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Vocapedia > Gays, Gay / LGBT rights, Homosexuality > Homophobia, Bigotry, Bullying

 

 

 

Matthew and Nazim at a friend’s wedding in 2005.

 

My boyfriend killed himself

because his family couldn’t accept that he was gay

G

Saturday 21 March 2015        05.59 GMT

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/21/
my-boyfriend-killed-himself-because-his-family-couldnt-accept-that-he-was-gay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homosexual        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/30/
452849153/a-perfect-soldier-remembering-a-warrior-in-the-battle-against-homophobia

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/07/us/
gay-veterans-push-for-honorable-discharges-they-were-denied.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bigotry        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/01/
484291451/judge-blocks-mississippi-law-protecting-religious-objections-to-gay-marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homophobia        UK

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/13/
the-guardian-view-on-homophobia-after-orlando-to-fix-it-we-must-first-face-it

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/01/
homophobia-deep-rooted-rife-ultimately-doomed

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/24/
lord-browne-thought-being-gay-wrong-interview-bp-boss-homophobia

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/03/
homophobia-schools-study

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/02/
homophobic-attack-hatred

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/apr/12/
ian-mckellen-gay-tour-schools

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/nov/29/
rupert-everett-madonna-carole-cadwalladr

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/oct/16/
dailymail-stephen-gately

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1220756/
A-strange-lonely-troubling-death--.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jun/24/
homophobia-racism-northern-ireland

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/mar/10/
homophobia-pupil-behaviour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homophobia        UK / USA

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/
622972320/in-1973-an-arson-killed-32-people-at-a-gay-bar-for-years-it-was-forgotten

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/25/
opinion/sunday/worst-and-best-places-to-be-gay.html

 

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/30/
452849153/a-perfect-soldier-remembering-a-warrior-in-the-battle-against-homophobia

 

 

 

 

homophobia > homophobic words > faggot        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/jan/24/
pictures-of-week-steve-rosenfield-what-i-be#/

 

 

 

 

Mapping hate speech:

homophobia and racism on twitter        UK        10 May 2013

 

Here on the data team,

we tend to be skeptical

about the accuracy of semantic analysis.

 

But the students and professors

at Humboldt State University

who produced this map read the entirety

of the 150,000 geo-coded tweets they analysed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2013/may/10/
twitter-geography-hate-racism-homophobia

 

 

 

 

homophobic        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/24/
challenge-homophobic-father-in-law

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/
opinion/sunday/homophobic-maybe-youre-gay.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/shortcuts/2011/dec/21/
hip-hop-losing-homophobic-image

 

 

 

 

homophobic slur        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/08/
travis-scott-issues-apology-homophobic-onstage-slur

 

 

 

 

homophobic attacks        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/02/
homophobic-attack-hatred

 

 

 

 

Orlando terror attack        12 June 2016

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/orlando-terror-attack

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/us/
orlando-attack-roils-a-community-painfully-accustomed-to-violence.html

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000004467776/
a-day-of-mourning-for-the-gay-community.html - June 13, 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/us/
orlando-nightclub-shooting.html

 

 

 

 

New York’s anti-gay massacre / anti-gay rampage        Nov. 19, 1980        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/
nyregion/a-proper-farewell-finally-for-a-victim-of-an-anti-gay-rampage-in-new-york.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/nyregion/new-yorks-
own-anti-gay-massacre-now-barely-remembered-orlando.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/10/nyregion/
new-york-gay-landmarks-beyond-stonewall.html

 

http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1980/11/20/
111312117.html?pageNumber=37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > In 1973, an arson killed 32 people at a gay Bar.        UK / USA

 

On June 24, 1973,

a fire ripped through the Up Stairs Lounge

— a gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

 

The cause was arson.

 

No one was ever charged

or convicted of the crime.

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/
622972320/in-1973-an-arson-killed-32-people-at-a-gay-bar-for-years-it-was-forgotten

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/06/
new-orleans-gay-bar-fire-up-stairs-lounge-1973-book

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/
622972320/in-1973-an-arson-killed-32-people-at-a-gay-bar-for-years-it-was-forgotten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homophobic bullying        UK / USA

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/03/
teachers-trained-tackle-homophobic-bullying-labour

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/
opinion/why-cyberbullying-rhetoric-misses-the-mark.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/us/
13bully.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/26/
gay-history-lessons-bullying-schools

 

 

 

 

homophobic bullying in K schools        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/10/
school-hard-place-gay-bullying

 

 

 

 

gay-bashing        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/26/
paul-haggis-scientology-prop-8

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/16/
stephen-gately-jan-moir

 

 

 

 

Matthew Wayne "Matt" Shepard    1976-1998        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/matthew-shepard

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/17/
opinion/the-lesson-of-matthew-shepard.html

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/13/us/
gay-man-dies-from-attack-fanning-outrage-and-debate.html

 

 

 

 

antigay prejudice        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/
opinion/l13gay.html

 

 

 

 

anti-gay bias / discrimination        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/
opinion/Countering-Anti-Gay-Bias.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/us/
politics/obama-to-extend-protections-for-gay-workers-with-no-religious-exemption.html

 

 

 

 

antigay adverts        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/12/
anti-gay-adverts-boris-johnson

 

 

 

 

anti-gay laws        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/
gay-rights-mississippi-north-carolina.html

 

 

 

 

antigay laws / so-called religious freedom laws         USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/
opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-same-sex-sinners.html

 

 

 

 

Victorian anti-gay laws        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/may/09/
fanny-and-stella-pioneer-transvestites-victorian-anti-gay-laws

 

 

 

 

hip-hop's attitude to homosexuality        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/dec/20/
trends-2012-hip-hop-homosexuality

 

 

 

 

Sexual Offences Act 1967

partial decriminalisation of homosexuality

 

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/jun/18/
glad-to-be-gay-the-story-of-the-filming-of-david-is-homosexual

 

 

 

 

Brian Epstein, Joe Orton and Joe Meek

three men persecuted for their homosexuality        UK

 

Just over 40 years ago

the Sexual Offences bill

received Royal Assent

and became an act of law.

