Tuesday, July 05, 2022

States’ Rights!

That has been one of the rallying cries of the Republican party along with all the other “anti-” legislation.

What exactly does States Rights mean?

Well it is one of those terms that are hard to pin down, some would say all the stuff not delegated in the Constitution but others people would say anything that we don’t like coming out from Washington. It is kind of like “activist judges” where any verdict don’t like is because of an activist judge.

Op-Ed: Expect the battle for civil rights to move to statehouses. LGBTQ rights are at risk
LA Times
By Andrew Reynolds
July 3, 2022


The imminent reversal of Roe vs. Wade is likely to be the first step in a campaign to rescind a raft of legal rights and protections that the Christian nationalist right in America finds objectionable.

The strategy is to turn constitutionally protected rights into political questions at the state level. In addition to state-by-state fights over abortion access, expect a battle to be waged by GOP evangelicals against LGBTQ rights state by state.

Two decades of gains in federal protections for LGBTQ Americans have largely been based on recognition of a constitutional right to privacy, a right rejected by the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe. That opinion tells us that a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court may no longer see queer Americans as worthy of equal protection under federal law.

[…]

The far-right Republican strategy will not be to invalidate gay marriage immediately but rather to diminish equality by allowing states to enshrine discrimination against queer people in areas like adoption, partner benefits, schooling and public accommodations.

Divide and conquer.

The Republicans have 23 states trifectas and in 13 other states they control at one branch of government, so by declaring that there is no Constitutionally protected right to “Privacy” they basically throwing our human rights back to the states to handle.

Republicans have already signaled that they will make schools and children the next battleground: “Don’t say gay” laws to muzzle public school teachers are sweeping the nation, and attacks on trans girls playing sports resonate with religious conservatives. Sadly, invoking the trope that LGBTQ people are pedophiles “grooming” vulnerable children works with a bloc of voters who can swamp a GOP primary.

Their gerrymandering and voting laws insure that they will also have a majority in those states (Just look at Texas, the Republicans have been in control since 1990!), so if they get the trifecta of the federal government expect to see their hate go nationally! All of sudden you will see their tune on “state rights” go out the window.

The anti-gay Christian nationalist movement is also wealthier and better organized than gay rights proponents. The strategic acumen of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a leading anti-LGBT group, makes it a much more pernicious and powerful organization than most Americans realize. The ADF effectively runs anti-trans and “don’t say gay” legislation campaigns throughout the U.S. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that the organization raises and spends millions of dollars a year supporting anti-LGBTQ mobilization in America and overseas, including drafting legislation, and providing lawyers and campaign strategy advice.

We cannot be a “one issue” community and just vote on LGBTQ+ candidates but rather stand shoulder to shoulder with abortion rights advocates, with the Black Lives Matter advocates, with the immigrant rights movement advocates, and other minorities communities.

It will not be an easy struggle, there will be bickering among us that will try to pull us apart, the Republicans will try to divide us, and the Republicans are a huge monolithic block that will whip their followers in-line. The Republicans have the billionaire oligarchs behind them while we have the workers and the ordinary people behind us.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Monday, July 04, 2022

Funeral March


On Friday the “Don’t Say Gay” went in to affect and sadly the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment were thrown out the window.

As Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law takes effect, schools roll out LGBTQ restrictions
Some school officials have been accused of warning teachers not to wear rainbow articles of clothing and to remove pictures of their same-sex spouses from their desks.
NBC News
By Matt Lavietes
June 30, 2022


As Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law — or what critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law — goes into effect Friday, some of the state’s public school districts have begun rolling out new policies to limit LGBTQ issues and identities from being discussed in the classroom.

On Tuesday night, the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.

“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”

Where to begin?

This is wrong in so many legal ways it is hard to begin.

In a NBC News opinion…

Florida's anti-gay bill is wrong. It's also unconstitutional.
The extraordinary vagueness of what critics call the "Don't Say Gay" bill could have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of LGBTQ teachers and students.
By Daniel Putnam, Furman Scholar at New York University School of Law
March 28, 2022


On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill. Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its critics, HB 1557 contains a crucial provision that may seem harmless on its face — but it undermines the fundamental free speech and due process rights of Florida teachers, students and families.

[…]

However, a moment’s reflection reveals just how vague these prohibitions are. Nowhere does HB 1557 define its operative terms: “instruction,” “on sexual orientation,” “on … gender identity,” “appropriate” or “third parties.”

For example, if a teacher who happens to be gay mentions her wife by name when describing what she did with her family over winter break, thereby expressing the fact that she’s married to a woman, does that count as “instructing” students “on sexual orientation”? What if a teacher — gay or straight — assigns a math problem that mentions that “Sally has two moms”? For that matter, if a second grader with two dads draws a picture of her family and shares it with her classmates, does that constitute a “third party” providing the verboten instruction?

