Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hold up, Wait a minute, Put a little LOOOOOVE in it

My previous post about GetEQUAL was positive, as my opinion of them remains. However, I think that they may need to slow down.

Reading my school's LGBTQ constitution reminds me that many of the groups pushing for sexuality nondiscrimination aren't limited to that. GetEQUAL sent out an email today regarding the Arizona law SB 1070. Though I really have no personal experience of discrimination and I don't live in Arizona, I understand that the law sucks. But being remotely critical of Lady Gaga for not making this one of the issues she fights is.... hasty.

"We all know how supportive Lady Gaga is of LGBT issues. What's missing is her support of immigrants to America -- especially immigrant youth who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender." (from email)

Sure, ask her to make a stand, but if she doesn't, it doesn't make her inconsiderate or slighting. She just may have a different opinion.


This blog really started when a Facebook friend posted a link and praised the people in the video. I only got part of the way through it before being disgusted. Reading the article is even worse; all the sort of twisted ideas are laid out together. I have had conversations about faith with the person who posted it before. Seeing myself agree with her in my memory is strange and distant and the distance between that and who I want to be now is enormous.

On the other side, a cool moment! I certainly don't know all the details (like what the Senator's promised) but this webpage and video are interesting. Here's the associated e-mail from GetEQUAL:
Saturday was a big day for the LGBT community.

Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) participated in moderated conversations at Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of progressive online activists. As a result of pressure from the LGBT community as well as efforts within and around Netroots Nation, both Reid and Pelosi offered opening remarks that mentioned the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). They did not have to address both of these legislative items, but they did, a clear signal that we -- together -- have gotten their attention and must continue to keep up the pressure.

Speaker Pelosi dodged the question that moderator Cheryl Contee asked her about ENDA. [1] But Majority Leader Reid was unable to dodge moderator Joan McCarter's presentation of my West Point ring to him, along with a copy of the discharge papers I received this week.

Watch the video of the moment here: www.getequal.org/returnthering

In March 2009, I came out publicly as a gay man serving in the military -- last week, that statement cost me my job. Although I am now a civilian -- repealing DADT remains one of my highest priorities, but passing ENDA is also a chief way to protect the LGBT community from heinous job discrimination. Job loss from our government's policy of DADT is wrong, just as not offering equal employment protections for LGBT people is wrong -- discrimination is discrimination.

As Joan explained to Sen. Reid, I did not give the ring as a gift -- I gave it to him as a reminder of the career that DADT destroyed last week. Although that ring represents an earned symbol of my time at West Point, at this moment it means NOTHING without repeal. I have no use of a ring that reminds me of the homophobia written into our laws -- written into the laws of a country that I have fought for and that many of my friends have died for.

Across this country, LGBT people experience discrimination every day -- more lives have been impacted and more careers have been destroyed than just mine. But I'm not going to stand by without a fight...and neither is GetEQUAL.

The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is within sight, but we've got to keep Sen. Reid accountable to his promise to return my ring this year when the policy is repealed. We've also got to keep other elected officials accountable to their promises to protect the right of LGBT Americans to work without discrimination by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Join me in demanding the repeals of DADT this year: www.getequal.org/returnthering

Thank you for supporting me through what has been one of the toughest times of my life. I couldn't have done this work without the support of this community, and I look forward to the fights ahead of us.

All the best,

Lt. Dan Choi

Discharged from the U.S. Army under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Actually... no.

To the person who told me last night that I had to admit that the liberal university I attend was a morally bad place:

In person, I waited for you to back down. You didn't, so I did. Please don't confuse social tact with cowardice. The only evil I know of is that which comes from outside (Student Body President being killed, rape nearby). These things are evil, but they do not come from the university. You call free speech evil? Uncensored learning? Homosexuality?

I call the fact that I spent years praying and thinking and seeing things that are not real is disturbing. I think the fact that soldiers are using their military experiences as a venue to spread Christianity is a bit of Americanization. I think that it is supreme injustice for same-sex marriage to be banned in many places.

And really, if you are looking for something evil to protest, go no further than Westboro Baptist Church. Note the child holding a rather explicit sign at the very end of the video.
Those are evils. Free speech is not.


Joss Whedon on Humanism

Friday, July 23, 2010

I don't fly kites.

I grew up in the American south devout. Now I'm not. Simple, but comes with clutter.

I'm trying to figure how not to be an extremist but to do right. Some of my favorite- and most respected- people are devout Christians, so I'm trying to keep this anonymous, at least for now. Please, give feedback!

Noam Chomsky matter-of-factly spoke of far-right "Christian Extremists," a phrase I've never heard before.

East of Eden, Chapter 22:
"Joe was off to college...Samuel wrote to Joe, saying, 'I would be disappointed if you had not become an atheist, and I read pleasantly that you have, in your age and wisdom, accepted agnosticism the way you'd take a cookie on a full stomach. But I would ask you not to try to convert your mother. Your last letter only made her think you are not well. Your mother does not believe there are many ills uncurable by good strong soup. She puts your brave attack on the structure of our society down to a stomach ache. It worries her. Her faith is a mountain and you haven't even got a shovel yet."

P.S. I want to caulk the fissures in my life left by religion with Psychology, St. Vincent, Muse, poetry of all sorts, water balloon fights, social tact and humility, cigarettes, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Kurt Vonnegut. In that spirit:
a song.