 

In overturning

the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885

- the "blackmailer's charter" -

the Sexual Offences Act

substantially decriminalised homosexual acts

and allowed gay men some freedom

to live their lives openly and without fear.

 

However, for three high-achieving and,

in their own way, extraordinary,

British gay men, 1967 marked the end,

not a beginning.

 

The outline of their deaths

is well documented.

 

On February 3 1967,

the independent record producer Joe Meek

killed his landlady, Violet Shenton,

before turning the shotgun on himself.

 

On August 9,

the hottest new British playwright

of his generation, Joe Orton,

was murdered by his companion,

Kenneth Halliwell.

 

On August 27,

the body of the Beatles'

manager Brian Epstein was found

after an accidental overdose

of a prescribed sleeping pill.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2007/aug/30/art.gayrights

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2007/aug/30/
art.gayrights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Man        StoryCorps        18 June 2014

 

 

 

 

A Good Man        Video        StoryCorps        18 June 2014

 

Bryan Wilmoth and his seven younger siblings

were raised in a strict, religious home.

 

At StoryCorps,

Bryan talks with his brother Mike about what it was like

to reconnect years after their dad kicked Bryan out for being gay.

 

Funding provided by

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Ford Foundation

In partnership with POV

 

Directed by: The Rauch Brothers

Art Direction: Bill Wray

Producers: Lizzie Jacobs, Maya Millett & Mike Rauch

Animation: Tim Rauch

Audio Produced by: Nadia Reiman & Michael Garofalo

Music: Fredrik

Label: The Kora Records

Publisher: House of Hassle

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpD4zeg2o90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Clementi    1991-2010

 

18-year-old Rutgers University freshman

who killed himself in September 2010

after discovering that his roommate

had secretly used a webcam to stream

Mr. Clementi’s romantic interlude

with another man over the Internet.

Updated: March 16, 2012

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/tyler_clementi/index.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/tyler-clementi

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/nyregion/
after-clementis-suicide-rutgers-embraces-its-gay-and-transgender-students.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/nyregion/
30suicide.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays,

to Let Some Give Blood

 

DEC. 23, 2014

The New York Times

By SABRINA TAVERNISE

 

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a major stride toward ending what many had seen as a national policy of discrimination.

However, the agency will continue to ban men who have had sex with a man in the last year, saying the barrier is necessary to keep the blood supply safe, a move that frustrated rights groups that were pushing for the ban to be removed entirely.

The F.D.A. enacted the ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic. At the time, little was known about the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes the disease, and there was no quick test to determine whether somebody had it. But science — and the understanding of H.I.V. in particular — has advanced in the intervening decades. On Tuesday the F.D.A. acknowledged as much, lifting the lifetime ban but keeping in place a block on donations by men who have had sex with other men in the last 12 months.

The F.D.A. rules on blood donation generally include very wide margins of error. For example, it bars anyone who has traveled in areas where malaria is common from giving blood for a year, even though malaria symptoms are almost unmistakable — chills and fever — and virtually always appear within 40 days. The agency also has a 12-month waiting period for heterosexuals who, among other activities, have sex with prostitutes or with people who inject drugs.

Restrictions on donors were written when H.I.V. testing was slower and less refined. Today, some tests can detect the virus in blood as little as nine days after infection.

In written remarks, the agency said it was keeping the 12-month ban because “compelling scientific evidence is not available at this time to support a change to a deferral period less than one year while still ensuring the safety of the blood supply.”

The shift puts the United States on par with many European countries, including Britain, which adjusted its lifetime ban in favor of a 12-month restriction in 2011.

Most men’s health advocates called the move long overdue, and said that the overall ban was not based on the latest science and that it perpetuated a stigma about gay men as a risk to the health of the nation. Legal experts said the change brought an important national health policy in line with other legal and political rights for gay Americans, like permitting gay people to marry and to serve openly in the military.

“This is a major victory for gay civil rights,” said I. Glenn Cohen, a law professor at Harvard who specializes in bioethics and health. “We’re leaving behind the old view that every gay man is a potential infection source.” He said, however, that the policy was “still not rational enough.”

Indeed, some advocacy groups attacked the change as too incremental. Leaving in place a 12-month ban essentially blocks any gay or bisexual man who is sexually active from donating, erasing about half the population of potential donors and perpetuating what rights groups say is tougher treatment for gay and bisexual men.

G MHC, the advocacy group formerly known as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, called the new policy “offensive and harmful.” AIDS United, a Washington-based lobbying group, said that it was a “step forward,” but that it “continues to perpetuate discrimination against gay and bisexual men.”

Today doctors have nucleic acid tests that can diagnose an H.I.V. infection within nine to 11 days of exposure, and all blood donations have to be tested before being shipped for transfusion.

“Many other Western countries had changed their policies, and I think the F.D.A. has come to accept the science supporting a change to their policy also,” said Debra Kessler, director of special donor services at the New York Blood Center. She said blood centers across the country “have been talking to the F.D.A. for years to encourage them to move forward.”

In a statement, the agency said that it had “carefully examined and considered the scientific evidence” and that it intended to issue a draft guidance detailing the change in 2015. An F.D.A. official told reporters that there was not enough science to support lifting the 12-month ban, an assertion that men’s health groups dispute.

“At this time we simply do not have the evidence to suggest that we can go to a shorter period,” said Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

The agency’s decision seems to have been guided by data that emerged after similar policy changes in other countries. For example, Dr. Marks cited data from Australia, where studies have shown no increased risk to the blood supply after the country changed the ban from lifetime to a year.

Other groups applauded the shift, pointing out that it had been pushed for years by medical experts, blood banks and gay men’s health organizations that argued that the policy had long outlived its usefulness for safety in the blood supply.

