Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Fix! By Brandon Keller

The battle over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) has been going on for a while now, years really. If the subject itself was so serious and the process so agonizing the situation would almost be comical. There have been senate debates, panels, advertising from both sides of the issue but ultimately little has been done to progress the issue out of a congressional deadlock.

Well, that’s not entirely fair… Those who want to block the repeal of DADT have made several advances, and the fight to repeal it has come a long way since 1993.

The issue is both straightforward and complex, however, so perhaps some background is needed.


Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the common name for a military policy put in place during the Clinton administration in 1993. The policy prevents those who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” This, of course, is the exact wording of the federal law. The law was meant as a compromise that would ultimately allow all US citizens to serve regardless of sexual orientation but when congress got hold of the policy they amended it so that the military had to follow the previous “absolute ban” policy. Clinton, in response to this, issued a formal directive that military personnel could not be asked about their sexual orientation by anyone. This became what we now know as “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”

While all of this was happening in the legislature, the National Defense Research Institute conducted a study on the policy and found that “circumstances could exist under which the ban on homosexuals could be lifted with little or no adverse consequences for recruitment and retention.”

Since the implementation of DADT there have been four main court challenges, including one supreme court case, all falling to defeat. Recently, there have been a few state cases that have “prohibited” the ban, but they are difficult to implement have have not had a significant impact on the actual application of the policy. It was not until 2008 that the surge of public outcry against the policy, headed by President Obama, reached a level that the movement began to gain momentum.

Fast forward to today and we can see the results of this swell of support. Several court cases are being argued regarding the policy and a congressional repeal is being debated as we speak. There have been cries of support from both enlisted men and those in high command positions, not to mention a full survey performed by the Department of Defense that shows 70% of troops support a repeal. The issue, of course, is that there are those that oppose the policy and are willing to do next to anything to prevent it from getting though. Yes, six paragraphs in and I am just now getting to my point!

The bill that is stagnating in congress right now has copious amounts of support, but no momentum. The momentum it should have has been all but eliminated by conservatives claiming that repealing DADT would destroy unit cohesion. Worst among these is Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who has repeatedly moved the bar for his support of repeal from command support to troop support to whatever he happens to think of at the moment. Currently the bill has passed committee but is being held up in debates, the needed 60 votes to end discussion and start voting being unobtainable.

So there we go, a little history and an explanation of the problem at hand. By no means comprehensive but it should give everyone a good idea of what we are up against and fighting for. The real goal now is making sure that those congressional representatives that would block the repeal know that the public is not on their side and they are slowing down progress in the US.

As, of all people, former conservative senator Barry Goldwater once said, “It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence.”

Nicki Minaj: Black Hanna Montana? GLBTQ Role Model? Or Influencing Body Consciousness?

by Nikki Rivera
Putting her love life aside to focus of her rising career, Minaj, whom says she does not have time to date, appears to be struggling to balance the sexual power she has accumulated with her fame.  Refraining from speaking about sex in interviews while freely expressing herself through her work,  Minaj says “I do put the block up because I feel like all people want to talk about is sex. I give you enough in my record.”  Even creating a male alter ego to  to express her masculinity without criticism, Minaj fights to break double standards saying “I do what the boys do. The boys take their shirts off , they work out,  they feel on their crotch. Why don’t people talk about that?”

Its no doubt that Nicki Minaj has quickly emerged as one of the most influential women in music within the last year.  Her secure spot at the top of music charts has, as with all of the scarce successful female emcees, been in some ways influenced by her “required” sex appeal.  In the industry today, it is a sad fact that most female emcees are rated mostly on their sex appeal rather than actual talent.  But, Nicki Minaj has undeniable talent to back up her image.

But is the “Barbie” image Nicki Minaj portrayed by Nicki Minaj caused women and young girls to become more body conscious? It’s no doubt that the rapper has heavily influenced the acceptance of “thick women,” yet her petite waste and luscious curves are that of only the genetically gifted.  In an October interview with NecoleBitchie.com, Minaj comments on her influence on young girls, saying “Nicki is wearing those bangs, the pink weave, oh I want to try that.”

