Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Hard Pass on one Best Acting Academy Award (Ava and C.I.)

Hugh Jackman is only the latest in a series of performers who want the Academy Awards to gender neutral when it comes to acting awards.  THE LOS ANGLES TIMES also joined the cry recently.  Ourselves?  We live in the real world.

"Maybe if we think, and wish, and hope, and pray it might come true," sang The Beach Boys in "Wouldn't It Be Nice."  And maybe if we deluded ourselves we could go along with this nonsense.  Yes, nonsense is what it is.

Marcia and Rebecca have already weighed in and we agree with them.  Marcia has noted that when the category for rock vocal at The Grammys went from Best Male Rock Vocal and Best Female Rock Vocal to just Best Rock Vocal was last combined (2005 through 2011), there were seven winners.  All of them were male.  During those 7 years, there were 35 nominees -- 33 were male (only two were female, for those who struggle with math).  Rebecca has noted that the Best Actress category sparks genuine interest each year (something that's harder and harder for the Academy to do) and it the most followed race.

Those two reasons are reason enough for say "no."

And, please note, we're fine with nominees designating which category they will appear in -- Best Actor or Best Actress.  

We're not okay with women being overlooked.

And that is what will happen.  Marcia used the Grammys to make that point.  But we're making it for a different reason: actors and actresses are judged differently.

A woman has to really act, show a real range of emotions, in order to win the award.  Gwyneth Paltrow being the exception but she was "Harvey's girl" and we all know that's why she won her Best Actress award for that flimsy performance.  
The norm?

Look at 1951.  The nominees for Best Actress were Katharine Hepburn (THE AFRICAN QUEEN), Vivien Leigh (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE), Eleanor Parker (DETECTIVE STORY), Shelley Winters (A PLACE IN THE SUN) and Jane Wyman (THE BLUE VEIL).  Each an amazing performance.  The winner was Vivien Leigh who delivered a multi-faceted performance with a wide range of emotions.  That same year, the Best Actor nominees were Humphrey Bogart (THE AFRICAN QUEEN), Marlon Brando (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE), Montgomery Clift (A PLACE IN THE SUN), Arthur Kennedy (BRIGHT VICTORY) and Fredric March (DEATH OF A SALESMAN).  Brando gave the best performance, showed the greatest range in a nominated role that year.  The award went to . . . Humphrey Bogart.

Now we like Humphrey and think he was good in the role.  Good.  Not great.

But a woman has to express a range of emotions to win and a man has to suppress emotions to win.

It goes to what we value in men and women, to the gender stereotypes our society imposes. 

Merging the two categories into one without addressing this reality would be insane.  

A man can be stiff and wooden and walk off with the prize -- Gary Cooper for HIGH NOON, Charlton Heston (BEN HUR), Rex Harrison (MY FAIR LADY), Cliff Robertson (CHARLY), John Wayne (TRUE GRIT), etc.  A man can flatten his personality completely for a role but win a Best Actor Academy Award while a woman, take Jane Fonda in KLUTE, has to deliver an amazing and deeply felt performance in order to win.

Fonda?  Henry Fonda makes the point for us.  Take him or any other actor that shades their characterization and digs deep (Paul Newman, Marlon Brando being two others) and they have to be nominated multiple times before finally winning -- if they're lucky enough to ever win.  Spencer Tracey  was considered the finest actor in the industry for decades.  Was the for pretending he was romantically in love with Katharine Hepburn?  Or for all the men and rent boys he slept with (including John Derek)?  It wasn't for what he delivered onscreen -- competency.  Henry Fonda delivered a career of riveting performances and it wasn't until he was dying, and forty-one years after his first Academy Award nomination, that Henry finally won.  

Gary Cooper is the text book example of wooden.  But he was a big star so he got nominations and, in fact, won five years after his first nomination.  Pauline Kael famously observed, "Moviegoers like to believe that those thy have made stars are great actors.  People used to say that Gary Cooper was a fine actor -- probably because when they looked in his face they were ready to give him their power of attorney."

Cooper was a nothing in terms of acting when contrasted with Henry Fonda.  He was wooden and cumbersome.  But he made off with two Academy Awards for Best Actor when he didn't deserve even one.

Luise Rainer won two as well and some feel she was overrated.  She may have been.  But look at the other women who won at least two Best Actress Academy Awards and grasp how deep they had to dig and how much emotion they had to expose to get those two awards.  Jane Fonda, Bette Davis, Sally Field, Olivia de Havilland, Vivian Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Glenda Jackson, Jodie Foster, Hillary Swank, Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand and Katharine Hepburn. 

Elizabeth delivered a tour de force performance in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF? and won her second Academy Award.  Her co-star Richard Burton was nominated but didn't win.  In fact, he was nominated six times and never won once.  He wasn't a stone faced, wooden actor.  If he had been, he most likely would have taken home a statue.

Best Actor and Best Actress merged into one category?  What's next, merging the 100 meter, the 200 meter and the 400 meter races into one track event at the Olympics?

Because that's the same as ignoring that what's required for a man to win Best Actor is so much less than has ever been required for a woman to be Best Actress.

We don't live in a gender neutral world so it seems very puzzling to us that people want to take two different categories and merge them into one.  Not only to merge them, but also to pretend that men and women are judged by the same criteria for their acting awards. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Truest statement of the week

The rise of hate and violence aimed at the LGBTQIA community follows a surge of anti LGBTQ plus legislation driven by Republican state lawmakers including in my home state of Missouri.  The Human Rights Campaign has found that Republican state legislators have introduced and supported over 300 and forty -- 340! -- anti-queer and/or trans bills in the latest legislative session and 25 extreme discriminatory bills have already been signed into law across this country.  According to PROMO MISSOURI, in 2020, the Missouri State House introduced 23 pieces of anti-LGBT+ discrimination.  They've repeatedly -- this is absolutely disgusting -- filed library book bans, bans on doctor recommended care, student organization bans and sports bans.  



--  US House Rep Cori Bush at last week's House Oversight Committee hearing -- reported by Betty at her site.

A note to our readers

Hey -- 

Monday night. 

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,

Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with? 

US House Rep Cori Bush gets a truest.

We're focusing on an important hearing from last week -- in part because so many left outlets ignored it.

Good points from Ava and C.I.  As always.

This is a media piece.  C.I. announced Saturday night that they'd be doing something other than media for their piece here.  Some were really upset -- some readers.  Ava and C.I. decided to pull the important hearing into a piece noting again how important the film BROS is.

We highlight US House Rep Katie Porter from the hearing.

