She-who-must-not-be-named Chose (b)..

I have chosen to never name her on this blog- I feel it’s akin to inviting a vampire into the home, and THAT rarely goes well… I also don’t want to give the impression that I think she’s as powerful as that other Must-Not-Be-Named.

But anyway, here are 10 great questions for her supporters.

Report The Hate

Okay, I’m gonna ramp things up a bit.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a history of standing with people and groups against hate, prejudice and bigotry. From their website:

The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, we work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

We employ a three-pronged strategy to battle racial and social injustice:

  • We track the activities of hate groups and domestic terrorists across America, and we launch innovative lawsuits that seek to destroy networks of radical extremists.
  • We use the courts and other forms of advocacy to win systemic reforms on behalf of victims of bigotry and discrimination.
  • We provide educators with free resources that teach school children to reject hate, embrace diversity and respect differences.

They also have a portal for reporting hate incidents under their “Hate Map” of the United States- which is quite interesting, by the way. Just click here and then the button that says “Report a Hate Incident”.

I’m encouraging you to report the Montana GOP for their hateful platform plank:

We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

You can also add any weblinks you think appropriate. I would humbly suggest you add this one.

Maybe we’ll get some appropriate attention to end this draconian bigotry. If not, I still have a few aces up my sleeve….


Glass

The world is changed
by looking out your window
with wonder,

and next
by stepping out your
door with delight-

transfixed with mystery
and held, enraptured,
by the constancy

that holds you here.
It is changed by
the honest loving of it

without need or judgment.
To choose the eyes
to see with today-

kind or unkind,
gentle or angry or bitter
or even thoughtless?

What is there to see, really-
what choices reflected
in the panes that hold the view?

~D Gregory Smith

Same-Sex Seven Sue Big Sky State

Another reason why Montana matters:

...unless you're an uppity homosexual...

Seven committed same-sex couples and the ACLU are suing the State of Montana for “failing to offer legal protections to same-sex couples and their families in violation of the Montana Constitution’s rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life’s basic necessities and its guarantees of equal protection and due process.”

The goal of this lawsuit is to see that same-sex couples are able to protect their families with the same kind of legal protections that the State offers to opposite-sex couples through marriage.

Why do we keep banging our heads out here?

Because it’s the right thing to do.

Kellie Gibson and partner Denise Boettcher are one of the couples involved in the suit.

“Denise has stood with me through 56 brain surgeries and over 300 spinal taps, yet to Montana we’re nothing more than strangers,” Gibson said in a statement. “Knowing we have legal protections for our family sure would make it easier on both of us the next time I have a medical crisis.”

More on the plaintiffs here.

Many of us coupled up in Montana have to take extra legal precautions to ensure our wishes are respected at least on a level of legal will- those of us with children even more so.

Montana is a tricky place. “Live and let live” is the unofficial motto- there are white supremacists living in the same block with hippies, stockbrokers and rodeo clowns. Yet, the Montana GOP wants to criminalize the gays. Letters to the editor regarding LGBT rights/persons never get published. Montana Democrats give lukewarm statements on LGBT issues, etc.

There has been a fundamental right-wing element pushing the marginalization of LGBT persons in this state for over thirty years, and it’s time it was stopped. With the assistance of these plaintiffs, GLAAD, the ACLU, The Montana Human Rights Campaign and good people from all over this nation it might just happen. But it needs to keep it’s legs. This discriminatory attitude has to continue to be called out and placed in the laps of the people of Montana.

There are good people here, some of the best I know, that’s why I stay. We just need a better way to get their attention. Keep writing your letters and making your phone calls. Hell, shoot a public service announcement if you have the resources. The good people of Montana are being manipulated and coerced by a few loudmouths in power- and once we convince them of that, I believe things will turn around.

Because nobody likes a bully.

I’m Back- For A Bit

After a long weekend with early flights, hurried meet and greets with people I love, a little karaoke, a 600 mile drive and time with my parents in a Missoula Hilton, I’m finally ready to get back to Butte.
Things may be a little hectic, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Jacques and Arthur and getting the estate sale underway. Then it’s CPG in Helena followed by Calgary!

No rest for the driven…
Oh, and for those of you who might have missed it, the underwhelming statement by the MT Democratic Chair on the GOP Plank is here.

