Gay and Lesbian Connection

Support and Acceptance for the Gay and Lesbian Community

This Month is Ally Week

October 2nd, 2012 by Admin

October 15-19, 2012 is Ally Week

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) and students across the country,  members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, will celebrate Ally Week on Oct 15-19 in schools and communities nationwide.  For more information and to take the pledge to be an Ally online go to:  www.glsen.org.

What is an Ally?

Allies are people who do not identify as LGBT, but who support this community by standing against the bullying and harassment LGBT youth face in school.

Become an Ally.

Change Attitudes.

Change Behaviors.

Change Directions.

Change Lives.

Change Policies.

Change Voices.

Be an Ally.

Be the Change.

Homophobia can be the cause of a great deal of pain for LGBT youth who just want to be themselves.   For more information about homophobia go to www.restoftheway.com and read the chapter, “Effects of Homophobia.”

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Americans Nearly Evenly Split on Gay Marriage

September 15th, 2011 by Admin

Support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage has shifted in recent years, from a narrow majority opposed in 2009 to narrow majority support now. Some of the shift stems from a generational divide, with the new poll showing a majority of Americans under age 65 in favor of legal recognition for same-sex marriages, and a majority of seniors opposed.

It’s complicated, this question of legitimizing gay marriage. And Americans are grappling with the question. A new poll that shows that the nation is narrowly split on same-sex marriage.

Fifty-three percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed believe the government should give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, about the same as last year, according to the nationwide telephone poll by The Associated Press and the National Constitution Center. Forty-four percent were opposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


     

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Changing Christian Attitudes on Changing Gays

July 28th, 2011 by Admin

There’s an interesting new trend in the evangelical Christian community. For many years many evangelical Christian organizations have pressured their gay members into reparative (or conversion) therapy.   But as of late that’s been changing.  

As more of the science suggests that homosexuality may be innate, support for treatments that entail changing someone’s sexual orientation are moving out of fashion. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel by Dan Gilgoff, of CNN, even the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently said, “We have spoken carelessly and unknowledgeably in the past to just say: ‘Just change.  Just decide right now your pattern of attraction is not homosexuality but heterosexuality’…it’s not just a matter of choice.  It’s not something that’s turned on or turned off.”

Even Exodus International, a strong proponent of reparative therapy in the past has de-emphasized reparative therapy as more of the counselors in its network have abandoned the practice. 

Another very likely reason for these changes in attitudes is recent polls showing that young evangelicals are more supportive of rights for gay people than their parents.  And keeping young people in their flanks is crucial. 

The bottom line is reparative therapy does not work and most often causes harm.  “You can’t change a bird into a fish.  You can teach a bird to swim but eventually it will fly.  That’s what birds do.”  

 

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SF Giants Make “It Gets Better” Video for LGBT Youth

June 6th, 2011 by Admin

For years, the Giants have proven that they sincerely care about their community.

In the last year, it has been great to be a fan of the San Francisco Giants. Celebrating in the streets of the Mission District after the team’s World Series win last fall was awesome. The pride that the city has for its baseball team — often referred to as underdogs and freaks — is heartwarming. And now the Giants have become the first pro sports team to make an “It Gets Better” video in support of LGBT youth. The Giants are taking a giant (no pun intended) step forward by becoming the first pro sports team to support the It Gets Better Project, which attempts to provide hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers in their quests for respect and acceptance. …Others who have sent such messages include President Obama and members of the cast of the hit television show “Glee.”To see the Video Go to:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1TcD95kmGQ

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Support for Same-Sex Marriage

February 22nd, 2011 by Admin

Views on same-sex marriage in New York State have certainly shifted since 2004.

Republican politicians and Catholic Bishops have been leading the parade to ban same-sex marriage over the last decade.  But two recent surprises in New York State will most probably raise some eyebrows among these groups.

A recent survey of New York registered voters found that a solid majority (56%) now say they would support a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Support for such a law by New York Jewish Voters was 60% and New York Protestant voters was 46%. 

And the poll’s finding that a majority (52%) of New York Catholic voters support allowing same-sex couples to marry–now that was a surprise. 

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Acceptance of Gay Marriage

February 4th, 2011 by Admin

Acceptance of gay marriage is definitely on the rise.

Over 20 years ago, pollsters started asking Americans about gay marriage.  That was back in 1988 when more than 70 percent of the people polled were opposed to gay marriage, and around 10 percent were in favor of it. Well here it is just two decades later and over 40 percent of those surveyed supported gay marriage.

So what’s going on?  For one thing gay rights groups and other activists have been increasingly more organized and vocal about calling for full equity in marriage. For another society has become more secular and secular arguments against same-sex marriage haven’t proved to be very persuasive. Another reason is the generational reality.  People under 30 like Barbara Bush, the Republican daughter of George W. Bush said this week, “Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.”

So it seems it’s not just Democratic opinions that are evolving.

Another case in point is Tom Rielly, a Catholic Democrat from Oskaloosa, Iowa who recently said, “I believe marriage is a one-man, one-woman, one-time proposition. But I’m not going to use that as a test to deny someone their civil rights. For the life of me, I don’t understand how anybody can say, ‘This couple over here, you can enter into a civil contract to get health insurance, tax status, pension benefits, survivor benefits, end-of-life care. But you over here, because you’re gay, you can’t do that.”

“How is that not discriminatory?” Rielly asked.  A good question.  

