I see you. I love you. I’m here for you.

Now is a really good time to support Trans Lifeline and ACLU Nationwide. I am out of patience so I won’t wax poetic about why this is so important right now in America. You should know. I shouldn’t have to explain why you should care or why this matters.

My husband said it pretty eloquently: “America is no longer a beacon of morality. We are no longer an example of functional democracy. There is a deep cultural wound that divides us, and it’s not something that can be compromised upon. There is no middle ground on civil rights. You either accept people, or you don’t.”

For all my trans friends & those brave souls who fought for a country that hasn’t fought back for them: I see you. I love you. I’m here for you. Please tell me what I can do to help. I will be RT’ing everything I can find and promoting trans voices today so hit me up on twitter.

🏳️‍🌈❤️💛💚💙💜🏳️‍🌈

Rest In Peace Harper Lee

Harper Lee

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

It is a very sad today. Harper Lee has passed away.

I, like many many people, cherished my first reading of To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a turning point in how I saw other people and empathized with them – you’re told these things as a kid but you can’t really know what it means until you experience it. This is a book that I’m happy to see on many required reading lists and it’s a book that I feel many people in seats of authority should read (and re-read). Despite being written in the 60s, this book resonates hard with today’s society. It is still (sadly) relevant with morals that are often forgotten now.

I am sad that Harper Lee has left this world, but she lived a full and good life surrounded by books and a powerful legacy that we should never let fade. In celebration of her life, read your kids her book. Teach them that kindness and fairness are important and that’s it the character of a man that is essential, not what he owns or how much money and status he has or what the color of his skin is. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

I truly hope you rest in peace, Harper Lee, knowing that your positive impact on the world will last for a very long time. Your name and your work will never be forgotten.

Humanity and the actions at UC Davis

I don’t even really know where to start on this. I used to blog politically here a lot more back in 2007 but have tried to refrain from that for several reasons now. This, however, has struck such a nerve in me that I have to say something.

Police Pepper Spray Peaceful Protestors

First, if you live under a rock (or another country) and don’t know about the incident of police brutality on the UC Davis campus, then read this and watch the videos if you can stomach them. I almost didn’t. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without working myself into such anger that I had to leave the room. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to believe something like this would happen in our day.

Why? Maybe I live in a bubble. The Occupy movement here in Austin has been dramatically more civil than in other parts of the nation. While there have been a few arrests, there’s been little to no drama, and the APD has been supportive of the safety of the protestors to the extent that they willingly stop downtown traffic to allow the protestors to parade through the streets. I think this is a direct reflection of the education system in Austin and the high acceptance and tolerance levels in our liberal Texan city. We’re lucky. Some folks, like the students and faculty at UC Davis, are not. The police man who pepper sprayed the young and old who sat on the sidewalk with their arms linked in peaceful protest did nothing but prove that peace and solidarity and the strength of community can and will win out over violence.

It makes me despair in the future of humanity, but gives me hope that there are people out there who will give their all to preserve peace.

The Despicable Actions of the Administration

This arcticle by UC Davis professor Bob Ostertag is the best article I’ve read so far about the protest and why it and the actions of the administration were so horrendous. He mentions to the health and safety hazards of pepper spray and how, days after the brutal attack, there are several students who are still sick and burned from the chemicals.

“As with chili peppers, some people tolerate pepper spray well, while others have extreme reactions. It is not known why this is the case. As a result, if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report. And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent.

Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not.”

Thank you

The Shadow was Only a Small & Passing Thing

When using your VOICE becomes a crime so heinous it “forces” officers to use violence on children, my faith in humanity dwindles. My heart breaks. And at the same time, my spirit is uplifted by the community of people, young and old, who refuse to give in, who link arms and raise their voices louder, and who, no matter how many times they are beaten and burned and kicked, refuse to act in kind and instead remain peaceful and connected in their solidarity and beliefs. They remind me that there is still beauty and hope left in humanity and they are the ones that will save us in the end. Thank you to those old souls who know the importance of never giving up for what you believe in.

