Tag Archives: LGBT

Pride causes stir

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Pride has shown itself in Princeton in a manner – depending on your point of view – that presents a positive or a negative image for a rapidly growing Collin County community.

The term “pride” refers to gay pride and a movement among those to declare one’s pride in their sexual orientation. Princeton was the site of its first LGBTQ+Pride celebration on June 26 … and organizers intend for it to be the start of an annual event.

It caused more than a little bit of an uproar in the community, according to Mayor Brianna Chacon and those on both sides of the divide over the manner in which the event took place.

It occurred at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Princeton. Chacon said it was “not a city-sponsored event.” It was attended by slightly more than 200 people who came in the name of gay pride. There were the usual food and drink vendors found at such community events. There also was an array of entertainment – namely a show featuring “drag queens” — that some folks found offensive; others said it was no big deal to put on a drag show.

The Princeton City Council amended an ordinance at its July 12 meeting that tightens the permit process for staging community events. According to Chacon, the city previously did not require a permit for a non-profit organization, such as the one that staged the LGBT+Pride event. Now it does. The amended ordinance would subject all groups to the permit process, including non-profits.

Critics of the pride event say the amended ordinance doesn’t go far enough in establishing who can apply for a permit. They told council members that the city should be able to ban certain groups from staging events in public places. Those who stand with the gay pride movement have suggested the city acted in response to the criticism it got from social conservatives. Chacon denies the accusation that the city was responding to LGBT+Pride critics. “We were considering changes in our permit ordinance before the event took place,” Chacon said.

Charlise Lee, a Princeton resident and a co-founder of the non-profit organization that staged the event, said the enactment of ordinance “seems like a huge coincidence” coming as it did after the protests emerged from the pride event.

Chacon considers herself an “LGBT advocate” and denies any attempt on the part of the City Council to get back at the pride event organizers by amending an ordinance covering public events; the council voted unanimously to approve the new rules.

“The previous ordinance was too vague,” she said. “It consisted of just six pages. Now everyone needs a permit issued by the city” for gatherings in publicly owned places, such as Veterans Park, she said.

The non-profit that staged the event, PTX Diverse, disputes the criticism leveled at the celebration. The drag show was not “lewd” or “obscene,” as some have contended, they say.

Lee co-founded PTX Diverse, and said the drag queen show bore no resemblance to the criticism that some have leveled against it. She said the entertainers were “fully covered,” some with “nude-colored leggings,” which she described as an “illusion.” Lee, a 36-year-old mother of eight children, said she has seen “more sexualized activity at a high school football game.”

Lee said she and her husband moved to Princeton a couple of years ago from Dallas. She added that one of her children, 16-year-old Brandyn, has come out as “pansexual,” which she described as someone who is attracted to both men and women. She said her son has a “trans boyfriend” who is in the process of transitioning from female to male.

The Princeton Herald reported in its July 15 edition that some residents were offended by what they understood occurred at the park. According to the Herald: “Princeton ISD board member Cyndi Darland said she was out of town when the event occurred, but she did watch a video of it and began a petition to prohibit lewd behavior in public. ‘I saw several alarming things,’ Darland said. ‘You have to be 21 in Las Vegas to go to something like this.’”

Lee said PTX Diverse intends to stage a LGBTQ+Pride event next June 26, but likely will move it to the site of the former World War II POW Camp next to J.M. Caldwell Municipal Park.

Lee said she and fellow PTX Diverse founders – John and Brandy Kusterbeck, also of Princeton – formed the organization to “educate people on the needs of those who seek acceptance for being who they are.” PTX Diverse has a Facebook page that Lee said currently has 561 followers, which she considers to be a sign of growing acceptance of the message that PTX Diverse seeks to deliver.

She said next year’s pride event will be “bigger and better” than the first-ever event that occurred this past month. Lee said that as a non-profit, PTX Diverse is seeking money to help pay expenses associated with future events. One of those expenses involves paying for off-duty police officers to provide protection. The amended ordinance, which is still to be written, would allow for non-profits such as PTX Diverse to pay for police protection.

Lee also said she plans to enact rules for future pride events that require entertainers to avoid the “perception” that some might have that they are engaging in what critics describe as “lewd behavior.”

Lee also said she intends to “hold Brianna (Chacon) to her word that she is an ‘advocate’” for LGBT rights. “We are going to send teams out there to counsel these kids,” Lee said. “They need someone to talk to.”

Note: This blog was published initially on KETR.org.

