“LGBT people have made great progress in Britain, especially in the last decade. But in large parts of the world, homophobic and transphobic oppression remains rife. What is happening in Jamaica is symptomatic of a much wider homophobic persecution. Around 80 countries continue to outlaw homosexuality, with penalties ranging from one year’s jail to life imprisonment. Just under half of these countries are former British colonies and current members of the Commonwealth – a community of nations supposedly committed to upholding democracy and human rights. The anti-gay laws in these Commonwealth nations were originally legislated by the British government in the nineteenth century during the period of colonial rule. They were never repealed when these nations won their independence from Britain. As well as homophobic laws, British imperalism imposed homophobic prejudice, by means of the fire and brimstone Christian fundamentalist missionaries who sought to ‘civilise’ the so-called ‘heathen’ peoples of the colonies. Some civilisation! The British conquerers instilled in these countries a homophobic hatred that lives on to this day, which is wrecking the lives of LGBT people.”
– Peter Tatchell, in a speech titled “The Global Struggle for Queer Freedom,” about homophobia and transphobia around the world, http://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com, Oct. 15.
“Mainers have heard a lot in recent weeks about the consequences of allowing same-sex couples to marry, some of it accurate, some of it not. While such debate is healthy, this question boils down to a simple point: Everyone must be treated equally under the state and U.S. Constitution. Denying civil marriage rights to same-sex couples violates that tenet. Further, extending the right of marriage to a small segment of the population that has been excluded furthers the state’s interest in promoting stable families and communities. The Maine legislation also took important steps, mirroring the state’s Human Rights Law, to respect religious freedom and traditions. No church will be compelled to perform or recognize marriages that run counter to its faith. This strikes the difficult balance of respecting religious freedom while ensuring equality. The repeal effort has been led by the Roman Catholic Diocese. Bishop Richard Malone called same-sex marriage ‘a dangerous sociological experiment.’ The fact that gay couples have existed for generations – many of them raising children – counters this argument. Worse, however, is the church’s attempt to force its views on all Maine’s residents, whether they are Catholic or not.”
– From an editorial by Bangor Daily News Staff, titled “No on Question 1,” about Maine’s ballot initiative that, if passed on Nov. 3, would repeal its new statewide marriage equality law that was passed in May, 2009, http://www.bangordailynews.com, Oct. 17. Anti-gay forces, including most prominently the Catholic Church, are spending millions of dollars attacking the new same-sex marriage law.
“You think you can pray away the gay? You can’t pray away the gay!”
– What Dr. Calliope “Callie” Torres, a character on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” yells at her father who doesn’t approve of her being a lesbian after he shows up at the hospital with a family priest, Entertainment Weekly, http://www.ew.com, Oct. 16.
“Having never been gay or a mobster, I can still tell you that it’s got to be hard, almost like a kind of triple life. The Mafia and homosexuality were not an easy mix. Still, you’d figure even mobsters would be getting with the times.
– Joseph R. Gannascoli, actor on “The Sopranos” who played a character who was killed after his fellow gangsters discovered he was gay, in an article titled “Telling Court He’s Gay, Mob Informer Crosses Line,” about a real life Mafia gunman who came out to the judge at his courtroom sentencing for murder, http://www.nytimes.com, Oct. 21.
“I feel like I’m not important, that the school is dismissing who I am as a gay student and that they don’t even care about me. All I want is to be able to be me, and to be included in the yearbook.”
– Seventeen-year-old Ceara Sturgis, openly lesbian straight-A honor student, trumpet player, goalie on the school’s soccer team and active in Students Against Destructive Decisions, in a statement, has been refused a place in the high school yearbook because she appears in her photograph wearing a tuxedo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Oct. 15. School district officials in Copiah County, Mississippi, wrote a letter to Sturgis stating that “only boys could wear tuxedos.” The Mississippi chapter of the ACLU has warned the district that they are violating Sturgis’ constitutionally protected freedom of expression and will begin legal proceedings against the district.
“The President discussed his commitment to gay and lesbian families, using as an example his invitation to allow them to roll Easter Eggs at the White House.”
– Andy Towle, on his blog titled “Obama Commits to Work for LGBT Equality, Offers No New Promises,” about President Obama’s speech to the LGBT community at the HRC Dinner, http://www.towleroad.com, Oct. 10.