When asked why she often reffered to herself as the Black Hanna Montana, Minaj responded “I have been able to optimize everyone of her talents and become a business woman and artist,” “and I don’t think we ever see that in the black community.”  It seems she wishes compares herself to Miley Cyrus more as an entrepreneur than a role model to young girls.  “The last thing I want a little girl to take away from my record is to be loose with a thousand dudes,” she says, adding “I do not feel guilty because I know I’m balancing it with positive stuff,” “When ever I do my shows I might do the freakiest song and stop it and let them know, “yeah  this is all in fun, go to school, get your own money, pay your own bills and be a boss.”  I always do that and I always promote keep your cookies exclusive.”

In an earlier interview about her sexual orientation, Minaj makes reference to mogul Miley Cyrus once again, saying “I’m a role model now. I didn’t know I was gonna have 13-year-old fans, so I’ve tried to change a few things here and there. But I also know that the girls don’t want me to be Miley Cyrus, either.”  Yet in toning things down it seems Minaj has lost touch of herself as a GLBTQ role model.  In this April interview with HipHopWired.com, Minaj speaks openly about her bisexuality and her influence on the music industry.  “I think the world is getting more gay-friendly, so hip-hop is too. But it’s harder to imagine an openly gay male rapper being embraced. People view gay men as having no street credibility. But I think we’ll see one in my lifetime.


Yet, later in the year in her interview with Necole Bitchie, Minaj is confronted about dodging questions pertaining to her sexual orientation, commenting she had formerly empowered black females to be open about their sexual “but then you sort of pulled back.”  Minaj, seeming a bit insulted, responded “I pulled back on a lot of things so to specify that is kind of unfair. When I started to see how influential I was,  I toned a lot of things down. I want to think more before I speak, I want to think about every message I’m sending. I did not realize I had 10 year old fans. When you are in that position its your job to be responsible.”
It no doubt that Nicki Minaj is remaining cautious as she balances her extreme sex appeal with an influential role in the lives of young girls as well as the GLBTQ community as her career continues to grow.

Read more: It’s Barbie B!tch: Nicki Minaj Interview | Necole Bitchie.com http://hiphopwired.com/2010/04/19/nicki-minaj-speaks-on-bisexuality-being-a-role-model/

HOMO 4 THE HOLIDAYS!

FCK BULLIES: STR8 TALK ON HOMO H8 & THE SUICIDE R8   Nikki Rivera, UMDWRC

What the fck do I buy my uncle and his new husband for Christmas this year?  Guys are already hard to buy for, but what do I fcking get my gay best friend, who lacks the “hair, make up, and glitter gene,” for Christmas?  Where can you find fcking awesome Christmas presents and also support homosexual youth suicide prevention?

This is the site you want to check out!!!  With online shopping being so popular this Christmas, FCKH8.com is making it easy for shoppers to beat the holiday rush, find great gifts for gay, lesbian, trans-gendered, questionable AND straight family members, and support youth suicide prevention.


The provocative site brings new life to the issue of anti-gay based bullying.  The video, “FCK BULLIES,” is described as “A bad word for a good cause? Funny new video “F-bombs Anti-Gay Bullies & Homo H8.”  The video and sight were created by non-profit media campaigner Luke Montgomery, who proudly sports a “DON’T B H8N ON THE HOMOS,” a wide open mouth and a middle finger on the sight’s ABOUT page.  The “FCK BULLIES video was created to support organizations like The Trevor Project, an organization focussed on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth.

The video is FCKING hilarious and brings up legitimate points about “HOMO H8 & THE SUICIDE R8.”  1 out of 3 “queer kids” have tried to kill themselves because of anti-gay bullying.  And where do kids learn to hate?  1) At school, 9 out of 10 “queer kids” are “bullied beaten and bashed.” 2) In church, “preaching FCKED up hate has a lot to do with the suicide rate.” 3) At home, “kids rejected by parents are 8x more likely to attempt suicide.” 4) At the ballot box, anti-gay votes of “ballot box bullies” take away their right to marry, serve and adopt.

So buy, buy, BUY THEM!!!  $5 from each t shirt sold goes to charity and they’re sick!  Slogans like “FCKH8,” “SOME CHICKS MANY CHICKS. GET OVER IT,” and “SOME KIDS ARE GAY. GET OVER IT,” plaster the purple, pink, black, grey or white t shirts.  The site also features, hoodies, mini-buttons, sticker, wrist bands and (MY FAVE) the “STR8 AGAINST H8” charity calendar, which features lots of straight dues that “take it off so gay dudes can get their rights on.”  HOMO 4 THE HOLIDAYS! Order by Dec 20th to get them before Christmas.

