Bil Browning

Tell me what to blog about next week

Filed By Bil Browning | March 19, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

Y'all know that I always love doing small experiments on the site. _1944248_jameson_pa.jpgToday I've got one we haven't tried yet.

In the comments section, leave me topics you'd like me to blog about. I can't guarantee I'll get to all of them next week, but I'll do my best. If you have a source you want me to use, be sure and leave the link. Just keep in mind that it has to be LGBT-related. Try not to use time-sensitive items that would be stale next week; it needs to be pertinent no matter when it goes up.

So for next week - readers are the assignment editors for me. This will put Projectors in charge next week and should prove to be a lot of fun. So what've you got for me? I'm sure we'll get plenty of suggestions that should keep me going all of next week.

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How about . . . nah, not that. You can do . . . nope, inappropriate. Hey! How about . . . been done. Oh well. "OK," I'll come up with something.

A contest? For non-contributors?

The gay movement's focus on marriage and attempts to portray a "we're long-term monogamists just like straight people!" angle, and how that 1. portrays dynamics that have been under-represented and 2. minimizes (and/or demonizes?) practices of nonmonogamy among gay folks.

Similarly (and this may have been covered recently? I think I saw something I tagged but haven't yet read), what is the place or potential place of polyamory practitioners/activists within the queer movement. Whether or not they are same-sex attracted, polyamory is arguably "queer" as in non-mainstream, hetero-monogamist-deviant. Are fears that nonmonogamy will simply hurt the queer cause for equality justified? Are such fears buying into monogamist-heteronormative rules of engagement and appropriate behavior? Though not all bisexual people are or want to be poly, there is an overlap of bisexuality and polyamory (and kink, for that matter). Bringing all these voices to the table as we work toward equality can be vital components to reducing the ghettoized practice of building little walls around our identities and rejecting those whose life choices and practices do not match our own.

Whew. I wonder about a lot of stuff.

The positive role faith/religion has played in the lives of queer peoples.

Are U.S. Gay Pride Parades in danger of being shut down ?

From Thailand to Cuba, political forces are shutting down planned Gay Pride Parades. Will the United States be next?

A real idea: "Loneliness in the LGBT community."


What a great idea!

One of the topics I've been working on is not "what's going on" but "what can each of us do"? One of my greatest concerns right now is that we've lost some momentum. We need to find a way to take action, some small steps perhaps, and to re-ignite our community. Part of the reason Prop 8 passed is we got complacent. We need to find ways to get back that energy we had after the election!

The psychological harm inflicted on ALL children AND adult by the state's anti-gay amendments. ALL children - gay kids, het kids of gay parents, and everyone else who is growing up in a country where others ARE ALLOWED to vote against your mother or father's family. (sick)


The Psychological Harm of Anti-Gay Ballot Campaigns ~

From the article above - "But one of her important findings was that a substantial segment of the sample reported many symptoms that are commonly associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they perceived that these symptoms were a direct result of having lived through the months of antigay campaigning."

"Thus, the data are consistent with the conclusion that antigay campaigns not only take away individuals’ rights, but are also harmful to the mental health of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who live through them."

I fear one day some gay person who may not have the capacity to live through months and years of anti-gay campaigns will end up taking out an entire YES-On-8 church congregation with an assault rifle, and I'm not sure I will blame him or her. Not all of us have the ability to cope with this one burning question:

"So Why The F*CK Do PEOPLE LIKE YOU Get To Vote To
Take Away The Rights Of PEOPLE LIKE ME?"

I fear they will be fastening a straitjacket on me while I repeatedly scream out this question. But I'm "radical" (or insane) by some standards, since I've been unable to work and support myself for over 3 years now due to H8 and have been living on welfare ($339/mo), fighting a government because they do not acknowledge or help those with disabilities due to H8. I used to work as an early-childhood music & movement specialist, but when welfare runs out, I will be society's problem.

A. J. Lopp | March 19, 2009 3:20 PM

A recent study, funded in part by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, revealed that the the only religious segment that is growing in America is those that say they have "no religion".

Comment by gregC above, plus Father Tony's recent post titled Gaytheism leads me to wonder why no one has ever profiled the GLBT population (at least, that part of it that can be easily identified) across religious categories, and compare that breakdown to that of the general population, to see if there is really any truth to assumptions such as "more of us are atheists" or what have you.

Such popular expectations might pan out, or there might be some surprises in store.

I do agree with Father Tony, that GLBT people tend to "roll our own" when it comes to religion, and furthermore, that we do so more and more as we grow older. But I have no hard stats to back up that agreement. Do such stats even exist? And if not, why not?

A. J. Lopp | March 19, 2009 3:25 PM

Ooops! Bad link above, my bad ... here is Father Tony's post on Gaytheism.

