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Today marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, what is commonly referred to as the beginning of the modern LGBT equality movement and the reason that June is Pride month.  If you’re not familiar, here’s what happened:

People ask why we celebrate pride.  NoFo writes it much more eloquently than I ever could, here is an excerpt:

We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.
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We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on our blogs … and even on national television.
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We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.

We’re proud because this weekend we’ll celebrate with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, attitude queens and you’d-never-know-they-were-queens queens, and together we can see through the “pride” in our parade and enjoy the underlying Pride in our parade.

Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so much to be proud of.

We can take some time, and even in the face of hatred, bigotry and discrimination, we can carve a place in this world, claim it our own and celebrate.

We can celebrate the community that we have, the radical acceptance that we embody and the fact that we’ve survived.  We have a chance to come together, remind ourselves we belong to a larger community, have some fun and take back our city; just for a little bit, even when it’s still dangerous to be perceived as gay, even in places like The Village:

This is my home. I’ve walked by that corner hundreds of times while holding Tony’s hand. And now, holding his hand again, I felt sick to my stomach. I felt sick because of the injustice. Because of the loss of life. Because my home had been violated. Because I thought we had moved beyond this. Because I felt vulnerable.

We know that hatred will continue, but still we march forward.  We have pride because it helps those coming after us.  In the words of Harvey Milk, it gives the next generation hope:

And this is a chance to celebrate the fact that I’ve survived.  A chance to celebrate the fact that I’m a proud gay man.  And even that act, powerful unto itself, has hopefully made a difference.

The most important and powerful action a person can make is to come out to those around them.  Then the LGBT community isn’t a scary abstract anymore, it has a face.  If you know someone who is openly LGBT, you see their humanity.  You can understand that we’re not asking for anything special, just the same rights everyone else is guaranteed by the constitution.  A chance to be happy.  A chance to live the life we want, surrounded by those we love.

When will we stop talking about coming out?

"Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide.

"When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome."

We will stop talking about coming out when it’s not news anymore, when the last barriers have finally been broken down.  We’ll stop screaming for our rights when we’re finally treated as equals by our government.  We’ll only stop telling our stories when they don’t matter.

This is a bit heavy handed (the original that this parodies was also over the top), but Crew Magazine put this together, and it rings true:

So we keep fighting for progress, wherever we can.  We celebrate our advances and keep chipping away at our obstacles: and this month we can celebrate both, as well as the individuals that make up our amazing community.

We’re proud of how far we’ve come.  We’re proud to keep fighting.  We’re proud.

All my best,

Mike

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Ten years after Lawrence v. Texas, we have the rulings on Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor.

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Pride was this past weekend, and it was kind of perfect in so many ways, and pretty much exactly what I needed.  If you're interested in what my day was like, read below.  It's kind of long, and very much like an actual blog (I know, scary, right?).  If not, I won't be offended either, promise.

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Read more: Pittsburgh Pride 2013


Alright, a quick update today, let's see what we have.

First up, a salute to WoW:

Zachary Quinto has a new movie out, and it looks pretty awesome, especially for all the friends in my life who work weddings.

NPH is going to be playing Hedwig on Broadway, and I need to go and see that.  If you're unfamiliar with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," it's the love story only made possible by a back alley castration in East Berlin before the fall of the wall.  Seriously.

And America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers is back:

That's it for now, see, really short!  Have a great one!

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Samantha Bee hits it so far out of the park with this, I'm almost speechless:

 

All my best,

Mike

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Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, an awesome parody of the Cheerio's ad:

If you didn't see the news from E3, here is the trailer for the next Smash Bros game, which will include Mega Man!

So, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who helped to write the immigration reform currently working its way through Congress, will vote against it if it includes protections for the LGBT community.  And in case that didn't convince you he's a total asshat, he also thinks people should be able to be fired based on their sexual orientation.

And Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks that we should be able to discriminate against non-Christians.  Because Christians are a harassed minority, or something like that.  Read Goldy's piece, it's well written.