0-31: Another loss for Civil Rights.

Me and My SunshineI could say it doesn’t matter. That we’ll get them next time. That this doesn’t mean anything in the long run. I could try and convince you that this was a mistake and people really don’t think this way. But I’d really just be trying to convince myself. My faith is wavering a little under these staggering statistics. 31 times gay marriage showed up on the ballot. And despite all the knocking on doors, all the blog posts, and rallies and pride events and positive media attention, all the love and support we received, 31 times, THIRTY-ONE times. We were shot down. Denied the rights that every human being should be born with. This isn’t about religion. Marriage is no longer conducted only within a church.  This isn’t about showing off wedding rings and picking out floral centerpieces. This isn’t about anybody else but us. Our rights to be with the ones we love. This is about people recognizing that as an accepted reality. This is about our government giving us the basic rights that other married couples have. It’s about commitment, and family, and dedication. It’s about sharing a bond and being able to proudly introduce a husband or wife. It’s about not being afraid. And sure, it’s about the tax benefits, and the employment benefits, and government benefits, and being able to see each other in the hospital, and buying a house together, and filing for adoption together, and being seen as a real, honest-to-goodness family, but most of all, most of all it’s about Love.

I could say that none of it really matters because Love isn’t something anyone can deny you. It won’t stop us from carrying on with our lives. It won’t cause us to break down and decide that it’s better off being straight than gay. I’m not going to run away and push my head in the sand and pretend I never liked girls. So it shouldn’t matter, right? I should just brush it off. But I can’t. It does matter. It matters to me and my girlfriend and every couple out there that is being treated like a second-class citizen. And what for? Why are we being treated with such disrespect? Like we’re not good enough to love? Because of bigotry. Because despite our freedom for and from religion, we are still being forced into a box controlled by what other people believe. We are not allowed to have our beliefs if they interfere with the majority. There always has to be sides, it seems, and our government thinks it’s fair to allow the majority to dictate how everyone should live their lives. Our country is slowly losing its identity as the Melting Pot. Conformity is the majority and if you don’t fit in that box, you’re shot down.

It does matter. Losing 31 out of 31 times matters. It’s a heavy weight on the heart. They whisper “Someday” but I’m sick of waiting for “Someday” to arrive. We deserve it now.

Me and My Sunshine

But patience is a virtue, and so is perseverance. We’ll keep fighting, keep talking, keep waving our rainbow flags in the air defiantly. We’ll hoot and holler in your face at every parade and every protest. I’ll keep living the life I’m living. I’ll keep waking up next to my girlfriend every morning and remembering every moment just why I fell in love with her. And I’ll keep questioning why. Why are we not equal? Why are we not seen as a real family? And I’ll keep looking for answers.

And I’ll keep telling myself it’s okay. We’ll get them next time.

October – GLBT History Month

I’m celebrating October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I probably should be making my blog a rainbow of gay goodness.  Why?  It’s GLBT History Month as well.

I kept meaning to blog about it earlier, but it continually slipped my mind.  I’m a horrible gay person.  Today, they’re celebrating Rosie O’Donnell, but the most influential person to me on the list of 31 icons is Melissa Etheridge.  I cannot recall a time when she wasn’t in my life somehow.  So many mornings, I woke up to her voice flooding the house, or riding in the car and listening to the many tapes my parents had.  Maybe, in an odd way, I have her to thank for having such an open family.  When I came out, it wasn’t the horrible experience that so many others have had to endure.  Even before I came out, I remember my mom telling me a story about something that happened to her and my dad at a Melissa Etheridge concert.  They were riding in an elevator and two gay boys started making out and fondling each other and my mom asked them to stop.  Of course, they both became extremely defensive and immediately thought my mom was attacking them for being gay.  It wasn’t that at all, and she was quick to inform them that she didn’t mind at all that they were gay, she just didn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with a couple, straight or gay, who couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  It was uncomfortable.  The couple apologized sheepishly but nobody could really blame them – it’s kind of instinct, you know.  The rest of the ride went smoothly.

