19 May 2010

i've been remiss...

(and no, that's not a new drag name).

husbear and i have been in the living hell known as a remodel of the love shack on cinder blocks.

ok, enough "don't cry for me blogentina"...what motivated me to post today was a BLISTERING (in a hella-good way) post from John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog.gay in response to Andrew Tobias ("aunt tomasina", h/t commenter "fritzrth")

i won't excerpt it here, you must go HERE and read the full delicious (and well-deserved) beyotch slap response to "tomasina" tobias (oh, fritzrth, you bring out the claws in me).

what i will post in full is this most excellent comment from GRIDLOCK (my new blog-commenter mancrush), who said:

Jesus, what a basketful of fail. Not a nice basket either.. one of those cheap dollar store easter kinds with the bits of plastic sticking out and that weird chemical smell.

Where to start?

I don't want to see Nancy Pelosi have to hand her gavel to John Boehner, or Barney Frank have to hand his to the gentleman from Alabama. I expect your readers don't, either.

I don't give a rat's ass what you want to see or not. If they have to hand their gavels over because they suck at their jobs, then too fucking bad. Listen closely Tobias: We do not care anymore if the GOP wins if the Dems are just as bad as they are. Get it? Party loyalty is fucking OVER. It's done. It's passé. People want and care about RESULTS, they do NOT care if the person has an R or a D beside their name because that crap is interchangeable.

Merely voting for someone, who has done and continues to do nothing for us, simply because they have a specific letter beside their name has gone the way of the dinosaurs. If you are unaware of this, perhaps you better consign yourself to the dustbin of history right alongside because you're just as outmoded and useless.

So even as we push for our rights - as we absolutely should - I'd urge John and others not to demonize our allies and, in so doing, discourage our community from acting in its own self-interest by failing to fight like mad to keep the right wing from gaining more power.

Demonize our allies? What allies are those, exactly? The same allies who demonize US in court, defending the indefensible DADT and DOMA even though they are NOT required to do so? Demonizing us with hideous language equating our relationships to incestuous pedophiles? Demonizing us by saying we are not deserving of full citizenship? Tobias, you giant squishy pantload, allies actually HELP YOU. They push for you. They accomplish things for you. They don't merely mouth platitudes and then turn their backs on you in your hour of need.

The Dems have done that for DECADES, Tobias. We have given our money, time, votes, blood, sweat, and many many tears and what the fuck have we gotten in return? Absolutely nothing but a knife in the back and our bodies thrown under the bus.

Right now, the Dems are just as bad as the GOP. See, you're again showing how much of an obsolete dinosaur you are.. you're still stuck on this "My team good even though they don't do anything for me, their team bad" mentality. You're an airheaded cheerleader hoping the captain of the football team marries you, but the most he's gonna do is fuck you in the back of a Camaro and then dump your pregnant ass on the curb.

And if we don't form TOO tight a circular firing squad, we will make a lot more.

How about this, Tobias:

We'll make headway on LGBT rights when the Democrats actually stand for something, grow a spine,push for legislation and don't view us as a moneypot, locked in voting demographic, or LIABILITY after the election.

Got it?
that's not just going to leave a mark...methinks it will leave a SCAR. good.

in closing, gridlock, you are SO lucky i'm a "stand by my man" kinda man!

09 May 2010

Dear Mister President, Part X...Truman was a "fierce advocate", sir.

May 7, 2010Truman Family

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Tomorrow, my family and I will mark the 126th anniversary of my grandfather President Harry Truman’s birthday. There are many reasons we celebrate his life and contributions to our nation, but in particular we are proud of his decision to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces in July 1948, which paved the way for future civil rights advancements.

It was not easy. He faced fierce opposition from inside and outside the military. Many, including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Omar Bradley, argued that mixing black and white soldiers would destroy the Army.

My grandfather, however, was appalled that African-American service members had been beaten and lynched upon their return home from fighting in World War II. They had risked their lives to defend our nation, but were denied the full rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. Implementation of his order to desegregate wasn’t easy, but it made our military stronger and our nation a brighter beacon of democracy.

There are strong parallels between the desegregation of the military and the debate over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law that mandates the firing of a service member based solely on his or her sexual orientation. Opponents argue that allowing openly gay and lesbian service members to serve alongside their heterosexual comrades will endanger discipline and morale.

While I have no idea where my grandfather would stand on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I do know that he admired service and sacrifice. An estimated 66,000 gay and lesbian Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coastguardsmen are willingly risking their lives to defend our nation, despite being treated as second class citizens.

I would hope that my grandfather would want his openly gay great-granddaughter and others like her to have the opportunity to serve the country they love with dignity and integrity.

