When Does Defining Your Sexuality Matter?

I think it’s fair to describe myself as a pretty sexual person. Before I met my current partner, Jason, and got married, I identified my sexuality as bisexual because I thought it was the only “don’t really care” category of human sexuality. But since then I’ve learned a lot more about myself, gender and sex. If I were to define my sexuality today, I would identify as pansexual or omnisexual.

I say “if” because this thought recently occurred to me: Does defining my sexuality matter anymore? [Read more...]

Candlelight Vigil at Mormon Temple Raises Spirits…And Eyebrows

The Friday after Thanksgiving is typically a big day for Mormons in Phoenix. The Mormon Temple flips the switch on hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights on Black Friday, kicking off one of the Mormon Church’s biggest outreach events of the year.

This year the lighting ceremony was contrasted by a group of approximately 100 LGBTQ activists, many of them former Mormons, who wanted to use the lighting ceremony as an opportunity to raise awareness about the high suicide rate amongst LGBTQ Mormons. Participants held candles and distributed contact information for Affirmation, a support group for LGBTQ Mormons, and The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for queer youth.

Bobby Parker, one of the event organizers, explains that “We said, ‘Merry Christmas!’ and handed people a card. If they asked what it was, we said, ‘We’re giving the gift of life this Christmas. There are suicide prevention numbers on both sides and information for gay and lesbian Mormons.” [Read more...]

Pro-LGBTQ Demostration Planned at Mormon Temple

Last month we told you about a speech that Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer gave at the Mormon Church’s bi-annual general conference, where Packer stated that being gay is a choice, and that God wouldn’t make people gay, since homosexuality is a sin. This speech is part of the same old, same old for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But in light of the recent media attention on LGTBQ youth suicides, it’s time to say that enough is enough.

The Phoenix GLBT Coalition for Mormon Action is planning a demonstration aimed at stopping gay Mormon suicides in Arizona, set for Friday, November 26th from 6:00-10:00 PM, coinciding with the Christmas lighting ceremony at the Mormon Temple in Mesa. The purpose of the demonstration is to make gay Mormons aware of The Trevor Project Suicide Prevention National Hotline and the local Gay and Lesbian organization for gay Mormons, Phoenix Affirmation. The demonstration will also continue the national message, “It Gets Better.”

Packer has been called upon to recant his words in a talk given to the 13,000,000 members of the church via satellite from Salt Lake City. The organizers of the November 26th rally believe these words have put the estimated 40,000-60,000 gay Mormons in Arizona in grave danger and may contribute to suicides. Utah, which is the stronghold of the Mormon faith, has a suicide rate 3 times the national average. [Read more...]

The Importance Of Being A LGBTQ Ally

If you’ve never had to come out, National Coming Out Day probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal. To those that have, though, it can bring back bittersweet memories. Maybe they were kicked out of their homes and forced to live on the streets. Maybe they were ostracized by their families and forced to endure dehumanizing “therapy.”  I’ve never had to come out. I’m a straight girl who’s into dudes; it’s never been “my” problem.

But today, I’m coming out. I’m making it my problem.

I, Amy McCarthy, am a fag-haggin’, lesbian-lovin’ ALLY. And I’m going to be a drag queen for Halloween.*

Being an ally is something that can be a bit tricky for us breeders. Most are afraid of being called gay. Let me tell you, it happens. I’ve had to dispel the “Amy’s a lesbian” myth since high school, but my boyfriend and I know the truth.

As a feminist, I know it is my job to make sure that everyone gets treated with dignity and respect, not just women. Being an ally is the best way to do that job. I get the opportunity to support these amazing people in being who they are. I like that.

I’m coming out in support of the people that I love that aren’t always able to show their love. I’m coming out in support of my family, friends, and the rest of the human community. [Read more...]

A Response to Last Week’s Protests Against the Mormon Church

Last week LBGTQ activists staged a die-in at the headquarters of the Mormon Church to protest LDS leader Boyd K. Packer’s comments at the biannual General Conference regarding LGBTQ individuals. Packer stated that being gay is a choice, and that God wouldn’t make people gay, since homosexuality is a sin. This statement is nothing new, of course. But in light of all of the media attention surrounding LGBTQ youth suicide, queer activists were understandably fed up with the Mormon Church’s stance, especially since the state of Utah has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.

Since today is National Coming Out Day, I’d like to issue my own response to Elder Boyd K. Packer.

Dear Elder Packer,

You don’t know me, but I’ve got news for you – the Mormon Church is missing out on a good thing by alienating queer folks from its congregations. I used to be your typical Molly Mormon. I went to church every week, I baked bread, did my genealogy, and participated in every little service project I could find. I even attended BYU for a semester . . . all in an effort to prove that I could be the perfect Mormon girl that God wanted me to be.