“A lot has changed since 1983,” said Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Fenway Institute, a research and advocacy center in Boston. He called the shift “an important incremental step toward a better policy. That’s how policies often change — incrementally.”

While the burden of H.I.V. in the United States falls disproportionately on gay and bisexual men — Mr. Cahill cited estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that two-thirds of an estimated 50,000 new H.I.V. infections in the United States each year occur among men who have sex with men — the vast majority of gay and bisexual men are not H.I.V. positive. The 1980s-era policy essentially ignored that fact by counting every single man who had had sex with a man since 1977 as suspect.

About 8.5 percent of American men — or about 10 million people — report having had sex at least once with a man since turning 18, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. (Blood banks, however, know that donors do not always tell the truth about their sexual activity on questionnaires.) The institute has calculated that the rules change could add about 317,000 pints of blood to the nation’s supply annually, an increase of 2 percent to 4 percent.

The new policy will exclude the 3.8 percent of American men who report having had a male sexual partner in the past year, a group that could double the potential new supply, the institute said.

The policy, which will go through a public comment period next year, comes at a time when the nation’s blood supply is relatively stable, Ms. Kessler said, in part because of changes in hospitals and ways of collecting blood.

Rights groups say that current policy is unfair because it blocks a sexually active gay man from donating even if he has had only one sexual partner, has protected sex, and has not been exposed to H.I.V., while it allows sexually active heterosexual men and women who may have been exposed to H.I.V. to donate. They also argue that the lifetime ban stigmatizes homosexuality, making it seem like being gay is a risk in and of itself.

They say the policy should be more individualized, like Italy’s, in which potential donors are interviewed to screen for higher-risk donors, like people with multiple sexual partners or who report sex with intravenous drug users or prostitutes.

Dr. Marks said the agency was putting a surveillance system into place that would help the agency monitor the effect of the policy change.
 


Donald G. McNeil Jr. contributed reporting from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on December 24, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood.

F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood,
NYT,
23.12.2014,
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/
health/fda-lifting-ban-on-gay-blood-donors.html

 

 

 

 

 

John Lawrence,

Plaintiff in Gay Rights Case,

Dies at 68

 

December 23, 2011

The New York Times

By ADAM LIPTAK

 

John G. Lawrence, whose bedroom encounter with the police in Texas led to one of the gay rights movement’s signal triumphs, the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, died at his home in Houston on Nov. 20, his partner said on Friday. He was 68.

The cause was complications of a heart ailment, said his partner, Jose Garcia.

Aside from a posting on a funeral home’s Web site that did not mention the Supreme Court decision, Mr. Lawrence’s death apparently received no immediate publicity. It came to light when a lawyer in the case, Mitchell Katine, sought to reach Mr. Lawrence with an invitation to an event commemorating the ruling.

The Lawrence decision struck down a Texas law that made gay sex a crime and swept away sodomy laws in a dozen other states. The decision reversed a 17-year-old precedent, Bowers v. Hardwick, which had ruled that there was nothing in the Constitution to stop states from making it a crime for gay men to have consensual sex at home.

But Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for five justices in the 6-to-3 Lawrence decision, said, “The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives.”

“The state,” he wrote, “cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.”

Paul M. Smith, who argued in the Supreme Court on behalf of Mr. Lawrence, said the decision “laid the foundation for all the good things that have happened since,” including decisions from state courts endorsing same-sex marriage and the repeal of the military’s policy forbidding gay men and lesbians from serving openly.

The logic of the Lawrence decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in dissent, supported a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The case began on Sept. 17, 1998, when police investigating a report of a “weapons disturbance” entered Mr. Lawrence’s apartment. They said they saw Mr. Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex and arrested them for violating a Texas law prohibiting “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.”

The two men were held overnight and each fined $200. Texas courts rejected their constitutional challenges to the state law, relying on the Bowers decision.

In a new book, “Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas,” which will be published in March by W. W. Norton & Company, Dale Carpenter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, writes that the conventional understanding of what happened that night is flawed.

In interviews for the book, police officers gave contradictory accounts of the sex act they saw. Mr. Lawrence, for his part, told Professor Carpenter that he and Mr. Garner, who died in 2006, had not had sex, then or ever, and were seated perhaps 15 feet apart when the police arrived.

“If the police did not observe any sex,” Professor Carpenter wrote, “the whole case is built on law enforcement misconduct that makes it an even more egregious abuse of liberty than the Supreme Court knew.”

What is clear is that the arrest infuriated Mr. Lawrence.

“I don’t think he appreciated the constitutional issues,” said Mr. Katine, a Houston lawyer who represented Mr. Lawrence. “He was upset about how he was treated, physically and personally, that night. The fire stayed in him. When he was vindicated in the Supreme Court, he felt he got justice.”

Suzanne B. Goldberg, who represented Mr. Lawrence as part of her work at Lambda Legal, a national gay rights advocacy group, said Mr. Lawrence “was not your typical test-case plaintiff.”

“He had not been active in the gay rights movement or even out as a gay man to all of his co-workers and family,” said Professor Goldberg, who now teaches at Columbia Law School. “Instead, this was something that happened to him. The police came into his bedroom and put him into the middle of one of the most significant gay rights cases in our time.”

John Geddes Lawrence Jr. was born on Aug. 2, 1943, in Beaumont, Tex. He served four years in the Navy and worked as a medical technician until his retirement in 2009. In addition to Mr. Garcia, he is survived by his brother, Charles W. Lawrence, and a sister, Mary Jane Rodriguez, both of Kountze, Tex.

Mr. Lawrence attended the Supreme Court argument in his case, his lawyers recalled, mingling with the people who had waited in line all night to see it, alive with excitement, pride and a sense of history. “He was willing to be the real-life face of injustice,” Mr. Katine said.

