Tag Archives: Hate speech

Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”

Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.

“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.

“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”

The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.

Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.

“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”

We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.

We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!

All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.

And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.

Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.

But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.

What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.

But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.

P.S. The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.

Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.

Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.

Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.

UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]

He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.

Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.

(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.

We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.

Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.

Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …

***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.

But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.

I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.

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Adolescent Milo Whatshisnameopoulos annoying, pathetic — not ‘dangerous’

Updated below (on Monday, February 20, 2017, and on Tuesday, February 21, 2017)

Real Time With Bill Maher Milo Yiannopoulos

The self-loathing attention whore Milo Yiannopoulos said nothing insightful or worthwhile on Bill Maher’s show on Friday night, and he follows the long tradition of being (quasi-)famous only for being (in)famous. Hate speech gets you attention, the perpetual adolescent discovered a while ago, and so he continues spewing forth hate speech.

“Alt-right” figure Milo Yiannopoulos, who is 32 going on 13, has an upcoming book ludicrously titled Dangerous.*

I’ve always instinctively avoided watching video of the vapid and insipid fool, but I do watch Bill Maher’s HBO show every week, and so finally I was exposed to The Milo Virus.

The virus isn’t deadly, or even dangerous — it’s just annoying.

Yiannopoulos giggled his way through his interview like a schoolgirl on nitrous oxide. Again: Annoying, not “dangerous.” (And if you must proclaim yourself to be “dangerous,” then you most likely are not.)

Probably the most offensive thing that Yiannopoulos said on Maher’s show (in the “overtime” portion of the show) is that transgender individuals are “confused” and, worse, that they are more likely to sexually abuse children than are others. This is, he proclaimed, a “fact” that is not in controversy.

If it’s not in controversy, that’s only because it’s not a fact; a simple Google search shows that it’s an “alternative fact.” Children are, in fact, most likely to be abused by a heterosexual, cisgender male (and girls are more likely to be sexually abused than are boys), and when children are sexually abused, it more often than not is by people the children know, not by strangers (such as transgender individuals lurking in public restrooms that match their gender identity).

The statistics on the sexual abuse of children say nothing about transgender individuals (“confused” or otherwise) being more likely to sexually abuse children than cisgender individuals who aren’t “confused” about their gender.

So here is nelly queen Yiannopoulos — really, she is quite on fire (she is out, but, of course, she couldn’t be in) — saying that transgender individuals are “confused” when the haters of course would say that he is confused, based upon his feminine mannerisms and dress and choice of sex partners. And they’d accuse him of being a child molester, too.

(And transgender individuals aren’t “confused”; they are crystal clear on the fact that although they were born with a certain set of genitalia and thus are expected by an oppressive, patriarchal, misogynist, backasswards society to act a certain way, acting that way isn’t natural to them. There is no “confusion” there. Only the troglodytic haters, who stupidly dutifully buy into all of society’s bullshit, are confused.)

What the fuck is the matter with Milo Yiannopoulos? Is he concerned (as are some other members of minority groups who are haters) that there must be some group — in this case, transgender individuals — who are loathed even more than is his own cohort of gay men?

To be clear, I’m a gay man, and while I feel like a male and have no desire to act in a feminine manner, I have no problem with feminine men and masculine women. People need to be themselves.

But no way in hell can I claim Milo Yiannopoulos as a fellow gay man. Not only is he incredibly hypocritical for attacking transgender individuals for their non-gender compliance, but on Maher’s show he wore not one, but two crosses around his neck (with his pearls…) and claimed that he is a staunch supporter of the Catholick church, which long has oppressed gay men like he. What kind of deep psychological damage must an individual have to love — and to aid and abet — his or her long-time oppressors?

Yiannopoulos is a vapid, sick piece of shit who never will accomplish anything significant for anyone. He is inflicting his mental illness, including his pathetically arrested development, upon the rest of us, and sadly, no, I don’t think that it’s all an act.

He gets attention, yes, but only as car wrecks and train wrecks get attention.

Unstable, sociopathic individuals, I suppose, can in their own way be dangerous, and hate speech certainly can be dangerous, and hate speech would include such blatant, hateful lies as that transgender individuals are more likely to sexually abuse children than are cisgender individuals.

As I’ve written before, because hate speech so easily can lead to real human beings being actually harmed, even killed, I don’t consider hate speech to be free speech. Hate speech is, in my book, a crime that often if not usually should be prosecuted.

But does freely spewing forth hate speech make Milo Yiannopoulos “dangerous”?

Not in the sense that he apparently considers himself (or at least portrays himself) to be “dangerous,” which apparently is that he’s a courageous truth-teller going against all of this insane political correctness of the left.

No, Milo Yiannopoulos is not courageous — only fucking cowards further attack already historically oppressed and relatively powerless minority groups — and he is not “dangerous” in the way that he would define the term.

He is just another fucking liar and narcissist who loves the spotlight — which is turned on him not because he helps and uplifts anyone, but because he only tries to tear others down — and who wallows in the undeserved attention that he receives like the attention piggy that he is.

Update (Monday, February 20, 2017): Wow. Karma rarely works this quickly.

Gay blogger Joe Jervis reported yesterday that Milo Yiannopoulos has a video-recorded history of excusing if not also even advocating under-aged sex — apparently proudly proclaiming that he learned how to perform fellatio well from a Catholick priest — and Jervis reports today:

Minutes ago CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] chairman Matt Schlapp tweeted a statement announcing that homocon flamethrower Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited as the keynote speaker at this year’s convention. Schlapp writes:

We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient. It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these troubling comments. We continue to believe that CPAC in a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives; however, there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.

