Tag Archives: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

The Invisible Gay Dollar


What if on June 9, 2010, (6/9 for those who enjoy a naughty giggle), the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community stopped buying anything across the country?  What would happen to the American economy?

In very loose numbers, it is estimated that in 2006, $660 billion were spent by the LGBT community in 2006.  That number is expected to rise to $835 billion in 2011.  I’ve seen numbers that indicate as much as over two trillion dollars will be spent by the LGBT community in 2012.  Even if any of these numbers are off by a few billion, the numbers are truly staggering.

The LGBT community has the power to put a dent in our economy, and yet, we don’t know our own strength.  If we don’t know it, how can anyone else feel that power?

It makes sense to validate that most efficient force by damming up the economic river for just a moment in time. 

Here is the plan for June 9, 2010:

Every member of the LGBT and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) communities will commit to:

1.  not purchase one item of food, clothing, equipment, or anything else on this day, including eating out or buying a cup of coffee;

2.  not buy or trade one stock or bond in any stock market in the world;

3.  withdraw 0.1% of your money from every account you own (e.g. If you have $1,000.00, you would withdraw $1.00 and if you have $100, you would withdraw $0.10);

4.  not donate one item to charity;

5.  not go to work or school for at least half a day;

6.  not use a computer or cell phone for one day;

7.  not use any electricity or gas that is not life-preserving;

8.  not drive anywhere in your automobile;

9.  do whatever else you feel is appropriate, healthy, and safe to make an economic statement about the strength of the LGBT community;

10. Finally, to make June 9 a day of silence to reflect the silence our country is asking us to provide regarding our needs, including equal access to marriage, health care, law, education, and employment. 

Be sure to contact your legislator by June 8 to advise them of your intentions. 

We have seven-and-a-half months to prepare.  In that time, we can clearly create the environment that well over half of our country wishes from us.  This will certainly let them know, “Watch what you wish for!”

What happens if the LGBT and PFLAG community disappeared and we took our money and expertise with us?  We’d have a pretty good idea about the impact of that situation, wouldn’t we?

If you’re interested in participating, please contact me on my Facebook page, June 9, 2010 – Invisible Gay Day.

Equality as a Cigarette


Dear President Obama,

No on 8No on Question 1As we evaluate what happened in Maine as marriage equality, via Question 1, went down with a similar margin as is did in California with Proposition 8, a vivid memory from over thirty years ago comes to mind, in the way a locust comes to a field of corn.

When I was a young father, I used to smoke around my children and in the house.  I smoked in the car and at work.  I smoked everywhere. 

As my children grew, I would lecture them on the dangers of smoking, even as I went to the hospital for asthma and two strokes in my forties from smoking.  I did begin smoking in a different room than the one in which my children were playing.  I did all these “better” things, but I never quit.  I never took action to model a “best” behavior for them.

I believe that this is what you have done to the gay and lesbian community.  You’ve talked a lot about your support of the LGBTQ community.  You’ve signed ENDA and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act  into law. You’ve done all this, but you have not repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and you have not repealed the Defense of Marriage Act.   I remember mentioning that we would see how you’d done by this time in my commentary of May 2009, “DOMA, DADT, and the President of the United States.”

You have given tacet approval to everyone in the United States to stand by their arrogant bigotry by not taking action.  Maine’s response to Question 1 raises our questions about your commitment to the tasks at hand, especially considering that on your White House contact website, there isn’t even a category for civil rights.  Our issues are relegated to the cruel word, “Other.”   It makes me believe that some of us American citizens are seen as “those people.”

42-17323271

It's tough to let go.

For the record, every single one of my children ended up smoking.   Although they are now in their 30’s and 40’s for the most part, and making their own choices, they initially learned from me that smoking was o.k.  I am saddened every day by that fact as they end up in the hospital with asthma and bronchitis.  I am saddened that they may develop emphysema or  lung cancer and die the way their great-grandparents did, and as I, it appears, shall do as well.  I am saddened that their children, of which there are nine between them, will learn the same lessons from my children as mine did from me.  The impact of my smoking has become generational. 

Are you going to allow the impact of your inaction toward the necessary civil rights issues before you to become generational,  as well? 

