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February 17, 2005

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Great post, Edward.

I read about this a couple of days ago and I literally could not believe it - I mean, I did believe it, this is the US under the Bush administration, after all - but I was sitting there going "I don't believe it..." in tones of real wonderment.

I mean, WTF was going through this man's head?

WTF was going through this man's head?

He most likely sincerley believes that God's love will cure homosexuals and that any validation of their identity makes that harder (my best guess). The fact that this disqualifies him from the position he holds IMO is another matter.

z

I don't know -- the Advocate link gives an explanation that doesn't sound so nefarious:

an agency project manager had suggested that the phrase sexual orientation would be more inclusive than the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender....Soon after, the Portland workshop presenters said they were asked by the resource center to remove the offending words. But they decided the words sexual orientation weren't specific enough, so they reluctantly went with vulnerable populations.


oops, the posting goblins are back.

Again, when are we gay people going to start refusing to pay taxes, we're certainly not represented, we're actually mis-represented at every turn by this ruling junta.

when are we gay people going to start refusing to pay taxes

Just as soon as you're willing to do without transportation, food, shelter, wages, and live with whatever prison sentence you get as a result of dodging federal income tax. It's nearly impossible to avoid paying taxes, unless you move overseas or become "undocumented".

Probably, there are better and more effective ways to effect change.

kenB, I'll admit the Advocate article is a bit unclear I'm not sure what conclusion you're drawing that's not "nefarious." First there was this:

Organizers say they were asked to remove the words by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

And for the part you quote, there's more

Mark Weber, the agency's communications director...explained that an agency project manager had suggested that the phrase sexual orientation would be more inclusive than the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. They passed on that suggestion to the Newton, Mass.-based Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which contracts with the agency to stage conferences. Soon after, the Portland workshop presenters said they were asked by the resource center to remove the offending words. But they decided the words sexual orientation weren't specific enough, so they reluctantly went with vulnerable populations.

So both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center found the words "gay" "lesbian" "bisexual" and "transgender" offensive. The most chartiable explanation for that is they felt those terms were not all-inclusive, but that's a stretch because those are the terms the community itself prefers and to suggest anyone not covered by those terms who might be "vunerable" would identify with the generic "sexual orientation" designation makes no sense at all. Unless the argument is that heterosexuals are vunerable for suicide because of their majority status.

Probably, there are better and more effective ways to effect change.

Recommendations are welcome.

wilfred is expressing the same frustration gay Americans feel again and again. From the marriage issue to the military issue to the marginalization of our identities by government agencies, it feels as if we're not represented by our government, and taxation without representation is something Bush is supposedly working to wipe out around the globe. Freedom begins at home!

remove the offending words.

Is this how the agency termed it, or is this just the reporter's choice of phrasing?

Anyway, I agree that it's hard to see why "sexual orientation" is better than "GLBT", and it may very well be due to this guy considering some of those terms icky, but I think it's important to make clear that it was the presenters themselves who chose "vulnerable populations" over "sexual orientation". The agency wasn't trying to scrub it quite that much.

"Probably, there are better and more effective ways to effect change."

The "probably" is nice. I am listening, and open to suggestions. The Log Cabin Republicans and Andy Sullivan did not achieve a lot with this administration by making nice.

OTOH,Jeff Gannon, this, and many other actions lead to believe that homophobia most often is demonstrated in the Bush White House by a desire that gays remain closeted. I doubt that is a workable 1st step for the gay community.

I am listening, and open to suggestions.

Well, let me retract and rephrase, then: what you're going to accomplish with that approach is you in jail for tax evasion, or you living in a homeless shelter, neither of which is going to be all that conducive to effecting change.

I doubt that is a workable 1st step for the gay community.

Nor second, nor third, nor 100,000th.

but I think it's important to make clear that it was the presenters themselves who chose "vulnerable populations" over "sexual orientation".

That is how it seems. But without the exact wording, we're left guessing some important details here. I mean how was "sexual orientation" worked into the title? "Suicide Prevention Among Individuals with Vulnerable Sexual Orientations?"

Really, how that term is used can be equally offensive the other way.

Still, the presenters should not have been forced by the government to edit the original title. Period.

I revert to my original question, who found those terms offensive? And what the hell are they doing working in the public health realm?

I revert to my original question, who found those terms offensive?

Well, I'm still in Slartibartfastian Pause mode on this one, because I don't see a definitive statement that "offensiveness" was the issue. All I see is the one reporter's turn of phrase, which is commonly used metaphorically anyway.

I'll play along kenB.

How do you explain this:

Organizers say they were asked to remove the words by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

Why?

Count me in as one of those people who uses "offending" metaphorically in many instances when the item in question is not "offensive". Which is entirely separate from the question of why those terms were judged to be in need of replacement.

I'm not ready to pull the trigger on this one, but it does stink.

Why? I don't know, but even assuming that the official explanation is a coverup, there are probably possible explanations that fall short of Curie insisting that no one utter any of the GLBT words. Personally, that doesn't make much sense to me either, considering that this is simply one panel in one conference, outside of public view.

Although it probably doesn't help the agency's cause that another of the "suggestions" handed down was to have a session on "faith-based suicide prevention".

live with whatever prison sentence you get as a result of dodging federal income tax

it would be interesting to see them try and imprison 30-plus million of us.

There are thirty million gays in the United States? I've seen numbers that are much closer to half that, but even so...there are fifteen million gays in the U.S. willing to forgo their income and risk having their assets attached? I say, have at it, if you think it has a chance of working.

Edward, you on board with this?

Slarti, I will continue to pay my taxes as I like America and want to retain my rights, limited as they are, and not go to prison.

