Removing Your Balls from Your Pants (Figuratively Speaking)

 EditorFacebook is an amazing creation regardless of the person who owns it stealing it away from those who helped him create it in the first place. I’m amazed mostly by the many layers of personality it uncovers and the differing views that come bubbling up from the bottom like cream separating from fresh milk. It really is awe-inspiring and helpful.

This editorial wouldn’t have been possible without it and although it remains to be seen that I can call it my best work to date, I think it will be one of my best, and it all starts with the saga of Navy Captain Owen Honors.



I have this tendency to post news from other agencies on Facebook, not wishing to violate copyright by simply putting it on LGBT-Today and since I have a one-woman staff (me) I don’t always have the time to re-write the news and post my own version of it. I think it’s a bit redundant, to tell you the truth. If I had more money perhaps I could hire a bigger staff and we could re-write the hell out of everything and put it up there then we could have terabytes of news for the universe to gaze upon in wondrous glory but is that really honest and is it dedicated to the proposition that we’re an activist magazine?

Anyway, the saga of Captain Owen Honors, Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise; certainly no Captain Kirk, he isn’t even a Mr. Spock! This man is a lout who made frat-humor videos that were misogynistic, puerile, gay and lesbian slurred pieces of crap that were hardly anything that most people would have paid money to see in a movie theater. The point is that he wasn’t even the Captain of the Enterprise when he did it! He was the Executive Officer, yet the Navy knew about them, slapped his wrist and promoted him to Captain and sent him on his way? One must ask; why now has this become such a huge deal?

Well, the nearest thing I can tell is that some gay or lesbian on the Enterprise sent those videos from 3-4 years ago in to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed and said, “why would the Navy let someone like this serve by example to the men and women under his command?”

I agree! This man should have his head served on a pike, but, it should have been done when the offense occurred not when some whistle-blower made the Navy blush!

Apparently, a heterosexual reader on Facebook disagreed with the homosexual community’s offense at what this man said and did in his “frat-humor” videos!

The teachings of Jack Nichols and the Homophile Movement came bubbling up in me. Who was this heterosexual person to tell the LGBT community what is and isn’t offensive and who and who should not be disciplined for their behavior toward us in the military?

The rest of this week has been spent posting in Facebook and pondering the premises of The Homophile Movement so long forgotten and turned to dust but so often hammered down the LGBT throats these days: What are heterosexuals doing making decisions for the homosexual community?

We see it everywhere we turn! We see it in our television shows, our commercials, our movies, our products and even in our government! The worst part of this grand scheme of things is that the homosexual and gender variant community just sits there and lets the heterosexuals keep telling us what we can and can’t do!

Randy Wicker rightfully pointed out to me that perhaps I got a bit too wound up with my diatribe over certain issues of no specific meaning and that perhaps I should not be too general and be more specific about my wording so this has prompted a massive editing that took several extra days. Warning: If you aren’t of a radical mind then don’t continue reading past this point!

Now I wouldn’t presume to resurrect The Homophile Movement. That idea is about as preposterous as suggesting we bring back hippies! No, The Homophiles served to enlighten us in their own time. However, certain aspects of their philosophy might prove that we need to re-examine our present-day philosophies and perhaps adapt them because as George Santayana has suggested, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Many LGBT groups are whooping and hollering and celebrating the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Not so fast there, partner!

While you’re celebrating, all those freshman Congressman who just got elected and are taking office are plotting to take back that repeal and put us back even further than Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! They want to turn the clock back to World War II and suggest that anyone who is homosexual is a security risk and should be considered a potential traitor to the United States especially since Corporal Bradley Manning of Wikileaks fame is also a homosexual.

When was the last time you didn’t see a homosexual who’s involvement in something like Wikileaks have his sexuality get turned into a national debate about homosexuality? It’s coming, folks, and the Tea Party will serve crumpets when it arrives!

For those who believe that this is the beginning of the end for discrimination; I hate to tell you but this entire affair is just heating up!

If we truly want to gain equality, and I believe we will gain our civil rights during this decade, then we’re going to have The Mother of all Battles coming up and we have to be prepared for the fight.

For starters we have to stop letting straight people tell us what to do. That’s immutable and as firm as the curvature of the Earth. I realize that statement might be misinterpreted and that doesn’t apply to everyday items like traffic laws. I’m speaking of issues regarding our civil rights, of course, and nothing more.

Don’t get me wrong; we appreciate our heterosexual supporters and we need you! But from here on out you must remember one simple rule: We lead-You follow. No arguments, no exceptions. If you want to help then join PFLAG, show love to teens whose parents have dumped on them or treated them badly and if they got kicked out of the house by their parents then take them in, give them a loving home, get them back in school and join the civil rights marches that we must do to take our civil rights.