Mr. President, as you have said many times, including in your State of the Union Address earlier this year, ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the right thing to do. This year is the right time to do it.

I commend you for your commitment and hope the example of my grandfather, Harry Truman, will help you lead with the same courage and conviction to ensure the "equality of treatment and opportunity for all who serve our nation’s defense.”

Clifton Truman Daniel

06 May 2010

Dear Mister President, Part IX... willing to search for bombs for his country

May 6, 2010Anthony Moll

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Anthony Moll and I am a bisexual veteran.

I served for eight years under the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that has failed our nation. I left the service just 10 weeks ago, and I can now say: this is the time, Mr. President, to push ahead and end this law.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is just a couple weeks away from holding a key vote on including repeal in the Defense budget. The vote will be close. Please, do whatever you can.

I have been proud to serve my country since joining the Army shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001. My proudest moment was raising my hand and volunteering to serve our country in its time of need.

When I enlisted in 2002, I knew what DADT said, but nothing could prepare me for what it meant.

I had never been closeted about my sexual orientation so joining meant not only keeping quiet, but also being asked to lie to those whom already knew. While my leaders were instilling the values of honesty and integrity in me, the law in place was forcing me to do the opposite.

I knew that despite serving with distinction as a military police officer protecting fellow soldiers and their families from harm, I could face expulsion. During my service I was hand-picked as a Phoenix Raven, an Air Force program in which only a handful of soldiers are asked to participate.

While serving as a handler in the military’s working dog program, I worked with the Secret Service in detecting explosives – working to protect you.

In 2008, I was recognized as my installation’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Joint Service Member of the Year. Despite this distinction, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law treated me as a second-class citizen.

While I excelled at every turn, this law forced me to be dishonest with my peers, my friends and my community. Our nation’s heroes should not be forced to carry the burden of serving in silence when we need our troops keenly focused on their missions.

In the meantime, I'm not sitting on the sidelines. I am now working at the Human Rights Campaign on its efforts to repeal DADT now. But advocacy alone won't change the status quo.

Mr. President, tell Congress to move on repeal. Please allow my brothers and sisters-in-arms to live up to the Army values of respect, honor and integrity. Don’t let another life be ruined by a failed policy that hurts our nation as well as our heroes.

Mr. President, lift the ban.

Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
United States Army

05 May 2010

Dear Mister President, Part VIII...it's about INTEGRITY, folks, not "flaunting"

i'm trying to present these with as little commentary as possible because, really, they stand on their on. however, i was recently engaged in a "discussion" at the HuffPost about a different GLBT issue and one of the commenter's remark was "why do you people have to flaunt your orientation". the mere desire to be honest is considered "flaunting" to those that are homophobic (whether they realize they are actually homophobic or not). so, without diverging TOO FAR from the topic at hand, which is the repeal of DADT, please read today's letter (the "integrity" part i've taken the liberty of highlighting.):

May 5, 2010Laura Slattery

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I may be stating perhaps an obvious truism: Love is confusing. As a friend and, later in life, a chaplain, I have counseled many as they tried to navigate the toughest of love‘s questions: Is this the person I should marry? Is this infatuation or love, and how can I know the difference? Should I take the relationship to the next level?

The first time I fell in love, it was just as confusing. I knew I was in love, but with a woman. It was a severe test for me. I had never been in a same-sex relationship and didn‘t see myself as gay. Yet the fact remained — I was in love.

Adding to the confusion, and the fear of the whole experience (love can be scary enough on its own!), was the fact that I had just graduated from West Point and was serving as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) at Schofield Barracks.

I had gone to West Point, to a large degree, because of the code of honor. Integrity has always been, of all the values, the one I hold most dear. My mother had graduated from UCLA and I remember clearly the day she told me how disappointed she was when she saw some of her students buying and selling papers they had written.

At that moment I thought: Nope, that is not going to happen to me. I am going to a school that matches my desire and need for honesty and integrity.

So there I was – in love with a woman – and a brand new 2LT on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The easiest thing for me to do -- and the course of action I tried -- was to encourage myself to run from love. I also considered confiding in others, but given the horror stories of investigations and removals from duty, I decided against it. The thought of the shame of being interrogated and kicked out of the Service for something I wasn‘t even sure I was (a lesbian!), was too much to bear.

In the short three years that I was on active duty, I was Airborne and Air Assault (first female Distinguished Honor Graduate). During the First Gulf War, I volunteered to go to Iraq. Due to the needs of the Army, however, I remained in the Pacific – working in the 25th Infantry Division.

The values of physical work, integrity, service and team building made the Army an almost ideal place for me. I may have continued serving if I had felt more a part of the team.