Mr. Lawrence reflected on his case years later in an interview with Professor Carpenter. “Why should there be a law passed that only prosecutes certain people?” he asked. “Why build a law that only says, ‘Because you’re a gay man you can’t do this. But because you’re a heterosexual, you can do the same thing’?”

John Lawrence, Plaintiff in Gay Rights Case, Dies at 68,
NYT,
23.12.2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/24/us/
john-lawrence-plaintiff-in-lawrence-v-texas-dies-at-68.html

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin Kameny,

Gay Rights Pioneer,

Dies at 86

 

October 12, 2011

The New York Times

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

 

Franklin E. Kameny, who transformed his 1957 arrest as a “sexual pervert” and his subsequent firing from the Army Map Service into a powerful animating spark of the gay civil rights movement, died on Tuesday at his home in Washington. He was 86.

His death was confirmed by the United States Office of Personnel Management, which formally apologized two years ago for his dismissal.

A half-century ago, Mr. Kameny was either first or foremost — often both — in publicly advocating the propositions that there were homosexuals throughout the population, that they were not mentally ill, and that there was neither reason nor justification for the many forms of discrimination prevalent against them.

Rather than accept his firing quietly, Mr. Kameny challenged his dismissal before the Civil Service Commission and then sued the government in federal court. That he lost was almost beside the point. The battle against discrimination now had a face, a name and a Ph.D. from Harvard.

Though he helped found the Mattachine Society of Washington, an early advocacy group, Mr. Kameny was not content to organize solely within the gay community. He welcomed and exploited the publicity that came from broader — if foredoomed — political efforts, like running in 1971 for the delegate seat representing the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives.

He also claimed authorship of the phrase “Gay is good” a year before the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York, widely regarded as the first milestone in the gay rights movement. Many of the tributes that began to appear on the Web on Wednesday noted that Mr. Kameny’s death coincided with National Coming Out Day.

Mr. Kameny has been likened both to Rosa Parks and to Gen. George Patton, two historical figures not frequently found in the same sentence. “Frank Kameny was our Rosa Parks, and more,” Richard Socarides, the president of the advocacy group Equality Matters, said on Wednesday. During the Clinton administration, Mr. Socarides was the special assistant for gay rights in the White House, outside which Mr. Kameny and others had picketed in 1965 to protest their treatment by the government.

The Patton analogy was made by Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney in their 1999 book “Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America.” (Mr. Nagourney is a reporter for The New York Times, and Mr. Clendinen is a former Times reporter.)

“Franklin Kameny had the confidence of an intellectual autocrat, the manner of a snapping turtle, a voice like a foghorn, and the habit of expressing himself in thunderous bursts of precise and formal language,” the authors wrote. “He talked in italics and exclamation points and he cultivated the self-righteous arrogance of a visionary who knew his cause was just when no one else did.”

Franklin Edward Kameny was born May 21, 1925, in New York City. He entered Queens College, served in the Army in the Netherlands and Germany during World War II and was awarded his doctorate from Harvard in 1956. He was hired as an astronomer the next year by the Army Map Service, but lasted only five months when the government learned he had been arrested by the morals squad in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, which was known as a gay cruising ground.

At the time, under an executive order signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953,“sexual perversion” was considered grounds for dismissal from government employment. Mr. Kameny contested his firing through level after level of legal appeal, until the Supreme Court declined to hear his case in 1961.

Unable to get another job in his field, he became radicalized, he told Eric Marcus, who interviewed him for the 1992 book “Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945-1990.” Mr. Kameny said his personal manifesto emerged from the petition he prepared for the Supreme Court.

“The government put its disqualification of gays under the rubric of immoral conduct, which I objected to,” Mr. Kameny said. “Because under our system, morality is a matter of personal opinion and individual belief on which any American citizen may hold any view he wishes and upon which the government has no power or authority to have any view at all. Besides which, in my view, homosexuality is not only not immoral, but is affirmatively moral.

“Up until that time, nobody else ever said this — as far as I know — in any kind of formal court pleading.”

After this loss, Mr. Kameny recognized that the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a sickness posed a high hurdle to the movement.

“An attribution of mental illness in our culture is devastating, and it’s something which is virtually impossible to get beyond,” he said to Charles Kaiser, who interviewed him in 1995 for his book “The Gay Metropolis: 1940-1996.” He was among those who lobbied for its reversal.

In December 1973, the psychiatric association’s board of trustees approved a resolution declaring that homosexuality, “by itself, does not necessarily constitute a psychiatric disorder.”

Leading psychiatrists who believed otherwise, like Dr. Charles W. Socarides (the father of Richard Socarides), pushed for a membership-wide referendum in the hope of overturning the resolution. In April 1974, 5,854 of the association’s roughly 20,000 members voted to support the trustees’ position, 3,810 to oppose it. The result left Mr. Kameny “ecstatic,” he said.

As for his firing, Mr. Kameny lived long enough to receive and accept an apology from John Berry, the director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, successor to the Civil Service Commission. Speaking of Mr. Kameny on Wednesday, Mr. Berry said:

“He helped make it possible for countless of patriotic Americans to hold security clearances and high government positions, including me.”

    Franklin Kameny, Gay Rights Pioneer, Dies at 86, NYT, 12.10.2011,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/us/
    franklin-kameny-gay-rights-pioneer-dies-at-86.html

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying as True Drama

 

September 22, 2011
The New York Times
By DANAH BOYD
and ALICE MARWICK

 

THE suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year-old boy from western New York who killed himself last Sunday after being tormented by his classmates for being gay, is appalling. His story is a classic case of bullying: he was aggressively and repeatedly victimized. Horrific episodes like this have sparked conversations about cyberbullying and created immense pressure on regulators and educators to do something, anything, to make it stop. Yet in the rush to find a solution, adults are failing to recognize how their conversations about bullying are often misaligned with youth narratives. Adults need to start paying attention to the language of youth if they want antibullying interventions to succeed.