We can’t ask for our civil rights like a beggar in a 19th century Charles Dickens novel. For more than 50 years now we’ve asked and so far we’ve got zip that way. Lt. Dan Choi chained himself to the White House fence and that seemed to do wonders. Let’s assume for now that’s the way we’re going to have to go!

The leaders of today aren’t doing squat for us. The NGLTF’s Rea Carey is more like a pencil-pushing lobbyist and not an activist. The Human Rights Campaign is a poor excuse for any LGBT activist organization and if you will remember back to 2006 they stuck the knife in the backs of gender variant people everywhere and broke it off when they backed Congressman Barney Frank’s removal of transgender inclusive rights from ENDA without even asking their transgender board members! The result was having more than half their Board of Directors resign and losing more than 60% of their membership worldwide!

It’s been said that complaining about organizations like HRC and the NGLTF are counterproductive and I agree. For now we should just act like they don’t exist because they’ve taken on a pseud not unlike the Wizard of Oz; “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” Their leaders check the media and see what the “hot button” issue of the week is then they release a statement about it. That’s not leadership but rather a “follow the leader” mentality.

If we’re to rely on leaders then we need real leaders of the wilt like Jack Nichols was. Most would say we need a young and vibrant leader. Show me one! All the young leaders I’ve seen aren’t leaders at all but ivy-leaguers who would shy from a real fight. They’d rather tell us to approach the problem carefully and tuck-tail and run at the first sign of resistance! Thank goodness there are people out there every now and then who aren’t afraid, like Lt. Dan Choi, to get into their uniform and go chain themselves to the fence in front of the White House otherwise nothing would ever get accomplished!

Recently, out-going Florida Governor Charlie Crist finally (and posthumously) pardoned rock-star Jim Morrison from his 1969 obscenity charge for the infamous Dinner Key Auditorium Concert the Doors did in Miami. He was accused of taking his cock and balls out of his pants and waving them at the audience.

I can tell you, because I was there, that no such thing happened. He unzipped his pants and stuck his finger out. Yes, he was very drunk, and was he tripping like they portrayed in the Oliver Stone movie? I have no idea but it might be presumed that Stone spoke with Robbie Krieger to get that information so it might be correct because Morrison was certainly pushing the bounds of reality that night. I was a mere 14 years-old and lied to my father (I told him I was spending the night at a friend’s house) to go see the infamous “bad-boy” of the rock-n-roll world but you could tell that the cops had it in for Jim that night before he ever took the stage. The cops surrounded the stage and looked mean but they were more afraid of the crowd because the audience looked meaner than they did.

About the time the world had people like Jim Morrison the LGBT community had people like Jack Nichols, Lige Clarke, Barbara Gittings, Kay Lahusen, Dr. Frank Kameny and later; Harvey Milk. Now those were leaders who could tell us where our priorities were and where to turn to in an emergency for guidance.

I don’t take anything away from modern day spokes-persons like Dan Savage or Ellen DeGeneres but one has to remember that they are, after all, in it for the money. They do spend a good portion of time and effort to promote healthy LGBT issues and their own lives are well known. Ellen and Portia’s wedding and lives together are regular features on Ellen’s talk show and Dan Savage’s radio talk show about sex is mostly centered around LGBT sexual issues and while he also isn’t shy about crossing swords with social conservatives and fundamentalist religious leaders using very good arguments back in their faces as they attempt to justify bigotry and hatred, Dan also is unapproachable as a regular spokesperson for any issues except those he chooses to represent as is Ellen DeGeneres.

But both of them have failed to provide any genuine leadership to the LGBT community and what tries to pass as “leadership” has no plan for our community so I propose the following way to follow in the footsteps of those who came before us:

1. Press for a constitutional repeal of DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act). I don’t care if they did just elect tea-baggers to Congress. We’ll sit on the doorsteps of their mansions, churches, children’s schools and their parent’s doorsteps if we have to! Why not throw a pie into House Speaker Boehner’s face like someone once did to Anita Bryant? Whatever will work to get it repealed! That’s the first priority!

2. Start organizing LGBT civil rights marches in every major city demanding a comprehensive civil rights bill be passed in Congress that grants unilateral rights to all members of the LGBT community. Stop piece-mealing small issues such as individual states’ marriage laws, Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and individual city and state initiatives for protections. That’s a tug-o-war we can never win. They give them to us then the fundamentalists come running in and put a repeal ballot measure up and immediately take them away from us. Only the federal protection of a United States Constitutional Amendment such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will ever insure that we will gain equal rights.

3. The LGBT community can no longer afford to vote their wallets instead of their rights when it comes to candidates for any office! I don’t care whether you think Republicans are better able to handle economic issues (because they’ve repeatedly proven they can’t! Who got us into this economic mess in the first place?) but we have to look at the stand of each candidate regarding their beliefs on LGBT issues. If they give negative responses or they refuse to answer positively on LGBT issues then we need to run our candidate and it doesn’t matter if the political position is for Dog Catcher! It would be better if we had LGBT candidates running for each and every political position in America! With the willy-nilly way voters cast their votes we might be assured of gaining at least 25-30% of the political seats of power from the ground up within the next 10 years just as the religious right did starting back in the 1980s. By 1996 they had captured both the House and Senate! In the past the religious right has constantly accused us of  having a “Gay Agenda”; well, let’s give them one!

