Will One Distract From The Other?

Not only did the Hobbit Troll refuse to back down from his royal Twitter decree that trans folks will no longer be allowed to serve in the military, this afternoon he formalized the discrimination by signing a directive barring them from joining the armed forces forthwith. However,

[It] gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wide discretion in determining whether those already in the armed forces can continue to serve.

The criteria Mattis will use to determine a trans individual’s worth is unclear. What is clear: however one may feel about militarism, the exclusionary policy is a shocking blow to LGBTIQ rights in America. It’s a situation that requires a focused and immediate response from The Resistance.

Which is why almost immediately after the news broke, Trump pardoned that lifelike facsimile of a human being, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

President Trump on Friday pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff whose aggressive efforts to hunt down and detain undocumented immigrants made him a national symbol of the divisive politics of immigration and earned him a criminal contempt conviction.

In a two-paragraph statement, the White House said that with Mr. Arpaio’s years of “admirable service to our nation, he is worthy candidate for a presidential pardon.”

The effect of the pardon is twofold. Opponents of Trump are forced to figure out where to pool their resources. Do they direct their outrage to the directive, the pardon or both? Will railing against one steal oxygen from the other? Will stridently objecting to the directive and the pardon mute their impact on both issues?

And of course, both actions are gift-wrapped presents for the president’s “deplorable” base. Since they’re the only ones who seem to want to keep that awful boor around, when they’re happy, he’s happy.

Why Trump Gotta Be Hatin’ on Trans Folks?

Much to the shock and horror of the trans community, the current administration made the shitty-as-fuck announcement that trans men and women are now banned from military service.  President Strange-Cross-Between-A-Troll-from-the-Animated-Hobbit-Film-and-a-Disguise-a-Wayans-Brother-Might-Wear-in-a-Movie literally tweeted that the U.S. Government “…will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

What year is this?  What in the tragic foreshadowing fucking year is this?

His major reason for the decision was the cost of medically supporting these individuals.  In his ambush of tweets this morning he said that the military needed to focus more on winning that be “burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The Lord of Oranges is modeling both a full re-enactment of the prologue of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and a sentence containing his favorite word.  I’d wager that there was never a time in the history of the United States when its people weren’t more self-conscious of the word “tremendous.”

Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project said, “The thousands of transgender service members serving on the front lines for this country deserve better than a commander in chief who rejects their basic humanity.”

It also bears pointing out that “total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to $84 million annually” while “typical health care costs for gender transition-related medical treatment… would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.”

While it’s clear that the current administration is busy with dealing with the many consequences of their actions (one of them possibly being a big consequence that rhymes with “Scriminal Dinvestigation”), they may not be prepared for the backlash of opposition on this issue.  LGBT groups have been uniting in protest since January, and as long as groups have the constitutional right to an assembly, there will be some heavy assemblage on this issue as well.  It’s a date, Hobbit Troll.

LGBTs for Trump Not Really Feeling All These Marches

This past weekend saw numerous marches across the country.  During Pride Month, the multi-faceted face of the LGBT community and their allies has come out in droves to spread a message of strength and a declaration of unity.

The marches – not all pride weekend parades – sent a message to the current administration on its first year:  Don’t bother coming for us, because already see what you are doing, and we’re not in the mood to be messed with this time around.

Some members of the LGBT community have a problem with the marches: specifically, the members that support that 45 guy.  They love the rainbow, but don’t love its seeming partisanship.

As an LGBT 45-Noper that has a platform that may or may not only be read by my family and close friends (Also my husband as soon as he returns from catching that Ampharos) let me acknowledge that Republicanism is not bad.  Conservatism is not bad.  However, that’s not what the marches were protesting.

The LGBT community was letting the world know that we see the actions of the administration.  We marched to oppose the administration because its views don’t line up with ours, not because they were the wrong party.  We were calling out to the world that we would be ready to defend ourselves and all members of the community if the need arose, and as they are arising.

When my husband and I were marching this weekend with that amazing crowd, the energy wasn’t hateful.  It was formidable.  We’re here, we’re queer, and other stuff!

US Stammers Regarding Chechnya While Lithuania Slays

The gay and bisexual men that are seeking refuge from the atrocities of the Chechen gay purge are finally starting to see some support from the world.

The US had the chance to be the hero and grant visas to the fleeing men, but left them in the cold like that one munchkin in the Wizard of Oz that wouldn’t let Dorothy in to see the wizard, because nobody gets into the US, not nobody not no how.

The nation of Lithuania granted visas to two of the refugees, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia no less.  Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, winner of the Most Awesome Name contest that I just made up, made the announcement himself and called on other European nations to do the same.

Linkevicious tweeted:

Today is zero-tolerance day against hatred, fear, discrimination of all forms of sexuality. Denying reality is not an option |

After which, at least in my mind, he punctuated his tweet with a fab Tongue Pop.

Camps in Chechnya

Concentration camps are real.  Like, REAL real.  And happening right now.  Like, RIGHT NOW right now.

Normally I would try to throw in some jokes to gussy up a story involving members of the LGBT community losing their rights or being threatened.  There’s no joke in this.  There is no way I can use humor to ease the situation.

If you haven’t heard the latest on Chechynya’s gay concentration camp, know that the stories are pretty horrific.  100 gay men were rounded up purge style and held prisoner in camps.

Razman Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, is thought to have given the order to have these men carted off, although he denies the accusation, claiming that he’d never give an order to purge gays from Chechnya because Chechnya doesn’t have any gays.

Alvi Karimov, Kadyrov’s spokesperson, also denied the camps, saying,  “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.  If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

Fucking bone-chilling, man.

The men face various forms of torture.  Accounts say they are detained in the same crowded room.  They are beaten.  Their hands are electrocuted.  One account even mentioned being forced to sit on bottles.  Some of the men are confirmed dead, or feared to be.

Earlier today a protest was organized at the Russian Embassy in London to combat the existence of the camps and to call on it’s leaders to do something.

Tanya Lokshina from Human Right Watch in Moscow posted an in depth article about the horrific events.

‘It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya,” She says, “Where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour.’

Happy Trans Day of Visibility

The transgender community has made some progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go.  As wonderful as it is to have a day of visibility, knowing that there is a day of the year where all the trans community is asking for is to be seen should be a sign of how much further we all have to go.

Visibility is indeed growing, but the danger of simply existing and being trans at the same time is still very real.  The data might have updated recently, but as of ten years ago the average time between a trans murder was three days.

Laverne Cox, arguably the most visible trans person that isn’t related to a certain “E!” family, has done many interviews and appearances as she’s become more successful.  And as trans rights and visibility grows she makes more appearances in support of her brothers and sisters.  But more than once during an interview she’s basically had to ask either her interviewer or a rival interviewee to stop talking about trans sexy bits.

We’re not there yet, but there is some progress in visibility.  Alex Newell was Unique on Glee.  The aforementioned Cox is both Sophia Burset  on Orange is the New Black and Cameron Wirth in Doubt.  Jamie Clayton is Nomi Marks on Sense8.  There are also a handful of films that have a trans character, some even played by trans actors, so the progress is happening.

To close on an optimistic note I’d like to share a video that GLAAD put together over on their instragram.  “Visibility is a collective thing,” Says Jacob Tobia.  “We’ve gotta support each other.”