I was well-liked and had friends, but not being able to share the biggest struggle in my life (and the biggest joy) with my peers and military friends prevented me from really forming the kind of friendships that one needs to feel as an integral part of a team.

It’s the warmth and support of a team that is truly needed for real “unit cohesion” among the officer corps and with the troops. It is necessary to continue to risk life and limb for each other.

In the end we risked everything not only for our country, but for our country personified in and by our buddies, members of that integral team. Not feeling that, I resigned my commission in September of 1991.

If I can be so bold, Mr. President: we need to help soldiers, and all people really, develop healthy understandings of what it is to be human, divorced from antiquated stereotypes about gender and gender roles.

“Macho” has no place in the modern professional Army; put downs and negative comparisons to the feminine are also hurtful to the Esprit de Corps of the Forces.

I know that you have based your Administration on creating a culture of respect for difference, of developing your version of “unit cohesion” based on the values of inclusion and diversity, not in spite of them.

This is the direction that the military needs to go, and it can start by repealing DADT now.

Former First Lieutenant Laura Slattery
United States Army

04 May 2010

Dear Mister President, Part VII...a happy ending, or is it?

fortunately, this service member was able to leave the military honorably and went on to work for KBR, doing the same job he was performing in the military (but, i'm sure, making significantly more money. while that's good for him, what does this say about the ECONOMIC IMPACT of losing soldiers that would otherwise make a lifelong career in the military? ).

May 4, 2010Anthony Loverde

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

They called me “vapor” --

As a little boy, I always had an interest in serving in the U.S. military. Both my grandfathers served in the Korean conflict, an uncle in Vietnam and I soon became the first of my generation to serve, followed by my brother and a few of my cousins.

After entering the Air Force in February of 2001, I eventually was promoted to Staff Sergeant. Although successful in my job as a Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) technician, I was still coming to terms of being a gay man.

I struggled with my faith that told me it was a sin. I couldn‘t talk to the Chaplain Corps because I had read about gays being discharged after coming out to a chaplain. And so, I continued to internalize my struggle with accepting myself, my faith and how I must live under “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

As my separation date approached, many of my supervisors offered career-counseling. They all said the same thing: “Tony, you need to consider re-enlisting. You are the kind of Airman that the USAF needs to retain. You have a bright future in the Air Force and it would be a great loss to see you leave.”

They often times would ask why I wanted to leave, and I always replied: “I don‘t like wearing hats.”

Eventually, I changed my mind and was able to better manage living under DADT. I applied for cross training into C-130 Loadmaster and was accepted. I figured the high ops-tempo; frequent deployments and lack of down time would make for a great environment to keep me so busy that I just wouldn‘t have time to be gay.

I thought it was a brilliant plan.

As a distinguished graduate from Loadmaster training, I quickly established myself as a top-notch troop with the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. Within four months of my arrival, I had completed my upgrade training and was mission ready. I deployed to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But deployment can take its toll. I couldn’t lie to my fellow troops -- my friends -- anymore. I delayed coming out as to not compromise our mission and waited until we returned to Germany. At first, I ended up avoiding them as much as possible.

They nicknamed me “vapor” -- as soon as we hit the ground, I would disappear.

I didn‘t avoid them because I didn‘t like them, I avoided them because I respected them enough to not have to lie and burden them with my secret.

When I arrived in Germany, I sent an email to my First Sergeant to tell him I wanted to speak with my commander about being gay and not wanting to abide by DADT any longer. My commander said I served honorably and they would be there to support me in my transition back to civilian life.

Each one of my past supervisors from the ranks of E7 to E9 wrote character reference letters that requested my retention. My commander and First Sergeant said my character, performance and honorable service was not at question…it was merely a legal matter.

Upon my discharge, I was hired by global contractor KBR to fill a technical position in Iraq and later in Bagram, Afghanistan. I was once again working with the same Airmen I had worked for on active duty, but this time openly gay. No one had a problem.

I continue to work side by side with members of our military – each of them knowing me as a gay man -- and it has caused no impact on the mission. My contracting job for the Department of Defense now is the same job I performed when I was in uniform.

Mr. President, we need you to help repeal this law – this year -- so that my comrades continue to work in a force that retains the best and brightest based on performance rather than sexual orientation. Our men and women in the military deserve better. Listen to them, and, please, sir, do not turn your back on us.

Very Respectfully,
Former SSgt. Anthony Loverde
United States Air Force

03 May 2010

she's a little tea pot...

oh, "lady" in pink, where to start...in the words of comedian, adele givens, "she's such a f*ckin' lady".

h/t joe.my.god

Dear Mister President, Part VI... heartwrenching letter.