[…]

The chilling effect HB 1557 could underscore the core harm it poses: the burden on the free speech rights of LGBTQ teachers and students. Over the years, courts have consistently recognized that LGBTQ students and teachers have a basic First Amendment right to express who they are without being subjected to legal sanctions.

Indeed, as far back as 1974, federal courts have recognized the right of LGBTQ students to form campus associations and organize social events. More recently, courts have recognized that the right to free speech protects the right of trans students to present as who they are in school. Furthermore, federal courts have recognized since the 1990s that the First Amendment prohibits schools from firing teachers just for mentioning in class the fact of their being gay.

Education Week had this to say,

It also claims that the Parental Rights in Education bill violates students’, teachers’, and parents’ 14th Amendment rights by violating the equal protection clause, because LGBTQ students or families will be treated differently based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

[…]

Teachers are worried about what they can or can’t teach regarding LGBTQ topics, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Students are concerned their campus groups, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, might soon be banned. And same-sex parents are worried that their children might be bullied and ostracized because of the parents’ sexual orientation.

A 17-year-old sophomore who is part of a Gay-Straight Alliance at his school, was told by his GSA advisor that she could potentially lose her job for adjusting pronouns to respect a student’s gender identity, the lawsuit said.

The same student said in the lawsuit [Equality Florida filed a lawsuit against the state] that in his creative writing class, he wrote about his sexual identity and orientation. After the law was passed, he does not know if he can continue writing about those topics.

Okay lets stop and think about the students, what message does it send to them?

For the LGBTQ+ students it sends a message that they aren’t normal, that they cannot discuss things about their lives like all the other students.

For students of LGBTQ+ parents it sends a message that their parents are somehow dirty and can’t be talked about.

For non-LGBTQ+ students it send a message that they are superior and can pick on LGBTQ+ students with impunity.

And then there is the Supreme Court… what do you think they will rule when the cases get to them?

1984 In 2022

Newspeak was proposed for the State Board of Education but the Board decided to can the proposal. A motion was made to the State Board of Education to not use the word “slavery” and instead use “forced relocation” for elementary school classes up to grade 2.

Texas board of education strikes down proposal to call slavery ‘involuntary relocation’
The Hill
By Cheyanne M. Daniels
July 1, 2022


A proposal by Texas state educators to call slavery “involuntary relocation” in second grade classes has been rejected by the State Board of Education. 

The proposal, first reported by the Texas Tribune, was introduced at the board’s June 15 meeting. Throughout the summer, the board will consider several curriculum updates to comply with lawmakers’ requirements to keep subjects that make students uncomfortable out of schools. 

Nine educators, including a professor from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, were behind the suggested language change. 

The Tribune reported the proposal was struck down by the board unanimously. 

This smacks of the authoritarian government of of George Orwell’s 1984 Newspeak

In other words, Newspeak isn’t just a set of buzzwords, but the deliberate replacement of one set of words in the language for another. The transition is still in progress in the fictional 1984, but is expected to be completed “by about the year 2050.” Students of history and linguistics will recognize that this is a ludicrously accelerated pace for the complete replacement of one vocabulary and syntax by another. (We might call Orwell’s English Socialists “accelerationsts.”) Newspeak appears not through history or social change but through the will of the Party.

The article goes on to say,

While involuntary relocation isn’t an entirely unknown term in social studies, it often “has relationships to refugees and forced displacement due to violence or ethnic cleansing,” said Neil Shanks, clinical assistant professor of middle and secondary education at Baylor University. 

In this case, Shanks added, the term appeared to be “intended to water down the issue of slavery.”

Is this an offshoot of the ban on “Critical Race Theory” a one-upmanship to CRT?

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Divide And Conquer

Some gays and lesbians stab us in the back. They have our back but it is to stab us in it and it is happening right here in Connecticut!

Gay New London and Groton politicians differ on LGBTQ rights
The Day
By David Collin
July 02. 2022


June 2022 brought one of the most consequential and worrisome Gay Pride Months of my long life.

June has traditionally been a month of celebration for the LGBTQ community, marking so much progress, at what often seemed like a dizzying pace, as the country, over a relatively short span of years, widely embraced what once seemed unthinkable: gay marriage.

It still surprises me how normal my marriage to a man now seems to appear to so many we meet.

But this year, Pride celebrations were marred by terrible violence and hate crimes. Baptist ministers in Idaho and Texas called publicly for the execution of gay people. The threats went viral.

[…]

A wealthy Connecticut contributor to prominent national gay hate crusades has pledged to support the campaign of Connecticut GOP gubernatorial contender Bob Stefanowski, an unsavory pledge the Republican candidate has not disavowed in the many months since it was disclosed.

Here in southeastern Connecticut, the Groton GOP town chairman picked up the sword of the newest Republican culture wars campaign, to marginalize and scorn transgender people, suggesting in a comment posted recently on theday.com that he is "uncomfortable" about all the "woke" behavior regarding transgender people.

The comment, incredibly, was posted by Groton GOP town Chairman John Scott, a gay man, who said he thinks gays shouldn't be lumped together any longer with transgender people in the LGBTQ community.

Et tu, Brutus?

First of all he is a Republican, a Republican that lives in a fantasy world. Just like the Log Cabin Republicans even when they were stabbed in the back by the Texas Republican party they still say they are Republicans. Just like Caitlyn Jenner when the Republicans snubbed her when he ran for governor.

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said this about Scott.

"How convenient it has become for white gay men of means to look the other way as the transgender members of our community find themselves in the crosshairs of ambitious politicians willing to persecute them in order to climb the political ladder ... All people have the right to live their lives in equal dignity, free from government overreach," he wrote.

Amen.


Differences Between LGB Democrats and Republicans in Identity and Community Connectedness
Using data from the Generations Study, this report examines the relationship between sexual minorities and political identities using five indicators that describe the relationship LGB people have with their identity and their connection with the LGBT community.
The Williams School of Law
By Llan H. Meyer and Soon Kyu Choi
October 2020


A 2020 Williams Institute report said that nearly 9 million LGBT adults are registered and eligible to vote in the 2020 general election and half of registered LGBT voters (50%) are Democrats, 15% are Republicans, 22% are Independents, and 13% identify with another party or did not know with which party they most identified.1 In this report we assess differences and similarities between sexual minority people who identified themselves as Republicans or Democrats. The U.S. Transgender Survey finds only 2% of transgender people, not included in this report, are Republicans.

Researchers and LGBT community members have seen an inherent incompatibility between LGBT identity and Republican affiliation. Nonetheless, LGBT people, like other minority groups, hold diverse beliefs and political affiliations. In order to better understand the relationship between sexual minority and political identities, we examined five indicators that describe the relationship people have with their lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) identity and their connection with the LGBT community.

[…]

Centrality of LGB Identity

Republican and Democratic LGB people differed in how they felt about their sexual identity and relationship to the LGBT community. Compared with Democratic LGB people, fewer (but still a majority) of Republican LGB people said that being LGB is a very important aspect of their life. (Figure 3)


Internalized Homophobia 

Compared with Democratic LGB people, more Republican LGB people said they would want to be completely heterosexual and that being LGB is a personal shortcoming. But similar proportions—more than a third—of LGB people of both party affiliations said they had tried to stop being attracted to same-sex partners at some point in their life (Figure 4).

That is the biggie!

Internalized homophobia. To put it bluntly they hate being gay!

Lastly how much are they connected to the LGBTQ+ community…

  • Feeling part of the community: Democrats = 72%, Republicans = 46%
  • Participating in the LGBTQ+ community: Democrats = 85%, Republicans = 60%
  • Proud of the LGBTQ+ community: Democrats = 94%, Republicans = 72%

Summary

In summary, this shows a diversity of opinions among LGB people. Although a small minority, LGB people are affiliated as Republicans. Republican and Democratic LGB people similarly perceive stigma against LGB people in their communities. But they differ in terms of their connections with LGBT communities. Our data show that Republican LGB people have a weaker connection to the LGBT community than Democratic LGB people and half as many Republican as Democratic LGB people said that it was important for them to be politically active in the LGBT community.

In other words; me before us.

And So It Begins

Alabama has began another attack on us modeled after the Supreme Court, Roe v Wade ruling.

Alabama cites abortion ruling in transgender medication case
AP News
By Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City, Utah; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas,
June 30, 2022


Days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can prohibit abortion, Alabama has seized on the decision to argue that the state should also be able to ban gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youths.

The case marks one of the first known instances in which a conservative state has tried to apply the abortion ruling to other realms, just as LGBTQ advocates and others were afraid would happen.

Critics have expressed fear that the legal reasoning behind the high court ruling could lead to a rollback of decisions involving such matters as gay marriage, birth control and parental rights.

The state is asking a federal appeals court to lift an injunction and let it enforce an Alabama law that would make it a felony to give puberty blockers or hormones to transgender minors to help affirm their gender identity.

The earliest that the case could go before the Supreme Court I would guess is the 2023 -2024 court season because the case will have to wind it way through the legal bureaucracy.

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said this is the first case he is aware of in which a state cited the abortion ruling on another issue, but added, “It won’t be the last.”

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in the majority opinion that the abortion ruling should not cast “doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the same legal reasoning should be used to reconsider high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and contraceptives.

“It is no surprise that Alabama and other extremely conservative states are going to take up that invitation as forcefully as they can,” Minter said. “Justice Thomas’ concurrence was a declaration of war on groups already under attack, and we expect the hostility to be escalated.”

If gays and lesbians say that this doesn’t affect them then read Martin Niemöller poem, this is a classic case of dividing the factions. The dominoes theory toppling one at a time.