SPREAD THE F WORD!!!
FCKH8.com
FCKH8 t-shirts and gear
The Trevor Project
Other work from Luke Montgomery 

A Cold Shoulder for Women’s Hockey by Gregory Allen

The World Hockey Summit met in August to discuss the future, foundation, and prominent  aspects of the sport of ice hockey. On the agenda, the looming expulsion of women’s hockey from the Olympics. Committee president Jacques Rogge decided to place women’s hockey on notice following several lopsided scores in the most recent Olympic Games, held in Vancouver, Canada.

Also an important topic at the summit, the dwindling participation in youth hockey across North America. Misconceptions of violent occurrences, and notions equipment required is too expensive to play, have kept most children from continuing activities in the sport into their teen years. Statistics revealed at the summit imply that nearly half of all children participating in youth hockey quit before the age of ten. Despite this evidence that the foundation of the sport is in increasing jeopardy, Rogge and others have renewed their push to remove women from participating in ice hockey.
In Vancouver, 20 teams met, both men’s division and women’s, to compete in the ice hockey tournament. Canada won gold over the U.S. in both finals matches. Numerous upsets and highlight reel plays dominated the competition and drew immense ratings and ticket sales. Prominent amongst the men’s tournament was the ousting of Russia, predicted by many to challenge for top honors. Among the Russian players was Ilya Kovalchuk, who recently signed a 15-year deal with the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, worth approximately $100 million. Kovalchuk, a noted goal scorer, failed to record more than a single goal, and mirrored much of the disappointment shown by others. The highlights displayed  by the women’s tournament frequently overwhelmed that of the performances found in the men’s category, most notable of which were Sidney Crosby’s blooper over time goal against the United States, and Miikka Kipprusoff’s allowance of four goals in just about as many minutes to the US team. Members of Canada’s women’s team set new records in goals scored in a game and career goals by a player, Haley Wickenheiser. The U.S. and Canadian women’s teams supplied a slew of impressive tallies, such as Jocelyn Lamoreux’s “between the legs” score against China.
However, the U.S. and Canadian women’s teams have appeared in all finals matches since being allowed into the Winter Olympics, in Nagano, 1998. Rogge’s argument, and that of the IIHF, seems misguided by suggesting the lopsided scores are a genuine catalyst for the discrimination, such as Canada’s dispelling of Slovakia 18-0, beating out Sweden 13-2, and the US’s ousting of China 12-1. When Men’s Ice Hockey first entered the Olympics in 1920, Canada defeated Czechoslovakia 15-0, and Sweden 12-1, two countries now considered elites for supplying the hockey world with some of its most recognizable talent, such as Jaromir Jagr, Dominik Hasek, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Peter Forsberg. But these facts appear forgotten by the committee and those who continue to push for isolating female athletes from the Winter Games. It would seem impossibly offensive to state the same development of talent will not occur in the Women’s category given the same time to grow.
With the foundation crumbling, and youth pursuing interests in other sports, it appears imperative that the hockey world allow for women’s teams to develop, as theirs once did, if the sport is to reverse the trend and thrive. With the Olympics being the only widely televised Women’s event in ice hockey, and little professional leagues being found outside of Canada, more consideration must be made, instead of basing this rejection on contradictory stats shared also by the men’s divisions. Removing female motivation, such as Olympic participation, would prove only detrimental to the sport, as the only category of growth found is in Women’s North American Hockey, which has grown over 400% in the last decade alone. And the this consideration should come soon, as popular female icons in the sport, such as Angela Ruggiero and Hayley Wickenheiser, depart and take the game with them.

Why Women Stay

As a woman, it can be difficult to find your voice and feel comfortable saying no. Because of how society socializes women, we are taught that it is important to please others, regardless of our own desires. If you have ever agreed to have sex with someone when you really didn’t want to, then you know what I mean. Some women pass down the idea to their daughters that they should put others first, perpetuating a cycle that results in the abuse of women. This is one reason that women remain in abusive relationships, or seek them out.

