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July 30, 2009


This is both disturbing and encouraging news at the same time.

Congressman Alcee Hastings introduced a bill to withhold from the DOD funding bill specific funds that are used to carry out the DADT policy discharges. The next day, Hastings was pressured (read, forced) by White House representatives and other congressional colleagues to withdraw his bill.

Yesterday, Representative Hastings appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show to explain his reason for introducing and then withdrawing his bill. Below is that interview:

The encouraging parts are the comments made by Secretary of Defense Gates and others. Hastings' bill not withstanding, it's clearly becoming more and more obvious with every passing day that DADT's days are numbered. The disturbing part is that Hastings had to withdraw his bill. Even more frustrating is the fact that every day that passes means more and more gay and lesbian service members are discharged.

What I still don't understand (because it's never been made clear) is why the President wouldn't want those needless discharges stopped before anymore lives are disrupted and anymore dreams of honorably serving their country are smashed.

BTW - for those of you who may not know, Rachel Maddow the is first openly gay anchor to be hired to host a prime-time news program in the United States.

July 28, 2009


According to a July 25th Associated Press article by Kristen Wyatt, Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi appointed openly gay Representative Jared Polis (D Colorado) to the U.S. Air Force Academy's Board of Visitors.

Polis, who took office in January as the first openly gay non-incumbent ever elected to congress, is now also the first openly gay member to serve on an oversight board at any of the military service academies. This, of course, immediately set off waves of speculation about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy itself.

People on both sides of the DADT policy are openly wondering if Polis' appointment is a signal that change is coming.

"We're all reading the tea leaves here," said Tricia Heller, a Class of '87 Air Force Academy graduate who flew C-9 jets for the Air Force before the leaving the service four years ago and coming out.

"I'm not saying 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is going away. We can't say that. But this is a good sign."

For the supporters of DADT, this appointment signals the policy''s undoing.

"This is more than a signal," said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Washington-based Center For Military Readiness, a group of mostly civilians that favors banning gays from service. "I think when you're talking about the service academies, you're talking about the future of the military leadership. So this appointment, it appears to be advocacy."

Polis said that he doesn't plan to push for a change through the Board. But when asked about the future of DADT, he said that he expects that Congress could start debating its repeal as early as this fall. He added:

"We expect that [DADT] to end shortly, and I look forward to being a value to the Academy in making the transition."

I truly hope that he's right. This is one of the most destructive, cruel and idiotic military policies politicians have ever passed and it's end can't come soon enough.

In A Related Story...
The Advocate reported yesterday that newly appointed Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced Monday that the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings this fall on DADT.

“This policy is wrong for our national security and wrong for the moral foundation upon which our country was founded,” Senator Gillibrand said in a statement. “I thank Chairman Levin for agreeing to hold this important hearing. Numerous military leaders are telling us that the times have changed. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is an unfair, outdated measure that violates the civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic men and women. By repealing this policy, we will increase America’s strength -- both militarily and morally.”

Although no repeal bill has been submitted yet, it is expected that Senator Edward Kennedy, who has been a long-time champion of repealing DADT, will introduce his bill as soon as he can find a Republican co-sponsor.

Gillibrand said that her effort to build support for a temporary moratorium on DADT discharges had helped push the ball forward.

Finally! Now, if we can just get the repeal of DOMA moving forward...

July 27, 2009


Trooper James Wharton of the British Army is now the new face of gays in the military.

Nine years ago the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that pressured Britain and other member countries to allow openly gay men and women to serve in their militaries. This month, the July issue of the British Military's own official magazine, Soldier, featured a cover photo of openly gay Army Trooper James Wharton with the word "PRIDE" highlighted from the subdued background of the military's credo.

In the accompanying article, Wharton said that instead of being oppressed and driven to hiding as gays had been forced to do in the past (which is, sadly, still our present), gay and lesbian Army personnel are now given full support.

“I came out to the Army before I told my parents, so that says a lot for the Armed Forces,” said the 22-year-old.

“I told the Army in March 2003, after all my initial training was over – I was 18. I have always known I was gay but it wasn’t until then that I told anyone.”