LGBT bill needs to pass

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As someone who believes a person’s sexual orientation is delivered at birth, I am perplexed — no surprise here — at Republican opposition to a bill that grants gay people protection against losing their job because of who they love.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT Americans. It faces an uphill climb in the Senate because Senate Republicans believe it infringes on their religious freedom.

Oh, my.

I keep asking myself when I hear this argument: What part of the term “secular document” do these folks not comprehend? Yes, the U.S. Constitution is a secular document drafted by smart men who sought to keep religion out of the nation’s governing framework. Now, I know that they also granted us all religious liberty, that we are free to worship — or not worship — as we please.

The founders also wrote into the Constitution a clause that grants “equal protection under the law” for every single American. It makes no distinction among Americans’ sexual orientation.

This is a sticky issue. I am acutely aware of the toes it steps on.

BBC reports: The act would also federally codify into law the 2020 June Supreme Court ruling that said employers who fire workers for being gay or transgender are violating civil rights law.

Advocates for the act have argued that the current “patchwork” of state anti-discrimination laws does not provide enough comprehensive protection, and leaves many LGBT individuals at risk.

More from the BBC: Before the vote, the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank said the act “would make mainstream beliefs about marriage, biological facts about sex differences, and many sincerely held beliefs punishable under the law.”

US House passes bill protecting LGBT rights (msn.com)

I have sought to make this case before, but I’ll try once again. The U.S. Constitution governs a nation founded by individuals who sought to live free of ham-handed religious dogma.

Civil rights legislation approved repeatedly over the years and affirmed by the Supreme Court has sought to ensure that all Americans enjoy the same freedom from discrimination. Shouldn’t that include LGBT Americans, too? Of course it should!

SCOTUS upholds LGBT protection! Wow!

What in the world is Donald J. Trump going to say about this ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court?

The court ruled today that protections written into the 1964 Civil Rights Act protect gay and transgender Americans from employment discrimination … meaning they cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation.

What is arguably the most astonishing aspect of this 6-3 ruling is that the majority opinion is authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of Trump’s two appointees to the highest court in the land.

Previous federal judicial rulings that have gone against Trump’s wishes have resulted in snarky comments from POTUS about “so-called judges.” I doubt he’ll say such a thing about Justice Gorsuch. Still, this ruling is a big … deal.

According to NBC NewsThe rulings were victories for Gerald Bostock, who was fired from a county job in Georgia after he joined a gay softball team, and the relatives of Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who was fired after he told a female client not to worry about being strapped tightly to him during a jump, because he was “100 percent gay.” Zarda died before the case reached the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration had urged the court to rule that Title VII does not cover cases like those, in a reversal from the position the government took during the Obama administration.

Twenty-one states have laws protecting Americans against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The ruling today now imposes federal law on all states, meaning that no one can be fired because they happen to be gay, bisexual or transgender.

Indeed, the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause does stipulate that all citizens deserve to be protected under the law. Justice Gorsuch’s ruling recognizes that fundamental tenet.

What’s more, it goes to show us all that once more in graphic fashion that presidents might not always get the kind of court rulings they desire when they select men and women for these lifetime jobs as federal judges.

This is an outstanding decision by the Supreme Court.

POTUS fills judicial post with an inferior choice

Mary Lou Robinson once was hailed as the role model for judicial excellence during her time as the presiding judge of the Northern District of Texas.

Judge Robinson — who was appointed to the newly created judgeship in 1980 by President Carter — died earlier this year, giving Donald Trump a chance to fill her spot on the federal bench with his own pick. Who does he choose? A fellow named Matthew Kacsmaryk, who has elicited alarm among LGBT activists and other civil libertarians because of his decidedly anti-gay track record while working for right-wing think tanks and assorted political organizations.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Kacsmaryk to the post in a virtually partisan vote; one Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, broke party ranks to join Senate Democrats in opposing Kacsmaryk.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the lowering of judicial standards in one of our nation’s courts.

Kacsmaryk’s writings and advocacy against gay rights and his comments about transgender children are cause for alarm. Indeed, one did not hear a hint of that kind of judicial philosophy about the woman he is succeeding in that court.

According to NBC NewsMara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, slammed the appointment.

“Transgender youth and their families are facing a crisis in this country, and they cannot afford an unqualified and clearly biased nominee like Matthew Kacsmaryk,” Keisling said in a statement shared with NBC News. “Our country needs fair-minded judges free of irrational prejudices against marginalized people.”

