Monthly Archives: January 2010

Reenactment of Prop 8 Trial Released

Producers John Ireland and John Ainsworth have released the first part of their Prop 8 Trial Reenactment, and what I’ve seen so far is well done!

This is our first chance to see what happened inside the courtroom, using the court’s official trial transcript with help from spectators in the court during the proceedings.

See the official Marriage Trial website for a rundown of the parts and players, plus extra commentary from legal experts.

Stay tuned to Marriage Trial’s youtube channel for future episodes, scheduled for release every few days!


Funky Winkerbean’s Not-So-Hilarious Anti-Gay Bullying

It’s No Name Calling Week, an annual event sponsored by GLSEN to promote acceptance and safer environments in schools.

In honor of this, I decided it’s time to talk about Tom Batiuk‘s Bullies Are Funny week in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean. These six consecutive strips appeared from December 14-19, 2009. I’ve been waiting for follow-up on the situation, but it’s been a month, and any follow-up wouldn’t undo the damage.

Cody, a newer character in the strip, seems to be a Les Moore stand-in when it comes to bullying. His first appearance last September, in another series about bullies, was more generalized than December’s, but I don’t think I’ve seen him in a strip that didn’t feature him as a victim.

Of course Batiuk doesn’t use the word fag, or even the barely-code sissy, but the implication is clear. Knowing a show tune is wrong, all the characters know it’s wrong, and Cody has gone from happy in the first strip to ashamed and afraid when someone hears him in the second.

Not only is Cody afraid, his fears seem to be justified. He’s been taunted by Seniors, and now his best friend Cory has joined in the fun by threatening the loss of his friendship.

(Incidentally, kudos to Batiuk for naming the characters Cory and Cody. It’s not confusing at all.)

Joking or not, loss of friendship is a fear shared by every young gay boy and lesbian, and even the straight kids who are just perceived as gay. The last panel below speaks volumes as Cody does his level best to hide his true self.

I had hoped Batiuk would redeem Bullies Are Funny week with an “I Learned Something” moment. Something as simple as Cory joining in on the song as the bullies walked by would have been enough; it wouldn’t even have been out of place in the world of Funky Winkerbean, where cancer and death mingle with laugh-free punch lines all the time.

But alas, it was not to be. The final strip in the series is below. This strip, in which Cody tries to decide whether to go back into hiding or embrace his new reputation as a fag by joining the drama club, which is apparently where all the sissies and fags hang out.

The message, if that’s what Batiuk was going for, is that fags should either try to run from their selves or hang out with other fags so they can be abused and alienated more effectively.

If Batiuk was going for funny, that fag sure does know a lot of faggy stuff about fag music and fag mythology. Ha ha. Fuckin’ fag.

I guess.


Thanks to GLSEN for continuing their marvelous work to keep gay kids safe in our schools. With their help, we’ll have fewer suicide victims to bury.

NARTH, William Tam, and the Key to Anti-Gay Hate

William Tam, the Prop 8 author who attempted to withdraw from the Prop 8 trial last week, was soundly eviscerated Thursday by plaintiff’s attorney David Boies.

It was rewarding to watch so many trucks driven through Tam’s (and by extension, other anti-gay leaders) arguments, but there was a nugget of information buried in his testimony that I think most people missed. In fact, I doubt that Tam himself caught the problem.

Here’s the complete transcript (pdf) from January 21, 2009, but I pulled out the two brief quotes, both from pages 1939-1940 (198-199 of the pdf).

Q. (David Boies) And do you believe that the NARTH website is a source of objective scientific information?

A. (William Tam) Well, I believe in what they say.

Q. (David Boies) You thought it was better to get your scientific information about this issue from the NARTH website as opposed to the American Psychological Association. Is that your testimony?

A. (William Tam) Uhm, yeah, I believe in what NARTH says.

Notice that both times, William Tam answered a question of fact with a statement of faith. He knew NARTH was an unreliable source, but he wasn’t looking for reliability. Science and truth were irrelevant, cast aside in favor of someone who would pat him on the back and tell him that pursuing his prejudices was good enough.