And now we get to watch the free speech absolutists at Breitbart have a screaming meltdown. See my original post with the videos here.

To unpack this: Yiannopoulos’ video-recorded remarks about having learned how to give good head because of a certain Father Michael appear not to be snark; he apparently truly thanks the priest for having introduced him to gay sex when he was 14 years old.

While I agree with Yiannopoulos that in general we have unnecessary and even hysterical hang-ups over sex, and I’d even go so far as to venture that not every legal minor who has consensual (emphasis on consensual) sex with a legal adult automatically is destroyed for life (although we certainly couldn’t use Yiannopoulos as proof of that…), and while I’d point out that in the United Kingdom (where Yiannopolous was born and lives) the age of consent is 16 years old, and that there is no one, universal age of consent**, I have to wonder if Yiannopoulos saw FatherMichaelFellatiogate (i.e., his video-recorded historical defense of legal adults having sex with legal minors) coming, and so he decided to pre-emptively attack transgender individuals as child molesters as a slanderous diversion from his own scandal regarding pederasty.***

As I’ve said, Yiannopolous is sick, and he’s “dangerous” only in that sick people can be dangerous.

And why CPAC would have invited Yiannopoulos as a speaker in the first place eludes me. He’s not at all a traditional conservative; his being an out gay man, and a feminine-acting gay man, and non-heterosexuality and non-gender compliance being anathema to conservatives aside, Yiannopoulos is just vapid, self-centered and mean (although almost all conservatives are mean); he is no fount of conservative “thought.”

Second update (Monday, February 20, 2017): Wow. The Associated Press now reports that Simon & Schuster has canceled its publication of Dangerous, which was slated to come out in June.

I’m torn on this news. I’d never buy the book, but this could make Whatshisnameopoulos a “martyr,” and unless he contractually may not, he’ll probably just search for another publisher, and some shameless, money-grubbing publisher would publish it, perhaps especially now

Third update (Tuesday, February 21, 2017): Three strikes; he’s out! Milo Yiannopoulos announced today that he has resigned from the “alt-right” website Breitbart.

I don’t for a nanosecond believe his face-saving claim that his resignation was voluntary and that he initiated it, but whatever; his “career” should be over.

I mean, who wants him now? He has been disowned by the conservatives/neo-Nazis and he certainly is unwanted by those of us who are left of center, and no, he probably can’t pull a David Brock, as he didn’t simply burn his bridges, but atomized them.

Fact is, Yiannopoulos did cavalierly and clearly condone pederasty in those videos that brought about his spectacular implosion. (No, to be fair even to him, he did not condone pedophilia. And, again, pedophilia is worse than is pederasty.)

Now, however, Yiannopoulos pathetically, lamely claims that his teen-aged sexual experiences with adult males — which not long ago enough he defended as anywhere from unharmful to actually beneficial and bragged he instigated himself, so that he was no victim — damaged him and that he now realizes that out of that victimhood that he first vehemently denied but now so conveniently claims, he said some inappropriate things.

Please. 

Yiannopoulos is a fucking cockroach and cockroaches tend to re-emerge after you think that they’re dead, but this should be it for him.

As Slate.com’s Michelle Goldberg snarked of Yiannopoulos:

… Yianopoulos’ act was all about baiting liberals over free speech; he’d say something repulsive, the left would react, and conservatives could play the defenders of edgy self-expression. In the end, however, the right shut him down the second he made conservatives uncomfortable. Going forward, even if any right-wingers are willing to be associated with him, it will be hard for him to continue the fiction that conservatives are uniquely open-minded. That means he’s no use to them, or to anyone, really. Poor snowflake.

Poor snowflake indeed.

I wish the cockroach luck with his “free-speech” crusade, which he promises to continue.

His “free speech” is to worthwhile discourse what neo-Nazi graffiti is to high art.

*Kinda reminds me of Michael Jackson having labeled himself as “bad.” If Jackson was bad, it wasn’t in the way that he had claimed to be “bad”…

**Wikipedia notes that “Age of consent laws vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though most jurisdictions set the age of consent in the range 14 to 18. The laws may also vary by the type of sexual act, the gender of the participants, or other restrictions such as abuse of a position of trust; some jurisdictions may also make allowances for minors engaged in sexual acts with each other, rather than a single age.”

While I don’t have any huge problem with the UK setting its age of consent at 16, age 14 strikes me as too young to be able to consent, even if the individual considers himself or herself to be precocious.

And, of course, as Wikipedia notes, there is the issue of the abuse of a position of trust. Even if Yiannopoulos had been 16 or older, his priest shouldn’t have had sex with him. Priests, as good shepherds, are to tend to the sheep, not have sexual relations with the sheep.

***To be clear and to be fair, Yiannopoulos apparently has expressed that he is OK with consensual pederasty but not with pedophilia, and there is a difference between the two; there are degrees of things.

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Still waiting for the national backlash

As apparently at least one editorial cartoonist (see above) and political commentator Bill Maher have noted, this past week the Confederate flag has been lowered and the rainbow flag has been raised. (Which, as Maher quipped, must have made for a very weird week for U.S. senator and presidential Repugnican Party presidential aspirant Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whom pretty much everyone knows is a closet case.)