That story was, I guess you can describe it as a security blanket, when I decided to come out to my parents.  I’m not saying Melissa Etheridge opened their eyes to the gay culture, but maybe it helped.  In any case, Melissa Etheridge isn’t just an amazing singer, she’s also a GLBT activist, AND she works well into my currently WP theme because she’s a survivor of breast cancer.  She’s an all-around influential person in my life.

In celebration of GLBT History Month – who is your most influential icon in the gay culture?  And for anyone else who might stumble upon this, who is your most influential icon in any culture?

Inclusion of GLBT Youth in Outdoor Education

I gave a speech on the Inclusion of GLBT people into Outdoor Education the other day and I thought I’d share. We’re celebrating GLBT Awareness Week on our campus now and I got to participate in a panel discussion and a lecture of GLBT History (I talked about Walt Whitman, Adrienne Rich, and a few others). Anyway, here’s the presentation I gave on Wednesday.

What do you want people to know about? What do you expect people want to know about you? What is and isn’t appropriate to say about yourself to a stranger? And what should be kept silent?

Homophobia is defined as an irrational fear and hatred of homosexuality and homosexuals. Because it is hard to decipher who is homophobic, many in the gay community choose to hide in silence rather than be subjected to his fear and hatred. But what does this silence do?

In the article, “Outdoor Education and the Reinforcement of Heterosexuality,” Annie Dignan of the University of Otago says:

“It is imperative that outdoor educators understand the silencing effect that their attitudes, demonstrated through their language and behavior, has on all participants of their groups. This behavior can include the assumption of heterosexuality and the implied validation of the heterosexual desire. I would suggest that most (if not all) outdoor programmes actively reinforce heterosexuality as the norm and homosexuality therefore as deviant. This situation forces homosexuals to remain silent for reasons of emotional and physical safety. The message this gives is that there is only one ‘right’ form of sexual desire and alternatives should be abhorred, silenced or at best tolerated and certainly not flaunted.”

Why are people silent? Is it out of fear? If so, what is there to be afraid of? The idea of fitting in often leads to conforming to certain social norms. I’m sure most kids experienced what it’s like to not fit in. What happens? Getting picked on is not pleasant. And when you don’t have the right lunch box, you might end up spending recess hiding in the library. But id doesn’t end in elementary school. Fitting in is something ingrained in our minds at a very early age. So why do some people “choose” to be deviant? Isn’t it easier and safer to be silent?

Homophobia works because of silence and a lack of understanding that not everyone is the same. Silence feeds homophobia. Fear of the unknown dates as far back as the first conscious thought. But what is homophobia really? A phobia is an irrational fear, something that is beyond the control of a person. But, according to Dignan, this insinuates that it is not the responsibility of the person to change it. This is where the term heteronormality comes in.

Heteronormality is just as it sounds. It is the reinforcement of the heterosexual norm. What has caused this conformity? Why do people want to be the same? Well, our western cultural history has made a big impact on how we view the outdoors. Our outdoor “legends” have included Paul Bunyan, Pacos Bill, Davy Crockett, Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and a whole slew of straight, white males. Does that mean that those who don’t fit into that stereotype shouldn’t participate in the environment? Sometimes it certainly feels like it.

Recent research “notes verbal and physical harassment as being the reality for a large number of school students (and staff) labeled as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Do we think for a moment that this unjust treatment would stop when they are taken into the outdoors?”

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of development in the needs of GLBT people within Outdoor Education. This is surprising, considering the large amount of attention that the community has been getting in public awareness. The political debates have been raging about equal rights in marriage, adoption, and civil unions. But the context has yet to focus on Outdoor Education. Why is this?