He’s not alone in this. By design, campaigns of prejudice are based on the gamble that most people will stop looking for facts if someone backs up their prejudice. That’s why anti-gay industry leaders like NARTH (and in turn, William Tam) rely singularly on extreme statements of emotion and fear.

Coming Soon: Prop 8 Theatre

Okay, I wanted to post this separate from the news about the transcripts being released. It’ll either be a great tool or completely useless.

Filmmakers John Ireland and John Ainsworth are currently filming Perry v Schwarzenegger using official transcripts, first-hand accounts, and professional actors. They only have a teaser available now, but we should be seeing more in the very near future.

(I stole the title from amboy00. Mad props, yo.)

My only concern is that the Pro-Prop-8, anti-gay side might be made into a caricature. That could be troublesome. Then again, they’re doing a pretty good job of that all on their own, so I think we’ll be okay.

You can find more information or donate to the production at their website,

P.S. It was my idea first. Too bad they took out the best part…

Official Perry v Schwarzenegger Transcripts Released

It looks like the Perry v Schwarzenegger testimony video won’t be available any time soon, so people are figuring out how to get the news. Fortunately for us, The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind Perry is giving us the official transcripts.

The transcripts are long, but they hold their value is immeasurable. They’re also available nearly immediately, usually the day after the court session. I’ll be poring over these in the coming days, but here are the complete, official transcripts for the first seven days.

Other communication efforts are underway, but none (unless we get the actual video recordings) will be as damning for the Pro-Prop 8, anti-gay defendants.

The Dangers of Desegregation

One of the emerging and familiar defenses in Perry v Schwarzenegger is that marriage for LGB people would damage society. It seems like a dumb defense to me, and one that Boies and Olson are poking plenty of holes in. It smacks of the Majority’s complaints when the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional.

I got to thinking (always a dangerous undertaking): While I acknowledge that there is no 1:1 union between the fight for women’s civil rights and the fight for racial minorities’ civil rights and LGBT people’s civil rights (etc.), there are often overlaps from one to another. Is this one area of commonality? How might our current struggle overlap that of the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century?

Lucky for us, there are some fantastic search tools available online, including one to find old news. Here’s what I found from the Milwaukee Journal on October 20, 1955. I’ll transcribe for the search engines, with apologies for the language of 1955. (Click the title to go to that article in the archive.)

Keep in mind that this happened after the Supreme Court had ruled against segregation and Separate-But-Equal laws.

Court Backs Negro BanCourt Backs Negro Ban

Ruling in Florida
Tallahassee, Fla -(AP)-The Florida supreme court ruled Wednesday that Negroes could not be admitted to the all-white University of Florida until a determination had been made whether there would be harmful effects.

The 5 to 2 decision had the effect of delaying integration of the races in the university, and possibly the public schools, for several months to a year or more.

The majority opinion said that the United States supreme court had knocked out segregation in classrooms but that, in line with the high tribunal’s order of last May 31, local conditions must be taken into account in working out integration of the races.

Sought to Study Law
The Florida court handed down its decision in the case of Virgil Hawkins, 48 year old Daytona Beach Negro, who applied six years ago for admission to the University of Florida law school. He had filed suit in the courts after being denied admission.

In Hawkins’ case, the court appointed a commissioner to take testimony to determine when it would be possible for him to be admitted to the university without creating “public mischief.”

Tells of “God’s Decree”
Justice Glenn Terrell, dean of the court, wrote a defense of segregation in an opinion concurring with the majority holding. He said that the United States supreme court in ordering desegregation in public schools had “reversed a decree of God Almighty.”

“When God created man he allotted each race to his own continent according to color — Europe to the white man, Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man and America to the red man,” wrote Terrell.

“But now we are advised that God was in error and must be reversed.”

But that’s not all! The next day, the Milwaukee Journal published the following editorial about the Florida court’s decision.

Law (?) in Florida's High CourtLaw (?) in Florida’s High Court

The dean of Florida’s supreme court, Justice Glenn Terrell, made legal history of a sort the other day in an opinion concurring with a majority decision of the court that Negroes could not be admitted to the all-white University of Florida until a determination had been made whether there would be harmful effects.

