Saturday, February 25, 2012

What in the hell is wrong with these people?

Sorry, folks.  I'm running low on patience....


Mother, Advocates to Birmingham, Ala., Police: Stop Using Pepper Spray on Our Children.


.A mother whose daughters were hit with pepper spray by a police officer at their school in Birmingham, Ala., joined the SPLC and a coalition of advocacy groups today to present the city council and Mayor William Bell with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people urging them to stop allowing police officers to discipline students with chemical weapons.
The SPLC sued the police department in December 2010 after finding that almost 200 Birmingham students had been sprayed with chemical weapons during a five-year period – mostly for petty offenses that schools typically address with a trip to the principal’s office. The lawsuit, which is ongoing, detailed how pepper spray is used against children who are completely restrained and pose no threat to themselves or others in school.
LaTonya Stearnes, the mother of three Birmingham school children, recounted an incident at Huffman High School that occurred after a boy pushed one of her daughters. When the girl defended herself, a police officer grabbed her from behind and sprayed her in her face. When another daughter ran to help her sister, she was caught in the mist of chemicals.
“I will never forget my daughter’s red and swollen face,” Stearnes said. “I sent my girls to school thinking they would be safe and protected. I never thought they would be –pepper-sprayed. These are teenage girls, not criminals.”
The SPLC is unaware of any other school district in the nation where police officers use chemical weapons against students on such a frequent basis.
“Chemical weapons are intended to be a last resort for public protection, not a method for disciplining high school students engaging in typical adolescent misbehavior,” said Ebony Howard, lead attorney on the case for the SPLC. “Using pepper spray on schoolchildren only encourages drop-out and derails young lives. We sincerely hope the mayor and city council will join our fight to protect the city’s children.”
SPLC attorney Ebony Howard and parent LaTonya Stearnes display the petition urging the Birmingham City Council to stop allowing police officers to discipline students with chemical weapons.
The coalition, which includes Change.org., the Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Birmingham chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, want city officials to institute an improved selection process for officers stationed in schools and specialized training that will help them address school incidents safely and effectively.
Individuals exposed to pepper spray are at risk for serious health effects ranging from temporary loss of vision or blurred vision to blistering of the eyes and skin. They can also experience life-threatening effects such as inflammation and swelling of the throat that restrict the size of the airway and limit the amount of oxygen entering the lungs. This is especially concerning in a school district that is 96 percent African-American and is located in a community where children have a five times higher death rate due to asthma-related complications.


ok, see we in America have become far too polite and patient.  How about this:  Police; if you spray my child with pepper spray for no appropriate reason, I will break both of your legs.   Now, that would be considered an assault, right?  But, why is spraying a minor with pepper spray not?
  I've been hit with pepper spray.  Believe it or not, I was actually doing nothing wrong.  I was stopped at a red light and someone who was not appreciative of my driving pulled up next to me and sprayed me through my window.  I panicked, threw my glass bottle of coca cola (yes, it was that long ago) at the assaulting spray as I heard myself and my passengers screaming in pain and fear.  I was 16 - and the oldest in the car.  My foot came off the clutch but thankfully the car stalled as I hadn't shifted down yet.  I was blinded for a full 15 minutes and couldn't see to drive for another half hour after that.  My passengers, one of whom was my friend's younger brother only 12 years old, all experienced lesser degrees of it all, where I got hit right in the face. 
  When I got home and told my parents what had happened I got a big "yeah, right".  In hindsight, I wish I knew now what I knew then.  The man who sprayed me was caught via his license plate and given a misdemeanor fine.
  So, think spraying someone in the face with pepper spray is funny?  Try it.     Bah... I'm ranting.  sorry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

some thoughts

Good Morning.
  I read this article on Milkboys today, and I'd like to share it with you, and my thoughts, and ask yours in return. 

  Transgender Sterilization Finally Dying



There is no good reason why our passports & IDs should hold any information about our genitals. Gender is a fluid concept and for many it doesn’t have anything to do with having a penis or a vagina, not to mention the fact that some people have both or neither. Alas we live in a world where only two genders are recognised and bureaucracy insists on aligning your gender to your genitals.
This may work for some people but it obviously is problematic for others. In many European countries and U.S. states transgender people, for example, have to undergo sterilization surgery if they want to legally change their gender. Forcing someone to undergo surgery, which always comes with risks, just because they want their ID to reflects their actual gender is just barbaric.