For the disgraced and embarrassing.

Ajamu Baraka gets another Tweet of the week.

Repost of Stan's review.

C.I. filled in for Kat and wrote about The Twitter Dumps.

Rebecca covers the season finale.

Elaine appears to be the only one who caught the crackpot.

Repost of Ann's review.

Repost of Kat's review.

Marcia takes on the stupid.

Press release from The House Oversight and Reform Committee.

What we listened to while writing this edition.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.









Editorial: Words and silences have consequences

Last week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by US House Rep Carolyn Maloney, held a hearing entitled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States."

While Democrats on the Committee could -- and did -- ask questions about this topic, Republicans on the Committee were too busy observing Florida's Don't Say Gay or Trans policy to participate in the actual hearing.  


As US House Rep David Cicilline observed:


I want to begin by reminding everyone here -- especially my Republican colleagues across the aisle -- what this hearing is about.  It's called "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States."  And despite this hearing title, colleagues on both sides of the aisle have obviously condemned the attack on Club Q and violence more broadly, it's obviously more telling that the Republicans on this Committee -- with one exception -- did not ask any questions about anti LGBTQI+ extremism and violence.  Instead, they've only wanted to talk about crime broadly or hate crimes against other communities.  I'm disappointed, yet not surprised that a few weeks after a killer murdered five people at an LGBTQI+ nightclub, Republicans on this Committee could not bring themselves to discuss anti-LGBTQI+ violence and its causes with our witnesses.  Our community is scared -- terrified that we'll be attacked going to the doctor, scared that we'll be attacked going to night clubs, scared that we'll be attacked for living as our authentic selves and, unfortunately, this fear is well grounded.  The attack at Club Q is only the latest high profile attack against our community.  In 2021, 20% of all reported hate crimes were motivated by hate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Let me repeat that: Despite the fact that LGBTQI+ people make up roughly 7% of the population, 20% -- or more than 1 in 5 reported hate crimes -- last year were motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity bias.  My colleagues want to talk about anything but this anti-LGBTQI+ violence and their rhetoric that has contributed to it.  This violence is impacting both LGBTQI+ individuals and their families.


 But they couldn't talk about it, members on the Republican side of the aisle. 


At one point, US House Rep Shontel Brown declared, "Political violence and hatred targeted at the LGBTQ community is completely unacceptable." 


We're sure many of you nodded as you read that remark.  It's not that controversial.  But it was too much for any Republican to say.


Comer insisted, "I condemn all violence."  But he never once, in this hearing on violence aimed at LGBTQ+ individuals, could go on the record condemning violence against LGBTQ+ members. 


"Words have consequences," observed Committee witness and Pulse Nightclub survivor Brandon Wolf.  And he's right, they do.  Silences have consequences as well.




 For hearing coverage, see Monday's "Iraq snapshot," Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and Friday's "Iraq snapshot," Ruth's "Allies are needed (House Oversight Committee)," Kat's "Respect for Marriage Act is only step one, more needed," "Cori Bush speaks some truth in Committee hearing," Trina's "LGBTQ youth need a safe nation (Dr. Jessie Pocock)," Mike's "Texas, come claim your idiot (House Oversight Committee)," Stan's "Shontel Brown, Chris Wallace, Wonder Woman" and Rebecca's "glenn greenwald wants to be the biggest bitch there is ."  

Those fake ass 'religious' litigants (Ava and C.I.)

Color us confused.

So many are claiming religious exemptions these days.  Now if you have a religious objection to a vaccine?  We understand that.  We think it should be respected.  If, like August Aguayo, you are a religious person in the US military and your religious beliefs grow and become stronger and you cite them as a reason not to deploy to Iraq, we understand that.  We understand many reasons you might opt out of certain things.

We don't understand this:

Two of Vivian Geraghty's students at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon, Ohio, were undergoing transition-related care and wanted people, including their teachers, to use their proper pronouns.

But Geraghty, a third-year English teacher, went to school administrators in August to report a problem. Her Christian beliefs prohibited her from using the transgender students’ pronouns or their new names, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

Again, we're confused.  Crackpots tend to confuse us.

Vivian Geraghty is stating that she can't use pronouns (that she doesn't agree with) or names (that she doesn't agree with) due to her religion?

What's her next excuse?  The dog ate her homework?

We ask because of Matthew 22: 15 - 22.

For those unfamiliar, it's a book, chapter and verse in THE BIBLE.

We'll assume Viv Geraghty is among those unfamiliar with it.

It's where Jesus talks about "render unto Caesar."

Remember that, Viv?

Seems to us this is a render unto Caeser moment if this is any kind of 'religious' moment at all.

The government is telling her to use pronouns the students prefer, she's being told to call them by their preferred names.  And Viv's pissing her panties and screaming like a mad woman.  Where, in the Bible, is she finding her religious belief?

More to the point, where is her common sense?  

If DANCING WITH THE STARS' Mark Ballas were in her class, what would Viv call him?  

Would she call him "Mark"?  Or would she insist upon calling him "Mark Jr."?  Because he is Mark Jr.  He doesn't go by it, but that is his name.  If Will Smith were in Viv's class, what would she call Will? His name isn't Will.  It's Willard Carroll Smith Jr.  Would she insist upon calling him "Willard"?  "Willard Jr."?  If Robert Redford were in Viv's class, what would she call him?  "Robert Jr."?  Or "Charles"?  Charles is his first name (full name Charles Robert Redford, Jr.).  And if Beau Biden had been in her class, would she have refused to call him Beau?  Joseph Robinette Biden III was Beau's legal name.


Our point here is that children are called preferred names every day in every US school and it's nothing new.

Has Viv stuck to their legal first names with her students?  If not, why is this suddenly a problem?

It's a problem, let's be honest, because Viv hates a certain group of people and wants to be a test case for the law.  Oh, Viv, you're so embarrassing.  We picture your God of choice, up in heaven, clucking his head and determining that this sort of behavior is exactly the reason he will banish you to hell.  You're trying to justify hate in His name but His son Jesus was very clear that you should ''Render unto Caeser the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Jesus' words are pretty clear, Viv.  Do we need to send you a copy of THE BIBLE?  We feel like we need to start a list for Viv and all the others -- like Lorie Smith -- who seem to think that Jesus' edict doesn't exist.  It's right there on the printed page, Viv.  You do know how to read, right?

Viv insists that she detailed her religious objection (she didn't and still hasn't, render unto Caeser nullifies any religious objection she might have thought she had) and then was "forced to resign."  At gunpoint, Viv?

