work closely with Family Project staff and a national team of Welcoming Schools consultants to support the use and distribution of Welcoming Schools among elementary schools and national and state education organizations. The Associate Director should have at least five years of experience in the field of education and equity.
As the founder and director of the Palm Center, a research institute that focuses on areas of gender, sexuality, and the military, Aaron Belkin has long has been one of the nation’s leading experts on and advocates for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In addition to having delivered more than 30 lectures on the subject at military universities across the country, Belkin is the author of How We Won, a new eBook published by The Huffington Post.
In the book, Belkin shares an insider’s perspective on the strategies he and others used to convince the public that openly gay and lesbian soldiers would not harm the military — a tactic that he says was essential in convincing Congress to repeal DADT.
The Advocate: What is the most important lesson we should take from the repeal of DADT? Aaron Belkin: Those who opposed allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly rarely admitted the true basis of their policy positions, namely intolerance. Because they were afraid of being honest about their views, they invented the phony argument that repeal would undermine unit cohesion. One key lesson of the repeal campaign is that if you tell the truth again and again — and back up your position with research and evidence — you can triumph over the forces of intolerance.
How can we apply the lessons learned from DADT to other equality issues? I’ll speak as a progressive, though I understand that many in our community identify as conservatives. Progressives have been advised to get smarter about messaging and “framing,” but I think that our main problem isn’t packaging, but rather having the courage to stand up behind our ideas. Take national security. I think most progressives understand that excessive military strength is dangerous. Consider, for example, that American military support for dictators who torture their own people enrages main street in the Middle East, and sometimes incites people to become terrorists. But how often do you hear progressives making that point? Because we sometimes shy away from our ideas, we fail to provide cover for our leaders, and it should come as no surprise that many Democratic office holders believe that they have to appear to support military strength. If we believe that spending more on the military than all of our enemies combined undermines our security, we have to use research to confirm that notion, and then and then engage in a long term conversation with the public.
What kind of effect do you think the repeal of DADT will have on the future of the Defense of Marriage Act? In most countries that allow gay marriage, the repeal of the military ban came before the extension of marriage equality. This doesn’t mean the lifting of a ban automatically ushers in marriage equality, but it can certainly play a facilitative role. When gay service members come back from war and explain to the public that their spouses are not entitled to death benefits or health care, this could have an important impact on the debate. Do you foresee any disastrous effects to the military as a result of gay soldiers serving openly? There may be isolated adjustment problems, but the research is quite clear that overall, there will be no negative impact on readiness, cohesion, morale or any other aspect of military performance. Moving forward, what will the Palm Center be focusing on? We’re doing some research on transgender troops in Canada, and we’re monitoring whether or not the Pentagon’s implementation of repeal goes smoothly. We won’t go out of business but we’ll probably scale back.
Officials in the Nigerian senate proposed a bill that would not only criminalize those who enter into same-sex marriages (which are, by the way, already illegal there) but also impose penalties on anyone who “witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage contract.”
Punishment for marrying someone of the same sex would amount to three years in prison; the punishment for “witnessing, abetting or aiding” a same-sex marriage could be up to five years in prison or a hefty fine. Oh, and in case you forgot:
Homosexuality is already criminalized in Nigeria, with a penalty of fourteen years’ imprisonment upon conviction. In areas where Sharia Law are in effect, the penalty is death.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today announced that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s 15th Annual National Dinner on Saturday, October 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. President Obama previously addressed the event in 2009.
“We are honored to share this night with President Obama who has a tremendous record of accomplishment for LGBT people,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “On the heels of the end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ we look forward to celebrating our victories and redoubling our efforts for the fights that remain ahead.”
The event, which is expected to draw nearly 3,000 attendees, will be the evening of Saturday, October 1st at the Washington Convention Center. All media planning to attend MUST pre-register by Thursday, September 29. Those credentialed will be notified by September 30 along with a detailed schedule of the evening.
To request credentials please contact Paul Guequierre at Paul.Guequierre@hrc.org. Only media credentialed for this event will be allowed entrance.
collaborates on the development and management of educational resources on LGBT issues for educators in support of GLSEN’s vision of a future in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The Educational Associate coordinates the on-line presentation and distribution of GLSEN-developed and GLSEN-recommended educational resources. The Educational Associate plays a key role in leading and growing GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week project and is the liaison to consultants working on various projects such as the Safe Space Campaign and Sports Project.
Ebony, a monthly magazine that focuses on the African-American community, features the story of Iesha McConnell and Terry Treadwell, a couple raising three children together in North Carolina, in their October issue.
