliged to do our part to build understanding within ourselves, among our constituents, and in solidarity with other elected officials about the harms of treating people differently for being LGBTQ. Keeping our communities welcoming is a core part of our jobs. The motto of my city Norman, Oklahoma, is “Building an Inclusive Community,” and our attitude as well as our ordinances should reflect that spirit. We need to take care of all our residents and ensure that they can earn a living, provide shelter for their families, and safely go about their daily lives, with no exceptions.


As an Oklahoman, I know my state and residents stand for family and fairness, without room for discrimination of any kind: the real Oklahoma standard. I’m proud that this past summer, the Norman city council enacted our state’s first LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance to update our existing civil rights law and ensure that none of our residents can be fired, denied housing, or turned away from a business for being LGBTQ.

That step was a long time coming. Twenty states and more than 250 cities already have similar laws prohibiting LGBTQ discrimination, many of which have been in place for decades without any negative consequence. And nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. Being inclusive and treating LGBTQ people fairly is not only the right thing to do — it’s essential for our economy’s bottom line and to build the strongest communities possible.

Standing with LGBTQ people is more important now than ever. Oral arguments just took place in October in three cases currently pending before the US Supreme Court that ask the core question of whether our nation’s civil rights laws include LGBTQ people. In each case, workers were fired for being gay or transgender. With a ruling expected in the next few months, the Supreme Court has the opportunity for the first time to affirm that all of us (including LGBTQ workers) should be treated with dignity and respect. Dozens of lower courts and federal agencies have already agreed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, includes LGBTQ people.


But no matter how the Supreme Court rules, our work continues. The best way to ensure lasting protections that cannot be overturned by a court or newly elected legislature is to pass federal legislation like the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination against women and LGBTQ people in virtually every area of life. Until that happens, Norman will lead in Oklahoma with ordinances and protections of our own.

LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws are fueled by a basic promise all Americans make to treat each other the way we want to be treated. We can all agree that anyone who works hard, meets their responsibilities, and does the right thing shouldn’t have to worry about discrimination. Basic fairness shouldn't depend on which company a person works at or in what zip code they live. I hope the growing majority of Americans who agree will urge their lawmakers and local officials to correct this wrong.

While I might have a bias, I believe local government is the most important level of government, because it directly impacts residents in their everyday lives and can affect change much faster than state or federal government. I urge you to get engaged. Know your locally elected officials, visit your City Hall, and apply to serve on a local board or commission. We don’t have to wait on higher levels of government to make a difference in the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors. Join us in strengthening our nation by participating in the foundational level of our democracy: the American city.


Alicia Keys: We Need More Expressions, Less Labels

The Atlantic: Gay Rights Have Already Been Won

LGBTQ Elders Share Their Thoughts About Today's Queer Youth

TED Talk: Preacher's Kid, Football Player, and Gay

The World's Happiest Countries Protect Their LGBTQ Citizens

Respectability Politics: Can You Be Too Gay?

Tim Cook to LGBTQ Youth: You Are a Gift to the World

Music Video: Don't Give Up by Maggie Szabo

TED Talk: Why We Need Another Coming Out Story

Lonely Dudes: Men Are Having a Friendship Crisis

Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

Church Offers Free Mom Hugs at Pride Parade

Why Opinion Changed so Quickly on Gay Marriage


2020 Election Will Be Most Important to LGBTQ Citizens


By Alphonso David | HRC President | CNN | Oct 2019


For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and our allies, the 2020 presidential election will be the most important election of our lives. Over the last two years, the Trump administration has rescinded key protections for transgender students, appointed two new anti-equality justices to the US Supreme Court, banned transgender troops from serving openly in the military, and repeatedly pushed policies that would open the door to discrimination against LGBTQ people in healthcare, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of life under the guise of "religious liberty."


Despite campaigning on a promise to be a "real friend" to the LGBTQ community, Donald Trump designated Mike Pence (who has previously called homosexuality "a choice") as his vice president. And Trump has been outspoken about his opposition to bipartisan federal civil rights legislation (the Equality Act) which overwhelmingly passed through the US House of Representatives this year and, if signed into law, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 2020 presidential election will determine whether the Trump administration's attacks on LGBTQ rights are allowed to continue -- or whether we begin the work of restoring our democracy. And while the stakes couldn't be higher, for LGBTQ people in particular, there also could not be a greater opportunity to make change.

Over the past several election cycles, LGBTQ people and our allies have been exerting more and more political power -- dramatically altering the political landscape.  Today, there are 11 million LGBTQ voters estimated nationwide who will play a decisive role in the upcoming elections. We have also identified 57 million "Equality Voters" -- friends, family members and other allies who prioritize LGBTQ-inclusive policies when deciding which candidates to support.


In fact, Equality Voters accounted for 29% of the electorate in 2018, making it one of the most substantial voting blocs in the election. Turnout among Equality Voters increased from 36% in the 2014 midterm elections to 56 percent in 2018. This trend is only expected to continue in 2020.  LGBTQ people and our allies played a key role in pushing candidates over the finish line in dozens of races with groundbreaking consequences.

Specifically, Equality Voters helped protect the Senate's first out LGBTQ member, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and elect another out member, Senator Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona. Equality Voters helped elect and re-elect governors who are working to enact critical non-discrimination protections, outlawing the dangerous and abusive practice of so-called "conversion therapy," and acting as a powerful backstop against anti-LGBTQ state legislation. And Equality Voters helped restore a pro-equality majority in the House of Representatives that passed the Equality Act.

This is part of a growing trend. In 2016, LGBTQ voters and our allies helped oust former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory after he signed into law a draconian anti-LGBTQ bill known as HB2. According to a CNN exit poll, 65% of 2016 North Carolina voters opposed the law. During Alabama's special election in 2017, the coalition built by groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the NAACP played a role in defeating anti-LGBTQ zealot Roy Moore and electing Doug Jones to the US Senate.


With so much at stake in 2020, we are eager to hear how these candidates will fight for full federal equality, defend the fundamental rights of LGBTQ people and protect the most vulnerable (both here and around the globe) from stigma, institutional inequality, discrimination and violence. But at its core, the participation of these top-tier candidates and the platform provided by a major cable news network underscore the importance of LGBTQ issues and the power of our votes.

Fifty years ago, when the first brick was thrown at Stonewall and the modern LGBTQ-rights movement was born, few could have imagined ten candidates for president competing for the support of the LGBTQ community. But as recent years have shown, increasing support for equality means our movement is no longer limited to organizing and mobilizing self-identified LGBTQ people. The rising Equality Vote has the potential to put LGBTQ issues at the center of electoral decision-making and activism -- both in 2020 and beyond.

2020 Presidential Election Critical for LGBTQ People

LGBTQ Issues Get Attention in Democratic Presidential Debate

Rainbow Wave: 114 LGBTQ Candidates Won Office This Year

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Democratic Candidates Participate in LGBTQ Town Hall

Trump's Relentless Attack on LGBTQ Rights

Queer Like Pete: The Gay Archetype


What I've Learned From Being a Gay Dad


By Dr. Mark Leondires | Medical Director | Advocate Magazine | Oct 2019


The desire to parent is universal, just ask the penguins. A couple of male penguins in the Berlin Zoo, Ping and Skip, have come together to have a child. In the process of adopting an egg, Ping and Skip have evolved. Where they were more outgoing and easier to approach, they have taken the job of trying to hatch an egg, as any parent would, quite seriously. This is a wonderful story, not just because it makes us feel good, but because it reinforces the universal desire to have children regardless of sex, gender identity, or even species.



Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process. I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends.  And remarkably, with this transition nobody seemed to really care who I slept with.

I share this personal aspect of my life to offer perspective to LGBTQ people who want to be parents. Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children. You are no longer someone living this “special” lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey. And there is so much more to talk about: diapers, bottles, runny noses, strollers.

For whatever reason in our Judeo-Christian Western society, somebody’s sexuality has become in many ways more significant than the good work they do or the job they have. However, parenting is the one and only job that has no prerequisites, is held by the majority of the population, requires no training or oversight, and is very relatable to everyone who holds it. It is also the only job you can’t be fired from.


Because all that is necessary to be a parent is to provide unconditional love. Whether you are straight, gay or any other identity under our rainbow, you have the ability to have children and do not need to stress over whether or not your family will be different. All you have to do is love your children unconditionally.

My parenting journey brought me very much out of the closet — I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family. It wasn’t about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally.

As a parent who lives in suburbia, I’ve learned that there are plenty of straight couples that have their own parenting struggles--be that simply getting along with a spouse, or the everyday tribulations of raising children and the havoc that wreaks on any relationship.


From 20 years of being an infertility doctor, I know that 1 out of 6 couples struggle to become parents. So while the struggle for parenthood among the gay population is different, it is not unique. The desire to be a parent is common for most humans, and while everyone struggles, I support everyone who wants to be a parent and will work tirelessly to get them there.

The message I impart to my LGBTQ friends and all patients is simply this: anyone can be a parent if they wish to, and while the journey may be a nuanced for someone in the LGBTQ community, the end result is the same. Love is love, and if it is what you want, take the plunge to parenthood.


Advocate: What I've Learned From Being a Gay Dad

LGBTQ Nation: Foster Kid Dreams of Being Adopted by Two Days
Steve and Rob: Two Dads Adopt Six Siblings

Gay Dads Share Personal Stories

New Book: Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads

Ron and Greg: Story of Two Gay Dads

New Report: Gay Dads Make Better Parents

Gay Parents: Anthony and Bryon's Story

Children Raised by Same Sex Parents at No Disadvantage

Gay Parents: Gabriel and Dylan's Story


Parents Responsible for Transgender Teen Suicide


By Riki Wilchins | Advocate Magazine | Sept 2019


In June 2017, 17-year-old Leelah Acorn posted a suicide note to her Tumblr account explaining that she had felt like a girl since she was four. Her parents had rejected her on religious grounds, told her she was nuts, and forced her into psychiatric treatment. Leelah announced she was ending her life, and, around 2:00 that morning, walked out onto Interstate 71 and into the path of a speeding tractor-trailer truck.

Her Tumblr note explained that she was sure she would never be accepted or happy. Her parents told her that God doesn't make mistakes. "Parents, please don't tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won't do anything but make them hate themselves. That's exactly what it did to me."


No one is punished for causing suicides like this. Her parents faced no legal consequences for actions which (according to Leelah’s own testimony) pushed her to take her life. But that is about to change. Consider these three other related stories.

One: In 2017 two Pennsylvania parents from a religious fringe group who insisted on prayer while their child slowly died from treatable bacterial pneumonia were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment for withholding recommended medical care.

Two: The American Psychiatric Association now recognizes transsexuality as a physical (not mental) disorder. Major medical groups led by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association now recommend that hormone blockers, and later hormone treatment, be provided to kids diagnosed with transsexuality.

Three: A three-judge court in Canada has just ruled this month that an unnamed 14-year-old trans boy has the right to continue hormone treatment. This after his conservative father had sought to block his son from continuing to get treatment. Like Leelah, the boy had attempted suicide. Unlike her, he failed. The boy argued that stopping would leave him “stranded… I would feel like a freak.”


The court not only ordered that the boy had the right to continue hormone treatments, but that the father must use the correct pronouns and male name, adding that continuing to misgender and dead-name his son would amount to violence under the Family Law Act.

Said the court: “A youth seeking gender affirming healthcare is to be treated (and must be treated) in the same way as any other youth seeking any other medical treatment.” This is a game-changer.

What we finally have here are the ingredients for ending the denial of medical treatment for transgender kids, and the suicides that result from them. This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end of parents’ unlimited right to deny their trans children the recognition they need and the treatment they demand.


This is now a gender rights time-bomb hiding in plain sight. But no one has heard it ticking yet. Sooner or later, groups like the AAP and AMA will shift gears so that providing hormones and hormone blockers (and surgery) will not just be the recommended treatment but the prescribed treatment. And denying medical treatment for a child suffering from gender dysphoria will be no different from denying medical treatment for a child suffering from pneumonia, as both are increasingly recognized as life-threatening conditions.

Moreover, parents who willfully withhold and deny treatment that results in (or might result in) another transgender suicide will be charged with child endangerment and/or involuntary manslaughter. No doubt this will be implemented in another country first, but eventually we will get it here as well.

That day can’t come too soon. Because withholding treatment from children that need it is child endangering. There are too many Leelahs out there, desperate for treatment and recognition, whose suffering and untimely deaths could be easily averted if we provided genderqueer kids with the same basic medical rights their cisgender peers have always had.

Advocate Mag: Transgender Teen Suicide

Time Mag: Conversion Therapy is Child Abuse

ABC News: Leelah Alcorn Commits Suicide

Suicide of Leelah Alcorn

Trans Teen Leelah Alcorn's Death Ruled a Suicide

CNN: Ohio Trans Teen's Suicide and Mother's Anguish

Epidemic of Suicide Among LGBTQ Youth: Blame Recent Politics


Why Are We Still Failing LGBTQ Students?

By Sabia Prescott | Education Activist | Advocate Magazine | Sept 2019


Stopping bullying is not enough.

This past Pride Month, like most in recent history, saw a growing number of signs with phrases like “Pride is still a riot,” and “Black queer lives matter.” A critical and timely effort to refocus the movement on its origins and those in the community who are most marginalized, these signs represent a broader reminder: Pride isn’t just a party. It’s also a time to call attention to efforts toward improving queer and trans lives. While we see many of these efforts displayed prominently at Pride (efforts around healthcare, legal support, social and financial services) one area we still don’t often see addressed is education.


Though more and more schools are implementing anti-bullying laws and gender neutral bathrooms, there’s still a long way to go. As Michael Sadowski says in his book Safety is Not Enough, we need to go beyond making schools simply safe for queer and trans kids, and start working to transform them into learning spaces that validate and engage them, personally and intellectually.

Just last month, a story from Boulder, Colorado told us about a local public school teacher named Chris Segal who has seen at least three queer or trans students in his school who dropped out after being bullied. Chris realized that safety should not be the endgame when it comes to supporting queer kids. He includes queer authors in his curriculum, but even he wants teachers like himself to be able to do more to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.


So what exactly does an “inclusive environment” look like? Quite simply, it’s a learning environment in which every student is engaged in and relates to the content. It’s instructional materials, as Rudine Sims Bishop describes, that both gives students a window into lives and experiences different from their own, and holds up a mirror so they can see themselves reflected. It’s an environment in which the teacher understands the learning contexts of their students and leverages unique parts of their identities as tools for learning. We know that students learn better when they feel validated and challenged by what they’re learning. And yet, many preK-12 schools continue to teach about a very narrow set of lived experiences — one to which fewer and fewer students can relate.

Like Chris, many teachers have the will, but not the way, to teach queer-inclusive content. With so many teaching standards to meet, little time or funding, and no inclusive teacher professional development, most educators don’t know where to start. Even with great teaching resources from GLSEN, Teaching Tolerance, and others, the real problem is that many educators don’t know where to find them, how to implement them, or how and when to share them.

Particularly for teachers who are not queer themselves or have not before engaged with topics of sexual and gender minorities, talking about these topics with students can be a formidable challenge, even with a how-to guide. What’s worse is that many districts including those in the handful of states in which it is still illegal to mention LGBTQ identities in the classroom, are far from the point of even attempting to prioritize queer students.


So what do we do? In states and districts like this and beyond, it will take difficult, ongoing conversations between schools and those advocating for inclusion to frame inclusive curricula as a feasible goal. It will take careful articulation of what anti-racist queer inclusivity is, why it matters for all students, and what the ramifications are of not creating inclusive classrooms. It may even take more robust data on the outcomes of these types of materials on student social-emotional learning, engagement, and test scores. This type of data, particularly on queer K-12 students, is as severely lacking as it is desperately needed. Though storytelling has historically been and remains a cornerstone of the queer community, it may not be enough to sell this idea to those resisting it.

