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Left In Lowell » Gay Rights

Left In Lowell

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May 18, 2016

Failure Is As Failure Does

by at 9:57 am.

Elliott is a big giant failure. So much a failure, I can’t emphasize enough how much he fell short of accomplishing his end goal. It’s an epitome, the very dictionary definition of a Big Fat Failure.

As you probably know from local social media (link is to the Twitter hashtag I was using) and Dick’s excellent summary of last night’s Council meeting, Rodney’s lurnch into the murky waters of conservative claptrap resulted in (what was it, an hour plus?) of speakers against him. Besides the three anti’s - two of them being a married couple, god I feel for their kids if they turn out GLBTQ - speaker after speaker passionately, and some rather dispassionately, told stories either of their own or those of friends and family, and rattled off a LOT of stats as well. In fact, the speakers made their case so well that if these speeches didn’t penetrate the thick skull of Elliott, nothing ever, ever will.

The speeches and the emails obviously did have the effect of educating every other member of the Council, which makes this sordid business so worthwhile.

What came of the whole spectacle was the exact polar opposite of his intent. He wanted the Council to be on the record (a meaningless gesture, which makes this all the more aggravating) opposing the state’s public accommodations bill. Instead, a substitute motion supporting the bill was passed 8-1, meaning his meaningless gesture of bigotry was turned into a more meaningful gesture of solidarity with transgendered people and their right to live their lives like everyone else. And, on top of that, invigorated an entire community of passionate folks to oppose him. That’s failing on a massive scale. That’s attempting to climb the Matterhorn, and instead falling into the Grand Canyon.

Rodney is not a CrookAnd of course, he was super defensive about all the negative attention (hero in his own mind, recall, and I said it right here folks), in his tirade, after the speakers had their say. Rod IS NOT A BIGOT, and you’re mean to say so, he tells us - because the easiest thing for an authoritarian follower to do is to claim “victimhood” when his odious views, impervious to the facts and logic levied at him, are rebuffed so forcefully. It’s not his views that are odious and completely misinformed…you are. About him, at least.

You, dear GLBTQ supporters, have besmirched his good name. He’s not evil, he’s just concerned for the wimmins. I note he doesn’t seem inclined to put forth a motion excluding Catholic priests from public restrooms, even though young boys are far more at actual risk with them - and we have stats to prove that - than any cisgendered female or girl in a women’s bathroom with a trans women (or, the mythological creepy guy dressed in heels pretending to be trans so he can gain access - like we can’t tell the difference). So right alongside my utter disgust at his using terms like “pedophile” and “molester” and “rapists” next to the term transgendered (but oh no, he doesn’t mean to imply trans people are perverts, no), I also want to scream at how freaking patriarchal his views are. Fuck off. I as a woman do NOT NEED someone like Big Strong Elliott to protect me. As several of the speakers, bravely talking about their own assaults, also told him point blank. His male hero knight complex is completely misapplied…at best.

At some point I’m hoping to go into more detail point by point about how wrong Elliott’s arguments were, since rebuttal from actually knowledgeable people was impossible once the councilors get to speak. The crowd was so frustrated with his poor reasoning, it was a source of a bit very natural angry heckling, which rightfully was rebuffed by Mayor Kennedy, but as Rod went on and on and on I could sympathize with the crowd, as I felt the urge to throw something wet and rotten at his head myself. Too bad my garden isn’t in tomato season yet.

…I kid! Well mostly. The thought does have a nice, cathartic quality in my imagination. SPLAT!

But anyway, he will never admit to being anything but a victim. What he really is a victim to, of course, is poor reasoning, to accepting nonfactual sources and believing every word of them, and some of the worst logic known to mankind. And he is a victim of failure. Never forget that.

As to the community, which came together in a great show of awesomeness and love in defense of human beings with human aspirations to be as boring and mundane and unremarkable as the rest of us…

…well done.

May 22, 2012

The Trouble With Catholics

by at 11:02 am.

Not too long ago, I saw a short clip on City Life that made me wonder: Imagine If Muslims Made An Ad Like This One? Now, my friend George Anthes took exception to me making this point. He felt that it was more than appropriate for Catholics to assert their mores & values, as they headed into the polling booths to cast a ballot. In one regard, I fully agree. The point where I slip off is when politicians take the “will of the People,” as a mandate to codify dogma. It is perfectly fine for any politician/elected official to be “informed” by their faith, but it is another thing altogether to govern by it. The Constitution, dear readers, is very clear on this point.

