poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, November 08, 2004

NTAC: The fight for equality continues

Despite a palpable sense of loss, transgender people and their gay, lesbian, intersex and straight allies cannot afford to give up the fight. The 2004 elections offered few bright spots, offering mostly a beating suffered by those striving for equality.

The election results foretell a period of increasing neo-conservative and neo-fundamentalist power that urges government to enshrine discrimination and intolerance in the laws and policies of the land. Much will be written about the losses, humiliations and hatred heaped on those who do not fit the outmoded, unscientific and unchristian views of the powerbrokers in politics and religion. This brief article will spare the reader much of that rehash and focus instead on the way forward.

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) Board of Directors has begun shaping an updated strategy for winning transgender human rights in a nation whose leadership does not believe in equal protection under the law. This plan will take shape over the coming weeks and will include a continuing call to action at the national, state, local and individual levels. It will call for cooperation and sharing of talents and intellectual resources among those organizations whose fundamental objectives are fairness, tolerance, and respect for all Americans, not solely for the rich, the arch-conservative, and the aggressively strident.

“This Congress will be the most challenging we’ve ever faced,” stated Vanessa Edwards Foster, Chair of NTAC. “We’ve been living with this environment in Texas for the past few years. From most of our friends in Congress, we will see a large measure of fear as well as some aversion. For the few brave souls who stand by us, they will need our support like never before — a protective circling of the wagons.”


PFLAG Families in Texas Against Proposed Amendment to Force Unequal Treatment

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) urges Texans who value family and freedom to reject the proposed amendment to put unequal treatment into the Texas constitution. Flying in the face of basic fairness, some legislators have announced plans to forbid any legal standing of any kind to same-sex relationships and their families. They seek to expand this discrimination to apply to all Texans who, for whatever reasons of their own, opt not to marry, but find domestic partner style arrangements better serve their legal and economic security. This will, for example, have a particular impact on senior citizens for whom re-marriage undercuts their fiscal security.

"As the proud mother of a gay son, I am at a loss to understand the 'moral value' concern that has been attached to being gay," said Kathy Massey, a PFLAG mom and former National Board member from Texas. "It is with a heavy heart and deep fear that I face what the future might bring. How absurd to believe that two people who love each other and want to commit to each other in a loving relationship is a threat to marriage 'as we know it.'"

Massey continued, "The United States of America was founded on the basis of equality for all citizens and this includes those who are gay. The amendments to deny gay persons their civil rights may be passed, but history shows us they ultimately cannot last. Justice will prevail –- I just want it to be in time for my son."


Lawmaker files amendment proposal to ban gay marriage
By APRIL CASTRO  / Associated Press

Calling it a biblical issue, a state lawmaker on Monday proposed an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would ban the state from recognizing gay marriage.

Rep. Warren Chisum said he hoped the amendment would send a message to Congress that Texans support a similar amendment on the federal level.

"We really feel very strong about the fact that we don't want the deterioration of the institution of marriage and that's what we see happening across this country," he said.


United by hate
Black and white Christians rally behind shared contempt for gays
Cynthia Tucker
Universal Press Syndicate

"The Old Testament did sanction slavery. God said, 'Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you. ... And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children. ...'" -- "Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution," Rev. Richard Fuller, 1847

Last Tuesday, there was at least one thing about which blue states and red states, black Americans and white Americans, Northerners and Southerners could agree: Gays and lesbians should be denied the right to full citizenship. Constitutional amendments to ban same-sex unions appeared on the ballot in 11 states and passed easily -- from Michigan, Ohio and Oregon, to Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas.

It was a triumph for bigotry based on the Bible. From conservative pulpits around the country, pastors had implored their flocks to go to the polls and vote against the "abomination" of homosexuality. They claimed that preventing gays from getting married would shore up the institution among heterosexuals -- though it is not clear how.

It was also a triumph for the Machiavellian madness of Karl Rove. He understood only too well that many Americans were willing to ignore a sputtering economy, a profoundly flawed war and soaring health-care costs for the opportunity to enforce discrimination against a despised minority. Rove also knew that calling out the legions of ultraconservative Christians who abhor equal rights for gays would ensure that President Bush won not only the Electoral College but also the popular vote.


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