At the same time, intentional LGBTQ inclusion will require tearing down the misconceptions around what it means to support queer students. It requires empowering teachers to approach their lessons with language awareness and self-respect, not inappropriate conversation and indoctrination as some believe. There is much that can be done in classrooms to support queer students outside teaching about the gay civil rights movement. School leaders, educators, and students can be intentionally inclusive in everyday interactions, and promoting this in the classroom benefits all students. To get existing resources into the hands of teachers who are willing and prepared to use them, we ought to talk to districts and school leaders, and promote collaboration between students and experts in the community.

Pride month or not, inclusive learning environments should be a priority among the community and our allies. There is both a will and a way for supporting queer students, and connecting them is our challenge.


Advocate: Why Are We Still Failing LGBTQ Students?

Fifth Grader Responds to Homophobic Teacher Who Insulted His Family

Indya Moore Offers Delightful Daily Affirmations

Religious Undercurrent Ripples in Anti-Gay Bullying

Love Bravely: Mini LGBTQ Documentary

Congresswoman Talks About Her Gender Non-Conforming Child

Alicia Keys: We Need More Expressions, Less Labels

Will & Grace Celebrate Pride Month

The Future Is Not In Front of Us, It's Inside of Us

Cameron Hawthorn: Gay Country Music Star

BBC Big Question: Has Britain Become Less Tolerant?


More Than Sexuality

By Lee Lynch | Epochalips | Sept 2019


Do you have an "affectional preference" for female companionship?"  Hey, world, big news! Gay people are more than our sexuality. It can be downright annoying to be defined by one part of our humanity.

I may live in rural America, but I am not a walking, talking letter “Q” for queer. Not an advertisement for a lifestyle. Not a representation of what-dykes-look-like. Not an object of study or fascination. Not a target of foul words, flung mud, or physical violence.


I am a lover of women, but that encompasses a heck of a lot more than sexual expression. When I was younger even I didn’t know that was true. I didn’t know I could love a woman friend without intimate touch. I believed the homo-hating hype that coming out made me one-dimensional.

Today, we can see photos of people like us who are unencumbered by stereotypes. We watch gay people become champion athletes, TV and film and theater stars, heads of corporations, politicians. I like to think all our efforts have helped to provide solid groundwork for gay lives to be fulfilling.

It is time to look at how language continues to be one of our stumbling blocks. Change is already happening. Little by little a majority of Americans are becoming respectful of gay people, are realizing they need not focus conversation on gay matters. They are finding out that we are not threats and that we have more in common with them than not.


Both gays and non-gays need new language for the concept that we are the family next door, the gal who pumps gas, the transgender head of the corporation. We need to move beyond words that mark us in a solely sexual way.

I’ve been using the phrase affectional preference. While I enjoy the company of some men, mostly gay men, my closest friends and family are women. If I’m going out somewhere, I go with women. If I join an organization, it’s more likely to be woman-centered than co-ed. If I exercise or swim, I like to do so in the company of women. I do business with women, preferably gay. There is no sexual component in any of those activities. Why am I the only one with a sexual label in a room full of non-gay women who’ve gathered for lunch? I have affection for these women, not attraction to them.

In my marriage, of course there is the kind of intimacy that scares straight boys. Or just sitting in our living room discussing our day and reading. Or cooking dinner and doing the dishes. We might even be doing the laundry, cleaning the toilets, filling the bird feeders. So call us bird lovers, cooks, readers. Our passion for birds and books have nothing to do with sexual preferences. We simply like to share everyday life together as two loving women.

Let’s stop sexualizing ourselves and come up with words that reflect the greater percentage of our days and ourselves—if we have to be labeled at all. Please note, it’s not the sex itself I want to eliminate, it’s the restrictive branding.


Am I Really Proud to Be a Lesbian?

Ten Things Lesbians Hate to Hear

You Tube: Notable Lesbians

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Video List: Most Famous Lesbians in History

Epochalips: Smart Lesbian Commentary

Old Lesbians Give Advice to Young Lesbians

Slate: Some Young Women Don't Like Lesbian Label

Mental Health Issues Lesbian Women Cope With

Why Being a Lesbian is Amazing

Video Montage: Best Lesbian Kisses

Pride 2019 Was Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

By John Casey | Advocate | July 2019

Pride 2019 saw the confluence of three significant signposts that placed sensational snapshots of the LGBTQ community at the epicenter of pop-culture and headline news. Culturally, trendy Mashable posted a roaring review for season two of Pose calling it a “joyful celebration of life.” Politically, The Washington Post cited Pete Buttigieg as a winner of the first Democratic presidential debate because of his “humility” and the fact he offered “bold ideas that emphasize realism.” Societally, ABC became the first US network to broadcast World Pride. A wonderous, consequential month of three vignettes that flaunted, flashed and floated gratitude and hope.


I came of age during the era of Pose, graduating from college in the late ‘80s, psychologically and medically petrified of my sexuality, making a secret pact to kill myself if an AIDS diagnosis occurred. How downright cowardly. To watch Pose is to see the beauty and frailties of life, and how to push through it, to be yourself, to survive, to fathom a future, to be honorably happy and live loud. It’s astonishingly heroic. And to have this revolutionary television show come of age in late June of 2019, during the 50-year anniversary of Stonewall, and to critical and cultural acclaim? Monumental!

Politically, two other powerhouses The New York Times and USA Today also pronounced Buttigieg a winner of the Democratic debates. That is not an easy feat, by any measure, regardless of who you are. To be in politics is to be judged. Rarely glowingly. Sometimes harshly. Occasionally offensively. Surprisingly revealingly. All by your constituency of critics.


It takes an enormity of courage for anyone, be it a congressman or otherwise, to gather the steel and stand before a crowd. The audience may clap and agree with your policies and prose, but they are looking at and through you. Mayor Pete must feel this continually. He must be constantly reminded of the fact that to many, he is an anomaly, a first, a curiosity, a revelation, and to some, unfortunately, a revulsion. Watching the flash of Mayor Pete brilliantly perform in front of a primary debate record audience of 18 million television viewers last week (a record!), and be declared a winner by major media outlets, was a seminal moment for the LGBTQ community.

Which brings us to the ultimate LGBTQ watershed societal breakpoint, the Stonewall Riots of 1969, and the unforgettable 50th anniversary celebration this past month. In 1994, my first year in New York, Mayor Giuliani participated in what was known as the NYC pride march, and I didn’t. It was one of his better days, and certainly one of my worst. I was still desperately fearful of AIDS, still scared beyond pale to come out, and frightened I’d see someone who knew me. But I was paying attention, because any validation of gay acceptance was quietly reassuring. Thus, I don’t remember any corporate sponsors, any rainbow flags (outside of the West Village), and certainly wasn’t aware of any major celebrities attending. I still felt like an outlier.


Well, 25 years later, it’s a divergently different world. Last week preceding the main event, you couldn’t walk one block in Manhattan without seeing gay flags blossoming. Times Square, and corporate buildings, bars, banks, bodegas, boutiques, bistros, and billboards, all were lit up in radiantly brilliant rainbows. Add to that the luster of luminaries lending their love. It was resoundingly reassuring.

Then, there was the record crowd of millions who showed up for the gallantry gorgeous, colossally colorful World Pride Parade, with floats and flamboyance that stretched endlessly through Manhattan for hours. And the Grand Marshals? Arguably the hottest A-listers of the moment, the cast of Pose. Proof of the pageantry’s platitudes? Scores of headline news stories. Just do a Google search! 152 million results and counting. The day truly capped, and put a begotten bow, on a week that was nothing short of historic and revelatory.

And maybe the revelation derived from each of the reported events is that we need to be ever so grateful for all the lessons of the past and confident in all that is to come. During coverage of the parade, ABC’s Sam Champion remarked that to a person, everyone he encountered talked about gratitude. Mindful, thankful and hopeful to all those who fought and who fight, who marched and who pride, who hid and who advance, who changed and who shift, who joyed and who delight, who endured and who sustain, who died and who live, who couldn’t and who do, who fell and who rise, who suffered and who flourish, who tried and who triumph, who existed and who continue to be.


Photos From World Pride 2019

Pride 2019: Historic, Revelatory, Unforgettable

How to Be More Out and Proud in Your Everyday Life

Indya Moore Offers Delightful Daily Affirmations

PBS News: 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Riots

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

NYC Lights Up 12 Iconic Buildings in Support of LGBTQ Pride

Advocate Mag: Champions of Pride 2019

Pete Buttigieg to be First Gay Candidate in Presidential Debates

Pride Month 2019

We Stand United: World Pride Song


Tolerance Survey by GLAAD


By Susan Miller | USA Today | June 2019


The young are regarded as the most tolerant generation. That's why results of this LGBTQ survey are "alarming."  Young people are growing less tolerant of LGBTQ individuals, a jarring turn for a generation traditionally considered embracing and open, a recent survey shows. The number of Americans 18 to 34 who are comfortable interacting with LGBTQ people slipped from 53% in 2017 to 45% in 2018 – the only age group to show a decline, according to the annual Accelerating Acceptance report. And that is down from 63% in 2016. Driving the dilution of acceptance are young women whose overall comfort levels plunged from 64% in 2017 to 52% in 2018, says the survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD.

“We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, told USA Today. “These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination.”


Among the findings:
--36% of young people said they were uncomfortable learning a family member was LGBTQ, compared with 29% in 2017
--34% were uncomfortable learning their doctor was LGBTQ vs. 27% a year earlier
--39% were uncomfortable learning their child had a school lesson on LGBTQ history vs. 30% in 2017

The negative shift for the young is surprising, said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO. When GLAAD delved into the numbers, the group found that the younger generation was coming in contact with more LBGTQ people, particularly individuals who are non-binary and don’t identify simply as lesbian or gay. “This newness they are experiencing could be leading to this erosion. It’s a newness that takes time for people to understand. Our job is to educate about non-conformity,” she said.

The survey results come during Pride 2019 and on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which sparked the LGBTQ rights movement. They also land at a dark hour politically and culturally for the LGBTQ community amid a rise in inflammatory rhetoric and dozens of policy setbacks, such as a ban on transgender people in the military and religious exemption laws that can lead to discrimination, Ellis and Gerzema said. Both are a likely force behind the young's pushback on tolerance, they said.


A new survey out during Pride 2019 shows young people have grown less accepting of LGBTQ individuals. The young are bombarded by hate speech on social platforms from viral videos to “mean tweets,” Gerzema said. “Our toxic culture is enveloping young people. It instills fear, alienation, but also permissibility” that could sway “impressionable" young minds on what is acceptable. And there is a more menacing side, Ellis said. “We are seeing a stark increase in violence in the community.” GLAAD has documented more than 40 incidents of LGBTQ hate violence since January 1.

Two recent high-profile incidents: In June 2019, a young gay couple were assaulted outside a popular strip of bars in Washington, DC, in what police are investigating as a hate crime. A few weeks earlier, a Detroit man was charged in a triple homicide in which two gay men and one transgender woman were deliberately targeted, police say. The FBI released statistics in November showing a 17% increase in overall hate crimes in 2017. Of 7,175 reported crimes, more than 1,200 were based on sexual orientation or gender identity bias.

The transgender community has been especially hard hit. In 2018, there were at least 26 deaths of transgender individuals in the US because of violence, mostly black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which has tracked 10 deaths so far this year. The situation is so grim that the American Medical Association warned this month of “an epidemic of violence” against transgender people, particularly those of color.


The increase in violence and discrimination mirrors the trajectory of the acceptance survey. The report, first commissioned in 2014, reflected positive momentum from historic gains for LGBTQ rights (such as the same-sex marriage ruling) in its first three years. But that shifted in 2017 with fallout from the presidential election, advocates say.

Still, there is cause for optimism this year, Ellis said. Nearly half of all non-LGBTQ adults, or 49%, are classified in the survey as “allies” with high levels of tolerance. That is the same number as 2017, and “that is a big deal,” she said. Support for equal rights is also stable, with eight out of 10 backing equality for LGBTQ people for the third consecutive year.

Ellis is confident the younger generation can rise again as beacons of unbiased values. When numbers dipped a year ago for young males, GLAAD went to where male audiences consume content: video games. The advocacy group worked with the industry to introduce diverse characters and help shape attitudes. The group has similar outreach plans for targeting young women in a popular female venue, country music concerts, she said. It’s crucial LGBTQ advocates stay vigilant, Gerzema said. “In this toxic age, tolerance (even among youths) now seems to be parsed out. Nothing today should be taken for granted.”

USA Today: LGBTQ Tolerance Survey by GLAAD

Graph: GLAAD Tolerance Survey

Center for American Progress: Widespread LGBTQ Discrimination

USA Today: Review of LGBTQ Equality Over the Past Decade

Battles the LGBTQ Community is Still Fighting

Human Rights Watch: Anti-LGBTQ Laws Around the World


Straight Pride Parade in Boston


By James Fell | June 2019

It's official. Boston is going to have a Straight Pride Parade.


I'm straight. I like being straight. A big reason why I like being straight is that I've never once experienced bigotry for my sexuality. I didn't have to fight for my right to marry the person of my choosing. I didn't have to concern myself with beaten or killed because others didn't accept who I wanted to sleep with. I didn't have to stay closeted out of fear, or worry about the reaction of my family, friends or colleagues by coming out.



I never got called a slur for being straight. Nobody ever told me I'm going to burn in hell for being straight. There aren't any programs where I could be sent to be tortured into no longer being straight.  There aren't any countries where you can be put to death simply for being straight.


There is nothing I ever had to fight for, or struggle against, because I'm straight. And therefore, there isn't any reason to take pride in it. Grateful for for the privileges, sure, but not proud. I don't see it.  what I do see is that this parade is misnamed. It's not a "Straight Pride" parade. It should be called a "Homophobic Piece of Shit" parade."


Washington Post: Three Guys Want Permit for Straight Pride Parade

NY Times: Amid Boston LGBTQ Pride Week, Straight Pride Parade Draws Attention

Huffington Post: Backlash for Straight Pride Parade in Boston

Advocate Mag: Only 3 People Attended Dallas Straight Pride Event


Pete Buttigieg Explains Bullying to 11-Year Old Girl


By Alex Bollinger | LGBTQ Nation | May 2019

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave an girl some advice for dealing with bullies. At a campaign stop in Iowa City, Buttigieg drew questions from a fishbowl and he pulled one from 11-year-old Rebecca Johann: “Do you have any advice about bullying?”

He started by saying that it’s important to talk about it. “So I think you’re leading the way on that. Thank you for raising the question,” he said.

He went on to talk about his experiences. “I had experiences with bullying when I was growing up,” he said. “Everybody who’s different can be bullied. And the secret is – everybody’s different in some way.“


“When someone is bullying you, they’re making you feel alone sometimes. They’re making you feel like you’re the only one in that situation, and they’re breaking you down.”


He then told Rebecca that she shouldn’t feel ashamed. “The first thing you’ve got to know is you have nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “And the second part, this is a much harder part to remember, is that the person who is bullying you probably has something a little broken in them, and it’s part of why they’re trying to get your attention.”

“I think it really matters that we have a president that doesn’t show that type of behavior. It’s one of the reasons I’m running for president.”

Buttigieg concluded by saying that Rebecca should lead others by example, by not stooping down to the level of a bully.