“When God created man,” wrote Justice Terrell, “He allotted each race to his own continent according to color–Europe to the white man, Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man, and America to the red man.”

Therefore, the justice reasoned, the United States supreme court “reversed a decree of God Almighty” by directing the end of segregation in the classroom.

If all that the learned justice asserts is true, by what divine right does he reside in America? By what right, indeed, do any of the rest of us–of white, black or yellow skin? Isn’t it our holy duty to give this nation back to the red man forthwith–by order of the Florida supreme court?

We further wonder whether Justice Terrell realizes that his opinion “reversed” a former governor of his state. Fuller Warren–not to be confused with Chief Justice Earl Warren, former governor of California–often spoke of Florida as the site of the Garden of Eden. If God chose Florida as the abode for the man He created, where better than in Florida should all of Adam’s children live in harmony and brotherhood and equality–no matter what the tint of their skin?

The Pro-Prop 8, anti-gay defendants’ case and the Anti-Prop 8, pro-gay plaintiffs’ response are strikingly similar to these from 1955. The question before us is whether the US Supreme Court in 2010 will agree with the 1955 Florida court or the 1955 federal court.

Also at stake: 55 years from now, will people be ashamed or proud of the court’s decision? The court gets to choose.

* * *

One more thing. Notice that big black box in the first screencap? There’s another article under it that shows again that some things never change.

NAACP Is Assailed
NAACP Is Assailed

Atlanta, Ga.–Eugene Cook, Georgia’s attorney general, Wednesday accused the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of “subversion” in its antisegregation crusade.

Cook said that activities of the group “and its local fronts pose a serious threat to the peace, tranquillity (sic), government and way of life of our state,” and hinted that he would take steps to have the organization banned in Georgia.

He said that the NAACP’s real design was to “force upon the south the Communist inspired doctrine of racial integration and amalgamation.”

[In New York, a spokesman for the NAACP said that Cook’s speech “apparently was part of a conspiracy” to combat the United States supreme court’s ban on segregated public schools. Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, charged that Cook’s speech was “full of distortions, word juggling, free translations and untruths.”]

For goodness sake, Cook all but called it a Radical Negro Agenda.

Lost Martin Luther King Speech Discovered

Retired engineer and Bethel College (Kansas) alum Randy Harmison has found reel-to-reel tape of a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960. The speech, thought to have been lost forever, was played from newly restored audio at a Bethel College ceremony yesterday. NPR had the story, including a few brief audio excerpts:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Lost King Speech To Be Heard After 50 Years”]

Dr. King also gave this speech, titled The Future of Integration, in October 1964 at Oberlin College and again in January 1968 at Kansas State less than three months before Dr. King’s assassination. I would love to compare the three speeches changes he made between deliveries.

An American Prophet
An American Prophet

The full audio of this speech isn’t available yet, but we do have a few excerpts transcribed by Bethel senior Aimee Siebert, with emphasis added by me.

Dr. King’s words are still tragically relevant today (I’m looking at you, President Obama.), especially as we continue to watch the Prop 8 trial unfold.

In order to give a meaningful analysis of the future, it is often necessary to get a clear picture of the past. In order to know where we are going, we must know from whence we have come. …

It seems to be a fact of life that human beings cannot continue to do wrong without eventually reaching out for some thin rationalization to clothe an obvious wrong in the beautiful garments of righteousness.…

The Bible and religion not properly interpreted can be used as instruments to crystallize the status quo. …

The important thing about a man is not his specificity but his fundamentum, not the texture of his hair or the color of his skin, but the texture and quality of his soul. …

[I]f moderation means slowing up in the move for justice and capitulating to the undemocratic practices of the guardians of the deadening status quo, then moderation is a tragic vice which all men of good will must condemn. …

Now I must make it clear that we must not do this – we must not make freedom and justice a reality in the United States – merely to compete with communism. Freedom and justice are ethical demands of the universe. And so it must be done not merely because it is diplomatically expedient, but because it is morally compelling. …