It’s a cute visual — one flag going down and another going up — but it’s not quite as simple as that.

We still have a long way to go in achieving equal human and civil rights for blacks and other racial minorities in the United States of America, and the image of the rainbow flag replacing the Confederate flag could send the message that we’re done with the racial thing, and so now we can celebrate the fact that we’re done with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender thing. But we’re not done with that, either, as I have just noted.

I am happy that the Confederate flag is imploding. Don’t get me wrong. Earlier this month I wrote that the public display of the flag should be banned legally throughout the United States, as Germany bans the Nazi flag, and I still believe that no one should have to see the flag, which I still liken to the Nazi flag, in public. The flag deeply unsettles me, and I’m a white man (albeit a gay white man), so I can only imagine how many if not most blacks feel when they see the Confederate flag — the flag of racist, white supremacist traitors and terrorists — displayed in public as a terrorist warning/threat in the guise of “heritage” or “history” or “culture.”

No, because the First Amendment is used as justification for continued hate speech (which in my book is not protected by the First Amendment since hate speech so often ends in violence against and harm to weaker, historically oppressed individuals), I don’t expect the public display of the Confederate flag to be made illegal throughout the United States any year soon — although it should be made illegal for the federal government or any of the state governments to display the flag in public (except in museums and the like), including, of course, on state-issued license plates — but public and political pressure is bringing the flag down everywhere.

Yes, Mississippi’s flag, which incorporates the Confederate flag in it, as a state-government-sanctioned image has got to go and be redesigned, but while we wait for that — and the illegality of all state-issued license plates bearing the Confederate flag — it’s heartening that in the meantime Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay and countless other businesses have decided that they will not sell anything with the Confederate flag on it (with the exception, of course, of such things as history books and DVDs of “Gone with the Wind”).

I can’t remember the last time that I saw any merchandise emblazoned with the Confederate flag here in California — where the Confederate flag does not fly — but it’s nice to know that it now is harder for white supremacists to buy their freak flags online now, and I’m guessing that Walmart’s Southern-state stores have offered merchandise containing the flag of the white-supremacist traitor, if not even the flag itself.

And let’s face it, since the United States is so hyper-capitalist and consumerist, when Big Business decides to do something, such as to ban the Confederate flag, it’s almost as good as the state legislatures and the U.S. Congress actually doing their job, and certainly the elected cowards who fill our chambers of power won’t be as scared now to follow what Big Business has started to do.*

I also was delighted to learn that a black woman in South Carolina yesterday skillfully scaled the flagpole on the state’s capitol grounds and temporarily took down the Confederate flag that mind-blowingly still flies there. Of course law enforcement was waiting for her at the bottom of the flagpole and the flag quickly was raised again. But the woman had made her point; she quite understandably doesn’t want to wait for the state’s legislature to take the matter up, because the time to do the right thing is always right now.

It’s a little complicated, though, I think, as she was spouting the whole time that “God” is on her side.

I’m on her side, but I have a problem with the “God” thing, since “God” is used to justify one’s actions and desires, whether they’re righteous or whether they’re evil. “God” always very conveniently wants whatever it is that the individual who is invoking “God,” the individual who is claiming to know the will of “God” (which to me, an atheist, is like claiming to know the will of Santa Claus), wants.

The religious right, for example, of course, tells us that the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, in declaring that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, violated the will of “God,” and that This! Will! Not! Stand!

Oh! Except that It! Will!

The right-wing haters always pitch a fit when the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Congress advances equal human and civil rights, such as with Brown vs. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Loving vs. Virginia, and now, the newly minted Obergefell vs. Hodges.

Of course the hatred of and the discrimination and persecution against us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals will continue, but we continue to achieve full legal equality — equal human and civil rights.

The vast majority of us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals don’t give a flying fuck what heterosexuals and gender-conforming individuals think of us; we only care when heterosexuals persecute us, when heterosexuals make their own ignorance, bigotry and hatred our problem, when they stand in the way of our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

And this persistent, pernicious, pathetic right-wing “argument” that the haters’ rights actually are violated when they don’t get to continue to oppress others — similarly, the slave owners’ “rights” were violated when the slaves were freed, you see — isn’t working outside of the wingnuts’ echo chamber. The U.S. Supreme Court certainly didn’t buy it, and neither did the many federal and state courts below it when the haters tried to demonstrate any actual harm to themselves or to society at large by same-sex marriage. That was the haters’ legal task in the courtrooms — to demonstrate actual harm, because you can’t deny a group of people a right unless you can demonstrate that the granting of that right would cause actual harm — and because same-sex marriage harms no one, they failed miserably repeatedly.

As Bill Maher quipped to the haters’ (especially the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants’) response to same-sex marriage now being the law of the land: “Fellas, you do realize that this is not mandatory? You don’t have to have sex with another man — it’s just an option now. OK, I just wanted to make that clear,” he said, hilariously adding after a pause: “They’re such drama queens, aren’t they?”

Indeed, the haters have been acting as though Obergefell vs. Hodges makes same-sex marriage mandatory for everyone, which even they, as insane as they are, know is a fucking lie (because they’re telling the lie in order to scare others to try to get their way politically [which is called terrorism]).

It’s quite simple: As I have noted before, if you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex (even if you’re gay or lesbian), or if you don’t want to get an abortion, then don’t get an abortion or don’t marry someone of the same sex. You have the freedom to follow your own religious convictions, as backasswards as they are, as long as you aren’t acting like the Islamofascists who comprise ISIS, trying to force others to follow your bullshit, troglodytic religion.