We can't wait for Candice Cameron Bure to portray Viv in GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA's made-for-TV movie THEY FORCED ME TO CALL HER ALEX AND HIM DREW!!!  WHAT WAS I TO DO!!! THE STORY OF CRAZY VIV.

Viv also claims that she was ejected from the school "within two hours" of detailing her objection.

Which was it, Viv, forced to resign or tossed out on your ass?  As a Christian, Viv, you are aware that you're not supposed to lie, right?  It's in The Ten Commandments: "Thou shall not bear false witness against they neighbor."

Viv, do you struggle with comprehension issues?

Her attorneys maintain that the school insisted "she would be required to put her beliefs aside as a public servant."  But her religion dictates that: Render unto Caeser.

In the legal paperwork, Viv's cracked in the head attorneys cite the Constitution (wrongly) but we looked through the paperwork in vain to find her religious argument.

That's because there actually isn't one.  There's nothing in THE BIBLE that backs Viv up.  She climbed out on a limb and, in a sane world, we'd all hear it cracking at this point.  

The Constitution, Viv's attorneys insist, guarantees "a freedom to differ."  Not really.  They're extrapolating.  That's a fancy term for lying and lawyers do it all the time when they can't actually build on precedent.  

They insist of the people Viv is suing:

Defendants have abandoned this guiding light [Ava and C.I. note: "the right to differ" -- apparently a new amendment to The Constitution] and adopted one particular view on this subject, that a person's subjective identity determines whether a person is male or female, not a person's sex.  Compounding their unlawful adoption of an orthodoxy in this area, they have created and implemented a Policy requiring teachers, including Plantiff Vivian Geraghty, to mount her own support of Defendant's views by forcing her, as a condition of keeping her job as a public school teacher, to participate in the "social transition" of children in her class.  
Ms. Geraghty has a different view of this fundamental matter, informed by her scientific understanding and her Christian faith.  

So which is it?  She citing religious reasons or "her scientific understanding" -- because we're willing to be she's even weaker on science than she is on religion.
And, to be really honest, Viv never knows the gender of her students.  She knows what she's told.  But she's not groping their crotches so she's really got no idea who is male, who is female, who is non-binary, etc.  
She really needs to get a grip.
And the courts need to stop taking these claims of I disagree for "religious reasons" when there are no religious reasons to disagree.  But there is Freedom of Religion which is why the nutjobs resort to lying about "religious reasons" -- it gives them something to pretend they're standing for and usually it intimidates courts.
From now on, the courts need to be demanding that those claiming "religious reasons" state what those reasons are and that those reasons are then examined to find out whether or not they really exist.  If Jesus told you that the government decides what the government decides and you do in the church what you do in the church, there's no 'religious objection' for the Christian faith in Viv's case.

BROS (Ava and C.I.)

BROS is one of the best films of 2022 -- for us, in fact, it is the best film.


Bobby (Billy Eichner) and Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) are two people that fall in love despite many obstacles in this romantic comedy from director Nicholas Stoller.  It's a magical film and we'd be thrilled to be either Bobby or Aaron in this relationship.  It's fresh, it's sweet and it's really beautiful.

We hope it gets some attention from the Academy Awards.  A best screenplay nomination for Billy and Nicholas is a nomination that's been more than earned.  

What's written works on the screen but it also works in terms of people's lives.  We were reminded of that with last week's hearing from The House Oversight and Reform Committee exploring the rise in violence against the LGBTQ+ community.  Time and again, issues the film raised popped up in the hearing.  

If you haven't seen BROS, it's now on DVD and Blu Ray and is streaming as well.  Streaming can be rented or purchased from many services including AMAZON, YOUTUBE TV and VUDU and, if you're a PEACOCK subscriber, you can stream it on PEACOCK for free.

In the film, Bobby has dinner with Aaron's family and Aaron's mother Anne (played wonderfully by Amanda Bearse) does not believe her students should be taught about any gay ancestors or any gay history.  They're just too young, she insists.  Too young to know that some men like men and some women like women?  They have classmates with gay parents.  What are you trying to protect them from?

No one's asking you to explain sex to second graders.  But you do explain couplings -- at least if it's a straight couple.  Why can't you note the same-sex coupling as well?

We were reminded of that in the hearing when Pulse Nightclub survivor Brandon Wolf was being lectured to by US House Rep Byron Donalds.  Byron isn't just a member of the House, he's also a noted criminal.  1997 saw him busted for distributing pot and, three years later, "he pleaded guilty to a felony bribery charge as part of a scheme to defraud a bank."  Donald may still have access to pot -- that would explain why he's declared his purpose to be fighting in the US against Socialism.  Or why he's an election denier who objected to Arizona and Pennsylvania's electors being certified.  In the hearing, pro-Don't Say Gay Donalds, tried to railroad Brandon Wolf.

Didn't he asked, looking for a fight, parents have rights with regards to their children's education.  Yes, they did.  Brandon didn't disagree.  He thought the school and education benefited.  Puzzled, Byron Douglas then tried to call out Brandon because superintendents of schools have rights too!!!

Brandon never said that they didn't.  But children have rights to.  And children in schools do include gay children, yes, children that young can already know they're gay.  While straight kids get affirmed, the others suffer.  They're not represented.  They have no idea what they can be.

And that's a point Bobby makes to Aaron's mother.  If he'd been exposed to possibilities earlier in life, he might not hate his life right now.


Inside Out Youth Services' Dr Jessie Pocock noted in the hearing:

It is not okay that we expect more maturity and compassion from our youth than the public servants entrusted with their care.  Daily, our staff sit with youth experiencing suicidal thoughts who are impacted by these types of harmful and inaccurate messages. It is not the fact these youths are LGBTQ that puts them at risk.  It's the way our culture views them. Their mental health is impacted when politicians legislate away their rights, when they witness unmitigated hate speech on social media.  This is not normal.  This is not okay.  These are kids.


And they need real protection which isn't ignorance, it's awareness.  They need to know that they are natural and normal and nothing is wrong with them.  

In the film, when Anne realizes the harm that's been inflicted on her son, she comes around to the need for teaching gay history. 

Bobby also takes on the efforts to erase LGBTQ+ individuals.  That's why he's a curator for the country's first LGBTQ+ museum.  


And the Committee members worked overtime to erase all LGBTQ+ individuals.  They did it over and over throughout the hearing.

We've knocked Byron Douglas but, in fairness to him, he's the only one who could say LGBTQ+ -- the only one on the Republican side.