I interviewed many state and county judicial candidates during my years in the Texas Panhandle and almost all of them would cite the late Judge Robinson as their role model for judicial temperament, knowledge of the law and fairness from the bench.

Will the new judge elicit that kind of praise? Hah!

Stop the gay love-incest connection

incest

Here it comes, folks.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage are beginning to lick their chops over the story of a New Mexico mother and son who’ve entered into a love affair.

Monica Mares is 36; her son Caleb Peterson is 19. She gave her son up for adoption when he was a baby. Now they’ve reconnected, only the love they express for each other is, um, a different kind of love.

It’s not a mother-son love. It’s of the extremely intimate variety.

The law calls it incest. It’s also illegal under New Mexico statutes.

http://q13fox.com/2016/08/09/mother-and-son-in-love-face-jail-time-for-incestuous-relationship/

There’s actually a new name for it now: genetic sexual attraction. Mom and son, though, both face potential prison time if they’re convicted of incest, given that her son is now an adult and is supposedly capable of making his own decisions.

Well, folks, Caleb Peterson has made a really bad one here. So has his mother.

Is there any symmetry between what’s happening in Clovis, N.M., with this “odd couple” and what happens all over the world when people of the same gender are attracted to each other?

Not one bit.

The only possible link would be if a father had a sexual relationship with his son, or a mother with her daughter.

Just as love is love — as the mantra goes in the LGBT community — then incest is incest.

The first relationship is legal under the law. The other one is not.

Abbott makes simple statement of solidarity

gov mansion

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott flew the flag at the Governor’s Mansion.

It was the Florida state flag, which he unfurled to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre, the worst such event in U.S. history.

He offered a statement calling on Texans to pray for the victims of the shooting. I applaud the governor’s simple statement of support for those who were killed and injured and for the loved ones who are grieving or praying for the victims’ complete recovery.

Then he lost me … almost.

Abbott used the occasion to make a statement that we need to do more to stamp out radical Islamic terrorism.

The gunman, an American, swore fealty to the Islamic State before opening fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which caters to the city’s gay community. FBI director James Comey, though, has suggested that his agency cannot find any indication that the shooter was acting as part of an ISIS master plot; he was a lone wolf, a guy acting on his own.

My question tonight is this: How does the federal government stop a lone madman?

It’s a no-brainer to suggest that the government needs to do more to combat terrorism. Any act taken committed against us — whether it’s on a 9/11-type scale or anything less audacious — always means we need to “do more.”

Before we get too worked up about this latest attack, let’s remember what every expert the media could corral after 9/11 told us: There should be no doubt that we’ll get hit again by terrorists.

As for the latest incident, the best law enforcement minds on Earth are trying to ascertain whether the shooter was acting out of hatred for gay people or whether he was acting as a radical Islamic terrorist.

I’m glad the governor flew the Florida flag at Governor’s Mansion. The politicization? It seems a bit premature.

History keeps this tweet up front

same-sex-marriage

If only he hadn’t sent this particular message out when he did.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is still taking some hits from critics who wonder why he posted a certain Bible verse when he did — in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., massacre in which 50 people died.

A fascinating analysis in the Texas Tribune suggests that Patrick’s history makes it hard for him to shake himself loose from the critics.

A shooter gunned down 49 people before being killed by Orlando police. Omar Mateen now owns the record for committing the worst massacre in U.S. history.

The carnage occurred in a gay nightclub.

Then comes a tweet from Lt. Gov. Patrick, a verse from Galatians. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/06/13/analysis-reaction-patricks-tweet-based-history-hos/

Critics pounced on the tweet, saying it was an attack on the LGBT community. Were they wrong? According to the Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey: “The lieutenant governor has a track record with the LGBT community. They have him marked as an opponent. He seems to have them marked the same way. Whatever else might be said about it, they don’t trust each other.

“No wonder they read his Sunday morning post the way they did, assuming the worst. Their mutual history taught them to expect it.”

Patrick pulled the tweet down not long after it was posted. His spokesman called it a terrible coincidence. He said the tweet had been selected and scheduled for posting long before the madman opened fire in Orlando.

The man has a long-standing opposition to gay rights. He opposes same-sex marriage and asked the state attorney general — in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage — to investigate whether local officials could avoid having to sanction gay marriages.

I am sure Patrick wishes he could take it all back. He likely hopes the backlash against that particular tweet will subside.

I’m afraid it won’t. He’s got that history working against him.