Because then, you’re just a “Christo”fascist, and I am governed not by the Koran or the Old Testament or the New Testament, but by the U.S. Constitution (and by other founding documents and by the laws of land, including U.S. statutes and U.S. Supreme Court caselaw, including, of course, the delicious Obergefell vs. Hodges). And I would battle an attempted takeover of the nation by “Christo”fascists just as I would an attempted takeover by Islamofascists.

Haters, you still get to hate; Obergefell vs. Hodges did not strip you of your right to hate others based upon your non-existent “God,” who is like a Santa Claus on crack. But leave the rest of us the fuck alone to pursue our life, liberty and happiness as is guaranteed to us, as is our birthright.

There will be no big national backlash because of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The terrorists who comprised the right wing risibly tried to raise this specter to spook the U.S. Supreme Court from doing the right thing, but with around 60 percent of all Americans supporting same-sex marriage, of course the U.S. Supreme Court was perfectly safe in doing the right, long-overdue thing. (Indeed, as I noted, the court wouldn’t have done the right thing unless it had felt quite safe in doing so. As independent from public opinion as the nation’s court [or, arguably, any court] is supposed to be, at least on paper, the political reality as to how far a court safely can stray from public opinion is different.)

Oh, there might be a nutjob (or two or three) like a Dylann Storm Roof who goes off and commits domestic terrorism against actual and/or perceived non-heterosexual or non-gender-conforming victims — this can happen at any time anyway, and it does — but we won’t see a national backlash to Obergefell vs. Hodges because the nation already is significantly segregated into political blocs anyway, replete with blue states and red states and with blue areas and red regions within the red states and blue states. To a large degree, those on the left and on the right mix as little as is possible anyway.

And before Friday, 36 states had had same-sex marriage anyway; before Friday there were only 14 holdout states. So it’s not like there wasn’t same-sex marriage anywhere in the nation, but that the U.S. Supreme Court just up and in one fell swoop went from zero percent same-sex marriage to 100 percent same-sex marriage in the United States. (That said, things did go fairly quickly, I suppose; Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to start issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples in May 2004, and just a little more than 11 years later, all states must now do so.)

So again, no, there will be no national backlash. Talk of such a backlash is just what the self-serving, treasonous, backasswards wingnuts want, since their Bible-based worldview increasingly is being rejected and relegated to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Life will go on much as it has before. The years will pass. The old haters will die and take most of their hatred, bigotry and ignorance with them to their graves (and they have to have graves because they love unsustainability); fewer and fewer of us will be raised to be haters, and even those who do have some hatred in their hearts and minds will, because of the stigma attached to such hatred, for the most part keep their hatred to themselves.

The right-wing haters do their best to prevent progress, do their best to keep humankind bound in the rusted chains of the past, but with each passing day, their hatred is more and more unsustainable.

We progressives must continue to fight, as gains won can be threatened or lost later (look at voting rights and reproductive rights, for example), but, while we fight, we must keep in mind that, as Taylor Swift might put it, while the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, we must persevere and just shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off.

(If you’ve actually read this far, you kind of deserve a reference to Taylor Swift. Just sayin’.)

*Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that Big Business suddenly wuvs us. No, Big Business has calculated that the intangible and tangible costs of continuing to sell the Confederate flag outweigh any profits that they’ve been getting from selling it.

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It’s long past time to ban the treasonous Confederate flag throughout the U.S.

Dylann Storm - flag

White supremacist, mass murderer and nutjob Dylann Storm Roof burns an American flag in an image of himself he posted on the Internet. He much has preferred the Confederate flag, you see, from another such image. (Gotta love the Gold’s Gym shirt on such a cowardly pipsqueak…)

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The nation of Germany wisely bans the public display of the Nazi flag or any other Nazi symbol. (Germany, in fact, “prohibits the distribution or public use of [Nazi] … flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”)

Despite its ban on communications espousing (neo-)Nazism, Germany is viewed as a democratic nation that is not oppressive to its people. Germany’s ban is wise; it apparently is meant to prevent the resurgence of a system of right-wing hatred and terrorism that forever will be a stain on that nation.

Similarly, the United States of America should ban the public display of the Confederate flag. Period. (Other such dangerous forms of treasonous, terrorist communication also should be banned, but banning the Confederate flag would be a good start.)

The Confederate flag should, of course, be allowed to remain in museums and in history books. (Its continued use in Civil War re-enactments is, in my book, gray area, since these public events can be rallying points for those whose allegiance is to the Confederate flag — these can be white-supremacist rallies under the guise of “history education” or the like.)

Fact is, most public displays of the Confederate flag are treasonous. They are meant to signify one’s allegiance to an illegal, treasonous, breakaway, illegitimate, deeply racially oppressive “government” that was crushed by the democratically elected government of the United States of America long ago — and more often than not also to signify one’s white supremacism.

The Confederate flag is not neutral. Its public display is meant to strike fear and terror in others — as are the Nazi flag and the flag of ISIS, for example. There is an apt word for this: terrorism.

This is so indisputable that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court just this past week ruled that the state of Texas did not act unconstitutionally when it refused to allow a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag. (Even wingnutty idiot “Justice” Clarence Thomas was on board with the 5-4 decision.)