The others -- in a hearing entitled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States" -- avoided the term.  Over and over.  They erased over and over.


Take Ranking Member James Comer who served up an opening statement that was over 640 words long but never included LGBTQ+.  He did include attacks on African-Americans, Asian communities, Jewish communities, Christian communities, churches, pro-life institution, all races and ethnicities but never managed to say LGBTQ+.


Erasing was happening right there in the hearing. 

An important moment in the film is when Bobby discusses how he's had to struggle and how he's had to endure people trying to shame him over who he is.


 Comer reminded us of that as well -- when Club Q survivor Michael Anderson declared:

To my fellow LGBTQ community, events like this are designed to discourage us from speaking and living our truth.  They are designed to scare us from living openly, courageously and proudly.  We must not succumb to fear, we must live prouder and louder than ever before.  We must continue to be who we are, for who we are is exactly who we are meant to be.  And to the children watching this, feeling you may not be like other kids:  I understand you and I see you.  You deserve to be exactly who you are, no matter what anyone has to say.  In the words of my personal gay icon Christina Aguilera, you are beautiful no matter what they say.  Words can't bring you down, so don't let them bring you down today.

 The look on Comer's face was that of someone attempting not to roll their eyes.  

It was just too much for Comer.

And BROS was too much for some audiences.  Because it's real.  It's funny.  It's hilarious.  And it takes shots at everyone, it's not 'woke' humor (whatever that is).  But it's also incredibly real.  And it could sure use some love for what it accomplished.  It's rightly been nominated for Best Comedy by the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and the Hollywood Critics Association Award.  It's also won a Hollywood Music in Media Award for "Love Is Not Love" (written by Billy).

If you've got the time, stream BROS -- make the time in fact.  It's hilarious and it actually has something to say about the world we're living in right now.



Congressional exchange


 Last week, The House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the rise in violence aimed at LGBTQ+ members.  US House Rep Katie Porter in the exchange below is speaking to the second panel made up of Human Rights Campaign's Kelley Robinson, Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Brandon Wolf, National Center for Transgender Equality's Oliva Hunt, Inside Out Youth Services' Jessie Pocock and The Williams Institute's Ilan Meyer.


US House Rep Katie Porter: I wanted to start with Ms. Robinson, if I could.  Your organization recently released a report analyzing the five hundred most viewed, most influential Tweets that identified LGBTQ people as so called "groomers."  The groomer narrative is an age old lie to position LGBTQ+ people as a threat to kids and what it does is to deny them access to public spaces and it stokes fear and it even stokes violence.  Ms. Robinson, according to its own hateful content policy does Twitter allow posts calling LGBTQ people "groomers"?

Kelley Robinson: No, I mean Twitter along with FACEBOOK and many others have community guidelines.  It's about holding users accountable and acknowledging that when we use phrases and words like "groomers" and "pedophiles" to describe people, individuals in our community that are mothers, that are fathers, that are teachers, that are doctors,  it is dangerous.  And it's got one purpose -- it's to dehumanize us and make us feel like we're not a part of this American society and it has real life consequences.  So we are calling on social media companies to uphold their community standards.  And we're also calling on any American that's seeing this play out to hold ourselves and our community members accountable.  We wouldn't accept this in our families, we wouldn't accept this in our schools.  There's no reason to accept it online. 

US House Rep Katie Porter: So I think you're absolutely right and it's not just this allegation of groomer and pedophile, it's alleging that a person is criminal somehow and engaged in criminal acts merely because of their identity, their sexual orientation, their gender identity.  So this is clearly prohibited under Twitter's content yet you found hundreds of these posts on the platform.  Your team filed complaints about these posts, correct?

Kelley Robinson: Yes.

US House Rep Katie Porter: And how often did Twitter act to take down these posts which violated its own content policy?

Kelley Robinson: Very rarely.  

US House Rep Katie Porter: So from our calculation, it looks like about 99% of your complaints.  They basically acted on one or two of the 100+ complaints you filed. Instead of taking them down, Twitter elevated them.  Allowing them to reach an approximate 72 million users.  This is not just about what happens online.  What happens online translates into real harm in people's lives.  Ms. Popcock, you provide services to a community that experienced the devastating LGBTQ attack.  Can you provide some examples of the link between speech online and the attacks against providers like you.  

Jesse Pocock: We know really, I mean, online threats, in addition to creating an atmosphere of bullying for young people, it also creates an atmosphere of delegitimizing our real professional trained work at INSIDE OUT YOUTH services.  And it is just so critically important that we can continue doing the work that we do.  But I want to tell just one quick story because it's beautiful.  We have an online community center and it is moderated by peer advisors and when asked how many issues of like fighting or contention do you deal with on the disport server our young people tell us "Well, it doesn't happen very often."  So I'm here to tell you that our young people have figured out how to moderate platforms in positive, productive ways?  Twitter, FACEBOOK, everybody else can figure it out too.  

US House Rep Katie Porter: Absolutely.  Ms. Robinson, your report notes that these radicalizing posts, these 'groomer' posts, these other posts that attack LGBTQ communities are related to acts in the real world -- what happens online is often reflective of what happens in the real world.  After Governor DeSantis of Florida passed his so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill, what trends did you observe online with regard to 'grooming' related discourse.  

Kelley Robinson: Unfortunately, we saw a 400% increase on Twitter of this sort of hateful language.  Particularly calling our community members groomers and pedophiles.  And we know that rather or not the bills move into effect, the lasting impact of that online bullying of defining our communities in that way, it sticks -- especially with our kids. 

US House Rep Katie Porter: My time has expired but I just want to say I'm proud today, I'm proud to stand with the gay community and I'm proud that you're all here as part of our country and giving us testimony.  I yield back, Madam Chair.







The Aunty GiGi Awards

Last week, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the violence aimed at members of the LGBTQ+ community.  While Democrats addressed the issues, Republicans did not.  They had a real problem with the 21st century.

They have earned their Aunty GiGi Awards and, hopefully, the shame that comes with them.

James Comer

Michael Cloud


Virginia Fox

Glenn Grothman


Jody Hice


Yvette Herrell

and Pat Fallon

You all embarrassed yourselves and the districts you supposedly represent.

Tweet of the week



Stan weighs in on James Cameron's AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER:

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER left me in tears

Friday night, we saw James Cameron's AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER.

It's incredible.  If someone wants to knock it because the women don't do enough, I support that.  It's the story of Jake and what I'll call Jake Jr.  Women do very little and that includes Zoe Saldana's Neytiri.  There are way too many men with lines and actions scenes when you grasp how poorly Zoe is used.  And how passive Jake and Neytiri's daughters are when compared to their two sons.

