Thursday, April 30, 2009

"I Am No Different Than You Are."



"I am no different than you are. My name is Justin, I am bisexual, and I am proud."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Latrine is Full of Poop

I am obviously a big fan of THE Ohio State University. It's a great place for a lot of reasons. That's why it makes me so sad to see the sorry excuse we have for a student newspaper, The Latrine The Lantern.

I often wonder if their editors have any sort of grasp on the English language: "Mixed race roommates causes issues"
(someone went back and edited the web version of the article, but this was what was printed and was available on the website for a time - thanks, Google Cache!)

They are not afraid to fabricate quotes and facts: USG Seeks Retraction for Inaccurate Lantern Story

And they are always willing to give space to the finest opinion articles around: "NASA errors put global warming 'facts' in doubt",
"Hate crime laws support discrimination"

This last one is the one that prompted this post.
Allow me to quote one comment:

Hiromitsu, you obviously took the time to look up "30 kinds of sexual orientations [sic]" according to the APA. It would have taken you about .5 seconds more to find the difference between a paraphilia and a sexual orientation. Even Wikipedia contains that information. What inquiring minds want to know is, was your article misleading by design, or are you just that lazy of a writer? Then again, this is an opinion article, so I guess Lantern writers/editors think that makes them "EXCEMPT FROM RIL LIFE FACTS, CUZ ITS OPINYON. LOL AMIRITE."

I'd address your completely flawed view of what hate crimes legislation does and does not include, but I already made a point about ignoring easily available factual information...

The Latest in Biphobia

This op-ed from gay.com asserts that bi men are really just gay. It's not only biphobic but it's also really offensive in a lot of other ways:

But I say that if you're a guy having sex with another guy, chances are there's a part of you that's in denial, and only time will tell when you finally come around to the realization that, yup, you're gay.

A lot of guys are all about animal instinct. We get it when we can. We need to drop our seed and move on to the next guy. OK, OK -- I just heard a collective scream from all of you who believe in the sanctity of a monogamous relationship. Of course emotions play a role in gay male relationships, and there's no question that men can commit to each other. But think about how many gay couples you know who play around, either together or separately. Why? Because gay men like to screw.

Wow, how original. Managing not only to push stereotypes about bi people and bi men but also about gay men and men in general. Good for this dude.

Which reminds me, I never commented on Michael Musto's recent column in the Village Voice, which asked the question, "Ever met a real bisexual?"
(LOLZ I BET U CANT GUESS THA NSWER!!1111! AMIRITE!!!111!!!11111TWELVETY!!1)
I only have one response to Musto's column, and it's the question, "Michael Musto still has a job writing for the Village Voice?" I mean, he started there in 1984. How much gossip is he really up on these days? And so the reason he has to put down members of the LGBTQIA community comes out. He has nothing better to write about. (Read: horizontal hostility.)
The webmaster from NYABN described Musto as "totally tired and decidedly un-fabulous" and I really have to agree. The fact that one knew Michael Alig can only get one so far. And one can only ride the gossip train for so long before people start to get really f***ing sick of them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ohio Lesbian Festival Scheduled to Happen During Rosh Hashanah

Oops.

The Ohio Lesbian Festival happens this year from Sept 19-20. This year, Jewish Year 5770, Rosh Hashanah lasts from sunset on September 18 to nightfall on September 20.

But hey, it's not like Rosh Hashanah is printed in ANY calendars or agendas. And it's not like there are any lesbian / gay / bi / queer / allied Jewish women (womyn?). At least not any who are serious enough about their Judaism to observe the High Holidays / High Holy Days / Yamim Noraim / Days of Awe! </sarcasm> Someone suggested setting up some services at the event, but this is really a time when people might want to be with family and/or at their local shul.