 

Lt. Gov. deletes tweet, but the damage is done

verse

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has demonstrated for the world just how immediate social media posts can become and how indelible they are once they are posted.

Patrick decided in the early hours after the Orlando, Fla., massacre to post something on Twitter that enraged some folks. It was New Testament passage, from Galatians 6:7 that declares: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Why the anger over the post?

Well, the massacre occurred at a night club called Pulse, which is a popular hangout for Orlando’s gay community. The madman/shooter killed 50 people before he was killed by the police.

Omar Mateen was an American who reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before committing the horrifying act of carnage.

However, Patrick’s tweet seemed aimed at the victims. Fifty innocent victims were gunned down and he chose that particular verse to post on social media.

He took it down shortly afterward.

However, the damage was done. That’s what happens with these social media posts. They get posted and then are sent around the world many times instantaneously. As a friend used to tell me, “You cannot unhonk a horn.” Same with these social media posts.

Patrick’s spokesman said the tweet had been planned this past week. Patrick posts comments from Twitter weekly, the spokesman said. The passage from Galatians had no relation to the tragedy at Pulse.

I don’t know what to believe here.

http://www.chron.com/news/article/Texas-Lt-Governor-Dan-Patrick-tweets-reap-what-8076147.php

At minimum, we have a terrible coincidence at work. Patrick’s social media message just happened to sound to many folks like a crass criticism in the wake of a horrific national tragedy.

Talk about terrible timing.

I’m glad he took the message down. However, I think it would be best if the lieutenant governor himself — not through a spokesman — would stand before us to explain how it happened in the first place.

 

Texas GOP at war with itself

texas-republican

Do you want to see a prime example of how badly fractured the Republican Party has become?

Take a look at the fight for the Texas Republican Party chairmanship.

This is an amazing development.

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2016/05/challenger-for-texas-gop-chairman-says-incumbent-promotes-disgusting-homosexual-agenda.html

State GOP Chairman Tom Mechler has been accused of promoting a “disgusting homosexual agenda.” The accusation comes from supporters of Jared Woodfill, a Houston GOP activist who’s challenging Mechler for the party chairmanship.

Why is this so amazing?

Well, I happen to know Mechler. He hails from Armstrong County. He’s a Panhandle guy who is as conservative a politician as one can imagine. I consider Mechler to be a friend and, take my word for it, he doesn’t exactly line up with gay-rights activists’ world view.

The Texas GOP had the temerity to allow a gay and lesbian group to set up a booth at the upcoming state Republican convention. Does that constitute a “disgusting homosexual agenda”? I do not believe it does.

What it constitutes is a recognition that Texas comprises a wide array of individuals who have differing orientations.

That’s it.

Mechler is putting some distance between himself and the gay-rights group. According to the Dallas Morning News: “Mechler said he had nothing to do with the decision to allow the group, the Metroplex Republicans, to have a booth at the state GOP convention.”

Just as the national Republican Party is fighting among itself, the Texas GOP is exposing deep fissures within its own ranks.

The ultra-uber conservative wing of the Texas GOP is tossing out the “RINO” epithet at Mechler, who is the farthest thing possible from being a “Republican In Name Only.”

Believe me when I say this: Tom Mechler is a true-blue Republican believer. He’s the real thing.

 

Transgender bathrooms become a POTUS campaign issue?

Transgender-Bathroom-600x321

What in the name of bathroom breaks has happened to the presidential campaign?

Let’s see: Donald J. Trump said something about it being OK with him if a transgender individual wants to use a bathroom that makes him/her comfortable.

Then we hear from fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who starts peppering Trump with criticism over his statement.

Holy mackerel, man!

First of all, I am not dialed in to this transgender issue. If I were king of the world — which Trump seems to aspire to become — I wouldn’t waste a moment of time worrying about this issue.

Transgenderism isn’t on my radar. I guess if I had to make an argument for it one way or the other, I’d oppose allowing transgender individuals to use whatever rest room they wish.

People are born with certain physical attributes that make them either male or female. I guess physiology rules out over emotional psyche.

OK. That said, why are presidential candidates even talking about this issue?

It won’t matter one bit to any president. This is a state issue exclusively. If there’s a law to be enacted, it will be done by state legislatures and signed into law — or vetoed — by governors.

The LGBT community seems to want to make an issue of it. While I oppose laws aimed at discriminating against Americans based on their sexual orientation, this transgender bathroom issue that has blown up in some states takes this tempest a step too far.

And for the life of me, I don’t understand why presidential candidates are talking about it now.