Mayor Pete Explains Bullying to 11-Year Old Girl

Pete Buttigieg: You Have Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

Common Myths About Bullying

Broadway Kids Against Bullying: I Have a Voice

Trump's Latest Attacks on Same-Sex Couples

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Bisexual People Are Not Confused or Closeted

Warrior Women are the Role Models We Need

Tyler Clementi's Mom Has a Message For You

Sara Bareilles: What the World Needs Now

Worst Question People Ask About Being Gay


Trans Deaths Are Real Deaths


By Reverend Irene Monroe | LGBTQ Nation | May 2019

Trans deaths are real deaths.  It's time America realized that simple truth.  God works through other people.  Maybe you can be those other people.


In a suburb just outside of Dallas, a transgender mural is being painted on the side of a tattoo and piercing shop. The mural commemorates the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, displaying an image of our foresisters Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. They are the catalysts of our 1969-to-present day LGBTQ movement. Their images are against the backdrop of the colors of the transgender pride flag.

Brian Kenny, the muralist behind the painting, explained, “This mural represents the trans women of color who were key figures in that riot and also key figures in the start of the queer liberation movement. This mural is to honor them and to give more visibility, love, and attention to the transgender community. I wanted this mural to be a positive reinforcement that we are all a human family. We have a lot more in common than our differences. I’m hoping the mural can be a bridge.”


For the 50th anniversary of Stonewall I hope more images of Johnson and Rivera will be on display. I hope as they will be honored in LGBTQ communities across the country this Pride season and Americans learn of the difficult day-to-day struggle it took them to stay alive. I hope we all will do more to stem the violence faced by our transgender community – especially our black and Latinx sisters of color.

In one week, during May 2019, three transgender women of African descent were murdered – Michelle Washington, 40, Claire Legato, 21, and Muhlaysia Booker, 23. As I draw attention to these sisters, several others have been murdered have also been killed this year, and, sadly, many more will be murdered after. Washington was found dead with gunshot wounds to her head, body, and buttocks.

“It’s time that we say this is happening to transwomen; it’s happening to black transwomen, it’s happening to transwomen of color.” Deja Lynn Alvarez, a candidate for Philadelphia City Council, told Philly Gay News.

Legato was shot in the head after an argument erupted between her mother and the shooter. Her community in Cleveland took to social media to express their grief and outrage.  “Love you, cousin,” wrote a friend on Facebook. “I’m hurt, sad, angry all in one. Fly high.”

Booker was found shot dead on a quiet street in Dallas. In April 2019, Booker was beaten by a crowd that shouted “ That’s what your faggot ass gets,” “Get that faggot out of our hood,” and “Shoot that punk ass.” The mob scene was caught on cell phone footage that went viral on social media.


Texas’s black trans female community has been subject to a steady stream of assaults since gentrification evicted them out of city’s once LGBTQ neighborhood. Like Booker, they congregate on a strip on the outskirts of town, and many engage in transactional sex work to survive. Texas’s hate crime laws include sexual orientation but not gender identity, which makes Kenny’s mural a protest statement, and an act of healing.

I’ll always remember Rita Hester’s vigil because the words of Hester’s mother haunts me. Rita Hester, 34, an African American trans woman from Allston, Massachusetts. was found dead inside her first-floor apartment with multiple stab wounds to her chest in 1998. Her death kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and was the catalyst for what’s now our annual Trans Day of Remembrance.

When Hester’s mother came up to the microphone during the Speak Out portion of the vigil at the Model Cafe where Rita was known, she repeatedly said in a heartbroken voice that brought most of us to tears, “I would have gladly died for you, Rita. I would have taken the stabs and told you to run. I loved you!” As the vigil processed from the Model Cafe to where Rita lived and died, Hester’s mother again brought me to tears as she and her surviving children kneeled in front of the doorway of Rita’s apartment building and recited the Lord’s Prayer. Many of us joined in unison.


In a report titled “Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2018” the Human Rights Campaign highlights what ties all of these murders – throughout the years – together. “While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”

During the “Trans Catholic Voices” breakout season at the DignityUSA conference in Boston in 2017, I heard the vulnerability of an African-American transwoman who pointed out that Pope Francis’ statements about trans people deny them of basic human dignity and perpetuates violence against them.  In her closing remarks, she asked for help from advocates and allies in the room in words that brought me to tears. “Trans lives are real lives. Trans deaths are real deaths. God works through other people. Maybe you can be those other people.”

We are those other people. It’s time we realized that.


Trans Deaths Are Real Deaths

HRC: Epidemic of Violence Against Trans People

CNN: Killings of Trans People in US Increasing

World Health Organization: Transgender Not a Disorder

Indya Moore: First Trans Cover Model for Elle Magazine

Feminism and Equality: What Trans Women Want You to Know

My Trans Life: I'm That Scary Transgender Person

Kentucky Mom Honors Transgender Son

Video: Trans Youth Share Struggles and Hopes


Let's Hear it for the Gay White Boy


By Amanda Kerri | Advocate Magazine | April 2019

Remember when the big measuring stick of a candidate's electability was how much you wanted to have a beer with them? Boy those were much better times. Nowadays, we have to weigh absurd criteria like their stances on race, gender, health care, and such. These are absolutely insane metrics to judge a politician on. Never in our history have we cared about their defense policy or financial history; we’ve always judged candidates on the meaningless things that appeal to us personally, no matter how petty and shallow. That is why I am so glad that people have decided that Pete Buttigieg is the candidate we don't like because he just isn’t gay or diverse enough.

Oh, I mean sure the sexism that Harris, Warren, and others are being subjected to is terrible, but let’s just be perfectly honest here; have you met our country? The reason that ICE is confining undocumented immigrants in hastily built cages under highway underpasses, reproductive rights are being eroded, and our democracy is dying from cancer is because too many people thought that voting for a woman who didn’t shut up when the men were talking was a bridge too far. However, I’m talking about Pete “Gay Isn’t Diversity” Buttigieg here, and by God, I love the fact that it’s not the conservatives acting horrified at voting for a gay white man, but the insane-from-sleep-deprivation-woke people out there.


God bless you folks. Instead of focusing on his policies, so many of you have decided that being gay is just not good enough to not merely vote for, but to even give the basest levels of respect to. I appreciate the fact that your impression of gay men is entirely based off of the stereotypes of the ones in your immediate personal circle and the queens on Drag Race — in this world gays fart rainbows and glitter while giving queer studies lectures in Emma Goldman drag. While so many of you have tweeted your thumbs raw with calls for diversity, inclusion, and pointing out when discrimination occurs, one has to simply marvel at the moment that a gay man doesn’t fit into your preconceived ideas of what a gay man should act like or think about himself.

While it’s easy to understand why so many folks are eager to see a woman (possibly a Black woman!) obtain the highest position in our country outside of The Voice judge, to decide that a white gay man is just not diverse enough takes an amazing amount of cognitive dissonance. One has to assume these folks dissing Pete as same old-same old consume lots of LGBTQ media, since they're so interested in diverse voices; so certainly they're aware gay white men still suffer discrimination in this country. I mean, yes, gay white men have white privilege and all that entails (like uttering "All Lives Matter," yikes), but they’re still gay men, which means they can be legally denied a job, insurance, housing, and other protections in half of this country. They are still physically attacked, denied medical care, and suffer abuse to the point they would rather kill themselves than suffer another day of it. Even if they grow up in wealthy households in safe neighborhoods and attend great schools, they are still subjected to the pressures of heteronormativity and toxic masculinity, which cause lifelong emotional trauma and pain many turn to substance abuse to cope with.

In no way am I comparing the suffering of gay white men to those of queer women, especially POC and trans women. I know very well that white privilege exists, and it holds many benefits, but that does not ever negate the other disadvantages they have, just that their whiteness will not be one of them. In fact, some of wokest folks hating on Pete are the people who taught me that. Strange how once that becomes an inconvenience to a candidate before the first primaries even begin. The calls for diversity stop the minute that it’s not the right diversity.


It also is a marvel that this critique of Buttigieg is based around how he expresses himself as a gay man. People have critiqued that he came out for the wrong reasons, that he isn’t as in tune with the latest in queer theory, state his politics as a gay man are wrong, and posit that he hasn’t self-reflected enough. Being gay, lesbian, trans, bi, or any other thing is not done to a damn syllabus with assigned projects and reading. Diversity isn’t just showing up with a skin color, gender, or sexuality; it’s experiences too.

The LGBTQ experience and expression isn’t stamped out on a factory line in a third world country and sold at a huge mark up at a Pride booth like a rainbow flag with a socialist rose on it. LGBTQ identity is the only thing that unites us, other than that everything is fair game. We don’t all follow celebrities and fashion, nor do we know all know who Harvey Milk or Sylvia Rivera are, much less graduated with a degree in a minority studies. We’re not all socialists or Democrats; some of us are actually kind of conservative.

If your beef with Buttigieg is that he is the wrong kind of gay, then take a hike and your fetishized idea of what a gay man should be like with you. This is not some closeted conservative passing anti-LGBTQ legislation, or some gay man siding with Trump to grift some money and power out of him (Peter Thiel, cough, Richard Grenell, cough). Pete Buttigieg is a Democrat from Indiana with the ideas and opinions that come with that. Yes, he is diverse enough because, if you forget, he lived in a state run by Mike Pence, which you know, makes him an additional oppressed minority (LGBTQ Indianan is a double whammy).

He is the “right type of gay” because there really is no right type of gay to be. Now go find some other petty reason to hate the guy that doesn’t make you sound so shallow.


Mayor Pete Announces Prez Campaign and Kisses Husband

NY Times: Pete Buttigieg Might be President

CNN: Pete Buttigieg Doing Well in the Polls

Washington Post: Is Pete Buttigieg Gay Enough?

Queer Like Pete: The Gay Archetype

South Bend Tribune: Mayor Buttigieg Marries Partner

LGBTQ Nation: Why Pete Buttigieg is Good for Gays


Please Be Patient With Me


By Michael | LGBTQ Ally | April 2019


I am a cisgender/straight ally. If fact, I am proud to have been a dedicated LGBTQ ally for many years. I work very diligently on a daily basis to support LGBTQ issues and defend LGBTQ rights.  As a result, I have the privilege to interact regularly with LGBTQ people who are my friends, colleagues, co-workers, and neighbors.


Recently I was at a public event and encountered a transwoman co-worker with whom I am well acquainted. In my brief interaction with her I inadvertently used the incorrect pronoun. To be accurate, I said “yes sir” instead of “yes ma’am.”


She was understandably shocked and embarrassed in the moment, especially since several other people were in earshot of our conversation and I was recognized as an ally and role model who should have known better. I too, of course, was embarrassed that I had made such an error. I certainly did know better. I know all about deadnaming and misgendering. I know all about the importance of using preferred pronouns. I knew it was a devastating mistake to make, especially in public. But, my verbal mistake was entirely unintentional. It just slipped out. I quickly apologized and we parted company.


Since the day of that unfortunate incident, whenever I encounter this same co-worker, she very deliberately shuns me. She looks away. She avoids me. She does not speak to me.


It is not up to me to say whether my error was minor or major, I only know that the impact far outweighed the intent. Apparently, my error in misgendering her was so offensive and devastating that it has completely changed our relationship. She was so traumatized by my offhand gaffe that she is unable or unwilling to forgive me.



She may not realize it, but I too was traumatized by the incident. I do not pretend to know what it feels like to be transgender and to be addressed by the wrong name or pronoun.  I realize it is akin to violence. I only know that it feels devastating to me to make the kind of error that I know is hurtful to another person.  It is important to me to get this right and I messed up.  I feel terrible about the whole thing.  But more than anything, having had the best intentions, I am disappointed to not have been afforded some measure of reciprocity and understanding.


We should have a reasonable expectation that cis/straight allies are sincere in their effort to extend respect, support, and affirmation to transgender and genderqueer people. We expect that they understand why it is important to use the proper pronouns and the proper name when referring to or interacting with a transgender or genderqueer person. We expect that they are aware of the harm that can be done when someone deadnames a trans person or uses the wrong pronouns.  And we expect that they are always trying their best to do the right thing on behalf of transgender and genderqueer people.


In the spirit of reciprocity, we should also have a reasonable expectation that transgender and genderqueer people will extend the same courtesy and respect to cis/straight allies.  We expect that transgender and genderqueer people will be patient and understanding of mistakes and mis-steps made by cis/straight allies.  We expect that they are aware that cis/straight allies, while sincere in the effort to offer support and affirmation, are not perfect and that they will sometimes make mistakes.  We expect that transgender and genderqueer people understand that such errors by cis/straight allies are unintentional and accidental.



So, please be patient with me and try to remember that I and my fellow cis/straight allies truly are friends of the LGBTQ community. We are not hostile, mean-spirited, judgmental, or callous, but, in fact, seek to be respectful, empathetic, and supportive regarding LGBTQ people. We are not ignorant or uniformed, but, in fact, are very educated regarding LGBTQ issues and concerns. But we are also human, we are flawed, and we are not perfect.


So, bear with us and cut us some slack. And save your outrage for the people who truly do have hostile intentions. Cis/straight allies who commit a faux pas do not need to be regarded in the same light as those who purposefully and intentionally cause distress and harm to LGBTQ people. Such anti-LGBTQ people are ignorant and hateful and typically hold unhealthy attitudes and dangerous beliefs regarding LGBTQ people. Unlike well-meaning allies, their intentions are consciously malicious.


I choose to be an LGBTQ ally because I personally think it is the right thing to do. And I will always try my hardest to be the best ally I can be.  I may not always get it right, but I will be sincere in my ongoing desire to learn and improve. As a cis/straight ally and role model, it is important that I have credibility and integrity. I need to do whatever is necessary to earn the trust and respect of the LGBTQ community I seek to serve.


How to be a Trans Ally
Basic Trans Ally Manners

Info: Deadnaming

Cis and Flawed: Being a Good Trans Ally

Info: LGBTQ Allies

Being a Trans Ally

Info: Preferred Pronouns


Gay Youth and Affirming Educators


By Daniel | San Diego LGBTQ Pride | November 2018

As a child, I never really understood what it meant to be gay. I never understood the strict borders between pink and blue, between dolls and race cars, between pretty dresses and sports-related t-shirts. I never understood why these boundaries existed, and why I was on the “wrong” side of the wall. Nonetheless, I kept going, and I became who I am now, someone strong, both mentally and emotionally, and someone who loves himself and who is willing to help others love themselves too.


My name is Daniel. I am fifteen years old and a sophomore at Point Loma High. It’s been two years that I’ve been out of the closet, and eight years knowing I like boys. Though I face challenges at school, I’m still largely accepted in school, which makes me very grateful. The largest challenges I’ve faced are stereotypical judgements like “All gay guys are insanely flamboyant and overly dramatic,” and the occasional peer who uses homosexuality to make jokes. As irritating as these problems are, I know not to take them seriously.

Being gay has never been easy, but my experience has been facilitated thanks to some of my current and previous teachers and counselors who point out anything they believe can help me, like clubs, groups, and books. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I wouldn’t be writing this essay. My counselors have helped me through problems, from dealing with emotions to finding places where I can be myself. I truly am fortunate to have them.

As open as our school is, it is far from being perfect. Point Loma High is really great, but I believe there are more ways it could support our LGBTQ youth. One way is by having more clubs or groups that support the LGBTQ youth and community in the school. Another way I think the school could support us is by having an all school Pride Day, or Pride Week, allowing the students to wear their sexual orientations’ colors and expressing themselves. The last way I think the school could support us is by having assemblies talking about our community, sexual orientations, and to speak out when there is bullying and hate present. This would encourage the students to take us seriously, stop making jokes, and allow us to show not only our own, but the school’s support and dedication to the LGBTQ youth of today and the years to come.


At this point, I know that the determination and ambition of others along with my own can change the way schools see the youth of a different sexual orientation, and how that goal isn’t far from becoming a reality. I know that I share this wish with others, and I am eager to find out how high we can go in making this dream take shape. I know that together, we can bring the wall down, I know that together we can speak out. With pride. For pride.


