Disney has dropped the Boy Scouts of America from the roster of charities eligible to benefit from its Voluntears program, through which the company donates money to charities when its employees do volunteer work in their communities. The Scouts have a policy banning gay people from serving as scout leaders, and Disney has a policy banning charities that are "inconsistent with Disney's policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation."
South Carolina legislature confiscates budget of college for assigning Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" as a reading
The South Carolina House of Representatives has withdrawn $52,000 from the College of Charleston for including Alison Bechdel's brilliant, celebrated memoir Fun Home in its summer reading program. Bechdel, creator of the Dykes to Watch Out For strip, published the memoir in 2006. In graphic novel form, it tells Bechdel's story of growing up closeted in a family riven by a father who can't admit that he is gay and an embittered mother who doesn't allow herself to notice her husband's affairs.
Representative Garry Smith said that the book "didn't merit scholarly consideration" because it "graphically shows lesbian acts." He led the campaign to withdraw the funds. $52,000 is the cost of the entire summer reading program.
Bechdel expressed gratitude to the college for assigning her book, and added, "It's sad and absurd that the College of Charleston is facing a funding cut for teaching my book – a book which is after all about the toll that this sort of small-mindedness takes on people's lives."
To its credit, the college is refusing to allow its reading choices to be affected. College president P. George Benson said, "Any legislative attempt to tie institutional funding to what books are taught, or who teaches them, threatens the credibility and reputation of all South Carolina public universities."
The College of Charleston isn't the only institution whose funding has been cut for assigning readings that don't meet with Rep Smith's approval; another $18,000 was confiscated from the University of South Carolina Upstate's budget for including a book with LGBT themes in its curriculum.
I would certainly contribute to a fundraiser to make up the colleges' shortfall, especially if they'd guarantee that the funds would go to a program whose readings consisted entirely of things that Representative Gary Price didn't like.
Update: In the comments, Timstellmach writes, "Money has been put where my mouth is. For reference, the name of the program in question is "The College Reads!", and the college's donation page is at https://giving.cofc.edu/donate.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- who has steadfastly refused to attend the city's massive, economically vital and glorious Pride parade -- has pitched a tantrum over the decision to fly a rainbow flag from the auxiliary flagpole at City Hall. The flag was raised in solidarity with LGBT activists and athletes in a project led by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the request of Pride House TO. Ford says he tried to get the flag removed, and has pasted Canadian flags over his office window and the doors of city hall.
Wong-Tam characterises this as evidence of Ford's long-suspected homophobia, which strikes me as extremely plausible. The article in the Globe and Mail points out that Ford recently told reporters that he would not attend Pride festivities even if he was not away with his family, this being Ford's usual excuse for missing it.
Wong-Tam hypothesizes that Ford has "let it all hang loose" and other councilors agree. I wonder if he thinks a dog-whistle for the city's bigots will win him votes come election day.
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Ryan Sohmner and Ben Bates imagine the first page of Orson Scott Card's upcoming Superman comic. (Thanks, Neowolf!)
He has since issued an equally-intelligent apology:
"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."
This is the same week that former-49er offensive tackle Kwame Harris was outed as he faced charges for assaulting his ex-lover, a man, outside a Chinese restaurant during an argument about soy sauce and underwear.
Meanwhile, 49ers safety Donte Whitner, who previously appeared in an "In Gets Better Project" video supporting LGBT teens, expressed disappointment in Culliver's intolerance:
"I actually do feel differently from what Chris said," Whitner said. "We are NFL players, but we are humans also. Who knows? There could be somebody gay in our locker room right now that's scared to come out, which he has a right to be if he is scared to come out because of all of this and how other teammates might feel. But I feel like anybody can be who they want to be if they want to be that. As long as you don't disrespect other people and go about your own business in your way, I don't see what the problem is."
In a video made viral by our pals at Dangerous Minds, a child sings:
"I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong / I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong / Ain't no homos going to make it to heaven."
Then, a crowd of adults cheers and gives a standing ovation.
You can watch the video at Dangerous Minds.
In the Washington Post, testimonials by prep school classmates of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paint the former Governor of Massachusetts as a homophobic bully. So, basically— he hasn't changed much. Snip:
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
With help from other bullies, the story goes, Romney then tackled Lauber, pinned him to the ground, and while the young man was weeping, cut off his hair with scissors.
Bruce Wilson has been looking deeper into ties between Invisible Children, the group behind "Kony 2012," and a secretive fundamentalist Christian organization known variously as The Family and The Fellowship—which, as it turns out, is said to be a force behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill. For a primer on The Family, by the way, there's no better place to start than Jeff Sharlet's book.
What Wilson dug up is now detailed in an extensive blog post. There's a lot to sort through, but it's exhaustively-researched stuff.
At least two of Invisible Children's programs have involved collaboration with The Fellowship and and its members, and by 2007 -- according to accounts from both Invisible Children and Fellowship members -- Invisible Children had partially merged its developing school and mentoring programs in Uganda with The Fellowship's Ugandan educational and leadership training system, which works to raise up a cadre of elite Jesus-centered leaders who will transform their nation along "Biblical" lines - with one apparent objective being the categorical elimination of homosexuality.
Police Constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery," a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel. President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organized many trips to Dominica and would "happily return."
Cruise ticket buyer, beware. (thanks, Antinous!)
It doesn't appear to count toward the tally at GayHomophobe.com (where it's now been 6 days since the last time a homophobic public figure turned out to be queer), but Minnesota state senator Amy Koch has joined the vaunted ranks of politicians who are deeply concerned about the sanctity of all marriages except their own. The married Koch recently resigned as Senate majority leader after word got out that she'd had an "inappropriate relationship" with a male staffer.
Koch is a major force behind the attempt to enshrine special rights for straight people into Minnesota's constitution, so you might have thought she'd treat her own magical straight marriage with the respect it deserves. John Medeiros, co-curator of Minneapolis' Intermedia Arts' Queer Voices reading series, can only conclude that lapse into blatant hypocrisy must, somehow, be the fault of queer people. So, he's written an open letter, apologizing to Senator Koch, on behalf of queer Minnesotans, for forcing her to betray the sanctity of straight marriage.
Dear Ms. Koch,
On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community's successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage. We are ashamed of ourselves for causing you to have what the media refers to as an "illicit affair" with your staffer, and we also extend our deepest apologies to him and to his wife. These recent events have made it quite clear that our gay and lesbian tactics have gone too far, affecting even the most respectful of our society.
We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry. And we are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.
It is now clear to us that if we were not so self-focused and myopic, we would have been able to see that the time you wasted diligently writing legislation that would forever seal the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, could have been more usefully spent reshaping the legal definition of "adultery."