Connect with us


Georgia Activist: We’ve Been Hoping Those Who Once Criminalized Us Would See the Light – Why?



OP-ED: Guest Author Robbie Medwed Speaks Out on Georgia, North Carolina Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

The anti-LGBT backlash from last Summer’s Supreme Court decision has been widespread and stunning. It’s been almost too much to handle. If we’ve been handling it at all – and I’m becoming less and less convinced that we are – we’re doing so on a piecemeal basis; one chance victory here, one swift move there. There’s been no rhyme or reason for the victories we’ve won (read: catastrophes we’ve avoided) and there’s certainly been no coordinated strategy. And the losses we’ve faced have been devastating. Â

I wish I had the answer to what we should be doing. I just know that it can’t be this. Across the country, and even in my home state of Georgia, we’re putting our faith in a legislative system that has never been on our side. We’re hoping that a group of people who, in the past, came together to criminalize us over and over again will suddenly see the light and treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people with dignity and respect.

There are days I’m convinced we’re delusional. I’d be a fool to say we didn’t bring any of this upon ourselves. We were so consumed with marriage equality we ignored our trans and queer family and friends. We ignored the warning signs. Too many of us were convinced that once we were able to have the government endorse our unions our neighbors would see us as equals. We were so sure we’d be seen as the same as everyone else we missed all of the warning signs. Some of us still don’t see the problems – as long as they got theirs, why do they need to worry about who we’ve left behind?

The right was gearing up for the fight for years and we just didn’t want to admit it.Â

I don’t know what our strategy should be. I do know that we have to stop being afraid of claiming our faith, for one. For too long this has been an argument portrayed as sinners versus saints, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just like the non-LGBT population, many of us go to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and any other number of houses of worship. There are proud and robust LGBT-inclusive faith traditions across the country. We cannot allow the Fundamentalist Right to continue to monopolize and declare what counts as a valid expression of religion.

I know that we also have to stop being afraid to talk about bathrooms and the bullshit lies the Right is peddling. Across the country we’ve been allowing them to get away with spewing myths and falsehoods that have been debunked over and over. Their fears are simply unfounded. Trans people ARE NOT PREDATORS and we should be dragging anyone who dares say so. These laws exist in hundreds of municipalities and none of the horror stories has ever been recorded as actually having happened. They’re playing on fear and distrust, nothing more. Why are we letting them?Â

Time and time again these past few months – and especially this past week in North Carolina – we’ve heard the assertion that people will be able to choose which bathroom to go into without discretion, and not once in their special legislative session did anyone correct it. None of the allied legislators and none of those who testified corrected the record. It was such an easy hit – but we let it fly by.Â

When we play by their rules we will always lose. When we let them create our narratives and claim ownership of all that is Good and Right in the world we allow them to win before the game has even started. This has to stop.Â

We won the first round by coming out. We introduced ourselves and we told our stories. When the technical arguments lost we turned to the emotional. Love is love. It’s time to do it again. We have to come out. Again.Â

If it’s safe for you to do so, you have to be open and honest with everyone you know. Tell them how these laws affect you. It’s more than just saying you’re gay or bi or trans. It’s speaking out against dangerous policies – even when they affect someone from another letter in our alphabet. If it’s not safe for you to be out and loud, tell them how these special legislative sessions are offensive and wrong and hurt people that you love. Tell them you’re (we’re) not going away.

We’ll never win over every heart, but oh, what a difference we could make. It’s so much harder to hate us when they know us. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want us to change to make them happy. Not at all. In fact, I want us to get louder. More queer. More fabulous. More butch. More boring. More wild. More camp. More vanilla. More of ourselves, whatever we are. More unwilling to put up with their bullshit.

We have to get louder. We have to stop being afraid. We have to fight back however we can. We’ve done it time and time again. I know we’re tired. I know we’re depressed and it’s becoming harder and harder to keep fighting. But we have to. Without exaggeration, our lives are depending on it.Â


Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist. Follow him on twitter at @rjmedwed


The New Civil Rights Movement from time to time publishes op-eds and personal stories, like this, to share views and experiences of our diverse community. 


