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HRC Launches Cultural Campaign In The Deep South: AUDIO

HRC

Of all the places in the U.S. that are resistant to social change, and gay equality in particular, the Deep South tops the list. As such, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas have now become the focus of the Human Rights Campaign's Project One America. One of the problems in the Deep South is that people don't talk about homosexuality, so the Project will consist of a series of "summer conversations" to try to educate, inform, and open minds. Not unlike Harvey Milk, the HRC is tired of the silence, so they're going to talk about it. 

The HRC will have its work cut out for it, though, given that their message will be running counter to people like Rev. Phillip Gandy, a Mississippi state senator and author of the state's "license to discriminate" against gays bill, who could take home the gold in the Mental Gymnastics competition:

If you're a real Christian, a follower of Christ, you're going to love people. And you love people where they are. You may not agree with people, but that doesn't mean that we judge them and say you've got to be like we are. Some have asked what I thought of gay marriage. I don't really have a thought. Scripture has spoken on that. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

[...]

Just like an athletic contest, if you're going to play football and you say, 'I don't like the boundaries, I don't like the sidelines, and I don't like the 10-yard markers and I don't like the goal posts.' What do you have? You have chaos.

Rhetorical fallacies abound. You can listen to NPR's coverage of the story AFTER THE JUMP...

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Singapore Bans Two Children's Books With Gay Characters

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Singapore libraries have withdrawn two children's books with gay characters, reports NPR.

In a Facebook statement, The National Library Board suggests that the subject matter of the banned books is incompatible with a “pro-family” stance:

"Young children are among our libraries’ most frequent visitors. Many of them browse books in our children’s sections on their own. As such, NLB takes a pro-family and cautious approach in identifying titles for our young visitors. In selecting children’s books, we sieve through the contents and exercise our best judgement. Parents can be assured that NLB is sensitive to their concerns and views, and their feedback."

The two banned books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about three straight couples and one lesbian couple who travel to China to adopt baby girls.

Homosexuality in Singapore is criminalized with two years in prison

Singapore library books banned1


Advertisers Actively Courting Gay Consumers: VIDEO

Ads aimed at LGBT community

The last 12 months has seen an increase in gay representation in mainstream advertising, according to NPR.

Ads such as a recent spot for Chevrolet which includes both same-sex and single parent families with the voice-over "while what it means to be family hasn't changed, what a family looks like has,” are representative of this shift.

According to Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications at GLAAD, “within the last year we've seen advertising come out of the closet, and now use LGBT families or LGBT individuals in campaigns that reach mainstream audiences.”

Speaking to NPR, Robert Klara, a staff writer for Adweek, said that the increase in advertising aimed at the LGBT community is representative of how competitive the marketplace is now:

"If you're not appealing to every minority community, be that racial or in terms of sexual orientation, you're missing out on market share."

Read NPR's report and watch the Chevrolet ad and a banned 1995 Guinness ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ugandan President ‘Ridiculed’ Hillary Clinton When Challenged on Anti-Homosexuality Act

Hillary Clinton has revealed in her memoir Hard Choices that she unsuccessfully urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to halt the passage of his country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Hillary Clinton Hard ChoicesSaid Clinton: "He [President Museveni] ridiculed my concerns."

The Act, which was given presidential assent by Mr Museveni in February, calls for offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence to not report someone for being gay.

Last week, the U.S. announced that it had cut aid to Uganda, cancelled a planned military exercise with the country and banned Ugandan citizens involved in human rights abuses from entering the United States.

In her book, Clinton also writes about her anger at the murder of Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato in 2011.

“David was killed in what police said was a robbery but it was more likely an execution. I was appalled that the police and government had done little to protect David after public calls for his murder. But this was about more than police incompetence. It was the result of a nationwide campaign to suppress LGBT people by any means necessary, and the government was part of it."

 


HRC President Chad Griffin Talks to NPR About Growing Up Gay in Arkansas: VIDEO

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NPR follows HRC President Chad Griffin back to his home state of Arkansas and talks to Griffin and his childhood friends about what it was like to grow up gay there, and his high school job at Walmart!

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Political Donations Raise Chicken And Egg Question

PinkdollarsignWe all know the modern gay rights movement is a rather young endeavor. It's only been 43-years since the Stonewall Rebellion. But a key element to the movement's relatively rapid success, the open giving of political donations, is even younger.

It wasn't until 1989 that Human Rights Campaign started distributing the pink dollar, but even then most lawmakers turned them down.

From NPR's Ari Shapiro:

When gays and lesbians started the Human Rights Campaign in the 1980s, they knew that the path to influence in Washington is paved with cash. Write a politician a check, and he's more likely to listen to you. The problem was that back then most politicians didn't want anything to do with gay people or their money.

"It was almost an embarrassment to be supported by the gay community," says Winnie Stachelberg, who used to work for HRC and is now with the liberal Center for American Progress.

Clearly times changed and soon politicians, mostly Democrats, realized the gay dollar was just as good as any other, and the dialogue began. So too did the progress.

Money flow and political action go hand-in-hand. If you need proof, look at President Obama's fundraising haul after announcing his support for marriage equality: "He took in nearly $9 million over three days, compared to $3.4 million in the three previous days, according to an NPR analysis of campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission."

Shapiro notes that the relationship between money and legislation raises that eternal "chicken or egg" scenario: "Does money flow to politicians because the lawmakers take pro-gay positions? Or do the lawmakers take those positions because they hope that will bring a flood of gay donors?"

We may find the answer soon. Christian Berle from the Log Cabin Republicans told Shapiro that a few senior GOP leaders are inching their way toward backing some LGBT rights. "We have been in conversations with a number of members who are looking to move in that direction," he said. "There's one [for whom] it's most likely a matter of months, not years."

If New York State is any indication, that person will reap the rewards: the four Republican lawmakers who voted for marriage equality in the Empire State soon saw a fundraising boom.


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