Reuters notes in its reportage of the fresh U.S. Supreme Court decision: “During the oral argument in the case in March, a major concern for some justices was that if the state has no say over what messages to allow, it would pave the way for other potentially offensive messages, such as images of Nazi swastikas or statements promoting the Islamist militant group al Qaeda.”

Reuters also notes:

… The [Supreme Court] found that Texas did not infringe on the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment free speech guarantee when it turned away the application by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group says it aims to preserve the “history and legacy” of soldiers who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.

“Free speech is a fundamental right to which all Americans are entitled, and today’s ruling upholds Texas’s specialty license plate program and confirms that citizens cannot compel the government to speak, just as the government cannot compel citizens to speak,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

States can generate revenue by allowing outside groups to propose specialty license plates that people then pay a fee to put on their vehicle.

“I hate that we were turned down,” said Gary Bray, commander of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“We deserve the rights like anyone else to honor our veterans,” added Bray, who said his group likely will submit a revised design.

The state declined in 2010 to approve the plate with the Confederate flag. The flag in question, a blue cross inlaid with white stars over a red background, was carried by Confederate troops in the Civil War. …

The “preserving history” and “honoring our veterans” “arguments” for the public display of the Confederate flag are bullshit.

The history of the Civil War isn’t going away. It’s there forever. It’s quite well chronicled and well preserved, in books (fiction as well as non-fiction), in films, in documentaries, in museums, in historical artifacts, in historical documents, in public monuments, in cemeteries, etc., etc. It’s not going to be forgotten if Jeb or Jethro or Zeke or Cooter or Skeeter can’t fly his freak Confederate flag in front of his trailer or on his monster truck.

And the “honoring our veterans” “argument” flies no better here in the United States than it does in Germany, if the neo-Nazis there were to claim that they only wish to “honor” Germany’s Nazi “veterans.”

You say Confederate “veterans”; I say traitors. Traitors don’t deserve to be honored publicly. At best, the Confederate war dead should be remembered only as actors in a dark time in U.S. history, actors who supported a treasonous, deeply racially oppressive, illegitimate “government” — which makes them far from “heroes.”

Speech is free until it becomes hate speech, which predictably can bring harm to others. Hate speech — which includes the display of hateful flags or other symbols — so often precedes unprovoked violence that is based in the hatred of what and/or how someone else is, not based upon anything wrongful and/or harmful that someone else actually has done.

Dylann Storm Roof of South Carolina is an abject nutjob, of which I have no doubt, but the environment in which he grew up — South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union after the democratic election of Abraham Lincoln as president and even before his inauguration — very apparently was instrumental in pushing him over the edge.

The environment in which Roof grew up included the widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag, which still flies on the grounds of the state’s capitol (to “honor” “veterans” of the illegal, illegitimate, treasonous and racially and otherwise oppressive Confederacy, you see). Even worse, Roof’s car sports a state-issued Confederate-flag license plate.

Even Repugnican presidential loser Mittens Romney has called upon the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds. (Unfortunately, he has not, to my knowledge, called for the eradication of the Confederate flag anywhere else in the state, such as on its license plates, for fuck’s sake.)

The widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag in the backasswards state of South Carolina no doubt contributed to the deaths — the murders — of the nine black Americans whom Dylann Storm Roof hatefully and cowardly gunned down in cold blood in their own historic church in Charleston on Wednesday night — after apparently having gained his victims’ trust.

Again, this is where free speech has become hate speech, and hate speech, because it so predictably can result in injury or murder, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It is long past time to ban the public display of the Confederate flag, the terrorist symbol of the traitor and the white supremacist — the homegrown terrorist — everywhere in the United States of America (including, of course, on license plates, and yes, even on clothing), just as Germany similarly bans the public display of the Nazi flag.

The traitors who still pay allegiance to the long-defeated-and-defunct Confederacy would be lucky that we’re only eradicating their symbols. After all, the only good traitor and terrorist is a dead one.

The South — as the neo-Confederates think it should be — never will rise again. Not on the watch of those of us who are the true patriots, those of us who are ready for another civil war if the treasonous terrorists make another one necessary.

P.S. It’s rare, thank Goddess, that I ever see the Confederate flag here in Northern California. I still remember that some years ago, when I was at a demolition derby at a fair at a nearby Podunky town, a truck displaying the Confederate flag actually came out into the arena. My jaw dropped. (After the stomach-turning display of the Confederate flag on the truck, I sarcastically remarked to those whom I was with, because it looked like it might rain: “Oh, no! If it rains, how will we have the cross burning?”)

Minimally, the state governments and the federal government should be banned from the public display of, the sale of, or any other promotion of the Confederate flag, be it an actual flag or an image of the flag. (California, thankfully, already has such a statutory prohibition.)

You can sign this online petition to be delivered to the legislature and the governor of South Carolina demanding that the state remove the Confederate flag from all public places. It’s a start.

I also encourage you to make (as I have) a donation to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the nine individuals were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. You can do so by going to the church’s website and clicking on “Donate.”

I’m an atheist (who pretty much supports “Christian” churches only in that it’s churches’ First Amendment right to exist) and a gay man — and the black church historically has been pretty homophobic, with which I have a real problem — but this was some seriously fucked-up shit, and if we can restore this congregation to some of its former wholeness, we should.

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Pink triangle proposition won’t become law in California, but it’s the thought that counts

History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”

An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”

The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.

Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.

Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).

There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).

