Posts tagged gay rights
Posts tagged gay rights
When I logged on to Facebook last Wednesday, this post was at the top of my newsfeed:
[Image text: So my daughter, Caitlyn Silver-Sullivan just handed me a paper she wrote for school. The premise is to use one main descriptive word that defines her and use it in a short story. She chose the word “pride”. She explained the many uses for the word and that it means different things to different people. She then stated what it means to her. To her, it means “pride” in her homosexuality, no matter how society may view her for it. It was one of the most powerful essays I have ever read, from any author. This is not news to me. I’ve known for a while. In fact, I think I have always known. And I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl…]
Yes, his nickname is Skully.
Anyhow, I knew I had to read Caitlyn’s essay. Skully is a good pal of mine, and he agreed to ask Caitlyn if she’d be willing to share her essay, and answer a couple of questions. I’ve received questions from younger readers struggling with their identity as a LGBTQ teen. Several of these questions came from people who are Caitlyn’s age or younger. I thought her thoughts and experiences would be valuable to those going through similar struggles.
Well, Caitlyn emailed me back right away, and she’s excited to share it with you all. I’m grateful that she’s willing to let me post her thoughts and stoked to share her point of view.
Caitlyn Silver-Sullivan is a 16-year-old high school junior from the suburbs of Northern Chicago. She’s also recently come out publicly. Here’s her answers to my questions:
Meg: Why did you choose this topic and how did you feel writing your essay?
Caitlyn: I had a really hard time picking a word to define me at first. I came across many words that were options, but none that I [was] particularly passionate about. However, in order to give us a clearer idea of what we were supposed to write, my teacher, Mr. Wise, allowed the class to pick a sample essay to read. I choose a sample essay that was based on the word Pride, thinking it would be about gay pride. However, this essay was quite different. It defined pride as being proud of your heritage. I then got the idea that I could write a essay about how Pride to me means gay pride since I am very passionate about the subject.
When I was writing my essay, I tried to put as much passion and truth into it as I could. I know what it’s like to be judged and looked down upon just because of the simple fact that I am gay. All up until high school, I was bullied about my manly looks; I was a tomboy at the time and always wore boys’ clothes. In seventh and eighth grade, the bullying got more severe to the point where everybody thought I was gay, and many people didn’t talk to me because of the rumors. During this time, I denied the fact that I was gay, due to the fear of being unaccepted and even more bullied. My freshman year of high school was a little easier, straying from the judgmental eyes from the students at my middle school, and being introduced to a variety of many other students from different schools.
It was my sophomore year that I experienced my first gay relationship. Throughout this time, people throughout the school were finding out about my relationships and I didn’t really feel comfortable with everybody knowing, especially since the majority of people are against gays. During this relationships I experienced the eyes watching me as I was with my significant other in disgust. I also experienced getting screamed at by various amounts of people saying “GAY!” or “LESBIANS!” I then, and still to this day, experience these harsh words. One of my old friends even had the guts to tell me that if I were raised right I wouldn’t be the way I am. In the past, I have also gotten things thrown at me such as waterbottle caps and crumpled up pieces of paper by people that I don’t even know for being gay. I have personally experienced a lot of verbal abuse for others from simply being a lesbian. These are the things that I thought about while writing my essay — the various memories of how I was treated different, but never backed down or changed. I am proud to be gay. And that is what my paper portrays.
Meg: What would you say to other teens your age struggling with being LGBTQ?
Caitlyn: If I were to speak to teens everywhere struggling with being LGBTQ, I would tell them all to hang in there. I know it’s hard and I know it is a struggle every single day. I, as well as many other members of the LGBTQ community, understand what you’re going through, and we are all here for you. Stay proud of who you are, for you cannot change it. Do not be ashamed just because the majority of society looks down upon us. Do not hide the fact that you are gay just because you are afraid of what your parents and peers may think. You have to stand strong and face your battles in front of you with an iron fist. Just know that one day, all the hate, all the bullying, all the abuse, all the judgment will stop. Things will get better. Maybe not today or tomorrow or next week, but things will get easier. Have pride in who you are. And don’t you dare let anybody else tell you any different.
Sorry it’s so long — I’ve never really shared this information and I have a lot to say about it. Anyways, thank you for considering my essay to be published on your website. And also thank you so much for supporting the LGBTQ society. We appreciate it more than you think.