In 1999, in ruling on two landmark cases, the European Court of Human Rights found that the policy of banning openly gay people from serving in the military was "not sustainable." Following that ruling, in 2000 the British military (along with other European member nations) dropped its ban and opened it doors to all gay and lesbian applicants.

2000 was also the year that George W. Bush was "installed" as President by our Supreme Court. So, of course, the ban on gays in our military was kept staunchly in place thanks in large part to the ensuing rise of religious fanaticism here.

Wharton said of our own baffling and persistant policy:

“I still can’t get my head round the US’ ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”

“Luckily I don’t have to deal with it, but clearly there will be gay soldiers in the US Army who are not being themselves – they aren’t allowed to be.”

Granted, there have been some problems with the implementation of and adherence to the British policy but, as Wharton put it:

“Obviously there are people who are set in their ways and aren’t in favour of the changed policy, but the whole attitude is different.”


“I think there is room for improvement as far as the Army is concerned because there are still people who can’t accept the changes – but it’s 1,000 times better than ten years ago.”

In fact, British military attitudes have changed so much that at last year's London Gay Pride March, gay men and women in the military were allowed to march in the parade in full military uniforms for the first time.

I wholeheartedly agree with Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Murphy, who is spearheading a bill to repeal DADT. The idea that the American armed forces would suffer morale and recruiting problems if they followed suit is incredibly partronizing. As Murphy put it, "To say that other countries' soldiers are professional enough to handle this and American soldiers aren't is really a slap in the face."

For a country that is supposed to be the shining beacon of hope for justice and equality, it's embarrassing just how far behind we are when compared to our european allies.

July 23, 2009


As stunningly beautiful as Jamaica is, it still has a very dark, brutal and dangerous underbelly.

On March 10, 2009 I posted a report on a State Department Travel Advisory warning of the dangers to our community of traveling to Jamaica. On March 29th I ran a story about a call for an outright boycott of all Jamaican products. Obviously the continuing homophobic violence in Jamaica caught the attention of GLBT activist who called for that boycott. Then on April 1st I published a follow up story responding to an impassioned plea from the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, Allsexuals and Gays (JFLAG) that asked us to reconsider that boycott.

I told them in my posting that although I certainly am empathetic to their situation, I feel that because I now know of the horrific violence and injustices that the Jamaican government has so willingly inflicted on our Jamaican brothers and sisters I can't, in good conscience, participate in or condone shoring-up that government by pouring money into it.

Well, it seems that the Jamaican government still prefers to wallow in their violent homophobia rather than acknowledge the problem and try to do something about it. Now however, they're attracting the attention of the mainstream media.

On Monday, David McFadden of the Associate Press wrote an excellent piece entitled "Gays Live And Die In Fear In Jamaica". McFadden jumps right in with a first hand account of the kind of violence faced by all Jamaican gays and lesbians.

Even now, about three years after a near-fatal gay bashing, Sherman gets jittery at dusk. On bad days, his blood quickens, his eyes dart, and he seeks refuge indoors.

A group of men kicked him and slashed him with knives for being a "batty boy" — a slang term for gay men — after he left a party before dawn in October 2006. They sliced his throat, torso, and back, hissed anti-gay epithets, and left him for dead on a Kingston corner.

"It gets like five, six o'clock, my heart begins to race. I just need to go home, I start to get nervous," said the 36-year-old outside the secret office of Jamaica's sole gay rights group. Like many other gays, Sherman won't give his full name for fear of retribution.

McFadden goes on to say:

Despite the easygoing image propagated by tourist boards, gays and their advocates agree that Jamaica is by far the most hostile island toward homosexuals in the already conservative Caribbean. They say gays, especially those in poor communities, suffer frequent abuse. But they have little recourse because of rampant anti-gay stigma and a sodomy law banning sex between men in Jamaica and 10 other former British colonies in the Caribbean.

The whole article is a lengthy, in-depth accounting of just how bad things are for the GLBT community there and is well worth taking a few minutes to read in its entirety.

Clearly, the Jamaican government still hasn't gotten the message. According to Jamaican gays themselves, "homophobia is pervasive across the sun-soaked island, from the pulpit to the floor of the Parliament." It is for this reason that I strongly urge you and everyone you know to join the boycott. In addition to the obvious of not traveling there for a vacation, don't buy any Jamaican products, including Jamaican Rum and Red Stripe beer.

