Category LGBT

LGBT Thoughts

Recently, news of Tyler Clementi’s suicide has pervaded most media. The circumstances surrounding his death, as well as his youth and promise, add to the tragedy of his unfortunate choice. We should mourn Tyler fully, use his story as a lesson, and perhaps, in the future, think before we act. It must be understood at the outset that this article is not intended to undermine this heartbreaking incident. However, the omnipresence of Tyler’s story is an opportune catalyst by which I may air a thought that has been on my mind for some time. It is simply this: gay men receive much more attention than gay women. Anyone who has friends or a computer knows about Tyler. But how many readers have heard about Carol and Laura Stutte?

The Stuttes are a lesbian couple from Vonore, TN, and their house burned down in early September 2010. An article detailing the incident appeared on wate.com, and stated that the couple believed the fire was arson – more precisely, a hate crime. This belief seems justified; the word “QUEERS” was spray-painted on their garage, and in August the couple had complained to the police of harassment from their neighbor. The article says the neighbor “threatened to kill them and burn down their house.” It was by sheer luck that no one was home that night; the couple had been too fearful to return to their property. There has been no follow-up story on the police investigation. More details on the story can be found on wate.com, but suffice it to say, this was a serious, intentional, and violent hate crime that went entirely unnoticed.

Photo by Bob Fowler/News Sentinel

To be sure I wasn’t the only person in the dark on the Stutte’s story, I typed their names into Google trends, which uses keywords to produce line graphs showing the history and frequency with which those words were searched on Google (or bar graphs showing which countries searched those terms the most, and in which languages.)  Now, allow me to give some perspective – if you type “cat banana” into the search bar, you get a fair amount of information; the first searches for “cat banana” start in late 2008 (a stressful year, I imagine) and then stop almost immediately. They do not appear again until early 2009, and those terms have been searched with relative frequency ever since – mostly within the Philippines. Type in “Tyler Clementi” to Google trends, and you will see a huge search spike in recent weeks. Type in “Carol Stutte” or “Laura Stutte” or “Carol and Laura Stutte,” and Google trends will tell you it has too little data to form a graph.

I’m happy for the attention that the LGBT community gets, no matter how it is skewed. Social change sometimes takes baby steps. However, I would hope that members within the community would take measures to rectify this obvious inequity. And then, perhaps in the future, no one will have to point out the obvious irony of unequal attention within a movement fighting for equal rights.

BY SARAH STRYKER

RESPONSE TO HUCKABEE STATEMENT

It is unfortunate that in the wake of his interview with The Perspective, Gov. Mike Huckabee has resorted to ad hominem attacks intended to cast doubt upon our credibility as a publication. This sort of desperate tactic is not surprising, however; politicians in damage-control mode often stoop to attacking the media so they might avoid being accountable for the substance of their remarks.

It is telling that nowhere in his statement did Huckabee suggest he was misquoted in the article, and rightfully so; we have the audio and transcripts to prove that everything reported is accurate.

Huckabee’s problem seems to lie more in the focus of the article, which is centered partially on LGBT issues. We feel that same-sex marriage, laws prohibiting gays and lesbians from adopting children, and ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ are legitimate policy concerns about which to question national political figures. Gov. Huckabee may disagree.

But regardless, his words speak for themselves, and it is a shame that he is now so quickly embarrassed of them.

Further, Huckabee’s claim that he defended RNC Chairman Michael Steele is simply not true.

Have a listen. (Things are a bit out of order — in the interest of getting this out there, we had to improvise.)

If you can tell what was “grossly distorted,” please let us know.

M. C. Tracey
Editor-in-Chief


Original Video– More videos at TinyPic

Huckabee Rips Steele, Romney, LGBT Activists

Calls Romney’s Healthcare Plan “Dismal Failure,” Compares Same-Sex Marriage to Incest

UPDATE: PERSPECTIVE RESPONDS TO HUCKABEE CLAIM THAT HIS VIEWS WERE ‘GROSSLY DISTORTED’ IN ARTICLE (4.13.10)

In an interview Wednesday, former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee weighed in on embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, slammed his potential 2012 presidential primary rival Mitt Romney, and reiterated strong opposition to same-sex marriage and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’

A NOTE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

By M.C. TRACEY

There is little momentum behind the New Jersey marriage equality bill, The New York Times website’s front page curiously suggested this evening. Somehow, however, they’re not seeing what I’m seeing. In reality, we have plenty of reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic. The NYT’s claim, I would therefore argue, is unsubstantiated. But unfortunately we’re now seeing it being reported throughout the state.

