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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gay Civil Rights Facts & DADT

“Why can’t they have gay people in the army? Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16s going, ‘Who’d you call ‘Faggot?” ~ Jon Stewart


This is a summary of the history of that has impacted person’s who are homosexual. Also, the Bible has been used to oppress and harass women and slaves, so I have included a part of that history as well.

In 1777, Thomas Jefferson made a liberal move at the time by proposing a revision of the Virginia law to reduce the penalty for gay men from death to castration and gay women mutilation of nose cartilage. Jefferson was considered a liberal. At the time, the most common penalty on the books was death.

In 1865, the Civil War ends and slavery is abolished and voting and civil rights are granted to blacks.

In 1892, Hungarian psychologist Benkert invents the word homosexual to describe people attracted to the same sex. This created a shift change in the medical profession to rather than it being a sin or criminal act, it was seen as a psychological condition to be cured.

In 1920, women win the right to vote.

In the 1930’s, homosexuals were among those that the Nazi's persecuted and were marked with larger triangle than for other "offences," so that it could be seen from a distance. It was a pink triangle pointed face down. It is estimated that 220,000 gay men and lesbian women were executed for this "offence." This is the reason for the usage of the triangle as a homosexual symbol. Both as an identification symbol and a reminder that they were part of the Nazi atrocities.

In 1950, Harry Hay and others found the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, America’s first on-going gay right organization.

In 1953, the American Psychological Association adds homosexuality as a list of disorders to be addressed by psychologists and psychiatrists to treat. In 1973, they vote to remove homosexuality from its lists of “illnesses,” thus ending efforts to “cure” gays.

Also in 1953 on April 27th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, which mandated the firing of all federal employees who were determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion.” The following two decades thousands of homosexuals would lose their jobs. In all of those years, the lowest percentage for one year was 25%. I do not know what the average or the highest percentages were. In addition, all employees were required to take “loyalty oaths” for employment swearing that they are not homosexual. These regulations were not repealed until 1975.

In 1953, both, State and Local governments began to follow suit as did private employers. Although the Civil Service Commission curtailed the discriminatory policy in 1975 it still lacked sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies.

In 1956, The Daughters of Bilitis, a pioneering national lesbian organization, is founded.  Read more: The American Gay Rights Movement: A Timeline — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0761909.html#ixzz117HZGUhB

In 1923, the American Law Institute has long been one of the most influential legal organizations in the country.  In the late 1950s, it issued an opinion that stunned many: That victimless crime laws, such as laws banning sexual intercourse between consenting adults, should be abolished. Illinois agreed in 1961. Connecticut followed suit in 1969. But most states ignored the recommendation, and continued to classify consensual gay sex as a felony on par with sexual assault--sometimes with prison sentences of up to 20 years.
In 1963, as part of the black civil rights movement there is a march on Washington DC where King delivers the famous “I have a dream” speech.

On June 28th 1969, the “beginning” of the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall Riots in New York City. At that time, gay bars were like the bars during prohibition, blacked out, entrance in the back and lots of raids and police harassment. On this particular night at the Stonewall Inn, a New York gay bar, they fought back against police harassment which initiated several days of rioting and began an uprising from the oppression and harassment in which homosexuals had been living.

In 1973, members of the American Psychiatric Association finally stated that homosexuality was not a mental illness.They announced that they would be removing homosexuality from the next printing of the DSM-II, and spoke out in favor of antidiscrimination laws that would protect lesbian and gay Americans.

In 1977, before giving blood the American Red Cross implements that all men are asked if they have had sex, even once, with another man since 1977. Those who say they have are permanently banned from donating. The FDA said those men are at increased risk of infection by HIV that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion.

In 1978, Harvey Milk, a gay Supervisor of San Francisco and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White. On May 21, 1979, the verdict was for 5 to 8 years for manslaughter. This sparked the White Nights Riot. The 5,000 person march turned violent as police vehicles are overturned and set on fire. Later, in the evening, police retaliate in the Castro neighborhood, arresting and beating gay men. Ironically, and much to the dismay of police, the following day 4,000 people gather for a peaceful celebration of Harvey Milk’s 49th birthday. They had already obtained a permit for such a gathering.

In 1980, Steve Gunderson is the first openly gay Republican to be elected to the U.S House of Representatives. 

In 1982, President Reagan implements Defense Directive 1332.14, it was military policy that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service" and persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were discharged.

In 1982,The Village Voice became the first business to offer domestic partnership benefits. In 1984, the City of Berkeley became the first U.S. government body to do so--offering lesbian and gay city and school district employees the same partnership benefits that heterosexual couples take for granted.

In 1982, Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In 1983, the American Red Cross bans all gay men a prohibition to give blood for life. Again, it meant to prevent the spread of HIV through transfusions.

In 1983, Gerry Studds becomes the first openly gay Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In 1987, Barney Frank comes out and becomes the most prominent voice as a U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1998, the first openly gay woman elected to the US Congress was Tammy Baldwin.

In 1988, President Bill Clinton signed Executive order 13087, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation for federal employment, but does not include the military.