Apparently, the only thing that's going to move these people is to threaten their livelihood. So spread the word around as much as you can through blogs, twitter, myspace, facebook or just old fashioned word of mouth - put the story out there to as many people as you can.

July 22, 2009


The announcement last May that attorneys David Boies (left) and Ted Olson will be filing a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 was met with strong skepticism and resistance from some in the GLBT community. Many felt that a lawsuit now, with the current make-up of the Supreme Court, could not be successful and might even hurt efforts to put a measure to overturn Prop 8 on the 2010 ballot. The arguments/discussions have been ongoing ever since.

To explain the reasoning behind their lawsuit, Mr. Boies wrote an excellent opinion piece in the July 20th edition of the Wall Street Journal.

He opened the article by saying:

When I got married in California in 1959 there were almost 20 states where marriage was limited to two people of different sexes and the same race. Eight years later the Supreme Court unanimously declared state bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

For those of you who forgot or may not know, Boies and Olson are the two opposing lead attorneys who argued the cases of the election results in the now infamous 2000 presidential election.

Boies went on to say:

Recently, Ted Olson and I brought a lawsuit asking the courts to now declare unconstitutional California's Proposition 8 limitation of marriage to people of the opposite sex. We acted together because of our mutual commitment to the importance of this cause, and to emphasize that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue, not a liberal or conservative issue, but an issue of enforcing our Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process to all citizens.

Near the end of his piece, he said:

There are those who sincerely believe that homosexuality is inconsistent with their religion -- and the First Amendment guarantees their freedom of belief. However, the same First Amendment, as well as the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, preclude the enshrinement of their religious-based disapproval in state law.

Gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters, our teachers and doctors, our friends and neighbors, our parents and children. It is time, indeed past time, that we accord them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It is time, indeed past time, that our Constitution fulfill its promise of equal protection and due process for all citizens by now eliminating the last remnant of centuries of misguided state discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Overall, this is one of the strongest and most cogent arguments for allowing gay marriages I've ever seen. It's well worth taking a few minutes of your time to read the whole article. Click here to go there.

I couldn't agree with him more and I wholeheartedly support their efforts.

July 20, 2009


On July 9th Matt Aune and Derek Jones say they were holding hands and occasionally kissed while walking through the Main Street Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City. For that, they were arrested, handcuffed and charged with trespassing even though many heterosexual couples have done the same thing in the same plaza without incident.

In response to that homophobic episode, two "kiss-ins" were held in the plaza on two separate weekends protesting what happened to Matt and Derek. In fact, a number of the protesters were heterosexual members of the LDS church who not only disagreed with what the church did with Prop 8 in California but also with the church's stand on homosexuality in general. Some were even passing out fliers promoting an online petition for reconciliation between the church and the gay and lesbian community highlighting the growing rift within the church itself between its leaders and many of it members. The story was picked up by mainstream media outlets around the country and flashed its way around the world through countless blogs on the internet.

The Plaza is in downtown Salt Lake City and was thought by many to be public property with all of the freedom of expression rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution. The reality is however that in 1999, the City Council (which was overwhelmingly dominated by LDS members) voted to sell the Plaza grounds to the LDS Church. The only two votes against the sale were by the only two non-LDS members on the council.

Since then, the back and forth battle between easement rights and public expression on the Plaza has involved civic groups and even the ACLU in a seemingly never-ending struggle over the Church's self-proclaimed right to control what goes on in and what is said publicly in the Plaza.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said in a Salt Lake Tribue article today, "What we're seeing now is a manifestation of what should have been obvious from the very beginning. This block of Main Street never should have been conveyed to the LDS Church. It was a recipe for ongoing resentments between the LDS Church and those who are not members."

How public property ended up in the possession and control of the Mormon Church has been a continuing 10 year saga. It strikingly illustrates how the tentacles of a rich and powerful religion can work their way into the very veins and arteries of government itself.

The whole affair has become known to many as the "Main Street Plaza Saga." The Salt Lake Tribune published a concise time-line of just how this whole thing has played out from it's inception in 1998 through to this year. It's a very interesting overview and you can see a stand alone version of it by clicking here.