Yet again we are led to silence. It is hard for anyone to change perceptions if no one speaks up. There is a very inspiring article called “Sharing Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Life Experiences Face to Face” by Mary McClintock. She has some great insight on why she is an activist and why she peaks out about who she is.

“I choose to speak on panels for a number of reasons. Speaking up is a self-empowering act in a world that continually tells me I should hide and be ashamed of who I am. I speak about my experience of being a lesbian in a homophobic world because it is one way that I can break the silence about our lives.”

I have been fortunate enough to have been given the chance to sit on a couple of panel discussions. Panel discussions are one way to have your voice heard. Being a part of a speakers’ bureau is another way. Either way, sharing experiences is important to spreading awareness. They say knowledge is power. Fear is commonly caused by ignorance; when we don’t know or understand something it makes us afraid and angry. In her article, McClintock mentions an experience she had after a panel discussion in a college classroom. Two students, a sixty-year-old woman and a twenty-year-old man, came up to her and thanked her for coming to speak. What they had learned during that time had changed their perception of gays and lesbians and made them question what they had previously heard about that community.

Like McClintock, I have had a similar experience. I became friends with a man about two years ago who had had very little experience with the GLBT community. After many a conversation with him, he admitted to me that simply by knowing me, I had helped him overcome his own internal homophobia. His is now as much of an activist as I am about equal rights. Does anyone else feel they have been influential in changing someone’s mind? Do you feel you’ve made an impact in someone’s life?

We’ve touched on it some, but why is speaking up and coming out important? Why should we not remain silent? Well, for one, it spreads awareness and teaches people about differences, which fights ignorance and anger and can help everyone understand each other. Another huge reason, though, is that GLBT youth need role models.

Every child needs a role model, whether it is a family member, a teacher, or a friend. Unfortunately, not many GLBT youth will come out for fear of what the reaction will be of their peers and the adults in their lives. This is why being active in the community is important. In a 1994 report by Hetrick Martin Institute, it was found that “Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.” Not only is this because of physical and verbal abuse by others, but it is also because of the internalized homophobia that they suffer from. It is taught from an early age that heterosexuality is the norm and anything else is bad, or, in some cases, sinful. Many youth grow up to adulthood attempting to pass as a straight person, creating a very small amount of “out” role models for the next generation to rely on. In an article by Arnold H. Grossman called “Lessons from Greg Louganis,” the author points out the reason for role models:

“All youth can benefit from role models who are heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual. Non-gay role models are easily observable and offer realistic goals and behaviors for heterosexual youth; however, the same is not true for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. These youth need adults who publicly identify their sexual identities, and who demonstrate what it means to live as homosexual or bisexual persons. It is of these adults that youth can ask questions, talk about their feelings, find resources they need, and seek help in times of distress.”

I didn’t come out until I reached college because I suddenly found that I was not alone. Not only were there friends who supported me but there were also professors that I was able to identify with and find relief in. I had role models who I could open up to and for the first time I felt completely accepted for who I am. I want to be able to do that for other people too.

So what can we do to open up Outdoor Education for more people? How can programs become more inclusive to the GLBT community? When you first introduce yourself to strangers, whether in a leadership-status on a camping trip or as a student in an outdoor education classroom, the automatic assumption is that you’re straight – unless you’re wearing a Pride Conference t-shirt and have a rainbow ribbon pinned to your backpack. How can you comfortably introduce yourself without scaring off too many people before they get to know you?

Well one idea is that you just say it and get it over with and if they want to get to know you, great! If they don’t, it’s their lose. Or you could not say anything at first, let everyone feel you out, get to know the other parts of your personality, before you casually slip in that you’re an activist, or you have a girlfriend, or some other subtle hint. The answer to this is really subjective; you introduce yourself however you have comfortable. Maybe it takes awhile for people to catch on, or maybe it takes awhile for you to let them know. It’s hard to say for sure when not everyone has the same amount of security in their sexuality or the same amount of straightforwardness in their personality.