4. Locally we need to get every single spare person from the LGBT community and supporters from the heterosexual community into the local PFLAG organizations to support the LGBT youth and the next generation of those who will follow. Those young people need to learn the history of where the gay civil rights movement has been, where we’re going and what our hopes, dreams and what they will be aspiring to when it comes time for them to step up to the mantle. They also desperately need mentors and examples of leadership, no matter how minor you might think your story or example might be, of people who have survived their teen years and hear the stories of how to cope with parents, teachers and peers who don’t understand who and what they are. We also need homes for LGBT teens whose parents have kicked them out on the streets because they refused to accept who they are and need love and understanding and to get back into school. There are parents in PFLAG who are heterosexual who have LGBT teens who are trying hard to understand their son or daughter and you can help them, be there for them, and help them get through difficult times because any parent who offers love to their child no matter what is a parent who deserves the full credit of our community and any help they ask or need. In many cases, only someone who is LGBT can help an LGBT teen while the heterosexual parents sit and cry because they don’t understand.

5. We can ask nicely for our rights but in the past that has resulted in little action by Congress and governments all the way down to city level. I want to make it clear that I do believe in peaceful protest and I do believe in trying to procure our rights through due-process and petition of our government but so far, in the 50 + years since the age of The Mattachine Society and the Homophile Movement, due-process has netted poor results. It’s been 46 years since Randy Wicker organized the first protest against the government policy in the armed forces regarding service by members of the homosexual community yet homosexuals have fought and died for this country since the Revolutionary War and the final wall to homosexuals finally fell a few weeks ago but what about transgender people and their right to serve? Not one word was spoken about them! Australia allows transgender soldiers, sailors, marines and air forces. Several other nations do as well. This country says, “Like hell we’ll serve with he/she’s!” That’s worse than Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was and a very poor place to start our civil rights. We abdicated our basic right in abstaining military service to withhold our service to our nation until and only unless they grant us the same inalienable rights granted to every heterosexual under the laws of these United States! When certain conditions exist to any minorities in this nation the time must come when we have to make a decision to take a stand to either use directly proportional actions to the discrimination being meted out to us or to accept forever being second-class citizens and never take our place as equals with heterosexuals. We have to be prepared to do whatever is necessary in order to take our civil rights just as African-Americans did a half-century ago. That could mean meeting government resistance with resistance because there is no other way to make our point. There will be police-led resistance to marches, particularly in the south, just as the African-Americans encountered years ago and we must be prepared to, at first, show no resistance, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated, but if this doesn’t achieve the desired effect then we must learn how to resist police attacks and make our points without or with the least amount of collateral damage to either side, if that’s possible. I know this sounds radical and many will condemn this standpoint but show me one alternate plan: Just one, that shows us a clear path to equality in the next 10 years!

6. We must build a base in every state, city, town and LGBT community center that supports every action of a national coordination of protests, petition writing, guerilla theatres and handing out leaflets on every street corner and storefront in America. Guerilla theatres are particularly helpful because they’re spontaneous and have the effect of a “hit and run” to make their point. The local and national media often appreciate the boldness of these “hits” such as the one done by the group “Action” in Chicago done for Harvey Milk Week against United States Senator Dick Durbin over the failure to introduce the ENDA bill to Congress last May 20th. I had the opportunity to interview the group at the time but no publication wished to purchase or print the interview and because of the fact that the material is so dated now and ENDA is effectively DOA in both the House and the Senate and there was no place for me to publish the interview at the time. The fact that Congressman Barney Frank also made a huge faux paus in his interview with me regarding this same story and his female-to-male transgender aide, Diego Sanchez, who basically threatened my career if I printed Frank’s quote also killed my chances of selling the article which proves that the government will kill free press even if the elected official is LGBT positive!

7. We need to draft and submit an LGBT Civil Rights Act or an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that will include LGBT Civil Rights inclusive of all the community and bargain away the rights of none! That means we won’t sacrifice the rights of the transgender people simply because it upsets some people and it gives the homosexuals their rights now with the supposed promise of transgender rights “later”. It’s either all of it now or we keep the pressure on until they capitulate. Transgender people are not some poker chip to be played with! They’re people just like any gay, lesbian or bisexual person!

These seven simple goals are a beginning and I’m sure that although it’s quite verbose there will be people who disagree and there will be people who pop up and say “what about…” I’m open to suggestions and this editorial is no edict, manifesto or Port Huron Statement.

I’m just a writer trying to hold a mirror up to the faces of our LGBT community and ask, “What do you see?”

So, what do you see?

By Stephanie Donald

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