Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has filed three separate bills targeting LGBT people in three very different — and equally awful — ways. 

The first would make it legal for businesses to refuse to serve LGBT people, just like that, just because: 

No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.

The second would explicitly legalize conversion therapy:

The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right. Parents may obtain such counseling or therapy for their children under eighteen (18) years of age without interference by the state.

And the third would make it illegal for state funds to be used to support same-sex couples in any way, including giving out marriage licenses:

No taxpayer funds or governmental salaries shall be paid for any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state. No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.

By the way, this is the same woman who infamously said that homosexuality is a greater threat to the nation than terrorism. There’s a very slim chance any of these will pass, but nonetheless. Oklahoma, what’s going on over there? 

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Married couple Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard have been searching for the perfect school to send their young son. Their first priority in seeking a quality education, was a place that would be safe for their child — a school where their family would be welcomed. Additionally, as Greg is Senior Pastor at a local church, a school where a focus on faith was also important.

So Brian asked a friend about Davidson Academy, a Christian school with no direct affiliation to any religious organization or church. The friend seemed to think the school would be very amenable to a family like theirs, in fact a representative from Davidson had told this friend exactly that when they inquired.

Much to the couple’s surprise, following a telephone call to the school, they received a letter stating unequivocally that they were not welcome to even meet with the headmaster.

Brian posted the letter to Facebook and had blurred out the name of the institution. The letter was posted with the following note from Brian:

I share this to let my friends know that discrimination affects people you know and love and still hurts no matter how many times you go through it. We chose this school because of its rigorous faith-based K-12 academics and extra curricular activities; and, a friend with a son there asked them if a family like ours would be allowed and was told yes. After a phone conversation, fully disclosing we are a two-dad family, an appointment was set for us. I receive this letter canceling our appointment without even getting a chance.

Sadly enough, an acquaintance called the school this morning and told them she had been through a divorce because she cheated and that she now lives with her three kids and her boyfriend. The administrator welcomed them with open arms and offered an appointment.

I chose to not share the name because the kids who go there deserve respect and to learn in peace. It’s not about me getting my way. My children will not go there under this person’s administration. It’s about telling the story that there are real faces and feelings that open letters like this. We want the best for our kids, and THEY deserve to be given a chance. I love you all. The love you show my family every day here makes life even richer.

At the end of the day, I’m glad that they were lucky enough to find out that this so called Christian school is run by some of those bile-spewing, bigoted, hate-mongering, illiterate Christians, not the loving, nurturing, open-hearted kind.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

The Rainbow take on cake-gate

Sometimes all it takes to spark a debate is the question “What on earth did he mean?” So we must say thank you to Harry Styles for his Cake-Gate Tweet, and the discussion it spawned. We are still not 100% sure which cake-gate he was referring to, but that’s OK. As critical thinking and debate are essential to education and awareness about LBGTQ+ issues - we decided to share some of that with you.

Our discussion quickly rolled around to the case of a bakery in Belfast (Northern Ireland) where owners are facing the threat of a lawsuit for refusing to bake a cake with a “Support Gay Marriage” banner on it for a gay couple. A while back, a bakery in Colorado (USA) refused to make a cake with a homophobic message. While we could say in both cases the owner refused to serve their customers based on a moral opinion and that’s a discrimination in both hands, we are also lead to question ourselves about the limits of the free speech. Our question is, why applaud one of them and condemn the other?

Read More

Rules of Discrimination

It amazes me how one group of people can establish rules that discriminates against another group. From my perspective people like to restrict freedoms that they enjoy. Yes some rules need to be made to preserve order in a civil society but there are some rules that should never be made. I am not saying there should be anarchy but use common sense and some reason in making laws that could discriminate against someone. 

Who made it into the Top 15 contestants in this year’s Miss Universe pageant? Read on for the details.

WELL NOT A SINGLE CONTESTANT FROM AFRICA!!!

Not Ziphozakje Zokufa of South Africa…

not Gaylyne Ayugi of Kenya… 

not Zuleica Wilson of Angola…

not even Maggly Ornellia Nguema of Gabon!

Though not as obvious as the Oscars, apparently your chances of winning in the Miss Universe pageant are slim to none if you are dark-skinned! 

Next time, pageant producers, get some judges who won’t discriminate against people of color!!!

By Derrick Clifton | September 4, 2014 | Mic.com

Let’s face it: Most white people don’t like being accused of racism or hearing that they have white privilege.

For many whites, these types of accusations have nasty connotations, hearkening back to slavery, colonialism, rape, genocide, segregation and disenfranchisement. But although it may be uncomfortable, these connotations can’t be swept under the rug. Learning about the history of racial oppression in America is an important step toward understanding why many people of color have a hard time trusting white people. 

For multiple generations, people of color have had negative experiences encountering institutional racism and microaggressions, so it is no surprise that they may prefer not to deal with whites altogether. 