But what about in the Outdoor Education context? I know that there are some programs that say right on their brochures or applications that they welcome everyone equally. And there are some programs that are exclusive to the GLBT community (the Colorado Outward Bound Program for GLBT youth, Camp Trans, and the EcoQueers in Canada are a few that come to mind). But what are the problems with these? Sure some programs welcome all equally but that doesn’t mean the other participants will. And while having exclusive programs for the GLBT is helpful, it’s also separating the homosexuals from the heterosexuals, which doesn’t do a great deal for either side in equality.

So what does help? Grossman has a few ideas for us. One, “learn the facts about gay, lesbian, and bisexual people so as to be able to dispel myths and stereotypes about them.” Another way is to challenge those who attempt to discriminate in any way about GLBT people. Don’t just ignore put-downs and prejudice; fight it actively by talking about it out in the open. Grossman also says that creating a safe space or environment where acceptance and support is openly encouraged is highly important. Be consistent when displaying positive behavior and be an accepting role model, even if you’re just an ally. Have resources on hand to help with any questions. Creating programs that deal directly with GLBT issues is also a big step in the right direction. These programs are open to not just gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, but to all people. Grossman also says that in Outdoor Education:

“Recreation activities that focus on youth participation and empowerment, peer and leisure counseling, and cooperative games and hobbies can be effective in helping gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth and their heterosexual counterparts to learn about living in a diverse society and accepting differences.”

By not actively defying the heterosexual norm laid down by our predecessors, we cannot hope to change the idea of the outdoors being ruled by the rugged male lumberjack. Homophobia and heteronormativity need to be broken down by the voices of those who believe that this assumption is wrong. Silence is not golden in any way. Activists are needed as prominent and positive role models for GLBT youth, and there need to be more programs that address the issues of sexuality in Outdoor Education. Ignorance is the fuel for oppression. If we don’t get out there and start talking and start increasing the awareness of our differences, than that fear and hatred and anger will continue to grow.

I am going to end on a quote by an activist that goes by the name Wes: “If silence is death ignorance is the weapon, and education is our only hope.”

Yes, long. I know. Deal, it’s an important issue. Any questions? Comments? Feel free to discuss.

Big Gay Conference: Alphabet Soup 2007

From February 16th to the 18th, I was in the twin cities, Minnesota at the MLGBTA College Conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s also known as THE BIG GAY CONFERENCE! Oh and it is.

The conference was good. Went to a bunch of workshops but the only two that really hit home for me were a workshop on what the Bible really says about Homosexuality and a workshop on Opening the Closet on Parents. Both of which were incredibly powerful presentations and I’ll probably write about both subjects later on. I’ll most likely end up making these two seperate blog posts because each has a significant amount of thought and research behind them.

I went to my first gay club (though that night ended badly with me having a horrible anxiety-attack because of the amount of horny gay people crammed into one room), and went and saw an absolutely horrendous drag show that was just plain bad. I got to see my friend Erik again (I miss that kid), as well as listen to one of the best speakers I have ever heard, Robyn Ochs, talk about some important current issues. Near the end of her speech, she shared with us a quote from U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) which I would like to share here since it made both T and I tear up a little.

“If you dream of a world in which you can put your partner’s picture on your desk, then put his picture on your desk and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can walk down the street holding your partner’s hand, then hold her hand and you will live in such a world. If you dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected officials, then run for office and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your partner to the office party, even if your office is the U.S. House of Representatives,then take her to the party. I do, and now I live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep us oppressed: them and us. We are half of the equation. There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now OK to express ourselves publicly. We must make that day ourselves, by speaking out publicly — first in small numbers, then in greater numbers, until it’s simply the way things are and no one thinks twice. Never doubt that we will create this world, because, my friends, we are fortunate to live in a democracy, and in a democracy, we decide what’s possible.”

I also went to a very personally moving workshop on Anger at Anti-gay Religion, an interesting although a little disorganized workshop on what to say to people who are against homosexuality, and a way-too-early-in-the-morning workshop on Blogging for Change. The blogging one was really interesting, though there were of course technical issues and it was more a question-and-answer sort of workshop. But it was really good despite the limitations. I really hope this topic gets brought back and added to next year.