I have never gotten to go to the Ohio Lesbian Festival because I have been out of state every year since I first learned about it. I was looking forward to going this year, and I even offered to pass out some fliers to my friends. Well, never mind.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Vicious"

A cop shot a dog today right in front of my friend's car as we were driving to the grocery. The dog was deemed "vicious" by someone along the line of reporting it being loose. It killed a cat - it didn't tear up the cat, it must have snapped its neck (easy enough to imagine if the dog and cat were fighting, have you ever seen a dog thrash a toy back and forth? And cats can attack dogs, truly viciously!). The cat death was reported to the police and the dog was loose. An officer pulled up to the scene. My friend and I had been behind the cop car and it was going slowly. We approached a stop sign, so the cop car gained some distance on us. Shortly after, we found that the officer had pulled over and jumped out of the car. The dog came towards the officer, who shot it. I did not see the shot fired - I was looking out the side window, but I turned and looked right after the shot and saw the gun smoking, still raised and pointed in the dog's direction. My friend saw the whole thing because he was driving and so obviously he was looking ahead. The dog yelped repeatedly as it ran away.

VERY shortly after, Animal Control arrived, along with several squad cars and a paddy wagon (?! it must have been in the neighborhood...?) There were at least 10 cops (isn't that a lot for a dog? I guess 'cause the policeman fired a shot?). A copalopter was also sent and flew back and forth overhead. The cops were wandering the neighborhood, some with guns drawn, some with what could have either been rifles or tranquilizer guns. After a bit they all stopped looking. The cops stood around in a circle and were laughing and smiling for a while. Right after one of them used a gun. to shoot a dog. in a heavily populated area.

The dog was someone's pet and was wearing a collar. The owner of the dog came out or was located and they interviewed him. The cops had been told it was a pit bull but it was actually a mutt. I am not sure how the dog got out in the first place, but by the time it was found it was so un-"vicious" that they were able to leash it, and after being interviewed, the owner was able to pick it up and carry it to his van, where he put it in and drove off to take it to the vet. There was a lot of blood on its back left paw, so I assume that's where it was shot. Neither Animal Control nor any police officers accompanied the owner to the vet's offce. Boy howdy, that was some dangerous dog, right? I took videos and pictures of as much as I could in case I wanted to post it to Copwatch or share it later somewhere else.

For a while I was really offended because I didn't know what was going on with the circumstances of the dog. It's more understandable now that I know that the dog was only shot in the paw (assuming the police officer was telling the truth that it "charged" at him aggressively instead of just running towards him LIKE MANY DOGS DO WHEN THEY SEE PEOPLE). My friend who saw the dog come out was not able to tell whether it was charging or trotting to say hello or what - I don't think he saw its face very clearly before it was shot, so he wasn't really able to tell whether it was baring its teeth, etc. For sure it did approach the officer somehow. Perhaps the laughing and smiling when the other police officers came was to lighten the situation if the officer felt sad or troubled. And we were told that the dog would not be put down.