And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)

The California Supreme Court declined to prevent the unconstitutional Proposition H8 from appearing on the ballot, so it would be interesting to see what the court would do if it were asked to prevent the “Sodomite Suppression Act” from appearing on the ballot. Indeed, while Prop H8 “only” sought to outlaw same-sex marriages, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” calls for the Nazi-style wholesale slaughter of non-heterosexuals who ever have acted upon their same-sex attraction.

But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.

Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).

True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).

But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.

Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.

Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.

I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.

*Alabama state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Roy Moore, for instance, has claimed, quite incorrectly, that he has the legal authority and ability to override and ignore a federal judge’s ruling on the federal constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the state. Moore was removed from the post of Alabama Supreme Court chief “justice” in 2003 for having ignored another federal judge’s ruling on another federal constitution issue, but he was not disbarred, as he should have been, and thus he legally was allowed to run for the post again, which, insanely, is filled by popular election in the backasswards state of Alabama.

**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”

So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.

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Brendan Eich(mann) got what he deserved

Outgoing Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich

Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich gave a hate group $1,000, paid a price for it, and this poetic justice is deemed to be a “violation” of “free speech” in the fascistic United States of America. (Yes, the fascistic Nazis persecuted non-heterosexuals, too.)

Most discussion of whether or not the “free-speech rights” of Mozilla co-founder and short-lived CEO Brendan Eich — who stepped down as CEO Thursday after a firestorm had raged over his having donated $1,000 to the 2008 Proposition Hate effort — have been trampled upon wholly ignores or glosses over one simple historical and legal fact: a federal court in 2010 found Prop H8 to be unconstitutional — and thus illegal.

As Wikipedia recounts it, “In August 2010,  [United States District Court for the Northern District of California] Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the [anti-same-sex-marriage California constitutional] amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, since it purported to re-remove rights from a disfavored class only, with no rational basis.”

So, before we blather ourselves into a lather about “free speech,” let’s take a good, long, hard look at exactly the kind of speech that we’re actually defending here — and in this case, it is hate speech.

Yes, it is.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported the continued mindless oppression of a minority group picked out for such continued mindless oppression. “Mindless” oppression because, as Vaughn Walker (whose original ruling still holds as the law of California, since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legally upheld it) correctly ruled, there is no rational basis to prohibit same-sex marriage.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported something that was and that remains unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Whether or not hate speech should have First-Amendment protection — especially when hate speech (yes, even “just” giving $1,000 to a “cause” meant to continue to oppress a certain minority group) so often results in very real harm to many very real people — is another discussion, but for the time being, let’s not pretend that Brendan Eich was just trying to do something nice for someone and that he paid a price for it, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Let’s also not pretend that if Eich (whom I really want to call Eichmann) had a “free-speech right” to donate money to an unconstitutionally and thus illegally oppressive “cause,” that those who wanted his head on a silver platter for his donation didn’t also have a free-speech right to call for his head on a silver platter (so to speak [of course]). They did. They do. We do.

And let’s not pretend that Eich was fired for having given a $1K donation to a hate group. He was not fired. He resigned.

He resigned, apparently, because in his high-level job, his very apparently being a homophobe tarnished the public reputation of the entire organization. Most large organizations wouldn’t have well-known white supremacists as their CEOs, either.

Let’s not pretend that a CEO, a very public person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and then having been fairly forced, socioeconomicopolitically, to resign because of that donation is just like! you or I, a very private person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and actually having been terminated from our much-lower-level employment because of it. Let’s not do that, because context, including the level of the power of the players involved, is everything.

Brendan Eichmann — er, Eich — got what he deserved for having financially supported a hate group. If he believes that his constitutional (such as his First-Amendment) rights have been violated by anyone, then he may sue to his hating heart’s content. Presumably, he has plenty of cash with which to do so. (But he won’t sue, because he has no fucking case.)

There is nothing more to discuss.

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Haters’ minds are in the toilet, as usual

Updated below (on Saturday, November 9, 2013) 

This is what it’s about — not about horny heterosexual boys trying to get at the heterosexual girls in the girls’ bathrooms, as the wingnuts blatantly are lying about a California law that protects transgender public-school students. But even that said, the law is about a lot more than the bathroom, anyway.

In July, the California state Legislature passed a piece of legislation titled AB (Assembly Bill) 1266, which California Gov. Jerry Brown signed on August 12.

AB 1266, which is not long, can be read in its entirety here.

AB does at least a few things where the biological sex and the gender identification of public-school students are concerned.

To me, perhaps the biggest substantive change that the new law makes is that it mandates that “A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.”

If I understand English correctly, that means that public schools in California may not have sex-segregated and sex-specific courses. When I was in junior high school (in Arizona), for instance, all seventh-grade male students were required to take shop, but no female students ever were required to take shop, and all seventh-grade female students were required to take home economics, but no male students ever were required to take home ec.

At my junior high school, which was comprised only of seventh- and eighth-graders, eighth-graders could take shop or home ec, regardless of their sex. Seventh-graders, though, had no choice, but were funneled into shop or into home ec solely based upon their sex.

Under AB 1266, in California, such sex-segregated class requirements — boys must take shop and girls must take home ec — are no longer allowed (again, if I understand English correctly).

AB 1266 also proclaims that “Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex.”

I remember the principal of my junior high school summoning a bunch of us seventh-grade boys into his office after we’d signed up to take home economics the next year. We’d already taken our required one year of shop,  and, not wanting to take a second year of shop in eighth grade, we signed up to take home economics instead.