Dear AJ,
In preparing a response to Roxanne's question, I did a half hour search for some stats. If there are any, and I'm sure there must be, I couldn't find anything accessible and usable, so I had to go with what I know: there are god-fearing and godless gays, and what I suspect: there are a large number of agnostic gays. I'll be doing a deeper search to see what I can find. Meanwhile, maybe I'll do a survey of Bilerico readers. How do we set that up, Bil?

How about LGBTQ issues and foster care? That's not something that's discussed very often, I think. Because there's not just the adoption laws -- there's also the fact that those laws mean that a lot of people become foster parents instead of adopting. And then there're the queer kids in the foster care system, and the issues they face...

How about the sexualization of both classic/true transsexualism and the intersex, both of which are issues of gender, by the GLBT...which is almost entirely focused on issues of sex and sexual attraction?

I don't think there really was a time when homosexuality / bisexuality and perceived gender variance weren't conflated, by society. A number of GLB people pushed that differentiation in the 80s because anyone trans was seen as an embarassment, and a number of TS/TG people pushed for it because they felt that homophobia was the root of the hate directed at them, but society has always seen gayness as a violation of the rules of gender and conversely assumed that being gender variant meant you were gay one way or another (relative to how they defined gender variant peoples' gender). The push together never came from GLBT activists, a lot of them fought it, in fact.

I'm not sure why you're including intersex there, because I don't see the GLBT claiming to speak for intersex. If they do, then they'd better know their subject, and know the difference between CAH and Klinefelter's... or even between AIS and CAIS. You don't have to be intersex to advocate for intersex, but you do have to have knowledge of the subject, empathy for intersex people and dedication to actually fight for IS issues. As it is, people have enough trouble just figuring out the various Ts.

From my own standpoint, I advocate for IS people who are also trans as a result of birth assignment, and discourage the practice of surgical assignment at birth because I've seen the consequences. Beyond that, OII is a far better resource to answer questions. And this is coming from someone with a misplaced partial ovary and other evidence suggesting that not all was boy to begin with. Even having that history does not make one knowledgeable in it.

A. J. Lopp | March 20, 2009 3:22 PM
I'm not sure why you're including intersex there, because I don't see the GLBT claiming to speak for intersex. If they do, then they'd better know their subject ...

Yes, Mercedes, one difficulty for the GLBT world to include intersex is because few of us have a mastery of all the possible complex details. But I do believe that if one appoints oneself to be a GLBT activist, then that includes a responsibility to become informed about at least the basics of other forms of sexual variation. In this regard, though, I admit that we aren't doing a great job at knowing either trans or intersex issues, or at advocating for their concerns.

See my longer comment, farther down.

How about thoughts on why, nearly 2/3s of the way through his first 100 days, President Obama still hasn't signed an executive order outlawing gender identity discrimination in federal government employment and sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination for government contractors. Also, why is HRC - our supposed advocates in Washington - putting no public pressure on him to do so?

Or you could blog on some celebustud's penis. That's fun too.

I understand it is being worked on.

Hmmmm...Here's my idea. Seeing this post from one of my favorite author's blog's made me think. In the comments, she got gently pounced on for linking to the HRC about a hate crimes bill and in her reply offered to change the link to an organization that is inclusive to all. How about a primer for people who are new to the LGBT community or are new to supporting it on what the issues are and what the good organizations to support are and all the stuff like that? Kind of a condensed LGBT Activism for Dummies.

There could also be an open thread...I am sure you could put the idea better, but maybe a how you first found out that gay people exist. I first found out when I ran across a copy of Daughters of a Coral Dawn at the library and read it. That moment a lot of things clicked for me...


I'll second this one, but only to the point of letting allies know where some of the divisions are and why -- but not using such a soapbox to vilify one side (unless that side is clearly Phelps-looney). We can and should be letting people make their own decisions, but need to warn them about how some regions of tread become minefields so they don't discover it themselves early on, and leave altogether.

OK - If not my first suggestion, the how about Sam's?

"Why....President Obama still hasn't signed an executive order outlawing gender identity discrimination in federal government employment and sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination for government contractors."

I'll second (or third now) Sam's suggestion.

Some other topics, though these will need considerable research.

1. The legal situation of Transgendered marriages, including a discussion of same-sex marriages in context. But you'd have to look up a dozen court cases, Lawrence, Gardner, Kantaras, and others. For example, few know that Birth Certificates aren't worth spit in some states.

2. Intersex, and how it fits, or doesn't fit, in GLBT. This will require huge research, if you don't understand Transsexuality vs Transgender, Intersex will blow your mind. Maybe a guest post? Intersex 101.