When women try to explain why they stay in abusive relationships, it is hard for those who have not experienced it to understand. When leaving the abusive relationship, it is more difficult for women to gain support and legal resources like housing and money. When an abused woman reports a domestic assault, she must leave, not her abuser, and she often seeks shelter in a safe house while he remains at home, undisturbed. Even in reporting the abuse and escaping from it, others will tell her that it is her fault that she remained in the situation, especially if she has repeatedly sought out and remained in abusive relationships.
Because of the stigma attached to an abused woman, she is not comfortable admitting to anyone that she is being abused because it will not be understood by others why she stays, and the abuse will not be recognized by many when she does. This keeps the issue of domestic violence from reaching public knowledge, discussion, and acceptance as a result of both society and the abuser’s isolation of her from other women experiencing the same thing.
As a result of the abuser socially isolating her in order to control her, she is emotionally dependent on him and she often does not have a support system at this time, such as friends and family who empathize with her situation. Police, and others, may not understand why she is emotionally attached to him if he harms her. It may even be difficult for her to understand this herself.
Because of the male-focused values in this society, women are taught to desire behaviors in men such as physical power, egocentricity, aggressiveness, and social power. It is acceptable for men to express anger physically and verbally, but not to express sadness and insecurity, or even cry. Women have been taught to nurture, forgive, take responsibility to the point of blaming themselves for other’s problems, and to put other’s needs first, leading to women entering abusive relationships and remaining in them. When people these women talk to don’t understand their situation, it makes them question themselves and feel powerless, leading to emotional dependence on their abuser and a reluctance to validate their own experience. However, it is a result of our society’s belief system and a lack of awareness that leads to this issue being buried under a pristine view of society’s gender roles.
30% of women murdered are killed by their husband or ex-partner, versus only 5% of men.[i]
The World Health Organization World Report on Violence and Health finds that “‘one of the most common forms of VAW is that performed by a husband or male partner.’ This type of violence is frequently invisible since it happens behind closed doors. Moreover, legal systems and cultural norms often do not treat it as a crime, but rather as a ‘private’ family matter or a normal part of life.”[ii] More information on gender violence can be found at http://www.who.int/gender/violence/en/ , the World Health Organization.
Katrina Semich, WRC Blogger Fall 2010

“Tuning in on Two and a Half Men” By Gregory Allen

George Carlin. Bill Hicks. David Cross. Bill Maher. All vulgar and obscence comediens. And arguably the best because of their satirical wisdom and stoic personas. Much of their style of humor is lost in modern television, due mostly to ratings and a general lack of interest in moral topics that are, unfortunately, considered rebellious. You’d expect the following intro in an episode of South Park or as part of a discussion on Real Time with Bill Maher, but the source, CBS’ “Two and a Half Men”, is deceiving when considered the target audience is considered mainstream.

Mia (Emmanuelle Vaugier) reluctantly accepts the bracelet Charlie (Charlie Sheen) presents to her. She hesitates before reading the inscription on her new jewelry, “One month, two week, four days?” This is the length of time Charlie Harper has gone without sex. This is a point he elaborates on without encouragement; stating his $80,000 Mercedes and taunting Malibu beach estate, which in dating terms he refers to as, “A G-spot with two mortgages,” have failed to assist in his debauchery.