Then there's Spider and his 'father.'  And then there are three boys in the water lands -- one of whom is the ruler of the new place Jake and Neytiri call home.  

They young males are always doing something -- active -- while the young women are always learning or emoting (or both) -- passive.   Then you've got Edie Falco wasted as well.  And why is it that the team of humans going in are all male except for one woman? 

So if someone wants to make that critique, they're right.  I won't disagree with them.  I'd also argue Jake doesn't get that much to do either.  Sam Worthington's character is almost as side lined for the first half of the film as Zoe's character is.

But what I liked was the look of it.  We're seeing it tomorrow with my nieces and nephews but in 3D.  It's amazing in 2D but I can't wait to see it in 3-D.

Jake Jr. is threatened with "an old fashioned spanking" by his father at one point because he is so adventurous.  Of course, his adventures always pay off.  

And it's one of those adventures that really made me love the film.  He's going out beyond the reef -- they're not supposed to -- to fit in at the new home and to make apologies to the ruler's son.  They prank him and leave him.  He's then attacked by some huge sea creature.

Payakan is the reason he lives.  He's another sea creature -- think a whale with multiple eyes.  He's a a "Tulkun."  Hope I spelled that right.  Where they've made their home, the Sully family, their new home, the people there are water people.  And the Tulkun are their brothers and sisters.  They swim with them.  They speak with them.  They sing with them.

Payakan doesn't get to swim or live with his other Tulkuns.  He's been black listed.  He caused death.

He saves Jake Jr. and they become friends.  No one believes Jake Jr. about the encounter.  For one thing, Tulkuns always travel in twos.  But it did happen and Jake Jr. goes to see Payakan and swim with him.  

 Payakan shows Jake Jr. what happened.  How his fellow Tulkuns were slaughtered and how Payakan was trying to help save them.  

When the ruler confronts Jake Jr. for interacting with Payakan, Jake Jr. tries to defend Payakan but it's no use.


And when the Tulkuns are in jeopardy, Jake Jr. risks his own life to get to Payakan and warn him what's coming.  And when Jake Jr. and his family are in danger, Payakan risks his own life to save them.


I really loved Payakin and I did cry throughout over the scenes with Payakin and Jake Jr.  There was so much humanity and emotion and power in those scenes. 


For me, that's where the film is at its best. 

I think everyone did a great job.  I wish the women had been more active.  But I do think it's a great film and I strongly recommend it. 


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;" 

The Twitter Dumps

C.I. filled in for Kat at Kat's site last week and weighed in on The Twitter Dumps:



The Twitter Dumps

C.I. (of THE COMMON ILLS) filling in for Kat.  She's tired, the roundtble tonight for the gina & krista round-robin ran hours.  So I'm filling in and  I'm going to cover something coming up in a few e-mails.  Today on CNN THIS MORNING (their new morning show), they had a segment that probably few saw.  Very few are watching the new morning program.  Elaine has rightly explained the problem is Don Lemon and that, if he can't adjust to mornings, he needs to be dumped.  In the morning, they want you likeable.  People are waking up, having their coffee, easing into their day if they're lucky.  He needs to stop thinking he's still anchoring a nighttime product.  When Katie Couric went from NBC's TODAY to THE CBS EVENING NEWS, she had to make adjustments.  Norah O'Donnell has had to as well.  If Don can't turn it around, CNN needs to find something else for him.

Oliver Darcy was on the segment.   He was making two claims.

The first was that The Twitter Files don't matter because there isn't any evidence Twitter and the government worked together to censor information.  The second was that Elon Musk was wrong to release the internal e-mails to Bari and Matt.  (I'm typing Matt for the first time.  I'm trying to honor a promise but I've got a feeling it's going to crash and burn.  My apologies, I kept it for nearly two decades.)  

On the first assertion.

Do The Twitter Files -- a series of Tweets -- actually several series of Tweets -- prove what Oliver says they don't.

I question the wording.  Is this how he speaks or was it trying to be cute?

Reality: The FBI -- in complete opposition of their charter as well as the Constitution (specifically The First Amendment) -- illegally went to Twitter and told them that a laptop (that was in their possession since December 2019) or hard drive might emerge in the lead up to the election and it would be Russian disinformation.  This reality is not dependent upon The Twitter Files.  Meta/FACEBOOK's Mark  Zuckerberg appeared on Joe Rogan's program back in August and discussed the FBI coming by FACEBOOK ahead of the election with warnings.  

This was illegal.  Who ordered it?  

Donald Trump's an idiot.  I've always known that and it's why I've always avoided him in real life.  But one of the stupidest things he's done since The Twitter Files began being released (dumped) was failing to raise this issue, failing to note the actions were illegal and asking who ordered these actions?  That last one should especially concern him because he was President of the United States.

I don't believe in Richard Nixon's theory of the law, so let me be clear, if Donald had ordered the FBI to do it, it still would have been illegal.  But he did not order it.  So who did?

I don't believe field agents went rogue on their own.  They may have.  I don't believe that they did.  

I don't believe it because there's too much overlapping -- such as coordinating the warning to social media with the release from the 'intelligence' 'experts' who lied that the Hunter Biden laptop had all the hallmarks of Russian disinformation -- as well as the media -- which NEWSWEEK 'forgot' in their fact check -- which immediately began removing any qualifiers or doubt from the statement.  

I don't believe a few rogue field agents could have pulled that off.

This seems to have the hallmarks of an organized campaign, of an actual FBI operation that was well planned. 

The Twitter Files highlight that.  But, again, that's backed up by other things including Zuckerberg's interview.

Should Elon Musk have released the e-mails to someone else?

He can release to whomever he wants, first and foremost.  Would there have been a benefit to releasing them to an organization the size of CNN?  Sure.  We might actually have a report -- a real report -- and not just Tweets.  Were there any drawbacks to handing them to CNN?  I would worry that anything related to Biden would be heavily censored due to CNN's history in the last six years (we can go back further but, certainly, in the last six years, CNN's reputation has been brutally destroyed -- by people like Don Lemon, in fact).  So there would be benefits to going with CNN and there would be benefits to avoiding CNN.  

Elon Musk made his decision.

There's also the secret agreement that Bari and Matt made with Musk for access.  We still don't know that agreement.  

Had The Twitter Files been offered to CNN and had Musk put the same condition on it, CNN might have had to refuse.  There are certain agreements that no journalist or outlet should enter into.  Did Matt and Bari?  We don't know because we don't what the agreement was.  