Transgender Rights Protest in Sweden


Sweden was trying to end this practise, that doesn’t really go well with their reputation of being the paragon for gender equality & queer rights, for some time now. But while the oppositional parties (Left, Green & Social Democrats) and the major ruling parties (Moderates, Liberals & Centre Party) agreed on ending transgender sterilization, a very small, hardly relevant party (being at only 3% in the polls) of the ruling coalition, was holding back the indented change.

Luckily, after a nation-wide outcry over their position the leaders of said party, the Christian Democrats, came to their senses. Last week they published a statement in Sweden’s biggest newspaper saying:

We believe that even if there is an argument against allowing people who undergo gender reassignment surgery to become parents in their original sex, these reasons are not enough to justify the continued demand for sterilization. Therefore it is our view that the demand for sterilization on change of sex should be dropped.

Many transsexuals face hatred and fear which goes against the principle that all people are of equal value – the guiding principle for our traditional Christian beliefs, and therefore for the Christian Democrats.

  This article raised some questions for me, and will come with a few admissions.  First and foremost, I must admit to being uncomfortable about transexuals.  And, in all respect, I would imagine they are the more uncomfortable at times.  But, please understand that my lack of comfort is my problem, not theirs.  It is because I have a tendency to like things in nice neat understandable packages, and these are folks who are not so easily packaged and labeled for me.  Nonetheless, again, this is due to my own issues.
  When we ask a person for identifiable information, we take a fair amount on faith.  It would take a genetic scan worthy of Star Trek to determine if my ancestry is other than the French/German I believe it to be.  And, in the end, few really care.  Well, since their has been such a deal of intermingling, it likely is moot.  And though this isn't the best example, perhaps, it is one relevant.  When we ask someone if they are male or female, again we take a fair bit on faith.  I have yet to see someone strip search another in order to determine if the prefix of Sir or Madam should be used.  So, what makes one male, and what makes one female?
  In terms of Chromosomes, it's incredibly near thing.  The reports are that we are all female for a time being in the gestation cycle.  So, biologically, it can be assumed that one is male if a penis swings, and female if it doesn't.  But, that's not so fool proof, is it?  Certain differences in birth can allow one to have both, or none.  So, really gender, as opposed to sex?, can only really be determined by the way one sees oneself.  And, in a fair culture, that does tend to be fluid - as the article states.
  One of the things I truly love about the Naturist or FKK culture is that they are far less concerned with label on the locker room door than many.  I recall at work, being busy and tired, a bit distracted, I walked into the wrong bathroom to wash my hands.  At the time, I recall thinking "wow, it sure is clean in here.  When did the boss repaint?" only to have the proverbial light begin to blink.  Good news, no one was in there and no one saw me leave with a very red face.  And, odd that it is, the toilets are divided and doored, so in any event I would have seen nothing in the "worse case".  So, why should it matter?  Why do we get so caught up in this?  Even little children soon come to realize that girl parts and boy parts are different.  Who cares?  Oddly for me, I'd be more apt to stare in an all male environment - but that's off topic...
  So, back to point; people are who they are.  Outside of some very few examples, we are who we say we are.  And even when forced to provide documentation, it is typically only stating that we are who we said we were previously as well.  Even a birth certificate only says who someone else said we were.  It isn't an identity, it's a tag.
  So, as I come wandering back to a point, discomfort with less than tidy packages does not allow me - or anyone else - to dictate to another how that person should identify them self.  Do we say to a person of African heritage that because I am more comfortable with those of "European" ancestry markings, that he is not worthy?  Is it acceptable to tell a person of Indian characteristics that it is not ok to be them?  Of course not.  And yet we have no problem stigmatizing some for other "characteristics", or I guess what I'd prefer to say is "identifiers" if one were to decide labels are mandatory. 
  No, we are so wrapped up in being nice and comfortable with sorting people into our little ordered world, so focused on stereotyping and labeling, that we simply don't care about the person.  Who they are in their hearts is not relevant to us, only how we can fit them into our comfortable labels.  And that, my friends, shows just how small we can be.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I found this incredible..

Incredible.  Intriguing.  Mysterious.  Sensuous.  Athletic.   These are words I found running descriptive to this performance.  I was truly enjoying the show, and would love to have been there.  The mystic music, coupled with the rythmic dance, seemed to make the performance a rapture.  I was enthralled by the obvious talent, the sinuous movement, and the strenght required.  Great performance, please watch.  It was titled: Circonvolution improbable.

video

A three minute vacation...

