Israeli Pride

Point:


Counterpoint:

Grenell Confirmed


The president’s moves to ban transgender service members from the military, even those who have fully transitioned, may preclude him from being seen as transformative on LGBT issues within the GOP, but the party is still changing. Even former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ardent social conservative, praised the appointment as ambassador to Germany an openly gay man who supported the fight for marriage equality. Grenell wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May 2012, “I can be proud of President Obama’s personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national-security and economic records.”

More. Via The Hill:

The fight over Richard Grenell isn’t the cause of the clearly changing sentiment within the GOP; it’s more of the fulcrum than the spark. There have long been Log Cabin Republicans, now dutifully championing the fact that one of their own will likely be the highest-ranking gay official in U.S. history. Yet now, there seems to be a larger presence of openly gay Republicans than ever before; and consistent with polling data, no one in the party really seems to mind.

Jim Nabors, RIP

Interesting that the Fox News story leads with “husband,” with relationship details below after professional info. The Hollywood Reporter mentions his “longtime partner” up front, but toward the end says that they’d been married.

Gay Progressive Loses Spot for Illinois Lt. Gov After Calling for Boycott of Israel

More from the Sun Times:

But some expressed disappointment in the decision. Clem Balanoff, who helped to run [Bernie] Sanders’ Illinois campaign, released a statement on behalf of Our Revolution Illinois citing his disappointment.

“Ald. Ramirez-Rosa was a delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election and is a leading progressive voice in the Chicago City Council,” Balanoff said in a statement. … We believe he was an excellent candidate for Lt. Governor and are saddened that his voice will be missing from Sen. Biss’ campaign.”

But Richard Goldberg, former chief of staff to [Republican] Gov. Bruce Rauner, said it was the right decision, calling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement “at its core … a political manifestation of anti-Semitism.”

As noted in the Facebook post, defending Palestinian terorisim and singling out the Jewish state as uniquely unworthy of existence is now a core progressive principle for many, wedging ever-deeper into the LGBT activist left.

More. As Mark Joseph Stern wrote last year at Slate, The LGBTQ Left Has an Anti-Semitism Problem.

Death in Chechnya

On Easter Sunday, prayers for the persecuted gays in Chechnay and throughout the world. Via the Huffington Post:

Chechen police are snaring gay men by posing as gays looking for dates on social media sites, then arresting the victims and using the contact lists on their phones to discover more closeted gays. Once in jail, forced into dark cells so small they can’t even lie down, the men are mercilessly beaten in various ways, including having to run through a gauntlet of twenty men wielding bats aimed at the victims from the waist down.

Some who survive are released to their families, a move that is usually a death sentence. Chechnya is a hotbed of Islamic honor killings, usually of young women, but of gay men as well. When gay Chechens who’ve somehow remained alive get out of jail, they are often taken by their male relatives to remote places to be killed and buried. No one even searches for them.

Good to see this tweet from a GOP senator, linking to a Washington Post story:

Of course, there also is still much of this.

More.


And if Chelsea Manning Wasn’t a Transgender Cause Celebre?

NYT: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence.

From a 35-year sentence, commuted to time served (7 years) for one of the largest breaches of diplomatic and military secrecy in American history—including thousands of classified State Department cables—carried out by an army intelligence analyst.

I just hope her sentence wasn’t reduced because she’s transgender and her cause was taken up, very vocally, by transgender and LGBT activists (perish the thought!).


A pertinent comment left at the above tweet: “Dems ok with leaking military secrets but not DNC secrets.”

More. During his December 2011 pretrial hearing, the New York Daily News reported of the defendant then known as Bradley Manning:

…his lawyers argued his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” played an important role in his actions.

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.

The paper also reported that “The Obama administration says the released information has threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America’s relations with other governments.”

While her supporters celebrate, a press release from the Log Cabin Republicans says:

Log Cabin Republicans has always condemned Manning’s actions, and consistently stood against efforts by the left to elevate Manning as a paragon of the LGBT community.