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It Gets Better

December 23rd, 2010 by Admin

It’s the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell–the biggest civil rights victory in years!   This Watershed moment is an example of a changing America, an America living up to our highest ideals of equality and fairness. But a changing America will give rise to some people’s fears and fears are often met with prejudice.But it will get better! Click on this link to listen to President Obama and gay White House Staff members:http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/20/white-house-staff-it-gets-better

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Does Reparative Therapy Work?

September 16th, 2010 by Admin

This was in response to an article that appeared in The Heritage in Orlando Florida.

I recently read Steve Lipman’s article in the Heritage; Controversy Stirs Over Therapy for ‘Curing’ Homosexuals, that tells of the goings on at the AOJS  (Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists) annual conference in Connecticut.  The AOJS gave Arthur Goldberg, director of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), a “reparative therapy” organization for gay Jews, permission to speak at their annual conference after a telephone conversation where Goldberg cited supportive biblical verses.      

I couldn’t help but wonder if there are any members of our community who are gay and considering “reparative therapy.” If you are, you should know that “reparative” or “conversion therapy” is soundly rejected by virtually every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America.  My advice:  Save your money. It doesn’t work. 

While it was encouraging to know that AOJS is showing an interest in the subject of homosexuality, from the article it is apparent that there was a lack of knowledge about JONAH, Arthur Abba Goldberg, and  “reparative therapy.”

Goldberg’s credentials are questionable.  According to the Lipman article, Goldberg was disbarred in New Jersey and spent 18 months in prison in 1987 for investor fraud. Truthwinsout.org described him as a mini-Madoff for defrauding people out of millions of dollars.  A simple search on Google would have revealed a wealth of information about Goldberg and JONAH that the AOJS should have known about before allowing him to speak, and, as the Lipman article suggests, give Goldberg and his organization a step toward respectability.  As far as the value of “reparative therapy”, suffice it to say that The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, The National Association of Social Workers, and almost half a million mental health professionals have rejected and discredited “reparative therapy” programs.

“Reparative therapy” is not about teshuvah, as Goldberg would have people believe.  It is about trying to remake someone into something they are not, in order to “fix” them.   The trouble with that is I can’t help but wonder why anyone needs to repent or change his or her natural God-given sexual orientation in the first place. 

As a practicing psychotherapist for over 14 years specializing in gay and lesbian issues, one of the things I’ve learned is that we can change many things about ourselves—like the color of our hair, even the color of our eyes with contact lenses, and with plastic surgery we can change the shape of our nose.  But in my opinion, and in the opinion of the majority of psychotherapists what we cannot change is our sexual orientation.  That is part of our fundamental nature.  And that is what JONAH and other reparative therapy groups try to do. 

The reality is if someone is gay, he or she is gay. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change a bird into a fish because you don’t like the song it sings. You might teach a bird to swim, but eventually it will fly; that’s what birds do.

To purposely try to change someone who’s gay into someone who’s straight by attempting to change his or her natural sexual orientation is not only psychologically damaging, it’s downright Orwellian. 

Gay people do not need to be cured or changed. There is nothing wrong with being gay. Homosexuality is not the problem in our world today. 

Homophobia is—and it’s not a gay problem.  It’s society’s problem.

Enid Jackowitz is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice at the Center for Counseling & Consulting in Casselberry, Florida.  She is the author of, “The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children.”  www.restoftheway.com

 

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6,000 Floridians Want Their Money Back

August 3rd, 2010 by Admin

Bill McCollum, Florida’s Attorney General and Republican Gubernatorial hopeful would like us to believe he is open-minded when it comes to the gay community.  But his actions prove otherwise—to at least 6000 Floridians.  After top members of his staff warned against it, McCollum paid George Rekers, a notorious anti-gay activist  $120,000 of Florida’s tax dollars to testify in favor of Florida’s ban on gay adoption as an “expert” witness. Rekers, if you remember got caught traveling with a male “escort” from Rentboy.com.  When McCollum was unable to find anyone willing to testify in favor of the ban, top members of his staff advised him not to use Reker, but he ignored them—too bad. Not only did the Court consider Reker’s testimony not credible, it was found to be far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence.”

Thanks to Equality Florida, 6,000 Floridians sent messages to Bill McCollum telling him that he was wrong to use taxpayer dollars to uphold an archaic ban on gay adoption that doesn’t do anything to better the lives of Florida’s children.

Telling is good.  Showing is better.  Floridians can also show McCollum that his actions were wrong in the next election.   

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Google Puts Same-Sex Couples on an Even Footing

July 4th, 2010 by Admin

Thank you Google!  For providing equal rights to ALL your employees by equalizing the added tax gay people are required to pay in order to receive domestic partner health benefits. Under federal law, health benefits provided by employers for domestic partners are considered taxable income. It’s a tax that heterosexual married couples do not have to pay (heterosexuals have the option of avoiding the tax by getting married—gays do not have that option.)  The result of this unfair tax of domestic partner benefits is that gay employees must pay about $1069 more per year in taxes than married employees.  When a gay employee pointed out the disparity, Google looked at what they could do to put “same-sex couples on an even footing with heterosexual employees whose spouses and families receive health benefits.”  So Google agreed to reimburse their gay employees to make up for the difference in the unfair tax.  

Now Focus on the Family is saying that rather than leveling the playing field, Google is giving their gay employees special treatment.   Focus certainly seems to spend a lot of their time trying to insure that gay people are treated like second-class citizens. If Focus would spend more time putting their own house in order instead of constantly scapegoating gays we would all be better off. If anyone has a gay agenda it’s Focus on the Family.  

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