Jamey recognized that he was being bullied and asked explicitly for help, but this is not always the case. Many teenagers who are bullied can’t emotionally afford to identify as victims, and young people who bully others rarely see themselves as perpetrators. For a teenager to recognize herself or himself in the adult language of bullying carries social and psychological costs. It requires acknowledging oneself as either powerless or abusive.

In our research over a number of years, we have interviewed and observed teenagers across the United States. Given the public interest in cyberbullying, we asked young people about it, only to be continually rebuffed. Teenagers repeatedly told us that bullying was something that happened only in elementary or middle school. “There’s no bullying at this school” was a regular refrain.

This didn’t mesh with our observations, so we struggled to understand the disconnect. While teenagers denounced bullying, they — especially girls — would describe a host of interpersonal conflicts playing out in their lives as “drama.”

At first, we thought drama was simply an umbrella term, referring to varying forms of bullying, joking around, minor skirmishes between friends, breakups and makeups, and gossip. We thought teenagers viewed bullying as a form of drama. But we realized the two are quite distinct. Drama was not a show for us, but rather a protective mechanism for them.

Teenagers say drama when they want to diminish the importance of something. Repeatedly, teenagers would refer to something as “just stupid drama,” “something girls do,” or “so high school.” We learned that drama can be fun and entertaining; it can be serious or totally ridiculous; it can be a way to get attention or feel validated. But mostly we learned that young people use the term drama because it is empowering.

Dismissing a conflict that’s really hurting their feelings as drama lets teenagers demonstrate that they don’t care about such petty concerns. They can save face while feeling superior to those tormenting them by dismissing them as desperate for attention. Or, if they’re the instigators, the word drama lets teenagers feel that they’re participating in something innocuous or even funny, rather than having to admit that they’ve hurt someone’s feelings. Drama allows them to distance themselves from painful situations.

Adults want to help teenagers recognize the hurt that is taking place, which often means owning up to victimhood. But this can have serious consequences. To recognize oneself as a victim — or perpetrator — requires serious emotional, psychological and social support, an infrastructure unavailable to many teenagers. And when teenagers like Jamey do ask for help, they’re often let down. Not only are many adults ill-equipped to help teenagers do the psychological work necessary, but teenagers’ social position often requires them to continue facing the same social scene day after day.

Like Jamey, there are young people who identify as victims of bullying. But many youths engaged in practices that adults label bullying do not name them as such. Teenagers want to see themselves as in control of their own lives; their reputations are important. Admitting that they’re being bullied, or worse, that they are bullies, slots them into a narrative that’s disempowering and makes them feel weak and childish.

Antibullying efforts cannot be successful if they make teenagers feel victimized without providing them the support to go from a position of victimization to one of empowerment. When teenagers acknowledge that they’re being bullied, adults need to provide programs similar to those that help victims of abuse. And they must recognize that emotional recovery is a long and difficult process.

But if the goal is to intervene at the moment of victimization, the focus should be to work within teenagers’ cultural frame, encourage empathy and help young people understand when and where drama has serious consequences. Interventions must focus on positive concepts like healthy relationships and digital citizenship rather than starting with the negative framing of bullying. The key is to help young people feel independently strong, confident and capable without first requiring them to see themselves as either an oppressed person or an oppressor.

 

Danah Boyd is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research

and a research assistant professor at New York University.

Alice Marwick is a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research

and a research affiliate at Harvard University.

    Bullying as True Drama, NYT, 22.9.2011,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/
    opinion/why-cyberbullying-rhetoric-misses-the-mark.html

 

 

 

 

 

In Suburb, Battle Goes Public

on Bullying of Gay Students

 

September 13, 2011
The New Yrk Times
By ERIK ECKHOLM

 

ANOKA, Minn. — This sprawling suburban school system, much of it within Michele Bachmann’s Congressional district, is caught in the eye of one of the country’s hottest culture wars — how homosexuality should be discussed in the schools.

After years of harsh conflict between advocates for gay students and Christian conservatives, the issue was already highly charged here. Then in July, six students brought a lawsuit contending that school officials have failed to stop relentless antigay bullying and that a district policy requiring teachers to remain “neutral” on issues of sexual orientation has fostered oppressive silence and a corrosive stigma.

Also this summer, parents and students here learned that the federal Department of Justice was deep into a civil rights investigation into complaints about unchecked harassment of gay students in the district. The inquiry is still under way.

Through it all, conservative Christian groups have demanded that the schools avoid any descriptions of homosexuality or same-sex marriage as normal, warning against any surrender to what they say is the “homosexual agenda” of recruiting youngsters to an “unhealthy and abnormal lifestyle.”

Adding an extra incendiary element, the school district has suffered eight student suicides in the last two years, leading state officials to declare a “suicide contagion.” Whether antigay bullying contributed to any of these deaths is sharply disputed; some friends and teachers say four of the students were struggling with issues of sexual identity.

In many larger cities, lessons in tolerance of sexual diversity are now routine parts of health education and antibully training. But in the suburbs the battle rages on, perhaps nowhere more bitterly than here in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, just north of Minneapolis. With 38,000 students, it is Minnesota’s largest school system, and most of it lies within the Congressional district of Ms. Bachmann, a Republican contender for president.

Ms. Bachmann has not spoken out on the suicides or the fierce debate over school policy and did not respond to requests to comment for this article. She has in the past expressed skepticism about antibullying programs, and she is an ally of the Minnesota Family Council, a Christian group that has vehemently opposed any positive portrayal of homosexuality in the schools.

School officials say they are caught in the middle, while gay rights advocates say there is no middle ground on questions of basic human rights.

“I think the adults are much more interested in making us into a political battlefield than the kids are,” said Dennis Carlson, the superintendent of schools. “We have people on the left and the right, and we’re trying to find common ground on these issues.”

“Keeping kids safe is common ground,” he said, pointing to district efforts to combat bullying and to new antisuicide efforts.