My point is there seems to be no other message to get across to non-gay Americans how infuriating it is to have your government marginalize you so continuously. It DOES feel like taxation without representation sometimes. Can't you appreciate that?

Is anyone else visualizing a replay of the Emerson/Thoreau exchange?

Slart: Edward, what are you doing in there?

Edward: Slart, what are you doing out there?

Edward: I think you're effecting change by being visible, openly gay, and someone whose posts it's just impossible for me to imagine many people reading without thinking: aw, this guy and his partner should just get married, it would be so wonderful; and then (if they haven't thought about it before): why, exactly would that be a threat to civilization as we know it?

Of course it's too slow. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to have actually found the man of my dreams and not be able to marry him just because of idiocy; or have the government try not to refer to your sexual orientation by its actual name, and so on and so forth. But it is changing, and I am sure that you are helping it along, just by (as my mother would say) being yourself.

Let's accept the lower estimate of 15 million gays in America. Let's say just for fun that half of those decide to not pay taxes .. at any level of government.

Let's say I'm heterosexual. In fact, let's confirm that. But let's say I decide to not pay taxes, too. Let's say I convince 15 million other liberal hetero Americans (even Jimmy Carter the traitor) to join me .. and the 15 million gays ..., demagogue that I am.

Let's say a bunch of tax-hating conservatives, looking for the main chance to destroy the true enemy, join us, just to be ideologically pure, setting aside the anti-gay rhetoric.

I don't think the prisons are big enough.

It could be interesting.

kenB: Although it probably doesn't help the agency's cause that another of the "suggestions" handed down was to have a session on "faith-based suicide prevention".

Actually, I can see how that could work. My first girlfriend broke up with me because her roommate at college was a fundamentalist Christian. (I was 17, she was 18.) While m.f.g wasn't particularly "out" about being a lesbian, she was not making any secret of the fact that whenever I called up she was happy/joyful... and her roommate figured it out, tasked her with it, and then - as near as I can figure out - got a preacher friend of hers to come in and convince m.f.g that she was going to go to hell if she didn't break up with me and repent her sins. And I mean we're talking brainwashing here - a systematic campaign that m.f.g. could not get away from. It didn't occur to her to complain to the college authorities and ask to be transferred - for one thing, she was afraid that the whole thing would come out, her relationship with me and all, and that this would put paid to her ambitions to be a teacher (this was 20 years ago, and it might have).

So she was convinced, and she broke up with me. And a year later we got back in touch, and I discovered that after breaking up with me, she'd become depressed, dropped out, and - fortunately - encountered a different kind of Christian minister, who sat down with her and talked her through the various texts she'd had quoted at her. He managed to convince her that no, God didn't hate her for loving me, and that feeling attracted to women was not a sin: he reversed the brainwashing that the bullies she'd met at college had tried to instill. I'll always be grateful to that man: he may have saved m.f.g's life.

So, I can see faith-based suicide prevention. Hire enough religious people with confidence enough in their faith to explain to young LGBT people reared by those who use their faith as an excuse for homophobia, that no, there is nothing in the Bible that says God hates them: any Christian who says there is, is lying or misinformed.

But I somehow doubt that this is what Curie had in mind.

That happened in England? I thought you guys didn't have fundamentalists like we do. Or did you go to college in the US?

Yes, it happened in England. We don't have as many of them and they're not as powerful; my first girlfriend was unfortunate enough to attend a teacher training college where they were rife.

Jes
You need to rethink that abbreviation for 'my first girlfriend' ;^)

I'm sure I'm going to regret asking, but ...why?

(It's not an abbreviation I regularly use: I just avoid using people's names and "my first girlfriend" got too long to type pretty fast.)

Maybe it's just me, but I think that anything that abbreviates MF gives you a prime American curse word implying an incestual relationship with your mother, though this could equally be a reflection on me...

Can't you appreciate that?

Of course I can, Edward. I just question the wisdom of a tax boycott, and the strength of will to pull it off. If you can make it work, Godspeed. But know that avoiding taxes is extremely difficult, because taxes are embedded in practically everything you use.

Edward: I think you're effecting change by being visible, openly gay

Actually, hilzoy, I was going to suggest that Edward was effecting change by writing compellingly and cogently about the issues faced by gays, but it's hard to tell just how much of an impact that's having. I know he's changed my thinking quite a bit, so as far as I'm concerned the impact is quite large.

I thought you guys didn't have fundamentalists like we do.

Heh. Where do you think many of our fundamentalists came from, way back? The Puritans were about as fundamental as it's possible to get.

I guess I thought they'd all come here.

I wish they had.

But I think they breed.

Quite a number stayed in the Netherlands, so there might be hope even for puritans ;-)

I agree with Edward's post, but would like to add another simple point: the title should describe what the workshop is about.

"Suicide Prevention in Vulnerable Populations" doesn't tell someone who might attend what it's about. You could just as well call it "Suicide Prevention." After all, presumably the thing the population in question is vulnerable to is suicide (and that also describes populations besides GLBT). You don't worry about preventing suicide in populations that are not vulnerable to it.

So, leaving all else aside, a more descriptive title would make the workshop more useful, since it would then be clearer who might profit from attending.

Mr. Curie 'profess' to be a Christian? As head of Pennsylvania's State Hospitals he closed all but three down from fourteen! Where are the "cured" patients now? Pennsylvania has the highest incarceration rate for the Chronically Mentally Ill 22% in State Prisons alone no numbers from County Prisons. What would Jesus say to Mr. Curie about this achievement? Oh his awards for the use of restraints, that was a State Law that limited there use not Mr. Curie. Anyone who "uses" a faith to increase the political power is not a Christian!

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