Sarasota County School Board has police usher trans alumnus out of school board meeting

As background to this, Nate Quinn is a Sarasota County public school graduate who has fought for trans rights in Sarasota public schools since he came out as trans in high school. Sarasota’s current policy is to deal with trans students on an individual case-by-case basis, with school principals and administrators deciding whether or not to let each individual trans student use the correct facilities and have their names and pronouns respected. Since the Sarasota County School Board has refused to develop a trans-inclusive policy to protect trans students, Nate created the Nate’s List campaign and has been regularly speaking at school board meetings for the last year. asking the board to meet the following three demands: Inclusive bathroom/locker room policies Add gender identity and expression to anti harassment policies Train staff and faculty on inclusion of trans identities This is some pretty basic stuff that’s important for kids to[…]

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Don’t forget how controversial MLK was

​There was a little old lady who came in to volunteer for the Hillary campaign in my town who told me the story of how her minister father was the one who invited Dr. King to St. Augustine. For his troubles, the Klan tried to frame him for murder, tried unsuccessfully to fire bomb the family home multiple times, and her mother ended up packing up herself and the younger kids and leaving St. Augustine for somewhere safer until things died down. The woman telling me the story decided to stay in St. Augustine with her father and spent months sleeping on the floor of her bedroom closet because it was the safest place if the Klan attacked. We talk about Martin Luther King Jr in terms of platitudes and pithy quotes, but the reality is that in his life he was so controversial that just inviting him to town[…]

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Bringing up God’s sovereignty is the ultimate cop out

God was sovereign in Nazi Germany. God was sovereign in Khmer Rouge Cambodia. God was sovereign in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Russia. God’s sovereignty does not absolve the Evangelical church of electing a man as president who promised to deport our Mexican brothers and sisters, who promised to lock up our Muslim neighbors, who chose as a vice president a man who wants to subject me and my LGBT friends to electroshock to electrocute the queer out of us. It’s crying peace, peace, when there is no peace. I finally understand why the German church stayed silent. Because of a theology of complicity with tyranny.

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Election Thoughts

I haven’t blogged lately because I’ve been too busy trying to win the election to write about it, but I wanted to share a few thoughts in advance of election day. I’ve been becoming increasingly frustrated with single issue anti-abortion voters who are either voting Trump or refusing to vote for Clinton because of abortion. When you declare that is the one and only issue you consider, you’re telling me that my life doesn’t matter to you. I’m not talking about my life in some sort of existential, quality of life sense, I’m talking about me not being dead. The rise of Donald Trump has unleashed violence against every marginalized group in this country. This didn’t make the news because the victim didn’t want to go public, but last Friday a man was gaybashed by Trump supporters in downtown Sarasota. They told him in a gay slur-laden rant that when[…]

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It was never about bathrooms, Exhibit A

I’m going to take a temporary hiatus from my personal rule of ignoring bigots in blog comments so they don’t get the attention they crave because there’s a comment on my “Get your own house in order” post that proves my point. No matter how much they may claim that it’s really about a fear of cis straight male predators, that’s pretty clearly not true. See, mamazee, my erstwhile commenter, left the following comment, completely ignoring my entire argument and insisting that yes, it is fear of predators taking advantage of non-discrimination laws to sneak in. And well, you can read it for yourself. All the trigger warnings after the cut, because your brain just might boil.   I am completely with you on the church having a problem with sexual abuse and how to deal with it – Boz Tchividian is doing God’s work on this issue, and i think[…]

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The moment Bernie Sanders lost the chance of my support. Or, how I learned to stop worrying and embrace Hillary Clinton

Going into Thursday’s Democratic debate I was undecided on who I was planning to vote for. I know a lot of people on both sides think it’s pretty cut and dried, but I’ve never seen it as a particularly simple decision. There are things I like about both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and there are things I dislike about both of them, and the decision about who to support involves weighing all the factors. I’ll support whoever ends up with the nomination in the end because either one of them is a better option than any of the Republican field, but for now I’m backing Hillary. I’m glad Bernie is in the race. I thought all along that he should run because we needed somebody in the race who was running to the left of Clinton. I like the idea of Bernie Sanders, socialist. This first head to head debate[…]

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George Takei was wrong about Clarence Thomas

For the record, George Takei’s comments about Clarence Thomas were racist, and, like most people on the left who have been complaining about Thomas’ “dignity” discussion in his Obergefell dissent, missed the point Thomas was making.  Clarence Thomas is a black man who grew up speaking the Gullah dialect in the Jim Crow south. He talks about watching his grandfather struggling to memorize long portions of the King James Bible so he could pass the literacy tests to vote. When Thomas writes about how dignity isn’t something that the government can give or take away, he’s speaking as someone who knows as well as anybody that if black folk in America were relying on the government as the source of dignity they’d be still waiting.  Now, where I disagree with Thomas is that I think that humans have inherent dignity, but that the government either does or doesn’t treat people in[…]

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A few thoughts on Pride

I’ve been thinking about pride parades and what they represent, and how I responded as a kid seeing clips of pride parades on TV, or when religious right figures railed against the imagined debauchery of it all. As a good child raised to be a foot soldier of the religious right, I was supposed to look at those pictures and video and see it as people parading their sins through the street as in Sodom. But at the same time, because I was raised to be a foot soldier for the religious right, I may not have understood the political or philosophical arguments, but I did understand activism. And so I instinctively understood the message of defiance–and back in the ‘80s and ’90s it was definitely a message of defiance, that you may hate us but we won’t be ashamed. It may have taken years after that for me to[…]

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Amazing Grace

How do you encapsulate a day like today? This day, when by some coincidence of fate or of providence, two moments in the long struggles to ensure that the ideals of freedom and equality upon which this nation was founded were available to all, just happened to converge. It does not seem right, somehow, to talk about today’s marriage equality ruling without talking about Charleston and President Obama’s eulogy of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, with all of the deep sadness mingled with a glint of promise that just maybe equality will advance once more. For the last seven years, through accident of history, the struggles of racial equality and LGBT equality have found themselves intertwined, the highs and lows in contrast with one another. In 2008 the country did what so many never dreamed possible and elected a black president, but that same night the joy was tempered by the[…]

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