Hi Friends;

  I couldn't post this here.  But, please click on this link and relax... LINK ... I think it will be a nice few minutes for you.  It was for me.

"Don't say Gay"

Hello Friends;
   There is now a bill before the Tennesee  congress which would instruct the public schools to not say anything about "gay" issues, at all, before high school.  Really?  Well, who needs reality.

video
 
http://www.towleroad.com/2012/02/dont-say-gay-bill-approved-by-tennessee-house-panel.html

Sunday, February 19, 2012

thoughts...

Hi Friends;

  I've been spending a bit of surf time this morning.  I saw that Santorum was doing quite well in Michigan and expectations are that he may actually take the state.  That sort of scares the daylights out of me.  But, it gives me a lot of hope, too.  And, the reason it scares me is this picture. 
  You see, I find this to be one of the most beautiful things ever.  It's incredibly innocent, caring, hopeful and endearing.  And yet, for Santorum, it is evil, hedonous and despicable.  He sees it as the end of civilization and a riot in the making.  Why?
  As the man running for the head of one of the most powerful countries in the world, I want someone at the helm that has integrity, but I also want someone who has the understanding that culture changes, people change, and we need to define ourselves not by what was acceptable 2-6,000 years ago in a country half way around the world, but by what are truly foundational concepts important to a people who long to be free and happy.  We need to be less concerned with the fact that someone may love another of the same sex and be more concerned with the fact that people know how to love.  How to care.  How to put another first in their lives and see the wonder and beauty about them.  The fact that Santorum has focused so strongly on "Biblically" based lifestyles concerns me.  To be blunt, he is one who would have stoned Christ for healing on the sabbath. 
  So, why do I think that there's some hope in having someone run who is so polarizing and distasteful and yet unaccountably popular?  Well, I guess it comes from two sources; one is that I find myself an Obama supporter.  I wasn't at first, but he's made some real progress in areas that needed help.  My hope is that he can make great use of a second term and, unconcerned about keeping his job, can really do his job and be the change this country needs.  I personally believe that Obama can beat Santorum.
  My second hope is in America.  I really do have a lot of hope for our country.  It is my sincere hope that given the opportunity to go from what is interesting to fiddle with to what is reality, people will begin to see just how sanctimonious and dangerous this bigot and backwards thinking man really is.  Perhaps we need the opportunity to be tested and grow up.  Of course, everytime one comes to the plate, the chance of striking out is actually greater than the chance of a homerun.  One has to dream. 
~

Electric and hybrid cars.  I drive a pick-up truck.  A chevy, because I am partial to them, though I love the head-on look of the F-150.  The Dodge is not so appealing to me.  Toyota Tundra I like.  But, the point of it all is mute:  I can't afford any of them. 
  The problem I have is though I love my truck, it sucks gas.  I am really only getting about 17 mpg.  But, at 6'5", I don't fit in the little trucks - well, not in the cab.  So, I'm forced to stick with the larger vehicles.  What would really strike me is the electric/gas version of my truck!  I don't think they make one, and if they did it would cost way too much.  For that matter, I have no idea what the projected maintenance is one electric.  Do any of you?
  So, what brings this to you today?  The Iranians.  Do you remember the Seinfeld show?  Specifically, the episodes that referred to "The Soup Nazi"?   He was so disagreeable, so explosive and unsettling, but sold the best soup.  People would line up out the door with hat in hand hoping to be so humble and yet worthy of a bowl of this man's soup.  From what I hear, it is actually based on a real person who really sells great soup.   
  I think of these middle eastern countries as much like this soup nazi.  The have us by the collective curlies.  We are so addicted to the crude that we seek ways of controlling those countries at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, while at the same time courting them like psychotic rich wives and excuse any and all offenses until they become just too much.
  Wouldn't it be wonderful to not be a slave to oil?  Wouldn't it be wonderful to end our reliance on oil?  Or more to the point, the endless drama and distasteful actions of people so enamoured with the power that the oil brings them?