With my husband, David, we signed our Domestic Partnership documents in August 2005.  In August 2006, we were married in a religious ceremony, and in doing so, we became husbands to one another.  You, Mr. President, however, have no record of that marriage.  Neither does anyone else, except in the hearts of those in attendance.  Is that the life you would want with Mrs. Obama? 

gay-older-couple-250a0328

A gay, older couple

Next time you have a cigarette, (and because I, too, continue to struggle with my nicotine addiction, I know there will be another cigarette, Mr. President), each time you take a drag, think about the gay community.  Each cigarette represents another gay person who is being discriminated against.  Each puff represents one more day that American citizens are being kept from equality.  Every butt you throw away is the dream of a gay couple whose hope for their 50th wedding anniversary that has been dashed. 

So, I raise my filled ashtray to you, President Obama, in hopes that you will both stop smoking and make the changes to our laws that will provide equality to all people in America.

Sincerely,

James S. Ch. Glica-Hernandez

Sacramento, CA

Sent Wednesday, November 4, 2009  9:15 PM PST

Slowly… Slowly


TransgenderSometimes, change happens all at once.  Usually, however, it happens in tiny increments, especially when it comes to social change.

United States Senator Barbara Boxer (California) recently distributed an e-mail indicating that she is joining a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) prohibiting  job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The passage of ENDA would prohibit all employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and other groups who hire and fire staff from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against anyone on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

This bill has already been supported by high profile national civil rights  and labor organizations and more than fifty Fortune 500 companies.

One must wonder if the significance of this era is being missed by those who feel they are not directly involved in the movement toward the eradication of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender citizens? 

Is it even possible to realize how important a particular shift in public perception is until after the transition is complete?  The movements to ensure a woman’s right to vote and the acknowledgement of and action against racial discrimination began in small ways, but it wasn’t until the lion’s share of the legislation was passed that we could begin to fathom just how pervasive the blight of hatred and disrespect had been and how far we were stepping ahead.

Senator Boxer’s note to all of us was particularly welcome given that President Obama has shown so little dynamic leadership in relation to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue (DADT) policies currently on the books in our country. 

The best news about ENDA is that it is a bipartisan effort by our Federal legislators.  Nothing gives us greater hope for our future than when, on both sides of the aisle, our elected officials choose to correct a horrible injustice in our laws and societal patterns in such a dynamic way.

Slowly, the awakening is beginning that each person, no matter how they are identified in the little boxes on most forms, has the right to all the freedoms promised in our United States Constitution.  This new effort is one more important step.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the passage of this bill!

A Speech for Some of Us


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

On July 16, 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a dynamic speech on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the National Assocation for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  The NAACP has been the seminal and pivotal organization for the phenomenal growth toward civil rights in these United States of America.  A celebration of this organization and its creative and powerful membership is well-deserved and should be celebrated by every group.

There was a cognitive dissonance in hearing the presidents’ words, however, as a gay person in the U.S, particularly considering the NAACP has been a vibrant supporter of gay rights.  His message of hope and personal and social responsbility resonated as so much more shallow than it might have as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue (DADT) policies remain in full force. 

This letter was written and sent today to President Obama in hope that my voice, added to the millions of others supporting full civil rights for all people in the United States, would make a difference. 

Wherever you stand on these topics, I hope this continues to be an on-going discussion and that the gay community, like the African-American community, will find positive movement forward as time passes.

July 16, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for your dynamic and moving speech on the joyful anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today.  Your words of hope and movement forward, personal responsibility and support of the national government were both powerful and intimate.

Without taking anything away from your message to the African-American community, it’s just sad that your words do not apply to the gay children in our country.  It truly is a shame.  Your silence is injuring our gay youth every day it continues.  Your daily inaction is another pound of weight of intolerance and neglect on their necks.

Because I believe in your innate goodness and wisdom, I must only conclude that you do not clearly understand that you alone, Mr. President, can change the direction of our national intolerance and neglect toward all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in our country, particularly with regard to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue policies.  It is your voice that will ring the clarion call for change, change that you promised all Americans during your campaign.

I will continue to remind you of your promise, Mr. President.  Each time you speak, I am listening, along with millions of others like me.  We are waiting. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence, if you have.  I suspect it will simply end up in a stack of mail that your aides will review, at which time they will mail out a boilerplate response, and feel complete in their task.   Your eyes will be ignorant of my words and your hands will be clean of responsibility for a genuine, personal response to me.
That is not accessibility to you.  That is accessibility to the infrastructure of the White House and no more.

In prayers of gratitude and hope,

James C. Glica-Hernandez
Sacramento, CA

Death by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”


Seaman August Provost

Seaman August Provost

Seaman August Provost

Camp Pendleton, San Diego, CA.  

