Stephanie Donald, publisher, LGBT-Today
It has truly been an amazing year. It’s a tale full of triumph and tragedy with hope, fear and tears for the LGBTQIQ community and our nation at large.
We won the national right via the United States Supreme Court to same-sex marriage. President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor signed an order establishing a national policy regarding treatment of transgender or gender non-conformity in employment that actually places that group ahead of the gay, lesbians and bisexual communities in equal employment landmarks.
We saw people like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis fall into the minority in publicKim Davis' police booking photo for contempt of court charges in federal court opinion polls over their treatment of LGBT people in state laws and policies.
For the first time in my long life I’ve seen us go from a hated minority that received worse treatment over the past 70 years than African Americans did from 1860-1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed. At least black people didn’t have to hide themselves under lies and avoidances during their lives over the past century and quite frankly I would rather have someone hate me to my face than make jokes to me about being lesbian and simply having to sit there for years and have people tell you off-color jokes about who you are and have to act like you’re laughing about their bigotry. The only thing about being honest about who and what you are got you over the last two millennia was killed at the worst and unemployable at best. Just look at the life of poet and playwright Oscar Wilde.
2015 was a year of empowerment for our community and while there is still a long way to go at least we can take a modicum of comfort in the knowledge that we’re finally moving in the right direction.
Take Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for example. Bernie Sanders jumped right in by issuing a constant voice of support for our community while Hillary Clinton, who did express support for our community previously, came out with a comprehensive equality goal for the LGBTQIQ community—the first politician to ever do so.
At the same time so many good things have happened in our little corner of the world over the last year that are many shameful acts that hurt us as a society.
The GOP’s continuing support of mogul Donald Trump should be something shameful when they celebrate the rise of a potential dictator who has previously stated that were he President he would do away with general elections and appoint himself as lifelong ruler of the U.S. While the total support of draconian morons like Trump, Carson and Ted Cruz is actually a small minority of Americans in reality the fact that any single one of these Three Stooges proves that Asperger’s Syndrome is alive and well and further from a cure than ever before. More former GOP supporters are making a mass exodus of the Republican Party in favor of supporting Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Perhaps intelligence is finally waking from its long slumber in America.
The fact that a gay and lesbian group like the Log Cabin Republicans would support dynastic blowhards like Trump shows that education has truly fallen to a new low in the history of the last 70 years in the Gay Rights Movement.
Speaking of which; the revelation that former OutServe founder, Air Force Lt. Josh Seefried sexually raped a Marine in a hotel room should tell almost anyone with any gray matter left that the standards for graduating from the military academies now amounts to a major in stupid with a minor in bombastic behavior. Did Seefried drink too much of the bong water and killed enough brain cells that he’s lost all perspective on morality? It’s bad enough that he raped anyone let alone as the standing representative of America’s gay leadership. We won’t be able to hear the end of this act of disgrace until after the Presidential elections next November. Trump, Carson and Cruz will never shut-up about this until the election is decided. If I had one word to summarize Seefried’s act of immorality it would be “abhorrent” and to say in Josh Seefriedapology for my community that fortunately this was an isolated incident and does not reflect on the behavior of the majority of the LGBTQIQ community. As a matter of fact the overall standards of the LGBTQIQ community are even more moralistic than their heterosexual counterparts are right now. At least we still take marriage more seriously than heterosexuals who marry and divorce multiple times over their lifetime.
Then there is the tragedy of people like Air Force OSI Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen who was recently killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber along with several enlisted men who served under her. While U.S. military combat operations supposedly ceased in Afghanistan a year ago those “advisors” we’ve left behind are dying with alarming frequency and Americans should not be allowing the government to get away with. The days of perpetual warfare in the Middle East should stop right now before any more Americans die needless deaths over there because of the miserly pursuit of petroleum products.
We have had our fair-share of grief inside the borders of the United States over the past year as well.
The transgender community suffered a new record of 31 murders committed as hate crimes while the gay, lesbian and bisexual community suffered equally increasing horrors with hate speech by politicians and celebrity’s cattle-prodding reactionary morons into an ever-increasing number of new domestic terrorism incidents.
When will the people of the United States finally get it through their thick skulls that we need a constitutional amendment similar to the Canadian law that bans all forms of public hate speech? Yes, yes; people who wish to throw the Bill of Rights in our faces about free speech don’t want this but the conservative’s sure want laws that endorse puerile and libelous anti-gay, anti-religious freedom and xenophobic immigration polices and speech don’t they? If they want to go further to the right we need to push back further to the left.
Moderates have never solved anything—they simply push today’s problems off on the next generation until contemptible behavior becomes such a normal thing that people don’t see what the big deal over the conservative policies of bashing minority groups (which also goes against the Bill of Rights) does to the reputation of a once great nation.
We’ve seen a rise in Nazism, anti-government militias who threaten to attack innocent Americans if a Democratic President is elected and there is no shortage of race-bashing President Obama and calling it polite political discourse. President Obama has done more to correct the financial and social course of this nation than any President since Jimmy Carter yet his reward has been to listen to watermelon, fried chicken and chitling jokes.
I personally have a neighbor who claims to be part of a Nazi militia and recently told the new park manager, who is African American, that “all ni**ers should be hung!” Now there’s a real cordial and friendly man (guffaw)!
Hate speech, political gerrymandering and lies have managed to spur crimes against Planned Parenthood, the LGBT community and Muslim Americans. GOP Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina’s lies about Planned Parenthood caused the attack in Colorado and not just the random act of a disturbed individual.
Despite what the press, San Diego police department and the FBI have said; the initial reports about the perpetrators of the attack on the disabled center there said it was “three white men in military camouflage,” not three Muslims. How do you tell someone’s religion by just looking at them? This was nothing more than another chapter in rigged and sensational journalism that capitalized on xenophobia and anti-Muslim prejudices.
Despite all downsides to this past year we do have hope. That’s the one human trait you can see in every person’s eyes this holiday season despite the news that sales over this holiday season. Heaven forbid that the people who have commercialized something that’s supposed to be a holy and sacred holiday should lose money because the American public doesn’t have any money to spare this year after being bashed by conservatives policies in social security retirement, disability and the ever-increasing debate over whether the working person deserves more than one-quarter of what it takes to survive even in the bottom classification of “poverty-stricken.”
Perhaps people will finally remember what it means to be kind, caring, empathetic creatures if we buy less and suffer enough under conservative policies that continue to give all the advantages to corporations while maintaining a “let them eat cake” attitude about the poor workingman in this nation.
I want to extend the best holiday wishes to all who read this and that covers everyone’s religious beliefs including Christians, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan or other. May the New Year bring peace and love to all people every day regardless if it’s Yule, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or any other name it might have.
As Burt Bacharach put it in song: What the world needs now is love.
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