Not to mention we got to see Margaret Cho live – she was beautiful, clever, and downright hilarious. I thought that our entire row was going to fall out of their seats from laughing so hard. Our group was definitely one of the one’s screaming the most.

I bought a book called “Letter from Young Activits” filled with inspiring letters written from young people about social justice. I’m gaining a lot of inspiration for that so I hope to start writing more in my blog about important issues.

Anyway, that’s an update for now. I’d also like to say that this blog will be moving soon as I’m currently in the process of moving Amadaun.Net to a new host.

Be well.

Interesting GLBT Article about College Kids

The Stranger may be the only newspaper in Seattle, but its content can be for everyone of all sorts. It definitely makes for an interesting read.

“Wise and terrible evolutionary forces conspired for untold eons to make you queer. You hold a unique position in the evolutionary process! The transformative powers of the homosexual are unparalleled, and college is THE quintessential time for you to grasp this power with both gay hands and aim it like a laser cannon at the forces that would subdue you! It’s up to YOU, young faggot, young dyke, and nobody else! YOU must be smarter, prettier, feistier, more creative, more incisive, more gloriously depraved, more intolerant of George W. Bushes of every sort, more focused, more united, and more politically vigilant than any queers in history have ever been! Your responsibility is no less than to save the fucking world—with a three-day hangover, a boner, finals pending, and flair. It’s just the card you drew.”

In a crude way, this article is completely correct. It’s the college-age queer folk right now who are thrown in the spotlight and expected to make the greatest change. And if we want that change, we have to do something about it. Another article brings in the children factor to – which is just as equally important and worth a read.

Once again, I urge communication. I urge awareness. You can’t protect your rights and the rights of others if you hide in the closet and refuse to speak up about what you believe in. You can’t expect to make change when you step aside and pretend that you’re not apart of the fight. Every single person – every one person – needs to help in the fight. One person CAN make a difference when added to the greater scheme – and when we get a lot of one persons to join – well, change happens. We’ve seen that throughout the years.

Speak up and speak out.

After November 7th

Interesting article.

Just a thought.

Edit: That article is no longer up but it was about what could be done after the November 7th elections: you can read more about that here: Fair Wisconsin.

WI Residents Vote No! Equal Rights!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

On November 7, 2006, Wisconsin residents will be given the chance to vote on a proposed amendment to the United States constitution. The constitutional ban states:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

There are two parts to this ban. The first part focuses on the issue of same-sex marriages, and will refuse to recoginize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Not only is this against our freedom of choice, it also takes away the equal rights that homosexuals, like heteorosexuals and every other person on Earth, is born with (or should be born with). Our civil rights will be stripped.

Now this isn’t the first time a minority’s rights for marriage have been questioned. In 1964, a different, but very similar, constitutional ban was voted on in Wisconsin. This issue was for banning the marriages between black people and white people. It was an intense time before the results were made public: the final count was too close for comfort, but, thankfully, it failed with a 48 to 52 count.

In that same year, the Civil Rights Act was inacted to prohibit discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Later, in 1965, President Johnson issues Executive Order 11246, which enforces affirmative action for the first time. The ban on same-sex marriages is taking that Civil Rights Act and throwing it away. Our rights to marry who we love will no longer exist. I have heard several arguments as to why this ban is a good thing. I would like to address them here.

First, I have heard that same-sex marriages are wrong because the BIBLE says so. Now before we go any further, let me point out that THE CHURCH AND STATE ARE SUPPOSE TO BE SEPERATED FOR A REASON! Religious reasons should have nothing to do with this ban at all, and yet this is the basis for the amendment. So the bible may say a few things against homosexual relationships, but it also says you’re not allowed to wear clothes made of two different fabrics. And that if you work on Sabbath you should be stoned to death and that cutting your hair is against the will of God. And many of the stories that mention homosexual relationships at all, are looked down upon because those individuals have done something other than love someone of the same gender (should we really get into the gang rape of Sodom? This passage is often refered to as an example of homosexuality being punishable by God, but it’s really about abuse and not the sex itself).