July 18, 2009


I have written quite a bit about President Obama lately. Especially about his inaction in stopping the cruel and harmful DADT discharges. I am still disgruntled over this continuing issue but there does seem to be a couple of very bright lights at the end of that tunnel thanks to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's 18 month moratorium bill on DADT discharges and Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Murphy's introduction of a bill to outright repeal DADT.

Having said that, I still do believe that this President does mean what he says about the LGBT community's struggles and is doing what he can behind the scenes. What he is doing publicly however, is something we shouldn't ignore. If we want fairness from him then we need to reciprocate in kind.

The latest example of his persistent and consistent public support was evident in his historic speech at the 100th Anniversay of the NAACP. Several news and blog sites have shown only the section that mentions our community specifically (which comes at 11:46 minutes into the almost 40 minute speech). But I watched the whole thing and was, once again, blown away by what he said (which he wrote himself) and his skill in saying it.

This was a speech that clearly moved everyone there and to put us in the same context as the black movements struggles for fairness and equality is a very powerful statement. Below is his entire speech and I would suggest that you watch it from the beginning to the end instead of just skipping to his comment about us. It's worth your time.

July 16, 2009


The United State Post Office claims that "diversity means building an inclusive environment that respects the uniqueness of every individual and encourages the contributions of people from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives."

They also claim that their "commitment to diversity is unwavering. The United States Postal Service has been recognized for its commitment to creating an inclusive work environment. We have been ranked among the "50 Best Companies for Minorities" by Fortune magazine."

So why then was the gay pride display in the lobby of Milwaukee's downtown post office taken down just 4 hours after it had been installed?

According to a story published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, letter carrier Dale J. Schuster, chairman of the post office diversity team, had written permission from the post office's diversity manager to put up a Gay Pride exhibit, so long as the display didn't contain anything too controversial or political. So Schuster contacted Maggi Cage, head of the Milwaukee Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, with the idea of collaborating on the exhibit.

The display was created the morning of June 1, the very day President Barack Obama proclaimed LGBT Pride Month in America. It included photos of famous gay people, historical information and a giant AIDS awareness stamp in glass cases.

Four hours later, Maggi Cage said that she started getting calls saying, 'I can't find that exhibit at the post office,' so she sent some of her staff down there, and the cases were empty.

Marge Oehlke, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in the Milwaukee area, had the exhibit taken down saying, "It did not fit our qualifications."

When Schuster showed the written permission from the diversity manager, Oehlke said that he wasn't high enough up the chain of command and that the Postmaster had to approve it.

According to the article, Oehlke also claimed that:

The post office operations manual spells out that these exhibits must be "revenue related," meaning something about stamp purchases, stamp collecting, packaging, new products and such. The AIDS stamp isn't for sale anymore, and therefore doesn't count.

Ironically, Oehlke also serves on the diversity team but she denied that the removal was because of the gay theme. The Journal Sentinel writer, Jim Stingl, asked to be put in touch with Postmaster Charles Miller, but that never happened.

Because of this incident, Schuster resigned his position as Diversity chairman and, because postal rules say he can't talk to the media, he said in an e-mail to Cage, "In light of the controversy over the pride month display being taken down, I had no other recourse than to resign. I believe it is important that everybody is treated with dignity and respect, and that nobody should feel excluded."

"I think it's plain and simple homophobia," Cage said. "I really do think it's a case of discrimination."

July 14, 2009


Immediately after Proposition 8 was passed in California, many gay activists and GLBT groups vowed to take the issue back to the ballot in 2010. Emotions were intense and determination to overcome the homophobia that Prop 8 represented where at an all time high.

It was the shock and anger over Prop 8's success that spawned a whole new activist movement throughout the country. It galvanized the GLBT community and our supporters into an energetic cohesiveness not seen since the early 70's.

In fact, the stunning victories in Vermont and Iowa were, I'm sure, due in large part to the determination and tireless campaigning of a lot of those "new" activists as well as the change of hearts and minds that the Prop 8 fiasco inspired.