Gay children, and some parents and supporters, say these efforts are undercut by what they call the district’s “gag order” on discussion of sexual diversity — a policy, adopted in 2009 amid searing public debate, that “teaching about sexual orientation is not part of the district-adopted curriculum” and that staff “shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation.”

The lawsuit was brought in July on behalf of six current and former students by the Southern Poverty Law Center and by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It charges that district staff members, when they witnessed or heard reports of antigay harassment, tended to “ignore, minimize, dismiss, or in some instances, to blame the victim for the other students’ abusive behavior.”

One of the plaintiffs, Kyle Rooker, 14, has not declared his sexual orientation but was perceived by classmates as gay, he said, in part because he likes to wear glittery scarves and belt out Lady Gaga songs. In middle school he was called epithets almost daily, and once he was urinated on from above the stall as he used the toilet.

“I love attention, but that’s the kind of drama I just can’t handle,” Kyle said, adding that when he was threatened in the locker room, school officials had him change in an assistant principal’s office rather than stopping the bullying.

The district’s demand of neutrality on homosexuality, the suit says, is inherently stigmatizing, has inhibited teachers from responding aggressively to bullying and has deterred them from countering destructive stereotypes.

“This policy clearly sends a message to LGBT kids that there is something shameful about who they are and that they are not valid people in history,” said Jefferson Fietek, a drama teacher at Anoka Middle School for the Arts, using the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Mr. Fietek, the adviser to a recently formed Gay-Straight Alliance at his school, said he knew of several gay and lesbian students who had attempted or seriously considered suicide.

Colleen Cashen, a psychologist and counselor at the Northdale Middle School, said that by singling out homosexuality, the policy created “an air of shame,” and that contradictory interpretations from the administration had left teachers afraid to test the limits, seeing homosexuality and the history of gay rights as taboo subjects. “I believe that the policy is creating a toxic environment for the students,” she said.

Mr. Carlson, the superintendent, agreed that bullying persists but strongly denied that the school environment is generally hostile. He said he welcomed further initiatives that could result from negotiations over the lawsuit or with the federal investigators. “We want all students to feel welcome and safe,” he said.

But conservative parents have organized to lobby against change. “Saying that you should accept two moms as a normal family — that would be advocacy,” said Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council. “There should be no tolerance of bullying, but these groups are using the issue to try to press a social agenda.”

A group of district parents who are closely allied with the family council declined to be interviewed. Their Web site says that depression among gay teenagers is often the fault of gay rights advocates who create hopelessness: “When a child has been deliberately misinformed about the causes of homosexuality and told that homosexual acts are normal and natural, all hope for recovery is taken away.”

    In Suburb, Battle Goes Public on Bullying of Gay Students, NYT, 13.9.2011,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/us/13bully.html

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Freedman,

a Leader in Psychiatry,

Dies at 94

 

April 20, 2011
The New York Times
By WILLIAM GRIMES

 

Dr. Alfred M. Freedman, a psychiatrist and social reformer who led the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 when, overturning a century-old policy, it declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 94.

The cause was complications of surgery to treat a fractured hip, his son Dan said.

In 1972, with pressure mounting from gay rights groups and from an increasing number of psychiatrists to destigmatize homosexuality, Dr. Freedman was elected president of the association, which he later described as a conservative “old boys’ club.” Its 20,000 members were deeply divided about its policy on homosexuality, which its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders II classified as a “sexual deviation” in the same class as fetishism, voyeurism, pedophilia and exhibitionism.

Well known as the chairman of the department of psychiatry at New York Medical College and a strong proponent of community-oriented psychiatric and social services, Dr. Freedman was approached by a group of young reformers, the Committee of Concerned Psychiatrists, who persuaded him to run as a petition candidate for the presidency of the psychiatric association.

Dr. Freedman, much to his surprise, won what may have been the first contested election in the organization’s history — by 3 votes out of more than 9,000 cast. Immediately on taking office, he threw his support behind a resolution, drafted by Robert L. Spitzer of Columbia University, to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

On Dec. 15, 1973, the board of trustees, many of them newly elected younger psychiatrists, voted 13 to 0, with two abstentions, in favor of the resolution, which stated that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder.”

It went on: “We will no longer insist on a label of sickness for individuals who insist that they are well and demonstrate no generalized impairment in social effectiveness.”

The board stopped short of declaring homosexuality “a normal variant of human sexuality,” as the association’s task force on nomenclature had recommended.

The recently formed National Gay Task Force (now the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) hailed the resolution as “the greatest gay victory,” one that removed “the cornerstone of oppression for one-tenth of our population.” Among other things, the resolution helped reassure gay men and women in need of treatment for mental problems that doctors would not have any authorization to try to change their sexual orientation, or to identify homosexuality as the root cause of their difficulties.

An equally important companion resolution condemned discrimination against gays in such areas as housing and employment. In addition, it called on local, state and federal lawmakers to pass legislation guaranteeing gay citizens the same protections as other Americans, and to repeal all criminal statutes penalizing sex between consenting adults.

The resolution served as a model for professional and religious organizations that took similar positions in the years to come.

“It was a huge victory for a movement that in 1973 was young, small, very underfunded and had not yet had this kind of political validation,” said Sue Hyde, who organizes the annual conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It is the single most important event in the history of what would become the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement.”

In a 2007 interview Dr. Freedman said, “I felt at the time that that decision was the most important thing we accomplished.”

Alfred Mordecai Freedman was born on Jan. 7, 1917, in Albany. He won scholarships to study at Cornell, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937. He earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1941 but cut short his internship at Harlem Hospital to enlist in the Army Air Corps.

During World War II he served as a laboratory officer in Miami and chief of laboratories at the Air Corps hospital in Gulfport, Miss. He left the corps with the rank of major.

After doing research on neuropsychology with Harold E. Himwich at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, he became interested in the development of human cognition. He underwent training in general and child psychiatry and began a residency at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where he became a senior child psychiatrist.

