Monday, June 22, 2009

comBIne in Pride

So comBIne marched in the Columbus Pride parade. It was great!

Our cheers included hat tips to bisexuality, loving more than one gender, pride, queerness, genderqueerness, and, of course, OH-IO.

One fundamentalist protestor shouted at us, "Even Buckeye perverts go to Hell!" Hahaha, good job. What was that again about not judging, lest ye be judged?

Columbus Pride is the second largest Pride celebration in the Midwest.

comBIne passed out candy with flyers. One side had our contact info, and the other side talked about Brenda Howard:

"Did you know?
Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, is known as the 'Mother of Pride.' She worked to help coordinate the first month anniversary rally of the Stonewall Rebellion and the 'Christopher Street Liberation Day March' to commemorate the first year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Howard originated the idea of a week-long series of Pride Day events, which later became the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held worldwide every June. Brenda Howard and fellow LGBT Activists Robert A. Martin and L. Craig Schoonmaker popularized the word 'Pride' to describe these festivities. Brenda was also actively involved with leather, BDSM, feminist, anti-war, and Alcoholics Anonymous community activism and awareness.
Only a handful of activists in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement were there at Stonewall and never stopped.
—Andy Humm describing Brenda Howard in Gay City News, August 11–17, 2005

More photos and things to come later! My computer is still dead, so I have to go to the library for intertubes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cleaning Up Around Here

Alas! My blogroll has at last gotten so long that it takes up most of of my sidebar. Fear not, dear blogrolled readers, you are still on my reading list. I just set it so that the last 25 posted blogs would show up on there. I might decide I hate this as soon as this afternoon and change it back. I am glad that I have a long blogroll because it means there is a lot of great content that I want to read.

There are other things I want to do to improve the look of my blog, too. But until I figure out how to fix coding, layout, etc., I am stuck with this Blogger template.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

George Tiller Needs More than Candlelight Vigils

George Tiller needs more than candlelight vigils
The doctor's murder is domestic terrorism, and if our leaders don't act boldly, there will be more violence
By Gloria Feldt
Jun. 01, 2009 |

I am done with candlelight vigils.

It is good and necessary that people gather together at a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of Dr. George Tiller, murdered in cold blood today at his Lutheran church by an assailant believed to be Montana “Freeman” Scott Roeder. Tiller was a compassionate and courageous doctor who provided abortion services to women in some of the most distressing circumstances imaginable, when their pregnancies had gone horribly, tragically wrong. He provided services when no one else would, and he was stubborn enough to fight against everyone who tried to stop him. So it is right that people express their grief in public ceremonies.

But I myself am done with candlelight vigils. I have participated in too many of them, from 1993 with the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola through the seven doctors, patient escorts and staff murdered over the horrifying five-year period thereafter. I can never forget the day before New Year's Eve in 1994. I was, at the time, CEO of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, talking on the phone to Pensacola patient escort June Barrett -- who had been wounded when her husband and the clinic’s Dr. John Britton were murdered by anti-abortion zealot Rev. Paul Hill -- when I received another urgent call from a friend whose granddaughter worked in Planned Parenthood’s Brookline clinic. The young woman had just witnessed the murder of two co-workers by John Salvi.

Each time, we held vigils all over the country. We wept and we pledged to continue our work. Which we did, increasingly, in isolation. We were the ones who had been wronged, and yet we were labeled controversial, to be shunned rather than supported. The murders were only the tip of the iceberg, among over 6000 cases of violence, vandalism, stalking, bombings, arson, invasions and other serious harassment.

Later, during the nine years I served as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, we dramatically beefed up our own security while figuring out how to make our health centers nevertheless welcoming to patients and workers alike. In fact, we got so adept at the task that during post-911 anthrax scares, we provided federal government agencies with model protocols for dealing with such threats. But though self-sufficiency is valuable, a just society should offer much more succor to citizens who are attacked.

That’s why today, after what happened to George Tiller, I know that the only thing that will assuage my personal grief over his shocking loss is for leaders across our nation to join me in expressing outrage at this heinous crime, this domestic terrorism. And yes, they need to call it out in exactly those terms. That’s what it is.

I want to hear massive outrage on the part of the community. I want it to start with President Obama. His statement today is a good beginning.

But that’s not nearly enough. He must immediately outline an action plan to increase federal protection for providers and clinics and call for stringent enforcement of the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act. He has an opportunity to make a speech that addresses women’s moral right to reproductive self-determination as passionately as his brilliant speech about race did during the primary. He can and should lead the nation to a larger and more productive conversation about the complex choices women make, and why women deserve the respect, equality and justice inherent in the right to choose to have, or not have, a child. He should bring together pro-choice and anti-choice leaders and get them to issue a joint statement decrying Tiller’s murder as well as all such violent opposition to one another’s efforts. Now that would be real common ground.

But even if the president did all of that, I would still not be ready for another candlelight vigil. The change we need in our culture’s attitudes toward women’s reproductive justice has to happen both top-down and bottom-up.