Blog: San Diego LGBTQ Pride

Tim Cook to LGBTQ Youth: You Are a Gift to the World

Music Video: Don't Give Up by Maggie Szabo

HRC: LGBTQ Youth Report

Students Have the Right to Form LGBTQ Clubs

Info: LGBTQ Youth

Teaching Tolerance: Creating an LGBTQ-Inclusive School Climate

TED Talk: Problems Facing LGBTQ Youth

AAMFT: Gay and Lesbian Youth

Video: Interview with LGBTQ High Schoolers

Students Succeed When Diversity is Valued

Love Bravely: Mini LGBTQ Documentary

Info: Educational Considerations

TED Talk: Why We Need LGBTQ Education


Message From Tyler Clementi's Mom


By Jane Clementi | LGBTQ Nation | September 2018

Eight years ago, my son, Tyler Clementi, died by suicide after vicious cyberbullying at Rutgers University because of his sexual orientation. He was 18 years old.

Tyler was not the first gay youth to die after cruel attacks by peers, and sadly, he wasn’t the last. Study after study continues to find that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. And those raised in religious communities, many of which teach that being LGBTQ is a sin, are even more likely to attempt suicide.


Think about that. Religious communities are supposed to be a source of strength and love, as my church family was, providing comfort when my son died. But the fact remains that being a part of a religious community increases the risk of an early, tragic death for LGBTQ youth.

In sharp contrast, participation in a religious community decreases the risk of suicide for heterosexual people. What is different about the treatment of LGBTQ people in religious communities that creates such tragedies?  My family once belonged to a church that taught being LGBTQ was a sin. Like so many other LGBTQ youth, Tyler must have felt rejected, unwanted and shamed. My son did not believe he could be both Christian and gay.


When theology is used to inflict harm and exert power over vulnerable people like my son, it becomes religious bullying. Church teachings are used as social and political weapons to exclude, degrade and dismiss LGBTQ people. The irony is that religious communities are uniquely positioned not only to end bullying in their houses of worship, but also to support LGBTQ youth who face isolation and cruelty in other aspects of their lives. By acknowledging religious bullying and working to rectify it, religious communities can support some of their most marginalized members while adhering to their own teaching to love their neighbors.


It should not take yet another LGBTQ youth suicide to end religious bullying.

When he came out to me, I had to begin reconciling the teachings of my church with my unconditional love for my son. I am grateful to worship now at a church that affirms the lives of LGBTQ people. It is a church that welcomes and accepts everyone as perfectly created in the image of God, adhering to the teachings of Jesus to love and be kind to all, where no one is excluded, marginalized or treated cruelly because of who they are or whom they love.

My husband and I founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to prevent bullying, including what happened to my son before he died. We hope to see a world where youth like Tyler are respected and treated with kindness – not only by their peers but by their churches.

I want parents to think about how our religious communities treat people who are different. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, our children deserve to be taught about love and acceptance, not shame and rejection.  The choices we make about where our families worship can save lives. Don’t make those decisions lightly.

LGBTQ Nation: Tyler Clementi's Mom Has Something to Share With You

CBS News: Tyler Clementi Suicide
NPR News: Student's Suicide is Deadly Reminder of Intolerance
NY Times: Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump
Huffington Post: Rutgers Student Commits Suicide

Info: Critical Incidents


How to Respond When Someone Comes Out to You


By Malia Wollan | New York Times | September 2018

“Remember that it’s not about you,” says Telaina Eriksen, a creative-writing professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, who wrote a book about her daughter’s coming out as a lesbian. No matter what kind of relationship you have with the person, don’t immediately turn the conversation to yourself by saying something like “I knew it all along!” or “How could you do this to me?” If you are in a position of authority (a parent, teacher or coach) be extra careful; what you say will be imbued with that power differential. “Whatever you do,” Eriksen says, “don’t say, ‘Are you sure?’”


Eriksen learned what not to do as a preteen in rural Michigan in the early 1980s when her mother raged against and demeaned her older sister when she announced she was a lesbian. “To be so utterly rejected and threatened by the person who has brought you into the world profoundly impacts your sense of self,” Eriksen says. If someone comes out to you, make that individual feel heard, seen and respected by saying something like “Thank you so much for trusting me and telling me that.” Reiterate your care and love. Ask what you can do to provide support. Protect the person’s privacy; before the conversation ends, ascertain whether it’s OK to tell other people. If you have religious beliefs against homosexuality, this is not the time to bring them up. “Judging people isn’t loving,” Eriksen says.


If you say something you regret, apologize right away. “Most people are pretty open to sincere efforts to try to get it right,” Eriksen says. While it is true that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer more stigma, violence, prejudice, depression and suicide, don’t tell the person coming out how worried you are. Eriksen’s daughter came out 10 years ago, when she was 12, and Eriksen still frets about her emotional and physical safety. “My responsibility isn’t to tell her, ‘Don’t hold hands with your girlfriend in public,’” Eriksen says. “My responsibility as a straight person is to work to change our society so that my daughter can walk down the street safely holding her girlfriend’s hand if she wants to.”


How to Respond When Someone Comes Out to You
Reaction All Parents Should Have When Their Child Comes Out

Info: Coming Out

Best Coming Out Scene

Coming Out: Parents Guide to Supporting Your Gay Teen

All Things Queer: Coming Out Stories

Info: Being an Effective Ally or Advocate


Church Offers Free Mom Hugs at Pride Parade


By Alex Bollinger | LGBTQ Nation | August 2018

A church in Texas gave away free “mom hugs” and “dad hugs” at a recent Pride parade. Jen Hatmaker, a conservative blogger who was unceremoniously kicked out of the Christian media world because she opposed Donald Trump’s election and supports LGBTQ equality, posted on Instagram about what her “beloved little church” was doing to spread the love at Austin Pride.


"My beloved little church went downtown to the Austin Pride Parade and gave out Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs like it was our paying jobs. And when I say hugs, I mean the kind a mama gives her beloved son. Our arms were never empty. We happy hugged a ton of folks, but dozens of times. I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and race into our arms. These were the dear hearts who said: I miss this...  My mom doesn’t love me anymore...  My Dad hasn’t spoken to me in three years... Please just one more hug.  You can only imagine what Pastor Hugs did to folks. So we told them over and over that they were impossibly loved and needed and precious. And we hugged until our arms fell off."

And just like anyone who goes to an LGBTQ space and offers unconditional love, the members of the Austin New Church heard terrible stories.  It’s too common for LGBTQ people to have not-so-great relationships with their parents, and too many churches spend time hating LGBTQ people instead of loving them. An open heart and some love can go a long way to healing old wounds.



Selma, Stonewall and Beyond

Matt Fishel: Radio Friendly Pop Song

People Guess the Sexual Orientation of Strangers

Courts Advancing LGBTQ Rights Worldwide

Rainbow Riots: LGBTQ Voices From Uganda

Changing: Trans Teen Music Video

Open Letter to the Queer Community


Worst Question People Ask About Being Gay


By Marla Stevens | Bilerico Report, LGBTQ Nation | January 2018

I’ve never been comfortable basing our rights on a ‘we can’t help it’ rationale. It suggests that we’re somehow pitiful things, that non-exclusively heterosexual sexual orientation is a defect instead of every other point on the infinite-points line that is normal human sexual orientation.

It also begs the denial of rights to those who do exercise any level of control over their attractions (the stuff of sexual orientation at the combined sexual, affectional, and emotional levels) if such a thing is possible or to make conditional of those rights the exercising of abstinence or other-directional control of behavior related to those attractions.


Rights are rights. They are not meant to be conditional on accidents of birth or behavior one wouldn’t expect of others. They are meant to just be, as we are meant to just be.

I’m always suspicious when someone even wants to know why we’re other than exclusively heterosexual without wanting to equally understand why people are exclusively heterosexual. I mean, when was the last time you heard such a balanced inquiry outside of a university sexology department anyway?

Worse, this be-nice-to-the-queers-because-they-can’t-help-it strategy sends a message of brokenness to our people when we should be instilling pride and strength in who we are.

The Kinsey researchers, as if they were precursors to The Matrix’s Morpheus, used to ask a question of their gay-identified subjects, “If you could take a pill that would make you not homosexual, would you?” Most in those dark days near the dawn of our fight answered that they would.


How often today do we hear the question, “Who in their right mind would choose to be gay?” Can you imagine anyone asking who in their right mind would choose to be black or Jewish or any number of other non-majority members of protected classes just because they’re oppressed?

‘Neo’-queer that I am, I would not take that pill. I prefer to live an authentic life, unplugged from the matrix of het convention, demanding in body, soul, word, and deed to be exactly the queer I am blessed to be.

If truth be known, I’m a gay supremacist, firm in the knowledge that we’re better than hets in many ways that matter to me (and were proven superior by researchers acting on behalf of the US Army, no less, trying to figure out if they could more easily tell who the queers were so they could more efficiently keep us out of the service).

Even if I wasn’t a queer supremacist and despite having suffered loss of family, jobs, and other opportunities, as well as having been subjected to anti-gay violence, including rape, due to my sexual orientation – enough of the standard reasons given for why people in their right minds wouldn’t choose to be queer to count and then some – I’d still choose to be a lesbian and it doesn’t define me as crazy.

How else, after all, would I have the spousal love of my wife that grows fuller and deeper with every day of our lives? Where would I find such a delightful subculture so rich with beauty and humor and the sort of strength forged in adversity that so fits my soul?


I love our freedom to define ourselves as we see fit and the creative diversity with which we’ve done so. If I were exclusively heterosexual, I’d be denied the depth of intimacy that comes from sharing love with someone whose body and mind responds so like mine and would be relegated to the state of never really fully grasping what the object of my affection really felt (that same feeling of always reaching, never quite there, no matter how hard they try, that hets suffer).

They may say "vive l’difference."  Although I’ll admit to feeling compassion for their loss, I say, "horsepucky! vive l’homogeneite!"

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t support any sort of anti-het oppression. After all, some or all of them might not be able to help it.


What Could a Gay Utopia Teach Urban America?

It Takes a Lot of Courage to Be Your True Self

TED Talk: Why We Need LGBTQ Education

Info: Frequently Asked Questions

Will & Grace Celebrate Pride Month

Introduction to the LGBTQ Community

What Has and Has Not Changed

Info: Myths and Misconceptions

Courts Advancing LGBTQ Rights Worldwide

We're Living LGBTQ History: Will We Remember It?


Six Reasons to Use the Word Queer


By Zachary Zane | October 2017

The word “queer” has a complex history. With a literal meaning of “unusual, strange, or odd,” people used queer as a pejorative towards members of the LGBTQ community in the late 19th century. It was specifically used for men who acted effeminate. However, starting in the 1980s, members of the LGBTQ community began reclaiming the word. Today, the word “queer” no longer has a hateful connotation. For that, you can thank the LGBTQ community. Queer is a powerful word, and here are 6 reasons you should use it more.


"Queer" communicates inclusivity - The word “queer” is inclusive for all members of the LGBTQ community. As the LGBTQ community grows to recognize all genders and sexualities, a word to reflect the community’s diverse membership is desperately needed. The most inclusive acronym currently in use is LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies, and Pansexual), but that still leaves out many genders and sexualities (and is ridiculously long).

"Queer" is the un-label-y-ist of labels - Labels can be harmful, especially for those of us who don’t feel as though we neatly fit into any label. Having the word “queer” as an umbrella term for all sexualities and genders helps to solve the problem. It also accurately describes sexuality as fluid, which it is for many people.

There is power in reclaiming "Queer" - There is great power in taking a word that once was hurtful and making it our own. It’s a feat of the LGBTQ community, and one in which we should take great pride.


"Queer" is necessary for those questioning - Some of us knew we were part of the LGBTQ community from a very early age. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all of us. Having a term that, for lack of better words, keeps our options open as we question and discover our genders and sexual identities can be liberating. It allows us to explore without feeling confined.

"Queer" breaks down binaries - The belief in sexual and gender binaries is one of the biggest and most harmful fallacies for members of the LGBTQ community. It perpetuates biphobia, panphobia and queerphobia. Having an inclusive term that’s non-binary helps dispel misconceptions about gender and sexuality. It can be a powerful tool in combating LGBTQ phobias.

"Queer" unites the LGBTQ community - Despite being one community, there are still hostility and misconceptions between subgroups of the LGBTQ community. While we should celebrate our differences in gender and sexuality, we must remember that we are still part of a larger community. The word “queer”unites us.


Video: Celebrating Halloween With Kids

TED Talk: The Gift of Living Gay

Still I Rise: A Look at the LGBTQ Struggle

Info: The Word Queer

Sage Advice to Young Queers From a Gay Elder

We're Living LGBTQ History: Will We Remember It?

Scientific Perspective on Sex and Gender

By Science Teacher | Facebook | September 2017


I just saw a transphobic post that was like, "In a sexual species, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y chromosome. I'm not a bigot. It's just science." 


Well, I am a science teacher, so I posted the following comment.


First of all, in a sexual species, females can be XX and males can be X, as in insects.  Females can be ZW and males can be ZZ, as in birds.  And females can be females because they developed in a warm environment and males can be males because they developed in a cool environment, as in reptiles. Females can be females because they lost a penis in a sword fighting contest, as in some flatworms. Males can be males because they were born female but changed sexes because the only male in their group died, as in parrotfish and clownfish. Males can look and act like females because they are trying to get close enough to actual females so they can mate with them, as in cuttlefish and bluegills. Or you can be one of thousands of sexes, as in slime molds and some mushrooms.


Oh, did you mean humans? Okay then. You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at the age of 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome, but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome, but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be a male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X's has a SRY gene, and so you have a male body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but also a Y chromosome. You can be a female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be a male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male.  And vice versa.


Don't use science to justify your bigotry.  The world is way too weird for that shit.



TED Talk: The Gift of Living Gay


When Can I Call My Boyfriend My Husband?

By Boris Dittrich | Human Rights Watch | Advocate Magazine | August 2017

The one sentence that brought marriage equality to Germany.  Small moments can lead to enormous change, like when Angela Merkel was politely confronted on LGBTQ rights.

Most Western European countries have embraced marriage equality. Germany was late to the table but eventually got there. The final proof will come October 1, 2017 when the first same-sex marriages take place.

Germany had been a hard nut to crack in terms of legislation. But to everyone’s surprise, on June 26, 2017 it was one young man, Ulli Köppe, 28, who set a chain of events in motion leading to the long-sought-after equal marriage legislation. At a public event he asked Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, a simple, but powerful question:  “When can I call my boyfriend my husband?”


German lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations and their allies have been advocating equal marriage rights for many years. In 2001, the year the Netherlands adopted the first marriage equality law, Germany introduced registered partnership for same-sex couples. Since 2010 opposition parties in the German Parliament have taken steps to introduce same-sex marriage, but these were blocked by the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union parties in two subsequent governing coalitions. Merkel, chancellor since 2005, had made opposition to marriage equality a condition of a coalition agreement with her CDU/CSU party.

In the summer of 2015, Human Rights Watch took the initiative to bring some 20 German nongovernmental organizations together in our Berlin office to open the Ehe fur Alle (Marriage for All) campaign. Marriage equality had popular appeal. In 2016 a study by Germany’s federal antidiscrimination agency showed that 83 percent of people interviewed favored marriage equality, but Merkel and her CDU/CSU party remained dismissive.

The chancellor did not budge until the evening of June 26. She was speaking at a public event organized by the women’s magazine Brigitte. Ulli Köppe, interested in politics and social issues, and a fan of Merkel as a politician, went to hear her speak in the Gorki Theater in Berlin. When it was time for questions from the audience, Köppe spontaneously grabbed the microphone and asked his simple question: “When can I call my boyfriend my husband?”