In light of nitwits like former GOP presidential hopefuls, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to be attuned to the consequences of impasssioned charlatans in the White House. Thus, I flipped the context of the video clip around, wondering if red blooded, apple pie eating, baseball watching, “Sarah Palin - real Americans” could sit quitely by, if Muslims asserted their faith in a similar fashion? You make the call.

Lately I have been tossing around this phrase: “You can’t rationalize a person out of an opinion, they did not arrive at in a rational way.” And this, I feel, is the trouble with Catholics. Well most, anyways.

December 21, 2011

The Sun Takes Some Heat

by at 11:41 am.

There is no doubt that the Dan Phelps column discussed in Lynne’s diary below was utterly tasteless and decidedly tone deaf.

It should be noted that Lowell is, politically, much closer to Manchester, NH than say Cambridge, MA. Where this picture:

was snapped in May of 2004, then run on the front page of The Sun.

Suffice to say, those that habitually digest The Sun’s editorial slant were not so happy with the above picture. At the time, there was pushback, as there is today. I refuse to defend Phelps’ phuck up. But, it is not insignificant that the paper was caught trying in May 2004.

It shows, that we are winning the debate and that time is on our side.

Phelps’ column is a step back. It is not surprising, as this dead tree rag tries to claw for survival. Having a front row seat, I smirk watching the Sun try to become Lowell’s ‘Blog of Record.’ What the folks at the helm have not figured out, is how to straddle the line between providing the dead tree, Limbaugh slant, that its old world readers consume, like so much junk food and providing a center-left diet to those of us that read the news with a mouse and not a magnifying glass.

July 27, 2011

It Gets Better, in MA

by at 2:03 pm.

Our MA delegation in an It Gets Better ad aimed at GLBT youth struggling to cope with not only being a teen, but being a GLBT teen. Did I mention I really love our MA delegation? Even Lynch is in the video.

It does get better, if anyone knows that, it’s Barney Frank, who was the first openly gay member of Congress - and who came out during a much harsher time for gays. He ends the video, poignantly.

As an aside, and I know this is politicizing something that should not be, but where the hell is Senator Brown in this video? I’m severely disappointed in him, and this time, on a personal level instead of political. I am guessing that he was just too busy that day to help teens struggling with depression over their identity.

December 18, 2010

DADT Repeal Imminent!

by at 12:09 pm.

Or as good as - the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been forwarded past the filibuster threat in the Senate by a 63-33 vote, pretty much assuring its passage.

This is a long time coming - the nation, and the military, has been ready for this for a long time. Now, we can finally allow gays to openly serve as they do in many other countries. Gays and lesbians have been on the front lines in war, risking their lives for their country. And now they will not be thrown out for being who they are.

Congrats to the activists who fought so hard for this. It is a victory that took too long, but it is a victory.

Though he’s wrong on almost every other issue, kudos on this to Senator Scott Brown for voting for our gay servicemen and women. (Note: I can’t find the role call but at 63 votes to pass, mathematically he has to be one of the yes votes.) Also kudos to Sen. John Kerry, who fought for this for a long time.

August 10, 2010

MassEquality Endorses Donoghue

by at 11:13 am.

I get MassEquality’s emails, having worked with and donated to them in the past. They were an instrumental group in retaining gay marriage in Massachusetts, and are an excellent activist group. MassEquality PAC has come out with their endorsement for the primary in our state Senate race, and they chose Eileen Donoghue (bold theirs):

I am pleased to inform you that the MassEquality PAC has endorsed Eileen Donoghue to be your next state senator.

This race offers an opportunity to fill a seat that’s been held by an anti-equality lawmaker (who is not running for re-election) with a pro-equality candidate. There are more contested seats in the state legislature this year than any in Massachusetts in the last 50 years. It is critical that we re-elect pro-equality candidates and fill open seats with candidates who support our rights in order to preserve our 151-vote super-majority in the state legislature to defend against anti-marriage initiatives.

Eileen is the former mayor of Lowell. She is a strong supporter of marriage equality and has pledged to sponsor the Transgender Civil Rights Bill.

Today we urge you to spread the word about Eileen and to get involved in her campaign. Please vote for Eileen Donoghue on Tuesday, September 14 in the Democratic Primary.