Shot to death. 

Died June 30, 2009

 

 

Seaman Allen R. Schindler, Jr.

Seaman Allen R. Schindler, Jr.

Seaman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. 

Sasebo Naval Base, Nagasaki, Japan       

Beaten to death  

December 13, 1969 to October 28, 1992

 

 

 

 

Pfc Barry Winchell
Private First Class Barry Winchell

Private First Class Barry Winchell

Ft. Campbell, Ky  

Beaten to death  

August 31, 1977 – July 6, 1999

 

 

 

 

The strange thing is that I’m not going to discuss how they died.  I’m not going to talk about their families.  I’m not going to vent my outrage at their murderers.

I will simply say that these young men, and others unnamed in the media, closeted and afraid during their honorable service, died in the line of duty.  They took their duty seriously enough to deny who they were.  They carried their duty with enough gravity to set aside their own truth to live the military truth of the United States of America in order to serve our nation with distinction.

Through their fearful and oppressive environment, through the weight of institutionalized homophobia, through their youth and inexperience with the burden of true hatred, these valiant young men died in horrific ways, either in uniform or with their uniforms hanging in their barracks closet.

These are our children, America.  Look at their faces and remember their names.  They lived protecting us.  We didn’t do the same for them.  We killed them with our ignorance.

God rest their souls and bring them into the light of his blessings.   Guide us to our awakening that nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of all our citizens.  Amen.

Why Is Hate So Easy?


In every regional idiom of our American English language, we have many ways to say, “I hate that.”   It’s as simple as a sound and a face, “Ugh,” with our mouth and eyes and nose looking as though we have just smelled something phenomenally foul.   Why are we surprised when our government says the same thing to us?  Our elected officials are selected by us and reflect our values.

15488-07at“You may not marry.”

“You may not serve your country with pride.”

“You may not receive adequate health care or education.”

“You may not be considered beautiful.”

Those who have had to live with the impact of these messages are all being told that we have no value in segments of society and that our needs and dreams are unnecessary to the overall happiness of our country. 

Why does this disregard, discrimination, and distrust come so easily to us as a nation?  At this point, with the media having such a rich influence in our lives and policies, we cannot claim ignorance any longer.  We are making these choices consciously and with the full understanding of how our fellow citizens are being affected by these choices.  We are fully responsible legislatively, culturally, and personally. 

And, yes, it is personal. 

To someone I love very much, when she is told by a physician that he doesn’t have time to discuss why he is making the determination he is on her health, he is saying that because she is brown and poor, she doesn’t deserve compliance with the hypocratic oath he took when he became a physician.  This person is going to be allowed to continue his practice for many years to come, I’m sure, because who is going to listen to his painfully neglected patient? 

When only twelve percent of our nation’s states have acknowledged the love and commitment between two gay people, we are saying that a large majority, 78%, of our people feel that our lives together as a couple have no meaning.   These 78% of states are being supported by the United States Supreme Court when they said that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy was not unconstitutional at the national level, and when the California Supreme Court did not overturn Proposition 8.

It’s as simple as not receiving an e-mail from a teacher.   When a parent writes and asks for information that will assist her in supporting the assignments the instructor gives, and all she receives is silence, the teacher is saying, “Your child has no value to me.  His education doesn’t count and what happens to him at the end of the year is of no consequence.”

Here in Sacramento, there was a shock jock who stated that if his son ever wore high heels, he, as a father, would beat that child with a shoe.  This was not something he said in the privacy of his home.  This person said this statement on the air and laughed about it. 

Now, we must face the truth that one of our citizens has walked into a museum honoring the memory of those who lost their lives during World War II and shot someone to make the statement that the shooter believes that there was no holocaust.   

When does it click, my friends?  When do we get that we cannot allow this to continue?  When does everyone in our country become full Americans to everyone else?   We have waited for 232 years.  Isn’t that long enough?

It’s time we decide, consciously and lovingly, that we will only tolerate respect in our homes and on our streets.  We will only permit those who understand the genuine value of every single person in our country to be elected to our legislative and judicial offices.   Only those who recognize the critical need for an exceptional education for every child, even when it’s difficult to accomplish, will be allowed to receive a teaching credential.  Every physician will be personally held accountable for ensuring that each of their patients understands his or her medical situation.

Simply put, we must only allow love to guide us.  Everywhere.  Always.