Angela Merkel, seemingly thinking out loud, answered that same-sex marriage should be decided by each individual member of Parliament. Köppe had not realized the significance of this answer, but one journalist who was attending recognized its political implications. The next morning Köppe received calls from reporters from every corner of the world.

Merkel had given in and was in favor of a free vote in Parliament. Perhaps Merkel shifted her stance because her potential coalition partners in a future government had indicated same-sex marriage should be adopted and it would be very difficult for Merkel’s party to form a new government after the September elections while refusing equal marriage rights.

Be that as it may, Köppe’s question and Merkel’s answer led to a vote of conscience, which Merkel’s coalition partner SPD (Socialdemokratische Partei Deutschland) called for on June 30. The vote was 393 to 226, with four abstentions. From the 393 yes votes, 75 came from Merkel’s own party. Merkel voted no. The bill was approved by the Bundesrat (Upper House) July 7, and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed it July 21, after which it was formally published in the law gazette. The legislation will come into force October 1.

This chain of political events happened at an incredible speed, triggered by one question. Ulli Köppe came to the Human Rights Watch office in Berlin, and I asked him what strategy he used to break down Angela Merkel’s firm wall. His answer moved me: “My question was spontaneous. It came from love.”


German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

The One Sentence That Brought Marriage Equality to Germany

Angela Merkel's Dinner With Lesbian Couple

Gay Pride in Berlin

First Gay Couple Married in Germany


Why Pride? An Explanation for Straight People

By Brandan Robertson | Huffington Post | June 2017

"Remember, straight people flaunt their straightness all day, every day, in every part of this country."

Brandan Robertson

"When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."
-President Barack Obama

June is national pride month, a month set aside to remember, celebrate, and empower queer people and our contributions to the flourishing of humanity. All across the country, LGBTQ people and our allies will be gathering for festivals, parades, parties, demonstrations, and marches that boldly proclaim that we are not ashamed of our queerness and that we will not be silent until we have achieved full freedom and equality in our society and every society around the world.


Yet during this month, there will also l be a lot of pushback from the heterosexual communities and individuals who just don’t understand what this whole pride thing is about. I cant tell you the number of times I have been cornered by straight people who look me in the eyes and say, “I’m okay with you all being gay, but why do you have to flaunt it in the streets? You don’t see straight people doing that!” To which I respond, “bullshit”.

I mean that in the kindest, most sincere way possible. But straight and cisgender people are the most visible people on planet earth, not just because of their sheer numbers, but because their relationships, sexuality, and gender expressions are seen as the “normative” expressions, and therefore, uplifted and repeated in every community around the country. Straight, cisgender people hold hands as they walk down the street without fear of getting accosted. They watch television shows and movies, listen to music, and read books that center on their relationships and gender expression. The majority of advertisements on billboards, websites, and television center on heterosexual and cisgender people. And our government is set up to privilege and favor heterosexual relationships above all others.


The Year to Be Queer

Why I Am Coming Out Now

Why We Won't Go Back

Why I Must Come Out

Why Am I So Gay?

In short, straight people flaunt their straightness all day, every day, in every part of this country. And despite the far-right narrative that the “gays” are taking over our country, for a majority of LGBTQ people in America, it is still incredibly uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst to express ourselves in our communities. In a majority of states across our country, our rights and dignity are not fully protected by the law, and, in fact, there are fierce movements that seek to oppress and marginalize us and our relationships.

So, while we have seen tremendous progress in the fight for LGBTQ equality, inclusion, and rights in the United States, the reality is that we are incredibly far from being fully equal in every realm of society. And that is why pride is so important.


For many LGBTQ people, pride is the one time of the year that they can be out and proud of who they are and who they love. It’s the one time of year that they can stand boldly in the streets with droves of other queer individuals, proclaiming that we are fully human and deserve to be celebrated and uplifted just like everyone else. Even in cities that are seen as LGBTQ friendly, it is still an incredibly healing experience to get to march in parades or attend festivals where thousands upon thousands of LGBTQ people are letting their lights shine before all people without fear. Pride is often the beginning of the process of healing from the trauma inflicted on us by our heterosexist, patriarchal society. Pride is a time where we step out of the shadows and declare that we will no longer forced to suppress our truest selves because of heterosexual fragility and fear.

Now, of course, in the midst of all of the deeper causes and meanings behind pride, it is also, most importantly, a time of celebration. It’s a time to party, to relax, and to let loose in public, which is something that heterosexual and cisgender people get to do every single day of the year, but something that LGBTQ people simply don’t get to do. So yes, people of all shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicities, races, and cultures will be marching through the streets shirtless, and perhaps even pantless (hello speedos!) but this has a lot less to do with LGBTQ being hyper-sexual or promiscuous. Instead, it’s a radical display of liberation and safety, a time to let our bodies and lives be seen as the beautiful displays of creativity and majesty that they are- something, again, that straight people get to see and do every single day.


Pride marches and festivals were started as subversive displays of light in the midst of the darkness of heternormitivity and hatred, and today, for many, if not most LGBTQ people, they still retain this important meaning and power. Though they may look like giant parties in the street, take a second and think about what it feels like to march through a city, freely expressing who you are, whom you love, and what you desire for the first time without fearing that you’ll be accosted, abused, or mocked. Think about all of the children and teenagers who know they are LGBTQ but cannot even begin to fathom taking a step out of the closet for fear of abuse from their families, churches, or peers, who look out at those celebrating pride and see a glimpse of hope that things can get better, and that they can be free, safe, and celebrated for who they are. That is the power of pride, and that’s why pride month is so damn important.


So, if you’re a straight person and you’re finding yourself perplexed by the pride celebrations taking place in your city this year, stop and remember that you get to live out and proud every single day without fear, without oppression, and without even thinking about it. That is a unique gift that majority of LGBTQ people have never gotten to experience. Think about all of the hurdles to equality that still exist in our nation, and the trauma that so many LGBTQ people have faced simply because of who they are or who they love. And as you reflect on the reality of LGBTQ people, I hope you begin to realize the importance and power of pride, and perhaps will even decide to pick up a rainbow flag and stand on the sidelines cheering on your local LGBTQ community as they fearlessly express their beauty in your community.


Info: Being an Effective Ally or Advocate

Pride: Tickle Me Pink

Still I Rise: A Look at the LGBTQ Struggle

Sage Advice to Young Queers From a Gay Elder

We're Living LGBTQ History: Will We Remember It?


Catholics Should Accept and Love All LGBTQ People


By James Martin | Jesuit Priest | June 2017


Last year, a gunman stormed into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a place frequented by many in the gay community, and killed 49 people. It was the largest mass murder in US history. In response, many religious leaders expressed sympathy for the people of Orlando, as well as for the LGBTQ community.


Many Catholic leaders did the same. But of the over 250 Catholic bishops in this country, only a handful mentioned the words gay or LGBTQ. It was as if speaking those words would signal a tacit approval of a group that the Catholic Church has long held at arm’s length. To me, it was a confirmation of what many Catholics already knew: There is no group more marginalized in the church today than the LGBTQ community. Even in death they remained invisible.



In my almost 30 years as a Jesuit priest, I have heard the most appalling stories of LGBTQ people being ignored, excluded and insulted by the church. Last week I received a message from someone who said that a gay friend of hers was dying in a hospice in the Southwest US. Did I know, she wondered, a priest who would pray with him? The priest assigned to the hospice, she said, was refusing to. Because he was gay.  How unchristian this is! And how unlike what Jesus would want us to do.


In some parts of the Gospels, Jesus’s actions remain somewhat mysterious. Or open for interpretation. And the question “What would Jesus do?” can occasionally be hard to answer. But one thing about his ministry is clear: Jesus continually reached out to people who were on the margins of society--men and women who were ignored, excluded and insulted. Much like LGBTQ people are today.


The Gospel of Luke recounts the story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector in the ancient city of Jericho. In that time and culture, because he would have been colluding with Rome, he would also have been seen as the “chief sinner” in the city. Zacchaeus, described as “short in stature,” climbs a sycamore tree to “see who Jesus was,” as the miracle worker from Nazareth passed through his town.



When Jesus spies the tax collector perched in the tree, he doesn’t shout out, “Sinner!” He says something more surprising. “Hurry and come down,” says Jesus, “for I must stay at your house today.”  What’s he doing? He is offering Zacchaeus a public sign of welcome.  The townspeople “grumble,” the Gospel tells us. They don’t like what Jesus is doing. In response, Zacchaeus “stands his ground” and says he will repay all his debts. So for Jesus, it is usually community first, conversion second. Welcome comes first.


Catholics are growing in their recognition of the need to welcome their LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Why? Mainly because more of their family members and friends are coming out, and being open about their sexuality and identity. A few decades ago many Catholics would have considered themselves “safe” from the “problem” of LGBTQ people. No longer.


A few months ago, after a talk at Yale University’s Catholic Center, an elderly woman approached me. With white hair and a twinkle in her eye, she looked like the quintessential grandmother. I had just given a lecture on a book I had written on Jesus, so I thought that she would say something like, “I just made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” Or “Let me tell you my favorite Gospel passage.” Instead she said something surprising.


“Father,” she said, “my grandchild is transgender, and I love her so much. All I want for her is to know that God loves her, and that she’s welcome in our church.”  A few years ago, her grandchild may never have shared that with her. So for this elderly woman the issue of LGBTQ people might have remained one that did not touch her life. But today more and more Catholics are affected.


This means that ministering to LGBTQ Catholics means ministering not simply to the relatively small percentage of Catholics who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but to a whole constellation of people touched by the issue: grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, college roommates, coworkers, friends and fellow parishioners.


Why should Catholics accept and love LGBTQ people? For countless reasons, but let me suggest three. First, they are our brothers and sisters. Second, Jesus would ask us to reach out specifically to those who feel they are on the margins, and today this means LGBTQ person. Third, and most importantly, for Jesus there is no one who is outside the community. There is no one who is “other.” For Jesus, there is no us and them. There is only us.


TED Talk: Fifty Shades of Gay

Info: LGBTQ and Religious Issues

US News: American Culture War

Millennials Support Full LGBTQ Rights

Rolling Stone: Worst States for LGBTQ People

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?


Message to the Little Boy Playing with Barbies

By Seamus Kirst | Journalist, Essayist, Author | September 2017


When I was a little boy I loved to play with Barbies and dolls. Though my parents were supportive and loving, they could not shield me from the world. It didn’t take long for me to realize these toys weren’t meant for me, whatever that means. It didn’t take long for me to realize I risked verbal lashings or physical violence from other kids if I didn’t learn the role I was meant to play.


So, I played with Barbies and dolls in secret, behind locked doors and under covers, always scared that I would get caught. I was terrified of what it meant that I liked “girl toys” instead of those that were meant for boys, and confused about how my childlike inclinations could make grown adults so ill at ease.

I wish I could go back, knowing what I know now, and tell that little boy a few things. I wish I could tell him that he need not feel shame for doing what makes him happy, and that people being uncomfortable about what toys he plays with only speaks volumes about them, and reflects nothing about him. I wish I could tell him all of the times life was going to try to tell him to be one way, and how he always had the option to be himself. I wish I could tell him not to waste his time pretending to have crushes on girls, or forcing himself to walk with what he thought was the gait of a man, or feeling angry that these things did not come naturally to him. I wish I could tell him that while the threats of violence he feared are real, and that he would be called a ‘faggot’ more than once (lots more than once) or made to feel ‘less than’ based on something he could not control, that he would one day create a life where he felt comfortable being who he was.

I wish I could tell him that he wasn’t alone, and that he’d never been alone. I wish I could tell him there were people at that moment who were fighting and risking their lives to make things better for him, and that one day it would be his job to do the same thing for the other people who needed it.

I wish I could tell him that the world was big, and not always so scary, and it would one day open like an oyster, despite the times he tried to close it, and that he deserves love from other people, yes, but most importantly, from himself.


TED Talk: The Gift of Living Gay

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?

James Corden's Tribute to Transgender Troops
Changing: Trans Teen Music Video


My Proud Life as a Gay Stereotype

By Michael Musto | Village Voice | July 2017

I’ve written before about how I happen to unwittingly fulfill various clichés of the single, witty (I hope) gay man in the corner, and how I’ve gradually come to terms with my plight. But on reflection, it goes far beyond all that. In fact, I’m clearly a living, breathing monument to all kinds of gay stereotypes—just about every one you can think of, though I certainly didn’t plan any of this; in fact, I’m basically a self-made personality who grew up with no out gay role models and had to form my persona from instinct. I’m proud of myself for being out and vocal, and if I fit too neatly into certain gay slots, at least I do it my way. But there’s no denying that I’m as stereotypical as an interior decorator with a lisp and a handbag. Let me lay it all out for you, in stereotypical fashion:


--I love show tunes! I can’t help it, but I’m a clichéd theater queen who lives for a good musical. I grew up watching excerpts from Broadway musicals on TV variety shows, longing to see them in person because I knew their glitzy spunk would lift me out of my shell and drive me way over the top. Alas, the first show I was taken to see was Man of La Mancha, a muddy, moody, very brown enterprise that wasn’t exactly what the gay doctor ordered. But in the following decade, when I caught the original productions of A Chorus Line and Chicago in the same year, my head spun from the joy, invention, and musicianship on display. That cemented my theater queen status for all time, and now there’s never a musical I miss—including the one about Tourette’s syndrome a few years back. And I stayed for Act Two!



--I live for divas! I love a good, strong, glittery female performer—any time, any place. Even back in the Broadway shows I mentioned, it was the women—Donna McKechnie, Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera—who made my blood boil with excitement. There’s nothing more fun for me than a peppy, funny, powerful lady with pipes and personality, whether it be Judy, Barbra, Liza, Diana, Madonna, Rihanna, or Gaga. And what could be more stereotypical than that?


--I’m terrible at sports! At school, I used to dread having to go on the parallel bars or be thrown into the pool. I eventually managed to get into the school orchestra, partly so that would give me an out from having to go to gym class. But that didn’t mean my torture had ended--hardly. In the schoolyard, I was not even the last one chosen when the kids divvied up teams. After they picked everyone they wanted, they would simply leave me there, as unselected as non-organic kale! There was a brief period when I became interested in the New York Mets, mainly because it was a way to bond with my father, but watching them play was as far as I was going to go when it came to participatory sports. And as the world’s perception of gays in sports kept evolving and gay didn’t equal klutzy anymore, I stubbornly clung to my pathetic-ness, more of an old stereotype than ever. Even a game of Chess is too strenuous for me. But at least when all the gays started obsessively working out, I only went to the gym a total of four times. Dodged a stereotype that time!



--I adore campy movies. My favorite kinds of movies aren’t necessarily the Oscar winners—they’re glossy, overproduced, hyper-acted “trash” like Valley of the Dolls, Mahogany, and Mommie Dearest. Watching these godforsaken gems over and over again, I can’t even see anything wrong with them. They are pure joy and work for me on every level, from fashion show to cautionary tale and beyond. I’d go so far as to say they’re good. Stereotype, anyone?


--I live for the nightlife. Like a good (clichéd) gay, I can’t get enough of bars, even after all these years. I break the mold in that I don’t drink or dance, so I’m definitely a stranger in a strange land, but still, I ritualistically feed off the ambience of nightspots where slightly cracked but fascinating people get together to let out their ya-yas and express themselves. And if that makes me a stereotype, so be it.



