Queer/Race

Gays Adopting to Keep Kids from Prison’s Dangers

Posted in Architecture, Today, Uncategorized by extremedancer14 on April 21, 2010

In an article Published in USA Today titledBoth sides on gay adoption cite concern for children”, a reflection not only on gays adopting children comes into debate, but also how by doing so can help ensure a child’s well being and keeping them out of prison. A step into the lives of Harold Birtcher and Thom O’Reailly, a couple from Ohio who have been together for over 25 years, address that when traveling to the state of Oregon to adopt a child, were denied the advantage. Butcher mentioned that in this occasion, “no one is stepping up to adopt these children”, in turn, leaving them in the hands of both abusive families (both biological and foster care families) and over-crowded, sometimes unsanitary orphanage’s.

Children, in these situations, tend to look for, and find, dangerous outlets that put them in contact with drugs, gang life, or worse, prison life, in order to fill the void of a family life (or poor family life) they lack. The situation most certainly creates a double standard. Birtcher says that “our prisons are full of people who were in foster care, and those people were in, quote unquote, straight family homes. If I can provide a loving, stable home, that’s the goal.” This in turn raises further questions of fair adoption to couples, although homosexual, can provide a loving stable home for a child in need.

In a study conducted by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) cite that children with gay or lesbian parents “fare as well as those raised in families with a mother and a father.” Other studies have determined that these children receive equal nourishment and have the same opportunities, both in child and later adult life, as ones to a heterosexual couple. The article states that there are about 520,000 children in foster care and are in desperate need of adoption. The issues surrounding gays allowing to adopt is in desperate need of recognition in order to allow children in foster care a chance to lead a normal, positive life and allow a couple that opportunity to provide them with love.

 http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-02-20-gay-adoption-foster_x.htm

Tagged with: , ,

AIDS and everything

Posted in Today by ascheer on March 31, 2010

More and more lately I have been coming to realize how much my sexual identity, and how I think about sex and intimate relationships, has been shaped by the fact that I was born after the emergence of HIV/AIDS.  And the more I learn about the rise of the epidemic and the policies and media coverage that followed, the more I view the present state of national lgbt organizing and politics in relation to HIV/AIDS.

So I am going to take things back a bit here with my “Look over Here!” blog post.  Remember when we talked about marriage?  And the pleasure vs. responsibility debate?

Excellent.

For the longest time I could not figure out why people cared so much about gay marriage.  I’m a butch, androgynous, radical pragmatist/formerly anarchist, post-punk, vegetarian, queer as f- artist after all and I will never get married.  Right?  My top priorities are more in the realm of survival: creating a world where my friends and I can live, dress and use which ever bathroom we choose without fear of violence.

It made me really angry to think about how much time, energy and MONEY was getting funneled into organizing that would have presumably no affect whatsoever on my life.  Then all these queer people around me started having babies and I started grieving the loss of all these amazing artists and humans and my feelings started to change.

Thinking about gay marriage in relation to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has also helped me to understand why this issue is so important to some people, and why it has become the focus of the lgbt rights movement.

AIDS was first called gay cancer and later gay-related immune deficiency syndrome (GRID) and thought by some to be a punishment for promiscuity.  As AIDS spread, more became publicly known about the sexual practices enjoyed by some homosexual men and the image of the reckless, promiscuous and dangerous gay man became cemented in the public psyche.

Gay marriage appears to be the perfect counter to that image, one that is gleaming with responsibility, monogamy and normalcy.  The pursuit of pleasure cost many their lives, and now that queers are not dying as rapidly as before the time has come to change our public image.

Unfortunately I feel that this new, “more stable” image is just as damaging as the old.  It leaves no room and gives no support to those who live outside of it, especially those whose genders on the more fluid or trans side of life.  And yet at the same time I feel that if some people want to get married, they should be able to get married.

In conclusion (sort of), I really think that AIDS relates to most and informs many contemporary queer arguments.  It is an important part of queer history that links political/social movements of the past with those of the present.

What we havent talked

Posted in Uncategorized by thecasualsquirrel on March 10, 2010

The District of Columbia has just recently passed a bill that now allows same sex marriages.  In class we have been talking about marriage for a couple of days yet we have yet to mention the momentous occasions that happened right in our back yard.   Last Wednesday two African American women were the first o be married in DC.  Angelina Young and Sinjoyla Townsend made history when they tied the knot but they claim to be boring people.