However, I'm still disturbed, because this whole thing means one or more of the following things:
  • "Shoot the dog first and ask questions later" is a perfectly reasonable police response when someone reports a "vicious" animal, and upon sight of the dog the police would rather jump out of their car, solitary, and wound the dog with a pistol (potentially crippling or killing it) than find out more information about it or wait for Animal Control and/or tranquilizers to arrive.
  • I have a STRONG suspicion that the officer's reaction to the dog coming towards him was at least in part due to the dog's supposed breed. This displays a lack of understanding about the breed. Besides, upon seeing it even I was able to tell it was at most only part pit bull. Obviously he got a good look at it because he was able to shoot it only in the foot/leg.
  • The dog was "vicious" enough to be shot but not "vicious" enough for Animal Control to even take it in or quarantine it. That means that it's standard procedure not to test all dogs deemed "vicious" for rabies or to quarantine them. The Animal Control officer got out that pole with the loop around it to catch the dog but didn't use it. I know that quarantining the dog for observation is sometimes done when a dog attacks a human (instead of simply putting it down). The fact that the owner was able to drive the dog to the vet afterwards, with no intervention from Animal Control, is possibly the most frightening part about the whole thing. Were this dog to be "vicious" from infection and/or "vicious" because of its upbringing, either way, the owner, the vet, and the neighborhood could still be at risk.
  • It happened literally up the street from my house. Had we been seconds later, my friend could have hit the dog or the car/we could have been shot/the dog might not have come at the officer at all. Funny how on a street where several people were sitting on their porch or walking down the street, this dog specifically supposedly selected to "charge" at the COP... Some people who were on their porch said that it had gone by them earlier but chose not to approach them. But, you know, it was so hungry for human blood, I'm sure.
  • Before we knew all the facts, we were questioning why the dog was shot. A couple of the other witnesses said there was no problem with shooting the dog. They basically had this "cops are never wrong" attitude, which shows a complete lack of education. These people were able to say what they witnessed before us and they actually LIED to the investigating lieutenant and said that WE approached the officer and were giving him a bunch of shit. and the lieutenant believed them! I don't know if we ended up even convincing her that they were full of shit.
  • Should my dogs ever get loose, these are some of the same cops that might respond to a call since it's the same neighborhood... My dogs will often jump up on people to say hello (we're working on it) and sometimes show a bit of aggression (towards only other dogs) when leashed. They always end up rolling over or playing once they are able to sniff the other dogs. Would some ignorant/fearful person report my dogs for being "vicious?" And are the cops just going to believe whatever they say? One of the dogs gets along with cats very well, but one of them doesn't. What if that one got loose somehow and was attacked by a cat??
  • I realized that my trust in the police is MUCH less than I thought it was.
I know it sounds dramatic, but I'm kind of still traumatized / in shock.

When the owner was carrying the dog to the car and was placing it gently into the van, he said in a soft voice something along the lines of, "You did a stupid thing this time." It made me really sad for some reason.

I am going to go have a good long cuddle with my dogs.

Columbus Guerrilla Queer Bar

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet!! Columbus now has a Guerrilla Queer Bar group. If you're not familiar with Guerrilla Queer Bar, you can read more about it here.

To join us for our first GQB event (which will be coming up in the next couple weeks), join the Facebook group, the Google group (to get emails) and/or follow the Twitter account.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

National Day of Silence Events at Ohio State



Friday April 17, 2009 is National Day of Silence. To learn more about this day please check out www.dayofsilence.org.

Ohio State Schedule of Events

11:30am-1pm: Silent Lunch on the Oval hosted by HRC @ OSU. Pizza and drinks are provided. Info sheets will be passed out about NDOS and skits will be performed by Teaching Outreach Through Theatre.

2:30-4pm: Alix Olson workshop, 1/2 written, 1/2 spoken word surrounding this issues of the day. RPAC Meeting Room 1.

7:30pm: Alix Olson performance at the Blackbox Theater, at the Wexner Center. Tickets are free for OSU students (but limited, can be picked up at the Wexner Center front desk) and $10 for non-OSU students.


"Gay? Fine by me." t-shirts are available for free at the Multicultural Center. Pick one up and wear it for the Day of Silence.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazon Rank

Amazon Rank

Read more about what it means here.

Queer Seder at Ohio State Hillel Monday April 12

Come join us for a LGBTQ-themed seder. It will include traditional symbols and rituals as well as newer ones to help us reflect on our history and what we can do to make ourselves more free.

An optional meal will be provided. The cost will be around $9. If you are unable to meet this cost but still wish to have a meal, please let me know.

This event is open to everyone regardless of belief. From the GLBT Haggadah: "Passover is a Jewish holiday, but it is not just for Jews. We welcome our non-Jewish friends to our celebration of liberation. Liberation from oppression is always a deep concern for Jews because of our history." To read more about the basics of a seder, click here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23884119/

For more info or to RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=66005182495 or e-mail lively dot 27 at osu dot edu.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Robyn Ochs at Ohio State Friday, April 10

Robyn Ochs will be at Ohio State Friday April, 10 doing a number of workshops and presentations. Recently awarded the 2009 Susan J. Hyde Activism Award by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Robyn is a bisexual educator and speaker with over twenty years of experience in LGBTQ activism.