I'll have a longer post up soon, but Pittsburgh Pride was this weekend.  This is not from Pittsburgh, but a great sign nonetheless.  And it is great because the only way to respond to hatred sometimes is with childish humor:

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Alright, let's see what's going on today.

First up, posted by Clintus, and I love it:

Sometimes, people don't realize what's it like having a state religion.  England, of course, has one, and they have "surrendered" on marriage equality.

Meet Scooter the llama.  Who was tased by police after she spit in their face.

And finally, the new trailer for The Hobbit part 2:

There's all kinds of info coming out of E3, but I'll have to sort through it all, but suffice to say the new Smash Bros. is going to finally include Mega Man!

That's it for now, have a great one!

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Alright, let's see what we have today.

I really, really, really hope they don't get sued, but a children's hospital has rebranded chemo treatments as superhero formula.

So under oath, a gun executive called proposed gun control legislation "common sense."

Surviving the World celebrates victories of marriage equality:

Sometimes, I hate the world.  White supremacist are all up in arms because...well does it really even matter.  The point is Cheerios.

A bunch of really awesome people debate how Superman shaves.

Following up "Ship My Pants"

I was all excited about the great outreach the Pope was doing, and then the Vatican reminded us all that Atheists are going to hell.

An idiot Idaho sheriff is dropping his BSA charter because "sodomy is against the law."  While it is true that law is still on the books in Idaho, that law has been rendered void by the Supreme Court.

The best wedding photo ever.  Seriously.

More about the Oregon bakery who won't bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.  Their version of City Paper called and was able to order cakes for Pagan ceremonies, divorce parties and even stem cell/cloning celebrations.  The bakery claims it didn't act with an anti-gay animus, just faith principles, but I'm not seeing it.

I spent Friday night watching the house floor of the Illinois legislature.  Their marriage equality bill failed, and this was the tearful ending of the night.  The bill however, in a surprise move, has been extended until August 31 by the Speaker, giving it a new chance.:

The Lutherans join the Episcopalians with their first openly LGBT bishop.

That's it for today, have a great one!

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Last week, the Boy Scouts national council voted (61% in favor) to approve the membership resolution which allows openly LGB youth to be members of the program (as far as I can tell, there is nothing either way about gender identity, I’ve seen some conflicting reports, so I’ll keep digging).

Which means that children that start off in Cub Scouts (or Boy Scouts, Venturing, etc), are able to come out and be their honest selves.  An amendment to that membership policy to allow openly LGBT adults was sent to committee and it looks like won't be acted on for a while.  The new membership policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, leaving time for the national organization to update their youth protection, anti-bullying and other programs.

Of course, this creates a strange situation where youth can come out as gay, would have to leave their troop when he turns 18, but could remain a youth member of a Venture Crew (or Ship or Post) until he is 21.

And this also brings about the biggest hypocrisy, which anyone with half a brain can see: The BSA is proud of you and happy to have you until you're 18, but after that, you don't meet their moral code and have to be kicked out.  That somehow, non-heterosexual adults are dangerous and immoral.  

People on both sides were outraged, which was to be expected I suppose.

On the right, we have the hate-groups proclaiming that this is the end of the BSA, and that they should still be discriminating against children.  Yes, let that sink in.  These are groups advocating that a group should be discriminating against children, simply for how they were born.

They scream and yell that this will lead to straight kids sleeping in tents with gay kids.  But they need to remember that that has been happening for over 100 years.  The big lie is that the membership ban is a policy that's been in place for over 100 years.  The BSA itself is 103 years old, the membership ban was not added until recently (the 1990’s), and then reinforced in 2000 via the supreme court case.

This is not about sex (or politics as many add), it never has been.  Any sexual contact in Scouting is inappropriate, just as it always has been.  I’ll never really understand the obsession those on the right have with gay sex.  Seriously, they think about it more than I do, or any LGBT friend that I have.

And to reiterate...again...there is no link between homosexuality and pedophelia.  I’ve written about it extensively, The case against discrimination.

But they need to realize the public component to sexuality, that’s the missing piece.  A Senior Patrol Leader talking about scheduling his Eagle Scout project around a dance he is attending with his girlfriend is the public side of sexuality.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that, just the scheduling woes of a typical teenager.  But for a gay kid, having to tiptoe around details in his life is a minefield.  And not exactly trustworthy either.

No one is asking or saying that Scouts are completely open about every facet of their lives with other members of their troop.  But tight bonds form, lifelong friendships are forged and a whole patrol works so closely together that it’s like a family.  And hiding such a big part of your self, even a fact that has no bearing whatsoever on your abilities as a Scout, is asking the impossible.

What those opposed to this also need to remember is that the BSA is faith-based, but does not subscribe to one particular faith.  You can't impose your own doctrine onto others or use it to set policy.  And there are plenty of religions that reject the idea of homosexuality as sin.

On a side note to this, I get a certain amount of glee watching the folks at On My Honor freak out over all this, but their membership (and again, you can’t hold everything random facebook group members say against the group itself, but when it’s the vast majority like this, you start to make some connections) gives Christianity such a bad name.  The amount of misogynistic, anti-muslim and anti-jew speech, on top of the homophobia, is just appalling.

And on the other side, we have those who gnash their teeth and rend their garments because the change doesn't go far enough.  This is a stepping stone to full equality and a huge step in the right direction.  They need to remember that this is the more important step, the one that protects the youth.

The BSA is a youth-led organization; it exists for the youth.  Adults that are threatening to leave because this isn’t enough need to check their egos at the door and see this as the positive step that it is.  There are going to be gay kids that need your support in Scouting: be there for them and keep pushing for change from within.

And again, anyone with half a brain can see that the adult membership ban won’t be around for much longer, and kids can see the inherent hypocrisy of the current membership policies.

The BSA is a private organization, and still has the ability to set its own membership standards, just as any private organization does, that is what came out of the Dale v BSA case in 2000.  The government did not step in and make this happen, it is a new policy enacted by the voting members of the national council, a private organization setting its own membership standards.

There is no gay agenda to destroy the BSA or the foundations of the United States.  There is only a wish to be seen as equal, to be treated fairly and to offer every single youth the chance to be part of a fantastic organization.

And we need to remember that this is a big step forward, the BSA is no longer discriminating against children: treating every youth with basic human decency.  This is not adding sexuality to the Boy Scouts, this is simply acknowledging that LGBT youth exist.

Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network (along with the HRC and GLAAD) continue the fight, even though we don’t know how long it will take.  But more change and full equality is coming.

Today we celebrate.  Tomorrow we continue the fight.

All my best,

Mike

 

This is actually the second time I've written this out (I got distracted, surprise surprise and I timed out), which means I've lost the list of links I had here.  But suffice to say it's the normal hate groups predicting the end of the BSA and in this case, demanding that we keep hurting kids (and the leaders that voted for the change, seriously, there were calls for drownings).  By this point, you can probably recreate what they said on your own, so we'll let them keep their filth to themselves.  A few other councils have announced they are in support of a fully-inclusive membership policy, so it’s nice to see that spread across the country as well and the opposing group to Scouts for Equality is trying to form their own national group, but since they can’t find one that hates the right people, they are mulling making their own new organization from scratch.  Which will be great once they get sued for using Merit Badge (which has a copyright) or anything else similar.

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I love the phrase "For science!" so I was excited to see a study released about the affects of marriage equality and discrimination:

[P]reventing gay and lesbian couples from getting married leads to negative side effects, including a 37% increase in mood disorders, a 42% increase in alcohol-use disorders, and a 248% increase in generalized anxiety disorders, according to Mark Hatzenbuehler, a psychologist at Columbia University.

And the opposite is true as well:

Hatzenbuehler has also found, in a study conducted in Massachusetts, that gay men experienced fewer stress-related disorders after that state permitted gay marriage.

In a study tracking the health of 1,211 gay men in Massachusetts, Hatzenbuehler found that the men visited doctors less often and had lower health treatment costs after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

It's interesting to see studies showing this, and just the fact that having the rights we fight for are enough to boost public health.  Coupled with the economic benefits of marriage equality and non-discrimination ordinances, it really is a no-brainer.  And that's science!

You can read more about it here.

All my best,

Mike

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