Now, the effects of the national financial meltdown and the virtual bankruptcy of California has caused a number of the GLBT leaders to rethink the feasibility of a 2010 target date. Trying to mount an expensive and manpower intensive campaign at a time when so many people and businesses have had their finances and their lives thrown into a tailspin just doesn't seem logical. Not only would it be harder to raise the millions of dollars necessary but it would also be harder to get any kind of substantial time commitment from people who are already intensely focused on either finding new jobs or keeping the ones they have.

According to a story run in the Los Angeles Times today:

"Going back to the ballot . . . in 2010 would be rushed and risky," read a joint statement issued Monday by three gay-rights groups and signed by more than two dozen other groups and individuals. "We should proceed with a costly, demanding, and high-stakes electoral campaign of this sort only when we are confident we can win."

Jim Key, spokesman for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, also worried that a 2010 political campaign might tap the same donors that service organizations rely on to fund HIV care, services for homeless youths and other programs at a time when, because of the economy, those programs are needed the most.

Of course the emotions and anger over Prop 8 are still running very high and not everyone agrees with delaying a ballot measure until 2012.

"There is a majority of the community . . . that favors going forward in 2010," said John Henning, executive director of the pro-same-sex-marriage group Love Honor Cherish. "The fact that some favor waiting should mean only one thing: They can wait, if they need to wait, but we are going to go ahead."

Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, one of the state's biggest gay-rights groups said that they initially believed that 2010 was the right time to go back to the ballot. But that they "also made it very clear we will only move forward if we have a clear road map to victory. . . . The last thing we want to do is go back to the ballot and lose."

Solomon said that they were in the process of seeking advice from political consultants and polling experts and would make their position public later this month.

July 13, 2009


In an excellent article published yesterday in Monterey County's (CA) The Herald, a powerful contrast was drawn between the countries that have allowed gay service members to serve openly for years and the United State's persistent and harmful Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy.

Since 1994, the most recent accounts have stated that more than 13,500 US service men and women have been discharged just for being gay. That includes dozens of Arabic linguist who were critical to the success of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and who the military admits were vital because of the difficulties of finding qualified replacements.

Contrast that to England where gay and lesbian service members proudly marched in uniform in the annual London Pride Parade this July 4th. Or to Australia where soldiers and sailors had their own float in Sydney's Gay Mardi Gras parade. Or to Israel, which is acknowledged to have one of the fiercest and best trained militaries in the world, where the army's own magazine earlier this year featured two male soldiers on the cover, hugging one another.

One of the arguments for keeping DADT in place has always been that allowing gays to serve openly would severally harm unit morale and cohesion. Another, more recent argument is that it would hurt recruitment efforts and drive scores of active duty personnel out of the military completely. But others see it differently...

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, has just launched a campaign for a bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." He observed British troops in Iraq operating smoothly with a serve-openly policy and bristles at the contention that America's armed forces would suffer morale and recruiting problems if they followed suit.

"I take it as a personal affront to our warriors," said the Pennsylvania Democrat. "To say that other countries' soldiers are professional enough to handle this and American soldiers aren't is really a slap in the face."

In Israel where gays and lesbians have been proudly serving since 1993 (the same year DADT was approved), the open policy is now considered "thoroughly uncontroversial." In fact, their army recognizes the partners of gay officers as their bereaved next-of-kin after their deaths, eligible for the same benefits straight officer's next-of-kin receive. At promotions and other ceremonies, gay officers often have their partners by their sides.

I do understand that in this country, where homosexuality is still a hot button issue primarily because of the intrusive and manipulative tactics of some of the more fanatical religions, transition to an open military would be a little more problematic. BUT, it would be no more difficult than the readjustment the military had to go through when blacks were allowed to serve as integral parts within all units of the military.

It would be now, as it was then, up to the generals, commanders and sergeants to make sure that the transition is handled professionally. I agree with Representative Murphy, to think that this country's service men and women are incapable of doing what many of our allies have already done is a very big slap in the face to them.

It's long past time to get over this and move on.

According to a list compiled by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the following countries allow gays to serve openly in their militaries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.

Also today, Jason Bellini reported in the Daily Beast that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand intends to introduce an amendment that would put an 18-month moratorium on the discharge of gays serving in the military.