May 3, 2010Joseph Christopher Rocha

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

After the recent letter by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be delayed, this is my plea to you on the behalf of the soldiers serving in silence to end this law now:

I never wanted anything more in my life than to be a career officer. My entire childhood I was exposed to abuse, violence, and crime. I came out of it all with a simple, yet overwhelming desire to serve. When my first attempt at getting into the Naval Academy failed, I waited restlessly until I turned eighteen. I enlisted on my birthday and set off to prove myself to the Academy. I was eager to leave the cruelty of my past and join a true family.

I knew I was gay, but it was irrelevant to me then. I was determined to join an elite team of handlers working with dogs trained to detect explosives. As I studied hard to pass exams and complete training, I was convinced that the current law would protect me. I knew that based on merit and achievement I would excel in the military.

I never told anyone I was gay. But a year and a half later while serving in the Middle East, I was tormented by my chief and fellow sailors, physically and emotionally, as they had their suspicions. The irony of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that it protects bigots and punishes gays who comply.

Shop talk in the unit revolved around sex, either the prostitute-filled parties of days past or the escapades my comrades looked forward to. They interpreted my silence and total lack of interest as an admission of homosexuality. My higher-ups seemed to think that gave them the right to bind me to chairs, ridicule me, hose me down and lock me in a feces-filled dog kennel.

On one day in the Middle East, I was ordered by a superior to get down on my hands and knees and simulate oral sex on a person working in the kennel. We were supposed to pretend that we were in our bedroom and that the dogs were catching us in the act. Over and over, with each of the dogs in our unit, I was forced to endure this scenario.

I told no one about what I was living through. I feared that reporting the abuse would lead to an investigation into my sexuality. Frankly, as we continue to delay the repeal of this horrible law, I can’t help but wonder how many people find themselves in similar, despicable situations and remain silent. My anger today doesn’t come from the abuse, but rather from the inhumanity of a standing law that allowed for it.

Three and a half years later when the Navy started investigating claims of hazing, I had finally earned my place at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. But instead of celebration, I began to question the life of persecution, degradation, and dishonor DADT had forced on me. I questioned the institution -- our great military -- that would condone and endorse this kind of treatment of its own members. The only thing I had ever done wrong was to want the same thing my straight counterparts wanted: a brotherhood and something to stand for.

At NAPS I realized that a career of service under DADT would be a forfeiture of my basic human rights. It would be a forfeiture of basic job security, peace of mind, and meaningful relationships, particularly with my fellow straight service members whom I was forced to deceive and betray.

After completing a six-week officer candidate boot camp, my commanders said they wanted to offer me a leadership role. But after what happened in the Middle East and even the suicide of my close friend, I was mentally and emotionally depleted. And so -- with my knees buckling -- I offered my statement of resignation in writing:

"I am a homosexual. I deeply regret that my personal feelings are not compatible with Naval regulations or policy. I am proud of my service and had hoped I would be able to serve the Navy and the country for my entire career. However, the principles of honor, courage and commitment mean I must be honest with myself, courageous in my beliefs, and committed in my action. I understand that this statement will be used to end my Naval career."

They say some people are just born designed for military service. It‘s the way we are wired, and the only thing that makes us happy. For too many of us, it‘s the only family we ever had. I am sure now, more than ever, after all the loss and hardship under DADT, that all I want to do is serve as a career military officer.

Mr. President, any delay in repeal is a clear signal to our troops that their gay brothers and sisters in arms are not equal to them. I plead that you take the lead -- fight for repeal -- and allow qualified men and women to serve their country.

Very respectfully,

Joseph Christopher Rocha
Former Petty Officer Third Class, U.S. Navy

i have been pointing out to people trying to provide cover to the "fierce advocate" how unjust DADT is in both how it's carried out and the suffering it causes. today's letter is a perfect example. Petty Officer Third Class Rocha is a classic example. he was harassed and hazed because people merely THOUGHT he MIGHT be gay because he didn't engage in the "pu$$y talk" around the "shop". he couldn't report his treatment up through his chain of command for fear of sparking an investigation.

HOW MANY MORE SERVICE MEMBERS are going to be forced to SUFFER IN SILENCE before the "fierce advocate" finally step up to the plate?

02 May 2010

GetEQUAL rally 5/2...Draft Howard Dean for President 2012

speaking at today's DADT repeal rally:

Representative Gutierrez was arrested in an act of civil disobedience yesterday at an immigration reform rally.

we can't even get our GLBT representatives to display the courage to ATTEND a rally, much less get arrested for the conviction of their beliefs. SHAME ON YOU BARNEY FRANK, JARED POLIS AND TAMMY BALDWIN.