I appreciate Caitlyn sharing her essay. Skully’s right — it IS powerful:
Pride: The Story of Battle
by Caitlyn Silver-Sullivan
Susan runs home from school with her ACT results in her hand whipping back and forth from the wind. Her hair flails side to side as she takes each leap that seems like a thousand years. The sun is shining without a cloud in the sky, assuring her that today is a good day. She’s dying to get home, dying to show her parents how great of a job she did. Excitement pulses through her veins and her heart pounds through her chest as she slowly reaches for the doorknob. Her hands are sweaty; her whole body is dripping and her clothes are seeped with sweat from the run, but she doesn’t care. She masks her hysteria as she walks through the door and makes her way to the living room. She can hear the T.V. that they are so calmly watching; she can smell the chicken in the oven, heating to a delicious golden brown. She walks around the corner and enters the living room with a tranquil look on her face, but inside she can feel the butterflies. She slowly hands her dad and mom the paper and waits anxiously for their reaction. They jump up, happiness filling their eyes as sunshine lights up the room. “We’re so proud of you!” they exclaim; it was just the reaction she was looking for.
When most people are faced with the word “proud” or “pride” they simply think of accomplishing something that is of significance. Your parents are supposed to be proud of you when they watch you receive your high school diploma, you are supposed to be proud of yourself after writing a ten page paper all by yourself, you are supposed to be proud of your friend when they say they have broken up with their abusive boyfriend, you are supposed to have pride in your country, you are supposed to be proud of your ethnicity. Most people see pride in certain occasions and things. But in my opinion, this definition of pride is on a whole different boat than mine.
Susan walks down the streets of Chicago filled with unfamiliar faces holding the hand of her significant other. The noise of the city rings through her ears and the whooshing of cars that speed past almost makes her shake. She looks over her shoulder, love filling her eyes, and sees the most beautiful person in the world. Her name is Jennifer. And yes, they are a lesbian couple. Susan knows that everybody she passes is staring at their interlocked hands with curious expressions on their face. She knows that the civilians behind them are whispering to each other about them just because they are different. And last but not least, Susan knows that as she leans over to kiss Jennifer on the lake side, that disproving eyes will stare her down with their judgmental gleam. Susan knows that more people disapprove of her actions than people who do approve. Yet she continues walking with her head up, hand in hand with Jennifer, and she dares not to let go. She is proud to be gay.
Pride is when you constantly face a battle from society telling you to be someone else, but you don’t back down. You stand proud. You stand strong. If I had to define myself with a word, I would choose proud; I have experienced the millions of eyes looking down on me every single day, but every day I pass these eyes with my head high and a smile on my face, pride gleaming from my skin. They cannot change me. Nobody can change me. To me, that is what pride is. Pride is when I have experienced the brutality and pain from being different but walk with my head held high, pride is when I know I will be judged but do not open my ears, pride is when I absolutely will not let anybody or anything tell me who to be.
Pride is not materialistic. Pride is not a brief occasion of happiness when you accomplish something. Pride is not knowing the answer to a problem nobody else knows. Pride does not go away. Pride does not fade with time. Pride is everlasting. Pride is when you have lived your life with hatred pointed at you nonstop, but you will defend yourself to the death.
Marvelous essay from a very brave, very strong 16-year-old who has every right to be proud. I salute her, and salute Skully for being proud of his daughter and doing the right thing as a parent. I’m honored to share this essay with the readers of Cognitive Dissonance.
Bravo, Caitlyn! You’ve got an amazing future ahead of you!
Please stop assuming I will back Ron Paul because I’m progressive, support ending the drug war, and wish to abolish our current imperialist system of meddling in world affairs.
There are numerous reasons to not support Paul. I’m going straight to a sampling of the legislative record.
H.R.875 - Marriage Protection Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Paul and 12 other representatives, introduced March 2, 2011.
This bill sought to amend Title 28, Chapter 99 of the US Code to read:
“No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, section 1738C.”
Here’s Section 1738C:
“No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.”
That’s the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], which is currently facing several constitutional challenges in federal court. Basically, Mr. Constitutionalist Ron Paul sponsored a bill to ban federal courts (including the Supreme Court) from having any kind of jurisdiction over constitutional review of DOMA. Eighth grade civics says differently. Remember that whole checks and balances thing?
H.R.358 - Protect Life Act, co-sponsored by Paul and 144 other representatives, introduced January 20th, 2011. Passed the US House October 13, 2011.
This bill sought to ban private health insurance companies from participating in federal exchanges if the company offered coverage to women for abortion or abortion-related services as part of an insurance policy, and also states if people receive federal healthcare subsidies to purchase private insurance plans, they cannot use the subsidy to purchase private comprehensive health insurance plans that cover abortion. If a woman wanted her insurance to cover abortion, she would have to purchase a separate policy to cover abortion - basically, an abortion rider.
This bill would limit private enterprise from providing something consumers want. Seems contradictory to what a free-market denizen would advocate. But that’s not the worst part. This is:
And finally, it overrides protections for pregnant women under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. EMTALA was enacted in 1986 to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay, including women in active labor. Under EMTALA, hospitals must stabilize a pregnant patient who, for example, is facing an emergency obstetric condition or life-threatening pregnancy and either treat her—including an emergency abortion—or if the hospital or staff objects, to transfer her to another facility that will treat her.
H.R. 358 overturns decades of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion care and says its ok that a pregnant woman fighting for her life be left to die.
Paul is an OB/GYN and knows emergencies can arise during pregnancy requiring termination, making his co-sponsorship of this bill especially shameful. Read Mikki Kendall’s Salon article, “Abortion Saved My Life”, for an example of what happens when doctors refuse to treat women.
H.R.1095 - Freedom to Bank Act, sponsored by Paul with no co-sponsors, introduced March 15, 2011
The bill’s stated purpose:
“Sunset Federal laws and regulations which treat the American people like children by denying them the opportunity to make their own decision regarding control of their bank accounts and what type of information they wish to receive from their banks.”
So what’s that mean? Well, Paul thinks “no creditor, depository institution, or credit union shall be required to provide periodic statements of account to any customer.” Your bank would no longer be required to provide account statements or other information about investments or accounts unless you specifically know to ask for it.
Do I even need to go into how bad this idea truly is?
H.R.2040 - National Right-to-Work Act, co-sponsored by Paul and 71 other representatives, introduced May 26, 2011
Right to work is one of those warm and fuzzy newspeak names for something quite terrible. Here’s information on right to work states:
Oh, and my own state of Wyoming is a right to work state. Currently, Wyoming has the highest wage gap of any state, and is one of the deadliest places to work in the nation. Ron Paul thinks it would be super cool if we enacted a policy that contributed to these conditions nationwide. Because freedom.
H.R.1830 - To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption, sponsored by Ron Paul and three co-sponsors, introduced May 11, 2011
Wasn’t the milk pasteurization question settled awhile ago? Anyhow, Paul believes “a Federal department, agency, or court may not take any action (such as administrative, civil, criminal, or other actions) that would prohibit, interfere with, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk, or a milk product, that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption.” In other words, selling unpasteurized milk is a-OK because Salmonella, Listeria, Q-fever, and E.coli are just the risks you take in a free society.
H.R.1164 - National Language Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Paul and 22 other representatives, introduced March 17, 2011
This bill would declare the official language of the US to be English. It would require all government business be transacted in English, and further state that “no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English.” Income tax forms would no longer be available in Spanish or any other language, nor information on government programs or benefits. This would even include information on joining the military and could potentially include the right to an interpreter when arrested or conducting business in the courts, i.e. divorce.
Further, this would affect voting rights by repealing Section 1973AA–1A of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:
The Congress finds that, through the use of various practices and procedures, citizens of language minorities have been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process. Among other factors, the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.
The Congress declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting these practices, and by prescribing other remedial devices.
A covered State or political subdivision for the purposes of this subsection if the Director of the Census determines:
- That more than 5 percent of the citizens of voting age of such State or political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- More than 10,000 of the citizens of voting age of such political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- Or in the case of a political subdivision that contains all or any part of an Indian reservation, more than 5 percent of the American Indian or Alaska Native citizens of voting age within the Indian reservation are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- And the illiteracy rate of the citizens in the language minority as a group is higher than the national illiteracy rate.
This bill will prevent people from voting. Period. And don’t give me any whining about voters who are not proficient in English don’t know anything about the candidates, issues, etc… First off, do you think native English speakers are well-informed? Second, even his supporters recognize the need for campaign materials in a language other than English. Check out Vota Ron Paul and this thread on the Ron Paul Forums. A few quotes:
So there you have it, Ron Paul fans. Ron Paul is more concerned about my right to drink unpasteurized milk than whether I would potentially die after being denied life-saving care based on a doctor’s religious conviction. He’s more concerned that my bank not be forced to provide me a bank statement than if the Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitution he claims to live and breathe. This is just from 2011 - and what I could turn up in 60 minutes. Don’t prod me to make a weekend of it.
P.S.: Check out the Family Protection Act from 1980, sponsored by Ron Paul with no co-sponsors. I did. And I was disgusted. The act provides no federal penalty or implementation of guidelines “for determining whether a private school has forfeited its tax-exempt status by the adoption of racially discriminatory policies.”
This flyer is from when Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. It states, “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference” and wishes folks a great pride weekend.
As governor, he backed that statement up. From Joe Sudbay at AMERICA blog:
While running for governor in 2002, Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healey, distributed pink fliers at a Gay Pride parade, declaring “Mitt and Kerry wish you a great Pride weekend.” He backed domestic partner benefits for public employees, winning the endorsement of the national Log Cabin Republicans. In his inaugural speech, he promised to defend civil rights “regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race.”
As governor, he appointed openly gay and lesbian people to high-profile administration positions. He doubled the budget line item for the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, until he tried to disband it last May — more political theater for the Republican right.
And now? Well, he’s changed his mind. The gays are no longer A-OK for Romney:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has joined Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Sen. Pennsylvania Rick Santorum in signing a pledge to oppose same-sex marriage on a number of specific fronts.