Again, it was Musk's to release and he made his choice on who.

Darcy looks like a whiney little kid stomping his foot.  It's not a good look.  It's also not a compelling segment.  They really need a producer and either a new camera operator or to free the one they have currently.  It feels like 1970s daytime TV.

For those of you (community members) who e-mailed regarding Tara Reade, I actually had her in today's snapshot but had to pull it because it was too long.  I'll try to work it into Friday's snapshot.  The snapshot, by the way, will continue to be called the "Iraq snapshot."  I'll try to always include something about Iraq in it.  There are days when Iraq will be the focus and days when it won't.  Even when it's just a little bit about Iraq, other topics will help the Iraq news be seen -- something Rebecca long ago proved at her site.  The hearing covered in the snapshot that I'm about to put below this will again be covered in tomorrow's snapshot.  Ava and I are also toying with a possible way to include it in our media piece for THIRD (we are including it in our piece for Friday's gina & krista round-robin).  

Closing with the "Iraq snapsot;"


Season two wrap of THE CLEANING LADY

There's not a great deal of must-see TV of late.  One show that is must-see is FOX's THE CLEANING LADY.  Below, Rebecca writes about last week's two hour wrap up for season two.

season 2 of 'the cleaning lady' goes out with a death

'the cleaning lady.'  stop reading if you haven't watched, there will be spoilers.

the 2 hour season finale packed a punch and then some.  it was a great way to go out.

kamdar was convinced the tests were lying.  he suspected every 1.  nadia was nervous (it wasn't a heart attack, remember, she poisoned him) but kept trying to calm him.  thony came by and he kind of thanked her for saving his life.  he asked her what it could have been.  she went over a number of options including that it could have been a drug that interacted poorly with something else.  nadia walked thony out and whispered to her, with kamdar's men watching, that thony sold her out.  thony told her that kamdar obviously already knew that he might have been drugged and he would have been more suspicious if she hadn't said anything.  nadia vowed to tell arman that thony sold them out.

thony took luka to an amusement park.  it was for his birthday.  she left.  i think this is where she met with garrett (f.b.i.).  he confronted her on the fact that arman told him how his snitch/source died and not thony.  he yelled at her and only stopped when she had a call.  it was fi.  she'd taken luka to the hospital.

luka's body was rejecting the transplant.

thony made a receptionist call a 'code white.'  told her that it was her son, she was a doctor and that he would die if she didn't do it.

the doctors didn't take thony or fi very seriously.

the doctor in the case was a man who really didn't seem to care.

thony knew she had to get the drugs she brought back from the phillipines for luca.  remember, a few episodes back, to get those drugs, she offered to bring back other drugs for kamdar.  then kamdar was putting the squeeze on arman and arman decided to steal the drugs.  kamdar wouldn't know because arman had already worked it out for his wife nadia to poison him.  but then thony came in during the 'heart attack' and saved kamdar's life. 

thony told arman luka was dying and needed the drugs.

arman took her to where he was hiding the drugs.  they were trying to find the specific drug for luka when the man hiding the drugs sold arman out and kamdar's men arrived.

he had thony look for the drugs she needed for luka and he went to try to hold the men off.

he had some success and might have had more but while thony was getting the medicine, fi was calling her from the hospital - luka's nose was bleeding and he was talking strangely.

they heard the cell phone ringing and came into the trailer that thony was in.  she got on top of the trailer and tried to run away but lost her purse (with the drugs in it) and arman ended up shooting every 1, getting on a motorcyle with thony and as she reached down for her purse, he shot the last bad guy.

the doctor at the hospital had already refused to use the drugs before thony went for them.  they're not approved in the u.s.

thony made it back to the hospital.  she needed a ventilator to administer them and they needed somewhere private - it would take 36 hours.  the smart thing would have been to have checked luka out or just left with him.  instead they holed up in the chapel and did it there.

of course, they were caught.

the doctor agreed to continue the meds on luca - they couldn't be stopped now.

but he also brought the police and a social worker.  fi and thony were under arrest.  the social worker would stay with luka.

they were both being hauled out of the hospital in handcuffs.

kamdar has been acting like he trust nadia.  but he doesn't.  and he comes behind her while she's in the bath and tells her he knows she poisoned him.  she denies it and he shoves her under water.  she struggles and finally comes up.  she tells him to stay away from her and runs to the bedroom.  she grabs clothes, shoes and her purse while he's banging on the door.  she slips out another door and is almost out when one of the men who works for kamdar stands in front of her.  she begs him to let her go but he says he can't and she looks behind her to discover kamdar is right ther.

as the police are trying to load fi and thony into the car, garrett shows up.  he flashes his f.b.i. badge and tells them they can't take thony she's working with them on a case.  he also tries to save fi but they refuse to wait while he gets authorization.

thony has to tell fi's 2 kids what's going on.  they're upset. fi's boyfriend's furious (i really hate him).

thony visits fi who says she doesn't want any 1 to see her like this.  thony promises she will get fi out.

thony meets with garrett and russo (garrett's boss and, this episode, his romantic partner).  there's nothing they can do.  but kamdar's the bigger target and thony talks about how he smuggled in street drugs and she saw them.  great.  if they can prove that, they'll work on getting fi out.

they can't find the drugs.

there's nothing they can do.

thony knows better.  she said she can work kamdar.  they don't want her going near him.  he'd kill her on the spot.

they're watching kamdar.

which is how they learn thony ignored them.

kamdar tells her he can't trust her.  she says every thing she did, she did for her son so he should be able to trust that.  she also points out that it's her connection in the phillipines.  without her, he's got nothing.  okay, he says, but they move the drugs now.  nadia says not to trust her and then says that they should just leave for the caymans like they planned.  kamdar ignores her.

the f.b.i. follows.

they get to the location and garrett's brought arman in on it.  he even gives arman a bullet proof vest. 

kamdar doesn't see them.  but he does try to kill thony.

she runs off and garrett and arman move in shooting.  garrett gets close to thony and arman provides fire cover so they can try to make a break for it.  but they get exposed and garrett tells thony to stay down.  he and arman shoot at kamdar's men and garrett and thony manage to move back.  all the f.b.i. arrive in vehicles and kamdar surrenders.

thony notices garrett's bleeding.  he dies in front of her as russo comes over.

russo has never liked thony.  but she will make sure fi is safe and in the country now that they have kamdar.  great, right?

bad about garrett, but great for fi.