Not everyone believes in Christianity or Cathlocism, and to use religions as a reason for homosexuals to not get married is against the amendment that gives everyone the freedom of religion and for religion.

Another argument I have heard, is that a homosexual couple cannot raise a family. Which to me is just bull. Who says? I know many gay couples who have raised wonderful children, and tons upon tons of straight couples who children are utter demons. I can’t even consider this a real reason because it’s far too reaching for me to even consider.

Another popular excuse is that it is simply not natural. And all I can really ask to that, What is natural? Is it natural to take medication for a headache? Is natural for a woman to get a breast reduction? Is it natural that human beings are killing each other in war? You answer me what you think is natural. For me, Love is natural in all forms.

The only benefit to this ban, as pointed out to last night, is that it will continue to segregate people (and is only beneficial to the people who are for segregation), and it will pull in more conservative votes. But in doing so, it will deny over a 1000 rights to couples who can no longer be safe under the legal protection of a marriage certificate.

Now, if you’re still completely against same-sex marriages, I will discuss the second part of the proposed ban:

“A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

This has nothing to do with same-sex marriages. This part of the ban has to do with everyone. This statement referrs to civil unions and domestic relationships. If a man and a woman are living together, they are able to file for a domestic relationship, which gives them many rights while not having to go through marriage yet. A domestic relationship and a civil union, when recognized, allows partners to be under the same health care or insurance and gives them more protection than just living together would.

Take this recognition away and things can get scary. There is a difference between domestic violence and battery. Domestic Violence (for example, if a boyfriend hits his girlfriend and they have a recognized domestic relationship) is given harsher punishments. An automatic restraining order is enforced and the abuser has a much better chance of jailtime, and, in some places, the abuser must pay support for medical costs or property damage to the abusee. Many courts also make the abuser attend counseling, relinquish all firearms, and attend a treatment program. Battery, on the other hand, is a crime and can include harsh punishments to the abuser, but the abusee will not receive the support and benefits as she would in a domestic violence case. Without the recognition of a civil union or domestic relationship, there will no longer be such a thing as domestic violence.

This has already been seen in states like Ohio where court judges ruled against a domestic violence case saying that the ban did not recognize the straight couples’ relationship.

If you’re against the first part of this amendment, take a look at this second. It’s banning the unions of straight couples as well. Who does this benefit? In that matter, who is hurting if they are recognized?

Equal rights are beginning to change. Whether negatively or positively, it’s up to you. On November 7, you make the decision. Vote No. Spread the world. Educate people. Many don’t know what this issue is about, and they certainly don’t know about the reprocutions of voting for a ban against equal rights. Help the world spread the word on Voting No.

In an attempt to help spread the word, I’ve made a few buttons you can use to post in your journal, on your userinfo, on your website or your blog, anywhere! Please use them wherever you want and link back to Fair Wisconsin and let the world know that you intend to Vote No.

Button One Button Two

Badge One Badge Two

Small Banner One Small Banner Two Small Banner Three

Large Banner One
Large Banner Two

Large Badge One Large Badge Two

Take whichever one you want and how many you want. It doesn’t matter. Just get the word out there. We won’t take YES for an answer!

For more information on this topic, please visit Fair Wisconsin and learn more. If you’re not from Wisconsin, post this anyway. You may have friends on your friendslist who are from this state. Everyone, regardless of where you are from, should pass this one. For everyone. Hell, if you want, just copy and paste this entry at your will (as long as you make mention of where you got it) and put it where you want.

Thanks for putting up with another one of my good causes. This is important to me. It’s important to my girlfriend. It’s important to my friends and to every single person this will effect.

Pass it on.