This would give congress time to work out the details of repealing DADT without harming the reputations of any more patriotic gay American soldiers. It would also be the first time since 1993 that senators will be forced to declare their position on the gay ban.

BTW - the latest discharges under DADT are West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran, Army National Guard Lt. Dan Choi, and a veteran of combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.

July 9, 2009


I've written a lot about the Mormon church in the past. Their outright hostility, their hypocritical, immoral and unethical tactics, especially during California's Proposition 8 battle, have been recurring themes in most of my posts. I've also seen, first hand, how easily and willingly my partner's family has frequently put their Mormon beliefs above their love for their own gay son.

That's why it's always reassuring and heartwarming to come across a Mormon family that doesn't put religion above their love for their children. The following YouTube video shows such a family...

As positive and uplifting as this video is, it's also a little difficult for my partner to watch without feeling a sense of loss himself. However, our closest friend and myself have made it clear to him that he does have a family who loves him unconditionally. And my own family has also made it clear that they feel the same.

If you know someone who's struggling with issues of little or no family support, let that person know that they're not alone and that they do, indeed, have a whole new family that loves them for who they are - not who they expect them to be.

July 8, 2009


There is something seriously wrong with a society that allows a brutal murderer to serve less time than someone who abuses an animal. In this case, it's the state of South Carolina that allowed this travesty.

On the night of May 16, 2007 at about 3:45 am, 20 year old Sean William Kennedy was murdered in a brutal, homophobic attack outside a Greenville County, S.C. bar.

During his trial, it was argued that because Sean hit his head on the pavement after being hit hard enough in his face to break facial bones, his murderer was only charged with involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor's logic was that even though Sean's brain stem was separated from his brain by the impact of his fall and even though his murderer left a message on the answering machine of Sean's friend telling him that the "f***ing faggot owes me $500.00 for breaking my goddamn hand on his teeth that f***ing bitch!” - Sean's murder was still unintentional and that a long prison sentence could hurt the murderer. Totally ignoring the fact the he already had a history of violent behavior.

Sean's murderer, Stephen Andrew Moller, was convicted of Sean's murder on the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to only three years, minus seven months for time served.

That, by itself, was a travesty but to make matters worse, Moller was just released one week early on July 1st for good behavior because he got his GED while he was incarcerated.

According to Elke Kennedy's blog (Sean's mother):

He was supposed to stay in prison till September 7th 2009, however he received 2 month credit for good behaviour by getting his GED while in prison.

He was eligable for early parole on December 28th 2008 already. In a early parole hearing on February 11 2009 he was denied parole and his release date was set to July 7th 2009.

In a final act of callous insensitivity by the state of South Carolina, Mrs. Kennedy wasn't even given the courtesy of a personal phone call. Instead, she received an automated phone message telling her that Sean's murderer was given a one week early release.

South Carolina is one of the many states that don't have a hate crimes law in place and this tragic case dramatically demonstrates why federal hate crimes legislation is so important. Not only would it give state and local governments greatly enhanced tools, including FBI involvement, for investigating these crimes and apprehending the guilty parties, but it would also insure that perpetrators of these heinous crimes would receive the type of sentencing their actions deserve.

Thanks to Womanist Musings for supplying additional information for this story.

July 6, 2009


In an excellent, in-depth piece in Saturday's edition of the New York Times, James McKinley Jr reported that in addition to Chad Gibson's serious head injury, another patron of the Rainbow Lounge raid suffered broken ribs and a third had a broken thumb.

Also, according to a Box Turtle Bulletin post today, another man, George Armstrong, suffered severe bruising and muscle strain when he was arrested on the tenuously ambiguous charge of public intoxication even though he claimed that he was not drunk.

In a telephone interview with the Dallas Voice Armstrong said that he had gotten to the bar about 12:45 a.m. and had only been there about 30 minutes when Fort Worth officers and TABC agents swept in and began arresting people.

"I looked up and there was this swarm of police coming in.

I saw them making their way through the crowd, and I just kind of smiled at one of the officers and flashed him a ‘peace’ sign,” he added. “The next thing I know, he was coming at me. He tackled me to the ground, twisted my arms up really hard behind my back. I just kept saying, ‘What is wrong? Why are you doing this? Why are you touching me?’”