So there you have it. I’m an old school gay cliché from my asymmetrically coiffed head to my ultra light loafers. And rather than crawl under a gay rock about it, I’ve decided to embrace my status because it’s not a choice, and besides, “stereotypical” behavior is often stuff that emerges as a direct result of being gay. When I was growing up, “sissies” weren’t generally chosen to play on teams (as I mentioned), which certainly dampened our interest in sports. And “sissies” like me escaped into divas and show biz and playing parts in school plays (and instruments in the orchestra), where we could pretend to be someone else, while gleefully making our own kind of music. Also, we learned to cultivate our witty, cutely catty sides in order to get positive attention and be popular at gatherings—it was always the wit of the outsider, gaining access to the mainstream through zingy intellect. And speaking of gatherings, we eventually immersed ourselves in nightlife because there, we found other like-minded, damaged but lovable weirdos who suddenly belonged because we’d created a family of fabulous freaks. If that all makes me a stereotype, so be it.


After all, some stereotypes happen to be endearing (we’re real people, not just formulas with bank accounts), as long as you bring some originality to them. And I know I do! Yes, I’m stereotypically smug too.


Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC Sings to Drown Out Protesters at Knoxville Pride

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People

Info: LGBTQ Stereotypes

Boy George Covers YMCA

TED Talk: This is What LGBTQ Life is Like Around the World

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People
Changing: Trans Teen Music Video


Get to Know the New Pronouns: They, Theirs, Them


By Riki Wilchins | Advocate Magazine | March 2017


Young folks are chipping away at the gender binary. We should embrace their courage, not run from it.


For years I fought a running battle with many of the current leaders of the transgender movement. They were committed to identity politics and a narrow reading of trans-only for the basis for the movement. I wanted to not only open up the politics to include LGB people but move beyond that toward genderqueerness.


I lost.  It wasn’t even close. The movement moved on. I was at least two decades ahead of schedule.



I coined the term “genderqueer” back in the 1990s in an effort to glue together two nouns that seemed to me described an excluded and overlooked middle: those of us who were not only queer but were so because we were the kind of gender trash society couldn’t digest.


A prominent gay columnist immediately attacked me in print for “ruining a perfectly good word like ‘queer.’” (Harrumph!)


Joan Nestle, Claire Howell, and I then used the word for the title of our anthology of emerging young writers. But I don’t think anyone expected the term or the concept to really catch on.


Then one year I was attending the Creating Change conference and using the (wonderfully gender-neutral) bathrooms, and saw someone had posted a sticker on the wall that read, “A Genderqueer Was Here!” I thought, Hmm, that’s really interesting. Someone is using that not as a descriptor, but as the basis for their identity. So it begins.


Fast-forward about 20 years and I was just reading Matt Bernstein’s anthology Nobody Passes, and in it writer Rocko Bulldagger bemoans the term’s very existence, declaring, “I am sick to death of hearing it.”


Such is the arc of a new idea. But if you opened your eyes at all, you could see all this coming a long way off.



At Camp Trans, outside the now-defunct Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, I’d meet one young person after another simply known as "boychik," "demigirl," “transmasculine,” “tryke,” and any number of exuberant genders few of us had contemplated.


Camp Trans itself was always overrun by one set of teens and 20-somethings explaining patiently, if exasperatedly, to their lesbian mothers (who’d brought them in tow to experience the beauty of womanhood) that they needed to move beyond their transphobia and accept trans people as women and not men. And a totally different set of teens and 20-somethings were joyously destroying by example the categories of men, women, lesbian, and transgender.


We’ve spent almost 40 years fighting for a bunch of identity categories that are based entirely on the implicit acceptance that there are two and only two basic sexes, with the associated possible gender identities and sexual orientations that come from them. And now young people are about to blow all that up.


I was reminded of this while watching Showtime’s hit TV show Billions, which introduced a new character, Taylor, whose gender I was having fun trying to puzzle out.


Taylor is an intense, brilliant intern, who wears a shirt, tie, and buzzed crew cut, but otherwise has no identifiable landmarks by which the viewer might navigate the gender terrain.


Finally, they are introduced to Bobby Axelrod, the head of multibillion-dollar hedge fund Axe Capital.  As played by Asia Kate Dillon, they reply: “Hello, sir, my name is Taylor. My pronouns are ‘they, theirs, and them.’”


Cutting-edge stuff. And a signpost for where the gender dialogue is going. Just like when student Maria Munir, 20, came out to a nonplussed President Obama as “nonbinary.”



In a recent article at Refinery29, Dillon explained that they didn’t just read for the part. As they read the part, “I did some research into non-binary, and I just thought, Oh my gosh, that’s me. When I read the script for episode two and I saw the ‘they, theirs and them,’ that’s when the tears started to well up in my eyes. Then when I read Axe’s response, which is, ‘Okay,’ and then the scene just continues, that’s what ultimately moved me to full-fledged tears.”


This is powerful stuff. And it’s only the start. The trans movement is going to have to accommodate and open the boundaries perhaps more than it would like. But if it’s the job of young people to expose and explode their elders’ paradigm, these young people are off to a wonderful start.


“Hello. My name is Riki. My pronouns are ‘they, theirs, and them.’”


Get to Know the Pronouns: They, Theirs, Them

Info: Preferred Pronouns

Washington Post: The Pronoun They

Gender Neutral Pronouns: They're Here, Get Used to It


Why We Won't Go Back

By Jared Milrad | Actor, Writer, Lawyer, Entrepreneur | December 2016

The last decade was a time of historic progress for our country. Now, as 2016 comes to a close, we have come upon an uncertain crossroads: whether to return to a time of even greater discrimination and inequality, or to declare with one clear voice that We Won’t Go Back.


Late in the night of November 8, as I stood beneath the Jacob Javits Center’s towering glass ceiling in Manhattan alongside my husband, Nate, that crossroads came into clear view. A few steps away, a little girl was sobbing on the floor. She had spent hours coloring a map of the United States, atop which large, colorful crayon print read, “Hillary for President.” By then, the map had more red than blue, and we realized that little girl’s wishes (and more than half of the country’s) were not to be. As we exited the building amid fallen American flags and discarded “Clinton/Kaine” buttons, I unconsciously whispered, “It feels like we’re in an alternate universe.”

That sentiment was certainly shared by millions of my fellow citizens November 8. But for me, the outcome of the electoral vote soon felt both very personal and real, that somehow the collective decision of more than 62 million strangers was a recalibration of everything I thought true about my country. Perhaps this was because, like many other young people, I had volunteered and worked for Barack Obama even before he decided to run for president, holding a “Draft Obama” sign on the frozen streets of Manchester, NH, working for his campaign in 2008 and 2012, and later in the White House.


Then, on New Year's Eve in 2012, I had asked my fiancé to marry me inside the historic Stonewall Inn, the site of the origin story for the modern LGBTQ movement. And just over a year before walking inside the Javits Center, I married my husband in front of our friends and family, equal in their eyes, but also equal in the eyes of the country I love.

Suddenly, on November 8, 2016, the progress that I felt in my own life seemed to be reversed by 46 percent of the electorate, and many of the reasons why are well documented.

Donald Trump is assembling one of the most anti-LGBTQ Administrations in modern American history. Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, James Mattis, and many others filling his Cabinet (without even mentioning the abysmal record of Vice President-elect Mike Pence) have categorically opposed equality for years. And then there’s the troubling rise of hate crimes since the election; the disconcerting spike of calls to suicide hotlines, many of them LGBTQ; and the elevation of a candidate who has personally promoted bigotry, misogyny, and division throughout his entire pursuit of elective office. Surely, these developments were more than enough to keep millions of my peers and me curled up in a fetal position for a few days in early November.

Yet in the thick of my vow never to leave my house again, I was reminded of the words of the legendary LGBTQ activist Sylvia Rivera: “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.” Said differently: We Won’t Go Back.

Surely, those four words must have motivated great Americans like Sylvia, when she rioted for justice in front of Stonewall; they must have inspired Harvey Milk when he confronted likely death to tell us that we must “never be silent”; and they surely gave James Baldwin solace when he said, bravely, “Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?”


For me, We Won’t Go Back not only summed up the LGBTQ struggle to come, but also the African-American, Latino, immigrant, American, and human struggle as well. As soon as I said those four words out loud at the end of that long week in November, I again found hope. So I created a campaign with the same name to give Americans of all backgrounds the opportunity to fight for the highest ideals of the country they love.

We Won’t Go Back is now a place to contact our elected officials; to support the causes we believe in; to organize, volunteer, and get registered to vote; and to build an inclusive, hopeful future. Most importantly, I hope We Won’t Go Back enables new voices to be heard and stories to be told. Using #WeWontGoBack, you can tweet, write, or record a video telling the world why you won’t go back, what you’re fighting for, and what’s at stake for you, your family, and your community.

As one of our supporters said, “I won’t go back because I’ve fought so long to be here.” Indeed, we all have. And we’ve come too far to turn back now.


TED Talk: The Gift of Living Gay


Here’s Why We Grieve Today

By John Pavlovitz | Pastor of North Raleigh Community Church | November 2016

I don’t think you understand us right now. I think you think this is about politics. I think you believe this is all just sour grapes; the crocodile tears of the losing locker room with the scoreboard going against us at the buzzer. I can only tell you that you’re wrong. This is not about losing an election. This isn’t about not winning a contest. This is about two very different ways of seeing the world.

Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.


Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation, and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed.

They have aligned with the wall-builder and the professed pussy-grabber, and they have co-signed his body of work, regardless of the reasons they give for their vote:

Every horrible thing Donald Trump ever said about women or Muslims or people of color has now been validated. Every profanity-laced press conference and every call to bully protestors and every ignorant diatribe has been endorsed. Every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation Mike Pence has championed has been signed-off on. Half of our country has declared these things acceptable, noble, American.

This is the disconnect and the source of our grief today. It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity. We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.

Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages. Those things have essentially been campaign promises of Donald Trump, and so many of our fellow citizens have said this is what they want too.


This has never been about politics.
This is not about one candidate over the other.
It’s not about one’s ideas over another’s.
It is not blue vs. red.
It’s not her emails vs. his bad language.
It’s not her dishonesty vs. his indecency.
It’s about overt racism and hostility toward minorities.
It’s about religion being weaponized.
It’s about crassness and vulgarity and disregard for women.
It’s about a barricaded, militarized, bully nation.
It’s about an unapologetic, open-faced ugliness.

And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance, it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside. That is the most horrific thing of all. We now know how close this.

It feels like living in enemy territory being here now, and there’s no way around that. We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize. We are grieving the loss of a place we used to love but no longer do. This may be America today but it is not the America we believe in or recognize or want.

This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people, not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.

Grief always laments what might have been, the future we were robbed of, the tomorrow that we won’t get to see, and that is what we walk through today. As a nation we had an opportunity to affirm the beauty of our diversity this day, to choose ideas over sound bytes, to let everyone know they had a place at the table, to be the beacon of goodness and decency we imagine that we are, and we said no.

The Scriptures say that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. We can’t see that dawn coming any time soon. And this is why we grieve.

The LGBTQ Movement is Not Just About Sexuality

Thank God I'm Gay

TED Talk: Accepting My Transgender Daughter

The People for Whom Human Rights Have No Meaning

Celebrating Marriage Equality

Deciding Who We Are

TED Talk: Danger of Hiding Who You Are

The Frozen Conflict of LGBTQ Rights


If Loving You is Wrong: Letter to My Partner


By Pam Rocker | Huffington Post | May 2016

On our first date, you may have thought it was oddly endearing that I explained the Stonewall riots in detail and railed against anti-gay Texan politicians. Over romantic candlelight, you held my hand gently as I criticized the Pope and quoted homophobic lines from his last three speeches. To my surprise, you stayed for dessert, looked into my eyes and simply listened. I can’t remember what I ranted about during the peach cobbler.


Miraculously, hundreds of dinners later, you still listen to me. Sometimes softly nodding and sometimes screaming in unison against the realities of injustice. I love you for this but I can’t help but wonder — what would we have time to talk about if being ourselves was universally accepted? If we didn’t have to fight? If we didn’t hold our breath every time “Christians” debated what we’re allowed to do and where we’re allowed to go to the bathroom? What would we do with all the extra time? Would we take up gardening? Probably not. But we could. We’d have the option.

Remember that time when we were walking in the mall and a guy yelled right in our faces because we were holding hands? For months after that, whenever we held hands, I felt this tug on my heart, a twinge of anger, a surge of adrenalin, bracing myself for it to happen again. It was such a small thing in comparison to what other people have gone through, and even that broke my heart. It’s horrific that something as simple and sacred as holding your hand would make me worry about our safety. I can’t help but wonder — what would holding your hand feel like if I never had to wonder?


Don’t get me wrong, I love being gay. Especially with you. If I wasn’t gay when I met you, I would choose to be gay in a second. There’s just no way around it. And I know I am privileged in many ways. I am/we are lucky. Still, pieces of our lives are stolen without our consent, because we are forced to pause. To stop and read article after article after article, poring over legislation and resolutions about how our love may put us in danger.

We sign petitions and come out over and over again and worry about our LGBTQ friends in other countries and ask and ask and ask people to not get tired of caring because we are tired as hell. It’s not that I don’t want to care. I just don’t want to care about THIS.

Our love story should be about celebration, not avoidance of tragedy. Because we are far more than that. I just want to know what it’s like to not have our relationship be the target of political or religious ammunition. I want to stop defending our existence. We could use that extra time to do whatever we wanted. How glorious it would be to eat Kraft dinner at midnight with nothing interesting to talk about! How wonderful to open our newsfeed and be bored by the lack of controversy then watch Netflix together! How beautiful it would be to hold your hand and never wonder.

But until then... thank you. For being next to me for the desperate sighs and the 2am tap-tap-tap typing of letters to editors. For being next to me for all of the victories and rainbow colored picket signs and lesbian activist potlucks. Maybe one day we’ll get all of that time back, but in the meantime, I’ll take whatever time I can have with you.

If Loving You is Wrong: A Letter to My Partner



Message to the Orlando Shooter


By Kevin Chorlins | June 2016

You tried but you foolishly came after the wrong community. You forgot we wake up every day to face a world that is against us. You failed to consider that living our lives takes much more than just bravery. It takes blistering defiance.

You may come into our sanctuaries of safety and shoot 103 of us, but you forgot; we’ve been tortured, tormented, thrown off buildings, gassed, stripped of our rights, tied to fences and beaten.

You underestimated our defiance. And every time one of us dies, suffers or gets marginalized, we get that much more defiant. This weekend we got 103 times more defiant.

We sob for the loss, but our wounds will heal. And we will continue to defy you with grace, compassion, inclusion, celebration, joy, humor, creativity, peaceful assembly and protest in the way only our community can. That’s how we defy. We defy every day by unapologetically living our lives in a world that’s against us.


We don’t kill. We don’t terrorize. It’s pure weakness.

You forgot where we came from. You failed to see where we are now.

You forgot that no one will ever stifle our defiance. No terrorist. No legislator. No presidential candidate. No bully. No zealot. No one.

We’ve never been more defiant than we are today. Your plan failed. Now we will stand taller. We will be prouder. We will dance freely in our clubs. We will get loud. We will hold hands in public, even if we don’t feel safe. We will spit in the face of bigotry.

This weekend we got 103 times more defiant. You failed.


TED Talk: Fifty Shades of Gay

US News: American Culture War

Millennials Support Full LGBTQ Rights

Rolling Stone: Worst States for LGBTQ People

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?


The LGBTQ Movement is Not Just About Sexuality

By Stephanie Farnsworth | Charity Worker, LGBTQ Rights Activist | January 2016

For a great number of people their sexual orientation does match their romantic orientation -- but not always. The LGBTQ movement has managed to conflate sexual and romantic orientation through the decades and yet this risks leaving many people confused about where exactly they fit.