I remember the principal trying to talk us out of taking home ec. A few of us boys caved in to his pressure, but most of us (including myself) took home ec anyway. (I am gay, but most of the other boys who also decided to take home ec instead of another year of shop were not, to my knowledge, also gay.)

I don’t remember the principal’s exact “argument” (this was in the early 1980s…), but, in retrospect, my guess is that it was his personal belief that boys shouldn’t take home ec, and so he was going to try to dissuade us from doing so. (No, taking home ec did not “make” me gay. That was a pre-existing condition, so to speak.)

Had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at that time, it would have been illegal for the principal to try to dissuade me and the other boys from taking home ec; he wouldn’t legally have been able to try to shove his own backasswards gender-role biases down our throats. (And had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at the time, of course, I wouldn’t have been forced to take shop, which I hated, unless the girls were forced to take it, too.)

So I’m happy that today’s public-school students in California are set not to have to experience what I did, which was having backasswards/conservative/wingnutty gender roles shoved down my fucking throat.

I write “are set” because AB 1266 is set to go into effect on January 1, 2014.

But not if the haters get their way.

They’re in the middle of a campaign to gather enough petition signatures to put AB 1266 up for a “yes” or “no” vote before California’s voters in November 2014 (this process of reversing a piece of legislation at the ballot box is called a referendum).

The haters’ deadline to turn in the required number of signatures (more than half a million of them) is within less than a week. If, after their signatures are examined, they meet the signature requirement, AB 1266 will not go into effect on January 1, but will be suspended until after the voters of the state weigh in on it in November 2014, a year from now.

The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to make public-school students feel like it’s OK to be themselves. The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to cut down on such problems in our public schools as gender-identification-related (and sexual-orientation-related) bullying (including, of course, physical violence), ostracism, depression, drop-outs, and yes, suicide. It’s to help make every public-school student feel safe to be who he or she is, regardless of whether he or she possesses the XY or XX chromosomes and regardless of whether he or she identifies with the gender associated with his or her chromosomes.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

In that same spirit, it does no one any injury for his or her peer to identify as a male or as a female, regardless of whether his or her peer possesses the XY or XX chromosomes. (There are some rare variants of the XY or XX chromosomal set-up, but let’s please keep this simple…) It neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, so to speak. (Ditto for same-sex marriage, of course.)

But this is the portion of AB 1266, the very last sentence of AB 1266, that the wingnuts have focused upon like a hate-and-ignorance-filled laser: “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” (Emphasis mine.)

The wording is, admittedly, vague. “Facilities” can encompass a lot. Presumably, “facilities” includes restrooms and locker rooms.

However, sexual activity isn’t supposed to be going on inside of school or public restrooms and locker rooms anyway.

You’re not supposed to be exposing yourself to others in restrooms. The last time that some male apparently exposed himself to me (he proudly displayed his erection to me, to which I did not outwardly react at all) in a men’s restroom was many years ago, and he did it at a urinal, so that he could have plausible deniability, apparently. My point is that other males just aren’t showing me their junk in men’s restrooms (whether I’d want them to or not), and I assume that in women’s restrooms, too, women aren’t exposing themselves to each other.

So I don’t understand how it hurts anyone should a transgender student use the restroom of the gender the student identifies with. I can, however, see a problem with, say, forcing a male-to-female transgender student to use a restroom that is restricted for use only by biological males. Maybe this student will avoid using the boys’ restroom like the plague in order to avoid being beaten up.

I can see that because, unlike the wingnuts, I possess a degree of fucking empathy.

Communal (versus individual) showers in public schools are, in my opinion, a bad idea (the film versions of “Carrie” aside) — we should afford our students their privacy, just as we adults want our privacy — and so that shouldn’t be an issue anyway, but, on that note, let me say that I recall, in junior-high-school P.E., being rather aroused by my naked male classmates, with whom I was forced to take communal showers. (Luckily, I never got an erection, if memory serves. [Yeah, that’s something that I think that I’d remember, given the homophobia of that time and place…])

The wingtards who falsely paint AB 1266 as allowing horny (straight) boys to take showers with girls and to use their restrooms overlook the fact that gay male students and lesbian students routinely take showers with and share restrooms with members of the sex to which they are attracted. Indeed, non-heterosexual students don’t have the option of showering with or using the restroom of the sex to which they are not attracted. And this has been the case forever. Duh.

AB 1266, if it stands — if it is not overturned by the voters (who tend to be significantly more trans-phobic than homophobic) — does have details to be worked out. For instance, what would be the criteria for a public school to have to acknowledge that a student is transgender? Would the student have to dress as and act as the gender the student claims? Or would the student’s word be enough? Would a psychological evaluation have to be done to determine that yes, indeed, this student is transgender?

And, of course, how would post-P.E. showers be worked out in schools that for some reason still have communal showers?

But these details are worth working out, because no student should experience discrimination that makes his or her getting a decent education difficult to even impossible.

AB 1266 is about much, much more than (presumably straight, horny) boys using the girls’ bathrooms (for sexual kicks), but, just as the wingnuts lie through their venom-filled fangs about same-sex marriage, which neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, the wingnuts lie about AB 1266.

Wingnut Randy Thomasson, for instance, of the Campaign for Children and Families (which sure sounds nice, like the Campaign for Puppies and Kittens), proclaims, on his hate group’s website (yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center says that Thomasson’s organization is a hate group), SaveCalifornia.com:

If you’re like me, you’re angry about the Democrats’ new law requiring transsexual school bathrooms on every public school campus.

