S/he said: Shannan Wilber, Joe Solmonese, Kenyon Farrow

Compiled by Howard Israel

"The justice system has historically paid scant – if any – attention to the experiences of LGBT youth in the system. As a result, these adolescents are often misunderstood and mistreated by the very professionals who are responsible for protecting their rights, ensuring their safety and promoting their rehabilitation."
– Shannan Wilber, executive director of Legal Services for Children, in a press release about a groundbreaking new report titled "Hidden Injustice," which provides the first comprehensive examination of the treatment of LGBT youth in juvenile courts nationwide,, Nov. 12.

"Until all LGBT Americans get fair treatment in the workplace, we must support businesses that support us. By purchasing products from businesses that support LGBT equality, shoppers send a clear message to businesses that their support, or lack thereof, will directly impact their bottom line. From determining which car to purchase, to the right holiday gift for the kids, to everyday grocery shopping, this guide harnesses the power of equality-minded shoppers. At this moment it's critically important that businesses hear that their customers support businesses that support us."
– Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign, in a press release about HRC's "Buying for Equality 2010," an annual HRC Foundation publication comparing products, services and retail outlets, rated on businesses' treatment of LGBT employees and inclusive policies,, Nov. 23.

"It's not that I think McClurkin is a joke and shouldn't be taken seriously, or that what he says doesn't have real-life consequences. I know that the McClurkins of the world, and the families that are listening, are completely implicated in the 30 to 40 percent of homeless youth – many of whom are made homeless by parents who kick them out and most of whom are black – who identify as LGBT. We know that black gay youth who come from supportive and affirming families and communities are less likely to contract HIV. We know that due to employment discrimination, 25 percent of LGBT youth do not have health insurance, and yet many LGBT organizations were slow to move on advocating for health care reform. In the end, self-hating homophobes like McClurkin will be around for a long time. And he will sell snake oil promises in the guise of redemption as long as there are fools who will buy it. But his words would have a lot less power if we organized around the conditions that drive the disparities that black LGBT youth face."
– Kenyon Farrow, in his blog titled "Donnie McClurkin's homophobic rants distract from bigger issues," about Donnie McClurkin, a homophobic and misogynist "ex-gay" preacher, who ranted against the "evils" of gay sex and non-normative gender identity at a recent Church of God in Christ Youth Conference,, Nov. 24.

"My deep concern is for those young people and for their families who have now been driven deeper into the closet by experiences like this. The closet is a dangerous place, where theological and physical self-abuse runs rampant. These young people love the church and feel the only place they can go is underground. I am encouraging these young people to find their voices and not run to the shadows to live in fear like my generation has. Watch the signs – change is possible. God is greater than any denomination and bigger than the narrow theologies that seek to hold us hostage. I am excited about our future and I am determined to let folks know that there are safe places to land."
– Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of LGBT inclusive City of Refuge Ministry, in a Facebook response to Pastor Donnie McClurkin's vicious hate speech at a recent Church of God in Christ Youth Conference,, Nov. 12.

"There was a deeper-seated rawness, a sense that we are doomed to lose these battles over and over again. The thought of LGBT seniors living with the fear that they may never see full equality in their lifetimes is profoundly dispiriting. Without for one moment discounting that burden, it is vital to recognize that we have opportunities to win. The losses in California and Maine, coming after millions of dollars and the dedication of countless activists, are hard to live with, but we used to lose these referendums by 10 or 20 or 30 points. A four or five-point margin, hard as it is to accept, is progress."
– Paul Schindler, in a column titled "No Time For Retreat," after voters repealed Maine's same sex marriage law, looking forward to the possibility of marriage equality in New York and New Jersey,, Nov. 11.

"Deviants Online will explore the ever-changing 'best practices' for social media: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, blogging, e-mail, Web sites and everything else. How can we shine spotlights on what we care about without annoying our friends? What are smart ways to strengthen our relationships and broaden our networks? And how exactly do we get our (many) personal sides to co-exist with our professional life on the same Internet? As queers, sex nerds, artists, deviants, geeks and creative folks who dance to the beat of their own drum … our lives depend heavily on our friends and extended communities. Whether we're looking for work opportunities, an audience, or an army of allies, we can all benefit from having a broader network built on trust and appreciation."
– In an announcement titled "There's an 'Everybody' here," about a discussion series called "Deviants Online," to be held at the Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco, hosted by blogger Sarah Dopp,, Nov. 17.

Topics: Opinions