The narrow definitions and conflation of identities have been so clearly shown by the treatment of aromantic and asexual people within the LGBTQ community. Aro and ace communities have been far better at recognizing different nuances of identities than the wider LGBTQ movement. The grey scale is a term in itself which clearly shows the wonderful world of complicated and personal identities. It is an acceptance that there are not just 'on' or 'off' switches with sexuality and romantic experiences. Yet ace and aro people face erasure regularly within the LGBTQ community. Conversations are designed around sexuality, the right to always have sex but excluding those who do not have the same desires. It is all about sex with members of the same gender. Queer spaces are so often simply pulling spaces, particularly when centered around alcohol.


LGBTQ people do need places to fulfill sexual and romantic desires free from harassment but that shouldn't be the sole focus of spaces claiming to be for all identities. We also need to address our terms, not only is crying that we're for 'the freedom of love' incorrect as it erases trans people, but it also erases aromantic people which immediately says that this movement is not for them.

The shift to make LGBTQ politics respectable has risked abandoning many people who should be embraced into the community. The constant focus on presenting LGBTQ people as always in stable, loving, same gender relationships (especially marriages) and with children presents a very one dimensional idea of who belongs in this community. If you don't want a romantic relationship but just want sexual partners then there is the implication that you're doing harm to the reputation of the community. If you don't want sexual relationships with someone of the same gender then the implication is you don't fit in at all. Everything is designed around making LGBTQ people's presentation as acceptable as possible to cisgender heterosexual people.

This is also an issue for many who do not identify as asexual or aromantic. For instance: it is entirely possible to experience sexual attraction to one gender but romantic attraction to another gender. One may be heterosexual but that doesn't mean that are automatically heteroromantic. I myself am bisexual yet homoromantic (although because I experience romantic attraction exclusively to women then that means I often find far more acceptance in the LGBTQ community than other bisexual women I know because they are heteroromantic).


The LGBTQ world has become a marketing machine. Our images and PR campaigns whether it comes to marriage equality or floats at Pride have become carefully crafted over the years. Gone are the radical political elements that wanted to smash binaries and capitalism and in its place is the LGBTQ happy family presented in a very narrow and manipulated way.

LGBTQ organizations have become solely focused on selling the Disney story: where two white, middle class cis guys or two cis girls fall in love, get married and have wonderful children. We've forgotten why we started this fight. It was not for cis, straight, white, middle class people to finally be able to tolerate us but for the complete liberation from narrow binaries and prejudices that dominate society. It was not just for 'gay love' but for people to be treated and recognized as human beings who deserve nothing more or less than total respect for their identities. It was for all those outside of the norms society tried to force upon us and that includes all of the variations of sexual and romantic attractions that are not solely heterosexual or heteroromantic.


The Year to Be Queer

Why I Am Coming Out Now

Why We Won't Go Back

Why I Must Come Out

What Could a Gay Utopia Teach Urban America?

What Has and Has Not Changed


Having an LGBTQ Sibling Makes You a Better Person


By Kim Quindlen | Thought Catalog | December 2015 


Having a brother or sister who is LGBTQ changes you in some very profound ways. It gives you a perspective on life you would not otherwise have. Having an LGBTQ sibling actually makes you a better person in the following ways.


--It shows you, in a very intense way, the power of embracing who you are. Chances are your sibling did not have an easy time coming out, even if you have the most understanding family in the entire world. No matter how progressive the world is getting, coming out still essentially means having to announce to everyone in your world that you are different from the majority of them in a large way. Watching a sibling go through this shows you how important it is to be open, proud, and unapologetic about exactly who you are.



--It reminds you that everyone is struggling with something. My older sister was third in her high school class, took more AP classes than I thought was humanly possible, and graduated from Vanderbilt with an insanely high GPA. When I think back to how people viewed her before she came out in her early twenties, they were always commenting on how smart and impressive she was (and still is). But internally, she spent years struggling with an identity that was initially very emotionally traumatizing for her. When your sibling comes out to you, it hits you in a very hard way that everyone you know, even those you least expect, are often suffering in a way you could never even imagine.


--You learn not to get so defensive and aggressive about things you don’t understand. We’re a world of hotheads, especially now that social media is a key factor in our lives. When someone believes something or does something that is different from us, human nature makes us want to react with anger and aggression, sometimes even violence. But having an LGBTQ sibling teaches you that everyone has a story, and that the only way we are going to grow as people is if we start with compassion.


--You get a strong reminder that nobody is exactly like you. Your sibling grew up with the same religious and socio-economic background as you, and unless adoption was involved, you share the same DNA, same race, same ethnicity, and many physical similarities. And still, they are so different from you in so many ways. It’s a beautiful lesson that no person is ever going to feel, think, and behave exactly like you.



--You better understand the ways in which you are privileged. I don’t think anything is better for the human soul than having friends and loved ones from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, to remind you that the world will never be homogenous, nor should it be. An LGBTQ sibling teaches you that the things that come easy to you do not always come easy to other people. No anxiety about bringing your partner to the office holiday party for the first time, no worries about whether or not all your relatives will come to and support your wedding, no mistreatment from homophobic people.


--It reinforces that you should never judge a book by its cover. You will never ever have the ability to look at a person and know exactly what they’ve been through and exactly how their world works.


--You learn what “family” actually means. After my sister came out to everyone in my immediate family, it was a while before the rest of our relatives and social circles knew. And oddly enough, it brought us closer, probably because my family’s way of dealing with any slightly difficult situation is to use inappropriate humor. I know that our situation was more like the exception than the rule. But whether your family embraced your sibling or rejected them, you learn the definition of a real family: those people who, while not always blood-related, loved your sibling unconditionally and supported them for exactly who they are.



--It makes you more aware of the word choices you make. I used to ask females if they had a boyfriend and males if they had a girlfriend, because I was a female, and I liked males, and I forgot that that’s not how it works for everyone. But after my sister came out to me, it was a much-needed reminder that you should be very conscious about what you say, in all situations. Some people are not heterosexual. Some people suffer from depression. Some people’s parents are deceased. Some people don’t feel comfortable in the body that they were born into. You shouldn’t walk around on egg shells, but you should pay more attention to the things you say and what they could imply.


--You have a close relationship with someone who is wise beyond their years. Your sibling probably started feeling like they were a little different from their peers at a very young age. And they probably kept a lot of their fear, anxiety, (sometimes) self-loathing, depression, and questions to themselves. They experienced stress and worry that many people don’t encounter until adulthood. You have the timeless advice, help, and wisdom of a young soul in an instant, through a text, phone call, or a conversation at Mom’s house.


--It broadens your view of exactly what love means. As a child, love is a couple of Disney characters who fall for each other within five minutes of meeting. In real life, you’ve learned (much from the help of your sibling) that real love is about courage, honesty, struggle, difficult choices, acceptance, trust, and truth.


When My Brother Came Out

Coming Out: How Siblings Factor In 

Celebrities with Gay Siblings

Video: Coming Out to My Sister

Things You Learn About Life From Your LGBTQ Sibling

Info: LGBTQ Siblings

Having an LGBTQ Sibling Makes You a Better Person

Brothers and Sisters of Lesbians and Gays

My Brother Just Came Out as Gay

Me and My Really Cool LGBTQ Sister


Respecting Same Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom

By Ana Navarro | Republican Strategist & Commentator | June 2015


I support marriage equality. For many years, I felt like being a pro-same sex marriage Republican would land me in a 12-step program. Unlike Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and so many other Americans, I didn't evolve on the issue. I don't remember a time in my life when I thought gay people were entitled to fewer rights than I was. I don't think same-sex marriage is a threat to the institution. On the contrary, the more, the marrier (pun intended).

I never saw a conflict between conservative values of less government intrusion and personal freedom and supporting marriage equality. There is no freedom more personal than deciding who to commit your life to. Government shouldn't mandate whom we choose to love.


As state after state legalized same-sex marriage, many of my gay friends legally wed. My home state, Florida, was one of the last states in a series of states that legalized same-sex marriage and only after a protracted court battle. Many Floridians, including men and women I love dearly, traveled to other states so they could make their unions legal. I saw how much it meant to them to be able to say, "my husband" or "my wife."

They felt their love was legitimized. Their relationships were equal. These are not people who want to chip away at the tradition of marriage. They want to participate in it and make it stronger. My gay friends were the reason I was a signatory on the two Republican amicus briefs that were filed with the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.

From a personal point of view, my heart was filled with joy and celebration at last week's Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. From a political point of view, I find myself hoping that this fight is over and we can move on.

Some of these people are also my friends and relatives. My 74-year-old Nicaraguan Catholic father cannot get himself to accept same-sex marriage. God knows, I've tried.

I know my dad. It is not in his nature to discriminate against anybody -- well, maybe with the exception of communists. My dad cannot get his arms around the idea of two men walking down the aisle. His views are shaped by his culture and guided by his religion. On social issues, he'll side with The Vatican over me.


There are people on both sides of this issue who I respect and love. It is time for everyone to remember that tolerance is a two-way street. We must be respectful of people's rights -- that includes the right to marry who you choose, and also the right to practice the religion that you choose. These two rights can co-exist.

We are a pragmatic nation. We can and must find a solution to the conflict. There can't be that many bakers, caterers and florists in America who don't like to make money. The wedding industry is a multibillion dollar business. Most wedding vendors will be happy to charge same-sex couples for their services. The few that don't are refusing the business based on religious objections.

I get the "it's the principle of the thing" argument. On the other hand, who wants to pay for and eat a cake baked by someone who thinks you are committing a sin? Thank you, I'll pass.

In a country as big, diverse and democratic as ours, we can come up with narrowly crafted exemptions for cottage industries and small vendors whose religious beliefs do not allow them to participate in a same-sex wedding.

Before we embark on countless legal challenges and the elderly evangelical baker making cakes out of her garage in Arkansas gets dragged into court, isn't it worth trying to find a little sliver of common ground? I know I sound naive.

Our society is so politicized and polarized, reaching agreement can be hard to imagine. I urge both sides of this issue to take a deep breath and reflect on how we can live and respect each other's freedoms, rights and beliefs.



The Year to Be Queer

Why I Am Coming Out Now

Why We Won't Go Back

Why I Must Come Out

Why Am I So Gay?


What Does it Mean to Be a Queer Hindu?

By Ricky | Queer Sri Vaishnava | Jnana-Dipena | April 2015


It means that despite you knowing from a very young age that you were ‘different’ (whether you liked the same sex, or both sexes, or you didn’t identify with the sex you were assigned at birth) none of that matters. Everyone will tell you that you’re just “confused” and you need to be shown that being a cisgender, straight person is the only way to live in our society.


It means living in fear. If your parents or grandparents find out that you’re queer, they could disown you, or try to change you. In India, you can be arrested for having same-sex sex, or be pressured into a mixed orientation marriage to ‘cure’ you. In the US, your employer can still legally fire you and your landlord can legally evict you, just because of your LGBTQ identity, in over half the states in the country. In addition, there will be constantly be debates over whether or not business owners should be allowed to refuse people like you service because of their religious beliefs, because they claim that their religion condemns your “lifestyle”. Politicians will tell you that you should be grateful that you’re even allowed to exist peacefully in this country, because in several countries around the world, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death, or by physical punishments which will likely leave you close to death.

When you go to the temple to worship and associate with other devotees, you will constantly be checking yourself. For example, when you try to befriend another devotee, or really any person you meet, you’re aware there is always a 50% chance that when this person finds out you identify as LGBTQ, they will feel the need to call you sinful and disgusting (or even worse), even if they know nothing else about you. You’re queer. That is enough to condemn you. You’re used to this, because this has been going on your whole life.


You will be constantly asked, “But how do you regulate your sex life?” as if that is the most pressing issue in your life. People will never be interested in protecting your civil rights, because they need to know whether or not you have gay sex. You will never be looked upon as a person. You will always be reduced to the sexual acts you have in the privacy of your own home. You will always be seen as sexual, never as spiritual.

You will be referred to as “garbage” by people who claim to love the same God you do, the same God who has said in the Bhagavad Gita that He hates no one, because He dwells in every being.


Queer Themes in Hindu Mythology

Info: LGBTQ and Hindu

What Does it Mean to Be a Queer Hindu?

Advocate: LGBTQ Hindu Gods

Hinduism and LGBTQ Topics



Witness to Extraordinary History

By Chris Gregoire | Governor of Washington | December 2012

We have few occasions in life to be witness to extraordinary history. This is one of those days. Today same-sex couples in Washington are getting married under a law approved by the voters. For the first time in the United States, their marriage is legal not because of actions by legislatures or courts but because their equal rights were affirmed by their peers across the state at the ballot box. That shift is momentous and one of which I am incredibly proud.

On election night I was overcome by emotion as I took the stage for a celebration of our state's same-sex marriage efforts. I looked out over a crowd of several thousand who had fought so hard for this moment. They were young and old, families and couples, military members past and present, businesspeople and public servants, of all races and all backgrounds, and for the first time marriage equality was within their reach. It was the most memorable moments in my 20 years in elected office.

Like any journey, ours was one of a million steps by thousands of everyday people. Nearly 25 years ago Washington elected the first openly gay member of our legislature, Cal Anderson. Today, 17 years after his death, Cal's dream has been realized. We stand on his shoulders and the shoulders of so many who brought us to this point.


In Seattle the first couple to receive their marriage license had been together for 35 years. Today, after a very long engagement, they are getting married. Across Washington similar stories abound. Hundreds stood in line overnight so that they would not have to wait a moment longer for the rights they deserve. Within the first 24 hours more than 800 same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses.

Just as importantly, the voters have told all our families that they are equal under the law. They told the children of same-sex families that their parents' love is not different. To the parents who have fought so fiercely for the rights of their much-loved gay and lesbian children, Washington said they, too, will someday witness their son's or daughter's wedding. And we told the young people out there who are wondering about their future that it does in fact get better, that they will have the chance to grow up in a state that loves and values them for who they are, not for whom they love.

As my own daughters taught me, this is indeed the civil rights issue of our time. There will come a time when, across our country, the ability to marry the person you love will not be an issue. Future generations will look back and wonder why we ever denied this basic human right. We can't rest until that moment. I will be with you every step of the way.


TED Talk: LGBTQ Pastor's Journey

NY Times: Corrosive Politics That Threaten LGBTQ Americans

The LGBTQ Movement is in Chaos

Info: Marriage Equality

NY Times: The Big Sway

TED Talk: Coming Out of the Closet

Coming out as a Christian

Where Would MLK Have Stood on Marriage Equality?

TED Talk: Some Boys Are Born Girls


Congress Needs to Pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act

By President Barack Obama | November 2013

Here in the United States, we're united by a fundamental principle: we're all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That's America's promise.


That's why, for instance, Americans can't be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. As a result, millions of LGBTQ Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs -- not because of anything they've done, but simply because of who they are. It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.


That's why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay -- or the accountant who does your taxes, or the mechanic who fixes your car? If someone works hard every day, does everything he or she is asked, is responsible and trustworthy and a good colleague, that's all that should matter.



Business agrees. The majority of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses already have nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBTQ employees. These companies know that it's both the right thing to do and makes good economic sense. They want to attract and retain the best workers, and discrimination makes it harder to do that. So too with our nation. If we want to create more jobs and economic growth and keep our country competitive in the global economy, we need everyone working hard, contributing their ideas, and putting their abilities to use doing what they do best. We need to harness the creativity and talents of every American.


So I urge the Senate to vote yes on ENDA and the House of Representatives to do the same. America is at a turning point. We're not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we're becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation's journey toward equality isn't complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.


In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the content of their character." That's what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.


TED Talk: Problems Facing LGBTQ Youth Today

CNN: We Have a Role in Fight Against LGBTQ Discrimination

Info: LGBTQ Martketplace

Teen Ink: LGBTQ Equality Rights

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?