But then, something happened. Matthew Sheppard was brutally murdered in October of 1998 – by two Mormons, I might add – and I realized that I had to get out of the state of Utah in order to be who I truly was.

I am a lesbian, Elder Packer. You say that it is a choice, but it’s no more a choice than you having gray hair or a big nose. Being a lesbian is a part of who I am, but it’s not all that I am. I still bake bread. I still love doing my genealogy. And I still give service to others whenever I can. I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a pet-mother, and a wife. My partner and I live in our little house together, and we’re quite happy, thank you very much. In fact, Shannon is the best thing that ever happened to me. And yes, I prayed for Shannon, and God answered that prayer. [Read more...]

Russian Gay & Lesbian Activists Send Riot Police and Undercover Officers on a Wild Goose Chase

Despite the fact that Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, intolerance and homophobia remain rampant in the social, cultural, and political sphere. This didn’t, however, keep the gays from maneuvering a wild goose chase to keep the local police force off their trail as they proceeded to protest homophobia in Moscow. Twenty-five gay and lesbian activists strategically lured hundreds of riot police and undercover officers to an incorrect location so that they could chant and protest in peace.

Gay and lesbian activists are celebrating a success of sorts after holding their first ever peaceful protest in the Russian capital.

In previous years the gay pride march has ended in violence as riot police, nationalists and ultra-Orthodox believers have sought to break up the demonstration. [Read more...]

The American College of Pediatricians Hijacks & Distorts Research on Gay & Lesbian Youth

In their usual attempt at disguising religious fundamentalist distortions as legitimate research, the American College of Pediatricians have now distorted the work of University of Minnesota Professor, Greg Remafedi. The ACP has sent over 14,000 emails to superintendents across the United States, claiming that Remafedi’s research, among others, proves their argument that gay and lesbian youth deserve zero resources and/or support in their struggle to come out. The email references Remafedi’s 1992 study, claiming that it proves gay teens are simply “confused.” According to Professor Remafedi, on the other hand, the study in no-way-shape-or-form proves or validates this homophobic assumption.

The ACP argues that schools shouldn’t support gay teens because they’re probably just confused. “Most adolescents who experience same-sex attraction…no longer experience such attractions at age 25,” the letter says, citing a 1992 study by Remafedi. [Read more...]

In an Act of Blatant Homophobia, Tim Pawlenty Vetoed the Gay & Lesbian Death Rights Bill on Saturday

I reported some fantastic news last week that the Minnesota house approved death rights for gay and lesbian couples. Unfortunately, homophobic Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty, vetoed the bill on Saturday. His justification: to protect “traditional” marriage. According to Pawlenty, gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t have the same rights as married spouses.

Under Minnesota law, only married surviving spouses can decide what to do with the remains of a loved one. The bill would have extended such rights to domestic partners. It would have also allowed a partner the right to sue to recover funeral and hospital costs in the event of a wrongful death.

In vetoing the bill, Pawlenty, a Republican, said the bill “addresses a nonexistent problem” because gay and lesbian couples have the option of drawing up a living will. [Read more...]

Minnesota House Approves Death Rights for Gay & Lesbian Couples

Looks like Minnesota is starting to warm up to the gays. On Tuesday, the Minnesota house pushed through a measure to allow gay and lesbian couples the right to control the remains of a loved one. If the measure is approved, it would be the first time in Minnesota history that the state has recognized gay and lesbian couples as domestic partners. Not to mention the fact that it is completely dehumanizing to be stripped of the right to make decisions about a deceased partner simply on the basis that you don’t have a marriage certificate.

House members approved the measure on a 78-to-55 vote.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Eric Murphy, a Saint Paul Democrat, allows a surviving domestic partner to decide what to do with the remains of a loved one. Currently, only married spouses can make such decisions under Minnesota law. The measure also allows a partner the right to sue to recover funeral and hospital costs in the event of a wrongful death. [Read more...]

DC Council Approves Same-Sex Marriage

coming out walkOn an 11-to-2 vote, the D.C. city council passed a measure today legalizing same-sex marriage. However monumental this decision may prove to be, there is unfortunately some opposition ahead. Opponents have vowed to overturn the bill through referendum or by interfering with the 30 day review process in Congress. “The City Council’s action today is not the final word,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville.

Same-sex couples could potentially be getting married by March if the bill gets a stamp of approval from Congress in its 30 day legislative review period. Mike DeBonis highlights some of the possible drama to come, [Read more...]