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Okay, so it seems that “summer hiatus” became an “indefinite hiatus.” But, if you’ve done what I’ve said and you ‘follow’ WideRights on Twitter and ‘like’ WideRights on Facebook, you know that I am not dead and that I still actively follow this subject, provide commentary when I feel like it, and love engaging in discussions about it.
As far as writing new content for this blog, studying for and taking the bar exam was a completely justifiable excuse to put anything substantive on hold. But that time has come and gone. (I passed and am now a real, grown-up attorney for the Columbus Blue Jackets!)
The reasons I haven’t continued to write—since being done with the exam—are several, but most of all, I felt like I ran out of things to say. All the topics started to become repetitive: “Ally does something awesome!” “Random athlete comes out!” “Homophobe does something bigoted and idiotic!”
Of course, sharing those stories is important; the progress and growth for LGBT awareness and discussion is sport is absolutely awesome. Chris Kluwe shot onto the scene as a major ally. You Can Play continues to do wonderful things in sports. Several athletes have come out. Even with those developments I felt that Facebook and Twitter do a better job for sharing those stories.
I always wanted this blog to be more than just a collection of news stories. I wanted to add a certain perspective to them. The academic rigors of law school blended well with that goal. During that time in school, I was more inquisitive and felt more of a need to inject an intellectual perspective to things.
But again, you can only comment on a new ally, new homophobic, or new out athlete in so many ways. When it felt like I had a cookie-cutter blog ready for any new development, I knew I’d taken the blog as far as I wanted it to go.
I’ve considered expanding on what I’ve done with the blog, perhaps to provide more and different content and resources. But right now, I’m focused on other things. I’m focused on making the most of the fortunate opportunity I have to work for a professional sports organization. I’m focused on learning as a new attorney, building networks within the community, and discussing these topics on an internal and local level.
So why now? I mean, after all, I have considered writing this post for a while. Well, since you asked, it’s because I have done some writing recently for another publication and want to share it!
In anticipation of “An Evening with Chris Kluwe”—Monday, April 8, 5pm, at the Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom at the Ohio Union [Facebook Event Page], I was given the opportunity to interview him. While I’m quite an amateur at interviewing (and holy cow did it show in the recorded phone call), I really wanted the chance. I think the feature turned out great, and you can read it here, published for Outlook Columbus.
Not sure when I’ll update this mess again. I may tweak this web page a bit to make it look more like an official blog archive while also featuring Twitter and Facebook updates so you know I’m still alive and active.
Yesterday and today at 12:01 a.m. showcased two significant points for the history of the LGBT community: (1) yesterday, Chaz Bono competed as a proud and open transgender man on the ABC hit show, “Dancing with the Stars” [video posted below] and (2) at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the repeal of the discriminatory law “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” became effective, allowing full and open service for gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the armed forces.
If following numerous LGBT news outlets and bloggers on Twitter is any indication, the outpouring of support from the LGBT community of Chaz Bono has been incredible. The number of #TeamChaz and #ProBono—I especially like that one—hashtags that have popped up, as well those passing along the information to vote for Chaz, has been overwhelming.
That the entire LGBT community is behind Chaz is especially significant with openly gay contestant Carson Kressley—most known for his role in the show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”—also in the competition. Understandably, and I agree entirely, the LGBT community recognizes that the success of Chaz in the competition—and the increased visibility for the transgender community and the discussions in the media that will follow—is more important than the success of an openly gay contestant.
Watch Chaz’s performance here:
Just a few hours after Chaz’s performance aired, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell became effective. In recognizing and celebrating the repeal, the Army’s repeal letter, filled will supporting and affirming language, was passed around the internet. The story of a Navy officer marrying his partner of 11 years just after midnight became well-known, and the video of a service member coming out live was shared on YouTube. The Advocate announced that it is “Time to Celebrate!” and listed events planned around the country.
With repeal of DADT, universities backed away from varying stances in opposition of military presence. Harvard and Yale both decided to reinstate their ROTC programs. Vermont Law School decided to allow military recruiters on campus.
Allowing the military to have full access to the campuses as a reward for repealing DADT sends the message that full and open service for the LGB community is alone satisfactory. Unfortunately, this leaves the transgender community behind and forced to remain in the closet (presenting as the gender matching their biological sex at birth rather than their true gender identity).
This bothers me. It splinters the community. While the LGB are happily celebrating, there is no less incentive or motivation (or even leverage) to seek the same equality and open service for the transgender community.
Several countries (Spain, New Zealand, and some others) already allow open service and support the transgender community. As far as I know, despite the typical fears announced by those opposed to the LGBT community, integration of the transgender communities in these militaries has been without incident.
All I ask, is that in this time of celebrating the repeal of DADT, we do not forget the discrimination that continues against the transgender community. We much continue to fight for their right to serve openly and proudly for this country.
A Facebook group was set up to recognize the continued discrimination, in light of repeal, calling today “a bittersweet day.” I encourage you to “attend” the event and honor their request to recognize the continued discrimination with a moment of silence as you celebrate the great news of DADT repeal.
Go Chaz! And let’s keep fighting for the equality of all under the broad LGBT (and all other letters) community.