Angelina and Sinjoyla met twelve years ago when they were set to debate each other at U of DC and that competition turned into affection.  The two have received lots of attention since the date and they say that they anxiously await minute 16 of their 15 minutes of fame.  They were approached by the HRC and was asked if they would be one of the first ten to be married.  They accepted graciously and as it turned out they were the first to arrive.  This simple fact has changed their lives forever and there are mixed feelings by everyone.

Angelina Young says that she “Doesn’t want to let anyone down”.  She believes that her marriage is much more than just your everyday marriage, it represents a union that many people only wish they had the right to enjoy and she is well aware of this.  The couple have also received different comments from people in their everyday lives.. Some congratulatory, some not as nice.

The newlyweds have a pair of tattoos on their arms and Angleina’s says “Rain” and Sinjoyla has “Sunflowers”.  This is because when they were first dating Sinjoyla said to Angelina “Every sunflower needs rain to grow.  Will you be my rain?”  The two have been happily together ever since and are now LEGALLY!!! married.  The two are aware that the first people to do anything face a tough road but they are honored to do so because they truly believe they are paving the way for thousands of same sex couples.

This is great to see and read about.  I had no idea DC was so close to passing this bill and even though I myself will never be the beneficiary of this bill I am excited for everyone that will be and for DC for having the juevos to pass such a bill.    I recently read that Maryland is now recognizing same sex marriages and that was the same first step that DC took.  Hopefully Maryland can learn something from our neighbors to the west.

Tagged with:

Posted in Architecture by anj316 on March 3, 2010

http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Top_US_court_declines_to_block_DC_g_03022010.html

This article is about how the U.S. Supreme Court decided to reject a petition by opponents of gay marriage. This petition would have prevented the law from taking effect. But with the rejection, legislation will commence on 3/3/2010.

http://www.advocate.com/Society/Culture/Remembering_The_B_in_LGBT/

This is essentially about how bisexuals are real people too. Bisexuals around the nation want to be included in things like the National Gay and Lesbian Task force, as well as expand the saying of ‘gays and lesbians in the military’ to including bisexuals. The main point is that bisexuals demand inclusion.

http://www.365gay.com/opinion/neff-you-cant-tell-if-weir-is-gay-by-looking/

This is primarily about the U.S. skater, Johnny Weir, and his sexuality. The author talks about why his sexuality is being assumed just because of outward appearance, and how other stereotypes should be questioned, like athletes who are “typically male” and therefore not gay.

These specific articles are good ones to focus on for the week, simply because they are current events of the community, as well as the nation’s public. Same-sex marriage has always been a hot topic, especially since the last presidential race. Now, the Nation’s Capital is getting same-sex marriage, which, I hope, will rock the boat and get more states on the way. The bisexuality topic is an issue that I always personally have to deal with. Many people always ask if it’s real, and question my decisiveness. But because I am bisexual, although I normally resist any labeling terminology, I know it’s real, and that people sincerely feel this way. Lastly, the piece about Weir is pertinent because the Olympics were just on for a fortnight and figure skating was a big deal. But while Johnny Weir’s teammates were being boasted about, in National Championships, Weir was being called “flamboyant” and “fabulous,” without any mention of his repertoire of medals and winnings. The focus was his sexuality and not about his athleticism, which should not have been the case, in my opinion. The Olympics are about athleticism and hard work, sexuality not included. All in all these articles are reflective of queer news, in my opinion, of the last week. Also they were articles that were interesting to me because they were interesting and made pertinent points about people in and out of the community.

Around The World in February

Posted in Architecture by kaykay on February 26, 2010

Equality in the Military

The article, “Equality in the Military” proves that we need every able-bodied soldier serving in the military, whether gay or straight. It has taken many years to progress in a positive way for gays and lesbians in the military, but it is slowly but surely changing. If you serve in the military you should not have to hide your sexual preference. You are serving a job and should not be looked upon differently because of that.

England’s Anglican clerics back gay marriages in church

Across the world in London, homosexual partners are granted the right in marriage. The Clerical belief of the Anglican Church was the importance of religion and marriage, not of sexual orientation. They have realized that it is more important to celebrate the promise of religion and “to deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.”

Gay Rights in China: Road to Respect

The U.S. military and people of the Anglican Church are not the only ones celebrating a piece of freedom. Pensioner, Ba Li, celebrates his 72nd birthday with his boyfriend after living years of being imprisoned for his sexuality. Ba Li is hopeful for the future of the gay and lesbian community, despite the hardships he’s had to face in the past. Although the community is slowly progressing, he believes that “people now enjoy more freedom than ever to express their sexuality” than ever in the past.

