Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Republican Congressman Given Assurances From Trump Administration They Will Undo Gay Rights Advances
So it might not come as a surprise that a senior Republican has said the next administration will roll back President Barack Obama’s executive orders to protect the LGBT community.
Obama has signed executive orders outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as one providing guidance to schools urging to not discriminate against trans students.
The Trump administration will be able to remove these executive orders to allow homophobic legislation to pass.
A senior Republican, Oklahama Representative Steve Russell, is hoping to pass the Russell Amendment that would allow people to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs.
And he told Buzzfeed he expected the administration to roll back LGBT rights and allow the amendment to pass.
He said: ‘These issues will be resolved, and we have gotten some very good assurances moving forward. I am certainly encouraged by the signs that I am getting from the administration that is inbound.’
While he said he has gotten ‘very positive signals’, he refused to be drawn on on specifics.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who opposed the Russell Amendment, has said this is just the beginning.
‘Let us be clear: the fight against bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination does not end with the Russell Amendment,’ he said. ‘Our government should have no part in funding discrimination — not now, not tomorrow, and not next year.’
‘In the aftermath of this presidential election, we must be even more vigilant in our efforts to protect the fundamental right of all Americans to equal protection under the law,’ Blumenthal added.
Trump has not commented on Russell’s claims.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is now a serious contender in next May’s French presidential election. But she may be the least of our worries.
François Fillon, now chosen by the Republicans as their candidate, is even more likely to win than Le Pen. And he is outspoken against LGBT rights and Muslims.
After Brexit and Trump, could France offer the next big political upset and another threat to the LGBT community?
Why Le Pen and Fillon are a threat to LGBT PeopleJust as a slim majority of British people voted for the Brexit, many French people are becoming Eurosceptics.
Le Pen promises to give France its sovereignty back. In fact, this is almost the only major point of difference between her and Fillon. Fillon believes in Europe.
What they agree with each other on is more scary. Both were vocal opponents of same-sex marriage equality. In fact, Fillon is supported by ‘La Manif Pour Tous’ – the viciously anti-gay, albeit comically homoerotic, shock-troops of the fight against marriage equality.
During the vote for marriage equality, they were millions in the streets to protest against LGBT equality and Fillon and Le Pen were cheering them on.
Fillon’s views on LGBT rights pose a real danger to us. He has said he is philosophically opposed to same-sex marriage. And he has stated he will rewrite family law to forbid same sex parents from using assisted procreation.
Women who don’t want rightsFrance has a serious security problem. Less educated people and those in more isolated communities often think Muslims are the problem because the majority of crimes are committed by young people from the ghettos mainly populated by people with Northern African origins.
One third of the French Muslims reject secular laws and want religious sharia law instead.
French women have fought so hard to have the right to be free, to vote, work, divorce and more that it’s unsettling to see more and more women turning their back on these universal rights.
Many French people fear their country could become the new Saudi Arabia in 50 years. In the Middle East, women fight to have the right to walk in the street uncovered. In France Muslim women fight for the right to have no rights, to become objects owned by their husbands.
Too often, French Muslim girls in poor neighborhoods come under so much social pressure they have only one option, to cover themselves. If they don’t, they are harassed by both men and other Muslim girls.
There are many cases of girls being harassed and physically abused by Muslim women in France because they chose to dress a certain way. In just one a young woman in Reims was beaten by a group of girls because she was tanning in a park in a bikini. In another case, a waitress was beaten because she was serving alcohol during Ramadan.
Neither Le Pen or Fillon are the solution. Both will create more internal conflict. But the security problem cannot be ignored.
Privacy versus securityLondon wasn’t safe before CCTV became widespread in public spaces. This is fought in France on privacy grounds. But we can no longer delay putting more cameras in France – and more police on our streets.
People need to choose safety over privacy. From reducing the unacceptable level of attacks on the Paris Metro system to protecting ourselves from terrorism, this is a vital step.
France is the world’s most popular destination for tourists – in 2013, over 87 million people visited our country which has a population of around 67 million. It is unacceptable that safety is not granted to those that give so much to the French economy. And there’s a real danger that they will stay away if France doesn’t improve security.
LGBT people too do not feel safe in France. Just being able to your partner’s hand on the Metro would make a huge difference. Even straight people are not always able to do express their love in public. Last month, a straight couple were assaulted because they were kissing. An onlooker tried to defend them but was almost killed by the young attackers.
What would Le Pen or Fillon bring?So thugs are already targeting minorities. An election victory for Le Pen or Fillon would only make that work.
As we have seen after Brexit and Trump, racist and homophobic French people would have the feeling it is ok to express their views and even be violent.
Since last year, France has seen hateful crimes against Muslims rising. French people have to fight this rampant racism. It is extremely important that school and university are used to teach empathy to students and to encourage them to fight racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia.
And as for the ‘immigrant problem’: French intervention in the Middle East has created problems for a long time. It is only fair we take in refugees from places we have messed up.
So what are their chances?Marine Le Pen is now tipped to be in the second round of the French presidential election next May.
Polls give her 30% of the votes. Is this number right? How many people are still ashamed of saying that they will vote for her? We saw with Trump, the white working class had been silenced but showed its defiance to the traditional political system on election day.
With former conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy eliminated from the race, Fillon is now the official Republican candidate.
Why Le Pen stands little chanceLepen will make it to the first round of the presidential election. But French people are lucky, there are two rounds to prevent extremist parties from be elected. This should stop her making it to the Élysée Palace.
Marine Le Pen will not win but even if she did, the French president has no power unless their party also controls a majority in parliament. The Front National only has two seats out of 577 in the low chamber now.
That’s not a problem for Fillon and a victory for him remains a very real threat.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
After an initial hospital visit in the early 1990s, she did not see her brother in the final two years of his life, according to Washington Blade.
In a 1992 letter to their parents she reportedly wrote: ‘Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other? He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.’
McFarland lived near her brother for 10 years and said in the article: ‘I was really living a life of going to Central Park with my kids, and he was increasingly living — there was no secret about it — he was openly gay. I had no problem with that, I loved him. But I was increasingly concerned because he talked about a very promiscuous lifestyle. And it saddened me a great deal.’
Troia was a graduate of George Washington University and was a longtime credit analyst at Merrill Lynch.
Not being with her brother as he was dying apparently did leave McFarland with some regret.
After the publication of the magazine article, McFarland reportedly tried to do damage control with the following statement: ‘In seeking to put a painful past behind me, I wrote two candid letters to my parents in 1992 at the advice of a counselor. Now, in the midst of a political campaign, those letters have found their way into the hands of a magazine reporter.’
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, to helm the Department of Health and Human Services.
Trump praised Price, a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as “exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible health care to every American.”
Price, 62, has helped draft several bills in the House to replace the health law. He favors converting Medicaid into block grants to the states and require “able-bodied” applicants to meet work requirements in exchange for such benefits.
Price, who strongly backed Trump's campaign, has scored poorly on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Congressional Scorecard, a measure of a lawmaker's support for LGBT rights, scoring as low as zero in many sessions.
He has also criticized last year's Supreme Court finding that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. Price called the ruling “a sad day for marriage.”
The Senate must confirm Price's nomination.