Openly gay New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has received several antigay death threats while on the campaign trail, her wife Kim Catullo revealed in an interview with the New York Daily News yesterday.
"Chris has gotten threats about being gay. It's hard to accept and we live in a place that is the most tolerant," said Catullo, who has lived with Quinn for 12 years and married her last year when New York State legalized same-sex marriage.
"I worry about everything, if she is getting enough rest, is she safe," said Catullo, who did not specify the nature of the threats.
A campaign spokesman confirmed the threats but did not want to elaborate.
Catullo said recent hate crimes against gays in the city - including in the couple's old block in Chelsea - have been sobering. "When you have strides like marriage equality, you tend to think (prejudice) has passed, then things like that happen, and it wakes you up again," she said.
Mike Huckabee Uses His Fox Show To Spout False Information About Trans People And Gender Identity - VIDEO
Failed Republican presidential candidate and current Fox News pundit Mike Huckabee recently joined the growing chorus of conservative talking heads that disapprove of California's new legal protections for trans public school students. On last night's episode of Huckabee, the show's eponymous host briefly mentioned the fact that advocates pushed this legislation through in order to better addressed the bullying and harassment faced by trans students. Rather than seize the opportunity to discuss the issue in depth, however, he instead chose to engage in a bit of ignorant banter with guest Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute. Both took turns spouting many of the same inane counter-arguments already expressed by previous opponents of the new law.
"I'm having a hard time, thinking back to my school days, that a biological boy going into the girls' restroom would be less subject to being ridiculed and bullied than not," said Huckabee, trying his best to seem sympathetic to the plight of trans students. That was a sufficient set up for England, who claimed that:
"Current law is sufficient. This is very extreme, very radical, that they are going to let boys wake up one day, decide that they're girls, and let them have access to our restrooms and our locker rooms in all of our public schools in California. This is for kindergarteners as well as high schoolers."
"If the child...a boy...walks in and says 'you know what, I really am feeling my girl's side, he gets to go shower with the girls when he's 14. I mean, I'm just thinking of all the 14-year-old boys I went to school with, and how many of them would have awakened with that revelation."
Of course, Huckabee is no expert in gender identity issues, and according to Equality Matters, neither is England:
"Her career has been devoted to right-wing politics. If she were familiar with the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics - which reports that gender identity is generally established by about age four - she may not have been so shocked that the new law 'is for kindergarteners as well as high schoolers.' Moreover, England would also have recognized that boys won't simply "wake up one day [and] decide that they're girls." Not only do scientific findings rebut such claims, they also have no empirical basis. School districts that have enacted similar protections have reported no instances of inappropriate bathroom behavior."
Thus, the familiar "bathroom panic" defense commonly used by a variety of anti-trans activists appears to be nothing more than a red herring.
Watch the full exchange AFTER THE JUMP...
Members of the Kazakhstan parliament want to become the next country to adopt an anti-gay propaganda law, similar to the controversial one adopted in Russia earlier this year. Worse yet, Aldan Smaiyl, the Majilis (the Lower Chamber of the Parliament) member behind this new proposal, wishes to also ban gay clubs in addition to gay pride celebrations and any other public displays of pro-LGBT advocacy. Smalyl previously introduced the proposal this past spring, and plans to bring it up again when the parliament returns from its summer recess in September.
He told Tengri News that:
"I asked to ban gay-clubs, demonstrations and any and all of these disgusting relations. I received a reply that Kazakhstan had no such law."
Prime Minister Murat Akhmadiyev opposes adoption of the measure, but only because he feels that discussion of the issue is unnecessary. "Ideally there should not even be any discussions about it, as homosexuality is a clearly unacceptable behavior," he said. "We have always said that our country is different, not like Europe." Should the measure pass in the parliament, Akhmadiyev has stated that he will sign it into law. However, he has also expressed reservation, since "the MP believes that gays should not be infringed on their rights." Tengri elaborated:
"He confirmed that there are many representatives of sexual minorities in Kazakhstan and said banning the same-sex relationships altogether would be inappropriate. But, in his opinion the further 'spread of homosexually' in Kazakhstan should be harnessed and suppressed."
Officials in Armenia also made an attempt to adopt a similar bill earlier this year, but had to abondon it last week due to the widespread outrage that surrounds anti-gay laws in Russia. One can only hope that officials in Kazakhstan experience a similar change of heart.
In an example of completely sensible behavior that is not in any way a pearl-clutching overreaction, California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is pulling at least one of his sons from public school this fall because of the newly-enacted protections for transgender students. Donnelly decided on this course of action when his two teen-aged sons were "horrified" after he told them that they might have to share bathrooms with female students. Which is, of course, an outright lie.
He asserts that the privacy rights of students “will be replaced by the right to be ogled,” though he fails to clarify who will be ogling whom. He also wrote in an article for World Net Daily in which he claimed that, “While trying to address a concern of less than 2 percent of the population, California is now forcibly violating the rights of the other 98 percent,” because as experienced lawmakers know, if a minority is small enough then their rights don't matter.
Donelly, who is considering a bid for governor of California next year, claims that he has heard from a growing number of concerned parents who are also removing their children from school. However, none of the concerned parents were willing to speak publicly about their decisions.
The law, which expands the rights and protections of transgender students, goes into effect on January 1, 2014. The Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento and California-based Capitol Resource Institute both took actions last week to place a referendum of AB1266 on the California ballot in hopes of overturning the law.
Earlier today, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed the state's ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors. In his statement, Christie recognized that the ban was "government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children." Apparently, the right-wing Liberty Council believes this to be true as well, and announced their plan to file suit and have the ban overturned by the courts.
The group announced their plan via a press release, which was released almost immediately after Christie signed the bill (entitled "A3371"). In it, the group's Founder and Chairman, Mat Staver, warned that:
"This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky. Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal. This is absurd and dangerous. This law would inflict serious damage to children, parents, and counselors."
Of course, the false correlation of homosexuality with pedophilia is a familiar and frequently-used tactic by opponents of LGBT rights. HuffPost Gay Voices also notes that the Liberty Council has "recently claimed gay people are controlled by lust and compared gay adoption to owning pets." The group also conveniently forgets to mention the fact that "the American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks," a fact that Governor Christie was sure to mention in today's statement.
The Liberty Institute has said that they plan on filing their lawsuit immediately after the law takes effect. Since it is not yet clear exactly when that will be, New Jersey residents will simply have to wait and see how the controversy pans out. It's almost certain, however, that more statements will be released in the coming hours and days, both supporting and condemning A3371.
Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev is thought to have either been abducted or to have gone crazy after a series of troubling status updates appeared on his Facebook wall this past weekend. Though his Facebook profile has since been taken down, furthering the suspicion that it had been hacked, Queerty has screenshots of some of his more bizarre posts and include him accusing Russian gays seeking "fake asylum", accusing friends of being pedophiles, and hating the West for being on par with Putin. Even more disturbing, So So Gay reports that photos of Alekseev in his underwear in a bunker were posted to his account before it was taken down under the album title "Kidnapping" with a status update referencing a "porno contract."
Activist and blogger Melanie Nathan is highly skeptical of the situation, and in a lengthy post compares his prior behaviors with the present situation. In the past, she has seen Alekseev become "unhinged" when people disagreed with his definitions of asylum and oppression, and that he holds the stance that gays should not leave Russia to flee their persecution. More damning is that the last time he was allegedly "kidnapped" he was in fact on vacation with his wealthy Swiss boyfriend, and anecdotal encounters with him in the U.S. have established that "unhinged" is his default setting.
This is a developing story, but regardless of the outcome, this is a setback for gay rights activism in Russia.