What we so often find in the North is a sort of quasi-liberalism based on the principle of looking objectively on all sides. And it is a liberalism that is so involved in looking on all sides that it fails to get committed to either side. It is a liberalism that is so objectively analytical that it fails to get subjectively committed. It is a liberalism that is neither hot nor cold but lukewarm. …

One of the tragedies of the South at this moment is that we are seeking to live in monologue rather than dialogue. We just aren’t talking with each other. Men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they are separated from each other, and they don’t know each other and they don’t know each other because they can’t communicate with each other. …

Thank God we’re beginning now to shake the lethargy from our eyes and our souls and we’re coming to see that if we’re to be followers of Jesus Christ and the great ethical insights of the prophets of old, that we must take a stand, because this issue at bottom is a moral issue. There is something in the New Testament reminding us that we are made in the image of God … we are all one in Christ Jesus. And these things running the gamut of the Gospel must one day cause Christians everywhere to take a stand against the evils of segregation and discrimination. …

The Negro must work passionately and unrelentingly for first-class citizenship, but we must never use second-class methods to gain them. Our aim must never be to defeat or to humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. And by following through with this method of nonviolence and this way of love, I believe that we can assist in bringing the third period to its fulfillment. …

Agape is more than eros, it is more than phileo, it is understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men. It is a spontaneous love that expects nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. And so when we rise to love on this level, we love men not because we like them, not because their ways appeal to us, but we love them because God loves them. And we come to the point that we love the person who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. I think this is what Jesus meant when he [said] “Love your enemies.” And I’m glad he didn’t say “Like your enemies.” … Jesus is saying in substance that you must love those persons that you find it difficult to like because love is greater than like. … And it seems to me that it is this type of love that can serve as a guiding principle in this struggle for freedom and in this struggle for human dignity.

Do Gays Really Have Anything To Fear?

One of the themes coming from the defense last week in the Prop 8 trial was fear of LGBT people. Four of the six defense witnesses have backed out saying that they were afraid for their lives if their testimony was taped. (None have agreed to testify now that the court decided not to broadcast the testimony.) One of the Defendant-Intervenors attempted to withdraw for the same reason.

In both cases, defense attorneys have cited youtube comments and verbal reaction to Prop 8’s passage as evidence of impending doom. And in both cases, I cite my tiny violin.

It’s not that I want violence to happen against our opponents. On the contrary, I think our case is better served if they’re left alone. It’s just that the Violent Homosexuals charge is so commonly played, and with no real evidence to back it up.

But hey, it’s not like LGBT people have anything to be afraid of, right?

Unfortunately we know better, and not just from ancient or even recent history. I came across both of these stories Friday morning, even as Prop 8 attorneys were painting us as attackers. The first is from Chelmsford, Massachusetts:

Chelmsford police say they have identified a 15-year-old boy as the person who posted a threatening message on the social networking site

“At this time, it appears to be the senseless act by an individual who failed to recognized the serious consequences that may result from such a post,” said Deputy Police Chief Scott Ubele in an e-mail.

The page, which has since been taken down, is titled “kill all gay people yea,” and has Chelmsford High School students listed as guests. The event was listed as a group trip on Jan. 19 from 6:55 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. and lists “do you hate people that are gay and have a green car?” as a host.

Note that this was obviously aimed at a specific person. While you think about that one, let’s look at this comic strip from Notre Dame University’s The Observer:

Frame 1: 'What is the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?'  Frame 2: 'No idea.'  Frame 3:  'A baseball bat.'
Frame 1: 'What is the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?' Frame 2: 'No idea.' Frame 3: 'A baseball bat.'

By the way, the original punchline was ‘AIDS’, but the editors thought that was going too far. Beating with a baseball bat is hilarious, though.

To be fair, both cases have resulted in real consequences. At Chelmsford High School, the administration acted quickly, the police were involved, and Guidance staff were made available to those students who were threatened.

At Notre Dame, the paper gave an (mealy-mouthed, hey-look-over-there) apology, the paper discontinued “The Mobile Party” by Colin Hofman, Jay Wade and Lauren Rosemeyer, and Managing Editor Kara King, who approved the comic strip, has resigned. (For some reason the Editors think this means she has “courage”.)