3. International Law, the USA, and GLBT rights. You'd have to discuss the cavils, disclaimers etc in the US's signing on to the International Convention of Human Rights, saying basically that they will eventually get around to implementing them through state and federal law, mostly, where states agree, and not where they don't. DADT is a blatant violation given the Yogyakarta declaration, but you'd have to explain what that is, and why it's been ignored. Add the US's recent signing of a non-enforced ban on criminalisation of gays, and why it was only signed after being checked that it had no effect, legally.

4. While we're at things international, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a report on Identity documentation, with reference to TS, TG, and IS people. The legal and constitutional setup in Australia is very similar to the US, a federation of quasi-independent states, and they all have different laws. Maybe this document has some application as a set of goals in a US context.

Health care. One substantive, 800-word minimum post about a facet of health care policy in the news (and there's always something in the news). I'll even volunteer to find a news item worthy of a Bil Browning post. :)

On health care, it would be good to cover trans-specific health care and whether they will be covered under a universal health care plan. Also, eliminating the chance for doctors, nurses and pharmacists to deny care or medicine to anyone they have a "moral objection" to.

A. J. Lopp | March 20, 2009 3:14 PM

Regarding intersex:

I often see being used "GLBTQ" the Q standing for "Questioning", and I also often see "GLBTI" with the I standing for "Inter-sexed", so ... I do think there is a sizable percentage of us that think the GLBT world should include the intersexed. There are big pluses, and a few small minuses, to this inclusion.

The Western World is so prudish, inflexible and narrow in its thinking and knowledge about sex that anything outside of the mainstream man-woman-penis-in-vagina-only-if-married tradition is something we ought to consider including in our movement (if it is something that someone has a right to do or be, and it doesn't cause harm --- this rules out obvious problem groups, such as rapists and child molesters). The average Joe on the street needs to be educated about what is true regarding inter-sexuality as much as he does about gay people, transpeople, and bisexuals.

The small minus is the fact that gay/bi/trans is usually viewed as a psychological or emotional characteristic, or as an overt behavior resulting from such a "mental" characteristic. In contrast, being inter-sexed is clearly a physical condition --- even if, in some cases, one must do an in-depth physical exam or run a genetic karyogram in order to make the physical reality apparent.

Personally, I think that we should include intersex in our movement for two reasons: it is another aspect of human sexuality that is not likely to be widely understood any time soon (God knows, abstinence-only sex ed classes will not do this subject justice!); and, each of these individual categories being a relatively small minority --- i.e., gays are about 6% to 10%, bi's are about the same or maybe more, trans are less, and intersex are much less --- it is advantageous for each small sexual minority to be willing to band together in our collective effort to educate the general world about human sexual variations, and about the fact that we exist and the true details of our being who we are.

A. J. Lopp | March 20, 2009 4:53 PM

Another totally separate question:

If the current economy causes GLBT individuals to become homeless, will they have anywhere to go? How about gay families? Will there be attempts to split them up?

Many homeless shelters are faith-based, including the Salvation Army. I've heard of gay men and lesbians being kicked out of such shelters, not for any misbehavior, but simply because they refused to "play straight." YMCA/YWCA tend to be GLBT-friendly, even with "C" in their name. Volunteers of America is secular, but are they GLBT-friendly?

Hi, Bil!

I couldn't help but notice that there is still no word about who exactly donated to the passing of Amendment 2 here in Florida. Sure, Proposition 8 has received a lot of ink lately, (as well as Cali citizens' responses to donors) but, as the third largest state in the union, don't Floridians deserve the same right to know who the haters are?

Unlike California, measures were taken to make donors' contributions anonymous, but has anyone challenged this legally to a point that we can actually get a publicized list of names and companies that contributed? I, for one, would like to know so that I may never again make the mistake of investing in/spending another dime on the products and services of those establishments.

Here's another idea... what's being done to strip churches of their tax-exempt status - particularly those "faith-based" organizations that also contribute to political causes? Which states are considering such measures? What's being done at the federal level?

The Indianapolis Star had a letter to the editor today regarding the FDA's stance on gay men donating blood. This has been an issue that really needs addressing; I don't know how many times at work they've asked for blood donors, & I have to say, "Sorry, but they don't want my blood." I think we've reached a point where this policy needs to be addressed.

Maybe not as topical as gay marriage, equal rights, Don't Ask Don't Tell...but still important for all of us, straight or GLBT.

A. J. Lopp

"I also often see "GLBTI" with the I standing for "Inter-sexed", so ... I do think there is a sizable percentage of us that think the GLBT world should include the intersexed. There are big pluses, and a few small minuses, to this inclusion."

Perhaps the GLBT should ask the intersex whether they want to be represented by the GLBT, for in the end it is the intersex that decide; it really doesn't matter what the GLBT think. The intersex, as a whole, are no more likely to be born with either sexual orientation or gender issues than any other person...why does the GLBT feel they should speak for them?

Mercedes, this is why I'm including the intersexed ---->