“We’re in love,” Terry, 45, told the magazine. “We work hard and worry about our children. We have the same struggles as everybody else.”The couple met when Iesha’s sons were playing on one of Terry’s athletic teams. “About a year later, after we got to know each other, it eventually led to something,” Iesha explains. The two had a commitment ceremony in September 2005, and they have watched their family expand.The U.S. Census Bureau found that same-sex couples raising children are likely to live in the South and be African American like Iesha and Terry. According to Gary Gates, a demographer at the UCLA School of Law, black gay and lesbian parents raise children at two to three times the rate of their white counterparts. Research also shows that most black same-sex couples are economically disadvantaged (black women raising children in same-sex partnerships make an average of $26,000 a year).Writer Rod McCullom (creator of
Rod20.com and GLAAD National People of Color Media Instituteparticipant) also points out that while six states and the District of Columbia have marriage equality, none in the South have marriage for all loving and committed couples. The lack of protections puts families like Iesha and Terry’s at risk. The parents, for example, cannot jointly adopt their children.
“We are a family, and we love each other deeply,” Terry adds. “We are making it work.”
We applaud Ebony for highlighting diverse stories about family. GLAAD encourages other media outlets to follow Ebony’s strong example of including stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color that spotlight the rich diversity of our community and the issues that affect our lives. Be sure to pick up the October 2011 issue of Ebony (on stands now).
The effort to overturn California’s FAIR Act, which mandates the teaching of LGBT history and leaders in public schools, is ramping up and conservatives are turning to duplicitous means to get their way.
JoeMyGod obtained video of a gay man in San Diego County who came upon a booth featurning information on Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted as a child. The information booth insinuates that people signing their petition are advocating support for increased penalties against child molesters — they’re actually signing a petition to get the FAIR Act, or SB48, overturned at the ballot. Watch the video by clicking the link above.
The group behind the booth and the effort to overturn SB48 has a website that claims the legislation goes too far. It prominently features the image of a heterosexual couple with gleeful children on their shoulders.
Yesterday, along with our friends at Courage Campaign, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, and Ocean State Action, we announced that we’re calling on Senator Jack Reed to cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that will overturn DOMA. Reed is the only member of the Rhode Island delegation who is not yet a cosponsor. In the last 24 hours, hundreds of Rhode Islanders have signed our open letter urging the Senator to support DOMA repeal, and the local media is picking up the story
Earlier today, the Rhode Island radio station WRNI reported that the Senator will likely make a decision pretty quickly:
“Well I’m looking very carefully at it. It’s a critical issue of public policy,” says Reed. “I think it merits a careful study and that’s what I’m doing and I’m going to do it quickly so that I can come to a conclusion.”
And just a couple hours ago, the Providence Journal reported even more good news, potentially indicating that the Senator will support the Respect for Marriage Act:
Reed may join in support of the repeal bill, according to his office. Reed spokesman Chip Unruh said in an email Wednesday that the senator’s “strong record of supporting equal protection” includes opposition to constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage.
Reed believes “each state has authority over marriage issues,” Unruh wrote. As for supporting the repeal measure, Unruh wrote that the senator is “taking a look and listening to what Rhode Islanders have to say.”
Clearly, what we’re doing is working, and the Senator has taken notice! Let’s keep it up- if you live in Rhode Island, please sign the letter and then give his office a call at 202-244-4642 and ask him to please cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act.
Ever heard the stereotype that gay relationships are unstable? A new study from the United Kingdom proves that gay civil partnerships could very well be more lasting than straight marriages.
Recently released Office of National Statistics figures from 2010 — the latest available — showed 2.5% of civil partnerships dissolving in the first four years, while 5.5% of marriages ended in divorce in the same span of time, London’s Telegraph reports.
The newspaper adds, however, that the figures may have been distorted because many couples in civil partnerships had already been together for a lengthy period, making them more likely to stay in the relationship.
Check the Advocate article linked above for details. What do you think of this? Is the data reliable?
A Nashville paramedic was suspended after posting anti-gay comments on the Nashville Fire Department Emergency Medical Services’ Facebook page as well as his own page.
He posted that homosexuality is a perversion and that two gay EMS workers should “crawl back into the closet,” according to The Tenneseean.
Kevin Kennedy, who has been with the Nashville Fire Department for 20 years, must attend an anger management class and a diversity training class at his own expense before he is re-instated.
“We have a diverse group of employees in the fire department who respond to the needs of a diverse community,” said Deputy Chief Kim Lawson to the Tennessean. “This disrupts the order of discipline. We have an important job. These actions in no way are tolerated.”