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Posts Tagged ‘homophobia

The Values Tour

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Ok, this is going to seem as if I’m stepping from under the bullying/teen suicide umbrella.  However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not.  It’s actually bullying on a much grander scale, and it’s sanctioned.  And, it’s because of people like this that the LGBT teen suicide issue is on the front burner.

Pop quiz:  Who is Art Pope?

Art Pope is one of the most influential political money men in North Carolina and a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers.

Art Pope is a North Carolinian with lots of money.  And, he uses that money to fund Republican anti-gay groups around the country, including the two groups who are doing the grunt work for the North Carolina swing of this tour.  I do everything in my power to keep from getting political with this blog.  However, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid.  First, let me say that I live with a Republican, devoutly Christian woman whom I’ve known since high school, and she is absolutely nothing like the mean-spirited, hate-filled, narrow-minded Republican “leaders” we have running for our country’s top office today or their followers.  So, this is certainly not a condemnation or attack on all Republicans and/or Christians.  That said, this entire lot of “contenders” is a very dangerous group of people.  And, anyone who disagrees need look no further than this video.  I’ve said it here before that if any of these candidates were to happen into the White House, they would plunge our country back to the 1950s.  This trailer will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.

One candidate has boldly stated during his campaign that if he wins the presidency, he will make all existing same-sex marriages illegal.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think there are many, many more important things for a candidate to be obsessed with besides who loves whom.  Imposing ones biased views on the nation is not part of the job description of President of the United States.  I’ll stop there.  This topic gets me really heated!

There was a comment left on the facebook blog page today that, I thought, was quite telling:

…look at your country’s history. “Enough of thinkin’ everything that you’ve done is good”, just saying (in Rufus Wainwright’s words). Here in Germany a politician who makes homophobic remarks would have to step down the next day. We have a gay Foreign Minister and Berlin has a gay mayor. In the US homophobes can become governors and run for president.

Wait.  I thought we were supposed to be the “world leaders”!!!  Enough said.

Back to Art Pope.  Mr. Pope is funding what’s called the “Values Bus Tour”.  It’s an anti-gay marriage campaign, really an anti-gay campaign, that started in October and is slated to go nationwide.  Ok, for those of you chomping at the bit to scream First Amendment right at me, save it.  I’m well aware of that.  I’m not going to suggest that he needs to be stopped.  His views are dead-wrong; however, He’s entitled, under our Constitution, to his views.  And, whether I agree with them or not, he’s also entitled, under our Constitution, to voice his opinion.  I get that.  However, under that same Constitution, I get to voice my opinion:

 These are extremely dangerous people.  In fact, they are extremists.  To be sure, one of the Republican presidential candidates is PART of this “Values Bus Tour”.  AND, HE WANTS TO LEAD OUR COUNTRY!!!  It is my opinion that it’s totally okay to have your differences.  However, for a person, or a group of people, to not only believe that their opinion is THE ONLY opinion that matters but try to shove THEIR opinions down a whole nation’s throat is beyond reprehensible.  To spew hatred in the name of God will get you a ticket to Hell much faster than my being gay will get me there.  And, to that end, in accordance to the Bible that these maniacs love to wave in everyone’s faces, only God can judge me.  Therefore, if by chance you’re right that I’ll go to Hell for being gay (and, you’re NOT!), it’s NOT your place to condemn me there.  That is between me and God.  Worry about your own eternity.  I’ll stop there.

One of their members had this to say about LGBT teen suicide:

…gay teens kill themselves because they know that they’re “abnormal”.

Worse, he does “fundraising around the idea that gay kids are immoral and telling them otherwise is ‘disgusting’.”  Oh, and did I mention that they take their message of hate to Christian high schools?  What feeds the bullying that we’re seeing in schools against LGBT, or even suspected LGBT teens?  Hatred and intolerance.  And, where are they learning that from?  Keep in mind that one of the members of this group of extremists is running for the Presidency of the United States!

My whole issue, and I point I’ve raised before, is that we need to a.) keep increasing in numbers…and conviction; and, b.) speak up and be heard.  Every single voice is important.  If you look at the comments on the blog about the “Values Bus Tour”, it becomes obvious that there really ARE people in this country who agree with this type of backwards, narrow-minded thinking.  For the record, though, there were real people, back in the 60s, who vehemently opposed the Civil Rights movement, then, as well.  However, the people who opposed the oppression continued, undaunted by the oppressors.  It was a hard-fought battle.  Lives were lost.  But, in the end, it was worth it.  Well, the struggle continues.  The battle line is drawn.  To win this fight, and I wholeheartedly believe we will, we need voices, voices, and more voices.  We need people who are not afraid to stand up for what is right.

Lastly, if there’s any question as to how all of this connects to LGBT teen suicides, I’ll simply say two words: Anoka-Hennepin.


Spreading Hate

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I was working on a different story that’s pretty important, itself.  Then, this story was presented to me.  Couldn’t wait.

To understand the importance of why so many people are working so hard to change the cultural landscape of this country, and around the world!, when it comes to the LGBT community, one needs to look no further than this.  There is a 21-year-old undergrad student from Germany named Sophie Miriam Herold.  Remember that name.  She is not your friend!

Sophie’s mission in life is not only to “out” every LGBT person she can.  She’d rather see us eliminated.  Reading her menacing ramblings on her tumblr account was nauseating at best.

I am not hiding. I’m not afraid of you gay people. I will fight you as long as I can.
I know that by putting me out there I will be harassed and threatened. That is the price I have to pay for telling the truth about gay people. But I am not afraid of being physically harmed or killed. You may break my bones, but you can’t change the facts: that homosexuality is abnormal and disgusting.You are what you are and have to deal with it, like everybody else. Stop trying to pretend to be “better” than others because you consider yourself “transsexual”. You have to play your gender role, you have to do what society expects from you. If you don’t, you have to suffer from the consequences.

“Better”?  I don’t remember that ever being part of the dialogue, but you’re welcome to correct me if I’m wrong.  No.  Rather than presenting ourselves as “better”, we’ve simply, repeatedly and persistently, stated that we only want to be seen and treated as equal.  And, there’s a very good reason for that:  we are, in fact, equal.

Anyway, the sheer ignorance of her rantings goes on and on ad nauseum.  Rather than spend time repeating what she said, I think everyone needs to read it for themselves.

She’s just terribly ignorant in her views, especially as an undergrad student, and it’s a black-eye to her generation that someone as young as she would have such warped views.  Yet, there it is…right there in black and white for the world to read.

The bigger issue is that this bring to light the reality that there are a whole slew of “Sophies” in the world who have nothing better to do with their own life than to try their hardest to make other people miserable.  That’s a problem.  That’s the hurdle we must clear as we work towards acceptance and equality.  To an even greater extent, there are people who are far more influential than a 21-year-old hate monger who uses tumblr as her main forum to be concerned about.  We have a Presidential candidate promising to eliminate LGBT happiness, if elected, by reversing all same-sex marriages in this country.  We have lawmakers in several states working still to pass legislation that will essentially sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.  You get the picture, though.  They’re out there.  They’re filled with hate.  And, they’re out there in great numbers.

It goes without saying that hatred and intolerance were in play in the murder of young Trayvon Martin in Florida.

What’s most important in our ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance is that we continue increasing in numbers of people who are willing and able to let their voices be heard.  Our voices need to be strong and confident.  Our message needs to be clear and consistent.  But, the one thing that we cannot waver on is continuing to show and spread love.  In the end, love will conquer hate.  It’s the very reason I constantly spread messages of love on the facebook blog page.

Sophie is consumed with hatred.  And, she’s not alone.

Now, let’s send her an email to cheer her up.  Hey, she wants us to!!!  She put her email address right there in the madness she posted, in black-and-white.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

100 Homophobes Tweet They’d KILL Their Gay Child!!!

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Everytime it seems we’re turning a corner on some of the madness we face, something comes along to remind us that there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.  And, this one ranks right near the top of the list of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

On Monday, March 12th, trending on storify was tweets to people’s unborn children.  Tweets that vowed to KILL their unborn child if he or she turned out to be LGBT.  I don’t think it gets any worse than that.  Luckily, these tweets were picked up on by someone, and these people are being put in the spotlight.

Codie Sowders wrote:

#ToMyUnbornChild if you so much as think about being a homosexual I’ll put a bullet in your damn skull

From Daborey  Burrell comes this:

#ToMyUnbornChild if you turn out gay, I will burn you alive.

Rob Grant wrote:

#ToMyUnbornChild if your gay or retarded I will kill you.

And, this tweet from Chris Woodie:

#ToMyUnbornChild If you think gay is an option,let me know because we’ll abort you

Extremely graphic, I know.  However, I think it’s urgent that we know, and fully realize that there truly ARE people out there who, by their own admission!, would kill their own child if he or she were gay.  Worse, they said it unabashedly, as if the murdering of unwanted LGBT children was just the norm.

My first thought was “I sure hope they don’t have any other children!”  Any person who can even formulate such a thought about any human being at all, let alone their very own unborn child should, at the very least, be mandated to have every snip and tie done as to assure that they can never, ever reproduce.  This level of homophobia is reprehensible.

Here’s the danger:  this level of hatred, intolerance, and violence is precisely the accelerant that fuels the violence against the LGBT teens we’re seeing today.  And, as we’re being shown more and more every single day, the violence against LGBT teens, the bullying, is a learned behavior taught to them, in many if not most cases, by adults.  Directly or indirectly.  Imagine:  Codie Sowders has another child, or children!.  Wonderful parent in all aspects; however, the child or children knows Codie’s intolerant feeling towards gays.  And, that level of hatred would be impossible to mask despite the best efforts.  Well, what do you think the odds would be of that child, or those children, growing up to become homophobes themselves?  And, thus, the vicious cycle continues.  The bullying continues.  The LGBT teen suicide rate remains the same.  And, frightfully, if an LGBT child is born to any one of these people, the murder rate will go up as well.  By their own admission.

I’ve got a real problem with this one.  Hopefully, a lot of people have a real problem with it.  Just reading these real tweets from real “people” should be enough to get your blood up to 210 degrees.  For that other 2 degrees needed to reach boiling point, realize that there are teachers, judges, police officers, definitely politicians. priests and preachers…people from every walk of life with this level of homophobia.

It’s getting better, yes.  We still have lots of work to do.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

From the Mouths of Babes

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This is why I love Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook so much!  You don’t get this kind of story just anywhere.  One of their 360,000+ members sent in a letter that was written as a speech.  The writer?  Her 11-year old daughter, Leehem.  Leyla Hillman Farrell sent them this letter:

Hi Everyone,

My 11 year old daughter was asked by her teacher to write a speech on a particular topic that she feels very strongly about. As a straight ally, I am very proud to say that she chose gay rights, as her topic. Here is her speech. I hope this serves as a comfort in knowing that the upcoming generation (as young as 11) understand!!

It’s the letter from her 11-year-old daughter that steals the show.

Keep in mind that she’s 11-years-old.  SHE GETS IT!!!  She proves the point that hatred and intolerance are learned behaviors.  We may be “born this way”, as far as our sexual orientation is concerned; however, no one is born to hate or to be intolerant.

Hatred, and its evil twin intolerance, are behaviors that are taught to young people from other adults.  Sadly, in a lot of cases, those adults are right there in the same household and go by the names of “Mom” and “Dad”.  Or, maybe they’re learning it from listening to some of the politicians.  There’s no shortage of narrow-minded, hate-filled people calling themselves politicians these days.  OR, perhaps they even learned from Rev. Hatealot during their Sunday church services.  There’s a lot of that going on these days.  They confuse me.  I was always taught that God is love. (says so right in that same Bible)  However, the “God” they talk about is mean and hateful.  Or, is it just them…using “God” as a smoke screen for their own hatred.  As I see it, teaching hate and intolerance takes effort; however, being loving, caring, understanding, and accepting is natural.  We’re born that way.

The bright side of it is that Leehem is showing us something that I’ve been alluding to a lot:  the future is bright and in good hands.  The young ones know, as we all did at one point in our lives, that love is love.  Everybody has the equal right to love whomever he or she happens to fall in love with.  No laws to regulate it.  No Bible verse to condemn it.  No backwards, hillbilly, myopic-minded “pastor” bringing his protesting “congregation” around with handmade signs of ignorance.(sorry, Fred.  Couldn’t resist.)  Just the freedom, the God-given freedom, to love whomever we love.  It’s really just that simple.  We were born that way.

Great job, Leehem!  You’re going to be a great leader someday.  And, AWESOME job raising your daughter, Leyla.  You are obviously a wonderful person full of love and compassion, yourself.  You were obviously born that way.

Following Up on Cody Rogers, LGBT Teen Attacked at Party

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Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old LGBT man in Oklahoma, was brutally attacked last weekend at a party attended by friends and a few homophobes.  The story took off.  There was a silver lining to the story, as well.

Rather than tuck his tail and wilt under the attack, Cody rose to the occasion.  Rather than shrink back into the closet and lock the door, Cody was embolded.  He set up a facebook page to join the war against ignorance, intolerance, and violence against the LGBT community.  The page quickly took off.  As of this writing, it already has just under 10,000 members.  Most of them are well-wishers, some adding pictures along with the encouraging words.  It’s been heartwarming watching the encouragement come literally from around the world.

The most important thing to come from this travesty, however, is the fire that’s been lit under Cody Rogers.  Met head-on with what, until last weekend, was the kind of hatred and nviolence towards the LGBT community he’d only heard of or read about, Cody is now determined to spearhead a movement of change.

In the state he lives, Oklahoma, their federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect the LGBT community.  Because of that, his attacker was charged with the laughable crime of simple assault.  Such a ridiculous charge could possibly bring him a sentence of cleaning up trash along the highway for a weekend.  He couldn’t be charged with what he should’ve been charged with because, in Oklahoma, it’s apparently ok to hate members of the LGBT community, to be intolerant towards them, to commit acts of violence against them.  That has to be the case; otherwise, there would be laws on the book to protect them.  At the very least, they would’ve been included in the protection of the federal anti-discrimination laws, which would’ve made last week’s unwarranted attack a hate crime.  Instead, incredibly, they were excluded.

Cody has started a petition to get the wheels in motion that will bring about change in his state.  Remember, this is the same state that, just a month ago, a teacher was going to fail her student for the crime of writing an essay about same-sex marriage.  Thanks to your emails, letters, and phone calls!!, that teacher had a change of heart and there was a happy ending to the story.  Now, we need those same numbers, and more!, to come to Cody Roger’s aid and sign this petition!!  Before we knew there was a Cody Rogers in the world, we showed Oklahoma that there is definitely power in numbers.  I think they need a reminder.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

Oklahoma Teen Savagely Beaten in anti-Gay Attack

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There was a party.  Eighteen-year-old Cody Rogers, an LGBT teen, attended along with other of his friends.  Also at the party, however, were some violently homophobic teens.  It seems that some female attendees of the party had invited their boyfriends.  And, that’s where the trouble began.  Cody says that he could “…hear the homophobic slurs from the other room.”  When asked to leave, one of the homophobes refused.  Instead, he did what any real man would do:  He attacked the girl who, presumably, had asked him to leave.  With the girl being his friend, Cody went to her rescue.  The attack turned on him.  He was pushed to the ground by the homophobe and beaten unconscious.  Pictures reveal the severity of the attack.  It was brutal.

The attackers were charged with simple assault.  Simple assault!!!  This was a clear-cut hate crime.  The homophobic slurs came well before the “simple assault” as well as during it.  So why, then, is this classified as a “simple assault”?  Simple.  Because Oklahoma has no hate crime protection for the LGBT community.  So, as was the case with Cody, you can get the shit kicked out of you by some pea-brained homophobic woman beater, have him call you every homophobic slur he can think of while he’s committing his crime of pure hate, and the worst thing that will happen to him is he’ll get charged with simple assault.  That has to change.

It’s worth noting that Oklahoma has a lawmaker, (R) Mike Reynolds, himself an elected homophobe, has a history of attempting to pass through anti-LGBT legislation.  Just last week, his proposed bill that would’ve stripped the LGBT community of protection from discrimination was defeated.  I have no doubt he’ll attempt to re-introduce another, reworded bill that would do the same damage.  It’s what people of his mentality do.