In  1993, President Bill Clinton who campaigned on the promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation. However, the Clinton Administration on December 21, 1993, issued Defense Directive 1304.26, which directed that military applicants were not to be asked about their sexual orientation. This is the policy now known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

The full name of the policy at the time was "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue." "Don’t Ask" mandates that military or appointed officials will not ask about or require members to reveal their sexual orientation. "Don’t Tell" states that a member may be discharged for claiming to be a homosexual or bisexual or making a statement indicating a tendency towards or intent to engage in homosexual activities. "Don’t Pursue" establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. "Don’t Harass" was added to the policy later. It ensures that the military will not allow harassment or violence against service members for any reason.

Beyond the official ban, gay personnel were often the target of various types of harassment by their comrades, intended to compel them to resign or confess to investigators. An infamous version of this harassment was called a blanket party; at night several service members would cover the face of their victim with a blanket then beat the victim. Often these beatings were severe and occasionally even fatal, as in the case ofAllen R. Schindler, Jr..  In defense of his DADT policy, President Clinton cited U.S. Navy Radioman Third Class Schindler, "brutally murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey (with the aid of an accomplice), leaving a "nearly-unrecognizable corpse". DADT has officially prohibited such behavior, but harassment continues.

DADT has been upheld five times in federal court, and in a Supreme Court case in 2006, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the federal government could constitutionally withhold funding from universities if they refuse to give military recruiters access to school resources, in spite of any university nondiscrimination policies.

In 2002, John Laird becomes the first openly gay member elected into the California State Assembly. 

In 2008, Jared Polis becomes the first openly gay man elected to the US Congress.

In 2008, Mark Leno is the first openly gay man to be elected into the California State Senate.

In 2009, Annise Parker becomes the first gay woman elected Mayor of Huston, Texas, with a population of 2.2 million, the largest city in the country to elect an openly gay mayor.  Read more at Suite101: Influential Gay Politicians: Elected Openly Gay Officials Increasing in Visibility http://www.suite101.com/content/influential-lgbt-politicians-a155368#ixzz117KhzZ7y

In 2009, President Obama said in his first State of the Union Address, "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."

In September 2010 despite White House backing and majorities in Congress, marked a low point in the more than decade-long effort to rid a policy begun under President Bill Clinton. Democrats thought this was their best chance to undo the 17-year-old measure after President Obama had won the support of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. and other military leaders to get rid of it.  This is an issue that President Obama has stated that he will continue to keep his campaign promise.

Note: I wrote all of the other parts of this post prior to Federal Judge Phillips ordered an injunction for DADT.

Gay rights advocates, however, tempered their celebrations, warning service members to avoid revealing their sexuality for fear that the injunction could be tossed out during an appeal and they would be left open to being discharged.

If the government does not appeal, the injunction cannot be reversed and would remain in effect. If it does, it can seek a temporary freeze, or stay, of her ruling. An appeal would go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Either side could then take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Pentagon did not immediately comment, and a Justice Department spokeswoman said the government was reviewing the decision. Meanwhile, a group of 19 Democrat senators signed a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to let the injunction stand.
Opponents state, "The judge ignored the evidence to impose her ill-informed and biased opinion on our military, endangering morale, health and security of our military at a time of war," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a public policy group. Wright said Phillips should have let Congress continue to investigate the impact of the repeal."

Phillips' order goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban's enforcement.
Phillips' ruling also ordered the government to suspend and discontinue all pending discharge proceedings and investigations.

Government attorneys had warned Phillips that such an abrupt change from an injunction might harm military operations during wartime. They had asked Phillips to limit her ruling to the 19,000 members of the Log Cabin Republicans, which includes current and former military service members.

The Justice Department attorneys also said Congress should decide the issue – not the court.  Phillips disagreed, saying the policy doesn't help military readiness and instead has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services by hurting recruiting when the country is at war and requiring the discharge of service members with critical skills and training.

"Furthermore, there is no adequate remedy at law to prevent the continued violation of servicemembers' rights or to compensate them for violation of their rights," Phillips said in her order.

In March 2010, John Perez becomes the first openly gay lawmaker to lead either house of the California Legislature was sworn in as speaker of the state Assembly.

In June 2010, despite the urgings of the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers and politicians including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the FDA voted to keep the lifetime ban for gay men in place.  It should be noted that all blood is screened including for HIV and hepatitis routinely.  This remains an area of continued discretion.

I do not agree with DADT as it does not make sense to me when implemented and it is discriminatory.  It doesn't work and I believe that it should be terminated.  The men and women serving in our military have all voluntaryily committed to fight for our country and are willing to die for us.  They all have had to go through the same training and deemed fit for combat.  Heterosexuals and homosexuals are already working side by side to implement DADT implies that homosexuals do not exist. (or the government doesn't want them to; therefore, they don't have to deal with the complexity it holds and stop the harrassment that exists now...just my opinion)

I wonder how many heterosexual military have the TREMENDOUS amount of COURAGE to "come out."  Sadly, they probably don't even know what that sentence means. The courage to be who you are and not hide behind the traditional military "macho" image.  I also believe that the American Red Cross is discriminating for reasons stated above.

DADT is quite an emotional issue for me as I wholeheartedly disagree with the policy.  As a result, I will not write about this anymore in this post.  I will say that their is slow progress.   

The following is from my friend Mike at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff:

Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (1943–1988) was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Matlovich was perhaps the best-known openly gay man in America in the 1970s. His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. His outspoken manner resulted in articles in The New York Times and a television movie on NBC. His photograph appeared on the cover of the September 8, 1975 issue of Time magazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian service members.  In October 2006, Matlovich was honored by GLBT History Month as a leader in the history of the GLBT community.


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