kamdar posted bail. a judge let him out after he surrendered his passport.  fi's safety depends upon a conviction of kamdar.

thony feels like she's done everything she was supposed to.  russo's not moved.

thony says he's going to flee the country.  she says he has his own plane, she talks about how he has customs in his pocket.  and then she remembers what nadia had said about the cayman islands and realized that nadia was tipping her off.

does thony know where kamdar's plane is?

she does and she can take them there.  so the fi deal is on.

and then it's off again.


arman tricks kamdar.  he has his own men at the air field posing as kamdar's men.  arman walks up and kamdar's surprised to see 'his' men flee.  he tells arman that he can't kill him.  arman hands the gun to nadia who shoots him dead.  they then flee on the motorcyle just as the f.b.i. lands in a helicopter.

kamdar is dead.

the deal is off.

fi is taken off by ice and put on  a plane back to the phillipines.

this is a very depressing episode.  garrett's dead and now fi's being forced out of the country.

thony goes to arman's club.  he sees her and they walk off to a room.

she tells him that his killing kamdar meant fi got deported.  that's not going to be the end of it.  fi is her family and he is going to help her get fi back.

so how?

arman and thony are going to continue to import drugs from the phillipines.  thony meets with the crooked custom agent.  she tells him kamdar's dead but their deal is still on.  and he'll still be getting paid.  but the next shipment that they bring back, they'll also be bringing back a person.

so that's the end.  and thank goodness because to have gone out with no plan for bringing fi back would have been way too much.

it's bad enough that garrett's dead.

i have no idea why arman is staying with nadia.  but when nadia finds out that he's back in business with thony, she's going to hit the roof.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

The Crazy -- How Can You Miss It?

Elaine wrote the following last week:

The crazy -- how can you miss it

Okay, here's a story and what people aren't believing about it is what Eric Trump does when he wakes up:

Eric Trump stated this week that he leads a “clean, positive life” by waking up at 4:30 a.m. every single day to say the Pledge of Allegiance to his two young children, ages 5 and 3.

“And then I say the Lord’s Prayer, and I say two other little family prayers that we have. Then I make them say something that’s meaningful to them,” the second-born son of former President Donald Trump said in a video interview with Julie Green, a self-styled prophet who has claimed that President Joe Biden is secretly dead.

Now read those two paragraphs and tell me why anyone would have Eric's actions stand out?  From the above, what stands out to me is Julie Green "a self-styled prophet who has claimed that President Joe Biden is secretly dead."

He's secretly dead.  Is that based on the photo of him, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter all standing in the Rose Garden and Joe's not wearing shoes?  Or when you play Joe's State of the Union speech from last January backwards, do you hear "Joe's dead"?  Because, honestly, I hear "apple sauce."

Who is this crazy woman?

I Googled her.  She says that the Joe in the White House is a double and that Barack controls him. 

Now let me be clear, I don't believe Eric wakes up his kids at 4:30.  But a Trump lying?  Not really shocking.  Some crazed woman telling the world Joe is dead?  That's shocking.


Ann reviews BLACK ADAM:

Black Adam

I think Black Adam is one of the best superhero films.  

It's on HBO MAX now, by the way, if you haven't seen it.  

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) stars as Black Adam who is imprisoned until a woman utters the phrase "Shazam!"

The film picks up threads first dropped in Batman Vs Superman -- there are people being harmed.  The cameras ate there for the hero knocking some bad person through a building but not there for all the people in that building who suffer.  

The character I hate most in Black Adam is not the villain Ishmael (played by Marwan Kenzari).  The character I hated the most was Aldis Hodge's Hawkman.

He's the buttinski.  

That's what it's about, what the film is about.

Kandar is taken over by mercenaries and militaries -- Australian to smooth feelings, but, yeah, it should be US forces.

Hawkeye brings Dr. Fate, Cyclone and Atom Smasher to Kandar after Black Adam re-emerges there after 5,000 years.

As Sarah Shahi's Adrianna repeatedly tells Hawkeye and company, Kandar's been occupied and terrorized for years now and the Justice Society never showed up to help.  Now that Black Adam is helping, the JS of America shows up to stop Black Adam.

It really can be seen for what it is:  A commentary on justice, on who gets protection and on what empires label 'peace.'

Hawkeye and the JSA are all wrong.  The butt in.  They ignore reality for over a decade and then show up to butt in.

It really makes some important points and does so with plenty of action and lots of humor.  

I strongly recommend Black Adam.  There aren't a lot of films I loved this year.  I loved Bros and I love Black Adam.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Kat reviews STRANGE WORLD:


Had a nephew who wanted to see STRANGE WORLD while everyone in the family was planning to see the new AVATAR film (Stan's reviewed it, by the way, "AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER left me in tears").  So I said we'd just go ourselves and we did.

He loved it.  He's six.  


I actually loved it too.  I loved the colors -- it's an animated film.  I also thought it was funny and had enough thrills to interest grown ups.  I'm not a big DISNEY fan.  I like the film if it looks good -- meaning that real thought went into colors and style.  So the DISNEY animated films I like are never things like CINDERELLA which was so basic and boring it could have been stick figures.

I like SLEEPING BEAUTY for the look -- the darkness, the vines, all of that.  And I like NEMO and DORI for the underwater colors.  

STRANGE WORLD has great colors and great style.  Strongly recommend it.




 Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;'





The hypocrisy and stupidity of THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Marcia takes on the idiots:

Washington Examiner is against concussions -- if it involves transgendered persons

We so dainty, say the pigs at Washington Examiner.  Tom Joyce has his panties in an uproar:

video from last month’s Team Trans Ice Hockey draft resurfaced this week and revealed that a transgender woman (a man) gave a transgender man (a woman) a concussion-inducing hit during one of the games. The transgender man (woman) was carried off the ice on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital.

Interestingly, the NHL, which supported the tournament, did not mention this happening.

[. . .]

The media outlets that covered the tournament at the time, including NHL.comHockey News magazine, and Vice, also ignored this incident.

That’s most likely because it doesn’t fit the liberal, pro-transgender narrative. The game proved what rational people already knew: Men should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Oh no!  Concussion!!!!  Men never have concussions in hockey games!!!!  Except they do.  They account for 15% to 30% of all hockey related injuries.  

If an adult wants to play, they should play.   Otherwise?  I guess we'll outlaw hockey.  And, right behind that, women's soccer because that's the sport with the highest rate of concussions for females.

