Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts

5/6/08

HRC president apologizes for 'misspeaking' at transgender conference


Southern Voice, GA, USA


HRC president apologizes for 'misspeaking' at transgender conference

Solmonese talks with Atlanta activists in private meeting

By DYANA BAGBY, Southern Voice | May 6, 7:37 PM


Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese met with a handful of
transgender activists in Atlanta last week and apologized for
"misspeaking" at last year's Southern Comfort conference, where he
promised HRC would only support an Employment Non-Discrimination Act
that included gender identity, according to people attending the
meeting.

=====================================
by Kelli Busey
Tuesday May 9, 2008

I will not accept this behaviour as acceptable from the largest "human rights" organization.
Submitted 05/06/08 to Southern Voice, sound off section pending
publication

Joe Solmonese has once again showed his true colors.
He gathered a group of potentially sympathetic transgender people and
portrays this as actual dialogue.
He offers a explanation that he mis-spoke at southern comfort. Some
of these "activists" are either overwhelmed by by Solmonese or brain
dead when they declare a apology was issued. Thankfully some of the
activists were clear thinking and rejected this side ways
explanation.
Where is the acknowledgement from Solmonese that a political agenda
was being followed in September 2007 and continues to this date to
exclude and marginalize gender variant people.
As far as HRC meddling in my job where does HRC get off telling my
employer how to treat me? HRC needs to get out of my business. Am I
writing papers for the employers of gay people telling how to treat
them? Am I using political blackmail to force congressional leaders
to vote against Gay People? NO I AM NOT.
HRC LEAVE TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ALONE. You have done enough harm. Every
time you do us wrong people die. Lawrence Kings death is on your
hands HRC. This death is a direct result of your policy. Find it in
your heart Joe Solmonese to direct HRC to stop killing us.

http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/

5/5/08

We Have a BIG Problem here







By John Wright
May 1, 2008 - 7:48:28

LGBT Methodists, supporters surprised by votes upholding anti-gay church policies
Onlookers tearfully react to a vote Wednesday, April 30 at the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. - PAUL JEFFREY/United Methodist News Service


FORT WORTH — LGBT members and their supporters suffered two major setbacks on Wednesday, April 30, at the United Methodist Church’s 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth.

2/5/08

Gainsville FL Transgender Debate Draws croud

Transgender debate draws crowd

By MEGAN ROLLAND
Sun staff writer
11:57 pm, January 28, 2008
City Hall was buzzing Monday night with both protest and support for a proposed city ordinance that would include gender identity as a class of people protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.

Continue to 2nd paragraph The auditorium had standing-room only, as did the entryway where a large crowd watched the decision on closed-circuit television. The vast majority of those who spoke on the issue were against the ordinance.

Those in favor of the ordinance lauded it as a step toward increased human rights for transgender individuals, who some said are marginalized in society.

The ordinance would add gender identity as a category of people protected from discrimination. Discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation and gender are already outlawed in Gainesville.

City officials defined gender identity as a situation where people have an inner sense of being a gender other than their gender at birth.

Those opposed reiterated oft-cited concerns of having a man in a woman's restroom, as well as the burden it would place on business owners to provide accommodations in the case of changing facilities.

Commissioner Ed Braddy immediately made a motion to deny the ordinance, and Commissioner Rick Bryant quickly seconded the motion.

"When you boil it down the issue is that because of some people who have some sort of emotional or psychological issue, others have to change," Braddy said.

He said the ordinance would require separate facilities if a business owner decided to deny a transgender individual access to dressing rooms.

"In that sense it makes a claim on other people's property," Braddy said. "This is about granting special privileges to a class of people."

Commissioner Craig Lowe countered. "There is nothing special about being able to have a home, get a job, go to a restaurant," said Lowe adding that those are simple rights that are often taken for granted.

"It does a very simple thing for a group of people that is very intensely discriminated (against). They are few in number but sometimes it is the few in number who need the most protection," Lowe said.

Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa emphasized that there is a standard across the nation for these types of ordinances.

In Florida the cities of Lake Worth and West Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Wilton Manors, Gulfport and Key West have anti-discrimination policies that protect gender identity, as do Orange, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.

Some residents quoted the Bible and expressed anger that the city would make an ordinance protecting people who in their minds were going against the way that God created them.

One man said the commissioners would suffer the wrath of God and another yelled "the blood is on your hands" for supporting the ordinance.

Several pastors, including the pastor of the Rock of Gainesville, also spoke against the ordinance. Many opposed to the ordinance said it was unfair to make the majority uncomfortable in order to protect a minority.

A University of Florida student said in the meeting it was a sad state of affairs when basic human rights were debatable not only among the public but also among elected officials.

Another UF student said, "We have a right not to be hassled, harassed, beat up or killed, and it happens everyday based on what people look like and what we wear."

By press time, the commission hadn't voted on the issue.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or megan.rolland@ gvillesun.com.

http://www.gainesvillesun.com/article/20080129/NEWS/801290319/1002/NEWS

12/26/07

ENDA let's get it right

The Orginal ENDA 2015 submitted in April of 2007 included laungage which afforded protection to
transgender people and GLB people regardless of how gay you are.Unfortunately it is of our opinion that political mistakes were made based on incorrect interpretation of
history and a skewed sense of political expediecy..Barney Frank is of the opinion that transgender people are new to the advocacy arena and therefor not to
be allowed to enjoy the same status as the rest of the GLB community.Transgender people have been in the forefront at the Compton Cafateria and Stone wall riots.The LBGT community has voiced it's discontent via UNITED ENDA's 7 million..

On 9/27/07 without advance warning Barney Frank intoduced HR(3585) which eliminated transgender
protection. With the exclusion of gender identity laungage it will be subjective depending on the
conception of the judge, what behavior falls within sexual preference or gender identity. Thereby
eliminating the person who on a given time acted too gay, in the judges opinion and the transgender
person from protection under the law.Glbtq people have themselves often criticized identity politics, particularly on the grounds that individuals
possess multifaceted identities and thus involvement in politics based on a single identity does not suffice
On 9/27/07 Barney Frank submitted HR(3586) which has gender only protection launguageTime has shown that incremental steps when applied to a group i.e. shades of black, only serves to
weaken the validty of the entire concept and promote discord and disunity.Time has also shown that if a small portion of a group is sacrificed on the premise that they will be returned
for, then this fails to happen as the motovation to do so is not present.
Therefore It is our goal to allow the protections of ENDA to extend to the entire community.This goal is the wish of UNITED ENDA comprising 368 National, State and Local groups and 171 house
representitives.We emplore you to contact your orginization represenitives and political leaders and lend them your
wisdom. Let us welcome our entire LGBTIQ community at the finish line, together the truth will win

Texas Transgender Adovcates working paper HRC dinner at Austin

Transgender Educational Initialive As proposed by Kelli Busey 214-226-7080
kellibusey@yahoo.com
http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/

The Intent of the Educational Initiative
It is the intent of the Texas Transgender Advocates(TTA) to work to the ends in a fashion supported and advocated by Barney Frank to Educate non transgender people on transgender issues.

Group organization;
Texas Transgender Advocates is organized and functions to advocate Transgender inclusion in ENDA and does not represent group members on any other issues.
Method of performance;
It is our wish to initiate personal conversations and offer an opportunity to present the history of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender struggle as it pertains toENDA as of April 2007 and our vision of a transgender inclusive ENDA.
Talking points;
UNITED ENDA http://unitedenda.org/ A history of of transgender only legislation faulture to return for transgender people. New York State GENDAhttp://prideagenda.blogspot.com/2007/10/new-york-state-democrats-pass.html
The importance of including transgender people as opposed to incremental gains.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_movements_in_the_United_States
HRC leadership role in influencing the ENDA votehttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/TGV_Advocacy/message/19743
Barney Frank position regarding transgender inclusionhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/TGV_Advocacy/message/18312
The Compton riot
The Stonewall riothttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots
Anticapated results;Awareness of the HRC membership of the benifits of maintaining the integrity of the history and present
day LBGT community and the importance to the the future..
Location of Educational InitiativeHRC dinner Austin TX January 26 2008
HR2015(ENDA) transgender inclusive http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d110:1:./temp/~bdFHfO:@@@L&summ2=m&/bss/d110query.html
d110:HR03685:@@@L&summ2=m& HR3585(ENDA) non transgender inclusive and amendmentshttp://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR03685:@@@L&summ2=m&HR3586(ENDA) Transgender only http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR03686:@@@L&summ2=m&

Pam's House Blend ...always steamin'!

Pam's House Blend ...always steamin'!

12/25/07

Gay City news

In a article dated 11/07/07 Mara Keisling of the NCTE and Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force among others expressed dismay for HRC non commitment to a inclusive ENDA all the while working against Transgender inclusion in congress. http://www.thetaskforce.org/TF_in_news/07_1122/stories/7_what_does_victory_mean.pdf

HR(3686) THOMAS (Library of Congress)

Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

H.R. 3686: To prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity (GovTrack.us)

H.R. 3686: To prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity (GovTrack.us)

H.R. 3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (GovTrack.us)

H.R. 3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (GovTrack.us): "Legislation > 2007-2008 (110th Congress)"

Proposed Amendments to HR(3685) by Miller(CA-76) Religous Exemption and Miller(WI)inclusion of transgender peopleTHOMAS (Library of Congress)

Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

HR(2015) THOMAS (Library of Congress)

Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
Want Ads: Looking For Mr. or Ms. GoodbarHelp Wanted: Transgender Political Insider, No Experience Necessary – Will Train!Need individual with a smiling face and a Can-Do Attitude! Personal Ambition a serious plus! Must take directions well. Must be able to learn public relations marketing from a gay and lesbian perspective (Marketing experience a huge plus) Must like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Gay and Lesbian Equality. Must possess ability and willingness to both raise funds or to be able to attract leads for fundraising for HRC. Can easily substitute a great personal story (author of an autobiography or esp. high-profile job loss, lawsuit or hate crime victim) for fundraising skills.To be filled: Immediately.Very competitive salary commensurate with other transgender activist salaries, plus perks! We are an EEOC employer. Only transgendered applicants, preferably white, docile and above-average income need apply.Yes, the above is a satirical take on what's actually happening right now. HRC is in desperate need of superficially plastering over the era of discontent in Transgender, and subsequently adjacent portions of the GLB community. They can't be without a throw-down tranny to upkeep the fa├žade of plausible deniability. Since Mara Keisling's tirade last month on both HRC and Joe Solmonese in the Gay City News, where she came right out and stated, "Yes, they totally abandoned us … but even worse was all the lies," HRC's been in motion. In an effort to keep the Transgender Community fractious and distracted with ourselves, HRC realized they needed a new leader –the next alpha-dog to bring to the fight. While Keisling had served them well over the years marketing their agenda like no one before, over time she's learned the reality. We all come into activism as clean slates, and for some awareness are stark and swift. For others, it's an osmosis that takes time to gradually clarify. Now Mara sees what we `crazy naysayers' were trying to warn her of six or seven years back and has taken her first steps to try to counter the HRC effect. HRC also realizes they need a replacement part for NCTE. Thus we have Project Win-Back I wrote about in a previous blog. Word recently went out that Barney Frank was coordinating a joint effort to lobby congress with a handful of unnamed transgender community "business" leaders, ostensibly led by Susan Stanton, the Largo, Florida City Manager who was fired for transitioning. While HRC is not explicitly mentioned, it's got their fingerprints all over it, while very deftly keeping a low profile."What I really need to doIs find myself a brand new lover,Somebody real nice to meWho doesn't notice all the others." — Brand New Lover, Dead Or AliveSo why does this signal HRC "looking for a new love"? For starters, Mara Keisling and NCTE is in Washington DC proper, well-experienced, and has even joint-lobbied with HRC for some time. That she's not named as the lead on that effort would never occur if she were involved. Additional reason to see a circumvention by HRC: In late 2001 and 2002, this is exactly what they did with Mara Keisling a year before ushering her in as the go-to transgender leader for HRC a scant year later. Riki Wilchins was still around, though out-of-favor with them. NTAC was around and certainly not swayable by the HRC marketing team. They needed a "transgender leader" that they could work with – one who passed their mettle. In 2002, Mara Keisling fit their bill and would eagerly circumvent. Five years down the road, and now it's Mara and NCTE that HRC wishes to circumvent. At the moment, it appears to be Susan Stanton to fit their bill."When you wake up tomorrow You'll be all alone,Oh the love that we hadI have quickly outgrown." — Brand New Lover, Dead Or AliveAs HRC sees it, they need to choose the transgender leader / liaison they feel most comfortable with. The key traits they seek in their transgender leaders are agreeability, docility and willingness to compromise. They cannot tolerate a leader becoming aware and actually challenging them. Mara's now surpassed that threshold for them.One thing strangely never occurs to HRC. How is it that they feel the right to anoint another community's leadership? Some years back, when Exec. Dir, Elizabeth Birch left, HRC board member (and a friend of mine) Tony Varona asked me for my opinion on who HRC should consider to replace her. I refrained from any opinion on that. I felt strongly then and still do today that we should not pressure or manipulate their community's organization or who their community chooses for their leadership. It's not our place. They, as should every community, must have the right to self determine and choose freely – good or bad. If they choose unwisely, tell them afterwards about why the choice is bad – but still allow them the right to choose.Yet HRC has an addiction to meddling in trans affairs, tweaking and steering – sometimes quite heavy-handedly – our community. And it always blows up in their face, and the trans community becomes that much more resentful of them, and they still don't seem to understand why – or perhaps want to ignore it. Why have a voice when we can have them decide what our voice will be?As Jessica Xavier taught me in a phone conversation about six years ago, HRC is in the business of Political Management. It's not about advocacy or civil rights as much as it is about `managing' the sociopolitical environment to help mold public opinion favorable to the gay and lesbian rights agenda. They have not just a desire or an addiction to control, it's in their very business description. It's their job. Therefore it's easier to see why they feel need to choose our leaders for us, why they need to tell us what is inclusive language and how is the best way to achieve it, why they need to instruct us on what is politically feasible. It's not easier for us to take, much less accept. This is not only dismissive, but it's flagrantly arrogant. Knowing their calculated nature, and watching their movement patterns, I'm relatively certain they intend to not only get their slate of items on their political agenda (yes, we'll be left out), but then move to co-opt "transgender" and make it their next cottage industry in an effort to keep the paychecks and funding rolling in. As a bonus, they get more media face-time, and stand above us as self-envisioned heroes leading we hapless trans folk to our equality (and to craftily manage to assuage any former guilt). So HRC will bring in a whole slew of fresh new transgender faces for the next wave. They can always find names like a Dana Beyer, Amanda Simpson, Susan Stanton or others with little to no awareness of, or a healthy disdain of trans history, willing to soak as would a sponge all the gospel HRC can impart. With enough personal ambition to put the blinders on and leave them on for as long as possible, they may even find another as effective as Mara was for them.And Mara herself? HRC will keep her close by. They'll relegate her to Riki Wilchins' status and utilize her on one-off ventures – mostly as a reminder for the newest trans leaders to "stay in line," the same way they'd pull Riki in to remind Mara of her place in the political world according to HRC.It's all to help HRC further their agenda while keeping the Trans community at bay, creating more opportunities for mistrusting our own and developing more self-loathing. And eventually, when the sponge becomes saturated and disgorging the water it soaked in, it'll be time for HRC to look for a brand new one to replace it.

12/22/07

Pundit compares transsexuality to motorcycle ownership.

"She wishes she were male. I wish I had a Harley. Howard Dean wishes he had decaf. Ted Kennedy wishes he had swerved... It's enabling a delusion, and it's very, very silly."Too bad there's no surgery that will give you a Harley. And why is this man the Policy Director for Concerned Women for America?

read more | digg story
NATIONAL NEWS
Richardson claims best record on gay issues Gay N.M. governor pledges to ask Congress for trans-inclusive ENDA if elected, decries ‘halfway measures’
LOU CHIBBARO JR Friday, December 21, 2007
Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson said he would call on Congress to pass a transgender-inclusive employment non-discrimination bill, saying he disagrees with the strategy of Democratic leaders that a gay-only bill is all that could pass in the next few years.“I would go for the full-blown protection, including transgender,” he said in an exclusive Dec. 15 interview with the Washington Blade. “I think we’ve got to do what’s right and not do halfway measures.”Richardson, who spoke to the Blade by phone while campaigning in New Hampshire, noted that as governor of New Mexico, he pushed through and signed into law a comprehensive, transgender-inclusive gay rights bill in 2003 in a conservative, “red” state. The bill bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations, among other areas.“I think the American people are a tolerant people,” he said. “The country’s changed a lot. And I would push to get it through [Congress] and I think I could get it through as president.”On the international front, Richardson said he would “include the treatment of gay and lesbian people as a factor in American foreign policy positions” when dealing with countries known to persecute gays, such as Iran. He said he would also ask the United Nations to pass resolutions condemning anti-gay persecution and to advocate for the “full rights for gays and lesbians around the world.”He said he would emphasize his commitment to domestic and international AIDS issues by immediately appointing his vice president as chair of the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS.Equality New Mexico, the statewide gay rights group, has credited Richardson with playing a key role in pushing through a wide range of gay rights and AIDS-related measures in the state, including a hate crimes bill that protects gays and transgender persons. Activists have said Richardson didn’t take no for an answer when opponents demanded he drop transgender protections in both the hate crimes and non-discrimination bills. Acting as an outspoken advocate for the two bills, political observers in the state have said he helped line up the votes needed to pass the measures. The hate crimes bill cleared the state Senate by a one-vote margin.Richardson used his executive powers as governor to issue an order providing state health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of state employees. And earlier this year, he called on the legislature to pass a comprehensive domestic partners bill that includes all of the rights, protections, and responsibilities available to married couples under New Mexico law.The bill passed in the state House but fell one vote short in the state Senate when the legislative session ended in March. Richardson responded by calling a special legislative session and included the domestic partners measure on a list of just three bills to be considered in the special session. It remained blocked in the Senate when the special session ended, but Richardson now says he believes he has the votes to get it passed when the legislature begins its regular 2008 session in January.“He was an amazing partner with us in getting the domestic partners bill further than we ever thought we could,” said Christopher Salas, Equality New Mexico’s field director.Richardson proposed another bill that would require health insurance companies to provide coverage for domestic partners of private sector employees whose employers choose to offer partner benefits. That bill died in committee. Salas said it would not be needed if the legislature passes the more comprehensive domestic partners measure in 2008.A separate, same-sex marriage bill that was also introduced in the state legislature in 2007 died in committee, with Richardson remaining neutral on the bill. The marriage measure, which had no more than six supporters among state lawmakers, was aimed at raising same-sex marriage as an issue for future consideration, Salas said.Richardson has stated in recent Democratic presidential candidate debates that he favors civil unions or domestic partnerships over same-sex marriage.Richardson’s gay backers note that he emerged as an outspoken supporter of gay civil rights since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s and during his tenure in the Clinton administration as Secretary of Energy and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Washington Blade: Why should lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans vote for you as president?
Bill Richardson: Because I, by far, have the best record, not just the record of voting right but of pushing for gay and GLBT legislation throughout my career as a congressman and as a governor, particularly as a governor. I believe I have the most far-reaching legislative record in a red state than any other governor. In fact, I think New Mexico and New York are considered the most pro gay-lesbian states in terms of rights simply because I’ve taken leadership positions and not just supported them.
I’ve taken the lead, as you probably know, on a number of pieces of legislation. Hate crimes [legislation] with [protections for] gender identity — I pushed that in 2003 against the advice of gay rights activists who thought it would be too controversial. I pushed it and got it done by one vote. I passed executive orders preventing discrimination against gays in the state workplace. We passed legislation preventing discrimination against gay people. … I put a domestic partnership bill on the legislative agenda last year. We lost by one vote, and I’m going to put it up again in January.