  My goal this year is to buy a bike.  I haven't ridden a bike more than a couple of times since I was a kid.  I think shortly after buying my first car.  As a teenager, it just didn't seem so very cool.  But, as an adult struggling to maintain my ever expanding waist line and gut, there is a certain attraction to it again.  For one, the few times I did ride a bike over the past many years, I really enjoyed it.  It was quiet, peaceful, and moved me right along.  Oh - and the thing about never forgetting how to ride a bike?  Not quite true.
  The benefits in exercise being obvious, I also have a dog that loves to run.  I am unable.  My joints just won't take it.  I joke now that as a kid I'd maybe run from a fight - now I'll take the ass whoopin just so my knees and back don't get trashed.  So, taking my puppers for a run is something I know that she would enjoy.  But, also, I spend at least a 1.5 gallons of gas just to go to work every day.  The projections are for gas prices to raise to $5.00 this summer.  I could ride to work every now and again.  Ok, that's bs and we all know it - but it's as good a reason to spend $500 as any other.  And, it would be nice to be able to ride around a bit and enjoy the wind in my face, the bugs in my teeth.  I wonder how long it would take before the dog decided to run in front of me and stop?



   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freedom


Hello Friends;

  We've all heard the bills before congress speaking on the ways our government of the free seeks to censor our ability to access information.  Irony, yep.

  The thing that hits one square in the head is that we have two requirements for a solid free society: 
  1. Speak your piece.   Say what you feel needs to be said, and accept the fact that others may not quite agree with you. 
  2. Allow others to be themselves.  I lead my life, you lead yours.  The way you lead your life has nothing to do with mine.  We are a conglomeration of separate people all living with the hope of life, liberty, and happiness.
So, tell me, why are we going in the very opposite direction of these two basic principles?  Why are our words being stifled?  Why are our we repeatedly trying to get others to live according to our preconceived notions of what is proper?

What is our land to become?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Humanity. We are capable of such great feats!

video
  If you watch this video, you will see a fairly large group of people expend a fair amount of effort and money over the course of a full day to save one small life.  We are a strange people, my friends.  We seem incapable of placing a finite value on life one moment, then throw it away as refuse the next.  I am warmed, grinning and happy at seeing humanity at its best. 
  Please support your local  Humane Society.  http://www.michiganhumane.org/

Happy Valentine's Day


Just a drop in the bucket,
we hurt again and again.
Pain given without thought,
in anger, frustration, and even a grin.
We forget we hurt others
when our words go out like knives.
They seek out soft hearts
and wreak havoc on kind lives.
Let me this day reform.
Let my words be always kind.
Let me be the port in the storm
for the weary soul to find.
Let my heart grow strong.
Let love find me willing.
Let me be ready for who comes along
and makes this poor life worth living.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A site you NEED to see.

Hi Friends;
  do you ever get the feeling that we are surrounded by insanity?  That there are some who will stand up and declare the most insane and illogical bull only to be applauded by an audience of those willing to also be insane?  Please click on the link for "Right Wing Watch", on my side bar.  Here are some of the stories in the most recent days:

CPAC: Tea Party Activist Warns Left 'Changed the Definition of Pedophilia'


CPAC: Austin Ruse Condemns Efforts to Stop Violence against LGBT Community

CPAC: Goeglein Says Obama 'Savaged and Attacked' Marriage, Life and Religious Liberty

CPAC: NOM Chair John Eastman Challenges Justice Kennedy on Marriage Equality

CPAC: Anti-Muslim Activist James Lafferty Says He's 'Proud' of Attacks against Mosques

Right Wing Round-Up - CPAC Edition II

CPAC: Gingrich Says Unemployment Benefits Violate The Declaration of Independence

Rick Santorum Just Had Dinner with White Nationalist Bob Vandervoort

Two Miami-Area Congressmen to Appear with White Nationalist at CPAC

CPAC: NRA's LaPierre Uncovers 'Massive Obama Conspiracy'

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

You have completely missed

Hi Friends;
  I would like to address this post to all the parents out there who have come to realize that their son or daughter are gay. 
 Parents, Grandparents, concerned family and friends; your child is a bright and beautiful creature, with dreams and aspirations, understandings and ways of seeing his or her world that is utterly unique to them.  They are wonderful and delightful in their own ways.  And, while they share genetic structure with you, have similar tastes and delights, they are nonetheless unique persons all their own and should be loved for the unique beings they are, not because they are your image or product.
  It wouldn't surprise me to know that you don't count my words very highly.  The truth is, I could care less, provided that you stop for a moment and at least consider these things. 
 
  The following video I found horrifying beyond words.  You think to love your child by placing them in such, that you are saving them, restoring them, making them right?  You are doing no more than torturing and brain washing them, forcing a change in who they are just to survive a temporary and hostile environment.  This is misguided in the best light, and criminal in any other.  You have missed the teachings of Jesus. 

video
found via Milkboys and Towleroad

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What? I just don't get it?

Hello Friends;

  If you, like me, had unfortunate and necessary plans that denied you the opportunity to see most of the super bowl 2012, then you, like me, likely also only heard the uproar and repeated boo-hoos from the Republicans about one particular commercial. 
  And, likely, like me you found that not only could you really care less about the continued bashing of anything the republicans are willing to countenance as worthy of their stodgy time, but - conversely -  you were also quite confused as to why it would be so horrible in the first place.  Having not seen the issue, all I could go on was Fox News - which I now understand is a parody of reality and has always been a comedy channel.  Who knew?
  Well, the opportunity to see the offending commercial came, and I'd like to show you what I saw.  I don't understand the problems the republicans have with it.  But, then, there is a lot of their humor I just don't get.

video

   Personally, I found the commercial encouraging.  Uplifting.  Optimistic.  And, in a troubled economy, it's wonderful to have someone let you know that the game isn't over.  It's a feel good, hope inspiring, and even patriotic "go team!" type of message.  And, yet the republicans and fox hate it.  Why?  Again, must be part of that humor that just goes over my head.  I'll try to presume they are being funny, that the broom handle shoved all the way up their ass is tickling a portion of the brain most of us never experience, and leave them to their comedy troup.

hugs.

http://www.wimp.com/halftimeamerica/

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spam

Hi Friends;

  One of the most irritating aspects of blogging is spam.  What is it with these people?  To be honest, if you really want me to hate your product, to spit everytime I see or hear of it, to want to burn in effigy the very corporation that.... ok, well, you get my point.  If someone really wanted my business, then the last thing they should do is send me spam about the dang thing. 
  What's worse?  An incredibly horrid attempt at the language where it becomes so very obvious that not only do you have no idea what my blog is about but that you used a thesaurus to pick every single word.. ..and got most wrong.  I mean, I'm a fair guy.  You aren't local?  Ok.  You have a product you think I'd like?  Ok.  You believe I wanted to be hounded by poorly worded ads for things I would never purchase?  Really?
  Spam:  Irritating, obnoxious, and not appreciated.  Yet you persist.  WTF?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rick Santorum's specious prejudice

Hello Friends;
  I saw Santorum's comments on the rights/privilege of marriage and homosexuality on Towleroad   (HERE)  The video is about seven minutes, so get comfortable.  The gist of it is that this man has the temerity to say that homosexuals haven't the right, haven't the privilege, and don't deserve marriage.  (Asshole)
video

specious (adj) - Bing Dictionary
spe·cious [ spshÉ™ss ]
1.apparently true but actually false: appearing to be true but really false
2.deceptively attractive: superficially attractive but actually of no real interest or value

  Young Ricky here is full of shit, my friends.  You see, at first I was taken in by his argument, which he managed well.  And, to be honest, I was angry and bitter.  But, then, I began to see some real holes in his argument.

  He makes a great argument for marriage as a privilege given by the Government because it benefits society by creating a family base that is best for raising children and ensuring the longevity of the society.  But, this is specious in every way.  To declare that the institution of marriage (I've yet to understand how that is an "institution" except to believe that most who are married are soon ready to be institutionalized) is tied to raising children demands that children be present else the marriage contract is essentially void.  That declares all of your childless friends and neighbors now living a lie and no longer due to receive any privileges of marriage.
  The simple fact is that marriage predates the creation of the United States of America and our forefathers would likely incur great problems by suddenly denying the inhabitants of the new country the method of marriage.  It was not an encouragement of the state, but a simple fact of the culture.  For that matter, Native Americans had marriage before we "white men" ever trod the soil, so lets not be putting the government cart before the people horse, eh?    Here is likely a better definition of marriage: 
Marriage (or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but is usually an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony. Many cultures limit marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, but some allow forms of polygamous marriage, and some recognize same-sex marriage.  People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment.The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved.
  But, lets take Santorum's argument further:  Is marriage in order to raise children necessary?Well, sort of.  But, that likely has more to do with the customs and manners of a society than the real facts.  For instance, due to the customs, if a man and woman have children out of wedlock, can we presume that they will not be raised by both?  No.  That the children will not share the benefits of the estate upon the passing of the father?  Only because of the manner in which our laws are/were written.  Because it is the best way for the child to grow to be a good citizen?  Well, that's again speculative - if that was the case, then all these damn wars are completely destructive to the fabric of our society and should be outlawed and the politicians in charge prosecuted since the wars kill daddies.  This argument begs for presumptions and places demands upon facts incapable of supporting it. 
  Let's take things a step further:  If it was only in the betterment of society that children were born, then they should only be allowed born to rich people, who are best able to care for the physical and educational needs.  Oh, and the physically deformed and mentally challenged should be put to death because they will be able to contribute less to the society.  Even better, then we should need to get a license to produce children and only grant such if needs are there.
  Beyond that deceptively simple argument, Santorum presumes that the marriage of two men who love eachother (or two women), who wish to be made "kin", who wish to pool their resources, etc., are not a benefit to society.  He presumes that the couples would, say, not buy a home, pay taxes on the home and contribute to the community stability.  He assumes that they would not be more likely to be healthier, better neighbors, and live to the end of their days together.
  My dissatisfaction with Santorum has few bounds.  That he would declare a homosexual relationship similar to one of incest is ridiculous.  That these fools continue to say that it begins the slope of allowing a man and an animal to marry is just as foolish - an animal can't consent to marriage.  (Two snorts does not mean yes, farmer Fred!)  Finally, what reason does American Government have for using God as a basis of what is and what is not acceptable?  Yes, historically we have done so, but that's how we got slavery, too.  Was that better for society Rick?

We NEED a debate on this issue where these fools are shown for the prejudiced, inaccurate and condescending jerks they really are.    Americans may applaud this man because he preaches to a choir of like-minded, but those in the southern states were doing the same when the concept of continuing slavery was batted about.  Didn't make it right.   

Friday, February 3, 2012

acknowledgement

Hello Friends;

  When I see a post, a journal entry, a story of some sort of legislation, I try to ask myself what it means 20 years down the line.  I also try to understand the reasoning and history of the issue so that I can see what has brought about this particular thing - be it legislation, policy change, or even attitude - and what it means to the people drafting it.  Even, does it mean different things, perhaps, to the people who draft it and the "audience".
  Most often I end up with a big shrug and a lot more confusion.  But, sometimes I see things and it gives me hope.  Not, perhaps, so much for the small step of the moment, but more for the direction that step is going.  This is such a case.  I'll give you the story from the ACLU blog - you can find it on my side bar.

  New HUD Rule Delivers for LGBT Americans



Last year, we told you about a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding equal access to HUD housing programs regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Among the key requirements of the rule is a prohibition on inquires regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as a prohibition on using sexual orientation or gender identity as grounds for decision-making in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs. Additionally, the rule brings the definition of “eligible families” into the 21st century by including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).


This afternoon, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that the final rule will be published in the Federal Register early next week, meaning that it will take effect in just a little over one month from today! Needless to say, this is a tremendous step forward in efforts to stamp out discrimination against LGBT people in housing.

Of critical importance, the rule will require all organizations that operate HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing facilities to serve LGBT Americans looking for shelter and housing—including religious organizations. As a coalition of more than 30 civil rights organizations (including the ACLU) wrote to HUD last year, once a religious organization chooses to provide housing services or programs with the aid of federal funds and benefits from HUD, it cannot shield itself from traditional safeguards that protect civil rights in the provision of those services. Those religious organizations that provide wholly private housing services will be unaffected by this new rule. We are pleased that HUD said that all organizations must provide equal access to HUD housing programs and did not sanction the use of religion to discriminate.

As Secretary Donovan stated last year at the time of the publication of the proposed rule, “This is a fundamental issue of fairness. We have a responsibility to make certain that public programs are open to all Americans. With this proposed rule, we will make clear that a person’s eligibility for federal housing programs is, and should be, based on their need and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The ACLU could not agree with Secretary Donovan more strongly. This new federal rule will move us one step closer to an America where decent, affordable housing is available to all Americans.


You see those last few words?  "...to all Americans."   Or, that earlier line:  "...we will make clear that a person's eligibility for federal housing programs is, and should be, based on their need and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity".      When a portion of one's country tries so diligently to deny a person his/her personhood, identity and value, it is so very encouraging to have the "official" portion step forward, even if just a small step, and declare us all as valuable Americans.

No Second Class!