Tom Joyce has demonstrated nothing except that he'll write up anything on a tear -- without looking at the facts -- because it makes him feel less impotent.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;'

Survivors of Anti-LGBTQI+ Violence Underscore Dangers of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism

Press release from the House Oversight Committee:

At Oversight Committee Hearing, Survivors of Anti-LGBTQI+ Violence Underscore Dangers of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism

Dec 14, 2022
Press Release
At Oversight Committee Hearing, Survivors of Anti-LGBTQI+ Violence Underscore Dangers of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 14, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing to examine how the surge of anti-LGBTQI+ policies advanced in legislatures across the country and the proliferation of extreme anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric are fueling violence against LGBTQI+ people in the United States, including the mass shooting that took place at the LGBTQI+ nightclub, Club Q, in Colorado Springs last month.


“Last month, a person with an AR-15-style assault rifle entered Club Q—a nightclub that served as a haven for LGBTQI+ people in the Colorado Springs community—and opened fire on unsuspecting bar patrons and staff.  The attacker’s depravity robbed us of five innocent lives—Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Derrick Rump,” said Chairwoman Maloney in her opening statement.  “Let us honor them by recommitting to the bold action necessary to ensure that every person in the United States can experience the freedom to live authentically and safely—regardless of who they love or how they identify.”  


The Committee heard testimony from Michael Anderson and James Slaugh, survivors of the deadly Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Matthew Haynes, founding owner of Club Q.  The Committee also heard testimony from Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign;  Brandon Wolf, survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting;  Olivia Hunt, Policy Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality;  Jessie Pocock, CEO and Executive Director of Inside Out Youth Services; and Ilan Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar for Public Policy at the Williams Instititue


Survivors of anti-LGBTQI+ violence and expert witnesses emphasized that Republicans’ extremist rhetoric and harmful policies have contributed to surging violence, intimidation, and an unprecedented rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQI+ community. 


  • Mr. Anderson testified: “It was places like gay bars and clubs that helped me embrace who I was and formed me into the man I am today … If you are fortunate enough to intimately know LGBTQ people, you will find some of the kindest, funniest, accepting, and most welcoming people. Those are the people that found a safe place in Club Q and deserve to once again have that safe space … I can still hear the rapid firing of bullets today.  It’s a sound I may never forget.  It’s a sound I hope no one here or anywhere else in this country has to hear.”


  • Mr. Haynes testified: “I know that we, our Club Q community, are in the thoughts and prayers of many of you.  Unfortunately, these thoughts and prayers alone are not saving lives. They are not changing the rhetoric of hate.  None of us ever imagined that our little bar in Colorado Springs would be the target of the next hate crime, and I again repeat that we were targeted for the next hate crime … When you take hate and access to military style assault weapons, putting those together is total carnage.”


  • Mr. Slaugh testified: “ I don’t want to imagine what may have happened if the shooter had not been taken down that night.  Five wonderful people were still murdered and may we never forget their names.  Ashley Paugh, Raymond Green Vance, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, and Kelly Loving.  We miss each of you.”    


  • Responding to Rep. Cicilline, Brandon Wolf testified:  “Words have consequences...people should be accountable for the things that come out of their mouths and when you’re willing to traffic in cheap shots and bigotry against a marginalized community that is already seeing hate against it on the rise, already seeing violence rising across the country, when you’re willing to traffic in those things to score political points, you have to be accountable for what happens next. you have to hold yourself accountable for the impacts of your words.


Witnesses detailed the growing list of harmful anti-LGBTQI+ policies championed by Republicans at every level of government and the ways in which they are undermining the ability of LGBTQI+ people to live authentically and without fear.


  • In response to a question from Rep. Bush about the proliferation of Republican bills targeting LGBTQI+ people, Ms. Robinson stated:  “It’s a crisis that we are experiencing.  We are trying to be able to live freely, safely, and wholly as our true selves in every aspect of life.  And what we see is continued legislative attacks paired with extremist rhetoric.  And when some of these bills are moving forward whether or not they are enacted, they have a devastating impact on our community.”


  • Responding to a question from Chairwoman Maloney about the threat of a federal “Don’t Say Gay” law, Ms. Robinson testified:  “When we allow these pieces of legislation to move forward, that erase our communities, that dehumanize us, what it does is create a dangerous environment that does support and feed these seeds of hatred that exist in our world. It’s not only dangerous, it’s violent to our people.”


  • Brandon Wolf explained the impact of Florida’s law limiting discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools:  “We’ve seen books being banned with LGBTQ characters across the state.  We’ve seen teachers being told to hide their family photos in their desks.  We've seen school districts like Miami Dade County refusing to recognize LGBTQ history month for instance, saying that it might violate the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.  Those are just some of the impacts.  They’re weighing most heavily on LGBTQ families who fought really hard to see their loved ones recognized and respected.  It's weighing on teachers who are fleeing the profession, we have over 9,000 teacher vacancies in Florida in part because they’ve been undergoing character assassination over the last couple of years. And finally it’s weighing most heavily on LGBTQ young people.  The Trevor Project tells us that almost two thirds of trans young people are experiencing poorer mental health outcomes because of policies like House Bill 1557 in Florida.  So in short, the debate over the humanity of LGBTQ people is making life harder and less safe for people, especially in the state of Florida.”


  • In response to a question from Rep. Raskin on how extreme Republican laws affect the mental health and physical safety of LGBTQI+ youth, Ms. Hunt testified:  “When children are told that they’re not part of society, it teaches them that they don’t belong, that they are lesser-than, and that they are not as worthy as their classmates and as their peers.  And that’s not the message that we should ever be teaching to young children anywhere in this country.”


Witnesses and Democratic Members emphasized the need to take bold action to push back against extreme anti-LGBTQI+ policies and advance the health, safety, and rights of LGBTQI+ people


  • Responding to a question from Congresswoman Norton on the importance of the Equality Act, Mr. Wolf testified:  “It’s important because we are not afforded the same nondiscrimination protections as other people. I say this as a person in the state of Florida. One of the things we’ve worked on with Equality Florida for years is implementing comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in our state, so what does that mean?  It means protecting people from being denied housing because we have a boyfriend, not a girlfriend.  It protects LGBTQ people from being fired because we have a picture of our spouse on the desk.”


  • Responding to questioning from Rep. Raskin, Ms. Pocock explained: “We know that when you build an inclusive classroom you have young folks who are more engaged, who are more likely to show up in school, and so the best thing that we can do is prevent negative outcomes by creating an inclusive classroom, an inclusive church, an inclusive home.  That is hands-down, the research shows, the very best thing we can do for young people.”



117th Congress

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }