S/he said: Haiti, Olympics and Maddow

Compiled by Howard Israel

"Only when it comes to the equal treatment of gays and lesbians does our country see fit to dole out rights to an oppressed minority by asking permission of the oppressing majority. After nearly two generations of a vibrant gay rights movement, Americans are somehow confused about what a 'homosexual' is, throwing already shaky polling data into disarray just at the time when the military prepares to poll its members about how they feel about gay people. Respondents in a New York Times/CBS News poll expressed significantly less support for lifting 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when asked if 'homosexuals' should be allowed to serve openly than when asked (on the same poll) if 'gay men and lesbians' should be allowed to serve openly."

- Nathaniel Frank, in his posting titled "Gay Troops and the Trouble With Polls," http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Feb. 12.

"I can't do the show as a non-gay person. I don't have that option."

- Rachel Maddow, openly lesbian MSNBC television anchor, in an interview titled "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow sharpens focus on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'," about criticism that her sexual orientation impacts her treatment of LGBT stories, http://www.WashingtonPost.com, Feb. 15.

"We seem unable to understand why our boys rebel against authority and steel themselves from the true expression of emotion, despite the obvious consequences. In part, they do it because even when it's irresponsible, even when it's antisocial and even when it's illegal, such behaviour serves to reinforce that they are 'real men.' We have made team sports the only place where 'real men' can break the gender rules and still be considered 'real men' - goal-scoring celebrations often need only a little Seventies music in the background to make them gay porn - and even there they must prove their heterosexuality by routinely being impulsively violent, sexually indiscreet or unable to express themselves beyond grunted sporting platitudes. Homophobia is literally and figuratively killing our youngsters - especially young, straight boys whose lives, relationships and aspirations are cut short as they strive to be seen as 'real men'."

- John Amaechi, psychologist, political activist and retired NBA basketball star in a column titled "Homophobia affects how teenage boys treat girls," http://www.timesonline.co.uk, Feb 16.

"Overturn Prop. 8: Throw the divorce lawyers a bone and quiet the gays. I believe in marriage between a man and woman, but I also defend the constitution which says equal rights for all. Let them be as miserable as the rest of us."

- Prince Frederic von Anhalt, candidate for governor of California, eighth husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor, self-described royalty and longtime Republican but liberal on social issues, on his support for gay marriage rights, http://www.365gay.com, Feb. 17.

"As the world celebrates the Vancouver Winter Olympics, most don't know that the Olympic Charter does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or health status. The International Rainbow Memorial Run not only launches the quadrennial Gay Games, but also helps to remind us of the relevance of our movement in a world that still makes it difficult to compete and be openly gay or lesbian."

- Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, co-presidents of the Federation of Gay Games, in an article about the Feb. 21 International Rainbow Memorial Run, the launch of Gay Games VIII, http://gaygamesblog.blogspot.com, Feb. 18.

We're on a mission to help as many people as we can with medicine, food and tents for shelter. When a country is as poor as Haiti was before the quake, even the biggest relief effort is not enough. So we're stepping up to the plate and hoping that the gay community can join us. We're not disaster aid professionals, but we just had to take action, so we simply got on a plane. After landing in the Dominican Republic we went to local medical supply stores and pharmacies and loaded up on antibiotics, prescription painkillers and other essentials from bandages to baby formula, from IV fluids to injection syringes. We crammed every inch of our big rented SUV full of supplies and every bag we had was overflowing with urgently needed drugs. We then drove all through the night to the Haitian border. There we hooked up with the Dominican navy. We loaded our all of our supplies onto a relief ship and set sail for Haiti and have been running back and forth ever since."

- Luke Montgomery and Nate Gudias, a gay couple aiding in the Haiti relief effort, http://www.CauseCommandos.com, Feb. 11.

"We found that not only did sexual orientation or serostatus affect the respondents' access to quality health care, but transgender or gender nonconforming respondents faced discrimination two to three times more frequently than LGB respondents. In nearly every category, a higher proportion of respondents who are people of color and/or low-income reported experiencing discriminatory and substandard care. Close to 33 percent of low-income transgender and gender nonconforming respondents reported being refused care because of their gender identity and almost a quarter of low-income respondents living with HIV reported being denied care."

- In a press release announcing the results of a survey titled "When Health Care Isn't Caring: Lambda Legal's Survey on Discrimination Against LGBT People and People Living with HIV," with responses from approximately 5,000 LGBT people and people living with HIV from across the country, http://www.lambdalegal.org, Feb. 4.

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