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Op-Ed: Think Twice Before Attacking Pelosi



The idea that President Trump should be impeached is appealing to many. After all, he is a scumbag with zero ethics who doesn’t know the meaning of the word integrity. He has lied to the American people and is hurting our country and making the world a more dangerous place. So, yes, let’s move to impeach seems to be a rational thing to say.

But impeachment is more than finding the votes in the House of Representatives to pass articles of impeachment. That has been done twice before in our history. The House has voted articles of impeachment for two previous presidents: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. I believe the House could do it again for Trump. But let us not forget in those previous cases the Senate refused to convict and acquitted them both and they continued to serve as president.

In the wake of the House voting to approve two articles of impeachment for Clinton his approval rating in polls went up by 10 percent. So there is a political reason to consider if voting to impeach Trump would do the same for him. Would the public at large, not just Democrats, feel Trump’s crimes are much more serious or would impeachment generate feelings among a large bloc of voters that Congress is only acting for political reasons.

Continue reading the full op-ed at The Washington Blade.

Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here

NCRM from time to time publishes op-eds reflecting the wide diversity of our community’s views and beliefs. They do not necessarily reflect NCRM’s positions.

Continue Reading


Democrats, This Is Why We Need Nancy Pelosi



Democrats Continuing to Fight Pelosi Are Doing the Work of the Republican Party

To all those Democrats who are still opposing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, it’s time to wake up. This is not the time to toss overboard the person who has the experience and skills to hold the new Democratic coalition together. 

Some newly elected progressive Democrats like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez originally suggested Nancy Pelosi isn’t progressive enough for them. She now has changed her position and endorsed her, obviously realizing Republicans have been attacking Leader Pelosi for years as a “San Francisco liberal,” too progressive for the country. 

Democrats like Rep. Seth Moulton, leading the charge to get rid of Pelosi, have a lot to learn. At a recent town hall the women of his district tried to educate him and pushed back.

A new class of Democrats got elected, and now they need to learn how to pass legislation. Pelosi, a recognized environmentalist, supporter of the rights of minorities, women and the LGBTQ+ community, can teach them how to do that. She understands the federal budget and the process needed to move legislation through the House even in tough times, and is rightfully credited with corralling the votes needed to pass the Affordable Care Act. She is a master strategist and fundraiser. Many of the candidates who now oppose her won their races with money she helped raise.

Recently Pelosi spoke at the Institute for Politics at the Kennedy School at Harvard. Those who oppose her should listen to what she said.

She “ticked off a legislative to-do list including lowering health care costs, spearheading a national infrastructure plan and pushing for changes to campaign finance laws,” and she talked about introducing gun control legislation.

“The California Democrat said she wasn’t worried about Democrats campaigning for the House in part by opposing her as speaker, telling candidates: ‘Do whatever you have to do, just win, baby.'”

Pelosi needs 218 votes in the House to be elected Speaker. There will be 234 or 235 Democrats in the House on January 3, 2019, so Pelosi can afford to lose the votes of a few. Sixteen Democrats recently signed a letter to oppose her and one, Brian Higgins (D-NY) has already changed his mind and endorsed her. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who considered opposing her has now endorsed her.  

Pelosi is proving the master strategist and will secure the needed votes. She has been endorsed by most progressive groups and the most respected Democrat in the country, President Barack Obama. He said of her, “I think Nancy Pelosi, when the history is written, will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country’s ever seen.”

He added, “Nancy is not always the best on a cable show or with a quick soundbite or what have you, but her skill, tenacity, toughness, vision, is remarkable. Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done, I think, stands up against any person that I’ve observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime. What’s most important are the ‘nuts and bolts’ of governance; the blocking and tackling involved in actually getting things across the finish line and my experience has been that Nancy Pelosi knows how to do that, and she was an extraordinary partner for me throughout my presidency.” 

Democrats continuing to fight Pelosi are doing the work of the Republican Party.

The infighting will hurt the ability of Democrats to move forward a coordinated agenda. They might also keep in mind when Pelosi wins and she will, she appoints committee chairs, controls committee assignments, and decides what bills come to the floor. 

Democrats need to bring a new generation into leadership positions and Pelosi should have done that before. She can do it now by expanding the leadership. If Democrats take back the Senate and the White House in 2020 we can have this debate again. Now is not the time. 