As you know, AB 1266 — cobbled together by homosexual-bisexual-transsexual activists, the immoral teachers’ unions, and their Democrat [sic] state representatives, who control California state government — forces all K-12 government schools to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams, and biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams. …

That is, of course, a wildly gross exaggeration of AB 1266’s actual intent, “to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers,” etc., and to permit “biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers,” etc.

Thomasson’s manipulative, lying rhetoric Orwellianly doesn’t even allow you to consider the fact, the reality, that there are biological females who consider themselves to be males and vice-versa. No, the “Democrat” Party, you see, just wants to turn our public schools into sex orgies! After all, we all know how “immoral” those teachers’ unions are!

Yes, this is hate speech. This is language that, as the Southern Poverty Law Center correctly states, increases the likelihood of hate crimes being directed at a certain group (in this case, non-gender-conforming individuals [and non-heterosexuals, too]).

I hope that the haters don’t get enough valid signatures on their hateful referendum. If they do, just as was the case with Proposition Hate (which Thomasson supported also, of course), at the minimum, millions of dollars will be blown on the ballot-measure campaigning.

And while I’d love to think that a majority of California’s voters would uphold AB 1266 if it went to the November 2014 ballot, as I have noted, the typical American these days unfortunately is more accepting of a gender-conforming non-heterosexual than he or she is of a non-gender-conforming individual, especially a transgender individual.

“Gay is the new black,” left-wing radio show host Randi Rhodes was saying almost a decade ago, when George W. Bush used same-sex marriage as a huge wedge issue in his 2004 “re”-election campaign (even though his campaign manager at that time, Ken Mehlman, is gay [Mehlman, whose treason I will never forgive, came out in 2010]).

We’ve come a considerable way on equality for gay men and lesbians since then. Illinois just this week became the 15th state (in addition to the District of Columbia and some other jurisdictions within states) to legalize same-sex marriage, and ding, dong, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is dead, and so is the euphemistically named “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

But in most jurisdictions of the United States it’s still wide-open season on transgender individuals, and AB 1266 is a step toward the realization of actual liberty and actual justice for all — an idea and an ideal that the wingnutty, treasonous haters always have hated.

Update (Saturday, November 9, 2013):

In case you doubt anything that I wrote, above know that yesterday, in front of a local store, I saw a stupid white man, a “tea-party”-looking type, collecting anti-AB 1266 petition signatures. His hand-drawn sign, which he’d affixed to his table, called for “no co-ed bathrooms,” which is not, of course, the heart and soul of AB 1266, and hilariously, he also had written on his sign, “boys in boys and girls in girls,” which sure looked like an advocacy of homosexuality to me, but which meant “boys in boys’ bathrooms and girls in girls’ bathrooms.” (These are the same fucktards, of course, who didn’t know what “teabagging” means…)

Anyway, this asshole, of course, was totally misrepresenting AB 1266, and so when he shouted to me and my same-sex partner as we passed by his table, “All you have to do is sign [the petition]!”, I remarked to him, “I have read the law. You are totally misrepresenting it.”

To this he had no response, which is not a surprise, since the use of words isn’t his strong suit. (Lying and hating are his talents.)

If you think that non-gender-conforming students don’t have any significant problems in our public schools, know that in Oakland this past week, a 16-year-old thug set fire to the skirt that an 18-year-old was wearing while the latter was riding a public bus. The 18-year-old, whose birth name is Luke Fleischman, reportedly considers him-/herself neither male nor female, but “agender” or of “nonbinary gender,” and goes by the name Sasha.

Sasha now is in a burn unit in San Francisco with second- and third-degree burns. (I would contribute to Sasha’s recovery fund, but they’ve met their goal and aren’t accepting any more donations right now.)

This shit happened right here in California, and it’s exactly this kind of shit that AB 1266 was meant to stop.

But the “tea-party” traitors and their ilk are perfectly OK with gender-conformity-related persecution, even such persecution of minors, continuing. (Because Jesus and God want it that way!)

But probably more common that such attacks as the one on Sasha are such incidents as the eighth-grader in Kansas who recently was suspended from school for carrying a purse. Reports a local news outlet:

A 13-year-old Kansas eighth grader says he was suspended from school for carrying a purse.

Skylar Davis says the Vera Bradley purse is his form of expression. He adds that girls carry purses, so he should be able to do the same. Skylar’s vice-principal disagreed and told him to stop carrying the bag.

When Skylar refused, he was suspended. His mother questions the suspension because she found no mention of bags or purses in the school handbook.  She also questions the timing since Skylar has been carrying the bag since August.

The school has not commented on the suspension.

So fuck, not only do our non-gender-conforming students have to take prejudice, discrimination and abuse from their peers, who at least perhaps can be at least partially excused for their actions because of their immaturity, but our non-gender-conforming students have to experience such treatment even from the so-called “adults” whose duty it is to foster their well-being. (This news story, by the way, leads me to believe that very little has changed in many if not most American public schools since my bigoted asshole of a principal in junior high school tried to talk me out of taking home economics.)

I hope that Skylar’s family sues the school for the suspension that was based upon prejudice, discrimination and bigotry. And the chauvinistic vice principal needs to be reprimanded at the very least, and such suspensions need to cease and desist.

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