‘Nuff said! One of the biggest issues I have fought outgoing Senator Pangiotakos on, is on gay rights and gay marriage. He was on the wrong side of history then, and continues to be. Changing this seat to a pro-GLBT-rights seat will help ensure continuing progress on equality for all the Commonwealth’s citizens.

July 8, 2010

Equal Protection Means Just That

by at 5:28 pm.

In two different cases, a federal judge today ruled that part of DOMA was unconstitutional - specifically, the fact that DOMA creates two different classes of people in states like Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal, and violates the equal protection and the due process clauses. It appears to be pretty cut and dry, and the judge came back with his verdicts fairly quickly:

GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto told Tauro that DOMA constitutes a “classic equal protection” violation, by taking one class of married people in Massachusetts and dividing it into two. One class, she noted, gets federal benefits, the other does not. Just as the federal government cannot take the word “person” and say it means only Caucasians or only women, said Bonauto, it should not be able to take the word “marriage” and say it means only heterosexual couples.
Maura T. Healey, chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, told Judge Tauro that Section 3 of DOMA — the section that limits the definition of marriage for federal benefits to straight couples — violates the state’s right under the federal constitution to sovereign authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents.

It obviously will be appealed by the bigots, so this is one to watch. But for right now, this is a pretty nice victory for equality folks!

(Link via the Phoenix’s David Bernstein’s facebook status.)

April 11, 2009

TOL Audio of Interview with Stephanie Higgins

by at 5:45 pm.

Here’s the audio of my interview yesterday with Stephanie Higgins, the director of the documentary The Gay Marriage Thing, being screened next week at the Church Christ United on East Merrimack St on Wednesday, April 17th, 7pm.

I apologize, the beginning and the end of the interview were not recorded, but the interview starts with Stephanie answering my question, who is the audience she wants to reach with her film?

January 14, 2009

Take Action: Protect the Transgendered

by at 4:21 pm.

Often overlooked in the gay rights debate are people whose gender expression is nontraditional, even by gay/straight standards. That, in Massachusetts, could change, thanks to a bill sponsored by Reps. Carl Sciortino and Byron Rushing and Sen. Ben Downing, which would add gender expression to the list of things you can’t fire someone for, and also add them to the hate crimes protections.

If you haven’t seen the HBO film, Normal, you should. Just like everyone else, transgendered people want to be safe, they want to lead normal, boring lives, and this legislation goes a long way towards achieving that.

To send a letter urging your legislators to support this by signing on to it, you can use MassEquality’s web page to do so. I urge you to take the time to write or call our state representation. There is only a short time for them to decide to sign on as co-sponsors so do it now!

January 8, 2009

The Disappointment in Obama

by at 10:00 am.

Though, like 75% of the country, I am hoping for a much better 4 or 8 years coming, despite the gloom and frightening downturn, there are those who are already severely disappointed in Obama for “reaching out” to people who should not be reached out to, but rather whose views should be outright rejected. I talk of course about the Rick Warren inaugural debacle.

John at AMERICAblog has been all over this - and rightly so. I’m sorry, the gay haters are not victims of intolerance when we fight against them. The whole thing has been a big showcase of ignoring-the-shoe-on-the-other-foot test. After all, if Warren had said “black people are like pedophiles” would anyone expect Obama to put him on the inaugural ANYthing? Nope. But because it’s gays, it’s OK to prop up and give honors to such a person who says these things about gays, and anyone who stands against it is victimizing poor gay-haters. Yeah, right.

But this one sentence from John really just describes it all - why we should be admonishing, not admiring, such people:

People are not born to hate. They learn hate, then act on it. And Rick Warren and his evangelical ilk are some of the nation’s best prominent teachers.

This whole thing is tarnishing all that Obama worked for. I’m all for a sort of postpartisanship - when it’s sane, not stupid, let’s not cut our nose to spite our face (*coughtaxcutswhenwe’reindeficitalreadycough*). But lauding people who hold the views Warren does about gays (and voices them incessantly to his flock) is not postpartisanship. It’s revictimizing the victims and giving legitimacy to the crap that spews from some of the most hateful, vile people in America.

I’m not saying that the US government throw Rick Warren in jail for his views and his free speech rights. I’m saying why the bleeping bleep is anyone giving him more of a platform to be an asshole? Marginalize the jerk. Don’t acknowledge him and then clap him on the shoulder for it.

Obama’s on probation, as far as I’m concerned. The jury is definitely still out - and that goes for his economic and domestic and foreign policies, too, given some of the appointments he’s made. I’m very skeptical of much of it.

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