The San Diego Experience

It’s been great so far. I’ve experienced gorgeous weather, beautiful people- both inside and out, spent time with two mommies and their baby, quality time with Ken, a gay dog show with Greg Louganis, Pride Parade with a VIP wristband on (free liquids and shade), margaritas and parties and beach and good food and breakfast with Gregory Hinton….

Life can only get better. That’s a rule.

That includes making it better by getting rid of that hate-filled Montana GOP platform plank.

I may be on vacation, but rest assured, I’ve not forgotten. And I’m going to make sure you don’t either.

New National HIV Strategy Unveiled

“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

A  visionary national strategy (the first!) for dealing with HIV has been unveiled. Read it here.

Whatever you might think, this is the first time an administration has actually had a plan that specifically deals with gay/bi men in a light that’s not defamatory and shameful sounding. The government has also appropriated $25 million dollars for ADAP, The AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

From the response by NAPWA, the National Association of People with AIDS:

Overall, the plan is thoughtful and lays down some meaningful and aggressive goals to reduce the number of new infections and improve access to care for persons living with HIV.  President Obama, as part of his campaign for President, promised the nation that he would develop such a strategy; NAPWA thanks the President for fulfilling this important commitment.

Frank Oldham, President and CEO of NAPWA stated “On behalf of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, I wish to thank the President and Jeff Crowley for releasing this long awaited document.  NAPWA promises to work with the Administration and Congress to ensure that this becomes a living breathing document that has a meaningful and fruitful impact on the lives of people living with HIV.”

Overall, the strategy has three basic goals, which NAPWA wishes to comment on:

(1) Reducing new HIV infections, with a particular focus on communities where HIV is concentrated.  The Administration’s goal of reducing new infections by 25% is an important goal that we must all work together to ensure is not only met, but exceeded.

(2) Increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV.  NAPWA particularly applauds the goals of establishing a seamless system of care for people when they are diagnosed with HIV, increasing the number of HIV clinical care providers, and addressing the complex co-morbid conditions of many individuals living with HIV, including issues such as access to housing.  In light of the current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis, with over 2,200 individuals on waiting lists for HIV medications, it is very apparent that this goal will only be met with the significant introduction of new federal resources to meet the growing demand for HIV services.  The Administration and Congress must step up to the plate to provide new federal funding not only to address to the ADAP crisis, but also to help meet the goals laid out in this important plan.

(3) Reducing HIV-related health disparities, including recognizing the role that stigma continues to play in reducing access to care and getting people tested. We at NAPWA recognize on a very person level the major and ongoing role that stigma continues to play in the everyday lives of people living with HIV, including promoting fear, inhibiting disclosure, and reducing persons access to the HIV care they need and deserve.  In order to effectively address the HIV epidemic, reducing stigma must play a major role in any strategy.

Stated Matthew Lesieur, Director of Public Policy, “The release of the nation’s first National AIDS Strategy is only the beginning.  Now the long road ahead lies in making this strategy a reality that has value to the average person living with HIV. “

Founded in 1983, NAPWA is the first coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world as well as the oldest AIDS organization in the United States. NAPWA is the trusted, independent voice of the more than one million people living with HIV/AIDS in America.

For more information, visit http://www.napwa.org.

7/15 Update: Dan O’Neill’s excellent analysis here.

Vacation, Doctors and Friends

In the next few days I’ll be driving to Spokane and Seattle, then flying to San Diego and back again.  I get to meet with my general doc and my HIV doc in Seattle, and see some dear friends there. Then it’s off to be with my husband, Ken, his sister, her wife and their daughter. (Wow, tough sentence.). I also get to meet two of my heroes (and correspondence and phone friends), Gregory Hinton and Gregory Louganis for the first time. Not all together- it’s going to be on two separate occasions. I wish we could all get together and have a Gregory Summit.

Now that would be cool. Hmmm…. food for thought.

Anyway, I’ll sort of be trying to recreate and chill, so posts may not be so frequent. BUT, do not give up talking to your friends, neighbors, family and political representatives about the MT GOP Bigotry and Why Montana Matters.

It’s important.

Stay cool, my people. You make the world better.