But in both cases, the damage is done.

Making sure people are fired or punished for this crap should not be an end unto itself. It should be a means of getting the Straight Majority to finally understand that attacks like these have consequences, even when the attacks are “just” words.



(Big hat tips to Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters and Autumn Sandeen of Pam’s House Blend.)

An Interview with Perry Expert Witness Dr. Ilan Meyer

I’ve been fascinated by the reports coming from the Perry v Schwarzenegger trial today. For most of the afternoon Ilan Meyer, PhD has been on the stand giving expert testimony about the tremendous psychological effect of discrimination against LGBT people.

So you know me, I went searching. Usually it takes me a while to find something worth sharing, but I got lucky this time and found an interview Dr. Meyer did with Dr. David Van Nuys of the podcasts Shrink Rap Radio and Wise Counsel at

Note: This is a relatively long, relatively technical interview in which Dr. Meyer goes into some depth on his research. Further information about his methodology and research can be found at his site. I’ll pull an important nugget from Dr. Van Nuys’ interview below.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”David Van Nuys Interviews Dr. Ilan Meyer”]

Now, “stressors” is also a big term that has many definitions, but one easiest way to think about it is life events, events that happen to people. And, of course, everybody has events; all people have stress in their lives. The idea of minority stress or social stress is that people who are socially disadvantaged experience more bad things and, in large part, those bad things that they experience are caused by prejudice and discrimination against the group. So, for example, if a black person is not hired or not promoted as much as his counterpart that would be an event – like not being hired, or being fired, or not being promoted – that is caused by social stress.

So what happens at that point where you recognize that, or you name this, or you identify that? And the question is: how do the social norms about homosexuality or about heterosexuality, about expectations, about the religious norms and values, how does that affect you when you begin to think of yourself as a gay or lesbian person? And internalized homophobia is when you internalize negative attitudes or negative values, and assign them to yourself. And we see a lot of examples of that, for example, from people who were raised in a very strictly religious environment, although it’s not only a religious environment. But often they might be people who have gone to church and were told by their priest or preacher negative things about what it is to be gay, and then they think that they themselves might be gay, and then they think they’re all those bad things and they’re going to go to Hell. Or in a non-religious setting it is, again, very similar; it doesn’t have to be a religious setting.

So internalized homophobia is just feeling negative things about who you are, about what your prospects for the future might be. I mentioned before, stereotypes about having family, the notion that, at least in the past – and it definitely has been changing, I hope that it’s very different now and we do have some evidence that it is different – that you thought, well, if I’m gay, I’m never going to have a family, I’m never going to have children. And what does that do to a young person growing up? So that’s the internalized homophobia part.

There are other elements of social stressors that can affect a person without anything actually happening directly or immediately to them. Another one of them is what I call “expectations of rejection,” which is not about internalizing on your own self the homophobia, but expecting it from other people. And this is something that Gordon Allport, who talked about prejudice, talked about a lot – as did Erving Goffman, who talked about stigma. Allport actually called it “vigilance.” It’s the expectation that somebody else might harm you in some ways, and it’s kind of like being on edge or being watchful all the time, which is a very stressful experience to be.

So one example of that might be when you’re at work and you cannot tell anybody that you’re gay, if you’re gay. And you have to make up all kinds of stories about what you did this last weekend, and about your partner, and you have to change the gender of the partner. And there are a lot of studies in social psychology and cognitive psychology, actually, that show that this is a very stressful experience for people to kind of lead this double life. They’ve done studies, for example, with women with breast cancer who were, basically, trying not to tell anybody at work for fear that it might damage their prospect for other reasons. And it’s just very, very stressful; actually the office there was referred to like a “living hell” kind of experience where you always have to think about how to disguise who you really are. So that’s another experience of stress that I’ve talked about and that we measure, that vigilance thing. So these are the more, I would say, subjective or internalization aspects of the stressful environment.

Dr. Meyer also talks at length about different reactions to stressors by race and ethnicity and how Latino and black lesbians and gays seem to be better equipped than white lesbians and gays to cope with homophobia. It’s a fascinating interview. If you skipped ahead, skip right back and listen to it.

