Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Anti-Gay Bigotry is Fading Rapidly

Our society has changed very quickly in its attitude toward homosexuality. It seems to me that as gay people have been more open, more visible in politics, in the media, in the arts, straight people have gotten over our initial discomfort and have figured out that there's no big deal there. It's not contagious, it's not diabolical, it's just the way some people are.

Of course there are those who cling to outdated explanations and interpretations of this everyday phenomenon. A handful of those people in Montgomery County have agitated to get the rest of us see it their way, and it hasn't worked very well for them. See, we have neighbors and friends, and we work with folks, and if they're gay that really doesn't bother us.

Republican Senator Alan Simpson has an editorial in this morning's Washington Post that shows you how far we've come.
As a lifelong Republican who served in the Army in Germany, I believe it is critical that we review -- and overturn -- the ban on gay service in the military. I voted for "don't ask, don't tell." But much has changed since 1993.

My thinking shifted when I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under "don't ask, don't tell," including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation's "foreign language deficit" and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a "straight" way to translate Arabic? Is there a "gay" Farsi? My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war. Bigotry That Hurts Our Military

And you didn't even notice -- The Post calls it bigotry, just like we do. It isn't a "different viewpoint," it isn't "a religious belief," the more accurate term is bigotry.

I think the example of the translators might have been an eye-opener for a lot of people. Here our spy agencies are intercepting gazillions of messages between potential terrorists, and we don't know what they're saying because we fired all the gay translators. The only word that fits there is "stupid." That's stupid, period.

A little more, I'm not going to reprint the whole thing here:
In today's perilous global security situation, the real question is whether allowing homosexuals to serve openly would enhance or degrade our readiness. The best way to answer this is to reconsider the original points of opposition to open service.

First, America's views on homosexuals serving openly in the military have changed dramatically. The percentage of Americans in favor has grown from 57 percent in 1993 to a whopping 91 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed in a Gallup poll in 2003.

Military attitudes have also shifted. Fully three-quarters of 500 vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan said in a December Zogby poll that they were comfortable interacting with gay people. Also last year, a Zogby poll showed that a majority of service members who knew a gay member in their unit said the person's presence had no negative impact on the unit or personal morale. Senior leaders such as retired Gen. John Shalikashvili and Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, a former West Point superintendent, are calling for a second look.

The deal is, people have gotten over it.

The whole controversy in Montgomery County is ridiculous, there are a million people humoring a dozen or so nuts who can't accept their neighbors and family members for what they are. It's costing everybody a lot of money, wasting a lot of people's time that could be spent on something constructive.

If the new curriculum needs to be improved, then let's go ahead and improve it -- that's what the pilot testing is for. But what we're seeing is a tiny cell of radicals who want to undermine the testing, disrupt the classes, not make them better. Those people are out of step with our community, and out of step with America. It is time to identify their behavior as bigotry, to call it what it is, and to shut it out. It's untruthful, unkind, and un-American.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, there are almost 1900 signatures on the CRC MCPS on-line petition Jim..
the vast majority are MC residents with kids.

Is 1900 a tiny group of radicals... Actually, I would think the 20 or so people with TTF is tiny, by comparison...

Just an observation

March 14, 2007 3:48 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

1,900/927,583 (the population of MoCo given in Wikipedia) = approx. 0.0020.

That is, one fifth of one percent of Montgomery County's population has signed your online petition. And I notice they don't leave addresses, so with the AFA's nationwide email campaign, I'd wonder if even a tenth of these are local.

The elections a few months back gave a very much clearer view of how mainstream citizens who really live here here feel.


March 14, 2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, that was the apple ballot.

and AFA only emailed Montgomery County.

March 14, 2007 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and only 25% of MO co has kids in the public schools.

March 14, 2007 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and approximately 55% have computers....

and there are zipcodes on the on line petitions. I will sort them this evening and tell you how many are local.

so, using your numbers, closer to 2% of parents with kids in the MoCO public schools have signed our petition in slightly over one month.

Not too shabby.
and I heard that fully 1/2 of the Julius West kids opted out. That there were only 9 kids in one of the classes that should have had 30...

What have you heard Jim ? After all, the BOE will tell you !

March 14, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I'm going to believe these "facts' about the Crc petition the same way I believe the "facts" about the Shady Grove petition. You don't even know that these people have kids and much more importantly- which ones have kids in MCPS. You can sign a petition with a fake zipcode and even sign it twice- one of the Shady Grove tricks.

March 14, 2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

And Theresa,

why do you equate being gay to sexual behavior (and a certain sexual behavior at that.)

The last time I checked, people can catch HIV through heterosexual contact also.

And before you even start, the term "gay bowel syndrome" does not exist either.

March 14, 2007 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa, can you give the source for your statistic that 7% of 15 - 21 year old MSM's are HIV infected? Please don't say it was presented by Dr. Jacob's. What study/journal/federal agency says this?

March 14, 2007 8:17 PM  
Blogger grantdale said...


Your logic is cracked, based on your notion that you think you can frighten people into not being homosexual. There is no evidence you can do that, but on that key assumption all your other attitudes follow.

You should also bother to actually read the studies you misquote (and please learn the difference between HIV infection and AIDS).

Your "7%" study deliberately sampled young men in large cities and at high risk. It drew the large part of the sample from clubs and bars where high alcohol and drug use were already known to occur. It also over sampled for black, hispanic and mixed races.

> It found the prevalence to be 4 times higher in young black men than in young white men.

Therefore, should race be described as a risk? Your logic says yes.

> It found the rate in New York City to be 6 times higher than Seattle.

Therefore, do we advise young people to avoid New Yorkers and move to Seattle? Your logic says yes.

But, no. We should not tell young people to avoid "black sex" or "NY sex".

We should not because the study also spelled out what the actual risk factors were. You seem to be ignorant of that part of the study.

The risks were 1) promiscuity 2) unprotected sex and 3) injecting drugs. Clearly spelled out.

This then suggests how to reduce the risk: monogamy, partner reduction, condom use, and no IDU.

In other words, exactly what the health and sexuality lessons emphasise in their entirety.

Give up on your hope that gay men and women will cease to exist. That simply is not going to happen, regardless of how abusive you are. Concentrate, instead, on keeping all young people -- including the gay ones -- safe.

Truth be known: You don't want gay men and women to be safe (and gay), do you? Your main concern is that they not be gay, and making their lives unsafer is all part of that grand plan.

How else could you convince to "change" otherwise?

(Anon -- the study is here. It's a well known one, but much abused.)

March 14, 2007 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous says: I heard that fully 1/2 of the Julius West kids opted out. That there were only 9 kids in one of the classes that should have had 30...
well, of course, I would love to hear what or who the source of your "information" is! It's so easy to just throw out untruth after untruth, hoping that somebody will believe. far as Theresa is concerned: your remarks are those of an hysterical harridan! "You can call me a homophobe all you would like, I'll call you a murderer." What kind of blather is that?
A psychiatrist would have a field day working with you!

March 14, 2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Anon -- while were at it, we may as well mention the other study that Theresa abuses. It's more of her cracked logic based on that false assumption.

The "25% of twelve year olds" comes from Remafedi et al. (1992). (It was a wide survey of some 34,000 school age youth in Minnesota).

The fact that 25% of 12 years olds didn't know what their (adult) sexuality would be shouldn't come as any surprise. (Most don't know what colour their hair will be next month!)

There's a lot of confusing and wrong messages about "what gay is". I'd say 25% of adults don't know either, but they do at least have the advantage of knowing what their own sexuality is. Those 25% of 12 year olds were simply being honest when they said they didn't know.

As those 12 years olds mature, and they will, they also begin to experience and understand their growing sexuality. It only takes a few years before they know "what" they will are -- the "unsure" response drops to a few % by the time they are 17.

Kids develop at different rates for all sorts of things, and sexuality is no exception. Things just naturally become clearer as they get older. Nobody talks them into anything, but they do become more aware of themselves.

The Theresas of this World misuse the study to suggest that there are a whole slab of young people who could "go either way". And therefore, we need to promote them into heterosexuality and distance them from homosexuality (otherwise they'll go gay for lawds sake!)

The study suggests nothing of the sort. What is does confirm is that adult sexual orientation -- like adult height -- is something that emerges and solidifies during adolescense. Most will end up heterosexual, some bisexual, and some gay. Or 5 foot tall, or 6 foot tall.

Who'd have thunk, hey?

March 14, 2007 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said:
"Makes me mad that you would hide the health risks of homosexual sex from kids that might die of AIDS.

If 7% of kids 15-21 are infected with AIDS, and there are no statistics on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS, and you DON'T tell the kids that while suggesting they explore their feelings... you are guilty of murder, nothing more, nothing less.

Anal sex is practised by heterosexuals too, so if that's your position, your main focus should be on that, and not on homosexuality.

Not all homosexuals practise anal sex, and many monogamous gay couples do exist -- and they're far safer sexually when compared to all those promiscuous singles out there who are out to pull every weekend. And let's not forget lesbians who aren't even physically able to practise anal sex in the way straight or gay male couples can.

Do you believe that there are sexually active gay teenagers out there who -- like many other sexually active people -- make responsible choices when it comes to sexual behaviour? I hope you'll be able to see things for what they really are, rather than cling onto misguided notions.


March 14, 2007 10:24 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

I read Simpson's op-ed before it got posted here and I was hoping that it would get posted.

My reaction? I found the op-ed piece very persuasive and, after having read it, would be inclined to support a change in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

What I do wonder about though is this: how did so many translators get fired? They were not asked, so, who told? Could it be that they made an issue of their sexual orientation for political purposes?

March 15, 2007 2:57 AM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Instead of wild accusation, why don't you go read Cook Vs Rumsfeld Orin?

I know you won't bother, so here's the actual majority of the problem in summary -- and a moral dilemma for you:

If a service man or woman is asked by their commanding officer or a military investigative board if they are gay, and they are, what should they do?

Lie? Or be truthful?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is badly misnamed, for a start. There is nothing preventing anyone asking.

But you're not supposed to tell under any circumstances -- whether being investigated on mere speculation, seeking health advice, or are in deep distress because your partner of 14 years is about to die in two month from cancer.

Like you, many like to go around speculating about other people. That speculation is enough to launch an investigation or be subject to blunt questioning. And then the moral dilemma arrives.

Unlike you, I suspect, we both have first hand experience of that moral dilemma. We choose to be honest.

Australia: one of many countries where gay service men and women can serve openly.

March 15, 2007 3:57 AM  
Blogger grantdale said...

OK -- the "Why?" Theresa (she, the one always with a circular question and yet never an answer).

I'd guess it's for exactly the same reason you'd disagree with this equally factual and equally helpful statement being taught:

Why would you object to simply telling the white kids that by the way, there aren't any studies on the effectiveness of disease prevention using condoms during sex with black peole and there is a MUCH higher prevalence of AIDS in the black population?

The above is utterly offensive and utterly dangerous. Something only a malicious bigot would wish told to school children, or to anyone.

Get it?

Yes, of course you do.

I'm sure if we searched we'd eventually find someone in Montgomery who "morally" objected to inter-racial sex. Anal or otherwise. And, like you, they'd probably put on a mask of "concern" if they ever wanted to go public.

(My gawd, I think I've writted "anal" more times in discussion with these CRC people than I normally do each decade.)

Sex itself, including anal sex, presents no risk of infection Theresa.

Having any sex, including anal sex, with someone who is HIV positive does.

Ditto for inter-racial sex.

Can you spot where the actual risk is now? It ain't the sex, it's the partner.

March 15, 2007 4:19 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

I assume you are ref. this part of Cook v. Rumsfeld (2006), correct?

35. The statute has no “Don’t Ask” guarantee: nothing in 10 U.S.C. § 654 prohibits
the military from asking service members about their sexual orientation. Defense Department
regulations purport to restrict commanders’ discretion to initiate investigations, but in practice
there are few restraints on commanders’ ability to ask service members whether they are gay,
lesbian, or bisexual—and no restrictions on discharging gay, lesbian, and bisexual service
members who answer those questions truthfully. Indeed, Plaintiffs Glover, Hall, McGinn,
Peacock and Sparks were all discharged after commanders or investigators asked them whether
they were gay or lesbian.

Well, then, you are is misnamed. I would support a provision that would not only place iron-clad protections for privacy, but penalties for a CO asking.

So, was this really necessary,

I know you won't bother, so here's the actual majority of the problem in summary -- and a moral dilemma for you:?

BTW, I think citation of the report produced by the RAND Corp. lends ALOT of credibility to claims made by the plaintiffs.

March 15, 2007 6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In advance of the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting that considered the condom demonstration lesson plan, TTF President and CAC member Jim Kennedy proposed inclusion of a document from the CDC entitled “Can I get HIV from anal sex?” (, Here is the text of the document:

“Yes. In fact, unprotected (without a condom) anal sex (intercourse) is considered to be very risky behavior. It is possible for either sex partner to become infected with HIV during anal sex. HIV can be found in the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, or vaginal fluid of a person infected with the virus. In general, the person receiving the semen is at greater risk of getting HIV because the lining of the rectum is thin and may allow the virus to enter the body during anal sex. However, a person who inserts his penis into an infected partner also is at risk because HIV can enter through the urethra (the opening at the tip of the penis) or through small cuts, abrasions, or open sores on the penis.

“Not having (abstaining from) sex is the most effective way to avoid HIV. If people choose to have anal sex, they should use a latex condom. Most of the time, condoms work well. However, condoms are more likely to break during anal sex than during vaginal sex. Thus, even with a condom, anal sex can be risky. A person should use generous amounts of water-based lubricant in addition to the condom to reduce the chances of the condom breaking.”

This CDC information is not, as the opponents assert, focused on “gay sex” per se, since anal intercourse is widely practiced among heterosexuals – and, for example, recent reports suggest that it is prevalent among those “abstinence only” classes as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The risks should be taught, along with the ways that the risks may be lessened.

Unfortunately, by the time the CAC finished dealing with one amendment after another offered by Ruth Jacobs, it was very late into the night, and the CAC never had the opportunity to discuss or vote on Jim’s suggestion.

It seems to me that if Ruth really cared about the greater risks involved in anal intercourse, she would have urged that the CAC stay late into the night and vote on that suggestion, since her suggestions were defeated. Instead, she simply insists on anything she can find to stigmatize gay people.

It is essential that we teach our children the risks of sexual activity. It is also essential that our health classes recognize what the mainstream medical and mental health professional associations say about homosexuality: That it is not a disease or disorder, that it is not a choice, and that people who happen to be gay can live happy and fulfilling lives consistent with their sexual orientation.

March 15, 2007 7:22 AM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Yes, it was Orin. I was being sarcastic.

(However I don't think you were being sarcastic when you floated that silly notion that gay servicemen do it for "political purposes".)

But no, I wasn't referring to that part of Cook v Rumsfeld.

I was referring to the actual law itself (and all the rulings, memos etc that govern it's application) never mind whatever a plaintiff might state.

Not to worry though -- you got the guist of the imbalance currently at work, so the source doesn't matter so much. Your solution seems rather like placing a patch on a patch when what you really need is a new tyre. Also won't change a basic fact that gay men and women already serve and will continue to do so and must run a constant race to ensure nothing ever EVER gets found out. I think our service personel have more important things to worry about, frankly.

And the moral dilemma I posed???

Any cognitive dissonance at work after I mentioned the notoriously effete Australian Defence Force???

Once upon a time our brass also claimed the same blustering nonsense about "morale" blah blah, but were simply told to shut up and do their job. The government, not the military, decides the purpose and nature of the armed forces. (memo to General Pace)

Well, the law changed. (15 years ago?) The military did their job. End of the matter. UK, same. Israel, same. etc.

March 15, 2007 8:18 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Why don't we just say all Gay people will burn in hell- will that do it for you? Don't try to hide your real feelings behind lies and fake stats.

March 15, 2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at March 14, 2007 4:49 PM said and I heard that fully 1/2 of the Julius West kids opted out. That there were only 9 kids in one of the classes that should have had 30...

You should get a more reliable source.

If there was any truth to what you "heard" there would have been a huge headline in all the local newspapers this morning, especially that Moonie rag, the Washington Times.

Looks like another attempt to sway public opinion with CRC lies.


March 15, 2007 3:39 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

grantdale writes,

Once upon a time our brass also claimed the same blustering nonsense about "morale" blah blah, but were simply told to shut up and do their job. The government, not the military, decides the purpose and nature of the armed forces. (memo to General Pace)

On this point it might shock you, but I could not agree more. And if this policy changes (and I suspect it will), that will be what the Legislative Branch here will need to tell the military.

General Pace may want to read up on the life of Douglas McArthur if he has any questions about this issue (that being who calls the shots: the military or civilians).

Good point, grantdale. Thanks.

March 15, 2007 10:45 PM  
Blogger grantdale said...

No, no shock Orin. We've been reading up on you... :)

It happened in 1948 (?) over something that was an even more polarised issue at that time. I'm confident that the US military in 2007 would be as equally willing to follow directives and as equally professional enough to make it work -- regardless of the opinions expressed by some.

Don't know about you, but it actually creeps us out when military people are too willing to volunteer their own opinions on a matter of government. Regardless of free speech laws, we think "Banana Republic" and "slippery slope" at once.

("I have no comment on that matter" as a reply does not mean you have no opinion -- and it's what General Pace should have said)

They study and they train to kill people, for us. But they don't make policy.

All too simple, no? :)

March 16, 2007 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon (probably Theresa) said

Not too shabby.
and I heard that fully 1/2 of the Julius West kids opted out. That there were only 9 kids in one of the classes that should have had 30...

Well no facts in the above.

Very few opted out, 3 were absent,few forgot forms so majority of the 60 kids took the class.


March 16, 2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Oh, is this like when Michele said the state granted the stay but meant the state denied the stay? Why should facts get in the way of the CRC?

March 16, 2007 4:51 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Theresa said "Makes me mad that you would hide the health risks of homosexual sex from kids that might die of DON'T tell the kids that while suggesting they explore their feelings... you are guilty of murder, nothing more, nothing less.".

The children are told about the risks of unprotected sex Theresa and no one is telling them to go out and have sex unprotected or not.

A gay child is more likely to become depressed and commit suicide because of the social rejection and second class citizenship you promote. By pushing your anti-gay message YOU are guilty of murder.

March 17, 2007 5:17 PM  

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