June Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter

Scientsits and clinicians alike have actually repathologized homosexuality by portraying gay teenagers as exceptionally vulnerable individuals living high-risk lives” Rich Savin-Williams. The New Gay Teenager. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Univ. Press, 2005.
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Two holidays are very popular in the gay community, Halloween and Pride. Pride is a much more important holiday within queer culture.

A queer Saskatchewan magazine, Perceptions, contains an interesting article “Happy Pride,” by Kelly Ries. In the article, the point is made that “pride . . . impacts on the Queer community unlike other holidays do on other groups.” Kelly Ries makes an interesting point. Pride celebrations have a unique and powerful impact on gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans-identified individuals.

Pride celebrations trace their history to one of the defining moments in queer American history. Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified community fought back against the police when they raided the Stonewall gay bar. The spontaneous protest against routine police harassment turned into a riot. The riots continued for several nights. The Stonewall protests became one of the first times highly publicized times the queer community physically fought the police.

Standing up for oneself feels empowering and affirming. According to a Wikipedia Encyclopedia article, Sylvia Rivera, a drag queen who was at Stonewall, remembers, ‘You’ve been treating us like shit all these years? Uh-uh. Now it’s our turn! . . . It was one of the greatest moments of my life.’ The results of the Stonewall protests appear to have been electric. Within about a two year period of time, Wikipedia reports there were gay rights groups in every major American city.

In the queer community, Pride became a both a celebration and a symbol of the kind of deep self-respect that refuses to be abused, put down, discriminated against, and used as a doormat. Pride parades, more than probably anything else in the gay community, is a celebration of standing up for yourself, a celebration of one’s personal worth.

Pride has less emotional baggage than other traditional North American holidays. Christmas can cause a lot of guilt. People fly across the country, or drive for days to be with family for very short period of time. Many queer-identified people strain to be polite to people who inflict pain on gay and bisexual people during the holidays. Same-sex couples might be told they cannot be a couple during the holidays. A life partner might not be welcome at home. When life partners are welcome, they might not be allowed to sleep in the same bedroom, because family might not want to be seen to be condoning same-sex relations. Hours are spent looking for the perfect gift for friends and loved-ones. There are expectations of a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. When those expectations are not met, profound disappointment can result.

Much of the year, and much of their lives many gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are not able to be open. The risk of prejudice, rejection, discrimination, verbal harassment, or physical abuse keeps many members of the queer community from being open to everybody in their lives. Pride is a time when there is no need to hide. For a few minutes during the Parade, sexual minority members feel they are in the majority. They feel surrounded by queer or queer-affirming straight people. Those adventurous souls who take part in the parade hear applause. The applause is part of a celebration of who they are. And that is empowering to all generations of GLBT people.

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Governments rarely apologize for mistakes they’ve made and for unjust policies. In an article appearing on The Bilerico Project, explains that the United States Government apologized to Dr. Frank Kameny for firing him from his job because he was gay. The apology came 52 years after Kameny was fired. After Frank Kameny was fired, he lead gay rights marches, demanding employment rights for gay people. The text of the letter of apology written to Dr. Kameny can be read on The Bilerico Project web site.

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The mayor of Moscow appears to be very homophobic. An article on the British Broadcasting Corporation web site, states Yury Luzhkov has called homosexuality satanic and says he will never allow gay rights parades in Moscow.

In Moscow, there are complaints the police have brutally put down attempts to have Pride celebrations. Gay rights protesters have been arrested. International representatives of the gay community have been detained by the police for speaking to the media at gay protests. An Associated Press video shows footage of the police arresting people at a pride rally. The BBC article “Arrests at Russian gay protests” states two West European MPs were among those arrested by the police. Anti-gay protesters are reported as having thrown eggs, and kicked and punched those in the gay rights group.

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James von Brunn, an 88 year old man was charged with the murder of a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. An Associated Press article on the Baltimore Sun internet web site describes von Brunn as a white supremacist. According to a CNN article, the murder suspect had a notebook that contained anti-Semitic and anti-Black beliefs. The CNN article indicates the notebook claims the holocaust “is a lie,” that “Obama was created by Jews,” and that “Obama does what Jew owners tell him to do.” Evidently, the notebook claims Jewish people control American money and media. A New York Times article states the FBI is pursuing civil rights and hate crimes charges against James von Brunn. The Associated Press/Baltimore Sun article says decades earlier von Brunn tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve.

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Taxation is a serious issue in the United States. Taxation, without representation, helped spark the war for independence. Gay couples pay more tax than straight couples. In some areas of the United States, gays are protesting unfair tax policies. According to Andy Birkey’s article “Gays Stage Tea Parties to Protest Actual Unfair Tax Policies” same-sex couples are not eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, deferred estate tax on inherited property, and the ability to file taxes jointly. Birkey notes that same-gender partners have to pay tax on a partner’s health-care benefits. Evidently, a queer partner’s health health-care benefits are considered to be income. “Taxation of Domestic Partner Benefits,” an article on the Human Rights Campaign web site, gives additional information. According to that article, health-care benefits for legal opposite-sex spouse and his or her children, are not taxed as income. Gay couples are treated very differently. Health-care benefits for their partners and their partner’s children are taxed. A study cited in the article states gay couples with health-care benefits paid an average of $1,069 a year more than straight couples with health-care benefits. The HRC article points out another tax burden that is only carried by gay couples. Same-sex couples are not able to use pre-tax income to pay for a partner’s health-care coverage. That means gay couples do not get the same benefit from Health Savings Accounts, or Health Reimbursement Accounts. The policy also places a higher burden on employers that provide health-care benefits for same-sex couples. The article indicates some couples pay thousands of dollars more federal income tax due to discriminatory tax laws. We gather gay couples could pay as much as 50% more federal taxes than straight couples.

Police tend to take crimes against gay people less seriously. Some American politicians are deeply homophobic. Legislators are reluctant to extend legal protections and legal benefits to gay, lesbian, and bisexual citizens. American gay couples pay more tax than straight couples. When one combines of these facts, one can easily see that gay American couples are victims of taxation without representation.

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Some children are born with genitals that are not typical for males or females. In some cases, children are born with some male and some genitals. People with such atypical genitals are intersexed. An article on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation web site, “The Third Sex,” discusses two opinions as to what should be done when intersex children are born. Some physicians advocate the parents deciding which gender the child should be and for surgery to be performed as soon as possible. Vincent Guillot, founder of an international intersex organization, feels gender assignment surgeries conducted on intersex children are ‘mulilation.’ The CBC web site features a video about intersexual people.

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Anybody with news about hate crimes or discrimination is welcome to email us.

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