He was the chief psychiatrist in the pediatrics department at the Downstate College of Medicine of the State University of New York for five years before becoming the first full-time chairman of the department of psychiatry at New York Medical College, then in East Harlem and now in Valhalla, N.Y.

In his 30 years at the college he built the department into an important teaching institution with a large residency program. He greatly expanded the psychiatric services offered at nearby Metropolitan Hospital, which is affiliated with the school and where he was director of psychiatry.

To address social problems in East Harlem, Dr. Freedman created a treatment program for adult drug addicts at the hospital in 1959 and the next year established a similar program for adolescents. These were among the earliest drug addiction programs to be conducted by a medical school and to be based in a general hospital. He also founded a division of social and community psychiatry at the school to serve neighborhood residents.

With Harold I. Kaplan, he edited “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry,” which became adopted as a standard text on its publication in 1967 and is now in its ninth edition.

During his one-year term as president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Freedman made the misuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union one of the organization’s main issues. He challenged the Soviet government to answer charges that it routinely held political dissidents in psychiatric hospitals, and he led a delegation of American psychiatrists to the Soviet Union to visit mental hospitals and confer with Soviet psychiatrists.

After retiring from New York Medical College, Dr. Freedman turned his attention to the role that psychiatry played in death penalty cases. With his colleague Abraham L. Halpern, he lobbied the American Medical Association to enforce the provision in its code of ethics barring physicians from taking part in executions, and he campaigned against the practice of using psychopharmacologic drugs on psychotic death-row prisoners so that they could be declared competent to be executed.

In addition to his son Dan, of Silver Spring, Md., he is survived by his wife, Marcia; another son, Paul, of Pelham, N.Y.; and three grandchildren.

    Alfred Freedman, a Leader in Psychiatry, Dies at 94,
    NYT, 20.4.2011,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/health/21freedman.html

 

 

 

 

 

A Stonewall Veteran, 89,

Misses the Parade

 

June 27, 2010
The New York Times
By MANNY FERNANDEZ

 

At noon on Sunday, thousands of marchers filled Fifth Avenue for New York City’s annual gay pride parade. Nearly six miles away, on the sixth floor of a nursing home in Brooklyn, the frail, white-haired woman in beige pajamas and brown slippers in Room 609 sat motionless at the edge of her bed, staring out her window.

She touched the medallion on her necklace — an image of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes — and fiddled with one of her rings.

“This one,” she said of the ring on a pinky finger, “I hit a guy so hard I knocked the stone out, and I hadn’t gotten around to put it back yet.”

She had forgotten that the gay pride march was Sunday. Her mind and her memory are not as sharp as her wit and her tongue. She said she had been living there, at the Oxford Nursing Home, for years (she arrived in April). She was not sure how old she was (she will be 90 in December).

The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching.

Ms. DeLarverie fought the police in 1969 at the historic riot at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that kicked off the gay rights movement. The first gay pride parade in 1970 was not a parade at all but a protest marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Some writers believe Ms. DeLarverie may have been the cross-dressing lesbian whose clubbing by the police was the catalyst for the riots (the woman has never been identified). While others are adamant that Ms. DeLarverie was not that woman, no one disputes that she was there, and no one doubts that the woman who had been fighting back all her life fought back in the summer of 1969.

At one point on Sunday, she said she was not struck by the police. At another moment, she said a police officer had hit her from behind. “He wound up flat on his back on the ground,” said Ms. DeLarverie, a member of the Stonewall Veterans’ Association. “I don’t know what he hit me with. He hit me from behind, the coward.”

Ms. DeLarverie has struggled in recent years with a confluence of housing, mental health and legal issues. In 2009, a social services group, the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, was appointed her legal guardian by a judge. In March, she was hospitalized after she was found disoriented and dehydrated at the Chelsea Hotel, her home for decades. No one occupies her room on the seventh floor of the hotel, but it remains unclear if she will ever return.

A small group of friends, including some of her neighbors at the Chelsea Hotel, visit her regularly. A social worker with the nonprofit group SAGE, which provides services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people, has been assisting Ms. DeLarverie since 1999, when she was at risk of eviction from the hotel.

Some of her friends said they had been frustrated by the way she was treated by the authorities and others, and they expressed disappointment that Ms. DeLarverie’s troubles have not been a widespread concern for many gay and lesbian activists.

“I feel like the gay community could have really rallied, but they didn’t,” said Lisa Cannistraci, a longtime friend of Ms. DeLarverie’s who is the owner of the lesbian bar Henrietta Hudson, where Ms. DeLarverie worked as a bouncer.

“The young gays and lesbians today have never heard of her,” Ms. Cannistraci said, “and most of our activists are young. They’re in their 20s and early 30s. The community that’s familiar with her is dwindling.”

Ms. DeLarverie’s friends said they were disturbed because she spent most of her days inside the nursing home and they had not been allowed to take her outside, even for walks.

Leah Ferster, chief services officer for the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, said she was not aware that that was a concern among her friends. “We have to make sure she’s medically capable and able, and if that was true, then we would be glad to speak with her friends and see if we can come up with a safe plan and have her go out for a few hours,” she said.

Ms. DeLarverie’s first name is pronounced STORM-ee, like the weather, but in Room 609 on Sunday, she was calm, chatty, graceful. Her life has been flamboyant, boundary-breaking, the stuff of pulp fiction.

Friends say she worked for the mob in Chicago. The drag-queen group she performed with decades ago, known as the Jewel Box Revue, regularly played the Apollo in Harlem (she dressed as a man and the men dressed as women). She was photographed by Diane Arbus. She carried a straight-edge razor in her sock, and while some merely walked to and from the gay and lesbian bars in the Village, friends said, she patrolled.

