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Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

John McCain is a Grumpy Old Man

Let gays serve openly in the military?

75% of Americans think so.

Yet John McCain disagrees. His bigoted stance against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell does nothing but reveal his age. Instead of embracing the public and military’s welcoming attitude, McCain continues to rail against gays in the military. His opinions are antiquated, out of sync with most Americans, contrary to the Pentagon’s findings, and, quite simply, wrong. The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capeheart deconstructs McCain’s wrong-headedness in the video above.

I’m almost embarrassed for McCain. His attitude is less disagreeable to me than an example of an older generation’s xenophobia and crotchetiness.

Filed under: gay rights, government, military, politics, , , , , , , ,

Judge Forwards DADT Injunction

Judge Virginia Phillips will let stand her federal injunction to immediately stop the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Despite the Obama administration’s request to continue enforcing the discriminatory policy, Phillips remains unmoved.

Good news for DADT activists (though not all gay rights advocates), a fine mess for the President (see how Rachel Maddow attempts to clarify the situation). Obama has slowly been losing traction with his LGBT base; little has been done to repeal DOMA or DADT on the White House front, though an executive order from the President would have rolled back one or both policies.

How did the Obama administration find itself defending a policy that it doesn’t support? According to Politico:

“It’s crazy that all this is happening 2½ weeks before a national election,” said Richard Socarides, an adviser to Clinton on gay issues during the ’93 fiasco. “The timing could not be worse for them, but it was fairly predictable that their strategy of postponing and delaying getting into this stuff was, at some point, going to come back to haunt them.”

Obama’s current predicament is a result of a collision between a go-slow White House strategy that deferred to Pentagon and military leaders on the pace of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the progress of a stuttering federal lawsuit that a small group of gay Republicans filed more than six years ago.

Among the Department of Justice’s evidence explaining the necessity for more time, DOJ presented an article from Rolling Stone, saying an injunction against DADT would hurt military readiness.

The judge balked.

Filed under: gay rights, government, homophobia, military, obama, politics, , , , , , , ,

Gaga-Inspired Activists for DADT

The other day Lady Gaga asked her fans to reach out to their senator to ask them to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Seemed like a small gesture; in the clip above, a pair of college students respond to Gaga’s call to arms. The allies call their local Colorado congressman–and then get the rest of their dormmates to call, too.

Encouraging to see young people as allies: active, open-minded, willing to give a damn.

Filed under: gay rights, military, , , , , ,

Discharged Marine Walks for DADT

Walker Burttschell, a discharged Marine, is walking from Norfolk, Virginia, to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the importance of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was moved to hear about this simple act–one person, walking 200 miles and talking to strangers about his cause–gaining traction. Burttschell is a great example of acting rather than ranting (one of my own faults).

What’s been the response from those who encounter the former Marine?

I’ve generally received three types of responses: “That’s insane!”, “They still do that?” and “How do I get ahold of Senator Webb?

Congress may vote on a compromise to repeal DADT by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Filed under: gay rights, military, , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama Backs DADT Repeal

The latest: the Obama administration will support the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal put forward by Congress  this week. It’s a compromise between gay rights groups’ wish for immediate repeal and the Pentagon’s study-in-progress. The Pentagon’s study is due December 1.

If the vote happens in Congress, and the President signs it, the move will be one step forward for Obama’s stagnant record in gay rights. Public pressure must be credited to Lt. Dan Choi and the Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network for recent acts of civil disobedience as well as the protest art that’s cropped up.

Let’s hope this happens. The bad, 17 year-old law has led to more than 13,500 discharges. You can add your name to the list of supporters here.

Filed under: gay rights, military, , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
April 2017
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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