Thanks to Dr. Meyer both for his testimony today and his years of research on this important subject. Thanks also to Dr. David Van Nuys for the interview. I’ve added his podcasts to my list of must-listens; I hope you’ll do the same.

Why Are Perry Defendants Against Broadcasting The Trial?

It appears that the Prop 8 trial won’t be broadcast after all. The Supreme Court ruled against live broadcast yesterday, and Judge Walker pulled the plug on youtube broadcast this morning.

In the context of Perry v Schwarzenegger, this is something of a molehill. The case against Prop 8 certainly isn’t harmed by the non-broadcast. If anything, it’s improved because it removes the defendants’ idiotic fear-of-reprisals excuse.

But in the greater context of the ongoing battle with civil rights opponents, their sudden fear of publicity is curious. For years, they’ve practically begged for publicity. They paid tens of millions of dollars for TV ads in the Prop 8 campaign. Now they’re trying to suppress the airing of exactly the same arguments they wanted to make.

So what are they hiding?

To find out, let’s look at some of the civil rights opponents’ arguments so far, taken from some live blogging that’s been done through twitter:

  • FedCourtJunkie: Prop 8 ballot statement “focuses on children, not calling [gays] child molesters” but “warning” we shouldn’t teach kids gay marriage is ok
  • NCLRights: 1961 educational film in ca called “boys beware” warning children abt alleged dangers posed by gay men [link to video of film]
  • AmerEqualRights: [Defense Attorney Cooper]: Marriage equality, through which more people would be allowed to marry, will lead to fewer marriages
  • AmerEqualRights: Cooper: Marriage discrimination is OK as purpose of marriage is “procreative activity”
  • AmerEqualRights: Defenders of Prop 8. object to the showing of one of their TV ads from the campaign
  • NCLRights: [Defense Attorney David Thompson] trying to get chauncey to say that the prohibition against sodomy was not “antigay” bc gay identity did not yet exist
  • NCLRights: Thompson now positing increased fed funding to address hiv aids as evidence of increased political support for gay people
  • NCLRights: Thompson citing will & grace as example of shift in tv representation, also movie philadelphia & brokeback mountain
  • ellemenohpe: They’re basically trying to establish that there isn’t really any legal or religious discrimination against gays and lesbians.
  • Chris_Stoll: Thompson playing Rick Warren video clip. He didn’t play the one where Warren compares same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia.
  • NCLR: Thompson is outrageously claiming that discrimination against gay people is caused by “backlash” against being harassed by gay people.
  • ellemenohpe: [Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart]: “But straight marriage isn’t an ‘adult topic.’ Isn’t it true that children are even allowed to participate in heterosexual marriages?”
  • AmerEqualRights: [Defendant Bill Tam]’s answer: “Right,” agreeing that part of ‘gay agenda’ is legalizing underage sex [Statements from previously taped deposition]
  • Chris_Stoll: Tam deposition: Tam understands “gay adenda” to go back to a (secret?) meeting of gay leaders in 1972.
  • FedCourtJunkie: Tam: sf city government is “under the rule” of homosexuals
  • AmerEqualRights: Tam: “We hope to convince Asian-Americans that gay marriage will encourage more children to experiment w/ the gay lifestyle”
  • NCLRights: [Defense Attorney Peter Patterson] trying to get [Dr. Edmund Egan] to say that bc sf is generally a gay friendly city, gay people do not experience discrimination here

Even though there have been no live defense witnesses yet, the reason they don’t want this trial broadcast is clear: The anti-gay arguments are wholly without merit and cannot stand up to the simplest examination. And the anti-gay side can’t handle that. Anti-equality campaigns have all been about making outrageous fear-mongering statements without allowing meaningful questions.

In court, that’s not possible. The simplest question renders civil rights opponents defenseless. While audio or transcription might convey the words, nothing is more dangerous than people seeing your idiocy for themselves.

Honestly, I’d fight against broadcast too if I were them.

(Thanks to the live-bloggers and whoever eventually leaks the video of these proceedings.)