John Shields

The Radar Screen: July 2009

Filed By John Shields | August 01, 2009 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, hate crimes against LGBT people

July was, without a doubt, a busy month for the LGBTQ community. We've seen some gains, as well as more than our share of losses. Below you will find just a few stories that hit the Bilerico airwaves in July.

My choices that follow (except the first one) come from the Bilerico National site, and it is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list of the important LGBTQ stories from last month. It's just what I grabbed as a cross-section of July 2009.

Tag the main Bilerico site daily, as well as the state sites, for some hard-hitting LGBTQ stories of interest. We're the comics and the op-ed pages wrapped in a nice online multimedia format.

You'll know more than you knew before, thanks to our diverse and esteemed group of national and international contributors that drill down on the LGBTQ issues that affect our community - every day. Tip of the hat to all of them.

July is toast. Welcome to August, circa 2009.

The Bilerico team won top honors from the Advocate for blogs in the country.  

To be fair, Bilerico is a little bit of everything, but as the famous expression of the feminist movement goes, the personal is political. Bilerico deploys citizen journalists and experts across the country to report back to its loyal readers each day on events and the hot topics of the day. The big-name celebrities may lend their voices to The Huffington Post, but the insightful gays blog for Bilerico.

Terrorists in Blue: Police Running Out of Control

While Americans argue about how to prosecute foreign terrorists, a mammoth irony is festering among us. We already have home-grown armed terrorists running amok in many of our cities and communities. They operate openly, not in secret "cells."

And they wear blue uniforms. Yes, "terrorist" is an accurate description for out-of-control cops who use maximum force in the course of what they insist are routine actions. Because that's what "terrorism" is -- the use of extreme force in order to intimidate and control a population."

Another Historic Meeting, Another Melanin-free Transgender Contingent

I went nuclear last year when there was a historic committee hearing on transgender issues and not one African-American transgender person was invited to participate.

The Relentless Damage of Pope Benedict XVI

It's not enough that he has set Catholicism back several decades (you should have known that was his objective when he chose the name of the last pope he could actually respect, Benedict XV, 1914-1922, who invented canon law). Having torched seminaries with his witch hunt for homosexual candidates for the priesthood, he has now turned his bloody eye on that weakest and most endangered workforce of the Roman Catholic Church, the nuns.

Another Horrific Tale of "Ex-Gay" Conversion... and How the Internet is Helping Fight Back

The request to join a new group came through my Facebook page. The group was called "Friends of Bryce", which could have been anything, but had a note attached that said "Please Help."

Massachusetts sues the Feds to overturn DOMA

Well this certainly ratchets up the discussion, eh? Massachusetts's federal lawsuit to overturn DOMA relies on a federalist argument while GLAD's case is based on equal protection claims.

The 14th Amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act

Today is the 141st anniversary of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Under the Equal Protection Clause of the amendment, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.

Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

As a legal organization litigating cases in federal and state courts, we are keenly focused on the current Senate confirmation process for Judge Sotomayor. For the future of this country on so many essential issues that mark our times and will shape our future, this nomination--President Obama's first for the U.S. Supreme Court--is critical.

The nine justices who sit on the Court play a vital constitutional role in upholding and enforcing the constitutional principles and laws upon which our democracy is based. Even a fairly cursory study of our nation's history shows that the protection of minority rights is one of those enduring principles.

Let the Episcopal Church say Amen

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to overturn a three-year moratorium on the election of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queers to the episcopate. While many LGBTQ Episcopalians and their allies are jumping for joy the battle isn't over.

First the Abortionists, Then the "Homosexuals": TheCall Declares War

Just this morning, an announcement went out from TheCall, asking its list of followers to join a national prayer-and-fasting movement aimed at "the spiritual darkness of the homosexual agenda" and the "restraining" of our "ideology." TheCall is not just another fringy extremist church group -- we need to pay serious attention to this move it's making.

Fill The Void

Sarah Palin got it right. Well, just one thing: Palin knows how to fill a void. Who else was able to upstage two solid weeks of 24/7 Michael Jackson media coverage? From the moment she announced she was resigning as Governor of Alaska, she started making new headlines all over again, giving more interviews, releasing more statements, turning the weeks after Fourth of July into Palinpalooza.

Walter Cronkite and the Player Piano. Dateline: Christmas season.

A cab left me off in front of Walter Cronkite's Upper Eastside townhouse. Fresh out of college, I had joined CBS News two years earlier as a desk assistant and had become a regular substitute for Jim McGlinchy, Cronkite's clerk on the CBS Evening News. And now I was invited to his staff Christmas party.

Senator Sessions Looking to Add "Poison Pill" Amendments to Hate Crimes Legislation

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is hoping to add three different amendments to the Matthew Shepard Act in an attempt to kill support for the expansion of hate crimes laws to protect the LGBT community.


Dear Father Tony: My partner runs around the house taking all our "gay" artwork off the walls when his parents, brothers or sisters (all of whom are over 30) come to visit and he does the same when my relatives come over. He also rips the "gay" books off our bookshelves and hides them. They all know we are gay and they know they are entering a "gay" house. I am against this and we have had some arguments about it. What do you say?

Bareback the f--k up!

Fresh off the digital pages of Will Clark's blog comes the story of International Mr. Leather President Chuck Renslow's refusal to continue including bareback vendors, videos and other bareback paraphernalia during next year's 2010 event:

Let's Call it a "Queer Quilt Across America"

In recent weeks, the gay and lesbian community has been in a serious and, at times, contentious debate about the wisdom of holding a March on Washington this October.

San Francisco files motion to intervene in Boies/Olson Prop 8 case

Can a lawyer out there tell us if this many motions to intervene is normal in a Constitutional challenge?

What Really Happened at the Repeal Prop 8 Leadership Summit

The California LGBT community is in the throes of a transformation, catalyzed by the movement for marriage equality. In addition to the important Ted Olson-David Boies challenge to Prop 8, new grassroots and institutional LGBT organizations are struggling with each other over when and how to return to the ballot box to repeal Prop 8 in a state that is issuing IOUs. Since I was apparently the only full time reporter covering the statewide LGBT Leadership Summit, I want to report back as fully as possible. My report will be published in three parts.

Anti-Gay Bombing at World Outgames and other media sources report a serious, and not unexpected, incident of anti-gay violence during the the World Outgames in Copenhagen. On July 28, according to Jim Buzinski of Outsports, "A member of the Seattle Frontrunners was injured from shrapnel when a bomb was thrown onto the track during competition. Dean Koga's right hand was injured and he required stitches after the bomb, believed to be a small incendiary device, exploded right before the start of the men's 4x200 relay at Osterbro Stadium.

DADT and the Democratic finger trap

For a discriminatory anti-gay policy that every Democratic leader has publicly denounced and called for repealing, Don't Ask, Don't Tell has some impressive staying power. Just this week Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) introduced an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would have prohibited the use of those funds for implementation of DADT -- no dollars for discharges.

A Scorcha

What is this, a summer seminar on race? Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Lou Dobbs, and the cop, the professor and the President have a beer - what a conversation the nation is having!

And that's just a few of the many issues that hit the Bilerico radar screen - in July no less~!

We may do daily and weekly roundups, but it was very cool to go through the entire national Bilerico site for the month of July - both to put the month in perspective and at the same time understand the strategies and tactics we face every day to gain equal rights for every American.

Please add some of your favorite stories to my mash-up in the comments section, and remember - the fight for LGBTQ rights continues, and Bilerico is there every step of the way.

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