So by far I’ve got the strongest record and the gay civil rights community should, in my judgment, support me, not because I have the best position papers or give the best speeches but what I’ve done as a governor to advance the legislation, and that I would champion this legislation. These efforts in the Congress, if I were president, I would repeal DOMA. I would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I would push for a hate crimes bill. It looks like the Senate and the Congress has failed to pass one. In addition to that, they eliminated from the Armed Services bill a vitally important amendment. So that’s what I would do.
Blade: Can you talk about what you would do to get the domestic partners bill through the New Mexico Legislature? Would it be in next year’s session?
Richardson: Well, it would be our January session. It will be in about a month, and I think the odds of us getting it passed are good. I’ve worked on a lot of votes. I think we have a comfortable margin in the House and a one-vote margin today in the Senate. I’m going to try to add a little insurance to that in the next few days. But my point is that I’ve put domestic partnership on the call of a special session last year. I brought in the legislature specifically to deal with three issues and one of them was domestic partnership. So I think, given this is a red state, it’s a significant commitment.
Blade: Your supporters say the domestic partnership bill you are pushing in New Mexico may be among the broadest of the states that have these laws and that it includes most of the rights and benefits of marriage under your state’s laws. Was that your intent to go as far as you could under state law?
Richardson: Well, yea, it’s very progressive, it’s very advanced. I want it to be a model for the rest of the country. I think we became a model when we became the first state to pass transgender protection. And I also regret that the Congress eliminated transgender protection. You know, sometimes it’s important to do what’s right, not what’s most politically popular.
Blade: You were referring to something that has divided and gay and transgender community. House Democratic leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barney Frank, removed transgender protections from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, making it a so-called gay-only bill, because they said they didn’t have the votes to pass a bill with transgender protections. They said they support transgender protections but they believe it would have to be taken up at another time. Would you have any particular approach to this issue if you were president?
Richardson: Yes, I would go for the full-blown protection, including transgender. I think you’ve got to do what’s right and not do halfway measures, although Barney Frank has been heroic over the years in his efforts. But what I would do as president, I would include transgender. I would make it as comprehensive as possible. I think the American people are a tolerant people. The country’s changed a lot. And I would push to get it through and I think I could get it through as president.
Blade: Getting back to the domestic partners bill, there was a marriage bill that was also introduced in the New Mexico legislature, and you did not support that. It died in committee. Can you explain your views on that and on same-sex marriage?
Richardson: Well, I feel it’s important to do what’s achievable. What I support is civil unions with full marriage rights. I think we have to do what is achievable and be realistic. And there’s so many other measures that the gay and lesbian community need before same-sex marriage that I think it’s important to be legislatively prudent. That’s why I have advocated these other equally significant measures that offer real protection. That’s not correct. I never killed or did anything to signal on gay marriage.
I believe we have to pass what is achievable, and in my state a domestic partners bill is achievable. You’re talking about a very conservative state. So I think it makes sense to focus on as far-reaching legislation as possible. This is why I’ve included transgender, this is why I’ve included the strongest domestic partnership bill, this is why I believe it’s important. If I’m elected president, early in my administration, I’ll push for repealing “Don’t Act, Don’t Tell” and for repealing DOMA. Because DOMA has two provisions in there, it has two sections that virtually negate civil unions. And I think we have to repeal the entire act instead of just dealing with a couple of sections that are very faulty.
Blade: Would you favor asking Congress to go beyond that, to pass legislation that experts say is needed to provide the more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits that go with marriage to couples who, through their states, obtain civil unions or domestic partnerships?
Richardson: Yes, I would.
Blade: Would something like that be problematic to get through Congress at this time?
Richardson: I think you want to do it in stages. I would try to do it early in my term. But I would probably start with a hate crimes bill first. I would then go to repeal DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Those would be the three that I would push early, including the transgender inclusion. I believe that you maybe want to have what you mentioned as the fourth pillar. But I would start early and I would push hard for these things. I think they are very achievable.
Blade: Could you elaborate on what has been widely reported in the media as your two gaffes on gay-related issues — your use of the Spanish word “maricon” on the Don Imus radio show and your comment during the Human Rights Campaign-Logo debate that homosexuality is a choice?
Richardson: Well, those were mistakes. They were screw-ups. On the Imus issue, Imus actually asked me to repeat it, just to show that I could speak Spanish. So I didn’t say it in a derogatory sense. Plus, I think the version of ‘maricon’ in Spanish is not — in some cases in the old days when I learned the word, it was not directed at gay people. Gay people weren’t even referred to in the ‘60s, as you recall. It was more a term of making fun of somebody and there was no connection to it being a gay insult. But nonetheless, I shouldn’t have used the word. He just asked me to repeat it to see if I could speak Spanish. And so it was an inadvertent mistake.