I’m not quite sure how this media narrative first materialized — but it’s being widely propagated. And it needs to be stopped in its tracks, lest public opinion be damned.

Let’s look at the facts:

Sen. Steve Sweeney, who was today elected senate president, made comments last week that were interpreted by one PolitickerNJ reporter to suggest that the senator wasn’t in favor of bringing the marriage equality bill to a vote. But in the original PolitickerNJ article, Sweeney was never directly quoted as saying this, and quickly issued a statement affirming that same-sex marriage is “an important social issue” and would be on the lame-duck legislative agenda.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg intervened, calling on Sweeney to reaffirm his commitment to the bill’s passage. After the initial dust had settled, though, it all seemed like much adieu about nothing. Again, from PolitickerNJ:

Update, 9:42pm — Citing a miscommunication with Sweeney, Weinberg offered this revised statement:

“I think there has been a miscommunication between Steve Sweeney and myself. I look forward to talking to him personally. It really is up to Senate President Dick Codey to make a decision about pushing this bill forward, and the Judiciary Committee Chair [state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) has informed me that he will post the bill.”

This, along with just about every other development related to the prospects of winning marriage equality in New Jersey, is excellent news. The result of today’s lobbying in Trenton was invigorating; we vastly outnumbered the opposition, who were out in full force. I was personally able to hand-deliver a letter from the TCNJ College Democrats in support of the bill to Sen. Sarlo. TV, radio, and internet ads are now going on the air. Public opinion polls show a plurality of support for same-sex marriage. Garden State Equality has spent an unbelievable amount of time and energy organizing the LGBT community and its allies for this very moment. Democratic legislators are aware that by reneging on their commitments, they will be upsetting a very large proportion of their progressive base.

Further, college students (including myself) have organized a large rally in Trenton, scheduled for Saturday, December 5.

Please come, and invite your friends and colleagues. Let me know if you’d like to become an admin on Facebook (so you can invite people). This rally will likely closely coincide with the time around when the bill will have hopefully been brought to a vote, so a visible presence at the State House is vitally important! The opposition is sure to be out in full-force again. By outnumbering them, we are achieving a valuable psychological victory. And remember, changing trends in public sentiment are often much more consequential than the timing of arcane procedural votes. Legislators, especially state legislators, are very sensitive to the demands of their constituents.

These are the facts, despite the alleged doom-and-gloom reported by certain media outlets. Things, I can say with confidence, are looking up. No doubt, we have to keep vigorously applying pressure to our legislators, many of whom are endlessly frustrating with their ambiguously tenuous statements of support — if only there were more Loretta Weinbergs. But think of how far we’ve come, and how close to achieving our goal we now are.

Let’s kick it into high gear.

Crossposted at Blue Jersey.

THE TIME FOR EQUALITY IS NOW

There are no more excuses. For those who look to the 1960s with forlorn nostalgia, wishing they could have come into political and intellectual fruition at a time of such momentous social upheaval, shake off that misplaced malaise and join the movement rapidly taking shape all around you. For those who sit idly by while your fellow students organize and actualize, turn off your monitors and turn on your minds. For those who can’t tell the difference between obstructionism and neutrality, you are the reason these provocations must be written. This is a call to action.

We are at a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle of our era, and we must take ownership over whether it succeeds or fails. As residents of New Jersey – a stone’s throw away from the state capital – we can have more of an impact than anyone else in the nation in improving the lives of our LGBT friends and relatives.

Yes, New Jersey is the battleground state in the fight for gay rights. Legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in our state is currently stalled in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and by all accounts, will come up for a vote after the gubernatorial election this November. Win or lose, Governor Jon Corzine has pledged to sign any such bill, should it reach his desk. Republican Chris Christie, the challenger, says he would veto it. Thankfully, even if he wins, we won’t have to find out if Christie is bluffing; if all goes according to plan, the bill should be passed during the lame duck session.

gay rights