But before his character should be scorned for this superficial and insensitive technique, Charlie urges her to also read the inscription on the reverse side: “I’m very, very, sorry.” Despite his anticipation and foresight, the apology is quickly made irrelevant as his other girlfriend, Kandi, arrives unannounced. The introductory scene to this episode of “Two and a Half Men” concludes with Charlie attempting to explain his way out of the affair by suggesting a threesome. This fails as quickly as his previous attempt and the credits begin with their typical upbeat jingle.
Charlie, portrayed by actor Charlie Sheen, seems bound to repeat this scene and similar escapades as the series progresses, now into its 8th season.  His character defines genuine expressions of affection and compassion as, “Drunk and in a hurry,” and displays his bravado against the constant backdrop of evil and idiotic women.
To glorify his misogyny and obtain ratings, the creators of the show, Lee Aronsohn and Chuck Lorre, supply validations in the form of contrasting female characters. Charlie’s mother (Holland Taylor) and Mia are confident, charismatic, and intelligent. They’re almost role models, until you witness their never ending attempts to emasculate and manipulate Charlie. These humiliations prove an apt disguise for his sexist retaliation, as audiences have been fooled into providing the show with a slew of awards and nominations.
Diversity appears on the show only in the sad shadows of Alan (Jon Cryer), Charlie’s self-described “pussy-whipped” younger brother, and Kandi (April Bowlby), whose idea of intellectual reading and thought strives no farther than text-messages and billboards. Combined with the other characters, evidence piles each episode, striving to suggest that the independent and joyful masculinity Charlie personifies is under siege from a dangerous feminine threat. The only problem, as Mia displays toward the conclusion of the episode, is that this threat is merely a request for an emotionally rewarding conversation and the rational request that he leave his clothes on for at least a minor portion of the show.
Concern should be found in two places when considering “Two and a Half Men.” First, the show frequently shows signs of strong comedic tendencies that don’t require female objectification to enhance the punch line. Jake (Angus T. Jones) proves worthy of a few of the shows awards, as his vulgar and juvenile humor finds itself perfectly out of place in the company of elite Malibu socialites, whom he has a talent for embarrassing. Tragically, these aspects are wasted and drown in the shows poorly cloaked biases and stereotyping.
Second, Charlie’s behavior is more likely to be imitated than mocked. Sheen was recently arrested himself on charges of domestic violence and menacing. He simply pleaded guilty, and several of the charges, including a felony, were dropped. Although, this scene will probably be parodied in a future episode, complete with a judge acquitting him accompanied by the same fake audience laughter that plagues the show. A viewer might feel astute to argue that Charlie is a foil, and self-destructive, ultimately sabotaging himself by the third act. But this is rarely, if ever, the case. Charlie finds the sex he is looking for, despite his atrocious behavior, twice in this episode, the producers clearly evading any attempt to criticize his misogyny.
It is important to remember that while TV ratings may thwart Charlie’s onscreen actions into a humorous resolution; this display of insecure and combative pseudo-masculinity finds much harsher real life conclusions. Concern and a more realistic focus should arise when awards are provided yearly to a program admired for its demeaning portrayal of women and the culprit who violates them. Or maybe the audience should inspect themselves for similarities, when Charlie concludes the episode in his own philosophical fashion, stating, “Love isn’t blind, it’s retarded.”

A Season of Light. A Season of Stress. By Dr. Juli Parker

I watched a re-run of Family Guy last night. In this episode, Lois freaks out because she is exhausted from Christmas preparations. She sets fire to their tree and goes on a rampage through the town of Quahog. This episode really resonated with me, even though I don’t have children. I have done the majority of the shopping for the approximately 40 people on our list, many of whom are nieces and nephews on my husband’s side of the family. Last Saturday I spent hours wrapping all of those presents. And I’m still not done. I have to pick up something for my Dad, find the perfect book about trains for my Godson, get something for my neighbors who were overly generous last year, a gift certificate for my brother in law and his wife, go to Target and get dog toys for nine dogs, and maybe something else for my mother.


Then I have to buy the ingredients to make a Christmas Eve dessert, develop a shopping list for Christmas dinner, which will include making another dessert, and finish wrapping the gifts I haven’t finished wrapping, including some I need to wrap when my husband is elsewhere.

Christmas has become a race to exhaustion. And while I love to buy Christmas presents, I wonder if we have stepped too far afield of its meaning. While we hear all the time that we have to “get back to the real meaning of Christmas,” like a new group on Facebook called “Let’s keep the Christ in Christmas,” none of this addresses the pressure that, in most cases, women face during this time of year.

And why does the holiday pressure fall on women? I know I am the one who nagged my husband about decorating the house. I was the one who wanted our house to look “pretty” in my neighborhood. I was the one who went to get a tree and then decorated the whole thing while he cooked dinner one night. I did manage to get him to come shopping with me for some of our nieces and nephews, but I couldn’t get him to move at the pace I needed. Am I the one who puts this pressure on me? Do women bring this on themselves? Or are men happy to let us take charge?

I often get a good cold this time of year. Women run themselves into exhaustion, staying up late wrapping presents or baking cookies or decorating. I wonder if next year, instead of getting back to the real meaning of Christmas, maybe we could begin to think of an equality of Christmas, where no one person in the home takes full responsibility for the increased chores that come with this beautiful season of lights.

Dr. Juli Parker,
Director
Women’s Resource Center

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