There were plenty of V-Day demonstrations for marriage equality in cities all across the country yesterday. One was at City Hall in San Francisco, where the years-long struggle against Prop 8 continues. Fourteen people were taken out of City Hall in handcuffs after a planned act of civil disobedience. They were not cited or arrested.
Activist Sean Chapin was there to capture some of the powerful words spoken (and sung) at yesterday's City by the Bay Freedom to Marry Day demo.
Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
Gallup is out with new poll results today based on responses to the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" The question was asked in tracking interviews during the second half of 2012 and is the largest single study of the LGBT population distribution on record.
As was outlined in the first report of these data in October, measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging because these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. There are a number of ways to measure lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientation, and transgender status. Gallup chose a broad measure of personal identification as LGBT because this grouping of four statuses is commonly used in current American discourse, and as a result has important cultural and political significance. One limitation of this approach is that it is not possible to separately consider differences among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender individuals. A second limitation is that this approach measures broad self-identity, and does not measure sexual or other behavior, either past or present.
Here are the results:
Singer Azealia Banks, who made headlines last month after a feud with Perez Hilton in which she used the word "faggot" repeatedly, has struck up the feud once again, this morning canvassing her 300,000 followers as to their definition of the word.
Said Banks: "Here we go again. Everyone pretending to be so shocked and moved by the word faggot... It's like society is so bored with itself it needs to hold on to these outdated rules of what you can say and cannot say... Why has society accepted "ni**er" As a colloquialism ... But will not accept "faggot"? Everyones always acting like its f**king 1905 in this bitch. What is your definition of the word faggot? Faggot means coward, liar, backstabber...... Energy stealer, blood sucker. Perez tries to get every gay person all riled up when the only faggot I see ........ is him. It's really time for a cultural shift. All these leftover old world social themes we're all still trying to hold on to are BOOORRIIING"
Banks is receiving quite a few responses to her question. The conversation is ongoing...
Last month, singer Jake Shears and GLAAD responded to Banks.
Said GLAAD: "[That] is an ugly, archaic word that was used to stigmatize a population of people who suffer high rates of violence both here in the U.S. and abroad," said Matt Kane, the group's Associate Director of Entertainment Media. "As far as we’ve come in this society, seeing it used by an artist many young people may look up to is painful, but even more so for those young fans, many of whom GLAAD has heard from."
Said Shears: "It all about context. And right now, I'm sorry, but context is not on your side."
In the first case of its kind, the deceased gay spouse of a military veteran is receiving burial in a national cemetery, CNN reports:
"Willamette National Cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful place. Knowing that Nancy and I can join my parents on that hallowed ground is a source of great comfort and healing," she said.
Nancy Lynchild, Campbell's partner, died in December of metastatic cancer.
The cemetery is located southeast of Portland, Oregon.
The Department of Veterans Affairs released a statement, saying Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki used his discretionary authority in the case.
"This was the first non-Veteran partner of the same gender he was asked to consider, this is the first he has approved. It's important to note that the Secretary did not base his decision on the individual's marital status or state recognized relationship status, but rather based it, in part, on evidence of a committed relationship between the individual and the Veteran," it read.
The decision does not represent an official change in policy, according to CNN.
However, last week, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that new benefits would be extended to families of servicemembers to nearly the extent allowable by current law. These benefits would include the right to burial in a national cemetery.
The announcement triggered an ugly response from the Family Research Council, which was upset that gay corpses might spoil the "hallowed ground" of a military cemetery.
Austin-based singer-songwriter Adam Carmichael's boyfriend JohnPaul has a birthday this week, so he put together a special video card that doubled as a Valentine's gift. It's pretty self-explanatory, and the sweetest musical gift we've seen in a while.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Associated Press is digging in its heels regarding guidance on how to refer to gay married couples that is being widely seen as discriminatory.
On Tuesday we reported on new guidelines sent out by the Associated Press, indicating that the words "husband" and "wife" should only be used to describe married gay couples if the couples themselves describe themselves that way, or if someone uses the term in a quote.
SAME-SEX COUPLES: We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves “husband” and “wife.” Our view is that such terms may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms (“Smith is survived by his husband, John Jones”) or in quotes attributed to them. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.
What is troubling is the final sentence in the memo: "Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages."
Such guidance may be appropriate for referring to people in civil unions, for which there are no established terms and the language is still evolving, but it suggests a double standard for same-sex individuals in legally recognized marriages. One has to assume that AP would never suggest that the default term should be "couples" or "partners" when describing people in opposite-sex marriages. We strongly encourage you to revise the style advisory to make it clear that writers should use the same terms for married individuals, whether they are in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage.
Language choices like these have an impact. Such reporting can reinforce the idea that marriages between same-sex individuals are fundamentally different from marriages between a man and a woman.
Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports that the AP is holding firm:
AP spokesman Paul Colford told BuzzFeed Thursday evening, "This week's style guidance reaffirmed AP's existing practice. We've used husband and wife in the past for same-sex married couples and have made clear that reporters can continue to do so going forward."
If this is the case, however, why don't they update their guidance, or make that more clear?
The organization is lying, says John Aravosis:
He tried to make it look like AP reporters are free to use husband and wife to describe gay couples whenever they want. And if that were the case, then why does AP have a style guideline that completely contradicts that assertion? And if reporters are fine using husband and wife whenever they wish, then why is AP refusing to get rid of the contradictory style guideline? Not to mention, why have the style guideline at all if AP is now suggesting that its reporters never obey the style guideline anyway?...
...Until the Associated Press can provide a convincing argument for why it has set up a separate-but-equal style guideline to describe the “difference” between one person’s legal marriage and another person’s legal marriage, simply because one spouse is gay and the other straight, this problem will not go away, and in fact, it’s going to get a lot worse.
We are never going to agree to disagree about whether the Associated Press has the right to vitiate our legal marriages simply because the people who write AP’s style guidance either find gay people icky; or are incapable of admitting they made a mistake, and then correcting it.