“Chelsea Manning is no hero, and the commutation of her sentence is appalling,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo stated. “Manning was not imprisoned for being transgender — in fact, the government agreed to accommodate and facilitate her transition during her well-deserved sentence; she was imprisoned for traitorous clandestine activity that put military lives at risk. Her actions — and President Obama’s clemency — are nothing to celebrate.”

Furthermore. James Kirchick writes Bradley Manning is No Gay Hero:

For centuries, gay people have served with distinction and honor in the armed forces, and it is the service of these countless veterans whom today’s gays can thank for the freedom to serve openly. Bradley Manning’s actions are fodder to those who have long argued that homosexuality naturally leads to treason; some on the far right have argued that his actions were intended as “revenge” over the military’s then-enforced anti-gay policy. It is unconscionable that gay activists, of all people, would play into these slanders.

Still more. A “potent symbol for transgender Americans.” Chase Strangio, Manning’s ACLU attorney, said that “Her story really does reflect so much of the systemic discrimination that transgender people face,” adding “She’s an incredibly thoughtful and devoted person,” and that “She’s felt a sense of responsibility to the transgender community and wanted to be someone who contributed to the fight for transgender justice.”

To which the Washington Times editorialized: “No one doubts Chelsea Manning’s feelings of ‘responsibility to the transgender community.’ It’s a pity she felt no such responsibility to her country, and to the men and women who were assigned to the battlefield to defend that country with their very lives.”

Castro’s Dead. Good

From the facebook page of libertarian movie-review site Miss Liberty’s Film & Documentary World:

Fidel Castro is dead. A great film (free online) to remember him by is “Improper Conduct,” on the subject of Castro’s gulags for gay people. He hated gays and decided to “get rid of them,” in the manner that socialists do such things.

From Foreign Policy two years ago:

“Though the Castro family is no longer sending LGBT people to labor camps as they did in the 1960s and 1970s, the only permitted LGBT movement in Cuba is the official, state-run one.”

From 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Twitter:

Michael C. Moynihan responds to Stein:

More. As Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas describes in his memoir Before Night Falls:

Homosexuals were confined to the two worst wards of El Morro: these wards were below ground at the lowest level, and water seeped into the cells at high tide. It was a sweltering place without a bathroom. Gays were not treated like human beings, they were treated like beasts. They were the last ones t come out for meals, so we saw them walk by, and the most insignificant incident was an excuse to beat them mercilessly. The soldiers guarding us, who called themselves combatientes, were army recruits sent here as a sort of punishment; they found some release for their rage by taking it out on the homosexuals. Of course, nobody called them homosexuals; they were called fairies, faggots, queers, or at beset, gays. The wards for fairies were really the last circle of hell.

And let us not fail to remember that other icon of the Cuban revolution, Che Guevara. And more here.

And yes, Donald Trump got this one right:

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” [Trump’s] statement said. “While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”

Trump added: “Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”

Syrian Refugees and the Gay Question

Via the Washington Blade:

Despite anger with three gay and bisexual U.S. House members for voting with Republicans to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States, the head of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund says the organization won’t drop support for the lawmakers in the upcoming election.

Well, that’s big of her.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who’s gay; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s bisexual, were among the 47 House Democrats who voted for the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, or H.R. 4038, which passed the Republican-controlled U.S. House last week. The bill would expand background checks on Iraqi and Syrian refugees hoping to enter the United States, but critics say the legislation would have the effect of barring them entirely.

So, the lead is actually misleading, since the measure will only “block Syrian refugees from entering the United States” if you uncritically accept the critics’ viewpoint.

Some LGBT advocates rebuked Polis, Maloney and Sinema for their “yes” votes, arguing members of the LGBT community should support another community facing persecution. Among those critics is Michelangelo Signorile, a New York-based LGBT advocate who said on his Facebook page the votes are “totally shameful” and the Victory Fund “should dump” the three lawmakers.

“Equality should be litmus test of anyone in ‘LGBT Equality Caucus’ in Congress,” Signorile said. “And realize that these individuals voted against desperate LGBT Syrian refugees — there was hope 500 of the refugee spaces would be set aside for them.”

What universe do LGBT progressives like Signorile live in that they seriously think 500 spots were going to be designated for LGBT Syrian refugees?