Now Democrats must unite, not an easy task, as they have the most diverse caucus ever elected. Some districts elected progressives, others elected moderates. They will all need something to take back to their districts when they are up for reelection in 2020. The only person who can help them go home with what they need is Nancy Pelosi. She is a proven winner, a proven master of strategy. She knows how the House of Representatives works and is the master at bending it to her will – in this case to the will of Democrats across the nation.

Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here

Image via Wikimedia

Continue Reading


‘Rainbow Wave’ May Decide Florida Races



1.3 Million Florida Voters Saying Candidates’ Positions on LGBTQ Rights Are Important Are a Game-Changing Voting Bloc

At a time of renewed political attacks on LGBT Americans, the pro-equality vote — the ‘Rainbow Wave’ — may prove decisive in Florida’s midterm election.

Candidates ignore this growing voting bloc at their peril.

Equality Florida has invested deeply in connecting with voters for whom LGBT rights are the motivating issue.

We have identified 1.3 million voters in Florida for whom a candidate’s positions on marriage equality, gay and transgender workplace protections, and LGBT youth are definitive. We represent a game-changing voting bloc in a state where fewer than 65,000 votes decided the last two races for Governor.

This cycle, we’ve run our largest ever campaign to turn out pro-equality voters with mail and phone programs targeting hundreds of thousands of voters in support of more than 110 endorsed candidates, including Andrew Gillum.

There are so many reasons for LGBT people and our allies to vote: The Trump administration’s relentless attacks on the transgender community, businesses refusing to serve LGBT individuals, and Gov. Rick Scott’s broken promise to protect LGBT state workers after the massacre at Pulse Nightclub are all top of mind.

And in the race for Florida Governor, a longtime pro-LGBT champion, Mayor Gillum, faces Ron DeSantis a former congressman with one of the worst records on LGBT rights in the U.S. Congress.

For the past 12 months, Equality Florida Action PAC, the only statewide political committee working to elect pro-equality candidates at the state and local level, has been testing and fine-tuning our strategies. Through local and special elections, we’ve proven that pro-equality voters can shift the electoral landscape and provide the margin of difference.

No clearer example of this can be found than this year’s primary election in Florida Senate District 38.

Embattled anti-equality incumbent Sen. Daphne Campbell faced off against political newcomer Jason Pizzo. Equality Florida Action PAC committed $25,000 and the full force of our political apparatus to elect Pizzo. We turned out volunteers to knock on doors, funded mail pieces contrasting the candidates’ positions on LGBT issues, and ran digital ads supporting our endorsed champion.

Campbell’s anti-LGBT record became a defining, headline-grabbing issue in the lead up to primary Election Day, including a memorable moment during a televised debate where while clutching a copy of our mailer she said: “The gays have their rights and I have mine.”

Pizzo won by 9 points.

Whether it’s the Senate District 38 primary, the 2018 St. Petersburg Mayor’s race, or the race for Governor of Florida, the battle for LGBT rights puts defining markers on the playing field.

Will we build a Florida of inclusion and prosperity or a Florida mired in the Trump era politics of division and exclusion? For a growing and bipartisan coalition of voters, a candidate’s positions on LGBT rights tells them all they need to know about which side of this divide a candidate stands on.

The days of using LGBT issues as a wedge are waning.

Failure to support basic LGBT protections is a liability. Some candidates, including DeSantis, try to have it both ways. They mute their public attacks, while voting to please the dwindling but fervent extremist base.

But the candidates who fully embrace equality are the ones thriving in this emerging electorate.

Gillum, who has been an unflinching advocate of equality for decades leads, unites and speaks to the values of equality and fairness, while DeSantis has no platform beyond slavish devotion to Trump. Even Donald Trump waved the rainbow flag and claimed support on LGBT issues during the campaign. Of course, it was one of many lies, but the political calculus that led him to lie proves the current place of LGBT equality in the electorate.

The rainbow wave of 2018 has been decades in the making. In the remaining days, we’ll work to unleash the power of the LGBT and pro-equality allies’ vote, to hold accountable elected leaders like DeSantis who place a target on us and our families, and to elect champions like Gillum who represent the future of Florida and the South.

Guest Author Nadine Smith is the executive director of Equality Florida/Equality Florida Institute.

This article has been reprinted with the author’s permission.

Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.