This isn’t to say that all white people are racists, or even that all white people have direct culpability in creating or sustaining racism in America. Indeed, being pushed away by people of color or being called-out on racism — directly or indirectly — may instead inspire feelings of resignation or hurt. And some whites truly wish to help as best as they can while cultivating strong relationships with people of color. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t extensive education in American classrooms that examines racism throughout history. As a result, there are not nearly enough opportunities for whites to learn how they can bridge gaps of misunderstanding, distrust and guilt towards achieving true equity and inclusion for people of color. For too long, whites have only heard about racism in the context of what not to do, but rarely, if ever, do white people hear about how they can be proactive about the issue.

By taking the leadership of people of color in the broader conversation about eradicating racism, whites can take steady, even simple steps towards becoming allies in the fight against racial inequality, not merely bystanders — or worse, perpetrators:

1. Listen when people of color talk about everyday racism and white privilege.

When a white person speaks up about racism, other whites tend to listen carefully and respectfully, even if they disagree. But more often than not, when blacks and people of color speak about racism, the instinct is to jump to conclusions, to interrupt, call them liars, question their intelligence or walk away from the conversation altogether. 

Ending such a dialogue because one might feel uncomfortable does little to push the conversation forward, and reinforces white privilege. People of color live with the burden of institutional racism, but there are little-to-no consequences for whites who choose to ignore a historically violent and oppressive system from which they benefit every day.

Instead, a more productive solution comes through listening carefully and reserving judgment when people of color openly discuss the pain they have endured.

2. Honor the feelings of people of color in the discussion. It is not about your white guilt.

If white people are tired of hearing people of color “whine” or “rant” about white privilege, then imagine how exhausting and burdensome it is to directly contend with racism every day for years. 

The last thing people of color need to hear from white people is how they should deal with or talk about encountering racism. Even with the most well-intentioned effort, white people must acknowledge they will never have the same understanding or range of experiences that people of color bring to the conversation. This is not to say that white people can’t join the discussion, but that they must focus on a solution.

Too often, white people overreact to criticism, become defensive and turn their feeling of uncomfortableness back on their peers. People of color have long been policed for their “tone” or “overemotional attitude,” feelings that are human and valid after dealing with something as infuriating as racism.

3. Ask plenty of questions. Earnestly seek to understand people of color before trying to have your viewpoint understood.

During a heart-to-heart about racism, don’t assume that everything being said immediately makes sense. The best way to seek clarity and bridge any gaps of knowledge is to simply ask for more information, just as you would for any other topic that isn’t your area of expertise.

It’s OK to admit that you don’t know how it feels to be racially profiled by cops, surrounded by advertisements that reinforce Eurocentric beauty standards or be presumed unintelligent or inferior until proven otherwise — all because of the color of your skin. By being inquisitive, you’re more likely to reach a place of understanding and empathy. Once this connection is established, you have a stronger foundation to share your own personal experiences. 

4. Educate yourself about racism as much as possible before asking people of color for help.

It’s important to listen and defer to people of color during discussions about racism, but remember that they, too, are humans with limits on their time, resources, attention spans and emotional reserves. Sometimes, they may not have the energy to educate white people about racism because they’ve talked about it so much already. It may also trigger pain, resentment and sadness from dealing with oppression. 

So if a person of color backs away from the conversation and asks for space, respect that. There is no lack of information on the topic. Take responsibility and educate yourself, using the many books, recorded speeches, poems, news articles, research studies and other sources of information publicly available. 

5. Challenge other white people in your life to think critically about racism — family, friends, coworkers, teachers and even public officials.

If you see or hear something, say something. Don’t ignore discussions of racism when they emerge in the news cycle or sit by idly while someone perpetuates racial stereotypes or blatant disrespect — even if that disrespect is coming from a close friend, family member or superior. Encourage white people in your life to engage in the same kind of critical thinking that you yourself are engaging in.

6. Direct peers towards the perspectives of people of color. Becoming a “savior” is not cool.

It’s crucial not to hog all of the air in the conversation, or act as the spokesperson for people of color — because white people can’t truly present the perspectives of people of color. In addition, white perspectives and voices have historically been given priority over the lived experiences and knowledge produced by people of color. 

Instead, actively affirm the leadership of people of color in the conversation. Consider limiting the amount of personal perspective you offer and refer other white people to the same sources of enlightenment and insight that helped you best understand how to put anti-racism into practice. 

7. Avoid conflating other oppressions with racism unless it’s directly relevant to the conversation. 

In an often well-intentioned, yet half-hearted way of empathizing or identifying with someone else’s struggle with racism, it’s easy to say “I know what that’s like” because I’m gay, or a woman, or poor, or disabled or a religious minority. These other identities may intersect with racial inequality, but are not about race. Yes, experiencing another form of oppression should help you empathize, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll ever really know what racism feels like. 