This day will include the following events:
---10 AM: "Putting the B and T into Your LGBT Group" workshop @ Biological Sciences Building 141
---11:30 AM: Lunch and discussion with Robyn @ Viewpoint Bistro. Free; seating limited. RSVP to lively.27 at osu dot edu
---4 PM: "My Family Values: Lessons from a Generation of GLBT Rights Activism" presentation @ Scott Labs 0004 (refreshments provided)
---7:30 PM: "Choosing to Label: What's in a Name?" activity for fusionFriday @ Nationwide and Farm Bureau 4-H Center (refreshments provided). fusionFriday is a monthly social space for Central Ohio LGBTQ college students and their allies and lasts from 7-10 PM.

For more information: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=172856130202

Robyn Ochs' visit is sponsored by comBIne, HRC@OSU, Multicultural Center, and the GLBT Programming Board.

11-Year-Old Hangs Himself after Enduring Daily Anti-Gay Bullying


http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2400.htm

An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.

Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.

..."As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language," Byard said. "From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don’t know how to intervene."

...Carl's suicide comes about a year after eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay.

GLSEN recommends four simple approaches schools can take to begin addressing bullying now.

...Said Walker in the Springfield Republican: "If anything can come of this, it's that another child doesn't have to suffer like this and there can be some justice for some other child. I don't want any other parent to go through this."


I don't really have any words to respond to this. This kid was 11. He was the fourth kid to do this in this year alone. It was so preventable. He was in middle school. I just keep looking at that picture, and I don't have any words.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Parents Sue Ohio School to Implement Anti-Bullying Program after Son Takes His Own Life

When is the Ohio Legislature going to work to make sure ALL of Ohio's children are safe?!

Parents Sue Ohio School to Implement Anti-Bullying Program after Son Takes His Own Life

April 3, 2009 - The parents of an Ohio boy who took his own life two years ago after enduring constant anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment are suing Mentor High School in hopes the school will implement an effective and comprehensive anti-bullying program. According to the lawsuit filed last week in federal court, classmates targeted 17-year-old Eric Mohat with taunts such as "gay," "fag," "queer" and "homo," often in front of teachers, but the school did next to nothing to address the problem. Mohat's parents told ABC News that their son did not identify as gay...

Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school, according to the GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students. The most common reason given was that they didn't believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response. Anti-LGBT taunts are also widely used against all students, not just LGBT-identified. Two of the top three reasons students said their peers are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to the 2005 GLSEN/Harris Interactive Report, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America. The problem is even worse for LGBT students. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to the 2007 National School Climate Survey. Additionally 60.8% of LGBT students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and nearly a third (32.7%) said they had missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe...

Ohio does not specifically protect students from bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Only 11 states and the District of Columbia protect based on sexual orientation, and only seven and the District of Columbia protect based on gender identity/expression.

Does this make you as angry as it makes me? See GLSEN's Tools and Tips for what you can do to make your school a safer place for all. If you are an Ohio resident, register for Equality Ohio's Lobby Day.

In related news regarding legislative protection for LGBTQIA people, keep an eye out for news relating to the EHEA (Equal Housing and Employment Act) legislation - it's being re-introduced.

I attended the CAUSE conference at BGSU this weekend. One thing that someone said struck me: legislators are not leaders. They are followers. They follow their perception of what voters in their district are thinking. So let's let them know what we are thinking. The person from Equality Ohio at CAUSE who spoke about EHEA did not think that we had the support to get it passed this year (but that it might pass next year). I say we ought to do everything within our power to make this the year. If you're at OSU, consider joining the Equality Coalition. More on EHEA as the story develops.