The debate of refugee acceptance isn’t black and white, and that’s especially true regarding disagreements about the level of scrutiny refugees should undergo. Also, polls have shown that immigrants from Muslim countries are heavily homophobic in their attitudes—that’s simply a fact, as noted here, and here, for instance.

That’s not to say the U.S. shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees, but the issue isn’t as simplistic as demagogues on both the progressive left and the anti-immigrant right are convinced it is.

More. As a coda, the Washington Post reports Gay asylum seekers face threat from fellow refugees in Europe:

What followed over the next several weeks, though, was abuse — both verbal and physical — from other refugees, including an attempt to burn Ktifan’s feet in the middle of the night. The harassment ultimately became so severe that he and two other openly gay asylum seekers were removed from the refugee center with the aid of a local gay activist group and placed in separate accommodations across town..

Our Real Enemies

The Washington Post ran an op-ed on July 13, An International War on LGBT People, by editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, that recounts how “while 25 countries and territories now allow gay marriage, 75 nations treat homosexual behavior as a crime. In 10 countries, it is punishable by death—and even where it is not, just being gay is often fatal.”

It’s an old story, as:

authoritarian governments fan hatreds to distract people from their failures and keep themselves in power. The Islamic State kills and tortures gay people—but the virulently anti-Islamist military dictators in Egypt have been persecuting gay men and lesbians as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin… turned to homophobia and “traditional values” to safeguard his grip on the Kremlin. Like dictators from Uganda to Uzbekistan, Putin defends his bigotry as a rampart against permissive “Western values.”

The Wall Street Journal had a similar op-ed on June 26, Love Among the Ruins, by the paper’s associate book review editor Bari Weiss, who took aim at the “moral relativism [that] has become its own, perverse form of nativism among those who stake their identity on being universalist and progressive,” and asked:

How else to understand those who have dedicated their lives to creating safe spaces for transgender people, yet issue no news releases about gender apartheid in an entire region of the world? How else to justify that at the gay-pride celebrations this weekend in Manhattan there is unlikely to be much mention of the gay men recently thrown off buildings in Syria and Iraq, their still-warm bodies desecrated by mobs?

She concluded, “You can’t get married if you’re dead.”

More. Last year, David Boaz noted, in Authoritarian Governments Use Old Smears to Tear Down Their Opponents, that dictators use homophobia as they previously (and often still) used antisemitism, to attack free-market capitalism that is the foundation of classical liberalism (the language gets a bit confusing because he uses “liberal” in its original, limited-government sense, not the way it’s been co-opted by the American left). Boaz wrote:

All of these epithets—homosexual, Jewish, bourgeoisie, and more recently, “American”—have been staples of illiberal rhetoric for centuries. Liberals–advocates of democracy, free speech, religious freedom, and market freedoms—have been tarred as “cosmopolitan” and somehow alien to the people, the Volk, the faithful, the fatherland, the heartland.

Furthermore. Alexander McCobin writes The gay rights battle is not over for libertarians, explaining that “There is both a need and an opportunity to help end state-sponsored discrimination against homosexuals across the globe. The US libertarians and LGBT rights movements should be involved in accomplishing such a worthy goal.”

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The West vs. The Rest

The Irish have voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage, making Ireland “the world’s first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote” which “would have been unthinkable just a few years ago in what traditionally had been a Roman Catholic stronghold,” reports the New York Times.

And from the Irish Times, Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.

 

The victory for marriage equality shows that with some remaining exceptions (hopefully soon to be remedied), same-sex marriage is or will shortly be the cultural norm in Western Europe and North America, also in New Zealand, and again hopefully, before too long in Australia, the last major English-speaking holdout (Northern Ireland also doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages).

What we shouldn’t forgot, however, is the West is different from the rest. Not only in the Islamic world, but in much of Christian Africa gay people face life-threatening persecution (South Africa is the one African nation that recognizes same-sex marriages). The lives of LGBT people are also marked by harrowing oppression in Russia and throughout most of Asia, and in much of Eastern Europe conditions range from merely bad to worse.

The struggle on behalf of LGBT rights should focus more on the world (in terms of supporting local efforts), and less on orchestrating overstated outrage to perceived slights against political correctness here at home.