Instead, it can come off as insulting, or make it seem like you’d rather shift the discussion toward a subject you feel more comfortable talking about. Even worse, this type of conversational pivot can imply that your differing oppression takes priority, something that strains the potential bond that could be formed in the conversation.

8. If you make a mistake, ask people of color how you can fix it.

It’s good to admit you’ve done wrong and own up to your mistakes — it’s a much more positive and effective reaction to backlash than dismissing racism critiques or denying there’s a problem. As with any other situation that reveals a personal fault line, ask how you can behave better in the future and show that you genuinely care about ensuring that people of color are truly welcomed, affirmed and respected.

Keep in mind that as a person who has power and privilege in the situation, you have a responsibility to ensure others aren’t being continually impacted by oppression, especially if it comes from you.

9. Adopt intersectionality as an approach to all aspects of everyday life and start taking it seriously.

Intersectionality is much more than just an abstract academic theory developed by feminist scholars like Kimberlé Crenshaw and writers and advocates of color. Indeed, it’s a liberating way of living, working and even connecting with other people.

Intersectionality matters because it acknowledges that there are multiple perspectives that need to be honored and understood on any given issue — big or small — because each individual experiences a variety of privileges and limitations based on their identities. For example, a person can experience prejudice because they aren’t heterosexual and because they aren’t wealthy, but still can exercise their racial privilege as a white person. All of those identities coexist.

For the individual above, the experience of being white, gay and poor will differ from someone who shares the same set of identities, but is instead a person of color. Intersectionality teaches us that race impacts the amount of difficulty or relative ease two individuals of different racial backgrounds will experience, while navigating an otherwise similar set of institutional challenges. 

10. Openly call out and reject any and all white privilege you witness or experience.

Yes, this means giving up your privilege in order to level the playing field. 

This could mean speaking up when a cab zooms past a black woman and picks up you and your white friends instead, a phenomenon known as destination discrimination. Or it could mean objecting when asked to speak about racism in lieu of a person of color who is more qualified, or after witnessing a person of color receive harsher punishment for something that earned you a mere slap on the wrist. 

Reject and name that privilege — because you didn’t earn it and it’s not one you chose. Recognize it for what it truly is: a perpetuation of some of the worst, lingering elements of racism and white supremacy.

To the many white people who have asked us what they can do to stand up against everyday racism - here…start with these 10 things. 

Florida police were caught using mugshots of Black men for target practice. The police chief supported using said mugshots, but after being publicly flounced in the news and on social media, the department was banned from using mugshots for target practice. By the way, the police chief is still on the job. 

Pin this on Pinterest. h/t AntiRacism Media.

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"I’m of North and South Korean descent, and I do impressions of my family and my work all the time, and this is just another example of that, I am from this culture. I am from this tribe. And so I’m able to comment on it. I’m not playing the race card, I’m playing the rice card. I’m the only person in the world, probably, that can make these jokes and not be placed in a labor camp." - Margaret Cho

Part 1: An anti-gay group in Virginia put up a billboard that reads in giant letters, “NOBODY IS BORN GAY.” It shows two men’s faces, presumably twins, with full text reading: “Identical twins: One gay. One not. We believe twins research studies show nobody is born gay.”

Part 2: The face in the picture is a stock photo of Kyle Roux, who is not a twin — his photo appears on the billboard twice — and who is openly gay. "It just seems like there no place in today’s world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I’ve lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life," Roux says. 

Whoops. Try harder next time. (via the New Civil Rights Movement

  • Cancer patient:*asks for sympathy and empathy*
  • Cancer patient:*is given sympathy and empathy*
  • Mentally ill patient:*asks for sympathy and empathy*
  • Person:You just want to be pitied and want attention.
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Twitter rewrote its abuse/threats/harassment reporting system after Robin Williams’ daughter was harassed after his death (and this was terrible and shameful). However, note how fast Twitter acts when famous White women, or those close to famous White people, receive threats. The rest of us peons are left to deal with threats and harassment with NO results.

Threatening to release a woman’s nudes is not okay, and I do not support said threats. Twitter’s lack of response to others harassed is not okay.

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The first photo is a now-viral image of a trans-inclusive bathroom sign from the University of Bristol. It reads: ”If you’re in a public bathroom and you think a stranger’s gender does not match the sign on the door, follow these steps: 1. Don’t worry about it, they know better than you.”

The second photo is a horrific “parody” sign that appeared en masse around that campus Monday. It reads, ”Women, if a man tries to enter a women’s bathroom, please take these simple steps: 1. Kindly ignore the fact that men including transgender males rape women every 9 minutes 2. Kindly surrender your boundaries 3. Don’t worry about it, men know better than you.” It mimics the original sign’s coloring and font and is signed by “University of Bristol MENZ+ Society,” which is not a real group. 

This is why we can’t have nice things. (via the Advocate)