This morning, from 10:00am to 10:30am, the Westboro Baptist Church was scheduled to protest at the Ohio State University student union building. From their infamous website godhatesfags.com, they gave this reason: “These college students spend more time pursuing their drunken sins than their academic studies. Their professors happily teach them the ubiquitous lie that “it’s OK to be gay” and its [sic] just fine to flip off God and mock His servants.”
I happily donned my purple Legalize Gay t-shirt to join an expected throng of counter protesters. As I walked towards the student union, I came upon the scene at the corner of High Street and 11th, right next to the law school building.
I can see the lunatic WBC leader, Maggie Phelps, but where were all the counter protesters? There were a few intermingled within the WBC gang, but the Facebook event showed 1800 attending and another 2348 maybes!
It only took a few minutes for the phalanx of funny sign-carrying counter protesters who had congregated at the student union building (the schedule destination) to be re-routed a few blocks south to overwhelm the WBC.
While the WBC tried to seduce our gay-minded mentalities with a cheesy rip-off of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” (video), only substituting lyrics of hate, the small group of intolerant whackos were no match for the congregation of love-promoting OSU students. It felt good to be in the majority.
There’s a powerful scene in the movie “Milk”, where Harvey Milk thanks the opposition, because opposition unites. That message was echoed recently by gay-rights activist Cleve Jones, thanking the Mormon church for bringing the community closer together after Prop 8.
With that same thought, I can do nothing but thank WBC for bring us together today. For the fifty or so cars and pedestrians that passed by their demonstration, hundreds of young adults came together in unison preaching love and tolerance.
The message was clear: our future is bright.
I took a final video of the crowd chanting, “Hey, hey! Go home! These homophobes have got to go!” as WBC packed up their belongings and headed to their next destination for the day (where they will inevitably be met by another several hundred counter protesters).
Oh, and the award for the best costume-plus-sign combination has to go to this lady rocking a Boba Fett mask and a sign that read: “God Hates Trekkies”.
(Click on the image, or any other in this post, to see the entire set of photos I took.)
When times get very busy in my life (example: this semester), at the very least, I will continue to post articles that I find interesting or significant on the Wide Rights Facebook page. While I’d love to be able to give a full blog’s worth of commentary on some of these stories, the few lines I can offer on Facebook are the sometimes the most I can muster. And if you’re more of the Twitter social-media type, all the posts forward to Twitter.com/WideRights.
Here’s a quick example of some recent stories with the quick description / commentary I provide:
- Keeping The Faith – ESPN Video – ESPN Very interesting ESPN segment, “Keeping the Faith,” about the two Abdullah brothers who fasted during training camps because of the timing of Ramadan this year. Great response by one of them on the risk he could be taking: “I’ve fasted every year; I’ve been cut three times. I will never blame it on fasting during the… month of Ramadan.” I love that level of conviction (and stories like this).
- Springfield Cathedral High School athletic director Christine Judd loses job after same-sex marriage Athletic Director loses job at Catholic high school after her same-sex marriage. “I was given a choice of termination or resignation.” While gay marriage may be contrary to the edicts of the church, do you think the school forces out anyone who uses birth control, has an abortion, gets divorced, etc.? Typical religious hypocrisy.
- More Athletes Going NOH8 | Blog More Athletes supporting the NOH8 campaign! Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis and figure skater Michael Kuluva. #NOH8
- Openly gay character debuts in Archie Comics – Entertainment – The Arts – TODAYshow.com The long-awaited debut of the gay character in Archie comics is this week!
- Just got word from someone who attended the GSWS Volunteer Appreciation Party….. the series raised $11,000 (!!!) for Camp Sunrise and the Columbus Aids Task Force!!
The Gay Softball World Series was in Columbus from August 16 to 21, featuring over 140 teams from across North American, somewhere around 4,000 players, and a volunteer presence in the hundreds.
As biased as I may be being from the host town, I must say, the tournament was organized and executed phenomenally. While I heard it through the grapevine, word on the street was that the board members of NAGAAA – the national governing organization – considered this year’s tournament the best in the history of the event. Also, the director of the Berliner softball complex, where the event was held, considered it the most organized event he had seen.
The volunteer contribution by the city of Columbus was commendable. And while that is tooting my own horn, I have to salute all the other volunteers. The sea of orange volunteer shirts was evident at every event: both social and at the fields. We were friendly, we were helpful, and we made the even run as successful as it did.
The city was well integrated in the event with the Mayor speaking at the opening ceremonies and the city’s most traversed road, High Street, closed for a block party. In doing such a good job, I can only hope to see the tournament come back to Columbus in the next 5 years.
With my final words, I’ll direct your attention to some media from the event. I uploaded the final 9 photos I took from the closing block party to this Facebook album. I wasn’t there to see the feature performer, Grammy and Tony award winning artist, Jennifer Holliday, but this video on YouTube shows off her diva vocal ability and pans through the crowd so you can see the well-attended block party.
I also created a video from the footage I took at the gameplay on Complex D on August 21. The YouTube video below compressed the file a bit and lowered the quality more than I’d like. If you’d like to see a high quality version, you can download it here (115 mb).