People Guess the Sexual Orientation of Strangers

Info: LGBTQ Workplace

Voice of America: The LGBTQ Debate

TED Talk: Myths of Gay Adoption

NY Times: Challenges That Remain for LGBTQ People

Gay is Good for America

By Nathaniel Frank | Slate Magazine | September 2012

At their convention, Democrats finally say it loud and clear. More than a dozen speakers mentioned LGBTQ equality on the first two nights of the Democratic convention, including Michelle Obama, who positioned marriage equality as a new ingredient of American greatness: “If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love, then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.” Openly gay speakers are getting primetime billing. A record-setting 8 percent of delegates are LGBTQ. The party’s unprecedented embrace of gay equality comes a week after Joe Biden thanked gay rights advocates in Provincetown for “freeing the soul of the American people.” The gay rights movement, said the vice president, was advancing the “civil rights of every straight American.” For gay people’s “courage,” he said, “We owe you.”

There you have it: For the first time ever, Democrats at their most public, high-profile moment are treating gay rights as a political winner. They’re moving along with public opinion: In the latest Harris Interactive poll, 52 percent of likely voters favored same-sex marriage, including 70 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents.


If the gay love affair is part political calculation, it also reflects a lesson from both American history and queer theory: minorities need not always conform to the majority, and their advances can actually make things better for everyone. This message helps rewrite the false script conservatives have created (with too much help from liberals) that representing the needs of minorities is mere interest-group politics, the doling out of goodies in exchange for votes.

Instead, equality is increasingly (and correctly) cast as a means of improving not only the lot of minorities, but the country for us all. New York magazine recently reported the trend of a growing number of straight couples quoting gay marriage court decisions in their own wedding ceremonies. Expanding access appears to be rejuvenating rather than destroying the institution. As Slate reported earlier this year, statistics bear this out. The marriage rate in Massachusetts, the first state to allow gay couples to wed, actually went up in the years same-sex marriage became legal, even adjusting for the initial 16 percent increase caused by pent-up demand by gay couples waiting to wed. What’s more, in each of the five states that legalized same-sex marriage starting in 2004, divorce rates dropped even while the average rate across the country rose. These figures give the lie to breathless warnings that same-sex marriage will harm marriage. Also, an estimated 2 million kids have a parent who is LGBTQ, and a subset of them have two gay parents who are raising them together—for all the reasons conservatives praise marriage, these kids benefit when their parents can make their commitments legal, another benefit to LGBTQ equality that goes beyond the rights of gays themselves.

Add to the list the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The policy deprived the nation of thousands of capable service members across its 17 years (on average, two were kicked out every day, at a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions of dollars). Many were mission-critical specialists with skills like Arabic translation and counterterrorism expertise. Today our military can harness that talent. And now that the controversy has been resolved, elite colleges that used to supply our military with top talent are again welcoming recruiters whom they’d moved off campus due to their discriminatory policy.

Equal rights fosters openness, which has positive fallout of its own. There are no doubt fewer sham marriages than there were in the 1950s. Gay-straight friendships are more authentic without a lifelong secret blocking discussion about love and intimacy. Straight men are likely more forgiving of their own nonconformist impulses (perhaps including passing same-sex desires). Parents have fewer estranged relations with sons and daughters whose deepest secrets and fears they once could never know, and whose struggles with depression and loneliness they sought in vain to understand. And the nation has embarked on an important discussion about bullying and youth suicide that stands to have real benefits for all young people, not just LGBTQ ones, who feel despair because they sense they are different or alone.


The principle that minority equality helps the majority was one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most important insights during the black civil rights movement. “The stirring lesson of this age,” King declared, “is that mass nonviolent direct action is not a peculiar device for Negro agitation,” but a “method for defending freedom and democracy, and for enlarging these values for the benefit of the whole society.” As the historian, Taylor Branch has explained, “The civil rights movement liberated segregationists themselves,” just as King had theorized. Racial terrorism dropped and integration led to business growth and a decline in poverty. Enfranchised black voters helped revive a genuine two-party political system in the South as the politics of white supremacy faded. Meritocracy replaced arbitrary exclusion.

In 2009, Brent Childers, a Southern Baptist and onetime anti-gay bigot, wrote movingly in Newsweek of the kind of personal liberation that both King and Biden described: “Once I walked away from the Church’s teachings of rejection and condemnation of gay people, my relationship with God transcended to a higher spiritual plateau.” Childers’ religious transformation is a secular experience for many others. But the point is the same. Americans suffer for holding prejudices that we know enough to shed. The souls of Americans really do need freeing. And the battle for gay rights is helping. It’s good for the Democrats that they’ve figured this out. More importantly, it's good for the country.


TED Talk: Fifty Shades of Gay

US News: American Culture War

People Guess the Sexual Orientation of Strangers

Info: LGBTQ Community

Millennials Support Full LGBTQ Rights

Rolling Stone: Worst States for LGBT People

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?


The Places I Have Come Out

By JE Reich | Huffington Post | October 2013

--In the school library. My father is away at a conference for a distant summer in Germany. He will be the hardest to tell, I reason, for the missed linguistic cues, the generational gap as precarious as a lion's hinging jaw, or, rather, because he just doesn't get it. It's a safe bet. I write him a 10-page email, glancing at the other computer carrels. Due to competing time zones, I receive his response the next morning: "Surprised, but not shocked. Love, Dad."

--In a vestibular instant messenger window, to the girl who will become my first girlfriend. We will break up eight months later, over a girl from Connecticut whom she meets in an online forum. Like other lesbians I know, we remain close friends to this day.


--On the front porch of my mother's house, coiled on a swing. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. In the spirit of the high holidays, in the spirit of atonement, I confess my predilections to her. These things weren't supposed to happen to her, she says. This isn't what she envisioned for me. "You're not gay." She repeats it until the words are kite tassels fluting upwards beyond our heads.

--Sitting at my desk in Dr. F's AP European History course. My friend E is sick of my whining. "You need to get laid" is the underlying sentiment of her diagnosis. The solution becomes a coming-out party. There will be wine, pilfered from the cabinets of a St. Patrick's Day house party, where D snowboarded down the stairs and I accidentally broke a futon bed, and where it turned out that the host was actually the house sitter and got sent to a juvenile detention center the next morning, after she was discovered cradling a jar of peanut butter amidst broken bottles. So wine from that party, and a chocolate fondue fountain. E turns to a classmate of ours, asks if she knows that I'm gay. The classmate is baffled. "We're having a party," says E, "and you're on the guest list." By the end of the day, we have the venue at H's dad's house (he'll be out of town) but in the end the party does not occur, and now everyone knows.

--At my mother's book club. People talk.

--On the back couch in Harrison's Cafe, after hours in the vacant, locked-up shop. I reassure her that it's not an experiment. Afterwards, we cruise around in her father's pickup, drinking beers named after rocks and ice with a tannic aftertaste. I come home to find that I have missed a loop in my refastened belt.

--In my first college classroom. I fill up my schedule with prerequisites. In my public speaking course we are asked to bring in three objects and identify what they mean to us. The only rainbow article of clothing I own is striped underwear. In retrospect, I wonder how many times the professor had witnessed similar antics.

--Around my uncle's dining room table during Passover seder. My aunt asks when my younger sister, a sophomore in college, will marry her boyfriend. "She'll probably wait until after graduation," I say. She replies, "Besides your other sister, she's our only hope."

--On my ex-girlfriend's graduation day. Her mother knew that her daughter would bring her boyfriend, the one that her sisters always mentioned, that person with the apartment in Allston. If her daughter was seeing someone so often (as her daughter had never done) then it had to be serious.


--On the pavilion by the Boston Harbor, we meet for the first time. I'm the best friend she's never heard of. During the celebratory luncheon in Cambridge, she sneaks looks, furtive and observatory, as I push my tuna niçoise around with a fork. So, this is it.


--On Franklin Avenue, holding hands. We are lucky. The previous Fourth of July in Boston, my then-girlfriend and I had our arms around each other while a man with a shaved head made catcalls. I told him to be quiet: "Shut your mouth." It was only after she had me in her arms again, pulling me away, that I realized I had punched someone for the first time.

--In the police precinct. I sit with the officer to file a report as the victim of (as the officer decides) lewd conduct. The man in my apartment building came toward me, pants down, but intent can only go so far. My then-girlfriend is next to me as the officer asks me about discernible scars, piercings, tattoos. The officer has seen our apartment bedroom, our connubial bed with the crumpled blue duvet. Still, he calls her my roommate.

--In the dark. In the light.

Still I Rise: A Look at the LGBTQ Struggle

Sage Advice to Young Queers From a Gay Elder

We're Living LGBTQ History: Will We Remember It?


Gay Mega History in the Making

By Michaelangelo Signorile | Huffington Post | November 2012

“No longer will politicians (or anyone) be able to credibly claim to be supportive of gays, and to love and honor their supposed gay friends and family, while still being opposed to basic and fundamental rights like marriage.”

The re-election of Barack Obama, as well as the wins in states wherever gay marriage was on ballot (in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington) is a massive watershed for LGBTQ rights. No longer will politicians (or anyone) be able to credibly claim to be supportive of gays, and to love and honor their supposed gay friends and family, while still being opposed to basic and fundamental rights like marriage. The very ads pushed by the enemies of gay rights, like the mastermind behind the antigay ballot measures, Frank Schubert, which claim you can support gay equality but be against gay marriage, no longer hold water.



From now on, you're no friend to gays if you don't support full equality, and you're a bigot if you try to defend that position, as Mitt Romney did. Many people previously hid behind the idea that since the president, prior to May of this year, didn't support marriage equality, but could still be considered "pro-gay," they could be considered pro-gay too.


But President Obama not only evolved; he set a new standard: being pro-gay means supporting full equality. This is a president who ended "don't ask, don't tell," signed a gay-inclusive hate crimes law, urged voters in the states to vote for marriage equality and wrote a letter to a 10-year-old last week offering her support against bullies who might stigmatize her for having two dads. He's a president whose administration helped transgender Americans get full protections in employment under existing laws banning discrimination based on gender and made sure his health care law fosters full access and equality for gay and transgender people. And he was re-elected. That re-election happened, make no mistake, because the president energized his based, including LGBTQ activists who pushed him hard and made it clear that they wouldn't be energized if he didn't stop dancing with the right and stood up for full equality. He learned how that could work for him, and his re-election proves that it can done. No longer will there be an excuse for politicians who claim to be pro-gay but who drag their feet for fear of repercussions.


The wins on marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and probably Washington (votes are still being counted but activists are almost certain they won) are groundbreaking, and it's only the beginning. The tide has turned after losses on marriage at the ballot in over 30 states. It's a direct result of the shift in public opinion and the president both capitalized on that and helped change public opinion further. The enemies of gay equality are now on the run.



Those enemies, however, still have a hold on the Republican Party, and the GOP will have to reckon with that. Certainly it will be front and center in the GOP's own coming civil war over the fallout of this election. The Human Rights Campaign rightly said in a press release that last night's victories, which included the election of Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay or lesbian person to win a U.S. Senate seat, and other pro-equality big wins, were a landslide for LGBTQ rights. Opponents of LGBTQ rights were stomped, and the pressure will be on the GOP to oust them for good. As the Rick Santorum wing claims the 2012 losses mean the party needs to double down on cultural issues like gay marriage, there will hopefully be those who make the correct point that, in fact, the party needs to drop gay-bashing and move into 21st century if it wants to survive.

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Discrimination is Immoral

By Matt Foreman | Executive Director | National Gay And Lesbian Task Force

I'm hearing both gay and straight people say that the long string of losses we've faced at the polls around marriage equality are really our own fault. Our community pushed too hard and too fast, they argue. The prominent theme being generated is that we have failed to "educate" the public about who we really are and get beyond the stereotypes of leather people, butch dykes, circuit boys and drag queens. And that it is now our obligation to reintroduce ourselves to the American people. I also repeatedly hear that it's up to us to reframe the terms of the debate away from "moral values" to simpler concepts, such as fairness, which polls indicate resonate most with the public.

I disagree. This is nothing more than the blame-the-victim mentality afflicting our nation generally and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) movement specifically. Rather than reframing the debate away from moral values, we must embrace them. Or more precisely, the utter immorality of the escalating attacks against LGBTQ people. And, equally, the utter immorality in the failure of so many people of good will to stand with us. It is time for us to seize the moral high ground and state unambiguously that anti-gay discrimination in any form is immoral.


Webster's defines discrimination as "unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice." By any measure, LGBTQ people are targets of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. FBI statistics show that more people are being murdered because of their sexual orientation than for any other bias reason. Our young people are still routinely bullied in schools. The examples of injustices in the area of partner and family recognition are too many to list. No thinking or feeling person can deny these realities, which, as always, fall hardest on LGBTQ people of color and those who are poor.

But, alarmingly, rather than seeing a groundswell of support for measures to combat these injustices, the opposite is occurring. In Congress and in statehouses nationwide, it's rhetorical and legislative open season on LGBTQ people. For example, over the last nine months, anti-marriage state constitutional amendments were put on the ballot in 14 states, 10 of which also prohibit the recognition of any form of relationship between people of the same gender. It's likely another 12 states will have similar measures on the ballot within 3 years. Nothing like this has happened since the Constitution was ratified in 1791 – essentially a national referendum inviting the public to vote to deprive a small minority of Americans of rights the majority takes for granted and sees as fundamental.

And who's been there to fight these amendments? Basically us, the very minority under attack. Mainstream media and churches are largely silent to our opponents' lies. Most progressive organizations and political campaigns, meanwhile, steer clear. There have been sterling exceptions, but they have been few and far between.


Many people who see themselves as supporters of equal rights for all tolerate this because they believe prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation is profoundly different than that based on race or religion (that it comes from an understandable disapproval of our behavior) not on some "immutable characteristic." Homosexual behavior, they feel, is "unnatural" (doesn't the Bible say so?). Pundits say there is an "ick" factor, that the thought of gay sex revolts non-gay people, and that this seemingly innate reaction is proof there is something wrong with homosexuality.

This rationale is hardly unique to gay people. Scholars point to comparable "ick" sentiments about Irish immigrants in the 1880s, and describe how in preceding generations sexual ideology was used to strengthen control over slaves and to justify the taking of Native American lands, and that for centuries Jews were associated with disease and urban degeneration. Fact is, there is no justification for anti-gay prejudice; the "justifications" for it are as unfounded as those used to support the second-class treatment of other minorities in past generations. So, what needs to be done?

First, everyone must realize that when straight people say gay people should not have the freedom to marry, they are saying we are not as good or deserving as they are. It's that simple, no matter how one attempts to sugarcoat it. This is unacceptable. And it is immoral.

Second, while we should talk to straight people honestly about our lives, we must flatly reject the notion that we are somehow to blame for all of this because we have not effectively communicated our "stories" to others. Fundamentally, it is not our job to prove to others that we can be good neighbors, good parents, and that gee whiz, we're actually people too.


Third, equality will remain elusive if we keep relying on intellectualized arguments or by dryly cataloguing, for example, each of the 1,138 federal rights and responsibilities we are forced to forgo due to marriage inequality.

The other side goes for the gut. It's now our turn. In this vein, we must put others on the spot to stand up and fight for us. As the cascade of lies pours forth from the Anti-Gay Industry, morality demands that non-gay people speak out with the same vehemence as they would if it was another minority under attack. Ministers and rabbis must be challenged with the question, "Where is your voice?" Elected officials who meet with and attend events of the Anti-Gay Industry, must be met with the challenge, "How can you do that!? How is that public service?"

The orchestrated campaign to deny us jobs, family recognition, children, and housing is immoral. Silently bearing witness to this discrimination is immoral. America is in the midst of another ugly chapter in its struggle with the forces of bigotry. People of good will can either rise up to speak for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender Americans, or look back upon themselves 20 years from now with deserved shame.


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