Armstrong said the officer told him he was being arrested for public intoxication, then took him outside and had him sit on the sidewalk until he was placed in the nearby van and taken to the police station. Officers outside, he said, “apparently found it really humorous. There was a lot of smirking and smiling going on.”

“When the guy tackled me in the bar, I landed on my shoulder. My shoulder and back took all the force of the fall. I was lucky that I didn’t hit my head like [Gibson] did. But I was hurt. I was in a lot of pain,” Armstrong said. “I told them at the police station that I was really hurt, but they just ignored me.”

After pleading not guilty before a judge, Armstrong was released around noon and drove straight to the emergency room at Baylor All-Saints Hospital where doctors treated him for severe bruising and muscle strain in his shoulder and back.

Since the incident occurred, Ft Worth Police Chief Jeffrey W. Halstead has backed off his initial support of the officers involved and has suspended joint operations with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Under intense public and political pressure, he has also ordered a full police department investigation and promised to give police officers “multicultural training.”

Also, the Dallas/Ft Worth Television News has reported that the TABC has instituted it's own internal investigation of the incident and has reassigned the two TABC agents involved to desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The incident has had wide coverage in the mainstream media and several demonstrations have already taken place - with more planned. There have also been calls from GLBT activists and state and local politicians for broader, outside investigations of the TABC and Ft Worth Police Department actions.

BTW - Chad Gibson remains at JPS Hospital but his family said he is improving and his condition was upgraded from serious to fair. His doctors have said however, that he will still suffer from severe, recurring headaches for at least the next couple of years.

UPDATE 7/8/09...
365.com reported that Chad Gibson was released from the hospital and is now at home.

The police are still trying to claim that Gibson feel to the ground causing his head injury but multiple eyewitnesses continue to refute that saying that Gibson was slammed into the wall and then down to the floor by out of control police officers.

In an interview following his release, Gibson also denied the police claim that he grabbed at the crotch of one of the officers. He was backed up by other eyewitnesses who said that neither he nor anyone else grabbed at anyone's crotch.

Several investigations are being conducted but however it turns out, it won't change that fact that Gibson will most likely suffer from severe recurring headaches from that incident for several years to come.

July 2, 2009


Chad Gibson's mother spoke out about her son's injuries and the incident at the Rainbow Lounge to Dallas' Channel 8 news. Here's the piece that ran yesteday...

Also, on Instant Tea, which is the official weblog of the Dallas Voice, reporter Tammye Nash posted the following comment yesterday:

I just had a phone conversation with a source close to Chad Gibson’s family. I was told that yes, the bleeding has stopped, but that he has been having severe headaches today.

And just a note about Instant Tea poster “Pro Police”: I don’t know who this person is, or what his/her source of information is. I do know that people are not kept in the hospital in ICU for four days for a simple concussion. And I am pretty sure that the doctors at JPS Hospital are in a much better position to determine the extent of Chad Gibson’s injury.

For those who may think that Chad was, as the police claimed, suffering from alcohol poisoning, the Dallas/Ft Worth Channel 11 News ran an article yesterday that quoted Chad's sister Kristy Morgan's answer to that question. She said that "her brother's alcohol level was at .2 [and that] .08 is the legal limit. He was at .2. You have to be at .4 to have true alcohol poisoning and he was not close to that."

Although Chad was intoxicated, he certainly wasn't even close to the level of alcohol poisoning. He was also with a group who had a designated driver who would take them home which showed a great deal of personal responsibility on their part.

What makes no sense to me is why was anyone arrested for "public intoxication" when they were inside a bar and not creating any kind of "public nuisance" outside?

I suppose it's only a matter of time before people start getting arrested inside restaurants for contributing to the problem of "public obesity!"

I am aware that an overwhelming majority of police officers are good, law-abiding citizens who have very difficult and very dangerous jobs to do everyday. But there is clearly something seriously wrong with some of our country's law enforcement officials and if something isn't done soon and those individuals are allowed to continue with callous and illegal tactics that show others how easy it is to get away with, we WILL end up with a Third Reich style police force.