These three current events really stood out to me because they are all interlinked in the LGBT community as a celebration of progression. As shown in these three different articles, I believe that it is most important that we celebrate the progression of freedom. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about the setbacks, instead we should acknowledge them and see how we can move onward from them.

It is interesting to me that people the U.S. are not the only ones facing progression with gay and lesbian movements. As a world, and within each own’s culture, people within the gay and lesbian community face a discrimination whether dealing with the politics, religion, or acceptance of their culture.

I would simulate the first article in comparison to discrimination in the workplace. It’s not about your sexual preference, it’s about your ability to preform your job. It is such a sickening discrimination to separate someone from the military because of that. I’m glad that we are moving forward with removing that rule in the military. As for the marriage of gays and lesbians within the Church, I agree with the fact that marriage should be more an important celebration of religion (if applicable). As for the story of Ba Lai in China, it is an extremely hopeful and celebratory story. If more and more gays and lesbians can celebrate their freedom in a country that was once so repressed and against gays and lesbians, then the world will be moving in a positive direction. As I am Chinese-American, I have not dealt with such harsh environments, but knowing some background knowledge of the Chinese I am proud that they are moving forward from ignorance.

Queer News of the Week

Posted in Uncategorized by austone on February 24, 2010

“Lady Gaga Talks about Her Strap-On”

This article describes how famous pop-star Lady Gaga held a strap-on near her crotch on the front cover of Q, a British music magazine. There were rumors prior to this that Lady Gaga may be intersexed but rather than running away from the rumor, she played along with it.

“If Gays Were Allowed to Serve Openly, Think How Awesome the USO Shows Would Be”

This is an article (with video) from queerty.com detailing how African-American lesbian Wanda Sykes discussed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with comedian Bill Maher and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Sykes makes the comment that although gays are in the military, they are not Rupaul gays, but “Brokeback gays.”

“Maryland May Recognize Out-of-State Gay Marriages”

How could I skip this article? It explains how our beloved state of Maryland could soon recognize outside same-sex marriages. This could only happen, however, if: “Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation; the Court of appeals ruled to allow it; or through the regulations of state agencies.”

These articles, all found on queer news sources, demonstrates the variety of information regarding LGBT matters. The first article about Lady Gaga’s strap-on is fascinating because she has been deemed by many as intersexed, the perceived ultimate taboo. Rather than running from the rumor, she embraces it on the front cover of a magazine. Her status in the LGBT community is well-respected as she is an outspoken proponent of equality. The second link is significant because it demonstrates much of society’s public outcry of the DADT policy. Many late night comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have lashed out against the policy but Bill Maher’s inclusion of a lesbian informs viewers that queer people (and in this case an African-American woman) are no different than everyone else (despite what many conservatives believe). The last article is an example of the many queer policies being discussed and debated by lawmakers and these cover important information that affects the lives of queer citizens (“How will this affect
me?”). Some of these items may be regarded as national news (Prop 8 in California) but other stories like this one may make local news.

Mo. Trooper’s Life Partner Left Out

Posted in Uncategorized by wtravisumd on February 17, 2010

Missouri State Trooper Corporal Dennis Engelhard was killed on Christmas Day in 2009.  The details of Corporal Engelhard’s death can be found here. Since Engelhard was killed in the line of duty his surviving immediate family members are entitled to numerous benefits, the least of which include: $300,000 tax free from the federal government, a life insurance payout, money from the State of Missouri, a cash payout of any remaining vacation and sick days Engelhard had, as well as donations from various private entities.

Like most states Missouri does not recognize or allow for marriage or civil commitments between individuals of the same sex. This has put Engelhard’s partner of 15 years, Kelly Glossip, at a disadvantage and made it next to impossible for him to collect the monies that Engelhard’s family is entitled to. A detailed story about all this can be found here.

The reaction to the problems faced by Engelhard’s partner have been mixed. The law enforcement community in Missouri seems to be rallying around this cause and as a whole and has come out and supported Glossip’s claim. This support does not go too far though when the letter of the law clearly states who all those benefits go to and that Glossip had no legal relationship to/with Engelhard.

I understand the objection many people take with government legalizing gay marriage.  I also understand that legally having a relationship with someone is necessary in situations like this as well as when it comes to other issues. However, I pose the position that many people may have not considered; the option of not involving the government in the issue of marriage at all. I mean who really wants to involve a bureaucracy in the love of two (or more) people? Would we be better off if there were no state recognized marriage? I understand this idea is less than popular among most people but it is still an option. Instead of looking for the government to grant the right to marry whomever we want, instead flip the issue and fight for the abolition of state sanctioned marriage.