The second one, I was just tired. I should have known better. I wasn’t thinking. You know, we all make mistakes but I shouldn’t be judged on one stupid word as opposed to, I think, a distinguished and very progressive record. So that’s happened. I misunderstood the question. I still made a mistake because I have always been enamored of using the word choice. You know, choice when it comes to the right to choose, choice when it comes to health care. I thought that was an opening to say that I was for choice. I do now understand — I did understand that, I did know that. It’s just a foolish thing that I said.
Blade: On the issue of immigration, this is a heated issue in the country now and you’re faced with immigration problems in your state. Would you, as president, advocate for yet another piece of legislation being pushed by the gay community that would allow a domestic partner of an American citizen who is a foreign national the same right to U.S. citizenship as a heterosexual foreigner who marries an American?
Richardson: Yes, I would. And I’ve already voiced my support for legislation to do that. I think it’s the right and humane thing to do. If we’re going to be tolerant on national issues affecting the United States, we should be tolerant when it comes to treating gay and lesbian people on an international basis. So the answer is yes.
Blade: What are your views on the recent comment by Gov. Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate, where it was revealed that he stated in 1992, 10 years after the start of the AIDS epidemic, that isolating and quarantining might be needed. He also said the government shouldn’t spend much of its own funds on AIDS research, that celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor should pay for AIDS research programs.
Richardson: Well, those were unfortunate comments. But they were made in 1992. I know Gov. Huckabee. He’s obviously grown enormously in his views since then. I don’t know what he’s saying now. They were obviously very unfortunate comments that he made. But so have I. I’ve made dumb mistakes before. I don’t know what he’s saying now.
Blade: Some of his critics are pointing out that he has said he would stick to some of those positions, possibly because he’s worried about being labeled, like Gov. Romney was, as a flip-flopper.
Richardson: You know, sometimes when facts change, it’s OK to change your position. I’ve always said that, that if there are different circumstances, different facts and there’s different situations, your mind evolves, you learn more, you change your position. Now, it’s another point to have nine positions that you’ve had as a governor and all of a sudden you’re running for president and you have nine new positions. That’s a lot.
But you know, if it’s an isolated case, where the political leader shows personal growth and understanding of the issue better and facts change — you know, everybody’s human. Nobody’s perfect. I’m not making amends for Huckabee. I’m just saying — you just told me what he said now. I think his position is wrong if he’s sticking to what he said. But I’ve known his mind to evolve on a lot of issues. I’ve known him as a governor. He’s basically a decent man.
Blade: What message would you have at this stage in the campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters who are hearing other Democratic presidential candidates express support on these issues?
Richardson: Well, my message to them is they shouldn’t go on who’s expressed support. They should look at the record. They should look at who’s done things for gay and lesbian people. And there’s nobody who’s done more — and that would be an indication of how I would be as president.
My hope is that gay and lesbian people don’t just vote for the glamour of candidates or who has the most money and political pedigree, but vote for somebody with a solid record and a solid commitment to their issues. That’s the only request I have. So that’s my hope. I don’t know what else I can say. I’d be honored to have the support of the gay and lesbian community. I’ve actively courted it. But this is a record I’ve had since 1980 when I was a congressman.
I was supporting gay-lesbian issues when it wasn’t terribly popular in the ’80s. And I’ve always consistently been there. It hasn’t been a conversion. It’s been long-stated policy positions of mine that have been, I believe, highlighted in the last four years by championing these issues and getting it done. I’ve actually done things for gay people in contrast to other candidates who may be voting right occasionally but have no record.
Blade: On foreign policy issues, your supporters point to your experience as a diplomat and a negotiator in your role as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. As president, would you speak out about or do something about persecution of gay people in countries such as Iran, where gays are executed. Should the U.S. president take a stand on something like that?
Richardson: Yes. First, in my definition of the importance of human rights in foreign policy, and how we judge other countries in relationship with ties with the United States, it shouldn’t just be the Geneva Conventions and fair elections. I would include the treatment of gay and lesbian people as a factor in American foreign policy positions toward those countries.
Secondly, I think the United Nations is a very strong forum to, with the Human Rights Committee, to pass resolutions, not just condemning these actions but pushing for full rights for gays and lesbians around the world. And then, thirdly, I would make my AIDS commission — millennium goals a major priority, funding for AIDS treatment, outreach and education. But I would also put my vice president in charge of the AIDS commission to give it both national and international strength, which is going to be needed to continue fighting pandemic diseases and AIDS around the world.
Blade: By AIDS commission, are you referring to the presidential AIDS commission?
Richardson: Yes, but I would also give it an international charter, which would be to try to pass as many AIDS-related resolutions in international forums to increase not just the commitment of countries of AIDS but efforts to get pharmaceutical companies and generic drugs more in the international market.
Blade: Thank you, governor, for your time.
Richardson: Thank you.