Sitting at the edge of her bed, her mind turned again to the parade, where, in the past, she had been a fixture. She said she had a message for those who took part in the celebration. “Just be themselves, like they’ve always been,” she said. “They don’t have to pretend anything. They’re who they are.”

Ms. DeLarverie asked what time it was, and what time the march started. At one point, she took off her slippers and seemed to look for her shoes. “I think they started already,” she said. “They’re probably wondering where I am.”


Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

    A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade, NYT, 27.6.2010,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/nyregion/28storme.html 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Strikes Down

Texas Law Banning Sodomy

 

June 26, 2003

The New York Times

By JOEL BRINKLEY

 

WASHINGTON, June 26 — The Supreme Court struck down a Texas law today that forbids homosexual sex, and reversed its own ruling in a similar Georgia case 17 years ago, thus invalidating antisodomy laws in the states that still have them.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the 6-to-3 Texas decision, said that gay people "are entitled to respect for their private lives," adding that "the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."

Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer agreed with Justice Kennedy. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sided with the majority in its decision, but in a separate opinion disagreed with some of Justice Kennedy's reasoning.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent and took the unusual step of reading it aloud from the bench this morning, saying "the court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda," while adding that he personally has "nothing against homosexuals." Joining Justice Scalia's dissent were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Justice Scalia said he believed the ruling paved the way for homosexual marriages. "This reasoning leaves on shaky, pretty shaky, grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples," he wrote.

The court's actions today would also seem to overturn any law forbidding sodomy, no matter whether it deals with homosexual or heterosexual activity.

The case, Lawrence v. Texas, No. 02-102, was an appeal of a ruling by the Texas Court of Appeals, which had upheld the law barring "deviate sexual intercourse." The plaintiffs, John G. Lawrence and Tyron Garner of Houston, were arrested in 1998 after police officers, responding to a false report of a disturbance, discovered them having sex in Mr. Lawrence's apartment. Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner were jailed overnight and fined $200 each after pleading no contest to sodomy charges.

In its ruling today in the Texas case and its revisiting of the 1986 Georgia case, the Supreme Court made a sharp turn.

In 1986, the justices upheld an antisodomy law in Georgia, prompting protests from gay rights advocates and civil liberties groups. But in the 17 years since, the social climate in the United States has changed, broadening public perceptions of gays and softening the legal and social sanctions that once confronted gay people. Until 1961, all 50 states banned sodomy. By 1968, that number had dwindled to 24 states, and by today's ruling, it stood at 13.

Even though the court upheld the Georgia antisodomy statute — which had applied to heterosexual as well as homosexual conduct — a Georgia court later voided it. But the justices' ruling on the legal principle behind the Georgia statute continued to stand, so today the court, voting 5 to 4, issued a new ruling overturning its 1986 decision in the Georgia case.

Of the three current justices who were on the court when it initially ruled in the Georgia case, in 1986, Justices Rehnquist and O'Connor voted to uphold the Georgia law in 1986 and Justice Stevens voted to strike it down.

The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which works on behalf of gay rights advocates and related groups, brought the appeal of the Texas ruling to the court, arguing that it violated equal protection and due process laws. It described sexual intimacy in the home as an aspect of the "liberty" protected by the Constitutional guarantee of due process.

Today's ruling "will be a powerful tool for gay people in all 50 states where we continue fighting to be treated equally," the Lambda fund's legal director, Ruth Harlow, said. "For decades, these laws have been a major roadblock to equality. They've labeled the entire gay community as criminals and second-class citizens. Today, the Supreme Court ended that once and for all."

Some lawyers for the plaintiffs wept in the courtroom as the court made public its decision today. Several legal and medical groups had joined gay rights and human rights groups in their challenge to the Texas law.

But traditional-values conservatives reacted angrily to the court's actions, particularly regarding the prospect that they could open the legal door to gay marriages.

"If there's no rational basis for prohibiting same-sex sodomy by consenting adults, then state laws prohibiting prostitution, adultery, bigamy, and incest are at risk," Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, said. "No doubt, homosexual activists will try to bootstrap this decision into a mandate for same-sex marriage. Any attempt to equate sexual perversion with the institution that is the very foundation of society is as baseless as this ruling."

Nonetheless, today's ruling was not surprising, given the tone of the justices' questions during oral arguments before the court on March 26, when it appeared that a majority of the court was even then ready to overturn the Texas law.

Most of the remaining states with antisodomy laws forbid anal or oral sex among consenting adults no matter their sex or relationship. Texas is one of only four states whose law distinguished between heterosexual and homosexual consensual sex.

In the March arguments, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Paul M. Smith, chose to argue that while the concept of gay rights as such did not have deep historical roots, a libertarian spirit of personal privacy did reach back to the country's beginnings.

"So you really have a tradition of respect for the privacy of couples in their home, going back to the founding," Mr. Smith said. He noted that three-quarters of the states had repealed their criminal sodomy laws for everyone, "based on a recognition that it's not consistent with our basic American values about the relationship between the individual and the state."

Justice Scalia retorted, "Suppose that all the states had laws against flagpole sitting at one time" and subsequently repealed them. "Does that make flagpole sitting a fundamental right?"

The district attorney for Harris County, Tex., Charles A. Rosenthal Jr., argued that "Texas has the right to set moral standards and can set bright-line moral standards for its people." He asked the court "not to disenfranchise 23 million Texans who ought to have the right to participate in questions having to do with moral issues."

But in the ruling today, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote, "A law branding one class of persons as criminal solely based on the state's moral disapproval of that class and the conduct associated with that class runs contrary to the values of the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause, under any standard of review."

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy,
NYT,
26.6.2003,
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/26/politics/26CND-GAYS.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

men, women,

gender identity,

glass ceiling, feminism,

sex,

prostitution,

gay / LGBTQ rights,

human connection,

friendship,

relationships,

dating, love,

marriage, divorce,

family, parenting

 

 

schools > bullying, campus sexual assault, hate, hazing > USA