When it comes to decrying Tiller’s unspeakable murder, I want to hear it from Congress. I want to hear it from clergy, the medical profession, the media and civic leaders: "This kind of violation will not be tolerated. Period." I want to see leaders and people at the grassroots joining hands together in support of those who provide women with reproductive health services, including abortion. I want them to put the yellow armband on, to assume Tiller’s name as so many took on the Obama’s middle name, Hussein, when he was disparaged during the election. Doctors have a special responsibility. David Toub M.D, MBA, who provided abortions when he was a practicing physician in Philadelphia, told me, "This could have been any of us who provide or provided abortion services. I'm just as annoyed by some of my own colleagues and the American Medical Association who marginalized us and even looked down at anyone involved in providing abortion."

The silence overall from leaders so far has been deafening, as attorney and longtime Arizona volunteer for reproductive rights causes Leon Silver pointed out. And if our leaders remain silent, I can tell you with perfect assurance what will happen next. There will be more violence.

Dr. Tiller’s friends, family, patients, colleagues and the many pro-choice activists who have supported him over the years need the vigil in Wichita and those springing up elsewhere to mourn the 67-year-old doctor’s death and celebrate his exceptional life. The larger community of reproductive health professionals and activists, including those who bravely escort women safely into and out of health facilities for abortions, need to cry and hug and lift one another up on the wings of their convictions that they are doing God’s work, saving women’s lives in the fullest sense of the word. I am with them in spirit.

But when it comes to changing a culture that has marginalized abortion by shaming women and hounding, even murdering, the doctors and clinic staff who provide safe abortions, when it comes to changing a culture bent on shaming women who are, in all good conscience, making the most moral of personal decisions -- candlelight vigils alone will never be enough.

President Obama Issues Proclamation Declaring LGBT Pride Month

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 2009

- - - - - - -

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Monday, June 1, 2009

comBIne to march in Columbus Pride

comBIne, a group at Ohio State for people who are attracted to more than one gender and their allies, will be marching in Columbus Pride. The march takes place Saturday, June 20, at 1 pm. We'll probably be meeting around 11:30 or 12 at the Ohio Statehouse. We are making t-shirts and a new banner and we will be passing out candy to people. So far we have a good size group. I'd love to make it even bigger. (that's what she said.) As far as I know, we will be the only bi presence at the parade. Last year people went nuts when they saw us. Visibility in the community is really important. Let me know if you would like to march with us by e-mailing me at cowtown dot bisexual at gmail dot com :)

View photos from our march in Pride last year.

"Why I'm Bisexual, Not Pansexual"


Warren County (OH) Investigates Assault as Possible Hate Crime; Homosexual Man Beaten At Warren County Bar

I heard about this through Twitter on Saturday, but was unable to post it until now. Needless to say it kinda put a damper on my Saturday night.

If you live in or near Cincinnati, consider attending this response- Flash Action: QUEERS INVADE TABBY'S AMERICAN GRILL. It's at Tabby's on Tuesday, June 2, and starts at 9:00pm. There was supposed to be a sit-in on Saturday but it was canceled due to tornadic activity.

See Stuff Queer People Need To Know for a more personal side of the victim's family, the owner, and the restaurant.

The news video about the hate crime is here. I was going to embed it, but it was doing autoplay and I haven't had enough coffee yet to figure out how to turn it off.

Here is the video's full transcript:

Warren County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a disturbing attack that left a young man bloodied, his nose shattered. Investigators want to know if it is a hate crime. The victim is gay.

The assault happened at a Maineville Bar. Local 12 reporter Shawn Ley shows us why this investigation is far from over.

Ronnie Robertson's nose is broken, he has deep cuts and scratches around his eyes and cheeks. The 31 year old Mainville man is openly gay, his friends saying he's regretting not going to a gay bar Tuesday night.

Victim's friend: "The guy that was assaulted had said, that's the reason they made gay bars because it's a safer place, a safer environment to hang out."

The Warren County Sheriff's Office says Robertson received these injuries at Tabby's American Bar and Grill on Montgomery Road in Mainville, and a criminal investigation is underway, looking for everyone involved in the attack. Two women were arrested on the spot: Sarah Goldsberry, and Tammy Lingle. They are charged with felony assault, and disrupting police business.

Robertson's sister says there was no bar fight. She says her brother was attacked because of his sexual orientation.

Kelly Coffey/Victim's Sister: "I believe it was a hate crime, completely. because that's the only thing targeted that night, when someone stepped up and said, yes, I'm gay ... all night it was provoked, all night it was asked and I believe that's what it was."

Kelly Coffey says her friends, a mix of gay and straight people chose Tabby's to play sand volleyball - but were harassed by a man who continued to ask who in the group was gay and who wasn't & her brother finally answered. "When he admitted that he was, they lost it, went crazy and started attacking my brother and pushing him out of the bar."

So what does Tabby's owner have to say? We stopped in and was told no manager was there. We called 5 times Thursday night and still couldn't reach the owner. We do know the sheriff's office is going over the security camera tape to look at what happened and for the two other men involved.

Ohio's hate crime laws do *not* include gays and lesbians as a protected class. The Warren County Sheriff's Office says the gay bashing element of the case is "in play." Other cases in Ohio have fit the statute for charges of "ethnic intimidation."