At a time when the nation, and the world!, has the issue of bullying and anti-LGBT discrimination in the front of their collective minds, we’re reminded yet again that there’s still lots and lots of work to be done.  And, it needs to be said again that for someone as young as Cody’s attacker, a fellow teen, to be so violently homophobic, it’s obvious that the re-education has to start with the adults.  His attacker wasn’t born with that level of hatred.  No one is.

That level of hatred is taught.  It’s taught by intolerant politicians who continually attempt to legislate their own prejudices and hatred.  It’s taught by religious leaders who preach hatred and condemnation in the name of God. (perhaps, before their next sermon, they should meditate on 1 John 4:8).  It’s passed down from parents who, for whatever reason, has been immersed in intolerance and bigotry.  Make no mistake:  The cultural shift has, in fact, begun.  But, as is evident with the savage beating Cody endured, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Hats off to Cody!  He didn’t wilt under the pressure of a brutal attack, an attack brought on simply because of who he is.  Instead, he’s turning that negative event in his life into a positive.  He’s chosen to become part of the ever-growing army to fight against hatred and intolerance against people, in general, and the LGBT community in particular.  He’s launched a facebook page to help stop the brutality.  Welcome aboard, Cody.  You’re an inspiration to many.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

Religion, Homosexuality, and Suicide

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I just finished reading an entry from a fellow blogger that moved me to tears.  And, I strongly suggest that everyone reads this story.  See, religion nearly cost him his son.  Thank God he didn’t succeed.  Ironic, huh?

I promised myself from the beginning of this blogging venture that I would do my damnedest to keep religion out of this.  It’s hard.  When you see people like Michele Bachmann constantly ranting in the media against gays, (and, today’s story is a doozy!!!), it becomes increasingly harder.  People of her ilk are extremely dangerous because they’ve become so consumed with their belief and ideology that there’s no room for anything other than what they believe.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  Life is so many shades of gray.  Kept out of the limelight as this woman runs for the highest office in the entire free world is the fact that her husband runs one of those “clinics” that “cures” gays.  Where was he last week when I had a cold?  These “clinics have been known to drive people to suicide.  And, the scary part about that is that “they’re” ok with that.  In the eyes, in the heart (sic) and soul of these “believers”, if you’re gay or lesbian, you SHOULD burn. (did I say she wanted to become our President?)

I relate to this lunacy completely.  I was born into one of those 5-day-a-week church-going families.  I was also born gay.  Once my mother passed away, the rest of the family effectively died, as well.  I have a sister who lives literally 5 minutes away from where I’m sitting this very moment, and 15 minutes away from where I live.  I have not seen my mother’s daughter since Thanksgiving 1985!  All of my aunts and uncles and cousins also soundly rejected me, as well.  Orphaned.  HATED, in the name of the Lord.  I survived.

Here’s the real deal, and you’re free to agree or disagree with me.  Either way, my view here is unflappable.  Today, there are people who disguise themselves as Christians who are as dangerous to the mental and emotional well-being, not to mention safety, of members of our society as any terrorist could ever be.  When you have a pastor ordering his congregation (Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, TN) to beat a gay couple trying to enter the church; when you have Westboro Baptist Church, pastor and congregation, carrying out their mission of hatred; when you have a Presidential candidate pushing anti-gay rhetoric so fiercely that the rate of gay teen suicides in the district she represents is greatly higher than in any other part of the state, you know that we have a deep problem.  Fruitland?  Heh heh heh.

It’s okay if these people don’t “accept” me.  I couldn’t care less.  I accept me, and I know that God accepts me.  And, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs.  Supposedly, that’s one of the beauties of living in the United States of America.  Supposedly.  However, when these people start attempting to ram their beliefs down our collective throats, when these people start committing acts of violence against us, when these people start showing up at our funerals as we mourn and say goodbye to our loved ones, the line has to be definitively drawn.  Enough hatred!

The irony here is that God is love.  That’s what I was taught.  These people, disguised as Christians, are preaching exactly the opposite.  They’re spreading hatred and intolerance in the name of the Lord. (who REALLY needs to fear Judgment Day?)  I’m reminded of a quote from Gandhi:  “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike Christ.”  Amen.