The three candidates signed the pledge advanced by the National Organization for Marriage, which has led national and state campaigns to limit marriage to a man and a woman. The signature of the front-runner, Romney, is a bit of a coup for the group, as he’s been careful about committing to other pledges, including a broad promise to a socially conservative Iowa group that caused trouble for other candidates.
Romney, Bachmann and Santorum signed on to support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage, to appoint federal judges who don’t see a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and to back the Defense of Marriage Act.
They’ve also pledged to support a referendum on marriage in Washington and to establish a “presidential commission on religious liberty” aimed at protecting the rights of marriage foes to speak out.
Here’s the pledge, with Romney’s signature.
Civil rights for all Americans just aren’t politically expedient for today’s GOP. However, Romney has never been a huge supporter of marriage equality - only civil unions, and reluctantly so. From a (rather internally contradictory) 2004 press release:
Same sex marriage doesn’t hurt my marriage, or yours. But it may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole. Until we understand the implications for human development of a different definition of marriage, I believe we should preserve that which has endured over thousands of years.
Preserving the definition of marriage should not infringe on the right of individuals to live in the manner of their choosing… There is an unshakeable majority of opinion in this country that we should cherish and protect individual rights with tolerance and understanding.
But there is a difference between individual rights and marriage. An individual has rights, but a man and a woman together have a marriage. We should not deconstruct marriage simply to make a statement about the rights of individual adults. Forcing marriage to mean all things, will ultimately define marriage to mean nothing at all.
Some have asked why so much importance is attached to the word “marriage.” It is because changing the definition of marriage to include same sex unions will lead to further far-reaching changes that also would influence the development of our children. For example, school textbooks and classroom instruction may be required to assert absolute societal indifference between traditional marriage and same sex practice. It is inconceivable that promoting absolute indifference between heterosexual and homosexual unions would not significantly effect child development, family dynamics, and societal structures.
Among the structures that would be affected would be religious and certain charitable institutions. Those with scriptural or other immutable founding principles will be castigated. Ultimately, some may founder… Society can ill afford further erosion of charitable and virtuous institutions. For these reasons, I join with those who support a federal constitutional amendment.
Romney saw civil unions as the compromise of protecting marriage and individual rights; however, his latest signing of this pledge indicates his complete shift to the far right on this issue, and is nothing more than political pandering by a floundering candidate.
Bringing this back because of Romney’s waffling on same-sex marriage yet again… Click here to view full coverage of this and other issues from the debates last night and this morning.
This pledge comes courtesy of NOM (National Organization for Marriage) who feels like their liberties are being trampled upon if people take issue with things like Prop
Just for funsies, here’s former NOM mastermind, now Culture War Victory Fund warrior Maggie Gallagher giving instructions on how to
deal with your gay family members at ruin Thanksgiving. (And yes, it’s called the “Culture War Victory Fund”)
Homosexuality is not a sin, Maggie. That haircut is a sin. One of my buddies suggested that Maggie’s hairdresser is gay and hates her. I could see it.
A high school football coach in Wyoming has resigned after giving his players a joke survey filled with homophobic and sexist language.
The Johnson County school board in Buffalo this week accepted the resignation of head coach Pat Lynch, who had distributed the questionnaire, titled “Hurt Feelings Report,” before a playoff game last month, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. Lynch, however, will retain his guidance counselor position at Buffalo High School under administrative supervision.
The survey, under a list of reasons for hurt feelings, includes such choices as “I am a queer,” “I am a pussy,” “I am a little bitch,” and “I have woman like hormones.” It asks for the name of the “little sissy filing report” and his “girly-man signature,” plus the “real-man signature” of the person accused of causing hurt feelings.
Yep. They’re still letting him counsel high school students. I am horrified. You can view the survey here. I used to live in Buffalo, and I’m sure the board thinks they’re playing it safe.
Imagine needing to talk to someone, being gay, and knowing your counselor thinks this is hilarious. This is bullying and intimidation. A petition was just started to get him fired. Sign here. Please.
Linda Harvey, founder of Mission America, an organization devoted to fighting homosexuality, witchcraft, and feminist theory. Seriously.
She made these comments on her weekend radio show. If you identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, and you’d like to let Linda Harvery know you exist, here’s some contact info:
Organization’s phone: (760) 200-2707
Radio station phone: (614) 885-0880
Fax: (760) 200-8837 [If you just want to be a bothersome jackass, send them a 30 or 40 page fax of nothing but ███▓▓▓☻▓▓▓███ for pages, copy and pasted over and over. You will kill an ink cartridge with just a few faxes.]
Mail: Mission America Coalition
P.O. Box 13930
Palm Desert, CA 92255
P.O. Box 21836
Columbus, OH 43221-0836